Monday, August 23, 2004

21st Week in Ordinary Time

"I will set a sign among them." (Is 66:19)

Last Monday, I spent some time with the high school and young adult leaders of LJC Ministries, the youth and young adult ministry for the parishes of St. Lawrence the Martyr, St. Justin, and St. Clare. Of all the people there, I was one of the oldest! These young people, ranging in age from teens to early 20s, wanted to learn the skills of being leaders and preparers of prayer. We looked at four elements to pay attention to when preparing prayer: 1) what we see; 2) what we hear; 3) what we smell; and 4) what we do. Then we looked at how to mystagogically connect prayer to our daily lives. (Email me if you'd like a similar workshop for your leaders.)

These leaders were not going to let age stand in the way of learning new skills and taking on serious leadership roles in their communities. I was renewed by their excitement and encouraged by their spirit. They taught me that we need to stop saying that "youth are the church of tomorrow." They are the church now and they are ready to work.

This last Sunday, I prayed with the parish of St. Anthony at their 10a Mass. The first thing I noticed was the wonderful smiles several parishioners gave me as they greeted me just outside the door. I felt welcomed instantly, and that welcome continued inside. Though the pastor, Fr. George Mancha, was not presiding, he was there to greet everyone as they arrived. (He was also present at the end of Mass to greet everyone again as they left.) The presider continued that spirit of hospitality through his wonderful energy and passion in the liturgy. The Communion ministers especially were genuine signs of God's love through their warm smiles and gentle eye contact as they offered me the Body and Blood of Christ. St. Anthony of Padua is known for his teachings and his miracles. The people of the parish of St. Anthony can also be known for their embodied teaching that a genuine smile and generous welcome can be miracle enough to change a person's world.

The Diocese of San Jose has a new website! Same look. Check it out.

In this week's DSJ Liturgy Notes you'll find:

The signs of God's presence are everywhere. I hope this week you find those signs in welcoming smiles, miracles, and blessings.

Diana Macalintal
Associate for Liturgy