10 11 / 2011
I was in the archdiocese of Los Angeles recently. I had the privelidge of meeting with some of the lay leaders in the diocese. The ratio of priests to laity is some crazy number like 1 to 5000. Anyway, one of the places that the diocese is trying to fill the gap is in the ministry of berievemement. That’s great, right?
Well, the diocese is training people to go to the funeral home and hold services that look very Catholic. One person described it to me. Opening Prayer, Old Testament, Psalm, Second Reading, Gospel, then a reflection that ties the readings together as well as pays tribute to the deceased. Then intercessions, then a closing hymn.
I thought, wow that sounds like the liturgy of the word. That could cause confusion. And, by whose authority do these folks go forward to preach? I’m a little alarmed at this. Here’s why.
The format is great. But, that is the Liturgy of the Word. That is presided over by the ordained. This type of situation in the LA diocese needs help, but at the expense of blurring the lines of the Priesthood of Jesus? I don’t think so.
The most alarming part is this. In the Liturgy of the hours, which is for all, there is an office for the dead. Why didn’t they think to use that instead? This would empower the faithful to fulfill their confirmation and baptism in the lay priestly commissioning.
Does this make sense to you? Our Church needs help. We are forgetting the very structure that is already in place.