Sunday, February 24, 2008

History of the Rosary

The rosary has a long and honored tradition and its present form it can be dated back to the last 14th century. The roots of the present day rosary seems to have been the work of the Dominican fathers however there is parts that actually date back to St. Dominic, the founder of the Dominican order in the 12th Century.

It is believed St. Dominic was handed the method to pray the Rosary directly from The Blessed mother. And according to Alan de la Roche, a member of the Dominican Order, St. Dominic revived the rosary on this revelation. At the time St. Dominic was fighting the Albigensians and it was a method to help defeat them.

They were a sect that lived in the south of France in the 12th and 13th centuries. They mostly were a group that created what they called heresies. They believed in two opposing ‘God’ principles, one that was good one that was bad. They also did not think that the Church had any authority. The Albigensians also rejected the premise of sacraments and a sacramental church. And one of their most radical beliefs was there was no resurrection of the body and they did not condone marriage. St. Dominic was trying to use the rosary as away to confront the heredities and bring the Albigensians back to the church.

The Church in the early days was often threaded by these heresies. And the Church would assemble Councils to help deal with these wrong believe. But the Albigensians grew in popularity which forced the church to send in missionaries St Dominic was one of the missionaries to help deal with this and get this group back on track. He did have some success but the Crusades came. This helped break the group down even farther.

There have been many who often try to minimize St. Dominic’s role in the formation of the modern rosary and place the formation of the modern rosary into the earlier times. But even without placing the rosary in the 12th century it has a long rich history in the church for its devotion to Mary and its meditative properties.

When trying to trace the history of the rosary it is difficult. There is very minimal documentation on the rosary to show when it began or how it began. Through the ages though the each Pope has always advocated its use and written about it favorably. But despite the lacking documentation on it, there is no doubt of the Dominican influence and devotion to the rosary. They have long advocated the recitation of the Hail Mary and the meditation of the events of Jesus life.

It was thought that back in the 12th century the original rosary contained 150 prayers, initially consistent with the 150 Psalms the residents of a town could hear the monasteries pray. Because only a select few could read they would mimic what they would hear using initially the “Our Father” as its base. It then moved to the Hail Mary’s in 3 groups of fifty and was assigned what we know as the Joyful, the Sorrowful and the Glorious Mysteries or events in Christ’s life.

Eventually the beads were assigned the actual Hail Mary prayer we pray today, making it that by the 16th century the Rosary is what we know it to be today with the one addendum of Pope John Paul II making the last change adding the Luminous Mysteries to the fold on the anniversary of his 25th year of being Pope.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Rite Of Sending and Rite of Election

As with the first Sunday of Lent, it is the time for the Right of Sending and the Rite of Election for members of the RCIA programs throughout the country. If you attend mass on this Sunday you may see people at the front of your church. They may be using words like Candidate and Catechumen.
So what was it all about. The Rites of Sending and Election walk hand and hand. As a member of the RCIA program at a parish, the perspective Catholic must go through a program of study and be willing to accept the tenants of the Catholic church Through the program, once you agree to go though the program and enter the Catechumenate, you are divided into two groups.
The groups are the Candidates, or people who have been baptized in a Trinitarian manner and baptized with water. Being baptized in a Trinitarian manner is in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They can come from any faith that meets that criteria. The second group is the unbaptized. These may be children over the age of consent who was not baptized as babies. These are also adult who were not baptized or baptized in a non Trinitarian church.
Today was a big step for any Candidate or Catechumen in the Catholic Church. This was the day that they are recommended by their parishes to the Bishop or Cardinal of their dioceses. In the first rite of the day the catechumens are asked to stand before the congregation and let the congregation know that they are prepared and ready to take the next step of their journey. After agreeing they are asked to sign the book of the elect, people that elected to be catholic. The candidates, are also asked stand and state that they too are ready to go to the next level. They however don’t need to sign because they are already listed because they were issued baptism certificates from their churches.
The next step was to go to the service with the Bishop where each of the Catechumens were called specifically by name and presented to the Bishop or Cardinal. The Bishop/Cardinal reviews the names in the books of the elects and after again asking if they are ready, he accepts their petition to become part of the Church. The Candidates also have to say they are ready. As of today our Catechumens are no longer Catechumens, they are now the elect and if they were to die they would receive all the credit as if the y were baptized.
The next 5 Sundays the elect and the candidates will go though scrutinizes until they reach their final goal of Easter Vigil where they will be in full communion with the church.

Fat Tuesday based in Catholism

The History of Fat Tuesday is one that dates back hundreds of year. Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras are most likely is never thought of as being rooted in any church let alone the Catholic Church. It has become a very secular celebration that is sometimes on the edge of good judgment. Most of all it’s become one large party. But, how did we get to this point. The original roots of Mardi Gras started as the last day before Ash Wednesday. It was the last day to be rowdy before the solemn season of Lent begins. Keeping with tradition, at the stroke of Midnight, the party ends and Lent begins.

In the early days of New Orleans Mardi Gras was also celebrated with masked balls and parties up though the 1700s. The Spanish Government came in during their control of the city and banned these celebration types. However, once the United States acquired the territory, the parties started right back up, with the 1827 being the first year the Mardi Gras celebration was back in full swing.

An additional name for Fat Tuesday and still celebrated especially among the Germans and Pennsylvania Dutch is Fetter Dienstag and it’s the making of pancakes and donuts to use up the dairy products before the fasting of lent begins.
So although Mardi Gras was often thought to be a pagan type holiday it really is deeply rooted in Catholicism.