Nov 8, 2017 in Informative

The Roman Catholic Religion in South Florida

The Roman Catholic Church established itself prior to all other Christian dominions. I visited the Catholic Church in Florida. The Church resembles any other Catholic Church in the world. The fundamental beliefs of the Catholic Church are categorized in the following manner (Steven, 42): Authority- the Catholics get their source of authority from the bible, creeds, tradition, the Bishops, and the Pope. Although Christ is the ultimate authority, the church ensures that the bible should be interpreted in the right manner through the use of the tradition of the Apostles. The Church-they considers the church to be the only one, apostolic, and holy. They belief that Jesus Christ established the Catholic Church and that other Christian dominions and churches by virtue of sacraments are in communion with the catholic church. Creation- the Catholic Church believes that creation was from God, and he uses them for his purposes. God (the trinity) - the Catholics believes that God exists as three persons (Nicene Creed). Jesus Christ- the Catholics believe that Jesus is fully Man and fully God with divine will and human will. They believe he was born of a virgin, Mary, suffered, crucified, died, and resurrected again bodily to save us from all of our sins. They also consider he ascended to heaven to intercede before the father on our behalf. Morality- the Catholic Church in Florida bases its moral teachings on Jesus messages.  Their virtues are divided into theological virtues, which form the basis of the Christian Moral activity, and the cardinal virtues, which is an umbrella to all other virtues.

The Catholic Church maintains a complex system of laity and clergy. The bishops, priests, and deacons form the ordained clergy. During the migration, the laity and clergy developed the Catholic Churches in Florida. During this process,  the Catholics developed their own schools and hospitals which made them have many followers. Thus, many people in Florida spent their lives around the church because it gave them educational, recreational, spiritual, and charitable interests. These made the Catholic Church in Florida grow and have strong foundations.

The Catholic Church in Florida uses arts, symbols, and images to illustrate, portray, and supplement the tangible teachings of the church. This includes paintings, sculpture, metalwork, mosaics, embroidery, and architecture. Other symbolic ordinance includes the sacrament partaking which is done each week of service to demonstrate the Lord’s Supper. The use of cult objects (necklace, cross, rings) implies the Catholic Church is to some extent a cult.

The Catholic Church permits the use of sacred vestments (clothing) in different colors; white, red, violet, and green (Rev. John, 37). Each of these colors has a meaning and is distinctive. The observance of the Mass is symbolized by the color of the vestments prescribed for each Mass. A priest’s vestments are unique. In a mass,  the priest wears the following; the alb, cincture, stole, chasuble, surplice, and the humeral veil. The bishop, on the other hand, wears the pectoral cross, skull cap, mitre, croiser, ring, chasubles, albs, and palliums. These vestments are symbolical and have a meaning. The sisters also wear unique clothing all the time. The catechists and other members that assist the priest perform the mass also wear unique vestments. The dressing code is followed strictly and is of immense importance to the church.

A rite represents the tradition of the church on how the sacraments are celebrated. In the Catholic Church of Florida, the ritual is the Mass which is the main worship ceremony. The mass is structured into four sections (Rev. John, 22); introductory rites, Liturgy of the word, liturgy of Eucharist, and the concluding rites. In the introductory rite, the priest will enter the sanctuary, where the followers are already gathered. Opening prayers then follows with believers called upon to recall their sins while the glory of God is praised. In the concluding rite, the believers are blessed and allowed to leave the church renewed by their experiences with God in the mass.

The Catholic Church in South Florida observes the Latin Rites and it is a requirement that they attend mass for observances of Solemnity of Mary Mother of God, All Saints, and the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary when they fall on Saturday or Monday (John, 28). The sacred days of the Catholic Church in Florida Includes; Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (1st of January); this activity is done during the eight day of Christmas, Easter Sunday (8th April) it marks the end of 40 days of Lent. The Christians are required to accept the Eucharist at least once during the season; ascension (17th May) commemorates the ascension of Christ to heaven. Its observance takes place on the seventh Sunday of Easter; Assumption (15th August) and it honors the death of Mary. It is also known as the Feast of the Dormition and is celebrated by the sixth century universally; All saints day (1st November) and it honors the known and unknown Catholic saints; immaculate conception (8th December) it commemorates the conception of Mary who according to the Catholic doctrine was born without sin; Christmas day (25th December) which marks the observance of the birth of Christ, and is often considered the masses of Christmas eve.

Other important moveable sacred events include; the Ash Wednesday (22nd Feb), Palm Sunday (1st April), Holy Thursday (5th April), Good Friday (6th April), Holy Saturday (April 7th), Divine Mercy Sunday (15th April), Pentecost Sunday (27th May), Trinity Sunday (3rd June), Corpus Christi (7th June), and the First Sunday of Advent (2nd December). All these events are observed by the Catholic Church in Florida and other Catholic Churches in the world.

The Catholic Church in South Florida is organized during their worship sessions. Their organization and the principles make me feel that their worship is right. Their virtues on matters relating to humanity in general makes the Catholic Church become famous and have more followers. During my visit, I felt I was worshipping and closer to God when the mass was being conducted. Negatively, the worship process seems to look like a cult. Positively, I had the chance of knowing how the Catholic churches conduct their worship, knowing the history of the Catholic Church in Florida, and also had the chance of meeting with the priest and the believers.

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