Fr. Joe's Letter

Fr. Joe’s Letter

Jul 19, 2023

July 26 is the Feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus.  A few years ago, Pope Francis declared the fourth Sunday of July to be a celebration of our grandparents in honor of Saints Joachim and Anne.  Grandparents are a wonderful gift from God in many ways, especially in the ways of our faith.  Many children learn much about our Catholic Faith from the words and examples of grandparents.  Please pray for all grandparents as well as the older generation who have much experience to share with the young about life and about faith in God.  May God bless them so they can be good instruments of His love.

This is Natural Family Planning Awareness Week.  Natural family planning is a particularly important topic for all of us.  Many times, we find it quite easy and convenient to push away from this topic as if it does not affect us.  The truth of the matter is that the topic of natural family planning is one that has an impact on all of our lives.  It is one of those topics that we do not really want to discuss out in the open.  We may have some strong opinions on this issue, but we like to keep them pretty much to ourselves.  Maybe we do not realize that in this country of ours we are now at just around replacement levels when it comes to our birthrates.  Yet there are many who advocate widespread availability of birth control and abortion.  It is very sad that our tax dollars go to support such things as Planned Parenthood, whose main purpose is the killing of unborn children.  We must be willing to speak the truth concerning life and the sanctity of all human life at all its stages.  Planned Parenthood has long continued the philosophy of its foundress, Margaret Sanger, who founded the organization on some very racist principles talking about the elimination of inferior races and people who are “defectives” and saying that “large families are a sin.” “The most serious evil of our times is that of encouraging the bringing into the world of large families. The most immoral practice of the day is breeding too many children,” she wrote.  “The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it,” she continued. —“Woman and the New Race,” 1920, Chapter 5: The Wickedness of Creating Large Families

As I have said many times, we need to be very careful about who we vote for and the political party and leader we advocate.  We must be prayerful and vigilant always turning to God and His Word as well as the Church who teaches the truth of Jesus Christ.

This brings us to Issue ONE which will be the subject of a special election on August 8.  If this issue passes it will change the way we go about changing our state constitution.  At present, to add an amendment to the Ohio State Constitution the amendment only need a simple majority, that is, 50% of the votes plus one.  If issue one passes it will require 60% of the votes to pass the amendment and added to the State Constitution.  It seems to be more in line with the thinking of the founders of the country and what it takes to change the U.S. Constitution which is two-thirds of both houses of Congress and three-fourths of the state legislatures.  If this bill is passed it will take 60% of the votes to add an amendment that will provide abortion on demand up to the time of birth as well as remove ALL PARENTAL RIGHTS over their children.  This means that a teenager could get an abortion or a sex change operation without the consent or knowledge of the parents.  What a horrible disaster that would be for teens, the parents, to say nothing of the unborn child.  Please make sure you vote on August 8 and prayerfully cast your ballot.

Please see the insert in today’s bulletin regarding this especially important issue.  It is a very concise description of this issue.  Please read it and pass it on.

MISSION APPEAL THANK YOU: The Congregation of the Holy Spirit (the Spiritans) send their thanks for your generous response ($5,326) to the annual missionary appeal the weekend of July 8 & 9 and for the gracious welcome given to Fr. Lazarus Langbiir, CSSp, representing the Spiritans.  Please keep the Spiritans in your prayers that God may continue to bless their mission work throughout the world.  May God increase the fruits of their labors.  May God bless you for your generosity.


Last week we began reflecting on the Our Father, in particular the incredible gift we’ve been given in Jesus to address God as our Father!  Today, we want to address the posture of our prayer during the Our Father and offer a corrective and an invitation going forward.

In the Tridentine Mass, for those who are old enough to recall, the Pater Noster or the Our Father was prayed only by the celebrant.  In the reforms of the liturgy, the Our Father became a communal and congregational prayer for both the priest and the people.  Since there was no specific instruction about the posture to be assumed during the Our Father, some innovations crept in.  For a while, the congregation held hands during the Our Father.  Then that was replaced with the congregation holding out their hands in what is known as the “Orans posture.”  The “orans posture” is the posture of the priest during certain parts of the Mass, including the Our Father.  He stands with his hands out, palms up and elbows bent.  Its’ the posture the priest assumes when he’s addressing the Father during worship.  The question is, what ought to be the people’s posture?

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website states, “No position is prescribed in the Roman Missal for an assembly gesture during the Lord’s Prayer.”  This is not helpful at all.  This may lead you to believe that the oran posture is acceptable.  But using this reason, jumping jacks might also be acceptable during the Our Father.  Thankfully, the Church does have an Instruction from 1997, which is titled: On Certain questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priests.  In Article 6 of the instruction under the heading, Liturgical Celebrations, it states:

– In eucharistic celebrations, deacons and non-ordained members of the faithful may not pronounce prayers – e.g. especially the eucharistic prayer, with its concluding doxology – or any other parts of the liturgy reserved to the celebrant priest.  Neither may deacons or non-ordained members of the faithful use gestures or actions which are proper to the same priest celebrant.

In a nutshell:  The laity are NOT to assume the orans position during Holy Mass.  During the Our Father, the priest alone is standing in persona Christi, in the orans posture, speaking to God on our behalf.  And the hands of the faithful should remain together or down, praying or chanting the Our Father.

Fr. Joe Labak