Monday, May 18, 2015
The Tradition of the Month’s Mind Mass
The Month’s Mind Mass is a tradition that gathers together the family and friends of one who has recently died, in order to celebrate the Eucharist for that person. So have members of the Archdiocese of Chicago gathered to celebrate the one month anniversary of the death of Cardinal Francis George. In many ways, it completes the Church’s funeral rites for the Cardinal. Of course, many similar Memorial Masses have been celebrated for the Cardinal around the Archdiocese and, indeed, around the world.
The Memorial Mass is part of the Catholic Funeral Rites. In it, prayers and readings are taken from those provided for funerals. During these Masses, we pray for Cardinal George and ask our merciful Father to bring him quickly to the Heavenly Banquet. We also pray for those who continue to mourn the Cardinal: his family, friends and all of us who knew and worked with him. These Masses can often help we who mourn to continue to process the experience of death, but to do so within the context of our faith.
Although it is no longer an official part of the funeral rites for a Cardinal, the custom is still practiced in some places where the Galero – the red, ceremonial hat which Cardinals used to received when they were elevated to the College of Cardinals – is hung from the apse of the Cathedral Church. A Galero which was given to Cardinal George was raised during his Month’s Mind Mass. It now hangs next to those of his five predecessors: Cardinals Mundelein, Stritch, Meyer, Cody and Bernardin.
Of particular note was that while it was being raised, a hymn based on the motto of Cardinal George’s Episcopal Motto was sung, Christo, Gloria in Ecclesia (To Christ be glory in the Church). A truly fitting gesture!