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!...


At 10:36 PM, Anonymous Maryann said...

Maybe I'm missing something here because I don't really understand this concept. Isn't every mass, every moment we spend with Christ healing?

At 6:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the topic of healing-

I've been working with a counselor on some issues of healing in my life. When we talked, he kept pointing out that I was holding my breath and encouraged me to exhale. He finally asked the big, dreaded question, "What are you holding onto in your life about which you are afraid to 'exhale'." I said that I was afraid to "let go" of so many things because I might fall in to so many pieces and no one would be able to put me back together again. He laughed and told me I had the "Humpty Dumpty Complex." Apparently, it's quite common. He suggested I let go anyway, and maybe I would shatter, and maybe all the pieces wouldn’t be put back together in the same way again. He then suggested when I went to Mass that I look at the stained glass- beautiful pieces of fragmented glass. He suggested that maybe, just maybe, I might be put back together in a way that is more beautiful than anything I ever had to begin with. I've a l-o-n-g way to go, but that's exactly what's happening. Pieces are coming back together, different, but so much better, and trust in Christ is a huge part of that.

I tie this idea to my faith in thinking about dying of self. When I die of self and let Christ in, I become different. I become better. I can finally let go and let God. He does much better work that I do.

At 6:14 PM, Anonymous mindy said...

I asked the question because someone invited me to go with them to a "healing Mass" at Holy Redeemer. I wasn't able to go, but was curious about what it entailed.

At 3:49 PM, Blogger fran said...

I debated whether or not to share this story the first time the question was posed regarding healing masses. Since the blog may not exist, as St. A's, in a few weeks, I decided now was the time to go ahead with it.

A Healing Mass and A Funeral

My husband and I were the chair people of the Halloween Party at St. A's for the first five years we were parishioners. Being said chairpersons, we were also responsible for storing and displaying, at the party, one very large, very heavy, life-sized, plywood casket, complete with semi-life-like corpses and cobwebs.

The first year, just after we set the whole thing up, inside the doors to the main entrance of the school/church, people of a variety of ages (mostly older) began coming through the doors and continued into church. Thinking that our "set up" might not be appropriate for those going into a church event, we inquired as to what was going to take place that morning. The answer: a healing mass for those with terminal illness!! Mortified, we said that we would dismantle the display until the mass was over. Fortunately those in attendance had a sense of humor, were not offended and our scene remained in place, although the following year we moved it away from the doors of the church.

During our second year as chairpersons, my husband had to enlist the help of another person to get the casket into the school building.

We had noticed a man dressed in a suit standing near the doors of the church. Not really wanting to ask him, because of his fancy attire, but needing to get things set up, we asked if he would mind carrying the casket inside. Gladly, he did so.

Moments later, a hearse from Collins Funeral Home pulled onto the church grounds! Realizing that we were very much, again, in the wrong place at the wrong time, we asked the gentleman who helped with the casket if we should remove our display. He said that having helped with the fake casket actually had lightened the events of the day, for him, as he was.... the husband of the deceased!


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