Once we have completed the Opening Rites of Mass, we sit for the beginning of the Liturgy of the Word, which may lead us to ask, “Why do we do all this standing, sitting and kneeling during the Mass?” The various postures at Mass are all very meaningful. Sitting is a posture of receiving. We sit to watch a movie or a sporting event. We sit in class to absorb a teacher’s lecture. And so we sit to listen or receive God’s Word.
The Liturgy of the Word provides the opportunity for the assembly to hear the Word of God proclaimed. The Second Vatican Council tells us that Christ is present in his word, “since it is he himself who speaks when the holy scriptures are read in the Church,” (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, par. 7). Therefore when the readings are proclaimed at Mass, Christ becomes truly present in this spoken word. The scriptures are no longer words on a page, but come alive for us in their proclamation! Click title to read more.
When we gather for a special meal that includes extended family such as at Thanksgiving or Christmas, we typically share family stories from the past, including those family members who have died. We reminisce about the good old days and the people who helped shape our family. In the Mass, the Liturgy of the Word creates a similar environment for us. Reading from both the Old and New Testaments, we share the collective memories of our past, stories of our spiritual ancestors and faith heroes, most especially Jesus. Click the title to read more.
Following the Penitential Act we say or more properly sing the Glory to God. This text recalls the song of the angels who appeared to the shepherds after Christ’s birth in Luke’s Infancy Narrative. The angel announces news of great joy for the people: “And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests,’” (Luke 2:13-14). Click the title to read more.
Our Mass is organized into two main sections, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, bookended by the Introductory Rites and the Concluding Rites. The Introductory Rites consist of the Sign of the Cross, Greeting, Penitential Act, Gloria (except during Lent and Advent) and the Collect or Opening Prayer. As soon as we begin Mass with the Sign of the Cross, we are already expressing our faith in the Trinity – God who is Father, Son and Spirit – reminding ourselves once again of our baptism when we were bathed in those transforming waters in the name of the Trinity. Click the title to read more.
At times I receive the well-intentioned suggestion from a parishioner that perhaps we need not sing every verse of a song at Mass – it makes the Mass too long. Perhaps this comment arises from a misunderstanding of why we sing at Mass at all. First, we sing not just to accompany some action (such as a procession) but also for a bigger purpose. Last week I wrote about the Opening Song at Mass. The intention of that song is to gather us from our disparate lives, having been apart from each other for a week, and bring us back into one community.
Now that we’ve come to Mass as fully prepared as possible, we are invited to stand (if we are able) and to join in singing our Opening Hymn. Our participation in this Opening Song, also sometimes called the “Gathering Song,” is extremely important. We have been apart from one another for a week. Now we assemble together again and we need something to bring us back together in spirit. At sports games we sing the National Anthem, at a wedding reception we might begin by toasting the couple and praying grace before the meal, in school we begin the day reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. These actions gather us together and unite us for the common activity we are about to undertake.
Granny's Attic has Returned! Your donations of gently used items are needed to make our Granny’s Attic thrift sale a real success! Collection Dates are August 5, 6, & 7 at the Parish Center. Items which attract the most attention are: collectibles, holiday items, home décor, kitchen ware and small appliances, glass and dish ware, linens, accessories & jewelry, toys, dolls, games, crafts, tools, power tools, sports equipment, small furniture, small electronics and more. Click the title for more information on drop off and sale days.
All of us know the need to prepare well for things we are asked to participate in. If we’re playing on a sports team, we prepare through practice, getting enough rest in advance and eating well. If we are performing in a theatrical production, we need to learn our lines, practice our stage directions and again approach our performance well-rested. Have a business presentation to give? This too takes preparation by making notes, preparing our powerpoint and even rehearsing our delivery. If we serve on a committee, we’re expected to prepare for meetings having done our previous tasks, reviewed minutes and agendas, and given some thought to what we might contribute to the discussion. Any activity involving our participation is always better when we are prepared! The same is true of our participation in the Sacred Liturgy, whether on Sundays or even weekdays. Click the title to read more.
Having celebrated the special Solemnities of the Most Holy Trinity and the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ these past two weekends, this Sunday we return to the Ordinary Time Sundays for the remainder of our Church’s Liturgical Year, which ends on November 20th with the celebration of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. “Ordinary Time” gets its name both from the fact that there are no special or particular liturgical celebrations or seasons for the remainder of the year, and because we count these weeks with “ordinal” numbers. Our liturgical color for our vestments is green – a color that dominates our landscape through summer into fall. Click the title for more.
This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (also known by its Latin name: Corpus Christi). This feast was introduced into the Church in the Thirteenth Century during a time when the legitimacy of the doctrine of the Real Presence (that Jesus is truly present, body, blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist) was being questioned. A priest traveling from Prague on a pilgrimage to had stopped in the town of Bolsena, Italy to celebrate Mass. As he was elevating the host during the consecration, the host suddenly appeared in a visible way as true flesh, sprinkled with red blood. This Eucharistic miracle inspired Pope Urban IV, who investigated and approved its legitimacy, to institute the Feast of Corpus Christi in 1264, commissioning Thomas Aquinas to compose prayers and music to celebrate the feast. The hymns, Tantum Ergo and O Salutaris that we use even today for Eucharistic Adoration, are among the fruits of Aquinas’ work in response to the Pope’s request. Click the title to read more.
Last weekend, Pentecost marked the end of the Easter Season, returning us to the liturgical season known as “Ordinary Time.” (See the column elsewhere in the bulletin that explains this more fully). Yet these next two Sundays, which follow Pentecost, are not simply Sundays of Ordinary Time, but have special significance as Solemnities of the Lord.
What is the meaning and purpose behind the Pentecost Sequence that follows the Second Reading? Sequences were chants in the form of liturgical poems used as hymns of joy following the final note of the Alleluia. At one time in our church’s liturgical history there were over 5,000 in existence. Most were abolished at the Council of Trent, and in our post-Vatican II Liturgy only four survive. Two are optional: for Corpus Christi (Lauda Sion) and Our Lady of Sorrows (Stabat Mater – the text of which is still used in the traditional song for Stations of the Cross); and two remain obligatory: the Easter Sequence (Victimae Paschali Laudes) and the Pentecost Sequence (Veni, Sancte Spiritus) which we hear in today’s Mass. They also now precede the Alleluia instead of concluding it. Click the title to read more.
Like married couples, it is customary for Priests to celebrate their 25th and 50th Anniversaries of Ordination, or in the case of Religious Sisters, Brothers and Priests, those Jubilee Anniversaries of their Solemn Profession. This weekend Fr. William Metzler celebrates his Golden Jubilee of Priesthood. His preparation for ministry included studies at public grammar and high schools, undergraduate studies at Boston College and two masters’ degrees from Niagara University. On May 27, 1922, Fr. Metzler was ordained to the priesthood in the Cathedral of St. Joseph by then Archbishop John Francis Whalen. Click the title to read more.
KC Council 2758 is offering post secondary education scholarships. These scholarships are intended for students and families who have demonstrated an active commitment to the Church. Students can obtain an application form and a list of criteria for the scholarship at the St. Mary’s office. The applications are due June 30th, 2022.
We have begun the process of searching for a new Youth Minister. A group of parents and teens have been meeting to brainstorm ideas on how we can shape our youth ministry program going forward. This group will assist Father Stephen in putting together a job description that will be used to search for candidates.
Sr. Maryann Cantlon, a team member from Holy Family Passionist Retreat Center, will offer a program focusing on the Samaritan woman at the well and her encounter with Jesus. She will discuss how the woman came to know who Jesus was. This Biblical scene from John becomes a way to nourish our faith. It will take place in the Upper Church and there will be a Q&A after the program.
Know God’s Word . . . Know God’s LOVE! The Archdiocese of Hartford has Bible studies for adult learners. The Biblical School is now enrolling virtual and in-person classes! Find out more at www.CatholicEdAOHCT.org, or contact us: email@example.com
As you’ve noticed from our bulletin cover we have a number of our parish youth receiving their Confirmation this Sunday afternoon at the Cathedral of St. Joseph, as well as two adults who will be Confirmed there on Tuesday evening. In our Catholic tradition, Confirmation is one of three Sacraments of Initiation, along with Baptism and Eucharist. Although in the early days of Christianity, these three Sacraments were celebrated in one event at the Easter Vigil, over time they became separated from one another for very practical reasons. Click the title to read more.
I remember as a child, my mother placing fresh flowers each day before the little statue of Mary she kept on her bedroom dresser. Whether they be forsythia, tree blossoms, irises or lily of the valley (all of which grew in our yard), Mary always had fresh flowers during the month of May. Why do we honor Mary with flowers during May? Many of our Christian customs have roots in pre-Christian celebrations. As the Christian faith was taught to peoples of different cultures, missionaries often took their local customs and connected them to Christian belief. In ancient Greece and Rome, the goddesses of fertility and blossoms were honored during the month of May as springtime brought fertility and new life. Click the title to read more.