Friday, July 20, 2007

Criteria for Music

Question 239 in the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2005) asks: "What are the cirteria for the proper use of singing and music in liturgical celebrations?" Referring to paragraphs 1156-1158 and 1191 in the full text of the Catechism, the Compendium says:

Since song and music are closely connected with liturgical action they must respect the following criteria. They should conform to Catholic doctrine in their texts, drawn preferably from Sacred Scripture and liturgical sources. They should be a beautiful expression of prayer. The music should be of a high quality. Song and music should encourage the participation of the liturgical assembly. They should express the cultural richness of the People of God and the sacred and solemn character of the celebration. "He who sings, prays twice" (Saint Augustine).
From Pastoral Music Notebook, July 2007

Vatican II and the Laity

Although Vatican II formally ended on December 8, 1965, its implementation continues.

Paulist Press (997 Macarthur Blvd., Mahwah, NJ 07430) has commissioned a series of eight short books on Vatican II. Each considers two Vatican II documents in the context of the thinking leading to Vatican II, of controversies during Vatican II, and of programs, publications and experience since Vatican II.

The Laity and Christian Education by Dolores Leckey (Paulist Press [2006]; $14.95) focuses on Vatican II's Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity and its Declaration on Christian Education.

In a sense Vatican II in its entirety can be considered a "Council of the Laity," says Leckey of Woodstock Theological Center (Georgetown University, PO Box 571137, Wahsington, DC 20057; That's despite a strong attitude in the church exemplified by a bishop's remark at Vatican II: I looked up the word layman in a theological dictionary, Leckey quotes the bishop, "and found that the entry said see clergy."

In the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity and elsewhere Vatican II "turns to the laity" precisely because we are the church in the worl. Society's institutions are, says Vaticn II, basically good. Of course, as Leckey notes, Christians cannot uncritically embrace the advances of society because sin "has not disappeared from the face of the earth."

And so, the challenge of lay people is to soldily grasp the teachings of Vatican II and to move the world closer to "health and new life" in Christ.

From Initiatives In Support of Christians in the World, Summer 2007,

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sample Intercessions for Weddings

Prayers of the Faithful for Marriage

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 How To Write Intercessions to help you write your own.

Note: These were actual intercessions used at a wedding in which the readings were Romans 8:31-39 and Matthew 6:25-34.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
Therefore we boldly lift our prayers to God who is love.

For the Church,
for fidelity in proclaiming the gospel,
for faith in good times and in bad,
for unwavering commitment to unity [pause]:
May God’s people never cease to profess boundless love for all God’s own.
We pray to the Lord.

For the world and all peoples,
for those without food, shelter, or clothing;
for those without meaningful work or meaningful relationships;
for those without hope, joy, or peace [pause]:
May we be a word of comfort for them and a sign of Christ’s abundant love.
We pray to the Lord.

For our families and friends,
for those gathered here and those far away,
for those united in love many years and those just beginning,
for those we love and those we struggle to love [pause]:
May Christ deepen our bond to each other in God’s strong embrace.
We pray to the Lord.

For N. and N. and all who begin married life today,
for peace in times of chaos and confusion;
for generosity when there is little to give;
for faith in each other and love beyond reason [pause]:
May their lives be a sacrament of Christ’s irrational,
irresistible, and invincible love for us all.
We pray to the Lord.

For those in need of healing, for those nearing death,
for loved ones who have died, and for all who need our prayers,
especially those we now name out loud
[pause for assembly to call out names]:
May nothing ever separate us from the love of God through Christ.
We pray to the Lord.

Faithful God, you are ever for us,
giving us only good things and filling our every need.
We place our hope in you alone.
As we have heard your voice in the Word,
and seen your love made visible in this couple,
so make us now your life-giving presence for the world,
and fill us with your unfailing Spirit of love,
that the prayers we have offered may come to fulfillment in you.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Classifieds: Do you have a Portuguese Bible to donate?

A woman in one of our local prisons is in need of a Portuguese paperback copy of the New Testament or complete Bible. If you have one you would like to donate, please contact Rosa Melendez at 408-983-0125.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Catholic Charities Job Fair - July 12

Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County will be holding a Job Fair on July 12. Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County is seeking energetic, motivated individuals for careers that promote compassion, service, and justice. The location is the John XXIII Multi-Service Center, 195 E. San Fernando Street, San Jose, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

For more information, call (408) 468-0100 or go to

Dinner for Darfur - July 15

In connection with Mission Sunday, the Social Justice Committee at St. Catherine’s parish is hosting a fund raiser for Darfur on Sunday July 15th at 7:00 p.m. in the Parish Center. Tickets are $25.00 prepaid/$30.00 at the door. Speaker is Silvestro Ahara Bakheit from the Sudan and all proceeds will go towards the mission collection.

For tickets contact Deepu at or call Ann at (408) 892-9476.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Our Lady of Refuge – July 5


Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.

Our Lady of Refuge, Nuestra Señora del Refugio, is Patroness of Both Californias (Ambas Californias).

The Franciscan missionary Francisco Garcia Diego y Moreno was the first Bishop of the Californias – Baja California (lower California in what is now Mexico) and Alta California (upper Calfornia in the present U.S.A.). It was he who proclaimed Nuestra Señora del Refugio, Patrona de las Ambas Californias. The official proclamation was made by Bishop Garcia Diego on January 4, 1843, at Mission Santa Clara in Alta California.

The Episcopal Proclamation
The entire text of Bishop Garcia Diego’s declaration is recorded in Mission Santa Clara’s Libro de Patentes. After citing the early Fathers of the Church on the practice and spiritual benefits of naming patrons saints, the first bishop of the Californias stated: “We make known to you that we hereby name the great Mother of God in her most precious title, ‘del Refugio,’ the principal patroness of our diocese…. With so great a patroness and protectress, what can we not promise ourselves? What can be wanting and whom need we fear?

“If through the centuries this most worthy Mother of God has shown goodness and compassion to all peoples and nations…will she not do likewise for those peoples who bind themselves to her as their refuge and special patroness?”
All California missions, and the parishes established later, celebrated this patronal feast with great solemnity. In the many political and historical shifts, interest in celebrating the feast had waned. But now the feast is attracting fresh attention.

The Liturgical Feast
In 1981 the California Catholic Conference of Bishops petitioned the Vatican Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship for authorization to observe the feast of Our Lady of Refuge on July 5 as an obligatory memorial. This was approved by official document dated January 15, 1982, and signed by Archbishop Giuseppe Casoria.

The dioceses of Baja California celebrate this patronal feast on July 4. Because of Independence Day, the dioceses of Alta California chose July 5, and the memorial is listed for that day in their Ordo. The feast of Our Lady of Refuge (sometimes called Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners) has its own proper prayers for the Eucharistic Liturgy and the Liturgy of the Hours.

Over the last century and a half the original Diocese of Ambas Californias has been divided many times on both sides of the border as the local Church has grown. Until the end of the nineteenth century the priests of the Archdiocese of San Francisco prayed a special liturgical office for the feast of Our Lady of Refuge. In the Diocese of San Diego the feast has always been observed.

The renewal of interest in this Marian feast honoring the patroness of the Golden State was stimulated by the 1987-1988 Marian Year observance and Pope John Paul II’s encouragement to revitalize interest in special, local feasts of the Virgin Mother Mary.

The Image
The entire coat of arms of Bishop Garcia Diego included only the image of Our Lady of Refuge. A painting of Our Lady of Refuge holding her Child, usually the product of a local or native artist, graced each mission church after the bishop’s proclamation. To this day most of the twenty-one missions of Alta California still display this image in the churches or in their museums.

The original painting of Our Lady of Refuge came to the Franciscan College of Zacatecas in Mexico from Italy. An Italian Jesuit missionary brought it to Mexico to explain the enthusiastic interest in Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners, that had developed in parish missions in eighteenth century Italy. Devotion to the Mother of Jesus under this title and in this pictorial representation gained wide popularity among the Mexican and Californian Franciscans and the people they served.

Paintings of Our Lady of Refuge are, with few exceptions, quite similar in design and execution. The heads of the Infant Jesus and his Mother Mary lean together with no background between them. Both figures wear a crown. Mary’s eyes are turned toward the observer, while the gaze of the Child seems to turn left of the viewer.

In the Santa Clara Mission church the painting of Our Lady of Refuge is found above the larger picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe in one of the side altar niches on the left as one nears the sanctuary. Another painting by Eulalio, a local Native American, is on display in Santa Clara University’s De Saisset Museum near the mission church.

Other known and attractive portrayals of Our Lady of Refuge are found at Mission Santa Barbara, Mission San Carlos Borromeo at Carmel, Mission San Francisco de Asis, and Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa.

The proper name, Refugio, was and still is given to both male and female Mexican children at the time of birth and baptism.

Church historians and native Californians applaud the move for restoring the Patroness of Both Californias to her original and rightful prominence in the local Church’s liturgical calendar.

A Pauline Year, Bro. John Samaha, SM

TO HONOR THE 2000th BIRTHDAY OF ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE: On the eve of the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, June 28, Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed a Pauline Year to honor St. Paul in preparation for the 2000th anniversary of the great apostle’s birth. Church historians reckon that St. Paul was born about 10 A.D. in Tarsus, now located in present-day Turkey. Following his conversion to Christianity Paul became the Church’s foremost evangelizer in spreading the gospel among the Jews and the Gentiles. The Pauline year will run from June 29, 2008, to June 29, 2009, to highlight St. Paul’s contribution to the spread of Christianity in the first century. On his first official venture outside the Vatican in April 2005, Pope Benedict XVI visited the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome to pray at the tomb of the great apostle and to honor his missionary legacy. At that time the pope reflected that “The Church is by nature missionary; its primary purpose is evangelization. In the beginning of the third millennium the Church feels with renewed strength that Christ’s missionary effort is more pressing than ever.” St. Paul, the zealous missionary and astute letter writer, is an outstanding model of evangelization for us.

Classifieds: Piano Available for Donation to Non-Profit

Someone would like to donate a vintage Janssen piano to a charitable organization such as a church or school. The piano is in very good working order. They can deliver the piano if the organization is in the South Bay Area, and the piano does not have to be lifted up a flight of stairs. Please email, or call (408) 859-6408 if you are interested.