Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pastor Installation of Rev. Ritche Bueza

On Saturday, October 20, 2007, I joined with the community of Saint Justin Parish and the rest of the Diocese of San José to celebrate the installation of Rev. Ritche Bueza as pastor of Saint Justin Parish in Santa Clara, California. It was standing room only, and many parishioners of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph--where Fr. Ritche had been previously assigned--were present.

Fr. Ritche always made it very easy for me to prepare for the diocesan events at the Cathedral. He was always on hand to find me liturgical ministers at the last minute, more chalices and chasubles than anyone should have in their sacristy, Spanish inserts of ritual texts for the Bishop, and the "cancel" mode when I tripped the security alarm to the Cathedral after hours. As Bishop McGrath said at Fr. Ritche's installation, he will be missed dearly at the Cathedral as the go-to person for things liturgical.

On a personal note, I want to say that the installation at Saint Justin was one of the best installation celebrations I have participated in. I knew from the moment I received my invitation that it would be a celebration of the entire Church, not of one person (Fr. Ritche's invitation cover read: "I am among you as one who serves"). I have always known Fr. Ritche to be a humble servant, never lording his authority, but using it to help others. His homily at the installation liturgy tried to communicate this sense of leadership and the ecclesial tone of the celebration. It focused not on his achievement or authority but on the parish's mission and the mutual responsibility each member has to the other. I asked Fr. Ritche if I could reprint his homily here, and he graciously agreed. I hope it will help us recall that each of us, whether pastor or parishioner, ordained or lay person, is called to lead, to serve, and to care for each other in whatever role we are given in our Church.

(See pictures of the installation here, courtesy of Melissa Tamayo.)

Installation homily for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C.

Shortly after I began my ministry here as Saint Justin’s, I received an e-mail from one of the parishioners. When I saw her e-mail address kick in, I said to myself: “Oh my… what did I do now?” Hence, I was hesitant to open the e-mail. I was expecting a complaint such as: “Father you keep changing things on us.” You know the feeling. So, I scrolled down slowly. The message started with: “Father, when I was at mass yesterday, I sat on the western side of the church. I listened to your homily. It was hmmmm…, well, it was good.” Thank God! I said to myself.

What struck me the most was not that she said my homily was great, although I wish more people would say that, ONLY if it’s true, but it was when she said, “I am here to help and support you. You are in my daily prayers. When you experience challenges in your ministry or when you have to make difficult decisions, you can rely on my full support and prayers. I realize your ministry as pastor will not always be easy. And I know you will need our collaboration.” I thought this is one of the most beautiful e-mails I’ve received so far: simple, yet meaningful.

I am sharing this e-mail with you today especially the part about the woman’s assurance that she will help, support and collaborate with me, not only because we are celebrating the mass of installation, but also to remind myself of our scripture readings today.

In our first reading, Moses stretches out his hands to protect his brood. Moses must hold the staff of God in his hands so that the Israelites will win the battle. But since he is merely human, he grows weary, and so, in order to continue he has to be supported by rocks and Aaron and Hur. Just as Moses needed help from Aaron and Hur to continue his mission, I also need your help in continuing my ministry here at Saint Justin’s. I believe that the image of Moses stretching out his hands with the help of Aaron and Hur is an image of the Church in general, and on this day I would say that it is an image of our parish of Saint Justin in particular.

As the pastor, I cannot do my ministry well without your help. We, as the Church, are all in this together, proclaiming the presence of God’s Kingdom in our midst. Then, Saint Paul tells us in our Second Reading: “Be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient, convince, reprimand, encourage, be patient through all your teaching.”

Similarly, in our Gospel, Jesus admonishes us to be persistent. The parable makes it clear that the widow prayed always, but this does not mean that she was in perpetual prayer or practicing some novel method of mysticism. That is not the kind of widow she was, nor the kind of prayer she prayed. Like Moses and us, she too most likely got weary and had to be propped up by others. Her prayer was not perpetual, but she was consistent.

I believe that the message of the scriptures is coincidental for us as we celebrate this Mass of Installation. It challenges us to reflect on the level of our participation not only in our local parish, but in the Church in general. It invites us to be like Moses, Aaron, Hur, and the widow in gospel: consistent and persistent especially in this day and age in the Church.

As I am installed as the fifth pastor of this parish, I realize that my ministry does not end here, rather it begins here. But of course, I cannot do this without your support just as the woman told me in her e-mail.

You know, to be a pastor does not make me a superman who can do things on my own, rather, I am one of you. I can get weary. I hope that today, we can make a commitment to help each other in moving the parish of Saint Justin forward. Let us all work together in making this parish a more vibrant one. Although we may often be a community that grows weary and frightened, we promise, despite this, to be consistent and persistent and loving in our support of the widow, the sick, the poor, the displaced, the children in our midst, and of the whole parish community.

It is providential that today is also “World Mission Sunday” when we are invited to reflect not only upon the missionary work of the church, but also to remember the men and women who tirelessly work to evangelize and to make present the Risen Christ. This world mission Sunday reminds us that we need each other. God invites us to “re-launch missionary action in the face of the many serious challenges of our time.” God invites us to work together in making Him known and present to the ends of the earth.

Today and always may we learn from the woman who sent me that e-mail. Let us encourage one another as we move forward to make this community a more vibrant and more faithful community.

As we continue with this Eucharistic Liturgy, let us give thanks for the gift of our faith and the Church. Let us continue to be faithful in responding to our call to ministry in proclaiming the Kingdom of God. Together in Christ, we can make this into a reality.

Liturgical Coordinators' Gathering - November 6, 2007

In some districts around Santa Clara County, next Tuesday is election day. But in the entire Diocese of San José, it's the day to elect to do music better in the liturgy!

Liturgical Coordinators’ Gathering
“Doing Music Ministry Well:
It's More Than Just the Notes”

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

10:00a - 12:00p

Saint Justin

You will come away from this meeting with:

  • Five top priorities for doing liturgical music better;

  • Seven habits of highly effective cantors;

  • Three ways to improve your liturgical music this Sunday;

  • Four easy warm ups for your singers;

  • Three great psalms for Advent;

Join members of the Diocesan Liturgical Commission in a focused discussion on the role and state of music ministry in our Diocese. Music ministers, directors, liturgists, and those who work to make the liturgy the source and summit of the Church's life are invited to add their voices to this conversation on the joys and challenges of leading God's people in sung prayer.

And here are the dates for the Liturgical Coordinators' Gatherings for the year:
  • Tuesday, January 8, 2008, Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Los Gatos

  • Tuesday, March 4, 2008, Saint John the Baptist, Milpitas

  • Tuesday, May 6, 2008, location tbd

If you would like to host any of these gatherings, please contact Diana or 408-983-0136.

Dia de los Muertos - Day of the Dead

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"Dia de los Muertos" or "Day of the Dead" is a two-day festival celebrated throughout Mexico on November 1 and 2. Families and towns create elaborate altars for their deceased loved ones. On these altars they place photographs of their loved ones, their favorite foods, flowers, and candles. They also decorate these altars with "calaveras"--skeletons depicting the dead doing the activities they used to do when they were alive.

The rituals of Dia de los Muertos express the strong bond between loved ones, a bond that even death cannot destroy. In Catholic terms, we can call this intimate union between the living and the dead the "communion of saints." Many families and churches have adapted this Mexican tradition to remember and pray for the dead. Some churches invite parishioners to bring pictures of their dead loved ones to place on a side altar throughout the month of November. In one parish I worked in, we also invited the parish to celebrate evening prayer at the end of Christ the King Sunday--the end of the liturgical year and near the end of November--during which they shared stories of their loved ones. In the context of these "end times" we recalled the promise of resurrection that Christ the King upon the cross gave to all who believed in him.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketHere are some "Day of the Dead" resources for you.

A article in Spanish by Lupita Vital on the Day of the Dead.

A beautiful website with lots of pictures and examples of the Day of the Dead rituals. Includes recipes, poems, and explanations of the rituals.

Same website above in Spanish.

A Child’s Prayer Before Trick-or-Treating

Here's a Halloween prayer I wrote for all your little and not-so-little pumpkins on All Hallows Eve.

God bless all the people whom we will meet.
Let our visit with them be a pleasant treat.
Whatever the costumes we wear tonight,
may all your children be clothed with Christ.
Protect us from danger and the devil’s ways,
that tomorrow with the saints we may give you praise. Amen.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Islam 101 – November 5, 2007

Islam 101 continues its march around the diocese -- this week at St. Joseph's in Cupertino (10110 N. De Anza Blvd. 95014 near Stevens Creek Blvd). Everyone is invited.

Fr. Jose Rubio is giving his presentation on Monday, November 5 at 7:00 p.m. Get your questions about Islam answered in our Q & A -- from better sources than network TV!

Christian charity, and our own comfort, demands a better understanding of our neighbors and this knowledge leads to less anxiety and the opening of hearts & minds. Islam 101 is a top-level brief introduction to Islam. This includes its place among the major religions of the world, the 5 Pillars and 5 basic beliefs. Also, the Islamic view on the major scriptures and other prophets is provided. Some graphics --pictures and calligraphy -- are shown. Further depth of the presentation depends upon the interest of the audience during the question & answer session. The intent is to provide a basic understanding of Islam and to encourage Catholics to seek further information and involvement. Fr. Jose Rubio and/or Don Jones will be available for follow-up interests.

Contact Don at (408) 934-7114 (message line) or email for questions.

The Liturgy Files: Can you put fish in the font?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPart of my job is to answer email (I receive and send at least 50 emails a day....sheesh!). Some of these emails are simple Q&A. In these Liturgy Files, I'll share some of the most helpful Q&As.

Today's note is actually an email the United States Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy (BCL) received in their inbox. I will have to file this in the "Don't Do This!" section of the Liturgy Files. Hat tip to Fr. Chris at Santa Teresa.

Q: Our church was recently renovated. Our pastor has made certain changes, among them, fish have been placed in the water of the baptismal font. Is it appropriate? I have never seen this in any other parish.

A: Click here to read the BCL's answer.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bob Hurd Workshop - November 10, 2007

Bob Hurd Workshop
Music in Service to the Gospel

Where: Saint Mary of the Assumption Parish in Gilroy.
When: Saturday, Nov. 10, 10am-3. Lunch with Bob.
Extras: Plenty of time for questions. Stay and join us for Mass at 5:00p.
Price: $15 for out-of-parish, includes lunch. $100 per parish—send all your ministers!
Reservations or more information: Rose Barry or Becki Campanella at Saint Mary Parish, 408-847-5151.

The idea is that music serves the liturgy by serving the communication of the Word—which includes not only the readings, and seasonal themes of the readings—like Advent—but also the “Word” in the ritual texts (like the Gloria, or the eucharistic acclamations, or the Lord’s Prayer, or the Lamb of God). In other words, the Paschal Mystery is communicated both through the word of the readings and the word of the rites—both express the basic gospel message. This gives us a standard for measuring the appropriateness of our musical choices: does the song we have chosen serve the readings of the day? Or does it help people enter into the meaning of the rite (gathering, communion, etc)? If it is not doing one of these things, it is probably not the right choice.

We have 100 spaces. First come, first served, so reserve your spot now.

NPM's Pastoral Music issue online

The first twenty-eight years of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians' (NPM) Pastoral Music magazine are now available to view or download at the NPM website. Beginning with the first issue in October 1976, all magazines through August 2004 have been posted in PDF format.
View the Pastoral Music archive here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

"Keep in mind" - Rev. Lucien Deiss, CSSp, 1921-2007

Last week, I attended the national gathering of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FDLC) in Hartford, Connecticut. On the first full day of our gathering, after the keynote presentation, our facilitator announced that Fr. Lucien Deiss had died earler that day, Tuesday, October 9. As we sat at our tables, she led us in a prayer for Fr. Deiss. As soon as our "Amen" left our lips, someone in the assembly began singing "Keep In Mind," probably Fr. Deiss' most famous song. The entire room filled with song, a cappella and spontaneous. We all knew the words and sang for the composer who brought life to these words. We sang the faith that we wanted to believe in these moments of death--that Jesus is our saving Lord, our joy--and in the singing of it, we knew it was true. I could barely finish the refrain because I recognized in that moment that this was true prayer, true liturgy, known by heart, and done simply with grace and love.

I had learned "Keep In Mind" as a child doing music ministry for the 12:00p Mass at Saint Thomas Aquinas. We always sang it for funerals; sometimes, we'd sing it as the Memorial Acclamation (I know, a no-no). How fitting then that we would sing it for Fr. Deiss who sang it first for us.

Below is a brief tribute written by Alan Hommerding, senior editor at World Library Publications which published "Keep In Mind" back in 1965. You can see more of Fr. Deiss' recent works here.


On Tuesday, October 9, 2007, Reverend Lucien Deiss, C.S.Sp., celebrated what he often referred to as "the most joyful day of my life" in returning home to be with his Lord. His funeral will be celebrated on Saturday, October 13 at Seminaire des Missiones in Larue, France.

Best known to Roman Catholics in the U.S. through his scriptural songs such as "All the Earth," "Keep in Mind," and "Grant to Us, O Lord," Fr. Deiss was also widely known in Europe and the United States as a scholar in the fields of Sacred Scripture and Patristics. He was selected by Pope Paul VI to coordinate the Lectionary psalter following the Second Vatican Council. His ³Biblical Hymns and Psalms² was the first significant way that millions of Catholics in the U.S. came to sing the Word of God and treasure it in their hearts. For this he was given an honorary Doctorate in Sacred Music from Duquesne University. A tireless advocate of the reforms of Vatican II, Fr. Deiss continually encouraged those who worked in liturgical reform in this country to remain fervent in prayer to the Holy Spirit, and he dedicated much of his life to liturgical catechesis through workshops and the well-known ³Deiss days² sponsored by WLP (then World Library of Sacred Music). He was, above all, a man of prayer, dedicated to the celebration of the Eucharist, and was always filled with a gentle and loving humor.

We at WLP mourn the passing of Fr. Deiss, and share in his joy as he lives and sings for all ages in the eternal light of his Risen Savior.

Keep in Mind
that Jesus Christ
has died for us
and is risen from the dead.
He is our saving Lord.
He is joy for all ages!

If we die with the Lord, we shall live with the Lord.
If we endure with the Lord, we shall reign with the Lord.
In Christ all our sorrow, in Christ all our joy.
In him hope of glory, in him all our love.
In Christ our redemption, in Christ all our grace.
In him our salvation, in him all our peace.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Liam Lawton in Concert - October 19, 2007

Liam Lawton will be in Concert this Friday night, 7:30pm, at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph, 80 South Market Street, San Jose. Ordained as a priest several years ago, before he came to mainstream prominence, Liam released 8 albums of liturgical music through Veritas, songs currently used in masses, weddings and funerals throughout Ireland, the U.K. and the U.S. The fact is, it's almost a guarantee that when you hear music in the church, the chances are its Liam Lawton's. In March 2004, Liam's talents were recognised by recording giant EMI Music who signed Liam on a worldwide deal. This deal saw the release of “Another World” in 2004 and “Time” in 2005. Working with talented young producer Mark Cahill, Liam was thrilled to be able to bring his music to a totally new audience!! Tickets are $40. Click here to buy tickets online.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Returning Veterans project

Update: This project has closed.

Sr. Pat Mitchell, SFCC, Director of the Office of Parish and Planning for the Diocese of San José, is working on a project concerning our veterans who are returning home. She would like to connect with individuals who are now discharged from any branch of the military and were deployed to a combat zone within the past five years. They don’t necessarily need to live in the California Bay Area.

If you know anyone who meets these criteria, and you think they would be willing to talk with Sr. Pat Mitchell, please contact her at MitchellP[at]dsj[dot]org.

Vino & Vespers - October 19, 2007

New date is tentatively set for November 9, 2007.

Vino & Vespers

Vino & Vespers gives busy people of faith a place to pray simply (you don’t have to plan a thing!), eat and drink well (you don’t have to bring any food), and talk candidly about faith, church, and real life (you don’t have to prepare any lesson plans or make any handouts!).

Gather with others who love the Church, and spend an evening with three of God’s best gifts: prayer, food, and conversation. We’ll begin with Evening Prayer followed by an intimate conversation about faith and daily life as we savor delicious desserts and fine wine.

A Special V & V
Doing Music Ministry Today

Join members of the Diocesan Liturgical Commission in a focused discussion on the role and state of music ministry in our Diocese. Music ministers, directors, and those who love the liturgy are invited to add their voices to this conversation on the joys and challenges of leading God's people in sung prayer.

Vino & Vespers are interactive evenings that feature prominent Catholics talking about how they live their faith through the real events of contemporary life in the Silicon Valley. Young adults over 21 and those very much over-21 are especially invited.

Vino & Vespers
Friday, October 19, 2007, 7:30 pm
Casa Maria Conference Center
200 Prospect Avenue, Los Gatos, 95030
$5 suggested free will donation

Please RSVP with Bernard Nemis
408-983-0126 or online.

Click here for a PDF flyer that you can print.

Driving Directions to Casa Maria Conference Center from Downtown San Jose:

  • 280 N toward San Francisco
  • HWY 17 S toward Santa Cruz
  • Exit HWY 9 (Los Gatos-Saratoga Road). Get into left lane immediately.
  • LEFT at the first stoplight which is University Avenue.
  • Take University to the end where it forms a T with Main Street. LEFT on Main Street.
  • Go to the first stoplight which is College Avenue and turn RIGHT (there’s a sign for “Novitiate” on the corner of College and Main).
  • Go one block to the top of the street and turn RIGHT at Villa Avenue (follow the signs for “Novitiate”).
  • Go 0.6 miles up the hill. When you see the Jesuit Novitiate and Winery on your right, turn LEFT onto Prospect Avenue.
  • Go 0.1 miles and turn LEFT at the sign for "Sisters of the Holy Names Main Entrance." Parking will be in the lot on your left. The Chapel entrance is in the building to your right.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Catechumenate Support Group Dinner – October 4, 2007

It has been one month since our diocese’s Beginnings and Beyond Institute in San Juan Bautista. We had 130 national and international participants with about 50 people from our diocese alone! The Diocese of San José Beginnings and Beyond Local Team and the diocesan Catechumenate Committee invite all catechumenate ministers to gather with Beginnings and Beyond participants for dinner, drinks, reflection, and fellowship to plan and prepare for this coming year’s catechumenate ministry.

Catechumenate Support Group dinner
with participants from Beginnings and Beyond
Thursday, October 4, 2007

Drinks and appetizers: 6:30p
Dinner: 7:00p

Santa Teresa Parish

Please RSVP by October 3.
To RSVP, contact Bernard Nemis or 408-983-0126

Come hear the highlights of the Institute, share your concerns, and learn from each other.

The Liturgy Files: How do you handle December 8 this year?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPart of my job is to answer email (I receive and send at least 50 emails a day....sheesh!). Some of these emails are simple Q&A. In these Liturgy Files, I'll share some of the most helpful Q&As.

Q: This year, December 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, falls on a Saturday. Is it still a holy day of obligation? What do you celebrate on Saturday night: Immaculate Conception or the Second Sunday of Advent? Can you satisfy the holy day obligation and the Sunday obligation in one Mass?

A: The obligation to attend Mass on December 8 remains even if it falls on a Saturday. Here is a list of holy days of obligation in the United States and their exceptions. Therefore, December 8, 2007 is still a holy day of obligation even though it falls on Saturday this year.

In liturgical time-keeping, days tend to begin with sunset the day before and end at sunset the day of. Technically, they begin after Evening Prayer the night before and end with Evening Prayer the day of. Sundays and solemnities will include the Evening Prayer the night before as part of the solemnity.
  • On the evening of Friday, December 7, 2007, one may celebrate an anticipated Mass for Immaculate Conception which would satisfy the obligation for Immaculate Conception.
  • During the day on Saturday, December 8, 2007, the Masses would be for Immaculate Conception, and anyone participating in these Masses satisfies the obligation for Immaculate Conception.
  • The evening Mass on Saturday, December 8, 2007, is the anticpated Mass for the Second Sunday of Advent. This evening Mass satisfies the Sunday obligation or the Immaculate Conception obligation, but not both.

To satisfy both the holy day obligation and the Sunday Mass obligation, one must participate in two Masses--one between Friday evening and Saturday evening, and one between Saturday evening and Sunday evening, regardless of the readings or prayers used at either Mass. It's not the readings or prayers that fulfill the obligation but the time of day. I know, it's wacky, but true.

Got a different answer? Share it by clicking the Comments link below.

The Liturgy Files: When to do Announcements

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Part of my job is to answer email (I receive and send at least 50 emails a day....sheesh!). Some of these emails are simple Q&A. In these Liturgy Files, I'll share some of the most helpful Q&As.

Q: During Mass, when is the most appropriate time to give announcements?

A: The most appropriate time for announcements during the Mass would be after the Prayer After Communion and before the final blessing of the Mass. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal, #90 indicates that the Concluding Rites of the Mass include brief announcements if necessary.

Announcements may also be given before Mass begins, that is, before the opening song. Some places make brief announcements before the Preparation of Gifts, but I find that this is not appropriate. Whenever announcements are made, they should always be brief. They never work no matter when in the Mass if they are too long or too many.

Got a different answer? Share it by clicking the Comments link below.