This first appeared May 5, 2017 in the Wall Street Journal. No hyper-link is provided due to WSJ’s pay wall
The IRFWP mission to create harmonious relations among religions and religious believers involves posting news of interfaith activity and developments. Part of interfaith however also involves growing in one’s understanding of “other” religions (not only my own), and so IRFWP posts these sorts of informational and educational pieces as well.
Here is an elegant and lilting piece that captures a profound reality in contemporary North American Catholicism [ed]
Early last month I attended my Uncle Joe’s funeral Mass at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary—the same Morristown, N.J., Catholic church in which he had been baptized 89 years earlier. In an ancient tradition meant to recall baptism, his casket was covered with a white linen pall, blessed with holy water by a priest, and positioned in the sanctuary before the Paschal candle. Decorated with the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, Alpha and Omega, the candle denotes our fundamental belief in the resurrection of the body made possible by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
The mourners that day were few. Uncle Joe had simply outlived a lot of people. Of the 50 or so friends and family assembled to pray for the repose of his soul, only a handful seemed familiar with the liturgy. A regular Sunday Mass-goer couldn’t help but notice: Almost no one knew what to say and when to say it, or what to do and when to do it.