Sunday, June 5, 2011

How Do You Show Your Catholic Identity?

As you know, I don't like labels, although I did see one that might describe me - moderate trad.  Nah, I'm not even sure that would describe be.  I'm definitely not a neo-con.  I do prefer the traditional form of worship, but I have no problem with the Ordinary Form celebrated as it should be, without ad-libbing, prancing girls, rainbow banners and home-baked bread.  In fact, I try to attend both forms of the Mass at my parish, with the Vigil Mass on Saturday evening and the TLM on Sundays.

Anyway, while I detest labels, I do think it's important that something about us tell others that we are Catholic and preferably, we do this in such a way that it invites non-Catholics as well as our fallen-away brethren to wonder what it is we've been up to that has us so joyful.  So, share with us.  What is about you, what you do, how you live your life each day that tells people you are Catholic?  How do you bear witness to the Gospel in your daily life?

Also, what is your daily routine so far as prayer is concerned?  How much time do you spend each day in prayer?  What do you like to pray?  How often do you go to Mass?  If you participate in parish life outside of Mass, what organizations do you belong to and how much time are you asked to devote to them each week? Are there any activities outside your parish that you participate in which give witness to your Christian identity?

So that this little exercise does not embarrass and/or distinguish anyone,  feel free to comment anonymously.  While we're at it,  here are two more questions - what do you do with your hands during the Our Father and what do you do during the exchange of peace?  

Maybe we can get a lively discussion going here and if we do, I'll tell you about the time someone tried to grab my hand during the Our Father.


  1. Hmmmm let's see~ I think I'll go from the last question~ Sign of Peace~greet my husband and family members if they are with me, and just give a few immediate neighbors the raised hand, saying "peace be with you." If someone extends their hand I will shake it. Being kind of shy, I'm not a big fan, and dislike when it goes on and on and people start moving around the church.
    The Our Father~ this is funny, because I used to hold up my hands in the orans position, a holdover from my charismatic meeting days, but through the consternation of Bob before we were married, was obliged to look it up, and find that that position is for the priest. So now I just do the prayer hands. There are many people who do and SAY things that are only for the priest. I try to charitably remember my own error...I try!
    Those were the easier questions. As for how I show my faith; I think it is more of an attitude, a hoping that as I strive to grow as a Catholic, as a Christian, that the outward part will reflect the inward changes. I do (mostly) make the sign of the cross while passing by a Catholic church, dress modestly, and things of that nature. But I can tell you that one of my goals as a Christian is to be a person that radiates the love of Christ. If you have met someone like that, you know it, and find yourself knowing Christ a little better.

  2. During the Our Father, I bow my head, close my eyes and fold my hands in prayer. To my horror, I have sometimes been "tapped," and hand-grabbed anyway. But, thankfully, this hasn't happened in some time. I notice that in my area, more people seem to be opting for raising their hands than holding hands.

    During the sign of peace, I briefly shake any hand extended to me, but do not usually initiate the greeting -- except with my husband, to whom I give a hug and kiss. He gives out holy cards to any hands extended to him, in lieu of shaking them : )

    Truthfully, I dislike the sign of peace. It disrupts such a solemn and sacred time during Mass. It can get out of hand, with people leaving their pews etc. If we must do something, I wish we could just turn to one or two people and simply SAY, "May the Peace of Jesus be with you, " without the physical contact. However, I wish the SOP would simply be ommitted altogether.

    As outward signs of being a Catholic, I wear a scapular medal, and our home is filled with Catholic art, crucifixes, statues, books, etc., not as a statement, but because we love and use these things.

    As for prayer, other than Holy Mass, which I wish I could attend more often during the week, my favorite way to pray is Eucharistic Adoration. I also love to pray the Divine Office, which as a Secular Discalced Carmelite, is an important part of my prayer life.

    Right now, I am praying a novena to the Holy Spirit in anticipation of Pentecost.

    And now I shall practice silence : ), and look forward to reading what others have to share.

  3. I didn't want to be first!!
    Prayer: at home selected prayers from the Pieta Prayer book before going downstairs. Rosary or Divine Mercy in the car on the way to work. A couple before bed and sometimes if I awaken during the night - St. Michael and Guardian Angel.
    Outward signs- decorations in my home or just in general conversation.
    Mass: Sunday (or Saturday) and special holiday masses.
    Organizations: We don't have many, quilters or cleaners but that is during the day. Nothing else.
    Sign of Peace- I dislike this greatly but I extend my hand- we're a small parish. If I have a cold, or believe they do, I don't.
    Our Father- no hand holding.

  4. I try to go through my set of prayers every day. It probably takes about five to ten minutes. I go to church every Sunday unless something major interupts my Sunday. If that happens I try to make it up with adoration some time during the week. I know that's not much compared to some of you.

    On the Our Father, I say it with my hands clasped together. Can someone explain why so many people hold out open palms? We never did that as children.

    I love the sign of the peace. I'm not one that goes all over to shake hands, but I do try with everyone within my standing reach. Christ for me is in the human touch. Just read how often Christ touches in the Gospels.

    My outward signs I guess are limited to my crucifix and holy family medal i both wear on a chain around my neck. I don't feel comfortable dramatizing my faith. Plus my family is of a mixed religion and I have to be respectful as they are to me.

  5. If you don't mind me jumping in here Joyce, I think I can address a few questions. :) The open palm position is called "orans" and is what the priest does. Also those of us who have participated in charismatic meetings sometime would raise hands during prayer and hold hands when saying the Our Father. When not done at at mass it's fine, but at mass, not really proper. I tend to think that families who pray that way at home, transfer it to mass and probably just don't know.
    Manny, try not to compare yourself to what you think other are doing. Whatever any of us do is a progression that happens over time and the working of the Holy Spirit. Hopefully we are not dramatizing :) but just expressing our inner faith. Your vocation as a husband and a dad are given you by Him as well! It is a good point you make about Jesus' touch.

  6. Patricia, I can't agree with you more about the exchange of peace - it comes during what should be the most solemn and sacred part of the Mass. BTW, it's an optional part of the Mass, which means the priest is free to leave it out. My pastor does leave it out at low Masses celebrated on weekdays. It's wrong, in my opinion, for the priest, who has just consecrated the Sacred Body and Blood of Christ and may have particles of the Eucharist on his fingers, to exchange a handshake with someone. While it's not my favorite part of the Mass, I don't have any qualms about quietly wishing someone "the peace of Christ", provided they are in my immediate vicinity. No pew hopping or aisle-strolling during Mass! I don't normally extend my hand because most people don't extend theirs to me, but if someone does extend their hand, I do shake it. Once when my hand was rather sweaty I simply nodded at someone who extended theirs and the look on their face made me feel so bad, I couldn't ever do that again.

    As for the orans position, I had to laugh a few weeks ago. We had a new-comer to the TLM, and he followed the Mass pretty well. When the pastor chanted the Pater Noster, however, I was amused to see this young man adopt the orans posture. Never saw that before at the Extraordinary Form, but no one was harmed by it.

  7. Thanks Kelly, both for understanding my lacking and the explanation. When I grew up in Brooklyn, no one used that orans position. I would say that more then half the congregation today in the Staten Island churches I attend use it. So it comes from the charismatic movement. That makes sense.


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