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Christmas, Easter & First Mass
Lots of Questions


8 replies to this topic

#1 whoisme

Posted 17 November 2012 - 01:09 PM

On my journey into Catholicism I've got some questions/comments, please help and be kind if for some reason I just happen to phrase it wrong, don't get insulted by it, focus on the fact that I just don't know.

I thought Jesus was born on Christmas Eve?  But when I was watching Beauty and the Geek I thought I heard the Geek say Jesus was born at Easter time (can't remember the day)....can someone tell me when Jesus was born?

What is celebrated at Christmas?

What is celebrated at Easter?

I went to my first Mass at my kids school, just happened to be All Souls Day so rather emotional and teary.  Some questions in regards to what I saw and what it means etc

- What is the bowl of water for when you enter and what do you do with it?  Most the young kids grabbed scoop fulls of it, looked at it and then let it fall to the floor, others put all their fingers in and dabbed it on their forehead, some older ones dabbed fingers in and I think they crossed themselves...

- Some people upon entering got down on bended knee?  Is there a particular knee you should bend down on and why do they do this?

- Towards the end of the mass all the teachers and students and most parents lined up to walk up to the Father and he had a bowl of small crackers.....since there were not enough crackers and too many persons only some received crackers....my kids have coeliac disease and thankfully they weren't given any crackers ..... what do I teach my kids to do when this happens again and they are given a cracker?  Also, he was saying/doing something......like touching them on the forehead......what would this of been for and what should my kids do in return>

Thanks so very much for all your help.  I am awaiting some books on Catholicism to arrive and in the meantime like to ask questions here.



#2 Apageintime

Posted 17 November 2012 - 01:16 PM

Jesus was born on Christmas and died at easter and then was resurrected by God.

The water was holy water, used so you're pure.

The wafers are used to represent gods body, which you take into you. if you dont want to partakw you just keep your hands by your side as you pass the preist.

#3 Bkrsdzn+1

Posted 17 November 2012 - 03:27 PM

Christmas = the birth of Christ
Easter = His resurrection from the dead.

http://grigaitis.net/mass/guide/

Here are some relevant quotes from the website above

QUOTE
The first thing you'll see people doing is dipping their finger in some water and then crossing themselves. This water has been blessed by a priest or deacon, and is called "holy water." When people bless themselves with holy water, they are remembering their baptism.


QUOTE
Before everyone takes their seats, you'll usually see them bow, dip their knees a bit, and some even bounce a knee off the floor. This is one gesture that many Catholics do without knowing why they're doing it or how to do it properly. What they're doing (or should be doing) is called "genuflecting." The correct way to do it is by touching your right knee to the floor. You genuflect because the Real Presence of Christ is present in the tabernacle, and genuflecting is an act of adoration to His Real Presence.

The basic idea is that you bow to the altar, and genuflect to the tabernacle. The tabernacle is a locked box where the Body of Christ is kept for adoration and in reserve to give to the sick that can't attend Mass. Most newer or renovated churches have the tabernacle off to the side or in another room, and you can usually find it by looking for a red light that looks important. In older churches, the tabernacle is right in front of everything. If the tabernacle is in front of you, genuflect to it, otherwise, just bow to the altar.
Remember, whenever you're walking around the church and you pass in front of the tabernacle, genuflect to it. As well, whenever you pass in front of the altar, bow to it.


Re the 'crackers', I know you are asking a genuine question but 'crackers' can often be taken as a deliberate insult, mainly because it is a term used by a prominent anti-Catholic. A better term to use would be hosts or wafers.

Catholics believe what Jesus said at the last supper.  We believe that when He held up the bread and said 'this is My Body', it really became His Body, and when He held up the wine and said 'this is My Blood' it really became His Blood. He then asked the apostles, and therefore their successors (who are the bishops and priests of today) to 'do this in memory of Me', and that is exactly what is happening at Mass. We believe that when the priest says Jesus' words, the bread and wine, while they remain in the appearance of bread and wine, actually become the body and blood of Jesus. So when people were going up to the priest they were receiving what we call Holy Communion, which is the bread that has become Jesus body. At some Catholic Churches the congregation are able to receive both the host and from the cup. Sometimes the blood(in the form of wine) runs out, which is probably what happened at the Mass you attended. The people who were approaching the priest and not receiving communion were probably either not Catholic or not in a state to receive, they probably had their arms crossed across their chest and would have, instead received a blessing from the priest.

In order to receive communion your children must first be baptised and have made their first reconciliation and their first communion. When/if they do that you will need to speak to the priest about their celiacs, their are special hosts that are extremely low in wheat, or they can receive just a tiny bit of a normal host, or if they cannot have wheat at all they can just receive from the cup. This is what my uncle who was a severe celiac used to do.

I stalked you a little before I answered this post and I understand that your children attend St Benedict's.  you are soon lucky, it is a wonderful parish and the order that is in charge of that parish are beautiful priests. My brother and sil live just down the rd from it. I'd have to ask her, but I'm sure my sil would be happy to catch up for coffee with you if you have any other questions.

Edited by Shell14, 17 November 2012 - 03:29 PM.


#4 whoisme

Posted 18 November 2012 - 07:49 AM

Thanks so much.

I do remember now that all those who attended the Mass and lined up did have their arms crossed over their chests.

I was at the back of the church the wafers looked like crackers....being small and round and white...I shall call them wafers now  original.gif

Father Steve is very lovely we have chatted a little bit at a school function when I was assisting and he was a guest.

The school is awesome, we are very grateful our children go there.

#5 Ianthe

Posted 18 November 2012 - 07:52 AM

I am so impressed with your willingness to learn about what your children will be learning instead of dismissing it out of hand.

#6 Futhermore

Posted 20 November 2012 - 06:43 AM

I don't really understand why people partake of the body and blood (even symbolically).  I had always imagined it was a symbolic taking in of the spirit of Jesus (Not sure 'spirit' is the right word) into your body and soul. Does every one see it as taking his body and blood or just those who take the bible literally?

No offence intended of course, I just find it a very strange concept!

Edited by ~maryanne~, 20 November 2012 - 06:48 AM.


#7 Ianthe

Posted 20 November 2012 - 06:53 AM

QUOTE (~maryanne~ @ 20/11/2012, 07:43 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't really understand why people partake of the body and blood (even symbolically).  I had always imagined it was a symbolic taking in of the spirit of Jesus (Not sure 'spirit' is the right word) into your body and soul. Does every one see it as taking his body and blood or just those who take the bible literally?


I am Anglican and we do it because Jesus told his disciples to do so, but Anglicans believe that it is just a symbol, not the actual body and blood of Jesus.


#8 Angelot

Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:03 AM

QUOTE (~maryanne~ @ 20/11/2012, 07:43 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't really understand why people partake of the body and blood (even symbolically).  I had always imagined it was a symbolic taking in of the spirit of Jesus (Not sure 'spirit' is the right word) into your body and soul. Does every one see it as taking his body and blood or just those who take the bible literally?


Be aware that this is one of the biggest areas of contention in ecumenical discussion, so it is difficult to get a hold of the variety of positions, what they have in common and where they disagree!

The group who are most adamant about the literal reality of the consecrated bread and wine being Jesus' body and blood are the Roman Catholics.  This is based, for them, not so much on Biblical literalism but on the strength of tradition and particularly the work of the high medieval scholars and philosophers (amongst whom the most notable is Thomas Aquinas).

I am an Anglican, so I stand in that halfway-house tradition which sees itself as both catholic and reformed.  I believe that Christ is truly present to the believer who partakes of communion, and that this is important for the life of faith.  I do not believe in transubstantiation (the fancy name for the Roman Catholic doctrine); because I believe that the work which scholars like Aquinas did in integrating the Christian understanding of the presence of Christ with the prevailing understanding of the world and the science of his day (which we would now call neo-Aristotelian) is problematic now that we don't continue to understand the world in the philosophical terms which were in current use in his day.

I see the doctrine as a really important achievement in trying to make the Christian experience of Christ in the Eucharist (communion) something which could be understood and explained as more than just an intuitive or mystical feeling, but I think that we need to rethink the terms in which it is offered and, if you like, do that work afresh for our time, taking into account advances in areas such as physics and psychology.

I also think that we need to be careful not to dismiss a symbol as "just" a symbol; symbols can be powerful and transformative, making levels of abstract reality present and meaningful to us.  For me to say that communion is a symbol is not to want to downplay what it can be, but to highlight how much potential there is in it for an encounter with the divine.

#9 Ianthe

Posted 20 November 2012 - 04:41 PM

Oh by saying just a symbol I just meant in contrast to the belief in the literal body and blood of Christ. Not that it isn't significant.



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