Gift Bearers:

Are They Really Needed For Mass?

Michael from Florida, May, 2007
http://www.thinking-catholic-strategic-center.com

If the three wise men had said "no" in their desire to follow the star, our Lord would not have received the gifts they brought. Two thousand years later, within our parishes, the gifts are still being presented to Him---but is the understanding, desire and respect still the same as it was in ancient time?

Mission

I am a lector in our local parish and one of the tasks of being a lector, prior to Mass, is to select three gift bearers to present the wine, hosts and offerings to the priest for consecration.

The honor of being a gift bearer requires no special skill or permanent ministerial duty, yet, is a beautiful and significant part of the Mass performed by lay people.

Our parish is rather large with approximately ten thousand members and we have one Saturday service and three on Sunday. With that many parishioners attending services it would seem that the responsibility of the lector would be quick and easy in getting three volunteers to be gift bearers. In my five years of being a proclaimer of the word I find that is not the case.

Most lectors in our parish arrive at least a half hour before the beginning of the service to check over details such as: making sure the lectionary is at the ambo and opened to the readings of the day, being sure the prayers of the faithful are placed properly at the altar and completing the informational sheet used by the cantor for announcements.

There are times when a deacon or priest have to re-arrange their schedule at a particular service which assigns additional functions to be performed by the lectors. Though minor in detail, it takes several minutes for the lector to adjust to these changes and takes time away from one of their duties of seeking three parishioners to perform the honor of presenting the gifts.

The Search

Lectors position themselves in the gathering space of our parish, allowing them the best view of people entering the church.. When I am assigned to be a lector for a particular Mass and begin to ask parishioners if they would "present the gifts today" there are moments when I have the feeling of giving a "sales pitch" by the blank stares I receive in addition to responses such as:

"No thank you."

"Oh, not today."

"I’m not dressed properly."

But I guess the most astounding reply that had me looking back in confusion was:

"Not today, I m leaving Mass early!"

I must admit that at times I become frustrated and disappointed at the response from individuals but over the years I have come to some conclusions as to why certain people do not wish to participate. There might be health issues or some individuals don t feel comfortable walking down the aisle in a large gathering drawing attention to themselves. However, I feel one of the main reasons people decline is they simply do not understand what they are being asked to do. In trying to have people commit to saying yes I ve tried several ways of asking such as:

"Would you honor the Lord today by being a gift bearer?"

"Would you be a gift bearer so the body and blood can be consecrated for Eucharist?"

"I need to select gift bearers so Mass can be conducted. Would you assist?"

Even when I try different terminology, I still get a share of parishioners that either shake their head "no" or perhaps are thinking I’m asking them to donate to some “gift” fund of the church.

Rescued

I do not mean to give the impression that this happens all the time because there are individuals that have stated, "I’ve never been asked and I would love to do it." Those are the people that make life a little easier for the lector especially if time is running short and the beginning of Mass is only a few minutes away. I ve been in that situation several times and remember one occasion where it was about five minutes before the priest and alter servers were to line up for the procession and I had been unsuccessful in obtaining the three people needed. It was at that moment I noticed a young family enter the church, a young lad about eight years old, along with his father and mother. I approached them in desperation with very little time remaining before the beginning of Mass. As I asked the father " would you and your family be gift bearers" I received a blank stare and a polite: "not today." However, the mother came to my rescue and said "of course we’ll do it" as she gave a scolding glance toward the husband.

I made a mental note to watch this family as it came time to bring the gifts to the priest and noticed that the father, while carrying the precious blood, had a proud look on his face as he came down the aisle along side his wife and young son. Perhaps he didn’t understand the significance of being a gift bearer until that moment or maybe he never noticed that it occurs at each Mass. Prior to his active participation he might have thought or took for granted that “gift bearing” is a designated responsibility assigned to other parishioners and not realizing before this that it is a moment when all lay people of a parish have the opportunity to participate in the Mass instead of just attending! I couldn’t help but think, as I watched them, that perhaps the father was thinking for the first time of what a unique way to honor the Lord as a family unit.

One Body

Now perhaps different parishes throughout our nation have other methods of choosing people to present the gifts and are quite successful with participation. Then maybe there are other churches that encounter similar difficulties I have presented in getting people to volunteer. In either case, whether you are one that is designated to ask parishioners to present the gifts or you are a parishioner that is asked to do this honor perhaps a pause and reflection before speaking might be:

If the three wise men had said "no" and decided not to follow that star, would we be telling the wondrous story about the gifts of; gold, frankincense and myrrh presented to the Lamb of God? Perhaps even a more meaningful thought might be of the King of Salem, Melchizedek, a "priest of God Most High" (JB-Gen. 14 vs 19) when he presented the bread and wine to Abram (see Gen: 14 vs 18-20) along with a blessing, should we, as the faithful of the Church, consider any other answer but "yes" when asked to bring the gifts?

We are all "one body" whether we are involved in some type of full time parish activity or ministry or maybe none at all. However, there is one time during the Mass that an individual, when asked, can actively take part in a beautiful and special moment of honoring our Lord and that is to become like one of the three magi by bearing gifts.

Jesus promised that he would be with us "always" and He is---through the gifts we bring for consecration that become His very presence among us when we receive His true "body" and "blood!".



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Date: Thu May 17 2007 3:14:08 PM EST
From: Stephen
Email: stephen_dees@yahoo.com
Subject: Gift Bearing
Comment:

It could be, as in my own personal case, that a person's, meaning my, attendance to mass is one of a very private nature. You touched upon that in your commentary, but I think you sort of misjudge the significance of the information.

Not to be confused with cowardice or selfishness. It is just a moment in which a person, attending/participating in the ceremony, perhaps in a church congregation with which they are unfamiliar, simply wishes to attend to the matter, and then, just as quietly, leave. You have indicated you are from a parish of about 10,000, that is, to many people, an absolutely huge parish!

Look at the average public speaking class, most folks are petrified of the first time in which they must make their presentation! In church, of all places, literally in front of God,in his house and everybody, the first time, how would you feel? Think about some man or woman, who pictures them-self, tripping on the carpet and spilling the gifts all over the floor!

I would have to find another town to live in! Or at the least a different church in the parish. To be honest about it, I am still not comfortable with the "shaking of the hands" at the conclusion of the mass.

It is one of the modifications made in the process, over the years, like the gift giving, which attempts to, in my opinion, force contact in a manner which is not comfortable.

I would not shake hands with most of them on the street. I don't know the people. To do so, in the matter of the conduct of the mass, and then to move on, is a sort of "false communion" to me. It's not that I am unfriendly, it is just that they are strangers to me. We are unacquainted and, in reality, I sort of like keeping it like that. I am sort of like Mel Gibson, I miss the "old" Mass in Latin, now that was a mass! It offered the appropriate distance between the parishoners, the priest and HIM.

I totally respect both their right to attend and worship. That is what we are all there for, but all that touchy-feely stuff, round robin hand shaking, and "go with god" "improvements" leaves me feeling like a liar. I wonder if I lack good will. I hope not, but I do wonder.

Perhaps your potential prospects for "gift bearing" feel the same way, they simply want to attend, to do what is expected, by HIM, in their own personal relationship with the Lord Almighty, and be on their way. Is that a bad thing? I think not. I think that is what the very nature of the weekly service is about. They may not see the "piker" aspect.

Yes, I do understand your point of ministerial participation, I hope you understand mine of avoiding the draft to an uncomfortable and unexpected increased level of involvement by surprise.

Perhaps, a simple statement, of encouragement close to the conclusion of service, as in done in other parishes, might help. I suggest something like... "We are always looking for people who would like to be the gift bearers at mass. For those of you unfamiliar with the term they ...... Please, any one interested contact Lector just before services, we would very much welcome your participation and assistance. Please stand up Lector Michael." then after that "Ok, you now know what he looks like, now people, if you want to be sure that your communion wafer is up here, waiting for you, at the front, all nice and convenient, when we do mass, why don't you consider helping out a little?" Something part joke, part informative, part light chastisement.

I don't mean to be sacrilegious, but a little bit of kind levity goes a long way to "break the ice". A gentle chastisement designed to draw them in without making them feel bad.

Most importantly, if it is done enough, as you make "your move" on them, they, having attended before, will realize what you are up to, before you ever have to say anything. You will be surprised at the affirmative and negative nods you get, before you even ask them.

Even when they "run" it will not be uncomfortable for you. It will be humorous. Is that not what it is supposed to be? A joyous occasion of celebration?

Being a constant traveler, I find that there is still a "pecking order" with which I have always been uncomfortable.I mean the deacons, the ushers, lectors, altar boys, member of the choir, organ player, etcetera. When I was a child it was who was going to be the altar boy and who (for the females) was going to be a nun. You learn sort of fast, what "your place" is.

In mine, it was the easiest thing, and then, the most comfortable thing, to simply be an attendee during service. There are other ways, abundant ways, to serve HIM, in a manner which does not, even in the least, appear to be "grandstanding".

I always felt, and still do feel, and perhaps I am not alone, that some of the people who assist in the mass sort of had a "look at me" attitude in the matters of the church. It is sort of obvious you are not "one of those".

God knows who serves from the heart, HE sees everything, and in the truest sense of the word, if the spirit moves a person, to be, or not to be, a gift giver, it is up to them.

I guess I am simply too parochial. I am just as happy, in fact happier, if I am the only person in the church at the time I "do my thing". Other people with whom I have spoken, over the years, concerning the ceremony of the mass, tend to feel the same way. A public gathering which is quite quite private in some ways.

Today's conduct and interpretation of the service and communion is just a little too social for me. But I am not the council either, Hence I try to follow the protocol where I can.

I must also admit, I regret that most churches must be and are locked during the off-hours of the day and week. I miss the option of simply ducking in saying a few words, in private, and then ducking out again. It is a sad commentary that the churches must be locked during off days or you would probably come back and find everything, including the pews, gone.

That is what I mean, you really do not know who is next to you, even in church.


Saturday, March 16, 2013
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Why this hatred of Palin? What galls modern women of the Left about Sarah Palin? The blind hatred of Palin we’re seeing expressed is not merely because of hatred and intolerance of the pro-life religious moral standard.

A Palin Parker Ticket? My Dream Candidates for 2012. Why a Palin Parker ticket is better than any professional politician Republican ticket you can come up with for 2012.

Elitism Vs Palinism: Why the Left and the Elites Loath and Fear Sarah Palin. It isn’t just Marxism Vs Palinism; it’s also established intellectual elitism vs Palinism. The elite need someone to look down upon.

How is it that opposing amnesty for millions of illegal aliens is "arrogant"? If my pro-Catholic, pro-American, anti-alternative-ethos position is "arrogant," then, exactly what is the position of those who claim superiority or even equality with it?

Here we see Bush family class captured in a simple private citizen’s photo. George W. (and Mrs.) Bush quietly demonstrate Bush family class without hoopla or fanfare.

Marxists love crisis, and they love an oil spill crisis most of all. Marxists even create and drive crisis. Their favorite crisis of all must be the Oil Spill Crisis, which is even better than a Banking Crisis.

American Military Assault Weapons originally intended in the 2nd Amendment. To miss the point of the 2nd Amendment is to miss the point of the whole Constitution.

For God and Country – More Thoughts on America, and on National Existence. For God and Country: Comparisons of martyrdom and heroism, Sovereign Nationhood Vs. Internationalism, distinct people-hood Vs. the Global Village, and Godliness Vs. godlessness.

The Godless Left leads the young and naive to their utopian Hell. For an honest comparison of the effects on youth, we need to look to the history of the Godless Left versus the Religious Right.

The Rabbi Meir Kahane Open Letter to the World is a must read. No decent world history course is complete without the Rabbi Meir Kahane Open Letter to the World.

Aleksandr I.Solzhenitsyn warns the American Worker and American organized labor. Solzhenitsyn speaks to us as a worker from the “Worker’s Paradise” of Communism; words of warning for all who understand the meaning of the word Liberty.

World Revolution returns with a vengeance: the rebirth of Marxism. Marxist world revolution returns, and faces far less opposition than in 1848 or the period between the Great Wars.

Our argument against public despair, hopelessness and pessimism re the future. Despair is a mortal sin, the opposite of the virtue of hope; it is a sin unto the death of the soul, a repudiation and rejection of God’s grace.

Can we outlaw Marxism in the USA and still be a free thinking society? I say we can and should outlaw any ideology that seeks the elimination of Constitutional America.

Can we outlaw Islam in the USA and still be a free thinking society? I say we can and should outlaw any ideology that seeks the elimination of Constitutional America.

On Threats to America's National Existence. A look at the nature of our national existence, what makes us America, physical threats to that, and the possibility of just going out of existence.

On the ethics of language: English dictionary Vs. Political-Correctness taboos. Language evolves, yet morals are (or should be) fixed. This poses questions re the ethics of language.

Thinking Catholic direction: threats to America, Church, Ethos, even History. The Thinking Catholic Direction is multi-faceted, facing threats to American National Existence, Catholic Liturgy, our common Guiding Ethos - emphasis changes to meet the threat of the moment.

Catholics learn and practice Glossalalia, in the Life In The Spirit seminars. Life in the Spirit seminars, fueling the Catholic Charismatic renewal, bring tongue-speaking "Glossalalia", and being "Slain in the Spirit", to Catholicism.

The website is going on hold for at least the next five weeks. Business calls, and I must respond. Will be traveling, and not taking the laptop this time.

Current Website Status. Still too busy for individual responses to questions, comments & criticisms.

Our 2006 Ohio Voter Guide. The choices are quite clear, and the 2006 Ohio Voter Guide was easy to produce.

On carrying my Lord, Jesus Christ, in my pocket. As a Eucharistic Minister, I am on occasion carrying the Lord Jesus in my pocket. It's a wondrous thing.

A 2006 Christmas and Hanukkah wish. May the Holy Days we celebrate remind us all of who we are, and how we are different from other peoples.

Current Democratic Party platform reveals anti-Semitic streak among Liberals. In their voting, their speechifying, and in the slant of their controlled mainstream media reporting, the current Democratic Party Platform is made clear to all observers.

The "Left", and The DaVinci Code, The Passion, and Cartoons of Mohammed. You can tell a lot about a movement by its public words.  The Passion? "Unreservedly Bad." The DaVinci Code? "Unreservedly Good." Anything to do with Islam? "No Comment."

Who's driving the Health Care bus? Health insurance companies "grading" doctors? Health insurance companies grading doctors: a legitimized conflict of interest. A preparatory step toward the nationalization of the health insurance industry?

On the forced use of medical boiler plate language rather than simple notes. The "little dictators" from insurance companies and government bureaucracies force MDs to use stilted, verbose, medical boiler plate language in their own documentation.

Home For Christmas 2008. Website Getting Active Again

Hydrogen power could be, and should be, the wave of our automotive future. Any move toward hydrogen power is a move toward a cleaner and more efficient fuel, and away from our dangerous dependency on oil.

Thoughts in remembrance of 09/11/2001, five years later. The changing shape of the war, the changing shape of the enemy.

The Jewish Shabbat. Description of Jewish Shabbat (Sabbath) from my Holy Land item supplier.

Kerry lies again, and then lies about his lies, in concert with the SLIMC. There he goes again! Kerry lies again and again about American servicemen and veterans; he just can't help himself.

Kerry's Lies: The Old, Vietnam-Era Anti-War Chickens are Comming Home to Roost. POW Lawsuit Could Force Kerry To Come Clean - by George "Bud" Day, Chairman, Vietnam Veterans Legacy Foundation.

What's going on with Mel Gibson? Is he really an anti-Semite? I am surprised that Mel Gibson is an alcolholic.  But I am never surprised at any words that come out of the mouth of any drunk.

Still Worrying Over NuVo Consequences. The Holidays have gone by, several days have passed, and the SANE  NuVo Initiative still stands pat.

The Dem's October Surprise involves another flip-flop of their public "standard". The clearly pro-sodomy Party that openly seeks the "Gay" vote goes Victorian for another pre-election October Surprise ploy.

Some Problems with NuVo: the so-called Null-Vote Initiative. A "philosophical" movement aimed at keeping religious conservatives from voting? Seriously? Let me state my problems with NuVo.

Come, let us sit and reason together. Jews and Christians of various stripe and spot can say to each other, 'Come, let us sit and reason together.' But we can't do that with the Moslems.

Regarding SANE works dropping NuVo: Nul Vote Initiative dies with a whimper. If you can't really present a good argument, sit down. On SANE Works dropping the NuVo Initiative: a program that works hard to SOUND pro-American while ACTING to oppose American National Existence.

Even experts grossly underestimate the Marxist zeal of the American Left. The sharp Left turn happened in the Hoover-FDR era, and the Marxism of the American Left has been deepening ever since.

Thinking American, in a nutshell: When one has lots to say, but time is limited. The older I get, the busier I get. Answering multiple questions as a thinking American, but in a hurry.

"We are an Easter People, and Hallelujah is our Song." (John Paul the Great) Our absolutely unique and singular Easter story, and the incredible force with which it struck human history.

Witnessing, grieving and weeping for our dieing culture.  What might it take to call a whole people back from the brink of cultural death?

If we have an inherent right to something, then, who must supply it?  Rights and Responsibilities exist in paired sets; a right does not exist in the absence of a related responsibility.  If indeed we have a right to our job, then, someone must provide it. Who?

So how come we have all these homeless people if our system is so great? The strong "Utopian Idealist" firmly believes that absolute worldly perfection is actually possible.  Therefore, there should never be any such thing as a hungry or homeless person.

Taking a look at Illegal Imigration and Tax Problem solutions. In our view, the minimum wage and income tax have outlived their usefulness, and only contribute to the illegal alien problem. 

First journal / blog entries when the thinking catolic blog first opened up. Notes to readers about what I was doing. 

On-going WebSite work and planned WebPages as of 09/07/2006. Adding items to book store. 

Vic's busted finger status - life goes on. Another busted finger status report, since the original one rolled off of the 50-entry BLOG update records.

Website Status as of 02/05/2009. No more Bookstore; no more Contact Me; no more complexity.

Website Status 03-09-2009. Just a note to bring you up to date on website status 03-09-2009.

Website Status 04/06/2009. Busy driving daily now; most website work will be weekend and as available.

The Plastic Bags and Eco Doom theory: will plastic bags end life as we know it? Plastic Bag and Eco Doom predictions tell us that plastic grocery and garbage bags will still be buried in the land fills and dumps a thousand years from now.  Well … so what?

Farewell Smokey Biorseth; Rest In Peace.  Hello Coal Biorseth; Welcome Home. As we were laying our beloved Smokey Biorseth to rest in his grave beside the lilies, a carbon-copy of Smokey, in younger form, emerged from the lilies.

Honky Biorseth really runs this house. If you want to know what's in any cabinet in the house, just ask Honky Biorseth.

Kill the illegal alien marketplace, and illegal aliens will leave on their own. Why should we "imagine" life with no Mexico? Shouldn't the Mexicans be trying to imagine no such thing as the USA?

More Marxist infiltration of higher education. Public school and the media are not the only places dominated by Marxist thought; even Catholic institutions are infected.

Of Families and Fortunes, and Inheritance Vs. Redistribution. Families and Fortunes are despised by Marxists, because Marxism demonizes the family, demonizes fortunes, and even demonizes profit.

Website Status Update 11/09/10. Just a Website status update; where we are and where we’re going.

Regarding the 2010 Tax Deal Pledge Breaker: Pledge? What Pledge? How can Republican deal makers even face us? We need to hang a Tea Party target on all professional politicians for 2012.

Pray for peace in Jerusalem, and for deliverance of Israel from harm. To pray for peace in Jerusalem is to pray for deliverance from Obama.

A tale of Promised Financial Melt-Down Debt Ceiling Nonsense and Happy Marxists. Everyone, on both sides, believes the Debt Ceiling Nonsense.  Why?

God and Nature: on the Nature of Things, established by the Creator of Things. God and Nature: on man’s Perversion of the Nature of Things, even with the best of intentions.

Our Ohio voter Guide for the 2012 Election. The 2l012 Ohio Voter Guide – The Choices Have Never Been Clearer, or more critical.

Evangelization enters the animal kingdom with the first bear prayer. It is fitting that the first bear prayer would be a prayer of thanksgiving.

Is the Internet down in Lithuania? Sudden loss of Lithanian traffic suggests the internet is down in Lithuania. 

The rise of the Femi Nazi Green Beret, and the decline of military victory. The first Femi Nazi Green Beret will be awarded out of fairness, not excellence.

Food Insurance: Is this stuff really any good? All of us conspiracy-theorizing, global-calamity doomsday-preppers need their Food Insurance.

We just had to try to do Robert Irvine's Plastic Wrapped Baby Back Ribs. Put plastic wrapped baby back ribs in the oven? What? Are you nuts? 

On Common Law and the Constitution.  What, exactly, is Common Law? 

Thoughts on the first Eucharist, established by the Last Supper.  The first Eucharist was recognized by the Apostles for what it was on that holiest Holy Thursday.

Tea-Party-Candidates-04-18-2014.  The Constitution is not going to be restored to legal preeminence unless we replace leadership incumbents of BOTH PARTIES.

Ecce homo; Behold the man.  Ecce Homo.  Behold the Innocent Lamb, who takes away the sins of the world. 

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