Thursday, March 23, 2006

What the Church is saying about immigration reform

Good Samaritan by Ben LongThere is a bill going through Congress right now that would make being an undocumented immigrant a felony, requiring jail time and barring the person from any future legal status or re-entry into the US. It would also make it a felony, requiring five years jail time, for anyone or any organization to assist, transport, or harbor an undocumented person in such a way that it aids or furthers the person's presence in the US.

Read more about the bill HR 4437 here.
Explore the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' website Justice for Immigrants.

Read what the California bishops are saying about this bill:

14 Questions on the Paschal Triduum

The following are some of the most-asked Triduum questions answered by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy.

1. When does the Triduum begin and end?
The Easter Triduum 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.

2. May another Mass besides the Mass of the Lord’s Supper be celebrated on Holy Thursday?
Ordinarily, no other Mass may be celebrated on Holy Thursday. However, by way of exception, the local Ordinary may permit another Mass in churches and oratories to be celebrated in the evening, and, in the case of genuine necessity, even in the morning. Such Masses are provided for those who in no way are able to participate in the evening Mass.

3. How are the Holy Oils, consecrated and blessed on Holy Thursday, to be received in the parish?
A reception of the oils may take place at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. The oils, in suitable vessels are carried in the procession of the gifts, before the bread and wine by members of the assembly. A text for this can be found in the Sacramentary Supplement 2004 recently published by Catholic Book Publishing Company.
[Editor's note: Click here to find out how to dispose of old Holy Oils.]

4. When should the celebration of the Lord’s Passion take place?
Normally it should take place in the afternoon, at about three o'clock to enable people to assemble more easily. However, pastoral discretion may indicate a time shortly after midday, or in the late evening, though never later than nine o'clock. Depending on the size or nature of a parish or other community, the local ordinary may permit the service to be repeated.

5. Does the Church encourage any other liturgical celebrations on Good Friday?
On this day the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer could appropriately be celebrated with the participation of the people in the churches.

6. Do devotions have a particular importance on Good Friday?
The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy (2002) provides the proper perspective in paragraphs 142 – 145. Clearly the central celebration of this day is the Good Friday Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion. In no way should manifestations of popular piety, either by the time or manner in which they are convoked substitute for this solemn liturgical action. Nor should aspects of the various acts of piety be mixed with the Good Friday celebration, creating a hybrid. In recent times, Passion Processions and celebration of the Stations of the Cross, and Passion Plays have become more common. In such representations, actors and spectators can be involved in a moment of faith and genuine piety. Care should be taken, however, to point out to the faithful that Passion Plays are a representation which is commemorative and they are very different from “liturgical actions” which are anamnesis, or the mysterious presence of the redemptive event of the Passion.

7. How does the Veneration of the Cross on Good Friday begin?
The Veneration of the Cross begins with one of two forms of Showing of the Cross:

  • The first form begins as the deacon or another suitable minister goes to the sacristy and obtains the veiled cross. Accompanied by two ministers with lighted candles, the veiled cross is brought to the center of the sanctuary in procession. The priest accepts the cross and then standing in front of the altar and facing the people, uncovers the upper part of the cross, the right arm and then the entire cross. Each time he unveils a part of the cross, he sings "This is the wood of the cross."
  • In the second form of the veneration of the cross, the priest or deacon goes to the church door, where he takes up the uncovered cross. Accompanied by two ministers with lighted candles, he processes to the sanctuary, stopping at the door of the church, in the middle of the church and before entering the sanctuary to sing the acclamation, "This is the wood of the cross."
8. How is the cross venerated by members of the Congregation on Good Friday?
After the showing of the cross, the priest or deacon may carry the cross to the entrance of the sanctuary or another suitable place. The first person to adore the Cross is the priest celebrant. If circumstances suggest, he takes off his chasuble and his shoes. The clergy, lay ministers and the faithful then approach the cross. The personal adoration of the cross is an important feature in this celebration and every effort should be made to achieve it. The rubrics remind us that “only one cross” should be used for adoration. If the numbers are so great that all can not come forward, the priest, after some of the clergy and faithful have adored the cross, can take the cross and stand in the center before the altar. In a few words he invites the people to adore the Cross. He then elevates the cross higher for a brief period of time while the faithful adore it in silence. It should also be kept in mind that when a sufficiently large cross is used even a large community can reverence it in due time. The foot of the cross as well as the right and left arm can be approached and venerated. Coordination with ushers and planning the flow of people beforehand can allow for this part of the liturgy to be celebrated with decorum and devotion.

9. When should the Easter Vigil take place?
The Vigil, by its very nature, ought to take place at night. It is not begun before nightfall and should end before daybreak on Easter Sunday. The celebration of the Easter Vigil takes the place of the Office of Readings. The Easter Vigil begins and ends in darkness. It is a nocturnal vigil, retaining its ancient character of vigilance, and expectation, as the Christian people await the resurrection of the Lord during the night. Fire is blessed and the paschal candle is lighted to illumine the night so that all may hear the Easter proclamation and listen to the word of God proclaimed in the Scriptures. For this reason the Service of Light takes place before the Service of the Word. Since sunset varies at different locations throughout the country, local weather stations can be consulted as to the time of sunset in the area.
[Editor's note: Sunset begins on this day in 2009 in San Jose at 7:39 p.m. and civil twilight ends at 8:06 p.m. Thus Easter Vigil for 2009 may not begin before 8:00 p.m.]

10. What considerations should be given for the Paschal Candle used at the Easter Vigil?
This candle should be made of wax, never be artificial, be replaced each year, be only one in number, and be of sufficiently large size that it may convey the truth that Christ is the light of the world. The Paschal Candle is the symbol of the light of Christ, rising in glory, scattering the darkness of our hearts and minds. Above all, the Paschal Candle should be a genuine candle, the pre-eminent symbol of the light of Christ. Choice of size, design, and color should be made in relationship to the sanctuary in which it will be placed.
[Editor's note: Click here to find out how to appropriately dispose of last year's Paschal Candle.]

11. How many readings should be proclaimed at the Easter Vigil?
One of the unique aspects of the Easter Vigil is the recounting of the outstanding deeds of the history of salvation. These deeds are related in seven readings from the Old Testament chosen from the law and the prophets and two readings from the New Testament, namely from the apostles and from the gospel. Thus, the Lord “beginning with Moses and all the prophets” (Lk 24.27, 44-45) meets us once again on our journey and, opening up our minds and hearts, prepares us to share in the breaking of the bread and the drinking of the cup. The faithful are encouraged to meditate on these readings by the singing of a responsorial psalm, followed by a silent pause, and then by the celebrant’s prayer. Meditation on these readings is so significant for this night that we are strongly urged to use all the readings whenever it can be done. Only in the case of grave pastoral circumstances can the number of readings be reduced. In such cases, at least three readings from the Old Testament should be read always including Exodus 14.

12. How is the First Communion of the neophytes to be emphasized during the Easter Vigil?
The celebrant, before he says, This is the Lamb of God, may make a brief remark to the neophytes about their first Communion and about the importance of so great a mystery, which is the climax of initiation and the center of the Christian life. This is a night when all should be able to receive Holy Communion under both forms.

13. What directions are given for the celebration of Masses on Easter Sunday?
Mass is to be celebrated on Easter Day with great solemnity. A full complement of ministers and the use of liturgical music should be evident in all celebrations. It is appropriate that the penitential rite on this day take the form of a sprinkling with water blessed at the Vigil, during which the antiphon Vidi aquam, or some other song of baptismal character should be sung. The holy water fonts at the entrance to the church should also be filled with the same water. On Easter Sunday the rite of renewal of baptismal promises is repeated after the homily.
[Editor's note: Click here to find out which prayer to use over water that has already been blessed.]

14. Where is the Paschal Candle placed during the Easter Season?
The paschal candle has its proper place either by the ambo or by the altar and should be lit at least in all the more solemn liturgical celebrations of the season until Pentecost Sunday, whether at Mass, or at Morning and Evening Prayer. After the Easter season the candle should be kept with honor in the baptistry, so that in the celebration of Baptism the candles of the baptized may be lit from it. In the celebration of funerals the paschal candle should be placed near the coffin to indicate that the death of a Christian is his own Passover. The paschal candle should not otherwise be lit nor placed in the sanctuary outside the Easter season.

Copyright © 2004, Bishops Committee on the Liturgy. Reprinted with permission.

Palm Sunday links

Some interesting links I found on Palm Sunday:

Recycle your old Music Issue 2005 hymnals

I've received a request from a seminary in the Philippines asking for donations of old 2005 Music Issue hymnals. They need about 200 copies. If you have any that you'd like to send, please contact Fr. Willie Manrique.

Catholic Young Adults near Stanford University

The Catholic Young Adults (20’s - 40’s) of Deanery 2 in the Diocese of San Jose (this includes the parishes of the Catholic Community at Stanford, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Athanasius, St. Nicholas, St. William, St. Joseph, and St. Simon) have started up a monthly Young Adult Mass. This month, the Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, March 28th, at 7:30p, at the University Lutheran Annex, 1611 Stanford Ave., Palo Alto (cross street Bowdoin, approximately halfway between Foothill Expwy and El Camino Real). Refreshments will be served following the Mass. All young adults, regardless of parish affiliation, are welcome. For more info, contact Sr. Rebecca.

Life and Death Choices - April 6, 2006

The parishes of St. Thomas of Canterbury and Sacred Heart (Saratoga) and the Office of Pastoral Ministry of the Diocese of San José presents

Death, Dying, and Terri Schiavo
A presentation by Rev. Gerald Coleman, SS

Catholic Moral Theologian
Professor at St. Patrick's Seminary and Santa Clara University
Vicar for Priests for the Archdiocese of San Francisco

Thursday, April 6th, 2006, 7:00p - 9:00p
Registration begins at 6:30p
St. Thomas of Canterbury Parish
1522 McCoy Ave. San José

Pre-registration by March 31: $5
Registration at door: $10
light refreshments provided

For more information or to register,
please call 408-378-1595 or 650-796-7655.

Stations of the Cross / Via Crucis of Oscar Romero

The Diocese of San Jose's Office of Evangelization, Justice, and Peace has posted a stations of the cross using some of Archbishop Romero's words. Click here.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Thank you!!

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As any liturgist knows, good liturgy doesn't just happen (although it should look effortless). It takes the hard work and love of many many people. Above all, it takes the merciful grace of God to make all our efforts, human and divine, come together into one momentary earthly glimpse of the heavenly liturgy.

Almost 250 people put in their love and work on Saturday, March 18 and the weeks before so that the 800+ people in the assembly could do their work of giving praise to God for the 25 years of ministry as the Diocese of San Jose.

Some of those who helped make the diocese's Jubilee Mass a prayerful and Spirit-filled event are:

The Choir made up of music directors from the parishes of the Diocese
The Saint Ann Choir of Palo Alto
Parishioners of the Cathedral Basilica who served as ushers
Steve and Lior and the staff at Design2Market - worship aid design and production
The Party Helpers for the reception
All our prelude performers:
Sifu Meng and his Kung Fu Academy
Holy Korean Martyrs Drum Troop
Elizabeth and the Danza Liturgica de Santa Catalina
Poi, Aurora, Maan and the Filipino-American Youth Dance Group of Santa Teresa
Br. Phong, Chris, and the Saint Patrick Vietnamese Youth

Alba Aguirre – reader
Pat Allen - administrative work
José Amezcua – reader
Karina Amezcua – reader
Maureen Ariente – candle bearer
Israel Arrellano - Cathedral maintenance
Tim Barrington - sacristan
Hector Basañez – acolyte
Joe Bauer – candle bearer
Linda Bearie – speaker
Rev. Christopher Bennett – MC and liturgy committee
Br. William Bolts – procession of gifts
Melissa Broome - liturgy committee
Rev. Ritche Bueza - Cathedral liaison and liturgy committee
Tito Cartagenas – usher
Deacon Harry Collins – deacon of the altar
Ray Crisologo - liturgy committee
Linda Daily – usher
Ron Daily – usher
Sr. Terry Davis – candle bearer
Lynda DeManti – MC and liturgy committee
Gale Deome – liturgical movement
Sr. Marcela Fabing – candle bearer
Sr. Miriam Daniel Fahey – procession of gifts
Marianne Farag – usher
Jeff Fernandez – MC
Sr. Maria Rosaria Gallardo – procession of gifts
Anne Grycz – speaker and liturgy committee
Sr. Kathleen Hanley – procession of gifts
Adrienne Harris – acolyte
Bill Harris - acolyte's dad and driver
Lucia Hong – usher and liturgy committee
Margarita Hua - liturgy committee
Terrie Iacino – speaker
Joe Kim – acolyte
Steve Kim – usher
Jessica King - administrative work
Justin Le – acolyte
Elizabeth Lilly - liturgy committee
Jane Lucid – candle bearer
Vanessa Lunares – acolyte
Dr. William Mahrt - director of the Saint Ann Choir
Bruno Martinez – usher
Rosa Melendez - Cathedral preparation
Sr. Pat Mitchell – speaker
Celina Mogan – reader
Zach Mogan – reader
Don Morgan – usher
Sr. Patricia Marie Mulpeters – candle bearer
Bernard Nemis - administrative work and sign-maker extraordinaire
Andrew V. Nguyen – acolyte
Dzung Van Nguyen – lector
Sr. Josefa Nguyen – procession of gifts
Tan Nguyen – acolyte
Sandra Ojeda – reader
Susan Olsen – liturgical movement
Ernesto Orci – acolyte
Greg Ortiz - sacristan
Jesús Piceno – reader
Sr. Ana Maria Pineda – candle bearer
Donna Rehder – candle bearer and reception
John Michael Reyes - liturgy committee
Rev. Jose Rubio - liturgy committee
Br. James Sanders – procession of gifts
Wendy Scherbart – usher and reader coordinator
Gregory Schultz - composer
Sandy Scott – usher and reader coordinator and liturgy committee
Deacon Chady Segovia – deacon of the word
Sr. Rebecca Shinas – procession of gifts
Sr. Rachela Silvestri – procession of gifts
Sr. Gloria Solis – procession of gifts
Roberto Solozano - Cathedral maintenance
Melissa Tamayo - usher and hospitality
Noel Tamayo - usher and hospitality
Joe Tirado – usher and seating coordinator
Br. Matthew Townsend – procession of gifts
Nina Tranchina – usher
Erin Tully – reader
Linda Tully – administrative work
Adriana Valenzuela - Cathedral preparation
Elsa Villafin – reader coordinator
Lupita Vital – speaker and Cathedral preparation
Nick Wagner – usher
Julie Wind - music ministry director and liturgy committee
Ethan Winklebleck – reader
Danica Yamamura – reader
Carmen Zaragoza – lector

Litany of Sending - Jubilee Mass

At the end of the diocesan Jubilee Mass on March 18, 2006, 10 young people led the following litany just before the final blessing of the Mass. The assembly responded to each call with resounding "Amens!" Several people have asked me for the text, so here it is. It is adapted from the Diocese of San José Pastoral Plan: "Renewing the Church."

The mission of the Diocese of San José,
the Catholic Community of Santa Clara County,
is to be a local Church that will inspire the people of this Valley
to live the values taught by Jesus Christ,
inspiring them to integrity and action.

Vision is first and most important as we fulfill our mission.
Our mission is rooted in faith: Christ and Christ alone is at the center.
That vision must rise out of faith
and be different from any merely worldly vision.
Christ guides all we do. His hope for the kingdom is our vision.

Therefore, let us be a Church unafraid to dream. Amen!
Let us be a Church that is in tune with the world around us,
dealing with the real concerns of real people. Amen!

Let us be a Church that matters,
making a real difference in people’s lives. Amen!
Let us be an inclusive Church in which no one feels unwelcome
or unwanted. Amen!

Let us be an evangelizing Church;
reaching out to the young and to the old. Amen!
Let us be a witnessing Church—witnessing not a cause,
not an ideology or an agenda,
but the person and life of Jesus Christ. Amen!

Let us be a Church that witnesses the poverty of Christ
in a consumer society. Amen!
Let us be a Church that witnesses
the charity and hope of Christ. Amen!

Let us be a Church that shows the face of Christ
by being known for our compassion,
forgiveness, and love. Amen!
Let us be a Church in which all are servants. Amen!

Let us be a confident Church, one that is not gloomy and without joy,
but a Church that laughs. Amen!
Let us be a Church that seeks to know and follow the Lord,
not perfectly, but ever more closely. Amen!

Let us be a Church that forgives and asks for forgiveness. Amen!
Let us be a Church that perseveres in the teaching of the apostles,
in the breaking of the bread and in prayer. Amen!

Finally, let us be a Church that has priorities,
a Church in which there is a priority of persons over things
and of truth over expediency,
a Church where there is a priority of love over all else,
a Church in which we say that the greatest of all,
of everything, is love. Amen!

Requesting Faculties to Confirm

The Bishop is the ordinary minister of Confirmation. Therefore, priests are required, in certain situations, to request faculties to be the minister of Confirmation in place of the Bishop.

If the people who are to be confirmed are already baptized Catholics and , then the priest will need to request faculties from the Bishop in order to confirm them. To do this, he simply sends the Bishop a letter making the request, indicating the names of the persons to be confirmed, the date and place the Confirmation will occur, and citing the pastoral reason for which permission is requested. You may send the request directly to the Bishop’s office: 900 Lafayette Street, Suite 301, Santa Clara, CA 95050.

Note: By law, faculties are already provided to priests to confirm catechumens (those unbaptized) at the time of their baptism or candidates for full communion (those baptized into another Christian tradition) at the time of their reception into the Catholic Church, or those in danger of death. Priests are required to request the faculty to administer the sacrament of Confirmation only when confirming an already-baptized Catholic (cf. Canon 883).

Here is a sample letter requesting faculties to confirm:

Dear Bishop McGrath:

I am requesting permission to confirm the following persons at the ____ Mass on Pentecost Sunday, June 4, 2006, here at St. _______ Parish. They were all baptized as infants but were never catechized nor previously admitted to Confirmation.

[list names]

All have participated fully in our parish's preparation process, and we believe they are ready to celebrate Confirmation.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

The Beatitude Mass helping the poor in spirit

A World Premiere

The Beatitude Mass
by Henry Mollicone
(Full Orchestral Version)

Friday, March 31, 2006, 8pm
Saturday, April 1, 2006, 8pm

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph

with the Mission Chamber Orchestra
Nancy Wait Kromm, Soprano
Paul Murray, Bass
including works by Brahms, Barber, and de Lassus

Tickets: $10 each
or 408-995-3318

This new work is based upon Latin prayers from the mass, interjected with English texts composed by William Luce, based upon interviews with residents of homeless shelters.

This concert is presented as a fundraising event to benefit the homeless of Santa Clara County. Donations to this cause are encouraged. An exhibition of artwork at the Cathedral by Lynden Keith Johnson and area students will be offered as incentives to donors. Please make donation checks payable to "San Jose Cathedral Foundation."

Monday, March 20, 2006

Chrism Mass Choir

Come sing!The Chrism Mass needs music ministers of all ages and abilities. If you would like to sing or play an instrument for this year's Chrism Mass, please see the information below on rehearsals.

Choir Rehearsal for Chrism Mass
Monday, March 27, 7:00p - 9:00p
Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph
Parish Hall (next to the Cathedral)

Chrism Mass
Tuesday, April 4, 2006, 7:30p
Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph

To reserve your spot in the choir, please contact Julie Wind at 408-283-8100 x2205 and indicate if you have an instrument or voice preference: soprano, alto, tenor, or bass.


Disposing of Old Holy Oils

As with the Paschal Candle, ideally the Holy Oils given to each parish by the Bishop at the Chrism Mass are completely consumed through their normal use in anointings during the year. The new oil received at the current year's Chrism Mass replaces the oil from the previous year.

When there is Holy Oil left over from the previous year, it should be disposed of with care and reverence.

One way is to burn the old oils. This may be accomplished by reverently burning them in the Easter Fire at the Easter Vigil or at some other appropriate time. It is not fitting that the Holy Oils be burned along with trash or other non-religious refuse. Cotton balls or another absorbent fabric can be used to soak up the oil. The cotton is then burned and any ashes buried into the ground near the church.

The Archdiocese of Seattle has some good guidelines on how to do this. Click here to see their guidelines on disposing old Holy Oils.

Meyer-Vogelpohl oil burnerAnother option is to use a sacramental oil burner. Meyer-Vogelpohl has one that is beautiful enough to use as a tabernacle lamp or for ritual prayer. Click here to see more details about this sacramental oil burner.

Distribution of the Holy Oils

The Holy Oils will be available for pick-up at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph at the conclusion of the Chrism Mass. You can also pick up your oils on Wednesday, April 5 after 1:00p in the Office of Pastoral Ministry, 900 Lafayette Street, Suite 405.

Parish Representatives for the Chrism Mass

Three representatives from each parish are requested to present the oils for blessing during the Chrism Mass on Tuesday, April 4, 2006, at 7:30p. They should be selected in advance for this responsibility and be seated in their reserved seats in the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph by 7:00p.

It is recommended that those presenting the oils represent some link to the oil to be blessed, for example:

  • Oil of the Sick: A minister to the sick, elderly, or hospitalized; or a parishioner who was anointed in the last year.

  • Oil of Catechumens: A parish catechumenate team member; or a catechist working in baptismal preparation; or a catechumen.

  • Sacred Chrism: A neophyte initiated at last year’s Easter Vigil; or a candidate for Confirmation; or a catechist working in Confirmation preparation; or an "Elect" (adult preparing for Baptism at the Easter Vigil).

If you have any questions, please contact Diana Macalintal at 408-983-0136.


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The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph was packed and the entire place was buzzing with excitement! Here are some pics, slide shows, and the San Jose Mercury News article on the Diocese of San Jose's 25th anniversary Mass on Saturday, March 18, 2006.

San Jose Mercury News article

San Jose Mercury News slideshow
To play, click on the triangle in the bottom left corner.

Slideshow of pictures
Pics taken before the Jubilee celebration, during the cultural presentations, at the beginning of the processional, and at the reading of the Pastoral Plan. The file is 3.27 MB large so please allow time for the entire file to load. "Sumus Ecclesia! We Are the Church!" is playing in the background, so please turn on your computer speakers. Courtesy of Melissa Tamayo.

Low-resolution video of the end of the Jubilee Mass
The background music is live audio from the Mass. The entire video is approximatley 4 minutes long and 8+ MB large. Please allow time for the entire file to load. Courtesy of Melissa Tamayo.

Pope Paul VI Award Certificates

Image hosting by PhotobucketIf your parish submitted names of candidates for the Pope Paul VI Award, please check the spelling and accuracy of the information by clicking The site is a wiki created by Adriana Valenzuela and Bernard Nemis who are coordinating the printing of the award certificates. By double-checking the information on this wiki, you can help us reduce the number of certificates they'll need to reprint because of inaccurate information.

If you find mistakes in the information, please send your corrections to Bernard Nemis or contact him at 408-983-0126.

Deadline to submit corrections: Wednesday, March 22, 10:00a.

Thanks for helping us save some trees!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Penitential Rite

Image hosting by PhotobucketLenten liturgies have a quality of sobriety and simplicity. But remember that "sober" and "simple" do not mean "boring" or necessarily "straight out of the book." Simple, sober liturgy is elegant liturgy that pays attention first to the primary symbols and keeps in mind the small details. Lent is the perfect time to do the basic things very well. (The following article by Diana Macalintal originally appeared in Eucharistic Ministries, January 2004, Issue #238.)

Say “penitential” and most people think of sin and an “I’m not worthy” attitude. Yet, the Penitential Rite isn’t really penitential in that way. This rite and the Kyrie are primarily confessions of faith. Having gathered together to become one body in Christ, we stand before God our Creator, acknowledging that God is God and we are not. Our confession of sin is first a confession of the awesome power and love of God through Christ. Only because we acknowledge and trust in God’s mercy are we able to acknowledge our faults and failings. Our “Lord, have mercy” is not a self-centered acclamation that calls attention to our unworthiness but rather is a joyful proclamation that points to the goodness of God who sent his Son to give us life. It shouts, “See how great is the Lord who is slow to anger and rich in compassion!”

The Greek words Kyrie eleison reflect this understanding of the penitential rite. Literally meaning “Lord, have mercy”, it is a confession of faith in Christ in the same way that the blind men and the Canaanite woman in Matthew’s Gospel (9:27 and 15:22) or the blind beggar, Bartimaeus, in Mark’s (10:46-47) professed their faith in Jesus who they knew could heal them. When we say “Lord, have mercy,” we are first professing that Jesus is the risen Lord, the Christ who saves us. Praise is our starting point as we stand humbly, acknowledging our complete dependence on Christ.

Because the Penitential Rite is a proclamation of praise and because it takes place within the Gathering Rite whose purpose is to unite the members into a gathered assembly, all should participate in it. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal says that this rite is useful in “expressing and fostering the faithful’s active participation” (GIRM, 36). Though musical settings can be led by a cantor and enhanced by the choir, they should be simple enough for the entire assembly to sing. Music in Catholic Worship reminds us too that this is a secondary rite and should not overshadow the primary actions in the Gathering Rite of entrance song and opening prayer nor the more important Liturgy of the Word. Thus, musical settings should be “brief and simple” (MCW, 65). Based on the liturgical season or particular celebration of the day, select from the three forms (A - Confiteor, B - short dialogue, C - longer tropes with “Lord, have mercy” or “Kyrie eleison”), but don’t assume that these need to be sung every time. It may be more appropriate to sing form C during Lent and Advent, speak form A during winter ordinary time, speak the little-known form B during summer ordinary time, and omit the rite altogether during the Easter and Christmas seasons and replace it with the Sprinkling Rite.


Writing the Penitential Rite

Writing invocationsIn addition to the 8 sets of invocations for Form C of the Penitential Rite, the rubrics allow for other invocations to be used. One reason to write original invocations is to relate them more closely to the readings of the day. When crafting original invocations, use the current 8 options as models and keep the following in mind:

Christ is the focus; we are not
Each invocation is an address to Christ and speaks of the work Christ has done for us. Don’t use phrases like “For the times we have sinned….” The Penitential Rite is not an examination of conscience but a proclamation of praise for Christ. Use instead this formula: [Title for Jesus] + [something Christ did to save us] + [acclamation]. For example: “Risen Lord, you came to give us life: Lord, have mercy.”

Use the readings
The Gathering Rite will flow more smoothly into the Liturgy of the Word if you can incorporate images from the readings into the invocations. The second reading often has titles for Christ, and the Gospel will give you ideas for Christ’s actions.

Yesterday, today, forever
Keep in mind parallel structure of verbs (see option iii or vi in the Sacramentary for an example of this parallel structure) and also past, present and future tenses (see option ii). In this second example, the actions are “you came,” “you come” and “you will come.” This structure helps us give praise to Christ for what he has done, for what he continues to do today and for what he has promised us will be.

Using the techniques outlined above, here is a sample set of penitential rite form C invocations for the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C.

  • Lord Jesus, you opened for us a living fountain to purify us from sin: Lord, have mercy.
  • Christ Jesus, you make us all children of God, descendants of Abraham, and heirs according to the promise. Christ, have mercy.
  • Lord Jesus, you will come again to turn our mourning into gladness and our daily cross into eternal life. Lord, have mercy.


Rite of Election Music

Here you'll find the music that we'll be singing for this year's Rite of Election. Please practice these refrains with your catechumens, godparents, and community members.

You can click here to get a rehearsal sheet of the music in PDF form.

Gathering Song
Click to hear this music. Windows Media Player format.Sumus Ecclesia! We Are the Church (Gregory Schultz)
Gregory Schultz. © 2005, Gregory Schultz. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Responsorial Psalm
Boundless Love (Lm Duy Thiên and Rufino Zaragoza)
English text: Rufino Zaragoza, OFM. Music and text: Lm Duy Thiên. © 1976, 2000, Nguyen Văn Thang. Published by OCP Publications. All rights reserved. Used with permission under license #2319057.

Enrollment of Names
Sign Me Up (Kevin Yancy and Jerome Metcalfe)
Kevin Yancy and Jerome Metcalfe. © 1979, Kevin Yancy and Jerome Metcalfe. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Closing Song
Click to hear this music. Windows Media Player format.Vienen con Alegría (Cesáreo Gabaráin and Owen Alstott)
Music and Spanish Text: Cesáreo Gabaráin. English Text: Owen Alstott. © 1979, 2003, Cesáreo Gabaráin. Published by OCP Publications. All rights reserved. Used with permission under license #2319057.

This song comes from "Cantemos Unidos/United in Song." Purchase this CD and music collection of bilingual music from Oregon Catholic Press.
Cantemos Unidos/United in Song


Exploring Deus Caritas Est

image from Maria Press is offering free of charge a new web resource called Exploring Deus Caritas Est. This is a four-part discussion resource written to help small groups and individuals explore the major themes of Pope Benedict's first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, "God is Love."

The author of this resource, Anthony Garascia, is a pastoral minister in South Bend, Indiana, parish and long-time marriage and family counselor. He is the author of Before "I Do", Catholic Remarriage: A Workbook for Couples, and Getting Married, Living Together: A Guide for Engaged Couples, all published by Ave Maria Press.

Exploring Deus Caritas Est is found at The first session is available for download now as a PDF. The remaining three sessions become available during the next couple of weeks. A complete schedule of release dates is available on the web site.

This may be a good self-directed lenten retreat for individuals and small groups.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Katrina Aid

St. John Vianney parish in San José will be presenting “A Taste of Mardi Gras,” a fund raiser for their sister parish in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

Saturday, 4 March 2006
6:00p –12:00a

A Jambalaya Dinner

For ticket information, please contact:
Bruno Martinez at 408-258-7832 x23