Thursday, October 21, 2004

29th Week in Ordinary Time

Canadian SnowbirdsDriving up the coast to San Francisco a couple of Saturdays ago, I saw a dark geometric formation streak across the sky. I shrieked in delighted surprise when I realized it was a formation of military planes on its way to perform at Fleet Week. I wasn’t expecting to see them so far south of the Golden Gate, but there they were, shooting across the view of my car window. The week before, I stood on the beach watching a similar formation, this time a quartet of stunt kites. Four men on the beach pulled strings and weaved around each other creating an aerial ballet for anyone who looked up and a ground-level dance for strollers passing by. At sunset I stood at the edge of Pier 39 and saw a familiar formation of geese, not quite streaking across the sky like the planes I saw earlier, but in the same geometric shape nonetheless.

All these mysterious formations evoked a multitude of feelings and memories. Seeing the jets above, I reveled in awe and wonder at the creativity and boldness of the human mind while also dreading and grieving their witness to war. The kites made visible the invisible beauty and grace of wind as they also testified to its destructive power in hurricane and tornado. The flight path of geese, unrehearsed yet perfect, both humbled my sense of human superiority and refashioned me to that one perfect pattern that all creation reflects—Christ the Logos.

Hidden in the patterns and surprises of human achievement and natural creation were signs and reminders that God has fashioned all things to be in right relationship, forming us to be a dance, ordering us out of chaos, transfiguring our weapons of war into plowshares of delight and wonder. The patterns of God’s beauty, God’s creative Word spoken in Christ, are all around us. We need only look, reflect, and remember.

I relearned this lesson with about 200 high school students a couple of weeks before. We sat in the church of St. Lawrence the Martyr in Santa Clara searching for the signs of God’s presence. First we remembered that we were already in the holy presence of God. Then we asked ourselves, “How do we remember that? What reminds us of God’s presence?” This led to a discussion about symbols.

Our daily lives are filled with signs and symbols—birthday cakes and candles, wedding rings and baby’s first shoes, grave markers and memorials. These symbols don’t just remind us of things past but teach us about present things and challenge us to strive for future things hoped for. Because when we speak of symbols, we are not talking about “fake” things, as when we say “it’s just a symbol.” Rather, we are talking about a reality that is so immense that every time we encounter that symbol, we learn something new about ourselves, about our God, and about our relationship with each other and all of God’s creation.

Our worship is filled with symbols. Next time you celebrate Eucharist, seek the more “hidden” symbols—those objects, gestures, people, and places clothed in ordinariness that we often ignore, take for granted, or pass by without thought. Ask yourself: What does this symbol remind me of? What does it teach me about God? What does it teach me about myself as a Christian? What does it challenge me to do so that God’s presence is seen more clearly in my life and in the world?

If we look deeply, enter fully, and reflect prayerfully upon the signs and symbols that surround us, we’ll see that…

Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries,
And daub their natural faces unaware….
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh, Book Seven

Three years ago, All Saints Day, I was at San Quentin. I joined their music ministry made up of inmates for their Mass. Some of these men had been there only a few years; others had been there longer than I had been alive. I had gone there a few times before at the invitation of a Franciscan brother to sing for the inmates, and I was confronted by the hidden presence of God in these men. We sang “Blest are They” during Communion, and as their voices filled the small chapel, I was voiceless when we got to the refrain: “Rejoice and be glad! Blessed are you, holy are you. Yours is the kingdom of God.” These men—condemned, put away, forgotten, hated by society, and some ultimately killed by society—are nonetheless loved and blessed by God. God surprises us with his presence not only in delightful things but also in the dark places of human life.

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

This week, look up and look around and search for all the signs that we are in the holy presence of God.

Diana Macalintal
Associate for Liturgy

Creating a Liturgical Environment: Planting Spring Bulbs

spring hopeI am the worst gardener. Over the years, I’ve killed two cacti, a jasmine bush, and several potted plants. But I have had some success with bulbs. A few weekends ago, I planted a few dozen purple and blue hyacinths, anemones, tulips, and crocus. If all goes well, and the squirrels don’t steal them away during the winter, the bulbs should bloom in the spring, right in time for Lent.

Contrary to our typical desert-dry liturgical image of the season, Lent coincides with spring when the daffodils and other bulbs planted before the winter frost begin to bloom. In the Bay Area, the shift to spring isn’t so dramatic. But in other geographical areas, spring is the most turbulent, wettest time of the year. Winter snows persist and spring storms attack the tender buds and shoots of young plants and bare trees. In this hostile environment, calves, lambs, and other newborns fight to make it to the more gentle days of early summer.

crocusIn a similar way, the church’s most vulnerable—the Elect—are fighting their own spring battle. During Lent, the Elect, their godparents, and the church community begin an intense discipline to prepare for the Easter celebration at which the Elect will be baptized. This discipline includes intensified prayer, fasting, and works of charity and justice.

The church sees itself as a participant in the great drama and struggle between good and evil, between God and the devil. From this perspective, this period of Lent and this intense preparation by the Elect is somewhat like the final moments before a great battle, and it may be when the Elect and the church are at their most vulnerable. When faced with the awesome invitation to baptism in the midst of so much pain and suffering in one’s life and in the world, it can be easy to lose heart and lose faith. In a way, it is like an engaged couple with cold feet before their wedding day: Will I be worthy enough for this person? Can I stay faithful when society makes it so easy to not be? Am I making the right choice? Is this really what I want? Thus, it is no accident that Lent takes place in spring.

spring crocusFor this reason, the church prays fervently for the Elect in rites called Scrutinies. Through these rites on the third, fourth, and fifth Sundays of Lent, the church prays that God will strengthen the good things that have been growing in the Elect’s faith life and will remove the barriers that keep the Elect from trusting completely in God. During this period, there are also other prayers, blessings, and anointings for the Elect to give them the courage they need to profess their faith in God and make it through to the other side of those baptismal waters.

Planting purple and blue spring bulbs might not reflect the deeper struggle that Lent evokes. But preparing soil, planting seeds, paying attention, and waiting in joyful hope is a very eucharistic act. Plant your purple and blue bulbs now, at home and around the church, so that when spring comes, your environment might also participate in Lenten spring with all the Elect and the church.

Upcoming Events and Workshops

Trick or Treat!There are no tricks in this full bag of treats!
Mark your calendars for these upcoming events and workshops and give yourself a treat this season.

A Retreat for Initiation Ministers
Saturday, October 23, 9a - 4p
Villa Holy Names Spirituality Center for Life and Learning, Los Gatos
$35 registration includes lunch
To register: 408-354-2312 or

Lector Workshop
Tuesday, October 26, 7p - 9:30p
Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph, San Jose
$5 registration
To register: 408-983-0126 or

Faith Formation Conference
Friday-Saturday, October 29-30
San Francisco Civic Auditorium, San Francisco
$30 registration
To register: 408-983-0127 or

John Michael Talbot Concert
Saturday, October 30, 7p
Mission San Jose, Fremont
Free but reservations are required
To register: 510-657-1797 x106

Catholic and Lutheran Joint Declaration Evening Prayer
Sunday, October 31, 4p
Christ the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, San Jose
For information:

Liturgists and Clergy Study Day with Fr. Ed Foley
Friday, November 5, 9:30a
Santa Teresa Church, San Jose
Free for clergy and liturgists of San Jose; $5 for other participants
To register: 408-983-0126 or

Music Ministers Workshop with Fr. Ed Foley
Friday, November 5, 7:30p
St. Lawrence the Martyr Church, Santa Clara
$5 registration
To register: 408-983-0126 or

Liturgical Ministers Study Day with Fr. Ed Foley
Saturday, November 6, 9:30a
Santa Teresa Church, San Jose
$5 registration
To register: 408-983-0126 or

Respect Life: Seeing the Whole Picture

What is it?
The first right of the human person is his life. He has other goods and some are more precious, but this one is fundamental - the condition of all the others. Hence it must be protected above all others. It does not belong to society, nor does it belong to public authority in any form to recognize this right for some and not for others: all discrimination is evil, whether it be founded on race, sex, color or religion. It is not recognition by another that constitutes this right. This right is antecedent to its recognition; it demands recognition and it is strictly unjust to refuse it.
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on Procured Abortion (1974), no. 11

During October, the Church has been asking all people of faith and good will to recall that life and death are not “earned” as if we hold the power to create and negate life. Creation and being born into that creation is God’s gift, and God is attentive to every second of our existence, from beginning to end, no matter what. We acknowledge this when we pray, “In you we live and move and have our being. Each day you show us a Father’s love” (Sunday Ordinary Time Preface VI, P34).

Our first priority then is protecting innocent life and the lives of those who are weak and defenseless. For this reason, abortion and euthanasia are the Church’s overriding concern.

Yet our concern for life cannot end there. One of the most difficult threads of this seamless fabric of life is concern for the lives of those who have wronged us. We experienced this most deeply as a nation in the days and months after September 11. Even now, the two leading presidential candidates have sworn to kill those who attacked our country that day.

But our faith teaches us a different response.

But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. For if you love those who love you,what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, and get back the same amount. But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful.
- Luke 6:27-36

The whole picture

See the whole picture of life and every human’s right to that life. Find an issue about life that you usually bypass and learn more about what our church teaches about that issue.

Some of these interrelated issues of life are:

Respect Life: A Self Reflection

Reflection questions based on the following quote from Sharing Catholic Social Teaching by the US Bishops

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.
  • How can I assist pregnant teenagers, expectant single mothers, and young parents?
  • How can I assist those who are depressed and alone, especially teenagers?
  • How can I be a companion for those discerning difficult decisions?
  • Can I empathize with those who are fearful about the future?

The value of human life is being threatened by increasing use of the death penalty.

  • What hatreds do I harbor? What hurts have I allowed to fester? How have those changed me?
  • How can I live the Christian discipline of visiting the prisoner?
  • Pope John Paul II’s World Day of Peace message for 2002 was titled “No Peace Without Justice, No Justice Without Forgiveness.” What does this title mean to me?

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.

  • How do I appreciate others’ and my own flaws?
  • How do I help others, especially young girls, recognize their natural beauty and dignity?
  • How do I contribute to the de-humanizing of persons in my work practices, in what I buy, in the TV shows I watch, and what I support with my money (or withholding of money) and with my vote (or decision not to vote)?

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.

  • In my prayer life, do I reverence things more than people?
  • What “isms” do I hold?
  • How can my work and business practices enhance the life and dignity of the human person?
  • How do my driving habits reflect the preciousness of every life?

Respect Life: Resources for Abolishing the Death Penalty

This weekend is the National Weekend of Faith in Action on the Death Penalty. Here are some resources for putting your faith into action on this issue of life for all people.

From the US Bishops’ office of Social Development and World Peace

From Amnesty International

From the Death Penalty Information Center

Intercessions for the End of the Death Penalty
For the victims of crime and for their families:
May they be comforted by your healing presence as they grieve.
We pray.

For the victims of capital punishment and for their families:
May the be comforted by your healing presence,
as they seek forgiveness and reconciliation,
We pray.

For all those who have committed violent acts
and for all those who are at risk of acting violently:
May they find the help they need to transform their lives.
We pray.

For all nations and local governments as we struggle with the issue of capital punishment:
May we be guided by God's word and the Holy Spirit.
We pray.

A Prayer to Abolish the Death Penalty by Sr. Helen Prejean
God of Compassion,
you let your rain fall on the just and unjust.
Expand our hearts
so that we may love as you love
even those among us
who have caused the greatest pain by taking life.
For there is in our land a great cry for vengeance
as we fill up death rows and kill the killers
in the name of justice, in the name of peace.
Jesus, our brother,
you suffered execution at the hands of the state
but you did not let hatred overcome you.
Help us to reach out to victims of violence
so that our enduring love may help them heal.
Holy Spirit of God,
you strengthen us in the struggle for justice.
Help us to work tirelessly
for the abolition of state-sanctioned death
and to renew our society in its very heart
so that violence will be no more.

Weekend of Faith in Action on the Death Penalty Sample Homily
by Reverend Mark Carson, San Jose State University Newman Center for October 22-24, 2004

  1. First, I have a question for you. If your daughter, son, mother or father were killed by someone, how would you react? What would you do about it? Think about this for a few seconds.
  2. Second, I have one more question. What would you do if your son, or father were on Death Row, San Quentin?
  3. In today's parable from the Gospel two men have different attitudes both on how they view God and how they view their fellow human beings. Both of their attitudes are shaped by experience.
  4. I would think that most people could have an answer for the first question. I have heard it said often enough, “That is why I am in favor of the death penalty because if my family member were hurt, I would pull the switch myself.” Like the Pharisee's experience, the everyday world seems very cut and dry, black or white, good or evil, clean or unclean.
  5. The invitation of the Gospel is to try to look at the world from a different perspective, from a different point of view. In the view of the tax collector the world is not cut and dry, good or evil, clean or unclean. The world is a very messed up place. The world is a world of shame, guilt and ultimately being humbled before God.
  6. Once we can break out of our experiences then the world seems more uncertain. There are very few people who want their father, brother, sister, or mother put to death. I think when it comes to our own family members we would try to exhaust every possible means to transform their lives. We do that out of love. There are so many family members who have love ones on Death Row who did not think in their wildest dreams that this would happen to them.
  7. In our Catholic Church, October is pro-life month. It is a month to celebrate life beyond any circumstances. More importantly it is a reminder of the invitation from God that all life is family life, it is part of our human family. Like the tax collector, we experience the human race, with all of its problems, violence, horrors and terrible crimes against our brothers and sisters but also by our brothers and sisters. We are faced with great problems of how to deal with consequences of horrible acts of brutality and violence. The Gospel reminds us that justification comes when we feel with different hearts outside of our own perspective.

A Gift for You: Daylight Savings

Wow!Because God loves you so much,
you get a free gift of one extra hour on October 31.

Turn your clocks backward

before you go to bed on October 30!

Celiac Sprue Disease - FAQ

The following are excerpts from the United States Bishops A Short Introduction to Holy Communion and Celiac Sprue Disease.

What is Celiac Sprue disease?
In recent years, many have worked to foster an increasing awareness of the significant effects of Celiac Sprue disease on people’s lives. The digestive system of those with this condition is considerably compromised by the consumption of gluten, one of the major ingredients in wheat flour. It is estimated that as many as fifteen percent of all persons of northern European origin are affected by this disease to some degree.

How does this affect those who go to Holy Communion?
This is a particular challenge to Catholics, who believe that the celebration of the Holy Eucharist and the reception of Holy Communion are the very source and summit of the Christian life. Priests should show great pastoral sensitivity and compassion to anyone afflicted with this disease, but especially to the parents of children with a gluten intolerance at the time of their first Holy Communion.

Can low gluten hosts be used at Mass?
The Secretariat for the Liturgy of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference has devoted considerable resources to this question for the last seven years. Within the past year, the Secretariat has successfully assisted the Congregation of Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Clyde Missouri in the production of a very low-gluten host which has been favorably reviewed by the publication Gluten-Free Living as “perfectly safe” for sufferers of Celiac Sprue disease. (See Ann Whelan’s “Make Your Own Decision” in Gluten-Free Living [vol. 9, no. 1], p. 4. In this same issue, see also Sr. Jeanne Crowe’s extensive review article on the low gluten host, “Catholic Celiacs Can Now Receive Communion”, pp. 3ff.)

Where can I buy these low gluten hosts?
Low gluten altar hosts are available from: the Congregation of Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, Altar Breads Department, 31970 State Highway P, Clyde, Missouri 64432 (Phone:1-800-223-2772, online order form, or e-mail:

What if a person cannot consume low gluten hosts?
Such communicants may still receive the Precious Blood. Catholics believe that whoever receives Holy Communion only under the form of bread or only under the form of wine still receives the whole Christ, in his Body and Blood, soul and divinity.

Committee on the Liturgy. 3211 4th Street, N.E., Washington DC 20017-1194. (202) 541-3000. © USCCB. All rights reserved.

66.4 Million Catholics

According to the Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches for 2004, there are 66.4 million members of the Catholic Church in the United States. The next largest church membership is 16.24 million with the Southern Baptist Convention.

Catholics make up the largest voting block in the United States.

Earlier this year, a small group of young adults with a passion for the church, knowledge of advocacy as well as theology, and a good website designer, realized that Catholics have a huge voice in US politics simply by the exercise of their vote. They also saw that campaigning rhetoric was focusing on only a couple of Catholic issues while the whole spectrum of Gospel issues was being ignored.

So they began the Catholic Voting Project and created a non-partisan website that looks at all of Catholic social teaching and presents an unbiased look at where each candidate stands on all these issues.

They also tackle some of the recent press on statements by some US bishops about voting and sin and address the question of voting for pro-choice candidates.

Check out, a resource for faith, politics, and democracy, and read up.

If you’re tired of reading, just check out their humorous cartoon, Catholic Dining with Bush and Kerry.

Seek and Ye Shall Find: Parish Classifieds

Seeking: Substitute Liturgical Musicians
My office often gets phone calls from parishes asking for help when their usual music directors and cantors are unavailable for funerals, weddings, and other liturgies. If you would like to be placed on a list of liturgical musicians available for substitute help, please send your name, parish, phone number, email, and your musical skill areas (e.g., organ, piano, guitar, cantor, choral conducting) to Diana Macalintal or 408-983-0136.

Available: Altar Table
San Jose State University Newman Center has a large altar table available. It is the altar table that was used by the previous occupants (Christian denomination) of the chapel. If interested, please contact Sr. Marcia Krause, OP, or Fr. Michael Carson or 408-938-1610.

Sample Intercessions October 24, 2004

30th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year C
October 24, 2004

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

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 ears to hear the cry of the oppressed,
for eyes focused on the crown of righteousness,
for hands lifted in humble prayer.
We pray to the Lord.

For leaders and all seeking positions of leadership (pause):
for honest campaigning and civil discourse;
for strength to make difficult decisions;
for commitment to serve the weak and oppressed, the widowed and orphaned.
We pray to the Lord.

For all affected by violence and war (pause):
for those in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Sudan;
for troops and workers serving in places of conflict;
for their families and friends who await their return.
We pray to the Lord.

For victims of crime and those who suffer silently (pause):
for swift attention to their cries for help;
for their attackers and all who have wronged them;
for compassion, wisdom, healing, and forgiveness.
We pray to the Lord.

For prisoners and those condemned to death (pause):
for just judgment and consistent affirmation of life;
for mercy to the sinner and compassion for the guilty;
for justice without vengance and punishment without cruelty.
We pray to the Lord.

Blessed are you, Lord, God of perfect justice,
for you hear the wail of the orphan and answer the prayers of the lowly.
Make us a humble people of mercy and compassion
and a persistent voice for all who struggle for life,
so that lasting peace may embrace the earth.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Cantor Workshop - October 21

don't cantor like thisDon't be chicken! You can become a better cantor! Learn the basics that will improve your singing technique and your leadership skills, and practice the habits that will make you a better leader of musical prayer. Some participants will have the opportunity to cantor and receive immediate feedback. This free master-class style workshop will be led by Diana Macalintal.

Cantor Workshop
Thursday, October 21, 7p to 9:30p

To register, send your name, phone, email, and parish name to Rebeca Aldaz or 408-983-0126. Please indicate if you want to be one of the individual cantors to sing before your peers.

Sign up now for the Cantor Workshop by clicking here.

Lector Workshop - October 26

You can proclaim the word of God more powerfully, more profoundly, and more keenly by following nine simple steps. Nick Wagner, a nationally-known author and trainer, will teach you how to find the most important phrase in the reading and make it ring in people's hearts. You will learn how to accurately convey the meaning of the reading every time. The practical suggestions you will take away from this workshop will give you the tools you need to be a better lector by next Sunday. Whether you're a new lector or have been a lector for years, you will learn something new to make you an even better lector.

Lector Workshop
Tuesday, October 26, 7p to 9:30p
80 S. Market Street, San Jose
Registration: $5

To register, send your name, phone, email, and parish name to Rebeca Aldaz or 408-983-0126.

Bring your lector workbook or a copy of the readings for Sunday, October 31, 2004 (31st Sunday in Ordinary Time).

Nine Steps

Click here to purchase Nick Wagner's book, Nine Steps to Becoming a Better Lector.

Friday, October 08, 2004

27th Week of Ordinary Time

CD Monk. Copyright © 1995-2004,

Last Saturday at the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco, I was part of the choir for the archdiocese’s Jazz Mass celebrating the feast of St. Francis. The choir was made up of the gospel choir from the parish of St. Paul the Shipwreck and students from Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory high school in San Francisco. On Wednesday, I shared faith with the students of the Institute for Leadership in Ministry. And on Thursday and Friday, I spent six class periods with the teens from St. Lawrence Academy High School in Santa Clara, teaching them about liturgy and symbols.

What all these groups did this week is remind me that the Gospel is only “the Good News” if it actually sounds like “good news” for the people who hear it. A gospel choir knows that worship that is lifeless is not good news for people who feel depressed, alone, numb, or dead. Lay leaders of the church who grapple daily with raising children, keeping marriages together, paying the bills, coming out, falling in love, finding a job, being overworked and overstressed, don’t need purified preaching devoid of their stories. They yearn to hear the Church name and claim the Good News at work in their messy, broken, imperfect yet holy lives. And teens who have their own unique lifestyle, culture, and language constantly challenge us to let go of our “we’ve-always-done-it-this-way” and “when-I-was-your-age” attitudes so that we can speak the Gospel in new ways that make sense for their generation.

Look at how Jesus preached the gospel. To the hungry, good news was food, so he fed them. To the sick, good news was healing, so he touched them and made them whole. To the outcast, good news was companionship, so he ate with them. To the lowly, good news was recognition and respect, so he welcomed them and named them holy and blessed. Jesus didn’t force-feed these people a pre-made message conformed to his standards of what he thought was good news. He entered into a relationship with them, asked them what they were looking for, gave it to them in a way that looked and sounded like good news for them, and that he named the “reign of God.”

Seeking new ways to preach the Gospel is not a new thing in the Church. The Gospel writers themselves knew their audiences and wrote the narrative of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection in ways that made sense for their hearers. When North American Indians were being persecuted and enslaved by European armies in the 16th century for not accepting the Gospel, Dominican friars questioned if the Europeans were even preaching the Gospel in a language that the Indians understood. They were not, and so it was not the Indians but the Church that was at fault because they merely talked without really trying to communicate. And in the 20th century, Vatican II understood that “when the liturgy is celebrated, something more is required than the mere observance of the laws governing valid and lawful celebration; it is also [the] duty [of pastors] to ensure that the faithful take part fully aware of what they are doing, actively engaged in the rite, and enriched by its effects” (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 11). Thus, the Word of God must look like, sound like, smell like, feel like, and taste like good news for a 20th century world.

Yet even now, the world has changed since 1962 and the opening of Vatican II, and so must the ways we preach the Gospel change. For example, it is simply a reality in our 21st century American society that if you are not somehow connected to the Internet, if you don’t have email, or if you don’t know how to navigate the world wide web, you cannot really be in tune with the world that most people under 30 occupy. If the only place we try to connect with this internet generation is in church, while most of them are hanging out at Starbucks, IM’ing their friends on their computer, and text messaging on their cells, then we’re just talking but not communicating.

Especially here in the Silicon Valley, the birthplace of the personal computer, if we are to preach the Gospel so that it sounds like good news for the younger generation, the church must be where they are. We must learn their ways of communicating, understand the unique struggles they encounter, and be an interconnected web that bridges their real-life stories with the Gospel story.

This week in DSJ Liturgy Notes, you’ll find:

During this long weekend when we remember Columbus' search for a new land, let us continue the search for new ways and places that the good news can be heard and understood.

Diana Macalintal
Associate for Liturgy

The Pope and the Internet

Computer Monk“The Internet causes billions of images to appear on millions of computer monitors around the planet. From this galaxy of sight and sound will the face of Christ emerge and the voice of Christ be heard? For it is only when His face is seen and His voice heard that the world will know the glad tidings of our redemption….Therefore,…I dare to summon the whole Church bravely to cross this new threshold, to put out into the deep of the Net, so that now as in the past the great engagement of the Gospel and culture may show to the world ‘the glory of God on the face of Christ.’” – Pope John Paul II

Liturgists and Clergy Study Day with Fr. Ed Foley

Fr. Edward Foley, CapuchinBishop Patrick McGrath and the Associate for Liturgy invite all liturgists and clergy of the diocese to participate in the 3rd annual morning of study and reflection on the Eucharist. This year, Reverend Edward Foley, Capuchin, will guide us through the ministries of preaching and presiding and will give special focus on the Eucharistic Prayer. Fr. Foley is a professor of liturgy and music and the chair of the Department of Word and Worship at the Chicago Theological Union. He has been a priest for almost 30 years and is an internationally acclaimed speaker, author, and theologian. His presentation will include input and discussion on current liturgical praxis and a mystagogical and musical reflection on the Eucharistic Prayer.

Becoming What We Pray:
Reflection on Preaching and Presiding at the Sunday Eucharist

Reverend Edward Foley, Capuchin

Friday, November 5, 2004, 9:30a to 12p
Santa Teresa Church - 794 Calero Avenue, San Jose

This workshop is free for liturgists and clergy of the San Jose Diocese.

Liturgists and clergy from other dioceses are welcomed but are asked to contribute a $5 registration fee at the door payable by cash or check to "Diocese of San Jose."

Please RSVP to Rebeca Aldaz or (408) 983-0126.

Fr. Foley is a dynamic speaker and will be able to intelligently and passionately address your questions and engage your imagination. I know that he can lift all our spirits and help us feel re-energized for the work we do.

For more information, contact Diana Macalintal or call (408) 983-0136.

Music Ministers Workshop with Fr. Ed Foley

If you are a music minister in the Catholic Church today, you are often right in the middle of “liturgy wars” and heated debates over musical styles and preferences. But if you're like me, you became a music minister because you love music just as much as you love the liturgy and the church that celebrates it.

We music ministers—directors, singers, cantors, accompanists, instrumentalists—have a great opportunity and an equally-great responsibility to serve the liturgy by enabling the faithful to participate in it, give thanks to God through it, be united in it, and go into the world commissioned by it through the art of music. If we are to make our work ministry and not just another “gig,” we need to understand in our bones the power of music to foster and nourish faith and even its power to weaken and destroy it.

Fr. Edward Foley, CapuchinSpend an evening in musical prayer, reflection, formation, and challenge with Reverend Edward Foley, Capuchin, who will guide us through the Rite of Communion, highlighting how our musical choices and habits can serve or hinder the action of the Eucharist. Fr. Foley's presentation will be musical, mystagogical, and meaningful for all who sing the liturgy.

Becoming What We Eat:
An Evening Reflection on Music,
Communion, and Eucharist
Reverend Edward Foley, Capuchin

Friday, November 5, 2004, 7:30p to 9p
$5 registration fee

Music ministers from other dioceses welcomed.

Please RSVP to
Rebeca Aldaz or (408) 983-0126.
Registration may be paid at the door in cash
or check to “Diocese of San Jose.”

Fr. Foley is a professor of liturgy and music and the chair of the Department of Word and Worship at the Chicago Theological Union. He has been a priest for almost 30 years and is an internationally acclaimed speaker, author, and theologian. He has been a frequent keynote speaker and presenter for the gatherings of the National Pastoral Musician and many other liturgical and musical conferences.

For more information, contact Diana Macalintal or call (408) 983-0136.

Liturgical Ministers Study Day with Fr. Ed Foley

Fr. Edward Foley, CapuchinRemember why you do what you do for the liturgy. Remember why you put in the extra hours preparing, creating, practicing, getting up early and staying late. Remember why we gather on Sunday in the first place.

All liturgical ministers and those who care for the liturgy in any way are invited to a morning of study and reflection on the Eucharist. Reverend Edward Foley, Capuchin, will guide us through an examination of why we gather to celebrate the Eucharist by calling us to reflect on why we are sent at the end of Mass. Fr. Foley’s presentation will include input and discussion on liturgical principles and methods for remembering, reflecting on, and evaluating our liturgical practice.

Go in Peace:
Reflection on Why We Gather
and For What We are Sent
Reverend Edward Foley, Capuchin

Saturday, November 6, 2004, 9:30a to 12p
Santa Teresa Church - 794 Calero Avenue, San Jose
$5 registration fee

Liturgical ministers from other dioceses welcomed.

Please RVSP to Rebeca Aldaz or (408) 983-0126.
Registration fee may be paid at the door by cash
or check to “Diocese of San Jose.”

Fr. Foley is a professor of liturgy and music and the chair of the Department of Word and Worship at the Chicago Theological Union. He has been a priest for almost 30 years and is an internationally acclaimed speaker, author, and theologian.

For more information, contact Diana Macalintal or call (408) 983-0136.

The Opening of Vatican II, 42 Years Ago

Vatican II
On October 11, 1962, Pope John XXIII opened the Second Vatican Council with this prayer:

God grant that your labors and your work,
toward which the eyes of all peoples
and the hopes of the entire world are turned,
may abundantly fulfill the aspirations of all.
Almighty God!
In Thee we place all our confidence, not trusting in our own strength.
Look down benignly upon these pastors of Thy Church.
May the light of Thy supernal grace aid us
in taking decisions and in making laws.
Graciously hear the prayers which we pour forth to Thee
in unanimity of faith, of voice and of mind.
O Mary, Help of Christians, Help of Bishops,
of whose love we have recently had particular proof
in thy temple of Loreto,
where we venerated the mystery of the Incarnation,
dispose all things for a happy and propitious outcome and,
with thy spouse, St. Joseph, the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul,
St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist,
intercede for us to God.
To Jesus Christ, our most amiable Redeemer,
immortal King of peoples and of times,
be love, power and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

On his deathbed, John XXIII said:
It is not that the gospel has changed; it is that we have begun to understand it better. Those who have lived as long as I have…were enabled to compare different cultures and traditions, and know that the moment has come to discern the signs of the times, to seize the opportunity and to look far ahead.
Pope John XXIII died on June 3, 1963. Pope Paul VI continued the work of the council until its closing in 1966. Click here to read excerpts from John XXIII's opening address at Vatican II and some key dates from this historic council.

A 500-Year Divide Between Catholics and Lutherans

Wittenberg doorsOn October 31, 1517, Martin Luther, a Catholic Augustinian priest in Germany, nailed to the doors of Wittenberg Castle Church (essentially the bulletin board of this university town) an invitation to discuss and debate the pastoral practices of the church. His 95 theses raised the question of justification (salvation). He argued that if scripture taught that by God’s grace alone are we saved, why then did the church encourage the practice of selling indulgences—certificates that shortened one’s time in purgatory. He argued that salvation is God’s work alone, and no amount of human effort or money could manipulate the mind of God. His argument was solidly Catholic and in line with one of the church’s greatest teachers—St. Augustine. Yet, over the centuries, the church had developed practices, such as private Masses and payment for these Masses to be said for private intentions, that took on the appearance and eventually endorsed that salvation could be bought or bartered. Luther’s action was not meant to divide the church but rather to reform it and remind it of its roots. But in part because of an attitude of defensiveness and a bit of stubbornness on both sides, the church excommunicated Luther and Luther and his supporters condemned many of the church’s teachings and practices. Since then, Lutherans and Catholics have been divided.

Vatican II issued a Decree on Ecumenism titled Unitatis Redintegratio (1964), calling for “the restoration of unity among all the followers of Christ” (1). Since then, leaders of both the Catholic and Lutheran churches have been dialoguing with each other, re-examining what each church truly teaches, and searching for common ground. A major reconciliation occurred on October 31, 1999, when the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification was signed by the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church. After almost 500 years, Martin Luther’s invitation to discuss and debate the issue of justification was finally answered.

This turning point document basically states that both Catholics and Lutherans “hold the conviction that justification is the work of the triune God” (15). The major common ground points of this document state:
  • Together we confess: By grace alone, in faith in Christ's saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works (15).
  • All people are called by God to salvation in Christ. Through Christ alone are we justified, when we receive this salvation in faith (16).
  • We also share the conviction that the message of justification directs us in a special way towards the heart of the New Testament witness to God's saving action in Christ: it tells us that as sinners our new life is solely due to the forgiving and renewing mercy that God imparts as a gift and we receive in faith, and never can merit in any way (17).
  • We confess together that all persons depend completely on the saving grace of God for their salvation (19).
  • We confess together that God forgives sin by grace and at the same time frees human beings from sin's enslaving power and imparts the gift of new life in Christ (22).
  • We confess together that sinners are justified by faith in the saving action of God in Christ (25).
  • We confess together that in baptism the Holy Spirit unites one with Christ, justifies, and truly renews the person (28).
  • We confess together that persons are justified by faith in the gospel “apart from works prescribed by the law” (Rom 3:28) (31).
  • We confess together that the faithful can rely on the mercy and promises of God (34).
  • We confess together that good works – a Christian life lived in faith, hope and love – follow justification and are its fruits (37).

Read the whole text of the Joint Declaration here.

Lutherans and Catholics Celebrate Together

Bishop Patrick J. McGrath of the Roman Catholic diocese of San Jose and Bishop David Mullen of the Sierra Pacific Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America invite all Catholics and Lutherans of Santa Clara county to a liturgy celebrating the 5th anniversary of the “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification.”

Evening Prayer
to mark the 5th Anniversary of the
Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification
between Catholics and Lutherans

Sunday, October 31, 2004, 4:00 pm
Christ the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
1550 Meridian Avenue, San Jose

Catholic Bishop Patrick J. McGrath
Lutheran Bishop David Mullen

Dr. Rosemary Radford Reuther

All Catholics and Lutherans are invited to participate in this ecumenical prayer service to continue the reconciliation and the reform of our churches.

Contact Fr. Jose Rubio at for more information.

We Need Singers!

Use music to help build stronger bridges between Catholics and Lutherans. Join a combined choir of Lutherans and Catholics at the celebration of the 5th anniversary of the signing of the “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification.” The music is very simple and can be quickly learned in a short rehearsal before the celebration.

We need singers for
Evening Prayer
To mark the 5th Anniversary of the
“Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification”
between Catholics and Lutherans

Sunday, October 31, 2004, 4:00 pm
Christ the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
1550 Meridian Avenue, San Jose
Rehearsal for Choir: 3:00 pm
No robes. Music provided.

Catholic Bishop Patrick J. McGrath
Lutheran Bishop David Mullen

Dr. Rosemary Radford Reuther

Diana Macalintal, pianist
David Simi, organist
Barbara Day Turner, conductor

Please RSVP with Diana Macalintal at or 408-983-0136 so we can have enough music and seating ready.

Sample Intercessions for October 10, 2004

28th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year C
October 10, 2004

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

  • Click here for this Sunday's readings.
  • October 11 is the 42nd anniversary of the opening of Vatican II.
  • October 15 is the beginning of the month of Ramadan.
  • October 16 is the 26th anniversary of the election of Pope John Paul II.
  • 11,900 layoffs announced at Bank of America and AT&T.
  • British hostage killed and increase in car bombings in Iraq.
  • Terrorist attacks in Sinai and Pakistan.
  • Hotel workers' stike continues in San Francisco area.

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 constant praise of God in all things,
for unfettered preaching of the Gospel,
for boundless welcome of the outcast.
We pray to the Lord.

For world leaders and those in authority (pause):
for a commitment to life in every decision;
for civil discourse in areas of disagreement;
for generous care for the sick and the dying.
We pray to the Lord.

For victims of violence (pause):
for those in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Egypt;
for those in Sudan and Haiti;
for our troops and workers serving in places of conflict;
for all who suffer daily in areas of war.
We pray to the Lord.

For all who seek a better life (pause):
for those unemployed and underemployed;
for those who work in thankless jobs;
for those chained by poverty and addiction.
We pray to the Lord.

For all who seek healing (pause):
for those who suffer incurable disease;
for those stigmatized by sickness;
for peace, comfort, and dignity in their illness.
We pray to the Lord.

Lord God, nothing can chain your healing word.
Release our world from the bonds of fear
and heal us from the things that make us blind to your saving power.
In your mercy, make us a people faithful to your word
so that those who live on the boundaries
might find healing, peace, and welcome in this place.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.