Saturday September 20th 2014

FRACTIO PANIS/ THE BREAKING OF THE BREAD

 

It has come to my notice that sometimes when people are receiving Holy Communion from the chalice, they think that something has? got into the chalice by accident or by mistake.? Let me explain.

During the Communion Rite, just before the Lamb of God/Agnus Dei the priest celebrates what is called the Breaking of the Bread/Fractio Panis.

In the early Church when it became impossible for all to attend one Mass with the Bishop, pieces from his Consecrated Host were taken by acolytes to other congregations.? On receiving the Sacred Particle from the Bishops Mass, the local priest would put it into the chalice containing the precious Blood,? signifying the communitys unity with the bishop.

While this is not now practicable, the priest breaks the Sacred Host (The Breaking of the Bread) and puts a piece of the Host into the chalice to signify the unity of the Body and Blood of the Lord in the work of salvation, namely, the living and glorious Body of Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately it can be difficult in large churches to see this small gesture and appreciate its rich symbolism.? The Breaking of the Bread/Fractio Panis is not only a sign of Table Fellowship and Church Unity but it also signifies the Resurrection of Christ and our share in His Risen Life.?? The bread and wine are consecrated separately, reminding us of the death of Jesus; in the Fraction Rite the piece of Sacred Host put into the Precious Blood symbolises the reunion of Christs soul and body in the Resurrection.

While doing the Fraction the priest prays silently: May this mingling of the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ bring eternal life to us who receive It.

So if you happen to see something floating in the chalice, it is not an accident or a mistake;? it is the Fraction, the Bread of God broken for our salvation.?? So significant is this rite that the whole of the Eucharist is often referred to as The Breaking of the Bread.

Fr Sean Wales, C.Ss.R.

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Theological Circle – September 2014

AFRICAN TRADITIONAL RELIGION (ATR)

In the course of looking at world religions, in this meeting we approached the question of ATR.

The meeting began with a very brief overview of the various missionary eras in Africa and their limitations. It was clear that a lack of inculturation hastened the demise of the early North African missionary expansion except for the well inculturated Ethiopian Church. Similar drawbacks could be seen in the 16th & 17th century ventures in sub-Saharan Africa.The vast missionary expansion of the 19th & 20th centuries came with the baggage of colonialism and “civilization”. At the second Vatican Council only 300 bishops from Africa were present and most of these were of European origin. There has been an explosion of interest, inculturation, and study of African Traditional Religion and Spirituality since then.

Fr Sizwe introduced a wide range of African categories from his own Zulu background which helped greatly to appreciate some of the dynamics at work in ATR. He spoke of the various names for God [in Zulu, "the One who appeared first" and also "the One who is big, big, big"]

He also spoke from personal experience of the ancestors: good and bad and the related question of witchcraft. This led to a discussion about the Sangoma [cf. A Sangomas Story by Eliot Ndlovu]. Examples of the use of muti were given to show how many African inhabit several worlds at the same time.

Sizwe also shared about the role of healing in traditional African beliefs. The underlying insight is that whatever happens has a cause and so a cause (causer) must be found for diseases and misfortunes.This led to questions about the role of witchcraft in the case of Benedict Daswa who refused to co-operate in a “witchhunt” to find the person responsible for the burning of some rondavels which had in fact been struck by lightning. Benedict’s cause for canonization is advancing and he is likely to be declared a martyr, dying as he did in defence of the Church’s teaching about witchcraft.

An interesting aspect of inculturating the Gospel in the African traditions is the possibility of referring to Jesus as the Proto-Ancestor, the first among the elders. Elders are held in great respect and are often treated as “the library of the Tribe”.

A spirited discussion took place after Sizwe’s presentation. One thing that emerged clearly was that the problems of inculturation are faced by the Church in all cultures. Sad examples of lost opportunities, and good examples of the gospel being incarnated in cultures free from colonialism were cited.Two writers were recommended: Fr A.E. Orobator S.J. [theology in an African Pot] and any of the writings by Laurenti Magesa [What is not sacred?].

The meeting closed by reciting a prayer compiled from John Mbiti’s book [Introduction to African Religion].

The next meeting , October 13th, will consider some of the Basic Principles at work in intergral Evangelization [Africa's Good News by Sean Wales, C.Ss.R.]

IF I FORGET YOU, JERUSALEM

No Jew, no Christian, no Muslim can forget Jerusalem.

For the Jew, Jerusalem is the site of Solomons Temple, of the Second Temple, of the Holy of Holy, Gods chosen place.

For the Christian, Jerusalem is the epicentre of the great events of Redemption, the Passion, death and Resurrection of Jesus.

For the Muslim, Jerusalem and the Dome of the Rock in particular was visited by Mohammed on his mystical journey by winged horse to heaven.

To pray where Jesus prayed, to sail where Jesus sailed,? to see what he saw, to absorb the atmosphere of the Mount of Transfiguration and the Mount of Beatitudes these are moments one can never forget.?? They help shape the rest of our lives and certainly they illuminate the Scriptures in unforgettable ways.

Our Parish Pilgrimage to the Holy Land this November will include time in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Galilee and Judea.? It will also include time in Jordan, at the site of the baptism of Jesus, at the site of the death of Moses ?Mount Nebo and in the legendary pink city of Petra.? All of this is much more than a tourist trip; it is pilgrimage, a journey of faith to the human roots of our religion.

There is still time to join the Parish Pilgrimage;? I would certainly like as many parishioners as possible to share this experience and I would like the parish to join in the spirit of the pilgrimage through prayer and through social media.? I was impressed with the fact that sometimes adult children send? their parents as a thank you; sometimes those who cannot go themselves, send a friend in their place, sometimes people will sponsor others who cannot afford it.

I would like to reassure everyone that there is no risk involved in travelling to the sacred sites in the Holy Land in Israel and Jordan.?? We will have a final meeting of all interested with Gail (of Fowler Tours SA) on her return from a current pilgrimage.

Do give this possibility your careful consideration,

Fr Sean Wales, C.Ss.R.

IF I FORGET YOU JERUSALEM, LET MY RIGHT HAND WITHER, LET MY TONGUE CLEAVE TO MY MOUTH, IF I REMEMBER YOU NOT.?? (Psalm 137)

31222

What can you buy for R1

Actually, to be truthful I was greatly surprised the other day when I went to a hardware store to buy three tiny screws for a bathroom appliance and I was charged 15c for all three.? I was duly issued with a receipt for my 15c.

Today is Communication Sunday.? This is an annual day when we are invited to reflect on the quality of our communicating the good news to others.?? Here in South Africa we have some well-known Catholic Communications structures: the Southern Cross, Trefoil, Worldwide, among the print media.? We have Radio Veritas.? We have several Catholic Book Shops which carry a great variety? of communication systems.

Pope Francis has shown how to use the latest social platforms ?he has more than four million followers on twitter.? In his message for Communication Sunday the Pope is alert to the fact that The world of communications can help us either to expand our knowledge or to lose our bearings.? The real heart of authentic communication is ultimately a human rather than a technological achievement.? Pope Francis is challenging us to be people of depth who are attentive to what is going on and who are spiritually alert.

Now for the sales pitch.? For R1 a day the Redemptorists are offering a Thought for the Day.? The Thoughts are succinct (no more than 155 characters ?including spaces) but geared to offering an inspiration at the beginning of each day.? We have been running these thoughts since 2007 and have covered a great number of topics: women in the Bible, thoughts of Pope Francis, Thoughts of Mother Teresa, saints feast days, inspiration from the daily liturgy etc.

All you have to do is sms the word CATHOLIC? to 31222.? The proceeds help the Redemptorists in their parish mission work around the country and in the formation of our students.

At least try it out

Fr Sean Wales, C.Ss.R.

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