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October 7, 2005

Speaking of....

....Charismatics. Since we are on the topic, can anyone think of a better term than "Healing Mass." I love first friday, but here it has been co-opted by the charismatics, and every first friday they have their "healing mass." I love how I use the word "they" and "their" in this context, because it certainly is not "ours."

My point is this: The normal means of healing for a Catholic is the sacraments of Holy Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. (For serious needs we also consult Doctors.) The Eucharist is healing par excellence. Every Mass is a healing Mass.

One of these parishioners said that last mass I celebrated with them was holy and reverent, but that it was not charismatic. I personally believe she dissed all sorts viable charisms in that one sentence.

So, I would like to change the title. What do we call it if it is not a "Healing Mass" per se? So far I have taken to calling it the First Friday Mass.

Also I have put a stop to the "slain in the spirit" phenomenon here. And instead of every one getting anointed, we offer the Sacrament of Holy Anointing, The Sacrament of Holy Reconciliation,and the opportunity for someone to pray with.

One commenter referred to them as as quasi-protestant. That certainly fits the experience here.

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at October 7, 2005 5:01 PM

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If you've cracked down on the "quasi-protestant" symptoms of a Healing Mass and replaced them with Sacraments and intercessory prayer, which can offer much truer healing, then why not retain the Healing Mass title? Otherwise, changing the name seems more reactive than anything. Has the very phrase been usurped beyond salvage?

Posted by: Justin Walters at October 7, 2005 11:05 PM

Dear Father,

the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia work at a parish school in Denver where the parish priest was (perhaps he is still in residence?) "charismatic." When he came to town (nashville tn) a year or two ago, the sisters arranged for him to offer Mass at my parish. This is not the ordinary kind of non-demoninational charismatic worship, but the Sacraments (Mass, Confession, Sacrament of the sick etc) plus a "hands-on" annointing and prayer; it was a healing service where people may fall down in the spirit if they are pulled toward that kind of experience (for lack of a better term? mysticism? maybe)--but those prayers and annointing were only offered after the Holy Sacrifice. The music in the background was a very soothing chant. Lourdes water was distribued, which was greatly appreciated. There were other healing prayers recited after Mass. In Father's homily during Mass he pointed out that the normal means of healing are the Sacraments and then he speaks about charismatic gifts as related in Scripture.
He developed the idea that some sicknesses are psychosomatic and are related to sinfulness: that is harboring resentments, anger, jealousy, can lead to illness and that the best remedy for the sickness is Confession and constant conversion and prayer.

Most of the people in the pews were people who were ill or who had a loved one who was ill, and desired healing. I have been twice and only seen the falling down/slain phenomea once at my parish.

He was the pastor at St. Vincent de Paul parish in Denver. Perhaps he could help you. I wish I could remember his name. The services were quite reverent and very peaceful. It was not even close to what I experienced growing up in the pentecostal churches. The Sisters helped create an atmostphere of prayer, devotion, and reverence and my parish is not known for being "charismatic."

It is possible to have a reverent and peaceful charismatic healing service, but of course it depends on the atmosphere. A devout and traditional coordinator of Mass and other healing prayers is helpful.

Sincerely in Christ Jesus,

Posted by: adria at October 8, 2005 10:01 AM

A question: Wouldn't it be good to offer a more general Mass in the evening on First Friday, so that parishioners who wanted to keep the custom of the guaranteed-heaven with 9 First Friday Communions, or who had a general devotion to the Sacred Heart, could do so without the Charismatic Dimension?

A suggestion: Move the Charismatic Mass (why not just call it that?) to some other time. Yes, that's a bit nasty and disruptive, but it makes a clearer break with the current customs.

Posted by: Maureen Lahiff at October 8, 2005 2:17 PM

I am not sure I even like the designation "Charismatic Mass." Do not we use the charisms given for the common good at every mass. Why is only one kind designated as charismatic?

Posted by: Fr Keyes at October 8, 2005 4:08 PM

Potato/Potatoe...Tomato/tomatoe...it's not the semantics that you oppose...or is it?

Posted by: Donalyn at October 9, 2005 2:22 PM

Dear Father,

I hate to suggest this, but it seems you may not have much of a liking for Charismatics at all--and it probably shows in ways you may not even be aware of. Everything about them seems to be a irritant--perhaps that in itself is a message to be pondered.

I was once part of this group of worshippers, and they are wonderful,joyful people. In addition, because I was a new Catholic at the time, they made the transition to Catholicism somewhat easier. As I matured in my Catholic faith, I found the same sort of problems you did with the theology, etc. However, having reaped the benefit of coming up through them, I am still able to attend the prayer meetings and masses and join in their particular form of celebration. It is odd and "emotional" to those who are deeply steeped in Catholicism, but I think it is also a reaction to the tendency to over-intellectualize our faith that I see in some many Catholics. One would think that our faith was something akin to the quadratic equation or to the expansion of matrices to solve polynomials. I like the strong intellect of the Catholic faith, but at times it is too strong. The Charismatics may lean far the other direction, but it may end up providing a needed balance for those of us in the middle.

I don't blame your frustration or your irritation at this established group in your parish. They are often quite "protestant" in theology and depending upon the politics within they can tend toward antagonism. But why don't you call the leader in and talk about some of the issues you have and see if you can bring things to a state of compromise? Perhaps if you can articulate your objections and demurrals to someone who can talk with you, you'll have a better starting point than mere frustration will allow.

I'm sorry if these thoughts are intrusive. I've just noted that the Charismatics seem to have gotten under your skin. They are an interesting sort of ecumenical bridge to our protestant brethren, and hence some of the tendencies you note in them. I think you'd be most surprised by what you might find out in the course of leisurely conversation with the leadership. (Yes, I also know that it is extremely difficult when any one group takes up so much of your time. I have to say that the Carmelites I associate with tend to aggravate our Pastors as well. They always want these Marian hymns in masses where often people don't sing at all--and there's a constant intrusion of this reception and that profession. It's gotten to where I dread to ask the Pastor for another thing. It seems I'm always asking for something. But we do do our part in other Church service and we don't tend to have very protestant views of things. And if anything we tend to be more on the traditional side (which is somewhat aggravating for a portion of our clergy--so far, we've gotten the best response from our Maronite Priest.)

I ramble. Sorry.





Posted by: Steven Riddle at October 9, 2005 3:49 PM

"instead of every one getting anointed, we offer the Sacrament of Holy Anointing, The Sacrament of Holy Reconciliation,and the opportunity for someone to pray with."

What else do they do???? As a former Episcopalian, I've been to a number of "healing services." They always involved (a) people to pray with those in need, and (b) anointing by the priest. (Episcopalians aren't big on personal confession to a priest. The slogan about confession is "All can; some should; none must" -that usually translates to "nobody does.")

I thought "slain in the spirit" was pretty much restricted to the same places that handle snakes and drink strychnine."

Posted by: The Waffling Anglican at October 10, 2005 8:44 AM

The book is out of print and hard to find, but I highly suggest doing an eBay search for "As By A New Pentecost" by Patti Gallagher Mansfield (the now-defunct Franciscan University Press). Therein contains the testimonials of the earliest Catholic charismatics of the current movement, the Duquesne retreat of 1967. I would then appeal to these early charismatics, who had studied Vatican II, reaffirmed their confirmation vows, and chanted (yes, _chanted_) the Veni Sancte Spiritus (in English).

The problems you are bothered with are mostly a cultural change over the course of years. Exert the Catholic dynamics, question every praise song that is not explicitly Biblical, and even use some of those songs if they match the Entrance or Communion Antiphons from the Roman Gradual. There is no need for there to be division between Charismatics or not in the Catholic church.

Posted by: Nick Alexander at October 11, 2005 6:16 AM

The Mass, by its very nature, is public worship for the entire Church. I agree with you, Father Keyes: what's the point of a "Charismatic Mass"? Doesn't the priest invoke the Holy Spirit during the Eucharistic Prayer? How much more "charismatic" (in the authentic sense of the word) can you get? The lady who said that the Mass was not "charismatic" should be ashamed of herself.

For whatever it's worth, I favor the use of "First Friday Mass." Heck, that's what it is, isn't it?

Posted by: Fr. Richard Libby at October 16, 2005 2:25 PM

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