When life gives you lemons, you can help seminarians

Did you know that in the Roman Rite we use liturgical lemons?

Whenever the celebrant has to clean something off his hands, such as chrism or ash, he uses pieces of bread and slices of lemons.  Water isn’t enough cut the oil, of course.   Thus, when there are ordinations to the priesthood or confirmations, you will often see a salver with bread and lemons on the credence table.

That brings me to my next piece of news.  I received an email today, which intrigued me.

The life of the Christian is initiated with Baptism— and, believe it or not, with the help of LEMONS.

In addition to water and the word, which are essential, other sacramentals such as beeswax candles, exorcised salt, and sacred oils are employed for this ancient Rite. But when all is said and done, lemons serve a crucial role in “clean up” and assist the priest “purify” his fingers which are covered in Sacred Chrism and the Oil of the Catechumens. Lemons, with their natural dose of citric acid, help dissolve the “oiliness.” More than just primitive dish soap, their presence and use spoke of the dignity of the ceremonies. You see, lemons were neither inexpensive or easy to come by in Rome and ancient Europe, but when possible their help was employed. Centuries later this noble custom has been handed down and extended to three other Sacraments which likewise involve sacred anointings—Confirmations, Holy Orders and Extreme Unction.

So, sour lemons assist the sweet sublimity of the liturgy? Absolutely!

Lemons and Priestly vocations

As these fruits have helped Christians and the Church for centuries, a new Catholic company has emerged selling Lemons, along with witty Greeting Cards. Playing on the adage, “When life gives you lemons” any customer can do just that; Now you can send a card, with your custom note—and a real lemon—to family, friends, coworkers and more. Your lemon and message—a.k.a “Lem-Message”—is truly better than a greeting card. More than ensuring a laugh, the company CEO and founder, Joseph Janidlo, tithes proceeds from all lemon sales Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam. As for the other 90%, this will help him and his friends pursue their vocation as they save funds to enter seminary and, God-willing, become priests. With your help—when you purchase a Lem-Message— lemons will continue to assist the sacred liturgy and bring men to the Altar of God.

For more information, visit their website at www.lemonmessage.com/our-mission

Get into this one along with the


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. revjotwp says:

    Happy Wednesday,
    I had the privilege of chanting with Joseph Janidlo when he was a Brother with the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius. I always pictured him as more of a pomegranate kinda guy. Glad to see he’s still discerning, his presence lemon-ated holiness, I’ll keep praying for him.

  2. PostCatholic says:

    Life has a habit of being forgetful about the sugar required by erstwhile lemonade makers.

  3. Hidden One says:

    No sour grapes here!

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