Thursday, August 31, 2006

"Go out on a limb. That's where the fruit is."

Mary Luke TobinLoretto Sister Mary Luke Tobin, one of only 15 women invited to attend Vatican II, died August 24, 2006. She was an outspoken advocate for the laity, especially women religious, and was known as a source of unrelenting hope that "unity, justice, and peace will eventually reign among God's people." Read more about her here.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Sample Intercessions for September 3, 2006 - Labor Day

22nd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B – Labor Day
September 3, 2006

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

  • Click here for the readings of the day.
  • The country observes the Labor Day holiday and churches unofficially begin a “new year” of work.
  • Immigration issues, especially the topic of dignified work for all, still pervades the news.
  • We have just marked the one-year anniversary of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
  • Middle East peace is still tenuous.
  • Travelers are returning home and school children are beginning a new school year.
  • Some parents may be dealing with children leaving for college, and new college students need some reassurance as they begin a new part of their life.

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.

The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
Let us lift our voices in prayer before the Lord, our God,
for those most in need of justice and peace.

For the Church: [pause]
For true leaders and disciples not only in word but in deed;
for clean hearts reflecting lives faithful to the Gospel;
for religion that is pure and undefiled before God.
We pray to the Lord.

For the world: [pause]
For countries at war and those who labor for peace;
for cities still working to rebuild after natural disaster;
for those who bring relief, safety, and peace through their actions.
We pray to the Lord.

For all who labor and work: [pause]
For migrant workers and factory hands who labor to feed and clothe us,
for parents who labor to care for their families,
for all who seek the dignity of work and meaningful employment.
We pray to the Lord.

For those who begin a new school year: [pause]
For students, teachers, and school staffs;
for children away at college and the parents who miss them;
for wisdom, comfort, safety, and joy.
We pray to the Lord.

For the sick and the suffering: [pause]
For orphans and widows, the homeless and the mentally ill;
for those we label unclean by sickness or disease;
for those at the edge of death, especially those we now name….
We pray to the Lord.

For the dead: [pause]
For victims of natural disaster, human error, or greed,
for those killed by war, poverty, or hate,
for those who die alone, especially those we now name….
We pray to the Lord.

God, you are the Father of lights and source of every perfect gift.
Plant your saving word within us
and make us authentic disciples who hear and do the Gospel.
Receive the prayers we offer to you
and grant them according to your will,
for you are close to us whenever we call.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Labor Day thoughts and ideas

This last year has seen lots of needed attention by the church, politicians, and everyday people on the difficult issue of immigration. Living in California with its orchards, farms, and fields sprinkled throughout our cities and towns, we know first-hand that immigration and work are deeply connected. And our Silicon Valley experience tells us too, that exploitation of the worker can take many forms. This Labor Day, in between the hot dogs and shopping mall sales, we can take some time to reflect on the dignity of work and the way human labor can help us all recognize God's work in all of us.

Here's a reflection by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn titled A Labor Day Reflection on Immigration and Work.

Here's a repeat from a couple of years back on using the labor day weekend as a time to bless the work of a new parish year.

The first Labor Day was celebrated on September 5, 1882, to celebrate the social and economic achievements of American workers. Today, Labor Day unofficially signals the beginning of a new "school" year of work and study and the end of the lazy days of summer.

To respect the origins of this national holiday while acknowledging its new role of marking the change in the social season, the labor day weekend may be an appropriate time to acknowledge and bless the temporal and spiritual work that parishioners do.

Teachers and Students
The Book of Blessings, Chapter 5, has an order for the blessing of students and teachers. The basic structure of the blessing begins with general intercessions after the homily written specifically for teachers and students followed by a prayer of blessing. After the homily, teachers and students might be called forward to stand before the assembly to receive the church's blessing.

Pastoral Staff and Parish Leaders

"In the life of a parish there is a diversity of services that are exercised by lay persons. It is fitting that as people publicly begin their service they receive the blessing of God who gives the gifts needed to carry out this work" (Book of Blessings, "Order for the Blessing of Those who Exercise Pastoral Service" #1808).
One of the Masses during this weekend might include a blessing of the parish staff and leaders, especially if there are new staff members and leaders. The structure of the blessing in the Book of Blessings (Chapter 60) is the same as that for teachers and students--intercessions for the leaders after the homily followed by a prayer of blessing over them.

Liturgical Ministers
This weekend and the weeks following might be a good time to bless liturgical ministers scheduled to serve during the upcoming liturgical year. The Book of Blessings contains blessings for readers (Chapter 61), altar servers, sacristans, musicians and ushers (Chapter 62), and the commissioning of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion (Chapter 63).

Parish Organizations
There are also blessings for parish council members (Chapter 64) and officers of parish societies (Chapter 65) in the Book of Blessings.

New Parishioners
Labor Day is also a traditional time for moving into new homes. This weekend and the next, be extra aware and welcoming of new faces in your parish. Hospitality for strangers is a year-round ministry for every Christian and is especially needed for those beginning a new chapter of their lives as new members of your parish. The Book of Blessings has an order for welcoming new parishioners (Chapter 66). The structure is very simple: new parishioners may be introduced to the assembly by the pastor after the greeting in the Gathering Rite. Then they are prayed for by name in the intercessions. Be careful that you do not force the spot light upon anyone who may be uncomfortably shy. It would be best to let new parishioners know ahead of time of this opportunity and give them the choice of participating in it.

Remember that hospitality, welcome, and prayer for each other doesn't end with Labor Day. Our blessings and welcome on this weekend must be supported and made genuine by the blessings we are for each other throughout the year.


Blessing of Families in their New Homes - repeat

This time of year, lots of people might be moving into new homes--teens off to college for the first time (dorm rooms count!); young adults starting new jobs; empty-nesters or retirees looking for a new place to start the next part of their lives.

Here's a blessing I crafted last year that has been receiving a lot of hits lately. Feel free to copy and adapt it for your needs.


Image hosted by Photobucket.comMoving into a new home can be psychologically unsettling. Help meet the spiritual needs of new parishioners, first-time home-owners, and college students moving into their first apartment by celebrating with them a blessing of the family in their new home. Below is an adaption by Diana Macalintal of the "Annual Blessing of Families in Their Own Homes" from the Book of Blessings, #68ff, which can be led by a priest or deacon and takes place in the family's home.

Blessing of a Family in Their New Home

Introductory Rites
When the community has gathered, a suitable song may be sung.
The celebrant greets those present.
    In the name of the Father, and of the Son,
    and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

    Peace be with this house and with all who live here.
    And also with you.

    Today we gather to bless this family
    and this house in which they live.

    The family home is called the domestic church.
    It is where we first learn to pray, to forgive,
    to give thanks, and to bless each other.

    Let us then ask God to open our hearts
    so that, as the doors of this home
    are opened to friend and stranger,
    this family may be a source of welcome for all in need
    and a place where Christ is found.

Reading of the Word of God
A reader or the celebrant may read a text of sacred Scripture – Ephesians 2:17-22.

The celebrant continues.

    As this family has been clothed with Christ through baptism,
    let us pray that this home is clothed with the love of God
    to be a shelter of peace for all who dwell in it.
A reader leads the litany.

    Our response is: Make us your dwelling place, Lord.

    With Mary, and Joseph: Make us your dwelling place, Lord.
    With Anne and Joachim:...
    With Elizabeth and Zechariah:
    With Francis and Clare:
    With all the angels and saints:
    With all holy men and women:
    For the sick and the hungry:
    For the homeless and lonely:
    For friend and stranger:
    For neighbor and traveler:
    In times of joy and peace:
    In times of sadness and grief:
    When anger and fear confuse us:
    When pride and pain confound us:
    In all things, great and small:
The celebrant continues.
    Christ taught us to call upon the Father, and so we pray:
    Our Father…

Prayer of Blessing [1]
With hands outstretched over the family members, the celebrant leads the following prayer.

    Almighty and eternal God,
    your fatherly tenderness never ceases to provide for our needs.
    We ask you to bestow on this family and this home
    the riches of your (+) blessing.
    With the gift of your grace sanctify those who live here,
    so that, faithful to your commandments,
    they will care for each other, bless this world by their lives,
    and reach the home you have prepared for them in heaven.
    Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The celebrant sprinkles the family with holy water.
The celebrant and family and those present go to various rooms of the home to sprinkle them with holy water.

Concluding Blessing [2]
The celebrant continues.
    May the God of hope fill you with every joy and blessing.
    May the peace of Christ abound in your hearts.
    May the Holy Spirit enrich you with all good gifts,
    now and for ever. Amen.

    And may almighty God bless you,
    the Father, and the Son, (+) and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
[1] Adaptation of Book of Blessings #84. return
[2] Book of Blessings #88. return


Resources for Remembering September 11

As we remember September 11, let us recommit ourselves to praying for peace.

Resources from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)

Resources from the University of Dayton Campus Ministry

Resources from Oregon Catholic Press (OCP)

Intercessions for Peace (by Diana Macalintal)

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven: [light candle] for all who died on September 11; for the angels to carry them safely to the arms of the Father. We pray to the Lord.

Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted: [light candle] for all who are still wounded and saddened during this time of remembrance. We pray to the Lord.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy: [light candle] for those who plan and execute violence upon others; for continued efforts at reconciliation and healing; for God’s mercy upon them. We pray to the Lord.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God: [light candle] for our church, national, and world leaders; for the courage to bear the cross of peace; for wisdom to prevent even more death. We pray to the Lord.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied: [light candle] for our diocese of San Jose; for perseverance to end violence and abuse; for strength to be models of peace and justice for our communities. We pray to the Lord.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven: [light candle] for those wrongly accused; for their protection; for the eradication of hatred and discrimination in our words and actions. We pray to the Lord.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land: [light candle] for all who are sick and suffering, especially for those we now name (long pause). We pray to the Lord.

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God: [light candle] for family and friends who have died, especially for those we now name (long pause). We pray to the Lord.


Sunday, August 27, 2006

A Prayer for Grandparents

Lola and meSince 1978, the first Sunday after Labor Day has been designated as National Grandparents' Day. Marian McQuade from West Virginia wanted to raise our nation's awareness of the lonely elderly in nursing homes. She also hoped that grandchildren would turn to their grandparents to learn from their wisdom.

In honor of grandparents and their grandchildren, here is a prayer that grandchildren can use to bless their grandparents.

A Child's Prayer for Grandparents

Dear God, please bless my grandparents.
Thank you for the life they gave my parents
and for the life they give to me.

For the ways they helped me and made me strong, I give thanks.
For the ways they love me no matter what, I rejoice.
For the ways they have paved the road
that leads me here, I am grateful.

Let them grow in wisdom and joy in life.
Let them find peace and rest from their work.
Let them be healed of every sickness and pain.
And let them see with their own eyes
the glory of your Son, Jesus,
in the love of their children and grandchildren.

Bless them always until they come to rest in you.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Copyright © 2005, Diana Macalintal

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Liturgical Coordinators' Gathering - September 5, 2006

As summer moves into its last few days, hopefully you're getting energized for a new parish year. In your planning, you might be asking yourself:

  • What are the basic guidelines for training lectors and Communion ministers?
  • How do I schedule all these liturgical ministers?
  • We have five different choirs, all doing different things. How do we "get on the same page"?
  • While we're at it, how do I get all the lectors, Communion ministers, choirs, greeters, ushers, altar servers, deacons, and priests all on the same page?!
  • And are you serious, Diana, when you say that I need to be planning Triduum now?!?
After asking all that, you just might be ready for another vacation! But don't fear. We'll get through this together at our next Liturgical Coordinators' Gathering. Come find out how others are handling these questions and bring your own to our next gathering.

Liturgical Coordinators' Gathering
Tuesday, September 5, 2006
10:00a - 12:00p

Chancery Offices, 3rd Floor
900 Lafayette Street, Santa Clara

RSVP with Bernard Nemis or 408-983-0126.

If you have any liturgical ministry training guidelines or a ministry scheduling program that you'd like to share, please bring them.

And here are the other dates for the Liturgical Coordinators' Gatherings for the year:
  • Tuesday, November 7, 2006, 10:00a – 12:00p
  • Tuesday, January 9, 2007, 10:00a – 12:00p
  • Tuesday, March 6, 2007, 10:00a – 12:00p
  • Tuesday, May 1, 2007, 10:00a – 12:00p
  • Tuesday, June 5, 2007, 10:00a – 12:00p
If your parish would like to host any of these gatherings, please let Diana Macalintal know.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Cantor Workshop - September 18, 2006

don't cantor like thisDon't cantor like this! 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.

Participants who register will have the opportunity to cantor and receive immediate feedback. This master-class style workshop is free.

Cantor Workshop
Monday, September 18, 2006
7:00p - 9:30p
Saint Joseph Church
Free Admission

Learn basic singing techniques
Study the role of the cantor in the Mass
Prepare litanies and Advent psalms
Practice cantor gestures and postures

If you want to cantor that evening and receive individual feedback,
please bring an extra copy of your psalm for the pianist.

Led by Diana Macalintal, Diocesan Associate for Liturgy
and Melissa Broome, Liturgy Director at Most Holy Trinity

Register with Bernard Nemis at
or 408-983-0126 or online here

9/11 Memorial Concert – September 9, 2006

Marking the fifth anniversary of 9/11, the Mission Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Emily Ray, and the San Jose Symphonic Choir, directed by Leroy Kromm, present Mozart's Requiem under the beautiful dome of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph on Saturday, September 9, 2006, 8:00p. In a fitting tribute to the 9/11 victims, Terry Vosbein's A Prayer for Peace, written in reaction to the events of that tragic day, will be performed, and mezzo soprano Sherri Phelps will be featured in Craig Bohmler's evocative Songs of Loss. Free pre-concert lecture begins at 7:00p. Dan Leeson, author of Opus Ultimum: The Story of the Mozart Requiem, will lecture before the concert. Reception immediately following concert in Loyola Hall next to the Cathedral (ticket required). Concert tickets are $25, reception tickets are $5. Advance tickets are available; please check Mission Chamber Orchestra's website or call (408) 236-3350 for more information. Tickets purchased at the door are limited. All ticket purchasers will receive a dining benefit card to Eulipia Restaurant.

San José parish goes to the Philippines

We’ve had parishes travel to San Francisco, Tijuana, and New Orleans this summer to build homes and bring hope to people in need. But I think the parish of Saint Francis of Assisi wins the prize for traveling the farthest to put their faith into practice. Fr. John Sandersfeld and a dozen parishioners of Saint Francis of Assisi traveled across the Pacific to the Philippines in January to visit the village where their parish is helping to build at least 35 homes for those who lost homes in recent typhoons. Freddy Guevara’s wrote about the trip here. Congratulations to the parish of Saint Francis of Assisi and their pastor!

MARK: A Dramatic Performance of the Gospel of Mark – September 9, 2006

Michael Reardon and Patrick Lane will perform their dramatic presentation of the Gospel of Mark at Saint James’ Episcopal Church on Saturday, September 9, at 7p. The performance will feature a powerful blend of voice, light, music and costuming. It is a contemporary translation of scripture, proclaimed in the oral tradition of the early church. General admission tickets are on sale now for $10, $15 at the door. Children under age 5 are admitted free of charge. For ticket information, or to purchase or reserve tickets, call the Saint James’ office at 510-797-1492 or visit for more information. Saint James’ is located at 37051 Cabrillo Terrace (at Thornton Avenue), in Fremont. A reception to meet the artists will follow the performance.

Commissioning extraordinary Communion ministers

As we move into the fall, you might be considering training and commissioning new Communion ministers (extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion).

Every Communion minister who is not a bishop, priest, or deacon must be commissioned by the Ordinary of the diocese (the Bishop or his delegate) at the request of the pastor. (In cases of emergency, when an extraordinary Communion minister is needed and no commissioned extraordinary Communion ministers are available, a pastor may depute a qualified person to assist at a particular celebration.)

Before your extraordinary Communion ministers begin their service, your pastor would send a letter to Bishop Patrick J. McGrath requesting that certain members of your parish be commissioned as Communion ministers. Here's a sample letter:

Dear Bishop McGrath:

I am requesting that the following persons be commissioned as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. They are active parishioners of N. and are fully initiated Catholics in good standing. They have been adequately formed and properly trained to be Communion ministers primarily at Mass.

[list names]

All have participated fully in our parish's preparation process, and they are committed to ongoing formation and instruction for the duration of their ministry. We believe they are ready to exercise this ministry for the good of our parish and the worshiping assembly.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Once you receive Bishop McGrath's approval, you can commission them according to the rite found in the Book of Blessings, Chapter 63.

Other liturgical ministers need not be commissioned by the Bishop, but they should also be adequately trained. It may also be good to bless them as they begin (or continue) their ministry. This previous article might help you in crafting a blessing of liturgical ministers.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Is there a doctor in the house?

Father José Antonio Rubio, chaplain at San José State University and director of ecumenical and interreligious affairs for the Diocese of San José, successfully defended his dissertation entitled “Bishop Eduardo Sánchez Camacho (1838-1920), A Dissenting Voice in the Mexican Church,” on August 16, 2006, at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, thereby earning the degree Doctor of Sacred Theology, cum laude. Many supporters from the Newman Center at San José State University, the parish of Sacred Heart of Jesus (where Fr. José has served for many years), and the chancery drove through afternoon traffic and found parking in Berkeley to hear his defense and celebrate with him.


Filipino Debut Blessing

Filipino Debut Blessing
by Fr. Wayne Negrete

© 2006, Wayne Negrete.
Used with permission.


In the spirit of Filipino tradition, we gather today to celebrate the debut of N., who now at 18 years of life, enters into adulthood.

N. comes here with her parents, N. and N. With much love and pride, they present her to you, the community, with the hope and confidence that she will share her personal gifts in service of God’s Kingdom,

In a spirit of gratitude, N. comes here with her cotillion court of 9 teenage boys and 9 teenage girls, each representing one year of her life and the graces received during each of those years.

N. also comes here with all of you, family and friends, to give praise to God for all God’s blessings and to ask your prayers and support for God’s continued guidance in her adult life.

And so, let us pray.


Lord God, Giver of Life and Constant Companion,
we give you thanks and praise for the life of N.
on this very special day of her debut.

Bestow your heavenly blessings upon N. today
and all the days of her life.

As she enters into the life of the community as an adult woman,
may the Holy Spirit continue to guide her in wisdom,
knowledge, and strength.

Through the intercession of Mary,
may she be counted
among the faithful and valiant women of the community,
sharing her gifts, talents, and time for the sake of others,
especially the poor and marginalized.

May her heart continue to be molded
into the likeness of Jesus’ heart,
that she may serve you with joy and happiness.

Give her good health,
a long life,
close friends,
a discerning heart,
a zeal for life
and lots of love and hope.

We pray this
in the name of the Father, (+)
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Learn about Asian Catholic music, liturgy, and culture

Two great opportunities to visit Asia...

Experience Viet Nam: Pilgrimage/Study Tour

January 4 – 15, 2007
Land and air from San Francisco: $2,095 (plus taxes)
Tour coordinator: Bro. Rufino Zaragoza, OFM (Oakland, CA)
Contact Rufino at 510/536-1287, ext. 140 E-mail:
Visit for itinerary and details
(Sponsored by OCP Pilgrimages:

Download a flyer

Cultural and Pastoral Exposure Program

18 Days
January 17 - February 3, 2007
Departure from Los Angeles
7 days/6 nights PHILIPPINES – 2 days/2 nights Hong Kong –9 days/8 nights VIETNAM

For more information, please contact:
Sr. Theresa Phan, LHC
Office of Asian Pacific Ministry - Diocese of San Bernardino
1201 E. Highland Avenue, San Bernardino, CA 92404
Phone: 909-475-5348 / Fax: 909-475-5364

Download a flyer

Friday, August 18, 2006

Pope Benedict’s Message to Altar Servers

On August 2, 2006, Pope’s Benedict XVI addressed the delegates of the European Pilgrimage of Altar Servers, boys and girls mostly from Germany. His catechesis for them can apply to all of us who serve weekly and often daily at the Eucharistic table. Read the entire text here.

Here is a brief excerpt:

Dear Altar Servers, you are, in fact, already apostles of Jesus! When you take part in the Liturgy by carrying out your altar service, you offer a witness to all. Your absorption, the devotion that wells up from your heart and is expressed in gestures, in song, in the responses: if you do it correctly and not absent-mindedly, then in a certain way your witness is one that moves people.

The Eucharist is the source and summit of the bond of friendship with Jesus. You are very close to Jesus in the Eucharist, and this is the most important sign of his friendship for each one of us. Do not forget it.

This is why I am asking you not to take this gift for granted so that it does not become a sort of habit, knowing how it works and doing it automatically; rather, discover every day anew that something important happens, that the living God is among us and that you can be close to him and help him so that his mystery is celebrated and reaches people.

If you do not give into habit, if you put your innermost self into carrying out your service, then you will truly be his apostles and bear fruits of goodness and service in every context of your life: in the family, at school, in your free time.

Take to one and all that love which you receive in the Liturgy, especially to places where you realize that they lack love, where they do not receive goodness, where they suffer and are lonely.

World Youth Day, USA – October 29, 2006

In 1985, Pope John Paul II initiated World Youth Day, an annual celebration on Palm Sunday to recognize the youth of the Church. The United States Bishops moved the annual celebration to the 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time which takes place this year on October 29, 2006.

Below are some prayer and liturgy resources from the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry to help you incorporate this celebration into your parish and home prayer.

World Youth Day Prayer 2006 – “We Believe”
World Youth Day 2006 – Liturgical Planning Guide

Prayers for Peace

Although there is currently a ceasefire between Hezbollah and Israel, we are still called to pray for peace in this area of the world and for those countries, cities, neighborhoods, and homes where ceasefire seems far off.

Below are some resources for praying for peace that you can download and use in your parishes and homes.

“The Church cannot and must not take upon herself the political battle to bring about the most just society possible. She cannot and must not replace the State. Yet at the same time she cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice. She has to play her part through rational argument and she has to reawaken the spiritual energy without which justice, which always demands sacrifice, cannot prevail and prosper. A just society must be the achievement of politics, not of the Church. Yet the promotion of justice through efforts to bring about openness of mind and will to the demands of the common good is something which concerns the Church deeply.”
-- Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, 28a

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Taking the Initiative In the Liturgy

Initiatives, In Support of Christians in the World
September 2006, #158

Liturgical expert Mark Searle (1941-1992) tried to write a book in his last days. His effort now appears as Called To Participate edited by Anne Koestner and Barbara Searle (Liturgical Press [2006], PO Box 7500, Collegeville, MN 56321; $9.95).

Searle is not entirely pleased with what’s happened since Vatican II. However, he hardly wants a return to the Latin Mass. The problem is that today’s liturgy-even in the most sophisticated parishes-imbibes too much modern individualism. Even though worshippers “sing with one voice” and partake of a common loaf, the liturgy, like religion in general, is an exercise in privatization.

Many weddings, as every priest can attest, exemplify Searle’s distress. The wedding reflects the groom and bride as individuals, but soars past “marriage as an institution and a tradition.”

Searle isn’t faulting priests who accommodate stressed out brides and grooms. He is not criticizing dedicated liturgy coordinators and lay ministers. Nor, unlike the so-called liturgical restorationists, Searle is not at war with modernity.

The missing dimension, says Searle, is a vision of the liturgy as a public activity (the work of the people in the public square) – one that shapes the world. This vision, Searle details, was part of the liturgical movement from the late 1800s until Vatican II (1962-1965). It included people like Fr. Dom Virgil Michel, OSB (1890-1938) and National Center for the Laity founders Msgr. Dan Cantwell (1915-1996) and Ed Marciniak (1917-2004). This era is described briefly in The People’s Work by Rev. Frank Senn (Augsburg Fortress [2006], PO Box 59304, Minneapolis, MN 55459; $35) and extensively in The Unread Vision: the Liturgical Movement in the U.S. by Fr. Keith Pecklers, SJ (Liturgical Press [1998]; $24.95).

Called To Participate is not bullet point liturgical techniques. In fact, says Searle, trying to “generate an awareness of the social dimension of Christianity” by superimposing techniques will likely only yield more individualism. Instead, Searle suggest some alternative ways of thinking about a parish and its liturgy.

Echoing a National Center for the Laity theme, Searle says that most pastors and parish leaders currently regard “people at the core [of the parish] as normative and their mutual involvement [in intra-parish ministry] as a model for everyone else, which is neo-clericalism.” The liturgy and the world might change, he continues, if parish leaders “accepted that it is the people on the fringe who are normative; that is the stranger, not the friend, who is the typical [Christian] companion.”

To overcome “religious individualism,” Searle concludes, we “need forms of worship that actually cultivate…the liturgy of the world.”

National Center for the Laity
P.O. Box 291102
Chicago, IL 60629

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Quinceañera / Debut Blessing

I was asked to write a blessing for the occasion of a Filipino “debut.” A debut is similar to the Hispanic tradition of Quinceañeras or the European tradition of debutante balls or presentations for young women (and sometimes men) who are now considered adults in society. Below is what I created slightly adapted from the “Prayer of Blessing on the Occasion of A Birthday” from the Catholic Book of Blessings. Feel free to use it in your own parish or home celebrations of coming of age.

God of every age,
you created all the people of the world
and you know each of us by name.
We thank you for N.,
who today blesses you for the life you have given her.
As she commits herself more deeply to this community
and to the world around her
in a bond of friendship, love, and service,
we ask you to look kindly upon her and continue to bless her
with the Spirit she received at her baptism.
May she always love her family, be faithful to her friends,
and grow in wisdom, knowledge, and grace,
until the day she stands before your heavenly throne.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

©, 2006, Diana Macalintal. All rights reserved.

Pope Benedict on the need for vacations

(English translation courtesy of Rocco Palmo)

August 13, 2006, Angelus reflection

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In these days of summer, many have left the cities and find themselves in tourist towns or in their home countries for their vacations. To them I wish that this awaited time of rest may serve to reassure them in mind and body, submitted every day to a continued fatigue and labor, given the frantic course of modern life. Vacation also makes for a precious opportunity to spend more time with family, to reunite with relatives and friends, in a word to give more space to the human contact which the rhythms of everyday tasks keep from being cultivated as we would like. Of course, not all are given the possibility of having a time for vacation, and there are a few of those who, for various reasons, are compelled to not take them. In a particular way, I think of those who are alone, the elderly and the sick who often, during this time, suffer even more from loneliness. To these brothers and sisters of ours I'd like to make known my spiritual closeness, wishing from my heart that none of them may lack the sustenance and comfort of friends.

The vacation period becomes for many a profitable time, maybe for cultural gatherings, for extended moments of prayer and contemplation in contact with nature, or in monasteries and religious buildings. Having more free time, we can dedicate ourselves with better comfort to conversation with God, to meditation on Holy Scripture and to the reading of some formative book or other. Those who make this experience one of spiritual rest know how useful it is to not reduce vacation to a mere amusement or fun. Faithful participation at the Sunday Eucharistic celebration helps one feel a living part of the ecclesial community, also when they're outside their own parish. Wherever we find ourselves, we always need to nourish ourselves from the Eucharist. The Gospel page of this Sunday presents to us Jesus as the Bread of Life. He himself, according to what John the Evangelist refers to, declares himself "the living bread come down from heaven" (Jn 6:31), bread that nourishes our faith and feeds communion among all Christians.

The atmosphere of vacation can't make us forget the grave conflict taking place in the Middle East. The latest developments make for hope that the battles may cease and the prompt and efficient assurance of humanitarian assistance to the populations. The wish of all is that, finally, peace may prevail over violence and the force of arms. For this let us invoke with insistent trust Mary, ready always from heavenly glory, at whose Solemnity of the Assumption we will contemplate her assumed, to intercede for her children and to help them in their necessities.

Persis M. Karim - August 31, 2006

Professor of English and Literature, San Jose State University; Editor, Let Me Tell You Where I've Been

New Writing By Women of the Iranian Diaspora
The female literary voice is bursting out of Iran with unprecedented force, reflecting lives shaped by the history, exile and immigration of the Iranian people. Karim has edited a stunning collection of poetry, fiction and nonfiction by women of Iranian descent. Most of the authors now live in the U.S. but remember when cars had bumper stickers reading "Iranians Go Home" or "We Play Cowboys and Iranians." Karim and contributors share their stories.

6:30 p.m., Check-in | 7:00 p.m., Program | 8:00 p.m., Book signing | Martin Luther King Library, 2nd Floor Meeting Room, 150 E. San Fernando St., San Jose | Free for Commonwealth Club Members, Students, or Library Cardholders, $5 for Non-members | Co-sponsored by Martin Luther King Library, Poetry Center San Jose and Department of English and Comparative Literature, San Jose State University.

Patt and Steve Saso - August 30, 2006

Co-authors, 10 Best Gifts for Your Teen and Parenting Your Teens with T.L.C.

Secrets to Parenting Teenagers Like Humans
Parents are often bewildered by a sudden transition from child-rearing bliss to constant conflict with their teen monster. But surprisingly, parents initiate 80 percent of conflicts with kids, the Sasos report. With humor and real-life anecdotes in hand, they share some of the secrets in redefining the parent-teen relationship and modeling a relationship of mutual respect, love and understanding.

6:30 p.m., Check-in | 7:00 p.m., Program | 8:00 p.m., Book signing | Martin Luther King Library, 2nd Floor Meeting Room, 150 E. San Fernando St., San Jose | $5 for Commonwealth Club Members or Library Card-holders, $10 for Non-Members.


Projects Reporter, Los Angeles Times; Author, Enrique's Journey: The Story of a Boy's Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother

Hear the incredible story of one of the immigration battle's youngest victims. Nazario recounts the odyssey of a Honduran boy who risked his life jumping on and off El Tren de la Muerte (The Train of Death) and braving the Rio Grande to reunite with his mother in the U.S. Enrique embarked on a dangerous trek, evading the Mexican police, immigration authorities and local gangs. Nazario spent three and a half months retracing Enrique's journey through Central America and Mexico, meeting migrants like Enrique and the people and organizations who help and protect them.

6:30 p.m., Check-in | 7:00 p.m., Program | 8:00 p.m., Book signing | Mexican Heritage Plaza, 1700 Alum Rock, San Jose | $5 for Members of the Commonwealth Club, $10 for Non-Members, Free for Students (18 and under, with valid ID; to reserve student tickets call 415-597-6705).

Co-sponsored by the Commonwealth Club Business and Leadership Member-Led Forum and Mexican Heritage Plaza.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Preparing Your Wedding Music

[Download a handout of this article that you can reproduce with permission.]

When planning your wedding music, put down that CD of the “Titanic” soundtrack, and rush instead to the next Sunday Mass at your church. Everything you need to know to prepare appropriate music is there.

Every liturgy is prepared using this principle: “[The] full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else. For it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit.” This comes from the Catholic Church’s primary liturgy document, “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy” (paragraph 14). When everyone who attends your wedding is actively involved, it will be more than memorable. It will be transformational. So here are some suggestions for preparing your wedding music so that everyone can enter into that transformational love.

Discuss with your partner your best experience of Sunday Mass. What made it so good?

Observe how the church gathers at mass on Sunday. The ministers and community members greet you. Ushers give you a worship aid and help you find a seat close to the altar. There is a feeling of hospitality and eagerness to begin the important work of praising God. The cantor teaches the psalm that everyone sings easily. All stand and begin the celebration singing as the cross and the Word of God enter the assembly. The song unites and focuses everyone’s thoughts toward the celebration.

How does this Sunday Mass description differ from what happens at the weddings you’ve attended? Did these weddings put above all else “the full and active participation by all”? I would guess that you’d say no. So why not use the good qualities from Sunday Mass to make your wedding a liturgy no one will forget. Here’s what your wedding gathering might look like.

The cantor encourages everyone to sing by teaching the assembly some of the music for your liturgy. The words and music of all the songs (along with the copyright information) is in your worship aid to help your assembly participate. Instead of an instrumental or solo piece, everyone sings as the ministers, the wedding party, and the bride and groom walk down the aisle. To use song and instrumental for the procession, have everyone stand and sing two verses. The same music continues instrumentally as the wedding procession begins. Once the procession has ended, the music builds and everyone sings the rest of the song. If you still want the big organ fanfare, save it for the closing procession.

With your partner list some of your favorite gathering songs that you sing at Mass. Why do you like those gathering songs?

Psalm Response and Acclamations
The whole assembly led by a cantor sings the psalm response after the first reading. The psalm is one way the assembly proclaims and responds to the Word of God, and so is sung by everyone, not just a soloist. Listen to the psalms at Mass. Which texts reflect your response to God for the love you share? Which are easy to sing? List these psalms and ask your music director for help selecting the most appropriate one for you wedding. There are also several acclamations that the assembly sings throughout the Mass. These are short texts, like the “Alleluia” or the “Holy.” Which musical settings are easy to sing? Your music director may know settings that are “cantor/echo,” a simple way to sing unfamiliar music.

Reading the psalms each day is an ancient and traditional way of praying at home. If you read one psalm a day, you would finish the whole book of Psalms in 3 months. Try doing this with your partner as your daily prayer during your engagement. Which psalms do you as a couple relate to most? Why?

Ritual Music
Communion is when the assembly’s unity is most evident, and so it is not a time for a soloist or an instrumental, but for the assembly to sing together. Ask your music director if you can take a hymnal home to look at the communion sings. Which songs express the significance of your “communion” as husband and wife?

Other moments for ritual music are at the preparation of gifts, after communion, and at any other cultural rituals such as a presentation to the Virgin Mary of a lighting of candles. The music at these moments needs to fit the action. A four-minute piece for a 30-second action doesn’t work. Instead use a short acclamation, like the “Alleluia” or the refrain of a song. An appropriate place for a solo or instrumental would be at the preparation of gifts. But music for this very short rite shouldn’t stall your liturgy. After communion, you’ll often hear a “meditation” song sung by a soloist. This is a misunderstanding of the communion rite itself. Having been united by the sharing of one bread and one cup, the assembly after communion gives praise to God together either through silent prayer or with a song of praise that all sing. Appropriate songs heighten the meaning of ritual acts. Poorly chosen songs distract. Your music must never dominate but serve the liturgy.

With your partner list some of your favorite communion songs that you sing at Mass. How do these songs speak about your union with God, with each other, and with the whole community?

Why this matters
How you celebrate your wedding will have great effect on all who participate. It can either help them bring God’s love to the world or simply make for a nice video. The Sunday Mass is your model. Pray together for the Spirit to guide your choices. May your wedding be memorable and beautiful, and may it transform us so that we can be God’s love for the world.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Weaving the Future Together

Fifteen delegates from our diocese participated in the first national Encuentro for Hispanic Youth and Young Adult Ministry which took place this summer on the campus of Notre Dame in Indiana. “Encuentro” means “encounter” or “meeting.” This encounter didn’t just happen in August but began a year and a half before with young people gathering first for diocesan-wide encuentros then regional-wide encuentros throughout the United States to discuss issues that are vital to the future of the Church.

Check out the video and catch a glimpse of today’s and tomorrow’s Church.

Using Worship Aids to Catechize and Evangelize

When I was a campus minister at a Catholic college, we would have many non-Catholics or marginal Catholics attending the big school liturgies such as the Welcome Mass at the beginning of the school year or the Baccalaureate Mass at the end.

For these events, we included some introductory text in the worship aid that would serve not only to welcome everyone, but also to instruct those unfamiliar with the Catholic Mass and to invite those who might be seeking a place of worship.

Below is the text that we used (and they are still using) in the Baccalaureate Mass worship aid. Please feel free to use and adapt this for your own worship aids when many visitors may be present. Remember to avoid Church “lingo,” acronyms, or terminology that those unfamiliar with the Church would not understand.

At important moments in our lives, Catholics set aside time to give thanks to God for the joys of milestones, for the help received in reaching goals, and for God’s promised strength for the challenges ahead. Catholics do this best when we celebrate the Mass.

The Catholic Mass has two main parts: the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. In the Liturgy of the Word, we hear stories from the Bible that tell how God was present in the lives of our ancestors. We then seek to know how God continues to be present in our lives today. We end this part of the Mass with prayers for our world and our community so that God will bring healing and peace to those parts of lives most in need of God’s presence. In the liturgy of the Eucharist, we share a meal that recalls the love of Christ for us. By this meal we become united and strengthened to be the love of Christ for others.

In the Mass, Catholics believe Christ is fully present and embodied in many ways: through the people gathered together; in the Scriptures proclaimed, in the ministers of the Church, and most of all in the consecrated bread and wine that is shared. Thus, we give reverence to each of these holy incarnations of Christ.

If you are Catholic, welcome home. If you are of another faith, please feel welcomed in this home. If you are seeking a faith community, we pray you find welcome wherever you may go and that you might consider the Catholic Church a home for you. For all of us, let us participate as much as we are able in the songs and responses so that our voices can joy together to remember and give thanks for the blessings God gives us.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Gregorian Chant Handbook

William Tortolano. Paperback, 67pages, GIA Publications, G-6471, $7.95.

This short book provides the fundamentals of reading chant notation, rhythm, phrasing, interpretation, modes, psalm tones, and chironomy (direction). The presentation is clear and concise, and the book includes many examples.

There is also some information about Latin pronunciation that is very helpful. For example, on page 33, an example shows that one should "never take a breath just before a fresh syllable of a word." A second example, with the same phrase in modern notation, shows where a breath might better be taken to preserve the meaning. This kind of practical and clear presentation should be a great help in singers' understanding of singing through the phrase.

Tortolano believes that "a strong case can be made for singing chant in the vernacular," and he provides some examples of chant with English texts. But, he says, "any chant adapted from Latin to English must preserve the complete melody with the same number of notes. Adding or deleting notes disturbs the original rhythm..." Most of the examples are syllabic hymns such as "Creator alme siderum" ("Creator of the Stars"), but there is also the more melismatic "Vexilla Regis"

The final chapters of this helpful book address the sung parts of Mass and give some examples of chants from the Order (Ordinary) of Mass and some proper chants that might easily be used in our worship, such as Puer natus-the introit for Christmas Day; Victimae paschali laudes-the sequence for Easter Day; and Rorate caeli-Gaudeamus, using the same music for the introits of Assumption and All Saints (Rorate), and Advent (Gaudeamus), which makes this a very useful chant to learn.

As we are experiencing a renewed interest in incorporating some chant in our sung worship, this is a great resource for pastoral musicians. The affordable price would make it a useful book for choir members as well.

Sight-Sing a New Song

A Workbook for Music Reading Basics. Jennifer Kerr Breedlove. Spiralbound. World Library Publications, 017290, $9.95.

This workbook should be very helpful to singers who have little or no music reading ability. Jennifer Kerr Breedlove developed this system specifically for singers rather than for instrumentalists who, for example, "depress the correct valve or key at the right time to produce the correct sound." Singers, she says, need to "learn to read and write a rich new language we've seen and heard all around us but never had the tools to translate."

She provides tools in a very clear, progressive way which allows each person to master a section at one's own pace. The presentations on rhythm and meter are very clear and should be especially helpful. The workbook includes some simple written exercises and some very helpful vocabulary studies with definitions of musical terms.

The book includes explanations of note and rest values, simple and compound meters, time signatures, rhythmic patterns, key signatures, sharps, flats, naturals, whole and half steps, and major and minor scales. There are many exercises for reading melodies and rhythms.

This workbook could be used effectively with a group or by an individual. It is intended primarily for adult learners who want to acquire or improve music reading skills for parish music ministry, but high school and even middle school choir members could benefit from using this system. I would recommend this book to-or even buy it for-any choir member who could not read music well (or at all), and I would spend time working with choir members in a group using this method. I believe that the individual choir members and the entire choir would benefit enormously.

Director, Office of Worship

Under direction of the executive director, the director assists in promotion of the liturgical apostolate by overseeing day-to-day working of the office; assists in preparation of special liturgies; consults with parishes regarding liturgical needs; plans and develops educational programs; assists with diaconal formation; oversees publication of newsletter; promotes communication; conducts training; assists promotion of liturgy, sacred art, and music.

Candidate should possess master's or doctorate in liturgy.

Salary DOE. Available July 2006.
Please send letter and resume' to applicants e-mail. HLP-6721

Diocese of Phoenix, 400 E. Monroe, Phoenix, AZ 85004
Fax: (602) 354-2428

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Hymn Competition: "That All May Be One"

The National Association of Pastoral Musicians and the Friars of the Atonement are sponsoring a competition for two liturgical songs in preparation for the centennial observance in 2008 of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. These songs are also intended to be sung at the 2007 NPM National Convention, at which the theme will be “That All May Be One.”

Composers and text writers are invited to submit entries in one or both of the following categories:

* a new text and tune (refrain and verses) appropriate for singing during the Communion procession or the administration of the sacrament;
* a new hymn text that may be sung using one or more familiar tunes.

Communion Song
1. The text is intended primarily for Eucharistic celebrations, especially during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and on other occasions that celebrate unity. It should be appropriate for singing during the Communion procession or the distribution of the elements.
2. The text is to have the structure of a refrain for the congregation and verses for choir or cantor.
3. The text of the refrain must incorporate or be based on the verse “That all may be one” (John 17:21).
4. Both refrain and verses are to be drawn from or based on biblical texts.
5. A unison setting is to be provided for both refrain and verses but may also incorporate optional parts for the choir.
6. Organ/keyboard accompaniment is to be provided but additional optional instrumental parts may also be included.
7. Entries may be submitted by a single person or by a team of text writer and composer.
8. Entries must be postmarked no later than November 30, 2006, accompanied by an entry fee of $5.00 payable to NPM.
9. A cash prize of $1,500 will be presented to the winner. The judges reserve the right not to select any of the entries. The decision of the judges will be final.
10. Entrants agree that if their entry is selected, copyright will be assigned to the Friars of the Atonement and the National Association of Pastoral Musicians.

Hymn Text
1. The text is intended primarily for celebrations of unity, especially the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
2. The text is to have the structure of a strophic hymn, using the same meter in each stanza.
3. The text of the hymn must incorporate or be based on the verse “That all may be one” (John 17:21).
4. The text is to be written in such a way that it may be sung to one or more familiar tunes. The author may indicate a suggestion for the most appropriate commonly used tune.
5. Entries must be postmarked no later than November 30, 2006, accompanied by an entry fee of $5.00 payable to NPM.
6. A cash prize of $1,000 will be presented to the winner. The judges reserve the right not to select any of the entries. The decision of the judges will be final.
7. Entrants agree that if their entry is selected, copyright will be assigned to the Friars of the Atonement and the National Association of Pastoral Musicians.

Sending Entries
Please send all entries no later than November 30, 2006 to:

Hymn Competition
National Association of Pastoral Musicians
962 Wayne Avenue, Suite 210
Silver Spring , MD 20910

Vatican changes dates for 2008 feasts of St. Joseph, Annunciation

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Because of conflicts in the Catholic Church's liturgical calendar, the Vatican has decided that in 2008 the dates of the feasts of St. Joseph and of the Annunciation of the Lord will be moved. Working a year and a half in advance to meet the needs of publishers of church calendars, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments published its notification on the 2008 changes in mid-July. In 2008, if the feast of St. Joseph were to be celebrated as usual on March 19, it would fall on the Wednesday of Holy Week and if the feast of the Annunciation of the Lord were to be celebrated March 25, it would fall on the Tuesday during the octave of Easter. While the two feasts are among the 14 solemnities marked with special care in the Catholic Church, they do not take precedence over the commemoration of Christ's suffering, death and resurrection. Therefore, the congregation said, in 2008 the feast of St. Joseph will be celebrated March 15, the day before Palm Sunday, and the feast of the Annunciation will be celebrated March 31, the Monday after the second Sunday of Easter, which also is Divine Mercy Sunday.