What is a sequence? Why do some Masses have one and others don’t?

by Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.  |  05/28/2023  |  Why do we do that?

A sequence is a long hymn or sacred poem that is inserted after the second reading and before the Gospel Acclamation (Alleluia!). These hymns are intended to reinforce the sanctity of the particular solemnity or feast that is being celebrated that day. For instance, the Victimae Paschali Laudes sequence during Easter week retells the story of Mary Magdalene finding the empty tomb, while the Veni Sancte Spiritus of Pentecost calls down the Holy Spirit upon the congregation. These sequence poems date back to the Middle Ages, and were most often set to music which would reflect the joyful or somber mood of the occasion.


Why do we bow during the phrase “and by the Holy Spirit, was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became Man” as we recite the creed?

by Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.  |  05/21/2023  |  Why do we do that?

This phrase is the first place in the Creed where the Trinity is in action – no longer God the Father, or Jesus Christ by themselves, but the three Persons of God working in concert. God the Father, sends the Holy Spirit to accomplish the Incarnation of the Son – the great work of salvation that begins at the Annunciation and is completed by the Passion and Resurrection of Christ.


What is a responsorial psalm? Why do we have it after the first reading?

by Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.  |  05/14/2023  |  Why do we do that?

The book of Psalms holds a special place in the history and spirituality of Church. Unlike virtually every other book of the Bible, the psalms is expressly poetic and affective – it speaks to the heart, rather than the head. It expresses the emotions of praise and lament, longing and thanksgiving, complaint and trust, and really, the entire emotional range of the human condition. Originally meant to be sung and often set to music, psalms are often easier to memorize than other pieces of scripture, and resonate in our souls in a way that other parts of scripture do not.


Why does the Church insist on so much documentation – for baptisms, marriage, confirmation, etc?

by Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.  |  05/07/2023  |  Why do we do that?

In the early years of the Church, when Christianity was being persecuted, few official records were kept, because a list of the baptized could be used to hunt down and arrest believers. Beginning in the Middle Ages, however, there came a desire by both governments and Church officials to keep track of baptisms, marriage, and other sacraments. In that era, often one of the only literate persons in a town or village was the parish priest, and he became the de facto record keeper and legal arbiter for all sorts of transactions. Baptismal records not only showed the names of the faithful and their eligibility for future sacraments, but could be used to check for consanguinity (interrelatedness of engaged couples), eligibility for marriage, inheritance of property and titles, and eligibility for ordination. Long before there were census bureaus or departments of licensing, Church records allowed for the governance of both Catholic and secular affairs.