Monday, February 28, 2011


You will notice many women of all ages, even the very young, wearing veils in chapel.  Saint Paul taught (1 Cor 11:1-16) that women should cover their heads while at prayer.  If his apostolic authority were not enough, Saint Paul tells those who would object that the Church knew no other custom or tradition!  So it is a matter of Catholic tradition.  The early Fathers of the Church, both East (Saint John Chrysostom) and West (Saints Ambrose and Augustine) strongly advocate the covering of the woman's head, at all times.  The wearing of the chapel veil was legally enshrined in the Code of Canon Law issued in 1917, Canon 1262.2.  The 1983 Code of Canon Law is in force today, and makes no mention of it at all, neither mandating nor prohibiting the chapel veil.  Some would argue that the 1983 Code itself calls for the retention of the custom, since the 1983 Code says that unless Church law specifically revokes an old custom or law, that custom or law is still in effect.

Whatever the case may be whether the custom is still law or not, the chapel veil is full of religious significance.  It promotes modesty in dress; it is a reminder, as Saint Paul teaches, of the relationship between God, man and woman; and it symbolizes the woman's connection with the Blessed Mother, and not only because the veiled woman shares the same gender as Mary.  In Scripture, veiled things represent the presence of God.  The first temple was actually a tent, a kind of large veil.  When the temple made of stone was built, a veil hung before the holiest room in the temple where God was present in a special way.  Mary is the true tabernacle of God, and she was veiled.  So the veiled woman in chapel or church reminds us that God became man through a woman, the Blessed Mother.  What an honor then for the woman to be veiled in church!  Chapel veils can be purchased through the several Catholic gift shops on island.

Sexagesima Sunday

Father Andre was the celebrant and preacher for Sexagesima Sunday, two Sundays away from Ash Wednesday.  A major theme of the liturgy is the Word of God.  We give thanks that we have heard the Word (Introit), which Saint Paul faithfully preached despite so many obstacles (Epistle).  The Gospel is all about hearing the Word of God in a way that produces good fruit, and not in a way that wastes or kills the seed offered to us by God through His holy Word.  In the Offertory, we ask God to hear our words of petition, but only after we have first heard His holy Word.  The liturgy for Sexagesima Sunday is a call for man to prepare for Lenten repentance by becoming attuned to God's Word.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Septuagesima Sunday

On February 20 we celebrated Septuagesima Sunday, the start of a short period encompassing three Sundays to prepare us for the penance of Lent.  According to some accounts, Pope Paul VI wasn't favorable to the suggestion made after Vatican II to eliminate this preparatory period when the idea was put before him.  However, eliminated it was.  Today's liturgy reflects this gradual preparation for Lent in the violet color of the vestments and the elimination of the Gloria and Alleluia at Mass.  The Scripture lessons of the day highlight man's sorrowful condition and need for salvation, and the importance of man's penitential cooperation in the salvation of his soul as he "runs the race" in order to win an eternal prize.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Training Altar Boys

Father Andre has been busy training our wonderful group of altar boys, both the veterans and the new ones.  We are blessed to have many boys willing to serve at the altar of the Lord.  God bless them and their parents!

February 6 - External Solemnity of the Presentation

On Sunday, February 6, the External Solemnity of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and the Purification of Mary was observed.  Candles were blessed, distributed and held by the faithful during the procession before Mass and during the Gospel and the Canon of the Mass until after Holy Communion.  For this reason this feast is also known as Candlemas.