Sunday, August 11, 2013

Coming August 15: Assumption Day at Assumption Grotto! See Schedule

Assumption Grotto in Detroit doesn't use it's feast day as a day for a carnival.  One thing I've learned about the parish since joining in 2005 is that it's a back to basics kind of parish where devotion and the spiritual life take center stage (scroll through here for photos of Assumption Day from prior years).  The Grotto out back was built in the late 1800's by the first resident pastor after he visited the grotto in Lourdes, France.  He wanted those who could not travel to have a beautiful place to honor the Mother of God.  I'm glad the parish has kept it's devotional roots and not yielded to elephant ears, games and rides on it's feast day.  Some think we don't know how to have fun.  They just haven't seen us after Mass at our regular Sunday BBQ in the gym vestibule, our many ice cream socials, pancake breakfasts, Annual Fat Tuesday Cotillion, coffee houses, opera nights, and other such things that happen with much more frequency than I've seen at any other parish.

This year, I will be trying to balance this great feast day with an increased workload at work and a tight deadline.  I will make it there at some point, and I plan on taking pictures.  But form me, it is most important that I take the day to honor Mary.

Keep an eye on the Assumption Grotto homepage and if you have questions, it is probably best to direct them to the rectory.  Also, the schedule is available here, in the latest issue of the Lourdes Legacy.

The bottom line on Masses is that the 6:30 AM, 9:30 AM and Noon Masses will all be in the ordinary form (the new Missal).  I understand the 9:30 and Noon will be Latin Novus Ordo.

The 7:00 PM Mass will be in the Extraordinary Form (1962 Missal).  Fr. Perrone will be celebrating and I believe it will be a Solemn High Mass (with deacon and subdeacon).  The schedule and other text uses the expression "Fr. Perrone and Concelebrants."  Every year I get questions about this, but I can assure you it is a copy-paste issue with the text - a throwback to when we had the Latin Novus Ordo in the evening.  There should be booklets, but bring a Missal if you have one.  Or, you can print out this page which, at least, has the propers:  The choir sings at this Mass, usually with a small brass ensemble.

Weather permitting, the evening Mass will be down by the Grotto.  Weather forecasters are showing a beautiful day for Thursday - in the upper 70's for a high, low humidity, and sunshine on the day of, and the days before and after.  We will continue to hope that the Blessed Virgin Mary grant us a beautiful feast day. It might be wise to bring a jacket if you are planning on staying for the evening candlelight procession following the last Mass.

Parking could be an issue depending on the time of day you come.  There is a shuttle service from another parish and I would encourage you to take this option as parking is... well... interesting with so many people coming.  If you come middle of the day for spaghetti and stick around, it may be easier, but by 5:00 and later it begins to get difficult again.

If you come to Assumption Grotto plan on enjoying a spaghetti dinner, or visiting the gift shop with many books, movies, and general Catholic merchandise. There are many booths also allowing you to enroll your loved ones in Masses. A beautiful feature is the lighting of candles down by the Grotto.

A word about the Anointing of the Sick.  I would like to point some things out so there are no misunderstandings about what is happening at Assumption Grotto.  Some have abused the provision in the CCC permitting the Anointing in groups.  Before I came to Grotto, I was at parishes where Anointing happened after Mass to anyone who requested it.  There was no instruction or catechesis given so just about everyone had it, including me.  The priest would go up and down the aisles.  Later, I would learn this is not what the Church had in mind when permitting it to happen in a group setting.

Not just anyone may approach for this Sacrament.  The priests remind people who is eligible and who is not. People are reminded that if they seek the Sacrament of Anointing they must be free of mortal sin. Confession is available at 11:00, which is before the 3 PM Anointing; and later around 4 PM).  What I can tell you is that many people who are suffering life-threatening illnesses, cancers, or the infirmities of old age, come for the Noon Mass and stay for the Anointing.  Proof that this is not a free-for-all, is in the wheel chairs that are lined up outside the gates, and used by very sick people coming to the Shrine on this feast day.  I have seen people who appear otherwise healthy seek the Sacrament and the priest will ask some questions, and sometimes they tell them they cannot Anoint them.  EWTN has a very good page explaining the conditions for receiving the Sacrament of Anointing and who is eligible.  I also recommend you read the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the Sacrament of the Sick. 

Some years ago I made a slideshow video showing the Anointing followed by Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament.  You will see the wheel chairs lined up in the beginning.

Below is Fr. Perrone's column from the Grotto News this week:

Assumption Day 2013 is awaited with great anticipation. The feast day is so much part of the parish fabric that we can tend to forget that its purpose is not for our own benefit but for the greater honoring of the Mother of God. The Church’s textbook description of the doctrine reads that the Assumption celebrates the taking up of Mary “body and soul into the glory of heaven.”

Every saint who at the time of death is fit to enter heaven immediately without the need for purgatorial purification, is admitted in his soul, fully aware of himself and where he is and full of joy. But there’s a component of his humanity which is now missing in heaven–the body. The Virgin Mary is an exception to this rule. She reigns in heaven as its Queen in both body and soul. (Archeological excavations therefore will never discover her body in the earth; it’s simply not there but in heaven and in a state of glory like that of Christ’s risen body.)

We have to await the last day of this earth for our bodies to arise and enter heaven. Bodily death (and its exclusion from glorification) is the deserved punishment of the human race for its rebellion against God through Adam’s sin. Ever since original sin there is a residual interior conflict in every human being (Mary excepted) by which we tend to do what we know we shouldn’t. Hardly an ideal state of affairs. Every man notes the presence within himself of this wayward tendency; it needs no proof beyond his own experience. This interior war will come to an end once the body dies and a man’s spirit will go to its place according to how he died: to eternal heaven (for those who died already perfected); or temporarily to purgatory (for those in need of remitting the debt incurred by one’s sins); or to unending hell (for those who died in mortal sin).

Does the inner conflict of body verses soul mean that the soul is the good part of human nature and the body the evil? No. Both body and soul were damaged by original sin. Human nature itself (that is, body and soul united) remains good, though somewhat impaired. Only mortal sin can so corrupt one’s nature as to merit eternal loss. 

Many have erred, thinking the human body evil and the spirit (soul) good. This is a form of dualism that must be rejected. What God made is essentially good, that is, in its nature. It’s understandable, in a way, how some have made the error of thinking the body as evil because so many sins are committed in the body. The New Testament employs two different terms to make a distinction: body and flesh. This is not just a matter of semantics. It is the flesh, the evil-tending aspect of the body, that can make trouble for the soul.

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven, body and soul, can be grist for a good meditation on our human condition. We may consider that the resistance needed to arrest the rebellion of the flesh against reason will merit us a huge reward in the next life–well worth the fight. It may also lead us to invoke the help of Holy Mary in our struggles because She, though never having experienced them Herself, is not unmindful of our difficulties. Again, looking up to Mary in heaven we may be more thoughtful in treating the human body–ours and others’–with due respect, modesty and restraint, rather than with harmful indulgence. One day we will recover those same bodies and, for those heaven-bound, they will be the cause of great rejoicing.

Degradation of human body is an especially grave contemporary problem. Not only do we have the usual sins of the flesh (impurity, illicit drug usage, over-eating, etc.), but also the massive scale aborting of infants, euthanasia of the aged and those otherwise deemed unfit, embryonic experimentation of an objectionable kind and enforced population control

The Virgin Mary is incomprehensible apart from the Incarnation of Christ, that is, without the truth of God having become man in Christ through Her. She helps us realize the nobility of the human body and its destiny as recipients of that eternal beatitude won for us by Her Son’s redemption. We ought then to assert the Assumption of Mary with particular pride as a motivation to make a proper and even holy use of the gift of the human body.

I look forward to seeing all of you here on Thursday to celebrate Her whom the Church appropriately calls “our nature’s solitary boast.”

Fr. Perrone

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