DC 'Hood update + Q&A
DC ‘Hood update:
The ADW basketball team of priests and seminarians begins its fourth season of games versus parish teams. There is a new set-up this year because of the increase in requests from new parishes: DC ‘Hood is asking two parishes to join forces for each game. For example, St Andrew’s will team up with St John the Baptist; exactly how this will happen is up to the parishes. The only exception so far is our first game this year (we were unable to find a parish to join St Martin’s).
So, please mark your calendars for the first two games that have been confirmed:
1) Fri., Sept 14, 7 pm vs. St Martin’s @ Bohrer Park Activity Center, 506 South Frederick Ave, Gaithersburg Md 20877
2) Fri., Oct 19, 7 pm vs. St Jerome’s / Sacred Heart @ St Jerome’s gym, 5205 43rd Ave., Hyattsville, Md 20781
1)“Kids in the school who aren't Catholic are required to go to confession during the times when their classes attend. Do they receive absolution? I had always thought confession in a Catholic church was only for those who had been baptized Catholic.”
Non-Catholic students are invited to talk with the priest and receive a blessing, but they don’t receive absolution. By the way, Confession is for those who are “properly disposed”; i.e. prepared for the sacrament. If a non-Catholic (child or adult) expressed interest in receiving absolution, then the Church would begin preparing them to receive the sacrament in the future.
2) “Does God punish people for their sins by keeping them from receiving grace for a period of time or for their whole earthly life? The other day you mentioned purgatory on earth. Does that really happen?”
First, God couldn’t keep anyone from receiving grace; grace is the “free and undeserved gift that God gives us”. It would go against His very nature to prevent anyone from receiving the very gift He truly intends. In fact, the whole reason He has created that person is so that he/she will receive His Grace! The only way for someone to not receive God's grace is if they choose to reject it.
Secondly, yes, I believe very firmly in ‘purgatory on earth’. But, and this may be hard to get our heads around, there is grace in 'purgatory on earth'! Think of purgatory itself, the one that occurs after this life: it is a time of purification, a time of perfection, a time to see things as God sees them in full. In this sense, we can say it’s a time of grace.
While it might feel like punishment, ultimately, purgatory on earth is a gift. Recall what we heard in Sunday’s 2nd reading from Hebrews 12: “My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges.”
3) "During Benediction, the priest or deacon (and I've even seen pics of the pope doing it), uses the humeral veil to cover his hands while holding the monstrance with the Eucharist. Why? They obviously touch the Eucharist- so why not touch the vessel that holds it?"
The priest or deacon does touch the monstrance at different times with his own hands, but during the Benediction itself, he is to cover his hands so that it’s Christ giving the blessing. You might want to pay attention to exactly when the priest / deacon puts on the veil: it’s right before the Benediction. He then removes it immediately after the Benediction. I’ve explained here before that the reason for this is so that he is taken out of the equation so that Benediction is a real blessing from Christ himself in the Eucharist.
4) “If God does something you don't understand should you just accept it?”
Because we know that God’s ways are always not our ways, I would say not only should you accept it when God does something you don’t understand, but also make a habit of it!