St Francis Q&A

Friday, June 05, 2009

Healing Mass: "was so...Joyful!"

1) Eucharistic Adoration, tonight, 7-8 pm, SAA Church. The Holy Hour will be offered for priests as part of an Archdiocesan effort as we approach priest ordinations (June 20). Please pray for priests!
2) DC ‘Hood vs. Holy Redeemer at Georgetown Prep, tonight, 6:30 pm. This is the make-up game from last week’s rainout. It will be indoors at the new gym at Prep. Go ‘Hood!!
Anon asked, “What is a healing Mass? How is it set-up? Has anyone ever been to one?”

I don’t have any experience with healing Masses, so I’m not the best one to answer this. I know that there are healing Masses around the Archdiocese (e.g., St Jerome’s, Hyattsville) from time to time. I don’t think that every healing Mass follows the exact same format, but it is charismatic (invoking the gifts of the Holy Spirit) in nature. The following is a comment from another blog site by someone who attended a healing Mass (he seemed to indicate in other parts of his post that he used to be skeptical about such Masses). After reading this intriguing reflection, I might be interested in celebrating one some day:

…They call the Mass a "cenacle". The Mass was celebrated by the parish priest, and about 15 nuns of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary (Siervas de los Corazones Traspasados de Jesus y Maria) were present. I'm part of the leadership team for an Emmaus retreat which will be held at our parish in March, and I also went with the hope of juicing up my personal spirituality in preparation for the retreat…

I left the wife and kids at home. My wife asked if she should come and bring our youngest son who suffers from some allergies. I said let me check it out first.

I showed up at the church about 10 minutes before the 8pm Mass started. There were lots of people in the church, young and old. The church was eventually packed. I'd say there were 200 people there on a Friday night, lots of people in their 20s too (I'm 44). They were praying the rosary, of course.

This was a serious crowd. Serious in the sense that they were quiet. Better dressed than the Sunday parochial school congregants at my parish. Very little pre-Mass chatter. Very few cell phones ringing. People kept filing in after the Mass started…

The Mass was in Spanish. The lector was really good. The priest gave a great homily about John the Baptist, and about courage to have Christian values.

I was really struck by the music. The nuns would sing really praiseful, hallelujah music. It was not like what you see on tv in evangelical African-American churches, but it was really joyful with a tempered, Catholic twist. The hallelujahs seemed to escalate, building power, until they seemed to knock you over like a wave of water. These were women singing. They sang into microphones, but their voices sounded powerful apart from the electronic boost, and distinctly feminine. They sang at different points during the liturgy of the Eucharist. I felt like crying, it was so beautiful, but held it back.

The priest reminded everyone that they should have been to confession to receive the Eucharist (I went yesterday to get ready for this). Lots of people did NOT go to receive the Eucharist. I'd say maybe 25 or 30% sat it out. In my parish, I would say 95% of the people receive the Eucharist every Sunday. The make-up of the crowd was about the same as in my parish - almost 100% hispanic, with maybe 70 or 80 percent being Cuban/Cuban-American.

The Mass ended about an hour after it started, but there was no dismissal. A monstrance was brought out, and the Eucharist displayed and adored as virtually everyone kneeled. During the adoration those little nuns blasted out their beautiful, strong, hallelujah music. Many people held their hands up in the air as they kneeled. I just kneeled with my hands pressed together tightly. The priest held what seemed to be a very heavy monstrance up in the air for quite a few minutes. Then he walked around the church with it, up and down all the aisles and sides. People held up their hands towards the Eucharist. I just kept my hands together. We all stared at Him in the Eucharist, as the nuns continued to sing. It was so.... Joyful!...


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