Fr Stephen Smuts

Posts Tagged ‘Mass

All Souls Day

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Today is All Souls Day, a holy day set aside for honouring and remembering departed loved ones. Parishioners have an opportunity to write the names of relatives in a Book of the Dead, and the names therein are read out from the Altar.

Many people use the day to meaningfully express their sorrow over the loss of a loved one. All of us have, during the course of our lives, lost someone who is dear or near:

  • A Dad
  • A Mom
  • A brother or sister
  • Ouma / Oupa (usually our first encounter with death)
  • An Aunt or Uncle
  • An extended family member
  • A neighbour
  • A friend
  • Or a colleague.

The heartache of losing someone you love is really like no other pain.

Today I will be remembering the following dear departed, as well as their relatives who are still here. Should you wish to add a name to the list, please feel free to do so in the comment section, and I will say a special prayer for you and bring to remembrance that soul.

Names from the Book, we commemorate:

  • Bishop Trevor Rhodes
  • Francis Hammond
  • Joseph Hammond
  • Reynold Hammond
  • Irene Allaman
  • Billy
  • Gordon
  • Edward
  • Xavy David
  • Lois David
  • Ashley David
  • Pierre Brink
  • Martha Ockhuis
  • Martha Meyers
  • Anna Meyers
  • Petrus Meyers
  • Gilbert Meyers
  • Hannes Meyers
  • Errol
  • Eva
  • Moses
  • Sindi
  • Kathy Sass
  • John Sass
  • Peggy Anthony
  • Alec Fortuin
  • Oliver Fortuin
  • Leah Would
  • Louis Would
  • Baby Louis
  • Rae Landman
  • Willem Landman
  • Bernard William Adams

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

November 2, 2015 at 15:51

Are We Walking to Heaven Backward?

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Are we walking to heaven backward?  Msgr Charles Pope writes on the Priest’s orientation during the celebration of Mass.

… The liturgical questions of the history of the eastward orientation and its recent loss, of how and why we got into the modern closed circle mentality, and the erroneous understandings of the liturgists of the 1950s about the practice of the early Church,  are all discussed more aptly by others more liturgically versed than I.

Please consider dear reader that my proposal is not for a sudden and swift change in our liturgical stance. Rather, that we begin to ponder if, by our inwardly focused stance in circular and fan shaped churches, facing each other, we are communicating what we really intend. Does our stance project that our real focus here is God? Does it communicate the goal of the liturgy to lead us to God? Does it inculcate a spirit of leadership in our clergy who are called to lead us to God? Does a largely closed circle manifest an outward trajectory to evangelize outward and unto the ends of the earth?

Whatever pastoral blessings come with “facing the people” (and there are some blessings) there may be value in continuing to reassess whether our modern pastoral stance of an inwardly focused liturgy serves us well and communicates what we are really doing and experiencing…

Read it all here.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

August 12, 2013 at 20:49

Man Shot in the Head at Mass

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In the Huffington Post:

A 35-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of walking into a Catholic church and shooting his father-in-law in the back of the head during Mass.

Charles Richard Jennings Jr., 35, was captured Sunday afternoon in nearby Box Elder County after fleeing in a stolen pickup truck, investigators said.

Witnesses say they heard one gunshot during the 11:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday at Saint James the Just Catholic Church in Ogden, and that parishioners immediately hit the floor.

The victim was taken to a hospital, where he was listed in critical but stable condition. His name wasn’t immediately released.

Police said the victim was deliberately targeted by the gunman and it wasn’t a random act of violence.

“We don’t know the motive,” Ogden police Lt. Danielle Croyle told The Salt Lake Tribune. “It is a domestic violence-related incident.”

Parishioner Rebecca Ory Hernandez said the congregation was told by a priest that the suspect and his wife had been involved in domestic disputes.

Hernandez was sitting close to the victim when the shooting occurred, she said.

“The guy walked up to his father-in-law and shot him point blank in the head,” Hernandez told Ogden’s Standard-Examiner. “Then I ran over to the victim and pulled my scarf off and put it around his head.

“He was pretty calm. There was so much blood … People were in shock and some people were passing out. We have some military guys in our parish and they ran out after the guy,” she added.

Parishioner Leon Bedford said the victim was sitting in a back pew with his wife when their daughter and son-in-law walked in holding hands as the congregation started saying a prayer.

“Oh, it’s obvious it was well planned out,” Bedford told the Standard-Examiner. “They came into the church hand in hand, and he walked right up to (the victim) and pulled that trigger. We just hope and pray that he makes it.”

Jennings is accused of stealing the truck at gunpoint from a nearby resident after fleeing the church. He was booked on charges of attempted aggravated criminal homicide and aggravated robbery.

Further details about the shooting will not be released until a news conference Monday morning at McKay-Dee Hospital, officials said.

A family spokesperson and a police representative will be on hand to discuss the case and status of the victim, hospital spokesman Chris Dallin said.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

June 17, 2013 at 19:35

Priest Celebrates ‘Star Wars’ Communion

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in Germany.


It wasn’t Darth Vader who gave the blessing to the first communion children. This was personally undertaken by Pastor Christoph Nobs with a bright green laser sword at the celebration of a Star Wars First Communion Mass. The idea for the stars-War Communion came from Nicolas Gkotses community director. Star Wars had been a theme for the children in their religious instruction and so he tried to communicate the gospel in this way in a timely manner. – “May the force be with you!”


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

June 13, 2013 at 21:16

The Eight Secrets of a Good Mass

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In the Catholic Herald, some good tips:

… I have recently been on holiday and during my time off I went to Church “disguised” as a layman and observed a few things. I am sure lots of people would like to put in their bit as to what goes into the new manual, but here are my thoughts, for what they are worth. Not all of them are of equal importance.

• Start the Mass on time. If it says six o’clock, then let it be six o’clock, not five past or seven past.
• The priest should turn up in good time. Seeing a flustered looking chap rush in at one minute to does not help. After all, Mass is important, and for important events we always turn up in good time, don’t we? Besides, ones needs to prepare.
• Wear a chasuble, and make sure it is the correct colour.
• When you preach, it really is not a good idea to go on too long. And to help you keep within a reasonable time frame it is a good idea to plan the sermon. Less really is more when it comes to saying things: say it concisely and people may get what you are saying; say it in a prolix manner and your meaning may well get lost in the verbiage.
• The same goes for bidding prayers. Short and sharp. And do we need them in the week? I doubt it.
• Do not leave bits of the Mass out. The Opening Prayer, the Creed, the second reading – why do these sometimes fall by the wayside? There can be no good reason for this.
• Do not ad lib, and especially do not as lib during the Eucharistic Prayer. The people surely want to hear the words of the Church not the words of Father Joe (or whatever he is called).
• When celebrating Mass, look at God, not at the people, especially not at the strangers in Church (you never know, one of them might be a spy from the Catholic Herald.)

All of the above applies to the celebrant, but there are some points that ought to be recognised by the faithful.

• Don’t answer your mobile in Church. And when you do, which you should not, do not converse in a loud voice on the said phone, especially during the Eucharistic Prayer. In fact, just switch the thing off.
• Arrive on time.
• Yes, you have lots of important things to discuss with your neighbour, but surely they can wait twenty minutes? After Mass, you can talk to your heart’s content. During Mass, talk to God. Silently.
• Leave your shopping alone. No need to rustle through the contents of that bag at all.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, and I am sure that many readers can add further points, based on their own experience!


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

January 26, 2013 at 20:12

Now I Sell Jesus Christ…

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Canadian priest’s unorthodox evangelization drawing people to the pews.

Over at The Deacon’s Bench:

Details, from the Catholic Register:

A financial analyst turned priest, Fr. Mario Salvadori is marketing an unorthodox and unapologetic formula of evangelization — and youth are flocking to it.

Salvadori, the only priest at Thornhill’s St. Joseph the Worker parish, jokes that he has “more degrees than a thermometer.” He has a bachelor’s degree in computer science, a master’s degree in theology and a master’s in business administration. Before he was a priest, Salvadori was a businessman. In many ways, he still is.

“I used to be able to sell a glass of water to a drowning man,” he said. “Now I sell Jesus Christ.”

His congregation in this Toronto suburb seems to be buying it.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” said Vlad Mamaradlo, the lay minister Salvadori hired to work with youth. Mamaradlo said every Mass is standing room only. “Even the foyer is full.”

And in the five years since Salvadori joined the parish, he’s paid off a $1.3-million renovation and $600,000 more off the mortgage.

Salvadori’s success stems from his approach to Mass. For him, evangelization is no different than marketing. “It’s just a different word,” he said. He and Mamaradlo look at Catholicism as a product they are selling. Something that, they say, the Church has failed to sell.

“In society, people are given options,” Mamaradlo said, “so let’s give them options.”

What Salvadori has given them is a refreshing twist on the traditional Mass. When he ordered the church renovation back in 2009, he made sure it would accommodate his style for delivering just that.

“We’re competing against 60-inch TVs, iPods and every other stimulation that’s out there,” Mamaradlo said.

So, Salvadori brought the technology to Mass. Every homily, his laptop is plugged into the pulpit, at the ready to bring up a clip on the two huge screens on either side of him.

He invites guest speakers and tackles current and controversial topics that many priests tend to shy away from — topics that weigh heavily on everyday life. One homily he delivered in May included a clip of U.S. President Barack Obama speaking about gay marriage. That homily has collected more than 300 views on YouTube as have some of his other videos posted on the site.

There are other options too, opportunities to connect with the congregation outside the now lessthan-traditional construct of Mass. There are trips downtown to feed the homeless, youth groups, parish events, even retreats in the United States that young people can sign up for.

Read more.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

October 29, 2012 at 12:20

Chaplain Conducting Mass in Northern Iraq

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Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

October 14, 2012 at 18:05


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