Browsing Pastor's Notes

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

During the Liturgy at the conclusion of the Preparation of the Gifts:

The priest says:
Pray, brethren (brothers and sisters), that my sacrifice and yours, may be acceptable to God the Almighty Father.

The People rise and reply:
May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of His name, for our good and the good of all His holy Church. (Emphasis added).

From the altar, I can hear a large number of folks replying “of God’s name” and “good of all God’s holy Church.” I’m certain this is not done in defiance or animosity. Perhaps, a well-intentioned, but miss-guided priest, suggested the change at some point in the past. (I say miss-guided because no priest is ever permitted to change the words of the Mass intentionally, except in a very few locations where the priest is instructed to say something “in these or similar words”. This is not one of those cases.) The response from the people is referencing “God the Almighty Father” in the priest’s part, so ‘his’ is the proper pronoun.

From the Catechism: “By calling God "Father", the language of faith indicates two main things: that God is the first origin of everything and transcendent authority; and that he is at the same time goodness and loving care for all his children. God's parental tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood, which emphasizes God's immanence, the intimacy between Creator and creature. the language of faith thus draws on the human experience of parents, who are in a way the first representatives of God for man. But this experience also tells us that human parents are fallible and can disfigure the face of fatherhood and motherhood. We ought therefore to recall that God transcends the human distinction between the sexes. He is neither man nor woman: he is God. He also transcends human fatherhood and motherhood, although he is their origin and standard: no one is father as God is Father. Jesus revealed that God is Father in an unheard-of sense: he is Father not only in being Creator; he is eternally Father by his relationship to his only Son who, reciprocally, is Son only in relation to his Father: ‘No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’” (CCC 239 & 240)


This is not the only place, I’ve noticed these subtle and not so subtle changes. In other dioceses at other times, I’ve had firsthand experience of different Catholic parishes changing the Lord’s Prayer to say not “Our Father” but “Our Father & Mother” or in another “Our Creator” and in yet another “O God who art in heaven”. To do so is to go the way of the world, not the way of Christ. It is a false incorporation of political correctness. It is a matter of (inadvertently) altering the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came to make us by His Saving Cross and Resurrection, adopted sons and daughters who can dare to call upon God in the intimate, loving, familial term “Abba, Father” – literally, “daddy” in Aramaic. Jesus, the Son, speaks of the need to become childlike. “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). And the Father has lovingly created us as male and female, as sons and daughters. Our God is not some nameless, far-off, disinterested God. The revealed God of Christianity is the near, close, interested, engaged, always willing our good, Father of the Son in the Spirit. Our language in prayer teaches us this. Our profession in the Mass attests to this. Please, use the responses of the Church. Not because you must, but because you are a loved and cared for son or daughter of God in loving relationship with the Father.


Holy Family, Saintly Father, Blessed Mother, Divine Son, Pray for us.

~ Fr Jeremy M. Gries


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