Liturgical Q & A
Here are some recent liturgical questions from anonymous bloggers:
1) “Is it appropriate for a Eucharistic Minister to give a blessing to a child when the child accompanies his parent to receive Communion? This happened recently and I was really taken aback by it -- not that I was offended, just surprised. I guess it leads to the question of the meaning of a priest's blessing and the source of his authority to give it.”
Anyone can give a "blessing" to anyone else, but, the blessing of a man who’s been ordained carries actual grace because his hands have been anointed by the bishop and he has been given the faculty to give blessings. So, technically, the Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist gives a prayer, but not a blessing.
2) "What is the significance of the colors of the vestments during the different times in the liturgical year?"
The following is from “Adoremus Bulletin”:
Green vestments are worn during Ordinary Time, which is the largest segment of the liturgical calendar including most of the summer. Green signifies new growth, the flourishing of the "vineyard".
White is a symbol of purity, light, rejoicing, and of the Resurrection, and is used on all special feasts of Our Lord, Christmas and Easter season, Corpus Christi, and at festive occasions such as weddings and baptisms.
Since Vatican II, white vestments are also usually used at funerals, suggestive of the Resurrection; however black vestments may still be used. Interestingly, white signifies mourning in the religions of the Far East, but not in the West.
For Marian feasts and solemnities, some parishes have special white vestments ornamented with blue, symbolizing Mary's fidelity. Blue is not a liturgical color, however, and is not to be used as the main vestment color.
Cloth-of-gold, often richly embroidered, may sometimes replace white, especially for very festive feasts, such as Christmas and Easter, or for weddings.
Red vestments are worn on the feasts of martyrs and on Pentecost, Passion Sunday, and feasts of the apostles. The color symbolizes martyr's blood -- also fire, for Pentecost. Usually red is used now on Good Friday, instead of the traditional black.
Purple, preferably a somber, dark shade, is worn during the penitential seasons of Advent and Lent. Purple signifies great solemnity, with connotations of both penance and royal dignity. Decoration of the vestments for these penitential season is appropriately simple.
Black, signifying absence of light and mourning, is properly used on All Souls Day and is still appropriate and permissible for Good Friday and for funerals, although seldom used now.
Rose colored vestments may be worn on the third Sundays of Advent and Lent, to suggest a pause or lift in the penitential focus of these seasons, appropriate because of the initial Latin words of the collects for these Sundays, which mention rejoicing.
3) "I meant to ask the other day- I think it was Monday when it looked like the candle in front of the tabernacle wasn't lit. Maybe it just went out or the wick was low, but isn't the tabernacle always full except for a few specific dates where is it to be empty?"
The Blessed Sacrament dwells in the tabernacle throughout the year except between midnight on Holy Thursday and the Easter Vigil; during that time, our Lord is placed in a safe repository in the Church.
4) "Aside for those for whom a mass is said, are the prayers for the faithful the same throughout the Archdiocese or does the priest just wing it when he gets up there?"
Occasionally, the Archdiocese will have uniform petitions at Sunday Mass – for example, recently we had a petition for Natural Family Planning at a Sunday Mass. But, generally, the petitions vary from parish to parish. They are all to follow the same framework, though: prayers for the Church, the country/community, the sick, the deceased, etc. At weekday Mass, there are no scripted prayers from the Archdiocese that I have seen. Some priests read prepared intercessions from prayer books; many just “wing it”.
5) "What is the church's position on receiving the Eucharist more than 1x each day. Several times, in order to get all my kids to Mass, I will attend two Sunday services. Am I supposed receive communion at only one of those services?"
A person who is able to receive Holy Communion can receive no more than twice in one day.