Deacon retreat centered on the Beatitudes


Friday 08 October 2021

IC photo / Marie Mischel

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Deacons add names to the Book of the Dead during the memorial service celebrated during their retirement.

By Marie Mischel

Intermountain Catholic

PROVO – Deacons and their wives from across the Diocese of Salt Lake City gathered October 1-3 at the Provo Marriott Hotel & Conference Center for fellowship, prayer and continuing education.

The presenter of the retreat was Fr. John Thomas Lane, SSS, dedicated religious priest of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. Bro. Lane is a liturgical consultant, writer and workshop presenter. He is currently the pastor of the Roman Catholic community of Saint Paschal Baylon in Highland Heights, Ohio; among his previous missions for his order, he was director of the liturgy of the Diocese of Salt Lake City from 1992 to 1996.

During his presentation at the diaconal retreat, entitled “The Deacons, the Beatitudes and the Eucharist”, he deepened each of the Beatitudes, relating them to an element of Eucharistic theology and frequently referring to documents written by the Pope. François, like the Bull of Indiction for Misericordiae Vultus (The face of mercy).

In presenting each Beatitude, Fr. Lane led his audience in the corresponding verse of the hymn “We are the light of the world”.

Regarding the Second Beatitude, “blessed are those who cry, for they will be comforted,” he said, “Our world does not want to cry. We have to have constant entertainment, fun, entertainment, escape.

For example, he noted that although the United States withdrew its armed forces from Afghanistan “only a month ago, but it looks like a year ago. … The war in Afghanistan – people didn’t even know it was going on; people did not know that soldiers came home in body bags. It was ignored, because we ignore the disease, we ignore the pain, and we fail to deal with the paschal mystery in our lives, in our world, without ever learning from the dead, without ever really mourning what is happening.

The challenges ministers face, he said, “is that we should never forget those who mourn and those who suffer. They are always with us and around us, and they are struggling. Most of us find it difficult to have a happy face.

The ministers are “the empathetic people who help those who cry to fight against pain, to fight against injustice and to mourn with the bereaved”, he added, specifying that they must offer pastoral care “to Sick, not sick. The title is important, he said, “because we are all sick,” and therefore everyone should be part of the suffering.

Closing the presentation on the Second Beatitude, he gave those present a few minutes to pray for those in their lives who are in need of care.

He also gave reflective questions for deacons and their wives to ponder. For example, for “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” Bliss, he asked, “What does righteousness really mean to you at this time? What thirsts do I want to be satisfied?

The baptismal call of Catholics “calls us to walk in the footsteps of Christ,” Fr. Lane says. “We carry this candle of light, to enlighten everyone so that all can see… and to take care in particular of the most vulnerable.”

After his presentations on the Beatitudes, Fr. Lane gave an update on the state of several liturgical books under revision. For example, there will be a new English version of the Liturgy of the Hours probably in 2025, he said, while a Spanish blessing book has been sent to Rome for approval. In addition, a new translation of Holy Communion and Eucharist worship outside of Mass is in preparation, and the Order’s final text for adult Christian initiation (a name change from RCIA) is being prepared. being finalized to be voted on by bishops in November.

The full day of presentations on Saturday ended with a “Stump the Liturgist” question-and-answer session, where Fr. Lane responded to the written questions that had been submitted.

Among the questions was whether during the doxology there is a gesture of silent prayer that is encouraged for people to do. Bro. Lane said that the liturgical book does not call for a gesture, but some dioceses prescribe one, such as the position of orans (with hands raised) while the words “for the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours ”are recited, then the hands drop.

Another question was whether the deacon should bow when the priest kneels after the Agnus Dei. “No, the deacon is not doing anything at this time. You just have to stand there and look holy, ”Fr. Lane said to the audience’s laughter.

Yet another question was how many times the bells should be rung during the liturgy. Bro. Lane said that the current edition (1970) of the Roman Missal says that the bells “may be rung”, but it is not obligatory; if they’re knocked out, it should be with decorum, he said.

Regarding the question of whether a movable baptismal font should be placed at the main entrance to the church, he suggested that a permanent place be made for the font.

“It’s the gateway to our Christian life, and although we are Christians on the move, on the journey, I don’t think it’s wise to have this very important theological symbol moving and take it out when. we need it. that, ”he said.

After the questions and answers, an evening prayer in Taizé included a remembrance of the diocesan deacons and their deceased wives. Then it was the retirement banquet.

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