"Who moved my Lent?" - Liturgical Coordinators' Gathering follow-up
On January 9, 2007, about 25 liturgical coordinators gathered at Casa Maria Conference Center in Los Gatos to discuss several lenten liturgical issues and share ideas. Here's a report on what we talked about.
Lenten ideas for connecting liturgy with justice
- 7 suggestions for a parish-wide fast for Lent
- "Get on the bus" - a project of Deanery 2 that unites children with their incarcerated mothers on the Friday before Mother's Day; each child is given a teddy bear and a letter from their mother pinned to the teddy bear.
- Operation Rice Bowl - in 2006, the Diocese of San José increased its Operation Rice Bowl collections by 218% from the previous year! That makes us #1 in of all the dioceses in the US in terms of percentages! We’re still not talking about a lot of money, but the increase over last year was incredible.
- "Can you hear me now?" - The campus ministry director at Notre Dame High School shared that the students are asked to fast from cell phone use during Lent.
- Catholic Charities - connecting Sunday with justice
- Catholic Charities - Do this in memory of me - ideas for Holy Thursday
- The children's catechumenate director at Saint Lawrence the Martyr involves the children catechumens in remembering God's promises by creating paper rainbows for Lent.
- Saint Catherine of Alexandria prepares different devotions and liturgies for each Friday of Lent along with a soup supper.
- The Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary coordinate a South Africa project in Lesotho, one of the poorest countries in the world.
- Can people take ashes home? - Some people have encountered people asking to take ashes home for family members who were unable to partipate in the parish's Ash Wednesday liturgy. We talked about the benefits of letting people take some ash home and also about the concern that people might "desecrate" the ashes or approach this in a "consumerist" way. In the end we felt that because of the nature of the day (when so many visitors and marginal Catholics come to church), it was best to use this as an opportunity to reach out to those we may never see during the year. In the same way that we allow people to take home holy water to use as a sacramental, ashes could also be given to those who want to bring them to loved ones at home. One parish in the past had prepared small envelopes containing a bit of the blessed ashes and a blessing for Lent printed on the envelope. We also suggested adding the parish's contact information and Lent and Holy Week schedule on these envelopes.
Ashes and palms
- How do you burn palms to make your own ashes for Ash Wednesday? - The liturgy director at Holy Family described how they do it. They put announcements in the bulletin two weeks before Ash Wednesday inviting parishioners to bring their dried palms from last year's Palm Sunday to any of the Masses on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. After each Mass on that weekend, they invite anyone who would like to stay to participate in a short ritual of burning the palms outside. The priest says a few words instructing the people about the tradition of burning palms for ashes. Then they burn the palms in a copper kettle with a screen. They also microwave the ashes afterward to kill any bacteria.
- Here's another blogger tackling the same question.
- Here's a sample reconciliation service you can use.
- Here's a sample lenten night prayer for home.
- Reconciliation service resources recommended by the pastoral associate at Saint Nicholas.
- The liturgy director at Saint Martin of Tours shared that the children celebrate first reconciliation together with the parish at the parish's Advent reconciliation liturgies. This has worked very well, and the parishioners serve as examples for the children.
- One of the pastoral associates at Saint Francis of Assisi shared that their parish penitential liturgy ends with an invitation to celebrate the sacrament of penance individually. Each penitent is given a lit votive candle which they place around the altar after they celebrate the rite. This is quite dramatic and meditative especially because the church lights are dimmed during this time.
- The pastor of Saint Anthony mentioned that he saw "Freedom Writers" the night before and thought it would be an excellent movie for a lenten gathering and discussion. To read more about this movie and one person's reflection on the power of one, click here.
- Other people suggested "An Inconvenient Truth".
- To see a HUGE index of movies by Christian themes, click here.
- The liturgy director at Saint Catherine of Alexandria noted that the latest issue of the United States Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy Newsletter talks about the appropriate use of the tabernacle and how "only under rare circumstances of necessity should the assembly at Mass communicate from the reserved sacrament in the tabernacle." This is one of Bishop McGrath's Communion norms for our diocese.
- The liturgy and music director at Most Holy Trinity recommended Dan Schutte's "Most Holy Night" as an excellent assembly/choral/schola setting of the Exsultet. The setting is found in "Easter Praises" a collection of Exsultet settings published by OCP. Click here to listen and order.