I remind those children too how blessed they are to be given a Catholic formation. I was born Catholic so sometimes I take for granted some of the blessings of having a Catholic upbringing. For example, think of the great Catholic vocabulary we have. Just as everybody has a favorite smell, I think most Catholics have a favorite Catholic word.
Among my favorite Catholic words are mystagogy, epiclesis, doxology, filioque, requiem, chrismation, and sacristy. If you don’t know what they mean, look them up. Catholic education is not just for children, you know, it’s life-long. The trove of Catholic treasure is inexhaustible.
Then there are other Catholic words that mean a lot more to us than they do to most people. Consider words like host, Mass, sister, and habit. Most people hear those words and are generally unaffected, but to the Catholic ear they are always accompanied by the songs of angels.
Some Catholic words sound like something they are not – like monstrance. No, a monstrance is not a monster under hypnosis. It’s a vessel used to display the consecrated Eucharist. In the same manner, acolytes are not something they put in Gatorade, beatification is not something performed by a make-up artist, a dalmatic is not a dog with spots, a pericope is not part of a submarine, diocese is not something you go to a medical specialist to treat, apostasy is not a punctuation mark, and a zucchetto is not an appetizer at an Italian restaurant. There, now you have some more great Catholic words to look up.
How about the word pew? Unlike most other people, we Catholics love to sit in it. Also, we Catholics don’t just bend our knee, far more graciously and reverently we genuflect. And no, that’s not a metal bowl on the altar, it’s much more special – it’s a ciborium.
Finally, how about happiness? Now there’s a word that means a lot more to us Catholics than it does to other people – because for us it is found most profoundly and fully here – according to God’s plan, in the Body of Christ, through the gift of the greatest of Catholic utterances – the Eucharist.
Children, you don’t know how good you’ve got it – learning all of these rich and beautiful things. It will be good to have you back – growing in wisdom, grace, and age. Thanks, parents, for sharing with them the glory of Catholicism. Have a great year!