Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A visit with a Doctor of the Church

On Sunday, September 14th, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, I had the honor and privilege of visiting the first class relic of Saint Anthony of Padua, on tour at Saint Anthony's Maronite Catholic Church in Springfield, Massachusetts. The relic, which is the original one kept at the Basilica at Padua, was displayed for a week at this parish. 

I also attended the Maronite Mass for the first time ever as it fulfilled my Sunday obligation. The service was conducted in English and Arabic and derives from the liturgy at Antioch, the first diocese Saint Peter established before Rome. It was founded by Saint Maron, a Lebanese priest and monk in the 5th century. 

The Mass was a Pontifical Mass concelebrated with three other priests. The cope is worn by the priest instead of the chasuble. The archdeacon (who preached the Gospel and sermon at this Mass) wears a dalmatic with a stole on the left shoulder only straight down. The other deacons wear the stole directly down without crossing it as in the Roman rite. 

The words of consecration are sung in Arabic, and Holy Communion is given in incintion: the host is dipped into a small cup of wine in the ciborium before be placed on the tongue. The service does not call for kneeling, as there were no kneelers in the church. 

At the end of the Mass, the two priests from Padua who are the custodians of the touring relic presented a muscle of Saint Anthony to the parish for permanent display. It is a first class relic as well. 

I photographed and touched the relic before Mass, and prayed for miracles. 

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