Is this custom still around?
#1
An old custom that still exists...The Stations
by Bridget Haggerty

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This tradition dates back to the Penal Laws, when it was forbidden for Catholic priests to say Mass in public. To get around the problem, the Mass was often celebrated secretly in people's homes, and afterwards, those in attendance stayed on for breakfast. This was often followed by a full day of merriment - but only after the priest had finished his breakfast and taken his leave!

As the years went by, and the Penal Laws were repealed, the custom of The Stations continued, especially in Ireland's more rural areas. People take turns every few years to have the Mass said in their home for family, relatives, friends, and neighbors. It's considered a great honor to be chosen and preparations for it are often started months in advance.
There's many an Irish homemaker who has used this occasion as a valid reason to get all kinds of home-improvements started - and finished. For once, Irish procrastination takes a back seat to Irish pride in appearances. Outside the house, everything is usually given a fresh coat of paint or whitewash; gates are fixed, leaky roofs are mended, and the gardens are tended. Everything must be perfect!
Inside, a mammoth spring-cleaning takes place and there might even be a flurry of repainting and decorating. Once satisfied with the appearance of the home, the hospitality of the house takes center stage.
In her wonderful book, Festive Foods of Ireland, Darina Allen remembers that in her childhood, the parlor table was covered with an embroidered linen tablecloth and set with the best china. Mass was usually said in the kitchen and the table used as an altar. This was covered with a starched linen cloth, kept just for the occasion.
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Come the big day, the woman of the house, and perhaps a few friends, would have been up since dawn making final preparations for the breakfast; the children would be sent to gather fresh flowers which were used to decorate the home throughout; and family members then spruced themselves up in their Sunday best, so that all was in readiness before the guests arrived.
Relatives, friends and neighbors arrived first, and as soon as the priest and his curate showed up, one priest began to hear confessions in the parlor, while the other said Mass and distributed Communion in the kitchen.

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As soon as Mass was over, the next family to have the Stations would be selected and donations would be collected to help defray the costs. The priests would then sit down in the parlor with the assembled company to a hearty traditional breakfast, accompanied by copious amounts of strong tea.
The Stations were officially over when the priests departed. However, in many parts of Ireland, this was when the real social celebration began, complete with music, story-telling, sing-alongs and dancing.
Nowadays, as busy as we are, inviting the entire parish over for Mass and breakfast is probably not an event many of us would embrace with much enthusiasm; but, you could do what my mother always did after Sunday Mass. Serve a traditional Irish breakfast!

[Image: IrishBreakfast.jpg] As a child, I remember that for our first meal during the week, we had cold cereal in summer and bowls of porridge in winter. But, oh, how we looked forward to Sundays. In my imagination, I can still smell the aroma of sausages, bacon, and eggs wafting from my mother's tiny kitchen. And I can see my dad reading his News of the World (which we children were not allowed to even look at!), glancing up often, his nose definitely directed toward that heavenly aroma, eagerly anticipating the plate of ambrosia that was coming. Indeed it was!




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#2
If I were to revive this custom, it would involve me sitting and reading and waiting for breakfast.
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#3
Hello. Great story. I never heard this version about the history of the Stations of the Cross. I always thought and was taught the reason why stations spread to all churches around the world, was the lack of access of going to the Holy Land to practice this prayer. Churches decided to install/have stations in the churches for Christians to practice this great prayer.

I teach 6th grade children in my parish religious education on Long Island. I would love to share this story with them and people from my parish.

Thanks for the insight. Beast of Luck. Another reason why I love the Fisheaters Web Site.

Matt B.
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#4
<style></style>I was encouraged to read that:  
Quote:"...Mass...and afterwards...breakfast...was often followed by a full day of merriment - but only after the priest had finished his breakfast and taken his leave!...The Stations were officially over when the priests departed [and] this was when the real social celebration began, complete with music, story-telling, sing-alongs and dancing."
  Makes me feel better about my own Sabbath observances. 
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#5
Laughter is a sin. Such things provide a near occasion of it happening. [Image: rolleyes.gif]
[it's sarcasm]

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#6
when I was in Ireland, this exact type of thing occurred once a year at one house.  it was a novus ordo mass in Irish (Gaelic).  I did not get to go to it but I did hear about it.
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#7
I don't think this refers to the Stations of the Cross, but something different.

Also, when a friend of mine (of close Irish descent) was ordained a priest, his holy card had an image of a famous Irish painting of a priest saying a Mass in a home. I believe it was a TLM (at least ad orientem) I will try to track it down.
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#8
ErinIsNice Wrote:If I were to revive this custom, it would involve me sitting and reading and waiting for breakfast.


  The word "breakfast" comes from break the fast, which you did after receiving communion. 
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#9
We've had Mass in our home before. Several times.
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#10
friend_of_anneliese Wrote:We've had Mass in our home before. Several times.

As have we. Once a priest came to visit while some trouble with his green card was resolved, and we had Mass every day as long as he stayed. Very awesome... :)
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