Sunday, 4 August 2013

Liturgical Year - Determining the Sunday and Weekday Cycle

The Catholic church has got its own calendar, just as many other religions also do. This calendar is called the Liturgical Year (to be referred to as LY henceforth) and familiarising oneself with the LY would help one know and prepare the Mass, Prayers, Readings, etc. of the day.

The easiest way to know the prayers and readings of the day is to use an ORDO. The ORDO is a calendar (often found online or in a booklet form) which prescribes the Mass and prayers which is to be celebrated each day. However, if you do not have access to one, then you would need to calculate manually (which can be a rather messy task).

Basically,  the LY is broken into a cycle of 3 for the Sunday and a cycle of 2 for the weekday:

Year A - Readings taken from the Gospel of Matthew
Year B - Readings taken from the Gospel of Mark
Year C - Readings taken from the Gospel of Luke

Weekday (Mon to Sat. Note that Sat evening uses the Sunday cycle)
Year 1
Year 2

To determine which Sunday and Weekday cycle the present year is:

For the Sunday cycle
1. Divide the present year by 3.
If the division results in a balance of 1, then that year uses Year A.
If the division results in a balance of 2, then that year uses Year B.
If the division does not produce any balance, then that year uses Year C.
For example, if the present year is 2013:
2013/3 = no balance. Thus, the year uses Year C.

For the Weekday cycle
Odd number uses Year 1
Even number uses Year 2
For example, 2013 is an odd number. So the year uses Year 1.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Choosing Wedding Processional Music Wisely

On the wedding day, many couples use the Bridal Chorus by Wagner when the bride process into the church with her father or someone representing her father to be handed to the groom. After the wedding Mass or service, many newly-wedded couples process out of the church while the Wedding March by Mendelssohn is played.

Many people refer to "The Bridal Chorus" as the wedding march, but in fact, the "Wedding March" and "The Bridal Chorus" are two distinct pieces, each with their own histories. Both were originally written for use in the context of fictional weddings. Understanding the background behind each, may help you decide whether to use them in your own wedding.

The “Bridal Chorus” from Wagner’s opera, Lohengrin, actually accompanies the couple to the bedroom, not the altar! “Lohengrin” is a tragic tale of love between Lohengrin and Elsa, whose marriage is never consummated after their wedding and who are forever parted shortly after they wed (the bride Elsa dies). “Lohengrin” contains elements of intrigue, suspicion, lies and ill-will.

Mendelssohn’s incidental music to Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, the "Wedding March," accompanies a farcical (that which is ridiculously clumsy; ludicrous, absurd) wedding (the play is a comedy), between a fairy and a man turned into a donkey (ass or jackass).

Though there is no official ban or prohibition from using these music pieces for your wedding, looking at their background, would you still want to use them in your wedding?

Some possible alternatives to consider are:

Canon in D (J. Pachelbel)
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (J. S. Bach)
Air on the G String (J. S. Bach)
Air (G. F. Handel)
Hornpipe (G. F. Handel)
Trumpet Tune (H. Purcell / J. Clarke)
Trumpet Voluntary (J. Clarke)
Rondeau (J. J. Mouret)
Ode to Joy (L. Beethoven)

Friday, 2 August 2013

MyKad, Passport & Baptism Certificate

This posting is generally relevant only to Malaysians. There may be some other countries in the world which use an identity card of some sort; if so this posting may apply to them too.

Most of us are aware of the importance of our IC or Identity Card (also known nowadays as MyKad). The MyKad must be carried at all times. Failure to do so may incur a fine of between RM3,000 and RM20,000 or jail term of up to three years.

If you plan to travel to another country, you would need a passport. Without a passport, you could be denied entry into the other country and may face a fine, jail term, and deportation.

The church has also got an important document called a baptism certificate. The baptism certificate states that a person has been baptised according to the Catholic rite on a particular date, church, name of parents, name of Godparents, the priest or deacon who conducted the baptism, as well as the date the baptism certificate is issued. A record entry of when a person is confirmed and when a person is married is also stated on the baptism certificate.

Before you receive any other sacrament, you need to have been baptised. Baptism is the first part of initiation into the Church, into the Body of Christ. So Baptism is a prerequisite for the reception of other sacraments: for Eucharist, Reconciliation, Confirmation, Holy Orders, Marriage and for the making of profession of vows in an institute of consecrated life.

Prior to the reception of these sacraments, the priest must check that you have been baptised, and a baptism certificate is required here. For marriage, it is necessary to prove that you are free to marry and have a wedding Mass or service. In this case a recent baptismal certificate is required. When a person has passed away, a baptism certificate is required as proof that the person is a Catholic, otherwise a Catholic funeral cannot be granted.

It is strongly advisable for you to have a latest copy of the baptism certificate, especially after you have received the sacrament of confirmation, when you plan to get married, and after the wedding has taken place.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Marriage Preparation Course - Some Ramblings

I am noticing a trend nowadays... some people want to get married but when it comes to preparing themselves for marriage, they seem to want to have preparations done quickly (pronto... expresso... whatever).

Seems strange that these same people would go through great lengths and spend lots of time studying for exams, working towards Bachelor, Master or PhD Degrees; or even making great effort in impressing the boss with hope of better pay or promotion.

But... when it comes to preparing for Marriage? Attending a Marriage Preparation Course seems like such a difficult thing to do (as if one is having one's teeth pulled). No time... Busy... Work... So many excuses given... Seems as if marriage is no longer important or worthwhile to prepare for (especially spiritually and knowing clearly what is expected in a Catholic marriage). Getting a good restaurant for the wedding makan or dinner, finding a reasonable priced romantic place for the honeymoon, booking a nice hotel... all these seem to preoccupy the minds of some couples more than a Marriage Preparation Course. Some couples even want the course to be completed fast fast... as if spending an hour or two a week (that is only once a week for about 6 weeks) knowing what a Catholic marriage is all about is such a painful experience.

What is happening here? Do we value our marriage, which is a life-long commitment ("one and two, super glue" as my professor in Canon Law on the topic of Catholic Marriages likes to say), or have we become so influenced by the media, where glamour and materialism is more important? Do we care about our faith and the need to share our faith with our spouse and children, or have we become complacent with our Catholic identity?

BO and MO during Confession?

Among the many challenges a padre has to put up with when it comes to confession, one which is just as potent and potentially pengsan-able...