Doused. The seventh grader in front of me must have had some military training somewhere in his past. When Father came by with the broom and the holy water the wave of water made a direct hit from short range! The fellow never flinched. I was smiling and I think he must have been smiling, too, but not a movement was made. He didn’t even jerk when it hit. We ask the children not to overreact when they get hit, and this veteran server’s training was showing in his composure.
The sacramentals of the church are very good thing for us humans. Our flesh and blood needs the material things that can remind us of the nonmaterial, the supernatural. Psychologists would say that is especially true for children, who are less abstract and in need of sensory impulses to learn well. So the words “get out the broom” have particular meaning here. I must say they cause a considerable measure of excitement. The “sprinkling” of holy water is to remind us of our baptism. There’s not a one of us in church who doesn’t want to get at least a drop of holy water on us during that sprinkling. The fellow in front of me didn’t dry until noon, but he was still very glad he got “hit with the broom”. As Father sprinkles it is beautiful to watch as that arch of water sails from the broom swung in just the right manner. It not only reminds me of baptism, but God sending his ample graces to us there in the pews. St. Peters is the only parish I know of that uses most of the water in that bowl in the sprinkling rite!
On September 29, we will be celebrating the Feast of the Archangels and Saint Michael. Due to the anniversary of our church dedication along with the patronal feast of both father and yours truly, we will be celebrating the feast in a big way as we have in recent years. We will be having a Eucharistic procession around the grounds complete with Jesus, the canopy, the sensor, boys and girls in first communion attire, flower petals, bells, the altar boys in red cassocks and the white gloves, and an honor guard of 420 children. Sister Mary Catherine, who is more of a techy than I am, helped me change the blog picture at the top to one from last year’s procession. I would encourage you to join us that Tuesday, September 29, if you are able. The Mass with procession will last about an hour.
The procession as well as the Liturgy preceding it will be a multi-sensory experience of the church at its finest. Let me itemize those multi-sensory elements so we can see the wisdom of Holy Mother Church in greater detail.
- Water in the sprinkling rite – wet and observed – sense of touch and sight
- Water at the entrance in the holy water font – wet and observed – sense of touch and sight
- Bells at consecration and in the procession – heard – sense of hearing
- Music – heard – sense of hearing
- Incense at the entrance, consecration and in the procession – smelled and seen rising – sense of smell and sight
- Eucharist – seen at the elevation and later consumed – sense of sight and taste
- Canopy – seen – sense of sight
- Monstrance – seen – sense of sight
- Flower petals – seen and smelled – multisensory
- Responses throughout Mass – hearing and speaking – multisensory
- Procession – see most of the above!
There are several more, but we will end here for now. I’m praying for God’s blessings on your family.
In Christ’s Love,