Tuesday, September 28, 2004

26th Week in Ordinary Time

Haiti struggles to survive after floodsI saw a TV news report on the devastating floods in Haiti this past week. Over 1500 people have died and as many are still missing from the floods left behind by hurricane Jeanne. The news report showed images of relief workers throwing small bags of rice from the back of a truck into a chaotic sea of people, arms stretched out in despair and fear of starvation. As these bags of rice fell into the crowd, people fought over them, trying to rip the white bags from the arms of desperate women and men searching for food to feed their children. I stared at this image and had a sickening feeling—“I’ve seen something like this before.” Bonds #700Then the irony hit me. A few weeks ago I saw a similar mob scene on TV, arms frantically waving, people shoving and pushing each other. But this time, the small white bag was a baseball and the frenzy was over who would lay claim to Barry Bonds’ #700 homerun ball.

Strange how we can fight over things that seem so important to us when on the other side of the country, people are fighting just to survive.

Sunday Eucharist shows us the things that are worth struggling for—welcome and respect for all people, unity and solidarity with the poor and the least, care for each other, remembrance of our past, hope for the future, food for everyone. Eucharist is where we practice unconditional welcome, respect, care, and love for all people and all life. In this way, we experience the reign of God—where every tear will be wiped away—and thus are sent to be the reign of God for those for whom a bag of rice is worth more than any baseball.

Last week, I joined in prayer with Judy Swazey, the liturgist at St. Martin of Tours, to celebrate with her family and friends the funeral Mass of her mother, Betty Frances Flyger. Throughout the liturgy, Judy’s consistent care for life and for all creation was evident in the way she greeted every person, in how the environment expressed the simple and genuine beauty of nature, in how the presider, their pastor Fr. Jack Bonsor, gently guided visitors and those unfamiliar with the Catholic liturgy through the actions of the ritual, in how the lector was chosen not just for her relationship with the family but for her ability to proclaim the Word of God with power, comfort, and strength, and in how the music was familiar to all so that the sound of the singing assembly could embrace those who were silent with grief.

After the opening prayer of the Mass and all were seated, Judy shared some words of reflection and eulogy about her mother. She described how she had seen her mother throughout her life live the Catholic call to care and respect for all creation. For me, Judy herself, through the committed and gentle care-giving she had shown her mother during her long illness, is an icon of that respect for life. After her reflection, a projection screen accompanied by soft instrumental music by the pianist showed pictures of Betty’s life. Then after a brief silence, the lector proclaimed the first reading. (There was no eulogy after Communion which allowed the ritual to flow smoothly from our sharing at the table to our farewell and leave-taking of our sister Betty.)

In this week’s DSJ Liturgy Notes, you’ll find:

This week let us struggle for the things that truly matter and reverence Christ who lives in every human being.

Diana Macalintal
Associate for Liturgy


Liturgical Coordinators Gathering

you are not aloneYou are never alone when you work as a liturgist. If you coordinate the liturgy, you are invited to gather with others who know your joys and hopes, your fears and tribulations, your long hours for the sheer love of it all.

Liturgical Coordinators Gathering
Wednesday, October 6, 2004
10a - 12p
Santa Teresa Parish

Free lunch for all participants!
Please RSVP by Oct. 4 with Rebeca Aldaz or 408-983-0126.

Come for the sharing of questions and concerns, stay for the food and good company.


3 More Simple Things You Can Do This Sunday to Improve Your Liturgy

1) Lectors, Music Ministers, and Homilists: Use silence.

Liturgy is a fluid balance of tensions—light and darkness, movement and stillness, sound and silence. When I was taking piano lessons, my teacher taught me that when I sit down at the piano bench, before I begin any piece and after I end it, I must let there be silence and stillness, because you can’t have music unless you have silence. There’s a musical axiom that says that the secret to making music is to pay attention to the space between the notes.

The Word of God needs silence for it to speak. This is because we hear God’s Word only when we are attentive to it, and attention to the Word needs to begin with silence and stillness and focus. Silence in the Liturgy of the Word is not just a good idea; it’s required. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 56 says:
The Liturgy of the Word is to be celebrated in such a way as to promote meditation, and so any sort of haste that hinders recollection must clearly be avoided. During the Liturgy of the Word, it is also appropriate to include brief periods of silence, accommodated to the gathered assembly, in which, at the prompting of the Holy Spirit, the word of God may be grasped by the heart and a response through prayer may be prepared. It may be appropriate to observe such periods of silence, for example, before the Liturgy of the Word itself begins, after the first and second reading, and lastly at the conclusion of the homily.
Lectors: Wait until the assembly has settled back into the pews and has become still before you begin the first reading. Wait until you have their attention. This is especially critical if your parish does children’s Liturgy of the Word and the children have just processed out. Wait at least 30 seconds after the last note of the psalm before you begin the second reading. Give several seconds of silence before you say “The Word of the Lord.”

Music Ministers: Wait at least 30 seconds after the assembly’s “Thanks be to God” before you stand to begin the psalm or the Gospel acclamation. In Advent and Lent, wait even longer.

Homilists: After your homily, sit down and let the assembly soak in the Word that has been proclaimed and preached. Give at least 30 seconds of silence before you begin the Profession of Faith.

2) Music Ministers: Be fully participating members of the assembly.

Your primary role at Mass is first as assembly members, secondarily as music ministers. Have your instruments, mics, music binders, and song books well prepared before Mass so that when the assembly is invited with “Let us pray,” you can actually pray. Wait until transitional moments, such as when the assembly is changing posture or when the lector is moving to the ambo, to turn your music pages to the next song. During the readings and prayers, do not tune your instruments, adjust the mics, or flip through your music books, but give your full attention to the ritual action taking place at that moment. You are often in a visibly prominent place, and any extraneous movement from you will make the assembly focus on you. Even if you are not in a visible place, you should still be fully focused on praying and attentively listening as part of the assembly.

3) Celebrants and Deacons: Be a good example for the assembly.

Because you are in front of the entire assembly, all your actions will be seen by them. If you are not singing, you are telling the assembly that it’s okay not to sing. If you are slouching or looking distracted during the readings, you are teaching the assembly to do the same. In the same way, your good example will encourage the assembly to follow your lead. Where you focus your attention will be where the assembly looks.

One note of caution that I also give to cantors and music ministers: Contrary to belief, singing louder into a microphone doesn’t encourage the assembly to sing more. It does the opposite. Do not overpower the assembly with your microphone. Turn off your microphone during the psalm and other sung acclamations, but don’t turn off your voice. Sing all the acclamations with the assembly and let your voice blend with theirs. Remember that you preside not only with your voice but with your actions. When the assembly sees you singing, they will want to sing too.


Have You Celebrated the Rite of Acceptance Yet?

ack!If you haven't yet celebrated the Rite of Acceptance with your would-be catechumens, you're technically already too late to consider baptizing them next Easter. Easter is very early next year--March 27, 2005. This means Lent and the Rite of Election are early too--1st Sunday of Lent is February 13, 2005.

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults National Statutes (US regulations for the RCIA) paragraph 6 says:

The period of catechumenate, beginning at the acceptance into the order of catechumens and including both the catechumenate proper and the period of purification and enlightenment after election or enrollment of names, should extend for at least one year of formation, instruction, and probation. Ordinarily this period should go from at least the Easter season of one year until the next; preferably it should begin before Lent in one year and extend until Easter of the following year.
What this means is that you should have been celebrating the Rite of Acceptance last February! Catechumens normatively should participate in the catechumenate for at least one year before they are baptized. Even those who celebrate the Rite of Acceptance now would be short-changed their right to a full catechumenate if they are baptized at Easter 2005.

As a diocese, we haven't been very careful about following this practice, and many catechumens have gone through a "fast track" catechumenate. (I know of some catechumens who celebrated the Rite of Acceptance the week before the Rite of Election!! Talk about fast!) As pastoral as it might seem to do this, it really isn't fair for the catechumens or for the church. Becoming disciples, falling in love, and making commitments take time. Both the catechumen and the church need at least one full year to make the genuine commitment that initiation requires.

So that all our catechumens can experience the fullness of the liturgical year and all our parishes can take adequate time to really know their catechumens, we'll be working toward a goal of at least a one-year catechumenate for anyone celebrating the Rite of Election. (Remember that the period of the catechumenate has no set time-line and needs to be accomodated to the readiness of the catechumen.) Because of the early Easter in 2005, it won't be an expectation until Easter 2006 that most of your catechumens will have been in the catechumenate for at least a year, but I'm giving you fair warning so you can start planning now. (Easter Sunday 2006 is April 16; 1st Sunday of Lent 2006 is March 5).

Remember that you can celebrate the Rite of Acceptance several times throughout the year as inquirers become ready to enter the catechumenate. If you don't already have 3 or 4 dates scheduled for the upcoming year, sit down with your pastoral staff and parish calendar now and reserve some possible dates for this rite. The majority of those who will celebrate the Rite of Election in 2006 need to celebrate the Rite of Acceptance before Easter Sunday of 2005 (March 27, 2005) if the initiation process is to have its fullest effect on both catechumens and the faithful.

If you have questions about this, let me know at Macalintal@dsj.org.

A Retreat for Initiation Ministers

making disciplesGive your Initiation teams an early Christmas present. Villa Holy Names is offering a retreat day for ministers of initiation on October 23, 2004, 9a to 4p. This is an opportunity for parish teams working with the RCIA process to gather for spiritual renewal and mutual support. Practical ideas for implementing the Rite will be presented by members of SNJM FIRE for Ministry experienced in this ministry. The keynote speaker will be Miriam Malone, SNJM who is a Team Member for the North American Forum on the Catechumenate.

Gathering for Ministers of Initiation
Saturday, October 23, 2004, 9a - 4p
Villa Holy Names Spirituality Center for Life and Learning
82 Prospect Avenue, Los Gatos, CA 95030

To register: (408) 354-2312 or jmvillalg@yahoo.com
$35.00 includes lunch

The schedule for the day
  • 9:00 - Arrival
  • 9:15 - Keynote: “Living the Paschal Mystery” Miriam Malone, SNJM
  • 10:15 - Break
  • 10:40 - “The Art of Listening/The Gift of Sharing” Mary Ann Connell, SNJM
  • 11:15 - Break Out Sessions
  • A. Liturgical Catechesis: The Dismissal (experienced team members) Connell
  • B. Overview of the Initiation Process/Principles (beginners) Malone
  • 12:30 - Lunch
  • 1:45 - Break Out Sessions
  • A. Liturgical Catechesis: The Dismissal (beginners) Connell
  • B. Dialog: Implementing the Rite (experienced team members) Malone
  • 2:45 - Break
  • 3:00 - Group Dialog and Open Forum/Q and A
  • 3:45 - Closing Ritual


Respect Life Month: Life and Dignity of the Human Person

Lola and ColeOctober is traditionally a time to reflect on issues of life and the dignity of all human beings at all stages and circumstances of life. As liturgists, we have a responsibility to be attentive to these issues while at the same time respecting the liturgical calendar. A good liturgical principle to keep in mind is trust the liturgical calendar and the liturgy to speak to the issues that face the church today. Tacking things and issues onto the Sunday Mass without working to integrate them into the Lectionary cycle and the primary issue of every Mass—the Paschal Mystery—only makes for a disjointed ritual. With this in mind, read what the Church teaches about these life issues and begin with the readings of the October Sundays to see how those scripture passages, as well as the ritual actions and symbols of the Mass, challenge all the baptized to respect life.

Be careful to look at the complete teaching of the Church on the issues of life, what Cardinal Bernardin called the “seamless garment.” And don't forget that every liturgy of the year, not just October, is meant to call all the baptized to a deeper respect for life.

The Catholic Church upholds a consistent life ethic that can be outlined in this way:

  • Each human life is sacred and is to be protected and honored, from the moment of its conception to its natural end.
  • The protection of human life is a matter of biblical justice. In order for society to be just, it must work for the protection of life in all situations.
  • All issues that deal with the growth, development and protection of persons are intimately related to one another and thus should be addressed as one over-arching issue. The individual issues form a “seamless garment” and cannot not be separated, one from another.

Some of these interrelated issues of life are:

Below are some reflection questions that stem from this Sunday's readings and try to connect our social teaching with our world’s relevant issues of life.

October 2, 2004 – 27th Sunday Ordinary Time
“Destruction and violence are before me?” “For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice….” “We have done what we were obliged to do.”

What are our obligations as Catholics? Are we afraid to stand up in our homes, schools, workplaces, and communities when racial jokes are made, bullies pick on the weak, or when someone litters. Is there abuse in our homes, physical, sexual, or mental? Do we provide safe places and our presence for those abused or depressed? Do we pray for the life of the death row inmate as well as the unborn? Do our homilies and prayers address the real-life concerns and moments of grace of this particular community, or do they sound generic and canned? Do we relegate parents and children to "cry rooms" and make them feel guilty for restless children? Or do we welcome children of all temperaments and assist weary parents by providing child care during Mass, adequate space in restrooms for babies' needs, and caring responsible adults to help parents ease agitated children?

From “Sharing Catholic Social Teaching” by the US Bishops:

Life and Dignity of the Human Person
In a world warped by materialism and declining respect for human life, the Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. Our belief in the sanctity of human life and the inherent dignity of the human person is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching. In our society, human life is under direct attack from abortion and assisted suicide. The value of human life is being threatened by increasing use of the death penalty. The dignity of life is undermined when the creation of human life is reduced to the manufacture of a product, as in human cloning or proposals for genetic engineering to create “perfect” human beings. We believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.
Other Church statements and resources

Sample Intercessions for October 3, 2004

27th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year C
October 3, 2004

Things, events, and news items to keep in mind:
  • Click here for this Sunday's readings.
  • October 3 is Respect Life Sunday.
  • Over 1500 killed in floods in Haiti.
  • Hostages killed in Iraq.
  • Hurricane victims recovering.
  • Farmers begin the fall harvest.
  • Nation prepares for presidential debates.

The following are just samples meant to inspire your work. Use them as ideas for your own assembly's intercessions. Read 10 Principles for Writing Intercessions and Step by Step Guide to help you write your own.

Trusting all things to God, let us lift up the needs of the world.


For the Church (pause):
for clear vision of God’s reign;
for faithfulness to the Gospel amid destruction and violence;
for the spirit of power and love and self-control dwelling within us.
We pray to the Lord.

For world leaders and those in authority (pause):
for an end to strife and clamorous discord;
for a commitment to life in every social activity;
for a generous sharing and responsible use of resources.
We pray to the Lord.

For victims of violence (pause):
for those abused who suffer silently;
for those caught in storm, flood, fire, and quake;
for those struggling to be born and those struggling to survive.
We pray to the Lord.

For farmers, migrant workers, and all who feed and serve us (pause):
for a bountiful harvest;
for a just wage and safe work places;
for satisfaction in their labor and re-creative rest.
We pray to the Lord.

For our parish community (pause):
for faith enough to move mountains of injustice;
for courage enough to proclaim our faith in Christ;
for love enough to do what we are obliged to do.
We pray to the Lord.

Through Word and Sacrament, spirit and faith,
you have given us all we need to be your servants, O Lord our God.
Hear the cries of violence that pierce the clouds,
and look upon the ruin of our lands.
In your mercy, increase our faith and make us people of life
that we may press on to the fulfillment of your kingdom
and the vision of your reign.
We ask them through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Tuesday, September 21, 2004

25th Week in Ordinary Time

James P. McEntee, Sr. Born April 9, 1931. Died September 13, 2004.Last Monday, one of our Church’s best took his place with the circle of saints. Jim McEntee spent his life preaching the Gospel. Once in a while, he used words to do it. He advocated for the poor, he marched for peace, he helped warring factions reconcile, he sheltered the homeless, he welcomed orphans into his family, he fed anyone who was hungry.

At his funeral, two of his children spoke. The last several days they had heard stories about Jim, the voice for the poor. But to them, he was always just “dad.” He sang to them silly songs, taught them how to drive, and barbequed in the backyard for family and friends. But he also taught them to care for the earth, for each other, and for those in need. One of them said that he and his brothers and sisters would join their dad on his various rallies. “Growing up, I didn’t realize that most 7-year olds didn’t go on marches with their father and Cesar Chavez every weekend.”

The way Jim taught his children was the same way he preached the Gospel—not by words alone but by actions. And he did it not always with extravagant deeds but with a consistent and integrated lifestyle, one he learned by praying and living the Eucharist week after week. For his kids, he was a hero not for his extraordinary works of justice but for his everyday simple acts of love. For the forgotten of society, he was a companion not because he conquered unjust systems but because he was and asked us all to be good stewards of our resources. For our Church, he exemplified Gospel values because he encountered Christ not simply in church but in every person he met.

As liturgists, we can learn much from Jim McEntee. The main thing we can learn is that no matter how good our catechesis is, no matter how many bulletin inserts we make, no matter how much we try to explain the meaning of symbols, our actions in the liturgy (and outside of it) week after week will teach louder and deeper than any of our words. One extraordinary liturgy might leave an impression, but good, solid, genuine, simple liturgy week in and week out will change lives. We may work many hours to craft just the right prayers and homilies, to clothe the church with beautiful environment, or to get our harmonies perfect. But often it’s the things that we don’t pay attention to that will catechize over the long run. The liturgy will always teach. Our job is to make sure that what it communicates is what we intend it to teach.

In the weeks to come as we enter the last part of this liturgical year, let us look at our liturgical actions and practices, especially the ones we do out of habit. What do we teach by our actions, on purpose and unwittingly? How can we make the actions that we do, in and out of liturgy, match the words we pray and preach?

Last Sunday, I gathered with the community at Santa Teresa for their 8:30a Mass. Their integrity in worship was evident in the warm welcome everyone shared, in the strong singing by the entire assembly, in the way the last rows of the church were the first to be invited to the table at Communion, and the gracious fellowship after Mass. One of the things that I’ve taken for granted but at this celebration re-learned so clearly happened at the commissioning of catechists after the homily. On this Catechetical Sunday, it was not the religious education teachers who were asked to stand but the parents, grandparents, and godparents. All these years, we’ve been trying to get parents to believe that they are the first and most important catechists of their children. Yet each year, these primary catechists often get overlooked on this Catechetical Sunday. The community of Santa Teresa practiced what they preach and invited these “first teachers of their children” to recommit themselves to the work of handing on the faith. Congratulations to Santa Teresa and their pastor, Fr. Christopher Bennett, for teaching us how to preach the Gospel and when necessary, to use words.

In this week’s DSJ Liturgy Notes, you’ll find:

This week let us remember Jim McEntee and all who have taught us our faith, and let us be attentive to all the different ways we teach and communicate that faith. See you at the Justice Symposium this Saturday!

Diana Macalintal
Associate for Liturgy


Monday, September 20, 2004

3 Simple Things You Can Do This Sunday to Improve your Liturgy

1) Music ministers: Start the Communion song immediately.

When I first became a music minister, our choir didn’t want to begin the Communion song until “after Father did his Communion.” Twenty-five years later, most music ministers are still “waiting for Father.” The “Lamb of God” ends, the priest says, “Behold the Lamb of God...” and the assembly responds, “Lord, I am not worthy....” Then there’s a span of silence while everyone watches the priest take his Communion. Sometimes, this silence continues as we watch the priest distribute Communion to the Communion ministers.

No matter what the reason is—respect for the priest, not having music ready, or “we’ve always done it that way”—delaying the start of the Communion song breaks down the flow of the Communion Rite and, worse, immediately puts the assembly into a passive mode at the very climax of the Mass. Further, and perhaps more harmful, it subliminally teaches that Father’s Communion is different and perhaps “more special” than anyone else’s. Yet, Communion by its very definition cannot be individualistic, nor can it make distinctions among the members of the faithful. There are not two Communions—the priest’s and mine, or even yours and mine; there is only one Communion—ours with Christ. This is why the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 86, says:
While the priest is receiving the Sacrament, the Communion chant is begun. Its purpose is to express the communicants’ union in spirit by means of the unity of their voices, to show joy of heart, and to highlight more clearly the ‘communitarian’ nature of the procession to receive Communion. (emphasis added)
The Communion song accompanies the action of sharing Communion. This action formally begins after the invitation to the table: “Behold, the Lamb of God….” Thus, the Communion song must begin immediately after the assembly’s response to that invitation: “Lord, I am not worthy….” Prepare your music binder and songbooks before Mass so that you can begin the Communion song at the right time.

2) Celebrants: Give your chalice to the assembly.

Just as delaying the start of the Communion song makes distinctions between the “priest’s Communion” and the assembly’s, not using the main chalice as one of the cups for the assembly subconsciously teaches that “Father’s cup” is more special and shouldn’t be touched by anyone else. I know no one wants to teach that, but our actions teach better than our words and intentions.

Avoid reserving the main chalice for the presider alone. Use it as one of the cups distributed to the assembly during Communion. The same goes for the main paten.

3) All liturgical ministers: Smile and look pleasant while you’re doing your ministry.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating for cheesy Miss America grins plastered on your face while you proclaim the reading or distribute Communion or whatever your ministry is. I’m only asking that if you believe the Gospel—that is, the “Good News”—then let your face and demeanor show it! As the saying goes, “Preach the Gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.” Your face and your body do preach. The way your face looks when you say “The Word of the Lord” or “The Body of Christ” helps communicate your belief in what you’re saying. Singing and believing “Alleluia,” which means “Praise the Lord,” starts with your face. Energy, joy, and faith are infectious. Express them with your whole body.


Actions Speak Louder: Evaluating How Well Your Liturgy Speaks

blah blahOne important liturgical principle to remember is that the liturgy always speaks and teaches something. Ask any 5-year old. She will tell you what the liturgy taught her. For example, the liturgy is saying something when only the priest drinks from the cup and the assembly is given only the hosts. It teaches something if all the liturgical ministers are of one gender or one ethnicity or one age group.

The Office for Social Justice for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has put together a liturgy assessment tool to help you evaluate how well your liturgies teach social justice. Click here to use this self-assessment tool for your Sunday worship. They also have self-assessment tools for preaching, religious education, and other areas of parish life.


An Easter Vigil Reminder

Easter Triduum
Thursday to Sunday, March 24 - 27, 2005

The Easter Triduum is the culmination of the entire liturgical year. It begins with the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper. reaches its high point in the Easter Vigil, and closes with evening prayer on Easter Sunday. Between the Mass of the Lord's Supper and the Easter Vigil, Mass may not be celebrated. The Easter Vigil must begin after nightfall. Nightfall begins on this day at 6:51 p.m. for San Jose. Thus Easter Vigil for 2005 may not begin before 7:00 p.m.

In the United States, although it is never permitted to celebrate the entire Easter Vigil more than once in a given church or to anticipate the Mass of Easter before the vigil, in those places where the local Ordinary permits the anticipation of Sunday Masses on Saturday evening, for pastoral reasons an additional Mass may be celebrated after the Mass of the Easter Vigil. Such a Mass may follow the liturgy of the word of the Mass of the Easter Vigil and other texts of that Mass and should include the renewal of baptismal promises (Sacramentary, Easter Sunday, During the Night, Easter Vigil, #3).
In the Diocese of San Jose, parishes may not celebrate more than one Easter Vigil. This means that on March 26, 2005, no Mass may be celebrated before the Easter Vigil, and there may be only one Service of Light (blessing of fire, first lighting of Easter Candle, and exsultet) and one blessing of the baptismal font per parish. The initiation of Elect ideally takes place at the one parish Easter Vigil though it may also be celebrated on Easter Sunday for pastoral reasons, and initiation sacraments are appropriately celebrated throughout the Easter season. Any additional Masses on the night of March 26, 2005 must be celebrated after the parish's one Easter Vigil and do not include the Service of Light or the blessing of the water in the baptismal font.


Upcoming Events and Workshops

angry bovine
The California Cows® will be very upset if you miss these local workshops and events. Pull out your calendar and mark down these dates now!

September 25, 8a - 4:30p
Justice Symposium, Santa Clara University

October 6, 10a - 12p
Liturgical Coordinators Gathering, Santa Teresa
FREE LUNCH for all attendees!!!

October 20, 9:30a - 2p
Monthly Day of Prayer and Renewal for Women, Villa Holy Names Spiritual Center
Contact: JMVILLALG@yahoo.com or 408-354-2312

October 21, 7p - 9:30p
Cantor Workshop, St. Francis of Assisi

October 23, 9a - 4p
Gathering for Ministers of Initiation, Villa Holy Names Spiritual Center

October 26, 7p - 9:30p
Lector Workshop, Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph

Seek and Ye Shall Find: Parish Classifieds

Position Opening

Music Director for Holy Spirit Parish
A full time position serving the needs of Holy Spirit School and Church. 60% School position, 3 days per week full benefits. 40% Church position. Salary based on diocesan teacher scale and diocesan guidelines commensurate with experience.

Music Teacher/Director - Holy Spirit School
The Music Teacher/Director teaches all aspect of music, including music appreciation, composers, vocalization and musical notation to grades K-6. He/she prepares and teaches the music selected by the teachers and/or religion coordinator for all school liturgies and prayer services. He/she is significantly involved in the planning and moderates the school choir and prepares these students for the Annual Diocesan Choral Festival.

Music Director - Holy Spirit Church
The Music Director works with parish choirs, cantors and instrumentalists. This includes practice, direct, train, and recruit personnel. This director also orders, selects and coordinates music and oversees and reviews copyrights. He/she represents the parish music team at the parish, Diocesan and Regional meetings. He/she develops and manages volunteers for music-related tasks, i.e., schedule music ministers, select, file and maintain music in the music library. Interfaces with staff and volunteers to assist with music needs of parish programs (supplemental liturgies, RCIA, Catechetics, Youth Ministry). The Music Director performs as a functioning member of the Liturgy Committee.

BA/Credential required. Liturgical music background, practical experience in parish liturgy, emphasis on keyboard expertise, choir direction and work with instrumentalists, organizational and computer skills.

Send resume to:
Eileen Beck, Principal, Holy Spirit School
1198 Redmond Avenue, San Jose, CA 95120
email: Eileen.Beck@holyspirit-school.org

Sample Intercessions for September 26, 2004

26th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year C
September 26, 2004

Things, events, and news items to keep in mind:

  • Click here for this Sunday's readings.
  • Hostages in Iraq taken and killed.
  • Road rage leads to murder at SF Giants game.
  • Flooding in Haiti kills 600.
  • James P. McEntee, civil rights leader in Santa Clara, dies.
  • Moon Festival celebrated on September 28 in Chinese and Vietnamese communities.
  • Nation prepares for presidential debates.

The following are just samples meant to inspire your work. Use them as ideas for your own assembly's intercessions.

Trusting all things to God, let us lift up the needs of the world.


For the Church (pause):
for faithfulness to God's commandment;
for noble confession of faith under persecution and trial;
for ceaseless work in the pursuit of dignity and human rights for all people.
We pray to the Lord.

For national leaders and all in power (pause):
for eyes to see the lowly poor;
for ears to hear their cries for justice;
for hands to feed and hearts to heal.
We pray to the Lord.

For those whose lives are daily suffering (pause):
for those recovering from hurricanes;
for those living and stationed in war-torn countries;
for victims of poverty, disease, and abuse.
We pray to the Lord.

For families gathering for festivals and reunions (pause):
for Asians celebrating the Moon Festival this week;
for Jewish communities completing High Holy Days;
for joy, reconciliation, and peace.
We pray to the Lord.

For our parish community (pause):
for strengthened mission in preaching the Gospel;
for pursuit of righteousness, devotion, and faith;
for love, patience, and gentleness in all things.
We pray to the Lord.

Blessed are you, Lord, for you lift up the poor and raise the lowly from the dust.
Hear our cries and remember your faithfulness.
In your mercy, make us people of justice
that we may come to your heavenly home where Lazarus weeps no longer.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Monday, September 13, 2004

24th Week of Ordinary Time

Olympics closing ceremony 2004Do you remember the closing ceremonies of this year’s Olympics? The stadium floor was transformed into a field of wheat, and running down the middle was a long table. As the wheat was harvested, a colorful group of people, young and old, began setting the table. They flung brightly colored cloths over it and passed baskets and plates filled with food up and down the length of the table, making sure everyone could easily be fed. Then they invited the harvesters, carrying sheaves of wheat, to join them. Soon, tourists from every nation found their way to the feast, and all ate their fill as they recounted stories of hardship and abundance, war and peace, darkness and light. Later that night, athletes from every corner of the earth surrounded that table, draping the entire stadium with their brightly colored flags, sharing their own stories of triumph and defeat, and each carrying a stalk of wheat—a reminder of the feast they had shared with the world during the last 16 days.

Love presides over the feastI watched these ceremonies that night, and as the banquet grew and the sense of feasting engulfed the entire stadium, I yelled out to my TV, “Now that’s Eucharist!” That sense of joy and hope even amid strife and fear, the care for the land and gratitude for its riches, the welcome of strangers and nourishment of both body and spirit, the genuine feeling of community regardless of skin color, gender, age, or accomplishment, the infectious desire to share what was happening with everyone else in that stadium and across the globe—shouldn’t our Sunday Mass do the same thing? For 16 days, a community of people, each struggling “to finish the race and wear the crown” inspired children and adults watching at home to reach for a goal, no matter how impossible it might seem. Doesn’t our Eucharist send us out to do the same? Go, be light for the world and salt for the earth. Go, just as I have done, so you must do. Go, love and serve the Lord.

Every Sunday, we too prepare a feast. We too bring the fruit of the earth and the work of our hands and offer a sacrifice of praise. We too make a place at the table for stranger and friend, rival and teammate, tourist just passing through and life-long neighbor. And we too strive to make the impossible a reality, so that a world at war might live in peace.

In this week’s DSJ Liturgy Notes, you’ll find several articles to help you connect what we do at Mass with what we do in our daily lives:

The transforming event of the summer Olympics happens only every four years. But we have the life-changing power of the Eucharist every week. Every Sunday, if even for an hour, we have another chance to make the impossible happen—to shout to all the world—“This is Eucharist! Here, you are family! Here, you are fed!” Let us each do our best to bring that unity and mission of Christ into every part of our daily lives.

Diana Macalintal
Associate for Liturgy

A Place at the Table: What Liturgy Teaches us about Politics

Faithful CitizenshipSome might say that politics has no place in liturgy. Of course, the liturgy is not the place for campaign speeches, nor will the Catholic Church ever endorse one party over another. Yet, if the liturgy is not political—that is, if it does not influence our political life—then it is as if we are simply fulfilling rubrics rather than living out what Mass teaches us to do.

The United States Bishops, in their statement Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility, say it this way:

For Catholics, a special table—the altar of sacrifice, where we celebrate the Eucharist—is where we find the direction and strength to take what we believe into the public square, using our voices and votes to defend life, advance justice, pursue peace, and find a place at the table for all God's children.
At the table of the Eucharist, we learn how to be faithful citizens of both the City of God and cities of our nation. At the altar, we place human rights before personal and corporate greed. By our baptism, we announce life for the dying, mercy for the sinner, and dignity for all. Most importantly, liturgy teaches us that every person matters and every member has a job to do.

Participation is an obligation
Catholics are obligated to participate in Sunday Mass not because God is keeping score, but because “participation in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is a testimony of belonging and of being faithful to Christ and to his Church” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2182). Participating in the Eucharist shows we are citizens with the saints of heaven. It is a visible sign that we are committed to building the kingdom of God. In a similar way, “participation in the political process is a moral obligation. All believers are called to faithful citizenship, to become informed, active, and responsible participants in the political process. As we have said, ‘We encourage all citizens, particularly Catholics, to embrace their citizenship not merely as a duty and privilege, but as an opportunity meaningfully to participate [more fully] in building the culture of life. Every voice matters in the public forum. Every vote counts. Every act of responsible citizenship is an exercise of significant individual power.’ Even those who are not citizens are called to participate in the debates which shape our common life” (Faithful Citizenship).

Participation is not about being “busy” but being engaged
In liturgy, the “full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else” (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 14). However, participation shouldn’t be confused with only being a liturgical minister as if being “just” a member of the assembly is inadequate. The assembly is the first role of the faithful and the primary way they participate in the liturgy. Not everyone will be able to run for office, go to Sacramento to lobby a bill, or even vote. However, the primary way we Catholics participate in public life is by being engaged and informed, knowing both our Catholic social teaching and the political issues, and then acting as a visible and vocal mirror for our city’s and nation’s political actions. The US Bishops say, “Believers are called to be a community of conscience within the larger society and to test public life by the values of Scripture and the principles of Catholic social teaching. Our responsibility is to measure all candidates, policies, parties, and platforms by how they protect or undermine the life, dignity, and rights of the human person, whether they protect the poor and vulnerable and advance the common good” (Faithful Citizenship). This is the work of prophets, and it is the work of all the baptized who are anointed to be “priest, prophet, and king.”

Participation is a lifestyle
Furthermore, participation is not about just showing up on Sunday. Full, active, and conscious participation is about doing one’s role—whether it’s as a member of the faithful in the pews or as celebrant at the altar—completely, genuinely, and to the best of one’s ability. It’s about living out Monday through Saturday what we do together on Sunday. In a similar way, our responsibility as Catholics living in the United States in 2004 doesn’t end at the voting booth. The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has said, “Today's democratic societies...call for new and fuller forms of participation in public life by Christian and non-Christian citizens alike. Indeed, all can contribute, by voting in elections for lawmakers and government officials, and in other ways as well, to the development of political solutions and legislative choices which, in their opinion, will benefit the common good” (Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in political life). And as the US Bishops say, “Faithful citizenship is about more than elections. It requires ongoing participation in the continuing political and legislative process” (Faithful Citizenship).

Participation is not always about having the answers but about knowing what questions to ask
Remember the Gospel of Holy Thursday? After Jesus washes his disciples’ feet, he says to them, “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do” (Jn 13:15). Jesus did not give his disciples quick easy answers. He gave them an example, and he asked them questions: “Who do you say that I am?” Oftentimes, there are no easy answers, especially in issues of politics. But we can always raise up the questions posed by the challenge of the Gospels to guide our way to answers. The US Bishops raise 10 questions that try to emphasize the underlying moral and human dimensions of the political issues we face today. Some of these questions are: “After September 11, how can we build not only a safer world, but a better world, more just, more secure, more peaceful, more respectful of human life and dignity?… How can we keep our nation from turning to violence to solve some of its most difficult problems--abortion to deal with difficult pregnancies; the death penalty to combat crime; euthanasia and assisted suicide to deal with the burdens of age, illness, and disability; and war to address international disputes?... How will we address the tragic fact that more than 30,000 children die every day as a result of hunger, international debt, and lack of development around the world, as well as the fact that the younger you are, the more likely you are to be poor here in the richest nation on Earth?” (Faithful Citizenship).

This election year, we Catholics have a great responsibility. Again, the US Bishops say: “As Catholics we need to share our values, raise our voices, and use our votes to shape a society that protects human life, promotes family life, pursues social justice, and practices solidarity. These efforts can strengthen our nation and renew our Church” (Faithful Citizenship). Fortunately, at the Eucharist, we have a place where we can practice every week the protection of life, pursuit of social justice, and solidarity with one another so that we can participate well in our public responsibility to live the Gospel.

Read the whole text of Faithful Citizenship here, y aqui en español, Ciudadanos Comprometidos.

Still need to register to vote? Click here for English, y aqui en español. Your registration must be postmarked by October 18.

The Work of Human Hands: Active Participation

This article by Diana Macalintal first appeared in Eucharistic Ministries 243, June 2004.

The work of human handsWatch an artistic cook in the kitchen. She brings together the freshest vegetables and herbs, the choicest meats, the finest spices, mixes them with friends and strangers, hungry of belly and heart, and with her skill she creates a feast. Out of her labor, time, money and love, she gives nourishment for body and soul. Yet it was God who began her work by giving her the seed and the soil, the sun and the rain, her skill and art, the earth and life itself, and a heart full of love. Here, the work of divine goodness and the work of human hands co-operate to feed the body and to bond companions together.

In the Eucharist, the same collaboration is at work. The love of God gathers us together. In return we mix in not just bread and wine, but our whole selves—talents and hungers, joys and sorrows, faith and doubt. We are given the Word of life. In return we use that Word to shape our stories and name the moments of grace seen and unseen, and we draw out a word of comfort and hope for our shadowed world. We are freely given the Body of Christ and the Cup of Salvation. In return we let ourselves be kneaded into bread for those who hunger for food and crushed into wine for those who thirst for justice. We are given a commission—not payment for a task completed—but a charge to do “out there” what we have done “in here.” In return, we pay with the daily action of our lives in service to the Lord who we find in neighbor and stranger.

Those who gather around the table of a true cook receive food in abundance. But for this food to become a meal, all are expected to contribute their full presence and active participation in the table exchange. Like a meal, the Eucharist is both gift given and work done. But it is also sacrifice, an unequal, freely-offered gift-exchange made in love between the One from whom all good things come and us who have only the work of our human hands to give in return. Therefore, our Eucharistic meal cannot end at the table, or else it becomes a self-satiating act. The gift we receive carries an obligation and sends us out into the world to do the divinely human work we began in our Eucharist. Blessed be God who calls us to use our human hands to freely give what we have to those who cannot pay us back in return.


Eucharist and Communion: What's the Difference?

This article by Diana Macalintal first appeared in Eucharistic Ministries 243, June 2004.

The Breaking of the BreadThere’s a huge difference between Eucharist and Communion. Eucharist, in its best sense, is an action we do and a means of becoming more than ourselves, while Communion, in its most limited sense, is something we get that we use for our own. At our best, we move outward from Eucharist to love and serve the Lord whom we see most clearly in the poor and outcast; at our worst, we isolate ourselves from the distractions of that world in order to commune with the Lord we cannot see.

In a 2002 keynote to the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, Capuchin priest Edward Foley asserts that one of the key fruits of the Eucharist (the Mass) is a renewal of our call to mission. In other words, the primary effect of our celebrating the Mass should be our strengthened desire to proclaim the Gospel and feed the hungry wherever we go. Fr. Foley believes that, by itself, the act of participating in Holy Communion does not send us out into the world with the same force as our eucharistic celebration. This is because of the sacrificial nature of the Eucharist which Holy Communion, by itself, does not always fully express.

Fr. Foley was comparing primarily the difference between the celebration of the Mass and the distribution of Holy Communion outside of Mass (in weekday Communion services or Sunday celebrations in the absence of a priest). But sometimes, we treat Eucharist as though it were simply a Communion service by minimizing the sacrificial symbols and actions that are integral to the Mass. If our sharing in Holy Communion within Mass is to bear good fruit for the world, we must reconnect it to the broader action of the Eucharist and, as Fr. Foley advocates, strengthen the symbols of sacrifice that call us to mission in the world.

Share the cup
One of the primary sacrificial actions of the Eucharist is the offering and drinking from the Communion cup. When Holy Communion is given outside of Mass, the cup is not offered. When, in Mass, the cup is not offered or many of the faithful refrain from taking it, the sacrificial action is less clear. Yes, drinking the cup by the faithful is optional. But if we are to fully participate in the obligation to serve that marks us as the body of Christ, we must drink the cup, for it teaches us how to pour out ourselves for others. Yes, there is fear of sharing a common cup with strangers. But if we are to face the fear of taking up the cross every day and walking toward Jerusalem, we must take up the cup that Jesus in his own fear did not resist. Eating the Body of Christ shows us who we are to become; drinking the Blood of Christ shows us how to do that, and to do that on Christ’s terms, not ours (Foley, 2002 keynote).

Eat the bread from the altar
Often at a Mass, a large portion of the bread offered to the faithful comes from hosts from the tabernacle and not from the bread consecrated at that altar in that same Mass. This seemingly harmless act disconnects the sacrifice of Christ with the sacrifice of the faithful—the offering of bread and wine they presented as well as the work of their prayer over those same gifts. Using primarily hosts from the tabernacle at Mass discounts their participation and work and makes the Eucharist something we get instead of something we do.

Eucharist demands sacrifice. Make every sharing of Communion within the Eucharistic celebration a full expression of the sacrificial love we are called to give to the world.

The Presentation of Gifts

Does God taste like bread? Or does bread taste like God?From the beginning of our Church, bread and wine have been brought forward by the people for the celebration of the Eucharist. In apostolic times, these gatherings took place in homes and privately-owned meeting rooms, and this presentation of gifts was a simple gesture of placing the bread and wine that would be blessed and shared at the altar. By the 3rd century, deacons assisted by collecting these gifts from the assembly who came forward bringing home-baked bread and flasks of wine. The deacons took some of the bread and wine to the altar. The rest they distributed to the poor who often lingered in the gathering areas of the church throughout the week. As this rite developed, other gifts for the poor and for the work of the church, such as candles, wheat, and grapes, were presented by the assembly.

As the number of people who participated in Communion declined and as the church changed to using unleavened bread, this procession of gifts gradually disappeared. By the 11th century, this presentation of bread and wine by the assembly was replaced by the collection of money. Vatican II restored this simple procession of bread and wine. Today, representative members of the assembly carry forward bread, wine, and gifts for the poor.

Music in Catholic Worship, 46, reminds us that this rite is meant to be very simple and secondary to the Eucharistic Prayer that will follow it.

The purpose of the rite is to prepare bread and wine for the sacrifice. The secondary character of the rite determines the manner of the celebration. It consists very simply of bringing the gifts to the altar, possibly accompanied by song, prayers to be said by the celebrant as he prepares the gifts and the prayer over the gifts. Of these elements the bringing of the gifts, the placing of the gifts on the altar, and the prayer over the gifts are primary. All else is secondary.

Bearing this in mind, we need to be careful that we do not add additional symbols or texts to this rite that would detract from the primary symbols of bread, wine, gifts for the poor, and prayer. It is not always appropriate to present other symbols, nor does a verbal explanation of the symbols contribute to the simple power of this rite. When preparing this ritual, pay attention to the following:
  • Music must serve the ritual action and never dominate. Although a solo or choral piece can be appropriate here, it cannot stall the flow of the liturgy by being too long in length for the ritual action. Unlike the gathering song, a song during the preparation of the gifts should end once the ritual action is completed.
  • Consider using an instrumental piece or even silence during this procession.
  • If a song is sung by the entire assembly at this time, consider inviting the assembly to stand for the last refrain or stanza of the song. This prepares the assembly for the posture of the prayer over the gifts and it subtly changes the energy of the liturgy from the more passive action of preparing the gifts to a more active stance of prayer over those gifts.
  • Instruct those who carry the gifts forward to hold them high and to walk slowly with purpose to the altar.
  • Consider having the gifts carried all the way to the altar and there, handed to the presider. The common practice of having the presider and acolytes wait at the foot of the altar to receive the gifts is possibly an unconscious remnant from the times when altar rails separated the faithful from the sanctuary. Of course, be conscious of those who may not be able to walk up steps if you have them around the altar.
  • Some parishes have revived the ancient practice of inviting the assembly to come forward to place their monetary gifts in baskets near the altar. (The Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph and Most Holy Trinity are two parishes that have done this very well.) This helps the assembly be less passive during this rite, it gives children the opportunity to actively participate in caring for the poor and supporting the ministry of the church, it makes our active participation in the work of the church more visible, and it gets people moving who may have been sitting in their pews for some time. Of course, the layout of your church and makeup of your assembly will determine if and how this could be a feasible action for your liturgies.
  • If you use baskets on poles to collect money from the assembly, consider using instead baskets without the poles. The ushers hand the basket to a person at the end of a pew, and this basket is passed from person to person. This enables the assembly to engage with one another rather than passively sitting and avoiding contact with their neighbor.

As simple as this action is, it can convey a deeper meaning of sacrifice, offering, participation, and discipleship. The “work of our hands” that we present is really us, ourselves. In that bread and wine and in the gifts we give, we place our very lives upon that altar, and we commit to give ourselves to each other, especially the poor. Our participation in presenting the gifts is a sign of our commitment to become what we will soon share—the Body and Blood of Christ.


Sample Intercessions for September 19, 2004

25th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year C
September 19, 2004

Things, events, and news items to keep in mind:
  • Click here for this Sunday's readings.
  • September 19, 2004 is National Catechetical Sunday.
  • September 22, 2004 is the first day of autumn.
  • September 25, 2004 begins Yom Kippur (at sunset).
  • Suicide attacks and violence in Afghanistan and Iraq intensify.
  • The number of US military deaths in Iraq reach 1000.
  • Florida and the islands in the Caribbean battered by more hurricanes.
  • Civil unrest continues in Sudan and Chechnya.
  • Assault weapons ban expires.

The following are just samples meant to inspire your work. Use them as ideas for your own assembly's intercessions.

Trusting all things to God, let us lift up the needs of the world.

For the Church (pause):
for fidelity to the mission of Christ;
for devotion to the Gospel of love;
for clarity in thought when complacency or fear cloud our vision.
We pray to the Lord.

For earthly rulers and all in authority (pause):
for peace and tranquility in every land;
for human dignity in every situation;
for holy hands lifted in prayer and not raised in anger.
We pray to the Lord.

For those who depend on the land for their daily bread (pause):
for a bountiful harvest this autumn season;
for just wages and honest business practices;
for responsible stewardship over the earth and its resources.
We pray to the Lord.

For the needy and the poor of the land (pause):
for those made homeless by hurricanes in Florida and the Caribbean;
for those living in fear in Sudan, Russia, Afghanistan, and Iraq;
for those unemployed and underemployed in the Silicon Valley.
We pray to the Lord.

For our parish community (pause):
for parents, catechists, and teachers;
for all our children, near and far;
for perseverance in seeking the truth.
We pray to the Lord.

We praise you, Lord, for you lift up the poor and raise the lowly from the dust.
Hear our cries and do not forget your promise.
In your mercy, make us trustworthy stewards and faithful servants
that we may banish greed from our land and reap a harvest of justice for all people.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Justice Symposium - September 25, 2004

Justice Symposium: Faithful Citizenship
Saturday, September 25, 2004, 8a - 4:30p

Santa Clara University

This conference is co-sponsored by the Diocese of San Jose and the Bannan Center for Jesuit Education of Santa Clara University. The keynote address will be by Joan Rosenhauer of USCCB Social Development and World Peace, and several workshops will be available on global solidarity, peace building, the Catholic call to charity and justice, forming and supporting parish social justice ministries, community organizing, refugees and human trafickking. Included is a special luncheon awards celebration and an afternoon legislative briefing. Registration is limited, so please register now. Cost is $35 including lunch. $45 after September 17. Click here for more info. To register, contact Sylvia Blanch at blanch@dsj.org or 408-983-0128.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

23rd Week in Ordinary Time

Tapestry Arts Festival aerial viewThis Labor Day weekend, I went to the Tapestry Arts Festival in downtown San Jose. It's one of the largest events in San Jose, showcasing hundreds of local artists and craftspeople. Like most art festivals there were tons of booths with vendors selling their wares. But one of the neat things about this festival was the section of booths on Park Avenue next to the Center for Performing Arts. This was the "Creativity Zone" where you became a participant in the art rather than just being a spectator. Here, kids and their parents painted paper flowers, made up little skits with puppets, listened wide-eyed to storytellers, crossed the Nile of ancient Egypt, and communicated with each other using African drums.

Art, like life, is not a spectator sport. Good art pulls us in, moving us to see things differently. It puts us off-balance so that we can let go of our death-grip on "we've-always-done-it-that-way" and open our hands to new possibilities. Good liturgy does the same thing. Good liturgy uses the arts well to give us a new view on how life could be if we just let go of our death-grip hold on whatever keeps us back. Imagine if we stopped saying things like: “We’ve always used the tabernacle for Communion; why change now?” “We’ve always used one lector; why schedule two?” “We’ve always just read the petitions (or the homily) from that resource book; why write our own?” “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?”

Of course we can just remain spectators, window-shopping and looking at the art. It’s a safe and comforting place, and we have control over what happens. Or we can let art and liturgy move us to dive head-long into those messy waters of change and conversion. When we do this, what we pray for on Sunday might become a more genuine expression of what we are actually willing to try in our daily mission of proclaiming the Gospel.

Last Sunday, I joined with the community of Sacred Heart of Jesus to celebrate with them their 9a Mass. One of the best things this parish does is silence. There was a good amount of silence after each reading. Each lector waited generously for the assembly to be ready to hear—really hear—the reading before starting. The cantor and choir allowed the assembly to reflect of the words they just heard, waiting at least 45 seconds before they began the psalm (sung from the ambo). And the presider was a good model for the assembly by singing the psalm refrain whole-heartedly. At the preparation of gifts, the bread and the wine along with the collection of money were slowly processed down the main aisle. Those carrying the gifts raised their vessels high and walked slowly with grace toward the altar. And at the Communion procession, the ushers began the procession from the back of the church, starting with those in the last pews, visually enacting the kingdom’s promise that the “last shall be first.” Finally, with all standing until the last person received Communion, the choir led the assembly in a song of praise that the whole assembly sang loudly as their communal prayer of thanksgiving to God.

The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus teaches us about entering completely into relationship with Christ, reverencing both his human heart and his divine love. We too are called to reverence the sacred presence of Christ in his divine form of Word and Sacrament as well as in his human form in the people we encounter each day. The parish of the Sacred Heart of Jesus with their pastor, Fr. Jeronimo Gutierrez, do this well, reverencing the poor and the last, attending to the Word and the Sacrament with care, and singing joyfully with thanksgiving for the presence of Christ all around them.

This week’s DSJ Liturgy Notes contains:

I hope you find the sacred presence of Christ in all the beautiful and challenging things around you this week.

Diana Macalintal
Associate for Liturgy

Upcoming Workshops and Events

Don't forget!Don't forget about these local workshops and events. Feed your mind with some continuing formation and fellowship for you and your liturgical ministers.

September 9, 12:30p - 2p
Catechumenate Support Group, Chancery Offices

September 15-18
The Preacher and the Challenge of Technology Conference, San Jose Marriott

September 25, 8a - 4:30p
Justice Symposium, Santa Clara University

October 6, 10a - 12p
Liturgical Coordinators Gathering, Santa Teresa

October 21, 7p - 9:30p
Cantor Workshop, St. Francis of Assisi

October 26, 7p - 9:30p
Lector Workshop, Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph

A Brief History of the Prayer of the Faithful

Prayer of the FaithfulThe General Intercessions, also called the Prayer of the Faithful, have been part of the Christian liturgy since the early church. Their origins likely come from Jewish synagogue prayer. In the first few centuries of the church, the Sunday liturgy was divided into two parts: the Mass of the Catechumens and the Mass of the Faithful. In the first part, the catechumens (those preparing to be baptized) with the faithful (those already baptized) listened to readings from scripture. The bishop (the normative presider) then instructed the catechumens on those readings and the rites they were to celebrate. Then, the catechumens were dismissed from the liturgy, because only those who were baptized could celebrate the Mass of the Faithful. This second part of the liturgy began with the Prayers of the Faithful.

The original form of these prayers looked like this:

  • The presider invited all the faithful to pray on a particular topic.
  • The assembly prayed in silence. If it were a penitential day, the deacon directed all to kneel during this silence.
  • After a long silence, if the assembly had been kneeling, the deacon directed all to stand. The presider then prays a “collect” prayer that collects the silent prayer of the assembly into a concluding spoken prayer to God. The assembly assents to this prayer by saying “Amen.”
  • The process is repeated with the next topic.

We still use this original structure of intercessions on Good Friday. As you know from that liturgy, this form can get pretty lengthy. Pope Gelasius I, at the end of the 5th century, wanted to shorten the lengthening liturgy. So he adopted for Rome the style of intercessions used in the East. The Eastern church used a litany form in which the presider invited all to pray and the assembly responded with a short acclamation. (This response was usually “Kyrie eleison.”) Pope Gelasius replaced the long form of intercessions with this shorter form and moved the Prayers of the Faithful to the beginning of the Mass of the Catechumens. (By this time, most of the people being baptized were infants and the adult catechumenate was beginning to be lost.) In the next century, Pope Gregory the Great shortened these intercessions even more by removing the presider’s invitation to pray, leaving only the repeated “Kyrie eleison” response. (Sound familiar? This eventually becomes our penitential rite.)

Basically, from the 6th century onward, the Prayers of the Faithful disappear from the Roman liturgy, but they remain every year in the Good Friday liturgy. But what is lost is more than just prayers. For 1400 years, the church lost:

  • the pregnant silence of the assembly actively praying together;
  • the distinction between the catechumens and the baptized, diminishing the dignity of baptism; and
  • the ability of the liturgy to address and reflect the current-day needs and situations of the church.

Fortunately, Vatican II restored the rightful place of the Prayers of the Faithful, encouraged silence as an active form of communal prayer, and reclaimed the role of the baptized in the praying for the needs of the world.


Sample Intercessions for September 12, 2004

These are just samples meant to inspire your work. Use these to give you ideas for your own assembly's intercessions.

24th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year C
Click here for the Sunday's readings.

Trusting all things to God, let us lift up the needs of the world.


For the Church (pause):
for enduring faith in a stiff-necked world;
for conversion when we have acted out of ignorance;
for humble companionship with sinners and diligent care for the lost.
We pray to the Lord.

For world leaders and those in authority (pause):
for generous help in time of famine;
for mercy in time of war;
for persistent pursuit of peace.
We pray to the Lord.

For victims of violence (pause):
for school children living in fear;
for families made homeless by wind and storm;
for innocent lives caught in the crossfire of hatred.
We pray to the Lord.

For our parish community (pause):
for loved ones serving in the military;
for those mired in despair;
for those who go unnoticed and forgotten.
We pray to the Lord.

You shower us, O God, with mercy beyond what we deserve.
Help us live your way of forgiveness
that we may accept your invitation to feast
with our brothers and sisters.
God of perfect peace,
hear the cries of this world
and shower us again with your healing love,
for we ask them through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Villa Holy Names Retreats

Seeking the sunThere's a new retreat center in town, and it's right in the heart of downtown Los Gatos! Villa Holy Names Spirituality Center (Los Gatos) is the sister center to Villa Maria Del Mar (Santa Cruz) and is a ministry of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. (Sr. Miriam, one of the retreat directors, and I are Ramona girls!)

The associates from the Office of Pastoral Ministry had a day-long meeting at the Villa last month. It's a beautiful facility perfect for staff meetings, retreats, and workshops. There are accomodations for day and overnight gatherings, plus the cafeteria is well-stocked with a wide variety of food. The grounds offer quiet places for reflection, and the newly-renovated chapel is gorgeous!

Sr. Miriam Malone and a team of sisters called "SNJM FIRE for Ministry" offer individual spiritual direction, facilitation for your meeting or retreat, retreats personally designed for your group, and a year-long roster of retreats for women (in English and Spanish), catechumens, sponsors, neophytes, and catechumenate directors. (Sr. Miriam Malone is a team member of the North American Forum on the Catechumenate.)

Villa Holy Names Spiritual Center for Life and Learning
82 Prospect Avenue, Los Gatos, CA 95030
408-354-2312 • www.snjmfire.com

Gathering for Ministers of Initiation
October 23, 2004, 9a - 4p
$25.00 (includes lunch)
This is an opportunity for parish teams working with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults process to gather for spiritual renewal and mutual support. Practical ideas for implementing the Rite will be presented by members of SNJM FIRE for Ministry experienced in this ministry. The keynote speaker will be Miriam Malone, SNJM who is a Team Member for the North American Forum on the Catechumenate.
To register: villalg@yahoo.com or 408-354-2312

Preparing for Advent: Retreat for Inquirers
November 13, 2004, 9a - 2p
To register: villalg@yahoo.com or 408-354-2312

Discernment Day for the Rite of Election
January 22, 2005, 9a - 4p
To register: villalg@yahoo.com or 408-354-2312

Twilight Retreat for the Elect
March 23, 2005, 6:30p - 9:30p
To register: villalg@yahoo.com or 408-354-2312

Retreat for the Elect and Godparents
March 26, 2005, 9a - 4p
To register: villalg@yahoo.com or 408-354-2312

Anniversary Retreat for Those Initiated During the Past Five Years
April 13, 2005, 9a - 3p
To register: villalg@yahoo.com or 408-354-2312