Busy week: New translation, saintly nun, pray for peace

Archbishop Gregory M Aymond    How did your first experience go in celebrating the Mass using the new Roman Missal? Just from the look of the book, it is much bigger and thicker.
    I was very pleased to celebrate my first Mass with the new missal at St. Mary of the Angels last Sunday. I was there for Mass and also to participate in blessing what will become a new community center, which is so sorely needed in the area. The center will be a place for Catholic Charities and other agencies to partner in providing resources and programs for the community. The Mass was a great celebration. There were several altar servers, and a very nice young lady held the book for me. I don’t know how much exercise she had to do before in order to hold the book, but she did a very good job!
    Why is the book bigger?
    It’s much thicker because it includes all the Masses for special occasions and rites, and it has musical settings and prayers for both regular Masses and feast days.
    Did the assembly have any difficulty with the new wording?
    It happened a few times. When I said, “The Lord be with you,” some responded, “And with your spirit,” and some said, “And also with you.” We laughed about it. We’ll get it eventually. Father Dennis Bosse read the Gospel, and he said, “The Lord be with you,” and I said, “And also with you.” When I went up to preach, I said, “I just want to make a confession. I want to tell you that I got it wrong. I didn’t remember the right words.” So, we just have to be patient with one another. I  thought everything was taken in good spirit.
    How did the people react?
    They seemed very open. I found that I had to stay more focused on the book. I’m trying to memorize certain things like the doxology (“Through him, and with him and in him…”). With the eucharistic prayer itself, I do have to stay more focused on the book right now, but that’s OK. I suspect that in a couple of months, it not going to be a big issue.
    You also celebrated a special Mass last week for the Sister Servants of Mary.
    Yes, they invited me to celebrate the beatification of Blessed Mary Catherine, who was a Sister Servant of Mary who had come from a very wealthy family but gave of herself in a very radical way to attend to the sick and the poor later in life. She would have had every excuse not to visit the sick and care for them because she had intense pain in her knees and tuberculosis. Still, she desired to do what she could for the sick. She was a woman of great courage, sacrifice and faith. She is the second sister in her community to be beatified, and I understand there are five more candidates on the list. I jokingly said at the Mass, “If anybody is looking for a sure way to sanctity, you may want to join the Sister Servants of Mary.” I always enjoy being with the Sisters because they truly represent the international church. The families to whom  they minister are so appreciative. The sisters fulfill the command of Christ: “When I was sick, you visited me and cared for me.” They do it in a very, very simple way. There’s no doubt that in their way of life, they go the extra five miles.
    We also got more sobering news about violence. With a month left in 2011, we have surpassed the total number of murders in the City of New Orleans in 2010.
    It is so distressing. Maybe we need to pay for billboards throughout the city that say: “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” It’s really becoming an epidemic of violence. The experts tell us that most of the murders are not robberies. They involve people who know each other, and the way they solve conflict is by using a gun or a knife instead of learning how to resolve a conflict peacefully. We’ve got to continue to pray. Someone said to me recently, “Well, I guess our prayer for violence isn’t doing any good in fighting this new Battle of New Orleans.” I don’t think that observation is accurate. God always hears prayers, and we are asking for the conversion of hearts in those who have no respect for human life. That takes time. We also will be rolling out our new parenting and mentoring program, which has two goals. First, we want to build up family life. Second, we want to show how conflicts can be resolved in a human and peaceful way. This is no time to give up. This is simply a time we need to keep pressing the battle.
    You also dedicated the Abbey Youth Center in Covington this week.
    It’s a very important initiative, and I’m so thankful to the people of our community who have been very generous. We’ve received two extraordinary gifts of $1 million each – from Mr. and Mrs. Tom Benson and from the Stella Roman Foundation. We still owe about a million dollars on the project, but I really do believe the money will come. It’s a very worthwhile project that I hope speaks to the youth and tells them that we care for them and that God loves them. They are a very important part of the church.
    Questions for Archbishop Aymond may be sent to clarionherald@clarionherald.org.

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