So listen, do you all remember the famous "V" that President Nixon used as his peace sign/greeting, etc? There are many photos showing him making a "V" gesture, sometimes double-handed. The most widely circulated version of this was of course his farewell to the presidency after his resignation. Well, when the Catholic Church began it's "Sign of Peace" portion of the Mass, many people used this "V" as their Peace gesture of choice, while others hugged, shook hands, kissed, nodded or looked straight down. We all have our own ways of approaching situations, and there should be room and acceptance for all under those vaulted roofs. I once belonged to a church that was very theatrical, so the Sign of Peace was a "leave your pews and strike up the traveling band music" format. If we ever had a substitute priest there, who was not forewarned about this, he never won if he tried to continue the mass without letting all the touchy-feely happenings go to the absolute last greeting. I was one of these revelers to a degree, but SS as a youth who always needed to be able to move around after a certain time period, went front to back greeting his church friends. SD went though that "would not be caught dead acknowledging family" stage, so she was either singing in the choir, being an alter server, or avoiding us at all costs. It was very hurtful for me at the time, but now, hey, you gotta do what you gotta do, and for her this was just getting through those years-No hard feelings.
So, back to our poor Tricky-Dicky, when the Nixon peace sign was used in mass, it always made me laugh, I probably laughed smugly because I was just so much more evolved and could actually reach out and touch others. Then it became just a cute little thing that people did, and I always found it pleasant to see that sign suddenly flash. So, here is the point, finally, are you still with me or did you go get a cup of coffee? Was it pumpkin flavored? I love pumpkin flavored coffee. sorry
The Bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo and Western New York announced yesterday that effective IMMEDIATELY, there would be no distribution of Holy Communion through the cup, and a nod or verbal greeting should replace a physical Sign of Peace greeting. Since I take meds that preclude any alcohol consumption, omitting the cup is not a problem for me, and honestly, when I was an active Eucharist Minister, distributing communion in both species, I was so paranoid about cleaning the cup between communicants that I was probably rubbing the dreaded germs right into the metal. It was such a production-we were taught to refresh the cloth after cleaning by refolding. How many times can you refold without being back to the beginning?
Now for the Sign of Peace, here's the deal, if we are going to abstain from physical contact-won't it be so right in these days of War to please use a sign of Peace that would mean more than just a greeting to a fellow parishioner, but in our hearts could we extend that greeting to our soldiers-Peace and God's protection to them everywhere. Just a suggestion.
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