13th Sunday in Ordinary Time. 1st Sunday post-Roe

In most countries around the globe, this past Sunday’s Catholic Masses will follow the texts for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (at least for Western Rite Roman Catholics). I am assuming that will also hold true for most parishes around the United States. At the same time, in this particular country, Jun 26, 2022 was also the 1st Sunday post-Roe.

There are two sites in liturgical celebrations across the U.S. where this fact probably came into view, namely in preaching and in praying, especially in the intercessions.

I want to invite us all to a kind of liturgical “mapping” here. If you want, let others know what you encountered in the liturgies you attended:

  • What words were chosen, and how did they resonate with you and with the people with whom you worshiped?
  • How, who and what did we pray for on this Sunday? What do we give thanks for, and what do we lament?
  • Who and what might have remained invisible?
  • What did we hear from the pulpits of our churches? What do we long to hear?

Full disclosure: I myself was not looking forward to attending Mass in person in the U.S. this past Sunday, and I was tempted to join a community at Mass in another country via digital media. But I resisted that temptation.

12 comments

  1. Visiting family south of Rochester NY, I was stunned at Mass by a Prayer of the Faithful that gave thanks for the SCOTUS’s decision*s* of the past week (all of them, it would seem), and prayed that we would accept them without violence for safeguarding the right to life and also our personal safety. The prayer against violence was fine, the implied reference to Roe was one thing, the reference to all the other decisions last week and especially the Second Amendment case jumped the shark in presumption. A prayer for the grace to join our wills to that of Divine Providence concerning the resolution of issue X Y and/or Z in the public and private spheres would have been much more appropriate.

  2. In the universal prayer we included (as we do every third or fourth week) “For respect for the dignity of all human life, from conception to natural death, let us pray to the Lord.”

    No mention in the homily (I wasn’t preaching; I would probably have mentioned it, mainly because the reading from Galatians had a lot to say about how Christians treat each other, which seemed on point as I know people in the pews are having very different reactions to this news). We did have a longer-than-usual announcement at the end, that addressed the Dobbs decision, said that this is something that the Church welcomes even though it won’t really change anything inMaryland, mentioned the 60,000,000+ fetal lives lost since Roe, and then spent most of the time talking about how our parish is ready to help any woman in a crisis pregnancy, and assuring that any outreach to our priests in particular will be treated with the strictest confidentiality. It seemed measured and appropriate to me; no gloating or victory dance.

  3. Nothing was said at the parishes where I did weekend supply; the Bishop issued a statement on Friday, but there was no instruction to read it or reprint it in the bulletin, to the best of my knowledge.

  4. Excellent homily given by our auxiliary bishop, Bishop Kelly, in Dallas, Texas. He basically used Luke’s gospel message and stressed that everything for us starts with Jesus – he met a turning point this day and began his journey upto Jerusalem – the gospels over the following Sundays will give Lucan stories about this journey toward cross/resurrection. We are on that same journey now and Friday may go down in our US history as a turning point on our way to building up the kingdom of God. That journey needs to make *whole* the community – thus, we care for all. He then cited the Roe SCOTUS decision and why as church we need to care for ALL – he spent more time talking about the needs of women in our society and how the Church needs to care for them then on any *specific* position on the issue (cited 2018 USCCB statement on mothers – who knew?). Asked if he would publish his homily – you ought to reach out to him.

  5. Thanks to all who have weighed in so far. For various reasons, I ended up somewhere else than in my home parish, and had to work hard to keep my devotion on the eucharistic celebration not because of Roe-related statements but because the priest was so darn theatrical and loud in his liturgical presiding, while the deacon who preached mumbled, and remained mostly unintelligible. Sigh. I think I will write a blog post on sensory perceptions in liturgy and how these shape our experience of eucharistic celebrations next 🙂

    1. The priests at the Mass I attended were the Polish pastor and a west African assistant who proclaimed the Gospel and preached but with an accent so thick with consonants that I had difficulty understanding a number of passages. I was simultaneously experiencing sharp pinched nerves in my neck/shoulder, which is no one’s fault, but didn’t help. I did something I *very* rarely do – I left Mass after the post-Communion prayer because of a long promotional announcement and needed to relieve my pain (I had not received Communion). I had a memory of my late parents in their 80s, and the burden placed on my mother in her wheelchair when the pastor at their longtime parish would regularly preach in excess of 30 minutes and cause Mass to run quite long in a way that resulted in misery for her body needs, as it were. The generations of congregants who put up with that are…passing.

  6. We had long planned anointing of the sick at Mass, so the Litany of the Sick supplanted the regular Prayers of the Faithful. Our archbishop sent a message to pastors, which was forwarded to staff. The gist was to prepare for protests, and not engage protesters directly. And maybe hire security personnel. Our pastor declined–we are too low-profile a parish, plus our social justice reputation.

    We have writers ordinarily–parishioners who compose and send to me for tweaking, then to the pastor who adds adjustments as needed. It will be interesting to see how and what the summer crew does with all this.

    It’s been well-documented that violence against abortion providers has been on the rise at least these past two years. I think an appropriate and evangelical witness is for the Church to shush on violence against itself and its allies (after the police report, of course), and pray for non-Catholics and people with whom we disagree who have been harmed by persecution. Let others pray for us.

  7. We had a visiting missionary priest. He gave a full-throated celebration of the SC decision in simplistic terms right in his opening greeting. He was a nice enough guy, but with other remarks in his homily (some smugness and gratuitous disparagement of Protestants), one concluded that he inhabited a walled-off and homogeneous Catholic world and assumed that we did too. This was a bad misreading of the room—we have folks across the ideological spectrum, converts, mixed-denomination couples who attend mass together…

  8. By an odd confluence of events, this past Sunday was my retirement Mass and I preached all the Masses. I changed my planned homily on Saturday morning to include a brief thank you to all the laity who understood Vatican II’s call to make a Catholic difference at home, work and the public square. I was 18 years old in 1973 when Roe V. Wade passed and almost immediately Catholics and others of good will began praying and working and marching for its overturn. A powerful witness of the laity as well as many clergy and religious. And thanks be to God that the justices on the Supreme Court, reflected in their decision to overturn Roe v. Wade did so with cogent legal and constitutional arguments but also within the context of the foundation of their faith, the sanctity of human life and a child in the womb who has legal rights. For years, though we have been praying in the Universal Prayer for the legal protection of the unborn and vulnerable as the foundation for peace and justice from conception to natural death, the seamless garment if you will.

  9. I rarely write intercessions like this, but here’s what I put together for this past Sunday.

    For women:
    For the unborn:
    For heath care for all:
    For an end to gun violence:
    For safety in our cities:
    (…long pause…)
    We pray to the Lord.

    BONUS: Also, since our parish is 2 blocks from the Pride Parade & March going on the same time as Sunday Mass, and several parishes go right from Mass to the parade:
    That our gay, lesbian and transgender brothers and sisters
    may be treated with the dignity and respect befitting all God’s children.
    We pray to the Lord.

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