Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
I thought I should explain to you why I decided to have the altar servers carry torches at the reading of the Gospel, rather than having the torches lit by the ambo (pulpit) throughout the entire Mass. The main reason is to highlight the Gospel as the center of the Liturgy of the Word. For Catholics, because the Gospel recounts the actual words and actions of Jesus, the Gospel is the center of Sacred Scripture. The other readings–from the Old Testament, the Psalms, the Epistles, etc.–are truly Sacred Scripture; but they all point towards, prepare for, or derive from Jesus Christ, whom we observe in the Gospels. All of these other parts of the Bible ultimately depend on the Gospel. One might say that torches at the Gospel and torches at the altar help us draw the connection between the Savior we read about in the Gospel and His Real Presence on the altar after the words of consecration.
On another note… you might consider whether you use Holy Water enough in your homes. It seems to me I do not have to refill the Holy Water supply in our vestibules as often as I did in previous parishes. It is a fine practice to have a holy water stoop in your bedrooms, or in another main room of the house, perhaps near the entrance. St. John Vianney had one strapped right to his bedpost! You can use the water to bless yourself, or to sprinkle in the home from time to time.
As your pastor, I would love to see Holy Water being used more often in your homes. To entice you, perhaps it would help you to know that I am using what has affectionately come to be known in some circles as “the real recipe” for making the Holy Water. That is to say, I am using the old Latin rite which has several parts to it. The priest first exorcizes the salt to seize it from any contact with darkness or the demonic. [The exorcisms are to be done in Latin.] Then the salt is blessed. The same two steps–exorcism and blessing–happen for the water, using the following words:
God’s creature, water, I cast out the demon from you in the name of God + the Father almighty, in the name of Jesus + Christ, His Son, our Lord, and in the power of the Holy + Spirit. May you be purified water, empowered to drive afar all power of the enemy, in fact, to root out and banish the enemy himself, along with his fallen angels. We ask this through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is coming to judge both the living and the dead and the world by fire. All: Amen.
O God, who for man’s welfare established the most wonderful mysteries in the substance of water, harken to our prayer, and pour forth your blessing + on this element now being prepared with various purifying rites. May this creature of yours, used in your mysteries and endowed with your grace, serve to cast out demons and to banish disease. May everything that this water sprinkles in the homes and gatherings of the faithful be delivered from all that is unclean and hurtful; let no breath of contagion hover there, no taint of corruption; let all the wiles of the lurking enemy come to nothing. By the sprinkling of this water may everything opposed to the safety and peace of the occupants of these homes be banished, so that in calling on your holy name they may know the well-being they desire, and be protected from every peril; through Christ our Lord. All: Amen.
Finally, the salt is added to the water, making the Sign of the Cross, and the whole mixture is blessed again. The old rite packs a punch into the holy water that the new rite simply does not contain. So, take advantage of the “real recipe” holy water in our vestibules and narthex. Feel free to take some home with you.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,