Saturday, February 28, 2009

My Dear ones in Standing Just,

I was just preparing my mind to sit down in a few days and write on the one year anniversary of my younger brother Bryan Keith Vinzant sudden and tragic death last Holy Thursday. Following in the longstanding Jewish tradition of honoring their dead with an annual Candle lighting at Synagogue, I have maintained yearly anniversary Masses and Candles for my dead, and often on the first anniversary I find myself writing one of my long missives to my dear social network friends and loved ones.

This year will have to wait, as I share my family's sorrow in adding to those who have gone before us--my older sister Alicia Joy Vinzant Bell. I stood in prayer, agony, and tears last night at the Baylor Trauma Emergency room C 30 where they lost my dear sister after a valiant effort trying to bring her back from sudden onset cardiac arrest. She was 56, the mother of two-Robert and Sherri and lived in our Waco family home. She had been here with my brother in Carrollton this last week recouping from a respiratory aliment. We had all had wonderful visits with her this week, and she was in route home to Waco to see her doctor when she felt ill and was re-routed to Baylor Emergency.

The family of course is rallied together here this weekend and we will go to Waco Tuesday afternoon. There will be a family visitation on Tuesday night from 7-9 PM and then a Baptist funeral service Wednesday at 10:30 both at the Pecan Grove Funeral Home out on Hgwy 77 off the Circle in Waco, Texas.

Doubtless, I will at a later date write more on both these dear ones who have been in my family since the beginning, and yet who sadly I was just learning to really love at the hour of their deaths. You can be sure they are in my thoughts and prayers and that this Lenten journey has an even deeper, more urgent urging to dig in deep to our Jesus.

Although I can say with sad certainty I had not yet done all I should have or wanted to do for my dear sister--I do thank God for the privilege to be there at the hour of her death standing just outside her trauma room door praying, hoping, crying, agonizing, waiting, longing for Jesus for her. By the time they had her presentable in that same hour with my sons Andrew and Lewis, my remaining brother Michael-who when he got there fell on my neck not letting me go with his strong comfort and saying it is just the two of us now- and his dear wife Sandy, Alicia's daughter Sherri and son Robert and his wife Alicia, a couple of their friends and the Protestant Clergy staff all steps away in the Viewing Suite the hospital offers families--I entered into the adjoining room and laying my hand on her head and stoking her hair for the last time sang and prayer the songs and prayers of our faith:

I will lift up my eyes unto the Hills from whence cometh my help,
My Strength cometh from the Lord which made Heaven and earth
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved, He that keepth thee will not slumber
behold He that keep Israel will not slumber or sleep

The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
T he LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Psalm 121--I have now sung this same song at the hour of death for my dear Grandmothers, Grand Dad, Father and Mother, dear daughter Sarah Ruth, and now my sister Alicia and the grave of my brother Bryan.

With many tears I stumbled forward through hymns of my shared childhood:

He Leadth Me O Blessed Thought

He leadeth me, O bless'd thought!
O words with heavenly comfort fraught!
Whate'er I do, where'er I be
Still 'tis God's hand that leadeth me.

He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful follower I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.

Lord, I would place my hand in Thine,
Nor ever murmur nor repine;
Content, to let the world go by,
tis by Thy hand that leadeth me.

If That Isn't Love
He left the splendor of heaven
Knowing His Destiny
It was the Lonely
hill of Golgotha
There to lay down His life for me

if that isn't Love
Then the ocean is dry
There's no stars in the sky
And the little sparrows can't fly
if that isn't love
Then heaven's a myth
There's no feeling like this
If that isn't love

Even in death He remembered
The thief hanging by His side
Then he spoke of love and compassion
And He took him to paradise

Children of the Heavenly Father

Children of the heav’nly Father
Safely in His bosom gather;
Nestling bird nor star in Heaven
Such a refuge e’er was given.

God His own doth tend and nourish;
In His holy courts they flourish;
From all evil things He spares them;
In His mighty arms He bears them.

Neither life nor death shall ever
From the Lord His children sever;
Unto them His grace He showeth,
And their sorrows all He knoweth.

Though He giveth or He taketh,
God His children ne’er forsaketh;
His the loving purpose solely
To preserve them pure and holy.

I prayed the Our Father, The Hail Mary, The Hail Holy Queen, and the Memorare softly over her and placed my Scapular over her shoulders-- made the Sign of the Cross on her sweet forehead, kissed her forehead and stroked her hair for the last time.

When we chose a lonely grove of trees to safe keep Sarah Ruth's mortal body till the Resurrection, I had no idea she would have such company. Now we will lay Alicia to her side, by her brother Bryan.

You know you will hear more from me later. The others are napping now, and I am soon to follow. Jan is here with the boys and my family and me and is such a comfort. Her brother Tim, the Baptist minister will sing at the funeral and a former co-laborer when I was a pastor, will come and do the Baptist service. And I will suffer in silence, but continue to receive much comfort from your many prayers--my strong consolation. I know that there are many who have suffered much more than we do--really the tender mercies of Our God have been my Good, His many kindnesses have been my Good. But, how good to have you to share my thoughts and to receive your prayerful offerings of grace upon grace.

Our Merciful Savior loved Alicia all the days of her life, and He loved her last night at Baylor, and he will love her long after we leave the graveside, and long after I leave this life--we can Trust His Love and His Goodness--there is no better place to commend those we love in this life or in the life to come then to the Loving Arms of God. Thank you for sharing in my passions and in my triumphs, and more in my sorrows.

your friend,
Daniel and boys--Andrew and Lewis
the pictures were taken on February 19th in Jan's kitchen when Lewis drove me down to Waco to pray with Alicia

i am just shooting this out to a quick few--forward to any you think would have an interest or pray for our family

This is one of our childhood family hymns--I will leave theology for later and revel in the Promise and power of the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our dearly Beloved Lord Jesus Christ

There is a Fountain Filled with Blood

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.
Washed all my sins away, washed all my sins away;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.
Be saved, to sin no more, be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Thy power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.
Lies silent in the grave, lies silent in the grave;
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave

Friday, February 13, 2009

13, February 13, 2009

I believe in getting into hot water, it keeps you clean
G.K. Chesterton

As we approach another Lenton journey, I have been asked by some who come to me for all things Catholic about why some parishes empty the Holy Water font during Lent. It occurred to me that you might enjoy the answer I have given. Please note, that if your parish is doing this practice incorrectly that an appeal in a loving and kind manner is always the Catholic way. God bless as you prepare your hearts for the many comings of Christ that we should find ourselves experiencing in these wonderful days of metanoia and penance.


Holy Water Fonts and Lent

One practice that has become somewhat popular is to remove the water from the font or cover the font completely during the Lenten season. While this may be a dramatic sign of thirsting and dryness, this practice does not in fact support one of the main themes of Lent:

Lent is marked by two themes, the baptismal and the penitential. By recalling or preparing for baptism and by repentance, this season disposes the faithful…to celebrate the paschal mystery. The baptismal and penitential aspects of Lent are to be given greater prominence in both the liturgy and liturgical catechesis. Hence, more use is to be made of the baptismal features proper to the Lenten liturgy. (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 109)

If your parish is considering emptying your baptismal font and holy water stoops for the season of Lent, respectfully ask them stop.

We aren’t fasting from water

In light of CSL’s statement and encouraged by the Congregation for Divine Worship (see below), removing water from the font or preventing the faithful from touching the water in the font would be detrimental to the sign of baptism that is a focus of Lent. The baptized remain a baptized people throughout all of Lent. We do not pretend to be unbaptized as though we were catechumens, just as we do not pretend that Christ is not risen during Holy Thursday or Good Friday. Our Lenten practices should more explicitly emphasize our baptism so that we can recognize those areas in our lives when we are not living out the promises of that baptism. What the faithful should be hungering and thirsting for is not the symbol of their baptism but rather a world in which the faithful living out of that baptism is evident. For the catechumens, their hunger for baptism may even be heightened when there are full fonts of water, just as a person who fasts is more aware of their hunger when food is placed before them.

It would be appropriate, as is our Western Church’s tradition, to remove the water from the font after the Holy Thursday celebration, keep it empty during Good Friday and Holy Saturday, and fill it with new water at the Easter Vigil. One possible Lenten option is to use a smaller piece of purple fabric that does not fully cover the font but adds some color to the area. In this way, the Lenten color signifies the season while the water in the font is still accessible as a reminder of baptism for the faithful and a sign of God’s promise for the elect.

While the holy water fonts are emptied from the Mass of the Lord's Supper until they are refilled with water blessed at the Easter Vigil, they should not be emptied prior to Holy Thursday. The following letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments rejects this practice. Note the strong bias (reason 1) against inventing practices not called for in the liturgical law. Forcibly rejected is the argument used by some to justify their abuses that "It is not forbidden, so I can do it." In reality, no one may do in that liturgy that which is not prescribed by the Church, specifically the Apostolic See, who alone has authority over it (SC 22, canon 838.


Prot. N. 569/00/L Dear Father:

March 14, 2000

This Congregation for Divine Worship has received your letter sent by fax in which you ask whether it is in accord with liturgical law to remove the Holy Water from the fonts for the duration of the season of Lent.

This Dicastery is able to respond that the removing of Holy Water from the fonts during the season of Lent is not permitted, in particular, for two reasons:

1. The liturgical legislation in force does not foresee this innovation, which in addition to being praeter legem is contrary to a balanced understanding of the season of Lent, which though truly being a season of penance, is also a season rich in the symbolism of water and baptism, constantly evoked in liturgical texts.

2. The encouragement of the Church that the faithful avail themselves frequently of the [sic] of her sacraments and sacramentals is to be understood to apply also to the season of Lent. The "fast" and "abstinence" which the faithful embrace in this season does not extend to abstaining from the sacraments or sacramentals of the Church. The practice of the Church has been to empty the Holy Water fonts on the days of the Sacred Triduum in preparation of the blessing of the water at the Easter Vigil, and it corresponds to those days on which the Eucharist is not celebrated (i.e., Good Friday and Holy Saturday).

Hoping that this resolves the question and with every good wish and kind regard, I am,

Sincerely yours in Christ, [signed]

Mons. Mario Marini Undersecretary
Answered by Colin B. Donovan, STL