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Father Bryan P. Babick

Liturgical orientation

In recent weeks, liturgical orien­tation of the worshipping con­gregation has been in the news. After Pope Francis’ point-man for Liturgy and Sacraments encour­aged a rediscovery of priest and people facing east for parts of the Mass, discussion both pro and con has erupted. For centuries either the priest alone, or both priest and people alike […]


Directional origins in the liturgy

Pope Francis’ Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Wor­ship recently caused a stir when giving a conference asking priests to consider facing in the same direc­tion as the assembly while offering some prayers at Mass. The Congregation, which Cardi­nal Robert Sarah guides, is respon­sible for regulating the celebration of the liturgy in the Roman Catholic […]


An Eastward controversy

In July, the head of the Vatican’s Divine Worship department ignited controversy. Robert Cardinal Sarah’s talk focused on Vatican II’s desired achievements with liturgical reforms. Liturgical scholarship, renewal and pastoral theology progressed for over a century to produce Vatican II’s first document, “Sacrosanctum Concilium”. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy left most specific ideas to […]


Landscape with Noah Offering a Sacrifice of Gratitude; Joseph Anton Koch, 1803
De Colores (made of colors)

An immediately recognizable element in divine worship is the use of differing colors. From vestments to altar cloths, the Liturgy uses color to reflect God’s glory and our own human disposi­tions. The very first thing God created was light. The light spectrum able to be seen consists of seven basic colors further divisible into thou­sands […]


Where are the deaconesses?

In May, Pope Francis indicated his willingness to establish a commission to study deaconess­es. He was asked by a religious sis­ter who is a member of the Interna­tional Union of Superiors General, an organization that focuses in part on the role of women in the Church. That there were female deacons in the early Church […]


Males only?

Perhaps the last un-shattered “glass ceiling” is female ordination in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Pope Francis recently announced he would estab­lish a commission to investigate the nature of the early Church “deacon­ess” role. It should be noted that in the same breath Pope Francis warned against clericalizing the laity, assuming those who serve in […]


The Ascension; Pietro Perugino, 1505
Easter capstone

The Scripture readings used from the ascension onward reveal a few contradictions. These purposeful discrepancies are the cornerstone of the Liturgy’s calen­dar. Luke’s Gospel says that the ascen­sion took place Easter Sunday eve­ning. Luke also penned the Acts of the Apostles, which indicates that the ascension took place 40 days after the resurrection. These kinds […]


Mother May

Each May, the Church turns its gaze to Mary. From processions to more richly decorated stat­ues, “May” and “Mary” are separat­ed by only one letter for a reason. May had special import in Chris­tian antiquity. The annual Jewish calendar began with Abib, meaning “fresh fruit.” It corresponds to our April and it was the first […]


Holy floaters

Occasionally people point out something is floating in the chalice at Mass. No one wants to consume even a holy liquid that has some solid floating inside. The Church sees the Mass as the living memorial of the Lord’s Pas­sion, resurrection and ascension. His Passion began with the Last Supper and each account of that […]


The liturgical procession

The 50 days of Easter are a solemn journey with Christ to glory. This is showcased as each Mass begins with the liturgical procession. In Christianity, processions make imminent sense because the One worshipped is the God who literally walked in the footsteps of His people. Yet religious processions were nothing new. The solemn transportations […]


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