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Father Bryan P. Babick

The liturgical kiss

The observance of Jesus’ resur­rection is the first of all Chris­tian feasts. Older than Christ­mas, the weekly celebration of the Lord’s resurrection likely influ­enced one of the most fundamental customs in the Mass. The first action of the clergy upon entry into the sanctuary is to ap­proach and kiss the altar. It would seem strange […]

Albert Gustaf Aristides Edelfelt — Jesus washing the feet of his disciples
The charitable mandate

The darkness of Lent grows brighter as Holy Week dawns. The Triduum, or three days of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday, showcase many rare liturgical actions. One example is the Washing of Feet at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. Inspired by the texts of John 13, where at the […]

The Lenten veil

During Lent, many parishes cover their crucifix, images and statues with veils. While a curious custom, shadowing the sacred in God’s dwelling is ancient. In the Book of Exodus, God gives Moses the stone tablets on which He had written the rules for their soci­ety. God then asks that a tabernacle, or tent be built […]

Surprising purification

Each year the Church observes a period before Easter. Called “Lent” from the old English “lencten,” meaning “springtime,” the discipline of the season is a walk with the God who surprises His people at every turn. In a culture of self-indulgence, a period of self-deprivation seems senseless. The best reason for the season is that […]

Epiphany afterglow

In the Church’s Liturgy, each new calendar year begins with what may be called “Epiphany afterglow.” Until 1955, the Roman Church celebrated an octave, or eight days, of Epiphany, which means literally “to shine upon.” Pope Pius XII suppressed the octave of Epiphany, but the biblical texts that showed the “afterglow” were retained. Some non-Catholic […]

Eastward lightings

Light is a major theme in the Biblical readings of the Christmas season that has shaped Christian worship for millennia. On Christmas, the Prophet Isaiah said that “the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” Since He said that He is the Light of the World, Jesus’ birth is the fulfillment of […]

The Christmas Advent

It seems that each year Christmas comes earlier. At one time, retailers unveiled Christmas advertisements and decorations after Thanksgiving. Now Halloween immediately gives way to the trappings of December 25th. Perhaps next Christmas really will come in July! It’s a surprise to many that the first Christian festival was not the birth of Christ. Instead, […]

The jubilant portal

Pope Francis has designated the upcoming liturgical year as an extraordinary jubilee of divine mercy. The custom of observing jubilees is an ancient part of God’s Covenant with Israel. As they neared the Promised Land, God asked the Israelites to observe every seventh year as a sabbatical. This was to be a time of rest […]

Inspiring spirit

As of this Advent, we will have been using updated prayers and responses in the Mass for four years. One of the most common questions asked is why “and with your spirit” is now used. “Spirit” is a word and concept used extensively throughout both the Old and New Testaments. It appears at the very […]

Sacramental inclusion

One common question posed to the Catholic Church is why non-Catholics are asked not to receive Holy Communion. Someone once observed that not welcoming everyone to Communion was like inviting someone for dinner, but not feeding them. To understand why the Church asks some not to come forward for Holy Communion we need to look […]

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