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Browsing Fr. Joel Hastings

Anticipatory Masses and proper disposal of religious items

Does a Saturday funeral Mass or wedding Mass suffice for the Sunday Mass obligation?

    In truth, the Mass for Sunday is normally to be celebrated using the prayers and readings given for the particular Sunday. In addition, the designated time of 4:00 PM on Saturday is the earliest hour that a Mass in anticipation of Sunday can be offered. Although weddings and funerals can be celebrated as part of the Sunday Mass during Ordinary Time, normally most of the readings and prayers of the given Sunday (not of what the couple or family wishes to choose) are to be used, with minimal exceptions allowed. In these cases of a wedding or funeral taking place within the Mass of a given Sunday, participating in such an offering of Mass would fulfill the obligation. On the other hand, wedding and funeral Masses on Saturday celebrated before 4:00 PM and with the prayers and readings specifically for weddings or for funerals do not suffice for the obligation.

     Given this “black and white” truth, I would like to ask a question of all who read this column as a call to deeper love of God: why is it that we often fall into seeking to go to Mass the “least” number of times? As we all continue to grow in faith, might we take to prayer this truth: that Jesus Christ deeply loves each one of us and the Mass is an act of His love for us. For the Eucharist is above all Jesus’ gift of Himself given for us (for our salvation), and a gift to us (that we might be one with Him). While participating in Mass clearly “requires” some effort on our part, might we consider that such effort is an invitation to love God (as both an act of thanksgiving to God and as a responding to His love for us by loving Him in return). I invite you to think and pray about these truths, keeping in mind that every Mass is not something we do for God, but is His gift to us for our good.

What [am I] to do with broken rosaries?

         The typical method of disposing of broken rosaries (and other religious items that have been blessed) is that they would be burned (if they are burnable) with the ashes being buried; or for non-burnable articles, that they simply be buried. Such burial of ashes or of the articles themselves should take place such that there is virtually no possibility of the burial place being disturbed (at least not within our ability to oversee such). Those who have property within which an “out of the way” place can be designated for such burial have the greatest advantage in accomplishing such burial.  Periodically, the Church has been known to offer to do such burial, dedicating an obscure burial plot in a Catholic cemetery for such purposes. However, in the short term, it is always best that individuals do their best to see to such disposal themselves – that such may take place in a timely fashion.



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