Oddwalk Ministries

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The Joy of the Scriptures

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Psalm 87

Hello all, Orin here.  One of my roles as Music Director at Sts. Joachim and Ann in suburban STL is to prep music for school masses.  One of the tasks for each mass is ensuring we have a responsorial psalm and a psalmist or two ready to go: both I and the pastor at J&A prefer to do the readings of the day, so I need to ensure that the psalms are easily grasped both by the psalmists from the different homerooms in school (on limited rehearsal time), as well as by the assembly.  Before sitting down to write this, in fact, I needed to create a new one for a school mass tomorrow, led by our 4th graders.  You can see an image of the simple music just over there…

By now, ending my 5th year at J&A, many such psalms are already written, and it’s rare I need to take a moment and create a new one, but this morning was such a time.  A quick count shows I’ve created over 130 of these in 5 years.  An unexpected joy of the role here at J&A has become getting to know the psalms in such a broad way.  Many of us know several of the more common Sunday responsorial psalms well, but the psalms at daily mass are much more diverse than at Sundays alone, and as a result, some unexpected poetry, theology, spirituality, and expressions of faith come to my attention over these few years.

This hymn of praise to Zion, for instance, responds joyfully to a reading from the Acts of the Apostles, in which we hear how the early Church grew far past Jerusalem, partly because early followers of Christ were scattered to many places, avoiding persecution, and were bolstered and taught by the likes of Barnabas and Paul.  This passage ends, “…it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.”

There is a joy in the scriptures which only grows and blossoms the more deeply one knows, prays, and lives them.  As broad as the scripture passages are on Sundays, an easy way to encounter so much more is to attend daily mass – a practice which was not a significant part of my life before arriving at J&A, but is now.  When was the last time you attended a daily mass?  Perhaps it’s time to consider a new discipline in faith, and rediscover the joy of the scriptures, like I have.

An Outward Sign of Christian Dignity

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prayerleader-200wAt NCYC last month, Oddwalk had a couple conversations (in person, on Twitter) about the appropriateness of the young lay leaders of prayer, and specifically their vesting in albs and leading a communal blessing by signing themselves (as directed in many places in the Book of Blessings).

It could be that the folks we had conversations with (one adult, one youth) weren’t the only ones to have concerns. The NFCYM has posted a wonderful resource explaining the catechetical, pastoral, and legal reasons that what we experienced at NCYC was exactly what was needed for that time and place.

A couple quotes to draw attention to:

The question—and answer—of proper liturgical vesture involves both clear instruction from the Church and mistaken notions from many of its members simultaneously. Frankly, it is a wrongful notion to describe a lay person leading a formal prayer service in an alb as “looking and acting like a priest.” In fact, at NCYC, the youth presiders were looking and acting exactly as they should: like a lay person leading prayer.

Again, in brief, a catechesis of liturgical vesture is one that begins not with the difference of ministry or station, but on the common community shared by all in the dignity of their baptism. There is no ordination without baptism (and all the sacraments of initiation: Confirmation and Eucharist, too). There is no “priestly vestment” that does not begin first with the garment of Christian faith—laity and ordained alike—the alb with which we are all “clothed in Christ.”

As a ministry especially concerned with justice and specifically the joy we can find in our having been created by God and given a Christian dignity that is indelible, we are so pleased with how the NFCYM has addressed the concerns – as too we are pleased that there are interested people, especially youth, willing to make their voice heard about matters important to them.  Please take some time to read the whole document!

Edit, 12/7/14 – new link to article: http://www.ncyc.info/2013/logistics/leaders/alb.htm

He was a General too

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Seen as a tag line on an email recently: “Every gun that is made, every warship that is launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” (Dwight D. Eisenhower, Republican)