Monday, June 6, 2016

Family Holy Hour, St. Louis Church, Clarksville Maryland

Our church has a monthly family holy hour on Friday nights during the school year. My son and I attended the last one held in late May. It was held in the old chapel, about which I blogged about back in Christmastime.

Chapel of Saint Louis the King, built in 1889

The holy hour started with a procession by the children, who brought up candles and roses to lay at the altar. As they processed, a boys' choir sang a hymn. A deacon from the church presided, starting with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. We sang O Salutaris Hostia, which brought back happy memories for me from when I was an altar boy and served during exposition.

After a period of quiet prayer, the deacon read that day's gospel reading, Mark 10: 1-12:
Jesus came into the district of Judea and across the Jordan.
Again crowds gathered around him and, as was his custom,
he again taught them.
The Pharisees approached him and asked,
“Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?”
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?”
They replied,
“Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce
and dismiss her.”
But Jesus told them,
“Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.

So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate.”
In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.
He said to them,
“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery.” (taken from the USCCB)

The deacon then gave a fine reflection. He asked us if we were docile in the full sense of the word, i.e. able to learn when taught. The Pharisees weren't looking to learn something they didn't understand, they were trying to trip up Jesus with their question. In contrast, the disciples sincerely sought what Jesus meant. We prayed for the blessing of understanding and acceptance.

Then we prayed the Chaplet to the Holy Family, similar to the rosary in form but shorter.  Each section was led by a different child, giving them a chance to participate and the deacon a little break! The prayer is quite beautiful in its simplicity and its focus on spiritual and practical aspects of family life.

We concluded with Tantum Ergo, the Divine Praises, and one of my favorite hymns, Holy God We Praise Thy Name. After the deacon processed out, the organizer had the children come up for a picture.

Holy Hour May 2016

The evening was beautiful and we will definitely go back again.

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