Leo Philomin (Oblate Priest) gives expert video advice on: How often do you pray?; Do you wear the collar? and more...
How often do you pray?
As missionary oblates, we pray in the morning and we pray in the evening. That's our community time of prayer. But our evening prayer is for about 45 minutes. We have half an hour of silent prayer as a community before the blessed sacrament, which is the eucharist, the body of Christ which is reserved in the tabernacle like a box. We pray before the eucharist, aware that Christ is with us. And that's about thinking about the day, thinking about oblates in other parts of the world, connecting ourselves to each other, helping to understand what the day has been about through our Lord, through conversation with Him. We end it by praying the evening prayer of the church. It's psalms, reflection and the sense of praise to God for what has been for the day. Then, during the day sometime, I will do the Divine Office which is mainly for priests. Also, before night as we go to bed, I have my examination of conscience. How have I been good news? Where have I seen good news? how have others been good news to me? And once a month, we try and take a day of recollection. We just take a quiet day to tune a day. It's like taking your car to the mechanic to get it fine tuned. We do it about once a month to just get it tuned up.
Where does alter wine come from?
Altar wine is from people who have committed themselves to making wine in a particular way. For the church, you have to have a particular concentration of grape that makes the wine, and they are specially selected winemakers who honestly and truthfully commit themselves to making wine of a certain quality and in a particular manner. Wine can be white or red, or it can be sweet or dry. That's not the concern, it's the amount of grapes and proper procedures that are used to make the grapes. You could use any wine, but these are particular people who the church has trusted to make them, because that wine is to be used as one of the species which we use at the mass. These people are trusted because it's going to be sacramentally used. It's going to become the blood of Christ, and we trust these people to do it well. The Church has always said that it must be of a certain quality of grapes that make the wine.
Where does communion bread come from?
Communion bread is just flat bread without any yeast. There's no rise in the agent in it. It's unleavened bread. Today, you'll find a lot of sisters who are enclosed, who don't go out, who close themselves out to the world but who are very much spending time in prayer. They would make all the breads as a means of getting an income for their community. Our ones come from a local convent - the sisters are enclosed sisters, they make the bread, and they supply us with it. It's an income for them. Because it's going to be used for the body of Christ, to be consecrated into the body of Christ, it needs to be made with a meticulous amount of wheat and everything else and to be baked in a way that it's treated well.
Who makes your vestments?
Different people, whoever is into tailoring, embroidery, and all those kind of things, they can make the vestments. There is no one particular person whose allowed to do it. Normally religious house sisters used to make it, nuns. In our community, there's a lady who makes the vestments for our church who is very skilled, and she do the vestments.
Are vestments expensive?
I think, depending on what kind of vestments you get, that will be the determinate. If you get a Roman one, it is expensive, but you can get a basic one for about for about one hundred pounds or something. I don't have a favourite vestment, not at all, that's not exactly my kind of thing. I don't know even have a favourite colour of vestment. We don't actually have anything that we own, we normally use whatever is in the parish.
Do you wear the collar?
There are some times when I would wear it. I would wear it for funerals, and I would wear it for weddings because people dress up and they're quite dressed up for the occasion. For me to wear a clerical collar it's about signifying my role at that moment, being present to the people. At a wedding, I stand and represent the community of the faith. At funerals, I am in a sense trying to communicate that God is present here, and the priest represents Christ and a symbol of that is the collar. Generally I don't wear it at all any other time. I'm quite comfortable. We as oblates have a cross, which is our missionary cross. Normally it's a large cross, but because of the daily day-to-day life, it's in a small form around our neck. People know that there's something odd about me wearing a cross like this, and then the conversation begins, "oh, you're a priest, you don't wear a collar, that's fine." Eventually they say, "okay." Some of the older people would like to see you to who you are. If I go to a place representing the church and I'm unknown, then I would wear the collar, because we're representing the community of the faithful; we're representing the Catholic Church. So if there's an interreligious occasion, an ecumenical occasion, as a member of the Catholic church I would wear the collar. It just feels right to wear it then.