Chicken McNuggets and Chuck. E Cheese

  • 18 February 2018 |

Dear Parishioners,

We all know how Chuck-E-Cheese works: you play games, earn tickets, and then, at the end of your time, use those tickets to redeem a prize. It's a fun place, but hopefully the concept is not something we maintain in our spiritual lives. That is, hopefully we don't see our spiritual endeavors as simply means to an end.

During this season of Lent, the Church proposes to us three special devotions: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. These are like the games at Chuck-E-Cheese. The temptation is to "do" these "things"—or anything in our faith lives, i.e., going to Mass, Confession, etc.—so we can get enough tickets to get to heaven. What a strenuous proposition! Does that mean if we eat a chicken McNugget on Friday we go to Hell?

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An Ordinary Lent

  • 18 February 2018 |

Lent is a time when we are conscientious of growing in holiness. We give something up or we do something positive. While these activities are all good, I think it might be helpful to hear some words from St. John Henry Newman's on perfection (another way of saying holiness):

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Reconciliation

  • 11 February 2018 |

Dear Parishioners,

In Ancient Israel, an individual with leprosy or any other skin malady was seen to be spiritually unclean. It was thus required for the infirm to go before a priest, be quarantined by the priest, and then ultimately be declared by the priest fit for worship. This is what we hear in our first reading from Leviticus, chapter 13.

Jesus continues this injunction when orders the healed leper to report to the priest (cf. Mk 1:40-45).

These readings can be seen as foundational for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Today's responsorial psalm also sets up the Catholic sacrament: “Then I acknowledged my sin to you, my guilt I covered not. I said, ‘I confess my faults to the LORD’, and you took away the guilt of my sin” (Ps 32).

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Song of Bernadette

  • 11 February 2018 |

Today, February 11th, is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, and it was worth reflecting a bit on this Marian apparition. Briefly, in 1858 the Virgin Mary appeared to a fourteen year old girl in the small town in southwest France. A spring of water miraculously formed where the Blessed Mother spoke, and to this day pilgrims travel to Lourdes to drink and bathe in this healing water.

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A Problem We Want

  • 04 February 2018 |

Dear Parishioners,

How I wish we had the problem today that is present in our Gospel this Sunday! “The whole town was gathered at the door” (Mk 1:33). Jesus is so successful preaching and healing that he can barely move. He has no time for himself. He runs off early in the morning to a quiet place to pray. But even this doesn't work. “Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, ‘Everyone is looking for you.’” (Mk 1:36-37).

These people wanted Jesus so badly. They pursued him relentlessly. Why? Because Jesus is good for them. He is good for us. Jesus makes us whole. He heals us. He inspires us to be better people. He unites us to the Father, which is our ultimate purpose and fulfillment. “Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted (Ps 147).”

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Parts of the Mass (4)

  • 04 February 2018 |

The third part of the Mass is the Liturgy of the Eucharist. In my previous article, I talked about an aspect of this, particularly the Eucharistic Prayer. Today, I’m going to focus on the Communion Rite, which begins with the Our Father.

3. Liturgy of the Eucharist (continued)

The Lord’s Prayer: The priest gives the invitation to prayer and all the faithful say the “Our Father” with him. Then the priest alone says the embolism, which is a prayer asking for deliverance from the power of evil for the whole community. Afterwards, the congregation concludes this prayer with the doxology, "For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever."

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Parts of the Mass (3)

  • 21 January 2018 |

Today, I’m going to talk about the third part of the Mass.

3. Liturgy of the Eucharist

Presentation of the Gifts: Representatives of the congregation bring forth the bread and wine that will become the Body and Blood of Christ. The ushers bring forth the collection.

The Eucharistic CelebrationPreparation of the Altar: The altar servers bring the Roman Missal (book with prayers), chalices (cups for wine), ciboriums (vessels with hosts), bread, wine, and water to the altar. The deacon or the priest pours wine into the chalices and adds a drop of water into the celebrant’s chalice. This mingling of water and wine signifies the union of Christ’s divinity and humanity.

Eucharistic Prayer: This is the center and high point of the entire celebration. In this prayer, the celebrant acts in the person of Christ as head of his body, the Church. It includes the following eight elements:

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Parts of the Mass (2)

  • 14 January 2018 |

Today, I’m going to talk about the second part of the Mass.

2. Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: On Sundays, this reading is usually taken from one of the books of the Old Testament, except in the season of Easter. The place used by the lectors to read the Scriptures at Mass is called the ambo.

Responsorial Psalm: After the First Reading, a cantor sings the Psalm chosen according to the liturgical celebration. The congregation participates in the meditation of the Word of God by singing the response to the Psalm.

Second Reading: This reading is always taken from one of the Letters in the New Testament. The book that lectors use to proclaim the Word of God at Mass is called the Lectionary. At the end of the First and Second Readings, the assembly honors the Word of God just received by responding, “Thanks be to God.”

Gospel Acclamation: The assembly, standing, sings the Alleluia, followed by a verse from the Scriptures. The Alleluia is sung every Sunday of the liturgical year, except in Lent.

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Parts of the Mass (1)

  • 07 January 2018 |

Today and for the next four Sundays, we’ll be highlighting the various parts of the Mass in this column. These short explanations will hopefully enlighten your understanding of each unique moment in our liturgical celebration and help encourage you to participate in a more conscious way, uniting your voice to that of the whole community of St. Juliana, to praise, adore and give thanks to God.

The Mass is divided into four basic parts: Introductory Rites, Liturgy of the Word, Liturgy of the Eucharist, and Concluding Rites.

1. Introductory Rites

The Entrance: When people are gathered, the commentator reads the opening comment that introduces the faithful to the Mass of the day. Then, as the priest, deacon and ministers enter into the church, the Entrance Chant or hymn begins. The Altar Servers carry the processional cross and the candles. The deacon (or the lector when there is no deacon) carry the Book of the Gospels.

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Holy Days of Obligation

  • 16 December 2017 |

Catholics are expected to attend Mass every Sunday because “the Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practices,” as it is written in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2181. Our communal participation in the Sunday Eucharist is also “a testimony of belonging and of being faithful to Christ and to his Church.” Thus, Sunday is the primordial holy day of obligation. However, there are other days of obligation every year, such as the Immaculate Conception, the Nativity of the Lord, Mary Mother of God, the Epiphany, the Ascension of the Lord, Corpus Christi, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and All Saints. Some of these celebrations have been moved to Sunday in order to promote the participation of the faithful, while others remain on the specific dates on which they have been established.

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