Rites of Passage

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Benevenio
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Rites of Passage

Post by Benevenio » Fri Feb 06, 2004 6:38 pm

presbyter wrote:And if First Communion and Confirmation are being seen as Rites of Passage - which they aren't - might it be appropriate to celebrate Rites of Passage in the Church in some way? How would you suggest?


This is from the Christian Initiation thread and, as that thread is already long, and presbyter has already asked another question (in his post of 16:16, 6 Feb 04) that follows directly, and this moves away, I've posted it here!

Presbyter: for the sake of clarity - as some do think (incorrectly) that Confirmation and Eucharist are Rites of Passage - what are the Rites of Passage?
Those celebrating birth, marriage and death?
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presbyter
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Re: Rites of Passage

Post by presbyter » Fri Feb 06, 2004 7:35 pm

Benevenio wrote: what are the Rites of Passage?


Well before them you are in one state of life - you go through them - and after you are in another state of life.

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Post by Benevenio » Fri Feb 06, 2004 7:39 pm

but that can apply to anything. I presume then that you are not talking only about 'Rites' as in liturgical forms?
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Post by presbyter » Fri Feb 06, 2004 7:59 pm

Benevenio wrote: I presume then that you are not talking only about 'Rites' as in liturgical forms?


No I'm not.

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Benevenio
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Post by Benevenio » Fri Feb 06, 2004 8:36 pm

So... rites of passage could include:

birth :arrow: puberty :arrow: adulthood :arrow: death, as the human life-cycle...
marriage or ordained life, as choices for adulthood...
or the choice to remain single - that is important too...
anniversaries... birthdays...

These are all positives, and we celebrate them in differing ways, certainly in the secular world, if not within the Church.

But, what about that which the Church regards less positively... :?
What about divorce?
or those who choose to live in a homosexual relationship?

Do you want us to consider all of these?

(we can debate elsewhere whether it would be better, or not, if that could be 'marriage and ordained life' :shock: )
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presbyter
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Post by presbyter » Fri Feb 06, 2004 9:19 pm

Benevenio wrote:
But, what about that which the Church regards less positively... :?


now now - let's just leave that sort of debate to those who subscribe to the Catholic Herald, Catholic Times and the Tablet shall we?

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Tsume Tsuyu
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Rites of Passage

Post by Tsume Tsuyu » Sat Feb 07, 2004 1:11 am

Presbyter wrote:Well before them you are in one state of life - you go through them - and after you are in another state of life.

In that case, at the risk of being controversial, you ought to include separation and/or divorce. We cannot ignore the fact that this happens, even if it contradicts what the Church teaches about marriage.

However, focusing on the positive Rites of Passage, we already celebrate some of the more obvious ones - marriage, birth. I think it would be good to celebrate others too - to acknowledge God's hand in our journey, his everlasting arms beneath us through all those transitions, bearing us from one state of life to another. Yes. It's a great idea, but does it need to be prescribed in some way for each Rite? Or could it simply be a liturgy of celebration/thanksgiving, in which anyone who feels they they have made a transition could take part? Am I miles off what you were thinking of, Presbyter? It's very late and I'm tired!

TT

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Re: Rites of Passage

Post by presbyter » Sat Feb 07, 2004 9:25 am

Tsume Tsuyu wrote: we already celebrate ........ birth.


Now how do we do that TT? We celebrate Baptism - being "born again" - and I'll grant you the rite of Infant Baptism expresses thanksgiving on behalf of the parents to God for the life of the child - but the "theme" of Baptism isn't "welcome to the world!".

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Benevenio
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Post by Benevenio » Sat Feb 07, 2004 10:14 am

Tsume Tsuyu wrote:we already celebrate some of the more obvious ones - marriage, birth


Do we? How many baptisms and weddings are celebrated in/with the Sunday assembly compared to the number celebrated by the familiy more or less privately?

I do recall one Sunday, a baby being held up for all in the assembly to see - that is a celebration of birth.

And we do get the names of those infants to be baptised published ion the newsletter. So that rite is 'celebrated', though not with as much rejoicing as it deserves! And sometimes this is celebrated with everyone in a Sunday Mass, where the parents want... but is it encouraged, or do the clergy secretly prefer it to be separated from the Mass?

Carrying on with the Initiation sacraments (which are a passage from one place to another, so could be considered here), the wider family of each child for First Communion and Confirmation do come and celebrate in Church, even if they are never seen in our (or any?) Church at other times and show a distinct lack of understanding about that which they ask of us. These rites of passage are quite often celebrated in the Assembly, even if the 'imposition' of stangers is not totally appreciated by the whole assembly!

Then largely there is a long gap until wedding/ordination (or both for those married in the permanent diaconate). Weddings tend to be more private celebrations - invitation only. Ordinations to the priesthood can and do involve parishes, especially where the candidate has spent time as a deacon and his home parish. Religious professions are more private. In this Archdiocese (B'ham), the permanent diaconate is publicly celebrated in the Cathedral, and tends to have family, friends and supporters from parishes.

Funerals tend to be more public, though I have been to some where very few people are motivated to come and others where the church is packed. So maybe this means that the 'Sunday assembly' doesn't really come, it is only those who'd normally be at daily mass, unless there is some other reason for attending - hard sometimes for those at work to get the employer to release them.

Still not convinced that we do mark 'passages' in any specific way. Ought we to?
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Post by presbyter » Sat Feb 07, 2004 10:42 am

OK - let me try and focus this a little more.

We already have liturgies for certain moments in life when there is change.
In the sense that Christian Initiation brings about a total change in one's life, one could call those sacraments a rite of passage - but one can be initiated at any age. There's no necessary connection with the human life-cycle and Christian Initiation. We celebrate marriage, we have a whole book of rites for when one becomes infirm and we celebrate Christian death.

Perhaps the faithful don't realise too much that the Church also has rites of blessing for:

    A child not yet baptised
    Engagement
    Parents before childbirth
    Parents after childbirth
    Parents after a miscarriage
    Parents adopting a child
    Families
    Children
    Birthdays - which could be adapted for a "coming of age" at 18 perhaps
    A new home
    Anniversaries


Just some examples.

But then, if these rites are celebrated at all, they tend to be quasi - private affairs; as indeed do infant Baptisms, weddings and funerals which are often restricted to family and friends. Could the ecclesial dimension of these rites be brought out more fully?

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Post by presbyter » Sat Feb 07, 2004 10:22 pm

BTW - there is also a rite for the blessing of animals. I don't think I'd want to do a "pets service" a la Vicar of Dibley though :P

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Benevenio
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Post by Benevenio » Sat Feb 07, 2004 11:11 pm

presbyter wrote:rite for the blessing of animals...

Is that why Mary had a little lamb? :)
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Tsume Tsuyu
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Post by Tsume Tsuyu » Sun Feb 08, 2004 8:30 am

You're both right, of course. We don't celebrate birth, as such. As for marriage, when I was married about half the parish community turned out for my wedding. It was wonderful! But, as Benevenio says, these now seem to be more private affairs. I think that's partly because the invitation is no longer there - the PP used to announce the forthcoming marriage and invite everyone to come along. That certainly doesn't happen in our parish now. Of course, it's partly because the parish community often don't even know those getting married, because they don't come to Mass.

I didn't know that blessings existed for the list that Presbyter gives.

Presbyter wrote:Could the ecclesial dimension of these rites be brought out more fully?


This could be done during Mass. For instance, I have seen couples renew their wedding vows in celebration of a special anniversary before the whole assembly, so why not Johnny who is celebrating his 18th birthday, coming forward to receive a blessing and be congratulated by the assembly? It would need to happen either during Mass, or in a special celebration of rites of passage, to which everyone was invited. If these were separate celebrations, for Johnny, for Peter and Jane, moving into a new home etc., etc., then these would be likely to become the private affairs that Benevenio speaks of.

Some people would be horrified, of course, at the prospect of standing on the Sanctuary, during Mass, in front of the assembly. But if it became something that was done regularly, it would be less daunting.

What do others think?

TT

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