Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Lenten regulations

The season of Lent focuses primarily on two aspects of Christian life. First, we remember our Baptism and reflect on it with those who are preparing to be baptized. Second, we consider how well or poorly we have lived out our baptismal promises, and we observe more intensely the Christian penitential disciplines in order to live more faithfully the vows we made, or will make, at Baptism. By emphasizing these two points, the Church prepares for the great Easter season when those who are not Christian are baptized and those who are already Christian renew their baptismal promises.

Because we often fail to live out our baptismal call, we sin in ways that affect our relationship with God, with each other, and with the world. Therefore, the penance that we do during Lent helps us not only to move toward conversion and obedience to God but also to express outward signs of reconciliation with the Church, with society and those around us, and with creation. Thus, during Lent the Church encourages us to follow more intensely three disciplines of penance: prayer, fasting, and works of charity and love.

During Lent, we are encouraged to participate more often in the Eucharist, not only on Sunday but also on traditionally penitential days, such as Friday. This is an especially beneficial time to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance as well as the other liturgies of the Church, such as Evening Prayer and adoration and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Other devotions, such as stations of the cross, vigils, and prayer services are encouraged. Individual practices are also suggested, such as daily prayer, Scripture reading, spiritual reading, alms-giving, personal self-denial, and increased care and service to the sick and poor.

Fasting and Abstinence
Denying or limiting oneself from food is a traditional penitential practice. During Lent, those between the age of 18 until the day after one’s 59th birthday are obligated to observe a day of fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Fasting means that one full meatless meal per day may be eaten. Two other meatless meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be eaten, but together they should not equal a full meal. Liquids, including milk and fruit juice, may be taken between meals. If health or ability to work are affected, one is not obligated to fast. Private, self-imposed observance of fasting on all weekdays of Lent is strongly recommended. Pastors and parents should ensure that children who are not bound by the laws of fast and abstinence are catechized in an authentic sense of penance, conversion, and reconciliation. Abstinence from eating meat is to be observed on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays during Lent. All the faithful, from the day after their 14th birthday, are bound by Church law to abstain from meat on these days.

Easter Duty and Holy Communion
All the faithful, after they have participated in First Communion, are obligated to share in Communion at least once a year. This law must be fulfilled during the Easter season unless it is fulfilled for a just cause at some other time during the year. In the United States, with regard to this law, the Easter season is the period from the First Sunday of Lent until Most Holy Trinity Sunday (the Sunday after Pentecost).

Sacrament of Penance
After Baptism and a diligent examination of conscience, members of the Christian faithful are obligated to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance if one consciously commits a serious sin which has not yet been confessed or acknowledged in individual confession. It is recommended that venial sins are also confessed. The faithful who are old enough to understand that they have sinned are obligated to confess serious sins at least once a year. Persons who are aware of having committed serious sin cannot celebrate Mass or receive Communion without prior sacramental confession, unless there is a grave reason they cannot do so or there is no opportunity for them to do so.

Clic aquí para reglamentos Cuaresmales.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Gospel of Matthew – February 15, 2008

You are invited to a spectacular and dramatic presentation of scripture, light, and movement when Michael Reardon prayerfully and powerfully proclaims The Gospel of MATTHEW, directed by Patrick Lane.

This is a contemporary translation of scripture, proclaimed in the oral tradition of the early church, designed with music, lighting, and costuming. A reception to meet the artists will follow the event.

On Friday, February 15 at 7:00 p.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church, 4848 Pearl Ave in San Jose. The public is invited to attend, and to experience the power of the Word. There is no cost for this performance.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Help your assembly prepare for the Rite of Election

In a few short weeks, the Catholic Church around the world will celebrate one of its most important rites--and yet most parishioners will never witness it.

The Rite of Election marks the final turning point in a person's journey toward becoming a Catholic. Every Catholic diocese around the world will celebrate this liturgy on the First Sunday of Lent with those it will baptize only 40 days later.

Our Bishop Patrick J. McGrath of the Diocese of San José will name 436 catechumens (226 adults and 210 children) to be the Elect. Along with their godparents, families, and friends, the diocese will celebrate three liturgies of the Rite of Election during the first week of Lent.

Learn more about the Rite of Election, and help your assembly understand better this rite. Here is an article I wrote on the primary symbols of the Rite of Election. At this link, you can also download a free, ready-to-copy handout that you can reprint for your parish. Permission is given to make as many copies as you need.

The Rite of Election is truly is one of the secret gems of the liturgical year in our diocese. It is one of the most joyful celebrations we do. Know that your parishioners are invited to come to any of the liturgies for the Rite of Election in the Diocese of San José. More information on when your parish's catechumens are scheduled to be at the the Cathedral for the Rite of Election is here.

January 22: Intercessions for Life

Intercessions for Life
January 22, 2008

Day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life.
from the USCCB (PDF file)

For our Holy Father, our Bishop ________,
Our Pastor, ___________,
and all the priests of our diocese:
that Christ might make them courageous witnesses of the Gospel of Life;
We pray to the Lord:

For President Bush
and Senators _____ and _________:
that the Gospel of Life might guide and inspire them;
We pray to the Lord:

For pregnant teens:
that they might receive the grace they need
to love and protect the child God has placed in their care;
We pray to the Lord:

For the unborn child who is deformed or ill:
that we might treasure the delicate and
wonderful gift which God brings to us in them;
We pray to the Lord:

That all husbands and wives
might see themselves as co-workers with God
in the act of creation;
We pray to the Lord:

For those tempted by abortion:
that God might teach us how to love them;
We pray to the Lord:

For those who are haunted by the memory of an abortion;
that they might be given the grace
to seek healing in Christ;
We pray to the Lord:

For priests hearing a confession of abortion:
that they might be strong, loving, and wise;
We pray to the Lord:

January 22 - Day of Penance and Prayer

In all the dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 (or January 23, when January 22 falls on a Sunday) shall be observed as a particular day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life. The Mass “For Peace and Justice” (no. 22 of the “Masses for Various Needs”) should be celebrated with violet vestments as an appropriate liturgical observance for this day.

General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 373

Of Rosaries and Skateboards - Roe v. Wade

from the USCCB's Life Issues Forum
January 11, 2008

Of Rosaries and Skateboards
By Tom Grenchik

A few days before Christmas, four skateboarders rescued a crying newborn baby who had been wrapped in a paper bag and abandoned in a neighborhood dumpster on one of the coldest nights of the year. The quick-thinking New York teens called 9-1-1, waited for the ambulance, and then accompanied the baby girl to the hospital where they learned that she survived only because of their alertness and their actions. None of these boys ever expected to be called on in such a dramatic way. Appropriately, they were considered heroes for saving the baby’s life.

Even if we don’t make it into the evening news, we are all called to be just as alert and active in protecting human life. There are always opportunities to respond. The 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade reminds us that our courts and legislatures still cling to the lie that human life can be discarded whenever it is inconvenient. Abortion is still protected in our land. Had that dumpster been located behind an abortion facility, the skateboarders would have been labeled as meddling trespassers trying to undermine “choice,” instead of being hailed as heroes.

To mark this sad anniversary, many of us will join in the March for Life in Washington D.C., San Francisco, or similar marches in many cities across the country. Many of us will work in our legislatures to expand protection for unborn children, or to prevent abortion-rights activists from enshrining abortion at the state level, because they fear the coming demise of Roe. Many of us will serve at our neighborhood pregnancy help centers, maternity homes, prenatal care programs, shelters, and food pantries so those in need will know there are alternatives to abortion and many people willing to help. Many of us will speak to our neighbors, classmates, co-workers, relatives and friends about the life and dignity of each human person. Many of us will pray and offer loving assistance outside the doors of abortion facilities, the legally protected “dumpsters” of Roe v. Wade. Many rosaries will be prayed to usher in a springtime of faith and a culture of life.

And our prayers are being heard. There are many signs that our culture continues to grow in a pro-life direction. Those who promote abortion are, with good reason, fearful that Roe v. Wade is nearing the end. They fear a massive generation of young people who reject the culture of death. They fear the witness of countless women, men and family members who mourn the loss of their children to abortion. They fear the growing attention to the humanity of unborn children on the Internet, in magazines, news reports, and the ultrasound images expectant parents and grandparents forward to friends. And they fear the growing trend to view each child, even those with health problems, as a gift, and not a threat. These “fears” should give us great encouragement. Pro-life prayers and actions are working. Rosaries and skateboards are building a culture of life!

Tom Grenchik is the Executive Director of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Go to to learn more about the bishops’ pro-life activities.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Prayer for Christian Unity – January 23, 2008

Several congregations in the Alum Rock neighborhood of San Jose will observe the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity with a service of Prayer for Christian Unity to be held at St Elias the Prophet Melkite-Greek Catholic Church, 4411 Hyland Avenue, at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 23.

All are welcome to come and pray with our sisters and brothers from Alum Rock United Methodist Church, Foothill Presbyterian Church, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, St Elias Melkite Catholic Church, St John Vianney Roman Catholic Church, and St Philip’s Episcopal Church.

The Rev. Margo Tenold, Co-Director of the Santa Clara County Council of Churches, will be the main speaker. The people of St Elias Church will host a coffee hour after the service.

Pro-Life Mass and Prayer Walk – January 22, 2008

A Pro-Life Mass at St. Nicholas Church in Los Altos on Tuesday, January 22nd at 11:30a.m. will mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. Following the mass, a silent Prayer Walk will proceed eight blocks to the Los Altos City Hall at 12:30 p.m. St. Nicholas Church is located two blocks south of Main Street on the frontage road west of Foothill Expressway.

For more information, please call St. Nicholas Church at (650) 948-2158.

Fair Trade Palms for Palm Sunday

The CRS Fair Trade Program is once again endorsing Eco-Palms as a way to promote economic justice on Palm Sunday. Parishes can make Palm Sunday a day of celebrating economic justice for farmers and stewardship of God’s creation in Guatemala and Mexico. Eco-palms are harvested in a way that rewards workers for the quality of the palms they harvest rather than the quantity, which helps to limit the amount of palms taken from a forest.

Eco-palm communities have taken upon themselves to learn about harvesting practices that minimize impact on the natural forest where the palm grows, and biodiversity of the region and improve the local communities’ standard of living. To have your Eco-palms fill the sanctuary with justice this Palm Sunday, you need to order by FEBRUARY 20, 2008.

For more information and an order form, visit

Late Nite Catechism 2 – February 7-8, 2008

Sisters of the Holy Names is sponsoring LATE NITE CATECHISM 2 on February 7 and 8 at St. Mary’s Howley Hall, 219 Bean Avenue in Los Gatos. Proceeds will benefit the retirement funds for the Sisters of the Holy Names.

Call (408) 395-2868 or visit Holy Names for tickets or more information.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Classifieds (outside diocese): Director of the Office of Worship (several)

Position Available: Director of the Office of Worship for the Diocese of Raleigh

The Diocese of Raleigh is comprised of the 54 eastern-most counties of North Carolina and serves a rapidly growing and culturally diverse population in 76 parishes and 19 missions, chapels, and stations.

The Director of the Office of Worship is to assist the Diocesan Bishop in his role as the principle liturgist of the Diocese. The Director serves as a resource on liturgical matters to the Bishop and to the parishes of the Diocese. The Director is responsible for coordinating all episcopal and diocesan liturgies, recommends particular norms and praxis in keeping with the universal liturgical norms of the Church, and is able to conduct liturgical formation on the diocesan and parish levels in appropriate collaboration with diocesan offices.

The successful candidate is a practicing Roman Catholic in good standing with a true love for God, His Church, and the Sacred Liturgy. The successful candidate will have a master's degree or equivalent in liturgy or liturgical theology, have experience in planning and coordinating liturgies, have an understanding of Spanish language and Hispanic liturgical customs or be willing to learn, and have strong leadership and communication skills.

Applicants are invited to send a resume and references to Director of Human Resources, Diocese of Raleigh, 715 Nazareth Street, Raleigh, NC 27606. Fax: 919-821-9716; e-mail: leo [dot] tapler [at] raldioc [dot] org.

Position Available: Director of the Office of Worship for the Diocese of Grand Rapids

The Diocese of Grand Rapids is seeking a full-time Director of the Office for Worship responsible for implementing liturgical norms and promoting and supporting the liturgical life of the diocese. The director advises on liturgical matters to the bishop, clergy, and parishes, and works in concert with diocesan commissions that support and enable expressions of faith. The director also establishes relationships with diocesan music and liturgy leaders, plans educational opportunities and directs the work of the diocesan Church Art and Architecture Commission.

Candidates must possess an advanced degree in liturgy or a related area, have a high level of energy, ability to organize structures and to sustain working relationships. Must be an active member of the Roman Catholic Church with the ability to educate others on liturgical practices, and proven experience in implementing liturgy. Collaborative leadership at a diocesan or national level is desired.

The diocese is located in lower Michigan along the beautiful western lakeshore, and serves over 170,000 in the 102 parishes and missions in an 11 county area. The Cathedral of Saint Andrew, located in downtown Grand Raids, serves Bishop Walter Hurley and the people of the diocese.

Send cover letter, resume, and salary requirements to:

Human Resources
Diocese of Grand Rapids
660 Burton St. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503


dogrhr [at] DioceseofGrandRapids [dot] org

Position Available: Liturgy Office Director for the Diocese of Salt Lake City

The Diocese of Salt Lake City is seeking a Director for the Office of Liturgy to assist the bishop, clergy, and parishes in fostering sound liturgical practice throughout the diocese. The Office of Liturgy collaborates with the Liturgical Commission and its three subcommittees in providing resources and catechetical and formational programs aimed to promote full, active, and conscious participation in the liturgical life of the Church throughout the diocese.

  • Master’s degree in Liturgical Studies or equivalent,
  • A practicing Catholic imbued with an understanding and appreciation of the Church’s theology, principles, rites, and practices,
  • Familiarity with current liturgical documents and ritual texts,
  • Experience as a parish liturgy coordinator or diocesan director or equivalent,
  • Multi-cultural sensitivity; ability to understand, speak, and read Spanish very helpful,
  • Pastoral, organizational, and administrative skills,
  • Ability to travel to parishes throughout the state of Utah.

If interested submit resume and letter of intent to:

Liturgical Commission Search Committee
Msgr. J. Terrence Fitzgerald
Diocese of Salt Lake City
27 C Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84103
FAX (801)328-9680

Classifieds: Grand Piano Available

A grand piano in excellent condition is available for donation to a parish. If your parish is interested please email Sr. Pat Mitchell at mitchellp [at] dsj [dot] org. The deadline for requests is Friday, January 25, 2008.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Eight items necessary for flawless Lenten environment

Lent calls us to clear away the things that distract us so that we can focus on the intense, retreat-like atmosphere of the season. Here are eight items necessary to help you prepare a great Lenten environment.

  1. Clean and clutter-free pews, vestibules, sanctuaries, and reconciliation rooms.

  2. Water in all the fonts.

  3. A dignified Book of the Gospels.

  4. A dignified Book of the Elect and a place to highlight it.

  5. If possible, incense (the good stuff), fresh charcoal, and a beautiful thurible and stand.

  6. Fresh candles, especially for the fourth Sunday of Lent.

  7. A substantial cross (preferably the one to be venerated on Good Friday), especially for the final week of Lent (cf., Liturgical Music Today, 48).

  8. A moment of substantial communal silence and stillness before Mass.

And some things to use less of:
  • sand

  • cactus

  • dead, dried, or fake things

  • oil lamps shaped to look like candles

  • rocks in the font

  • sand in the font

  • banners with symbols or words on them

  • vestments with symbols or words on them

  • altar and ambo cloths with symbols or words on them

Ten ways to do liturgical movement without breaking out the ballet slippers

Liturgical movement is not primarily the choreographed movements of trained dancers. It is the integral gestures the liturgical ministers and assembly members make together, such as the Sign of the Cross and the various processions of the Mass. Here are 10 ways to pay more attention to the liturgical movement already present in the Mass.

  1. Have a welcoming line at the entrances of the Church, not a barrier of liturgical ministers that people have to walk around.

  2. Model dignified genuflecting to the tabernacle (only before and after Mass) and bowing to the altar as you enter the worship space.

  3. Make processions look more like processions. “Choreograph” them with the same care as we do with wedding processions.

  4. Choreograph the liturgical ministers’ bowing/kissing of the altar at the gathering procession.

  5. Let the Sign of the Cross be done slowly and with large gestures.

  6. Train lectors and cantors to move slowly, confidently, and gracefully. If possible, have them avoid fumbling with unnecessary items (e.g., putting books under the ambo shelf; getting books out from under the ambo shelf; carrying sheet music to the ambo).

  7. Make the Gospel procession an actual procession.

  8. If they need it, practice incense skills with the deacon and presiders. If you don’t have a deacon, train older acolytes to incense the assembly gracefully and confidently.

  9. Train the assembly to bow at appropriate times, i.e., during the Creed, as they are being incensed, during the Consecration if they are standing, before receiving Communion.

  10. Practice the Communion Rite with the Communion ministers, the deacon, and the presider, especially the Fraction Rite and distribution of Communion to the extraordinary ministers of Communion. (Going to the Purell bottle, or receiving a squirt of antibacterial soap should not be a noticeable action during the Communion Rite.)

Three ways Lenten music is different from the rest of the year

Sometimes we think that Lent is primarily celebrated in hushed, quiet tones. But actually, the beginning of Lent--Ash Wednesday--starts off with the sound of the horn.

The music of Lent is not "easy-listening." It should be a clarion call to attention. Below are three ways Lenten music is different from music during the rest of the year.

  1. Lenten music is not sad, anemic, or depressed. It is powerful, focused, and intentional. (“Blow the trumpet in Zion!” Joel 2:15, from Ash Wednesday)

    • Try doing more unison or a cappella singing.

  2. Silence enfolds and punctuates Lenten music and ritual. Sobriety tempers musical extravagance.

    • Try ending the Mass in silence, that is, omit the closing song. (This only works if the ministers’ exit from the worship space is done with solemnity and intention.) Avoid masking the silence with other sound, such as rain sticks or hand drums. Perhaps have the choir members join the dismissal procession with the ministers.

  3. Ritual music dominates the Lenten liturgies. The catechumenal rites require more use of sung acclamations and chanted or sung intercessions.

    • Try incorporating more of the Mass’ chanted dialogues, for example, “The Word of the Lord…” or “The Lord be with you….”

See also this related article:

Five things every Lenten homily must do (and how to help your homilists do them)

All homilies have common elements that should be included regardless of the liturgical season (see Introduction to the Lectionary for Mass, 24-27; General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 65-66; Fulfilled In Your Hearing [PDF file])

But the season of Lent has some specific elements and principles that would inform the way the Lenten homilies are prepared. Below are five possible principles. Share your own comments by clicking on the "Comments" link at the end of the post.
  1. Focus on the Elect (even if you don’t have Elect at that Mass or in your parish) and their preparation for baptism at Easter.

    • If they haven’t met them yet, introduce your Elect and their godparents to your homilists, or tell your homilists a little about their faith journey and some of the struggles they have been through.

    • Invite your homilists to any gatherings with the Elect, especially to sessions in preparation for the scrutinies.

    • If you don’t have any Elect at your parish this year, find out the names of the Elect in a neighboring parish. Have your parish adopt them for the season of Lent by praying for them by name at every Mass.

  2. Emphasize the assembly’s baptismal commitment, how it’s lived out on the personal, social, and communal levels, and prepare them to renew their baptismal vows at Easter.

    • Don’t remove the water from the font!

    • Invite back any neophytes and families who baptized their babies in the past year to Lenten gatherings and prayers. Remind the assembly that they made a commitment to help them live out their baptismal promises by their care and example.

    • At staff meetings and other gatherings with your homilists, do faith sharing on the issues of the day—those in the parish, in your neighborhood, in the country, and across the world. How does our baptismal call make a difference in these situations?

  3. Name God’s grace as much as you name sin. How is God acting already in the life of this community? How are God’s actions in this community calling its members to conversion, to turn away from sin and return to the Gospel?

    • Keep your eyes open for God at work in the parish, and tell your homilists about it.

    • Share your own stories of conversion in your life. Gather with other parishioners and the homilists to do faith sharing and reflection over the upcoming readings.

    • Help your homilists keep in mind Fulfilled in Your Hearing, 52 (The preacher does not so much interpret Scripture, as in a bible study. Rather he interprets the lives of the assembly through the Scriptures). Therefore, help him know the lives of your parishioners.

  4. Include your own call to conversion and your own story of resurrection.

    • When you see God working through the daily lives of your homilists, say so.

    • Give positive feedback, and be specific about it. That is, instead of just saying, “Nice homily, Father,” say why you liked it. What in his homily helped you hear the Gospel more clearly, or gave you more hope, or challenged you to change, or moved you to act?

    • Encourage your homilists to share their own faith stories in their homilies.

  5. Point to the paschal mystery, and lead the assembly to give thanks at the altar. What are we called to die to this Lent? And what would resurrection look like? How is sacrifice and new life already happening in the community and in the world? Look ahead to the liturgies of the Triduum.

    • Name ways the community “washes feet” in their daily lives. How is the cross present in the neighborhood? Where are there signs of new life in the world?

    • Reflect on how the parish has been challenged over the last year. What ways has God called them to sacrifice? In what ways has the parish fallen short of that call to conversion?

    • Name how Christ has brought new life to the parish over the last year. What are some things the parish is most thankful for?

Other ways to help your homilists:
  • Give them more time off or distribute some of the tasks they don’t need to do so they can have more time to work on their homilies.

  • Pray and talk with them more. Encourage them more regularly.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Jesuits' General Congregation

On Monday, January 7, 2008, 226 delegates representing the 19,000 Jesuits worldwide will gather in Rome to say goodbye to their Father-General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach who is stepping down after serving as the society's leader for 25 years. The gathering of delegates, only the 35th of its kind in the Jesuits' 470-year history, will set the course for the society and will elect its new Father-General. The election is similar to that of a papal conclave in that the delegates cannot be dismissed until a Jesuit has received the majority vote. Further, no one goes home until the Pope himself approves the choice.

Rev. Paul L. Locatelli, SJ, president of Santa Clara University, will be one of the delegates. (And one of our Diocesan Liturgical Commission members and Santa Clara University student, John Michael Reyes, will also be in Rome during the gathering studying there during the winter quarter.)

Rocco Palmo of Whispers in the Loggia has put together a couple of nice posts here and here on the upcoming gathering.

See also what Rev. James Martin, SJ, has to say about the gathering. And for great information on this event, see Creighton University's website, GC 35 Info.

The gathering begins with Mass after which Father-General Kolvenbach will light a lamp at the tomb of Saint Ignatius at the Gesu Church. The lamp, and others like it in Jesuit chapels throughout the world, will remain lit for the duration of the congregation. Below is the prayer that the Father-General will pray at Saint Ignatius' altar. You might light your own lamp and pray for the Jesuits that the Holy Spirit will lead them through their discernment and election.



Father and Master Ignatius,
discerner of the ways of God,
faithful friend of the Lord,
and humble servant of Christ and the gospel
beneath the banner of the cross;
you who untiringly sought the greater glory of God
through discernment and prayer,
and were docile in obedience to the Lord and his spouse the Church;
you who did not seek riches or honor,
but preferred poverty with the poor Christ
and humiliations with Christ humiliated,
provided only that the most holy name of Jesus,
in which our salvation is placed,
was proclaimed to all;
intercede for us with the Father of mercies,
so that in this time of grace
we may seek and find in all things
God’s divine presence
and know his sovereign will.

To the Eternal King of all things
we entrust this least Society,
created not by human hands,
but by the powerful hand of Christ our Lord
in whom we place our hope.
May Christ conserve and prosper
what he has begun
for his greater service and praise
and for the salvation of souls.

To you, Father Ignatius, and to the Society of saints in heaven
we entrust ourselves,
so that, confirmed in faith,
refreshed in hope,
and inflamed by evangelical charity,
we may love and serve the Lord in all things
and renew each day
our prayer of offering:

All together:

“Take, Lord, receive
all my liberty,
my memory, understanding,
my entire will—
all that I have and possess;
you have given to me,
to you, Lord, I return it.
all is yours now;
do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace;
that is enough for me.”
Father General:
We ask this in the name of Christ Jesus, our Lord.

Father General lights the votive candle and incenses the tomb of St. Ignatius.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Sunday Reflections and Social Ministry - Catholic Charities

Many of you in San José will know Elizabeth Lilly from liturgical, catechumenate, justice, and pastoral circles. She is now more actively working with parishes to help them foster and support their justice activities through her role with Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County. Because she is a liturgist at the core, she has been working on helping parishes make the connection between liturgy and justice clearer. Part of her motivation comes from the United States Bishops’ 1993 document, Communities of Salt and Light: Reflections on the Social Mission of the Parish.
The most important setting for the Church’s social teaching is not in a food pantry or in a legislative committee room, but in prayer and worship, especially gathered around the altar for the Eucharist. It is in the liturgy that we find the fundamental direction, motivation, and strength for social ministry. Social ministry not genuinely rooted in prayer can easily burn itself out. On the other hand, worship that does not reflect the Lord’s call to conversion, service, and justice can become pious ritual and empty of the Gospel.
Below is a sample bulletin reflection she offers that you can use each week that connects God’s story found in the Sunday readings with our story found in the real-life events of a person affected by the work of Catholic Charities and gives information on how you can become part of this story by proclaiming the Gospel in concrete ways in Santa Clara County.

Get the entire collection of reflections for Winter Ordinary Time as a Word doc here. Permission is given to download and reprint for your parishes and communities.

Sunday Reflections and Social Ministry
Winter Ordinary Time – 2008

For weekly bulletins, faith sharing groups, prayer at meetings, bible study, lectors, outreach actions…anywhere the word of God calls us to act with charity and justice. Community and Parish Partnerships Elizabeth Lilly, 408-325-5262, elilly [at] ccsj [dot] org.

January 20, 2008
“I will make you a light to the nations.” Isaiah 49

Catholic Charities story: Carolyn brings her father to the Day Break III Center in Sunnyvale several days a week. While her father, who suffers from Alsheimer’s disease, has a good lunch and some social interaction, Carolyn can rest and tend to her other responsibilities. Day Break III provides a much needed and appreciated respite for the caregiver.

Catholic Charities opportunity: Day Break III, licensed adult day care celebrated the official opening this last week at 535 Old San Francisco Road in Sunnyvale. To learn more about their services contact Ginger McClure, 408-530-8734 or gmcclure [at] ccsj [dot] org. To volunteer check the volunteer opportunities at Other Day Break programs are in downtown San Jose and at St. Francis of Assisi church in the Evergreen area of San Jose.

Catholic Social Teaching: Dignity of the Human Person

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity - January 18-25, 2008

The following is a letter from Bishop Patrick J. McGrath to all pastors of the Diocese of San José regarding the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Click here for a signed, pdf copy of the Bishop's letter.

January 1, 2008

Dear Father,

As you are aware, each year the Church celebrates January 18-25 as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This week of prayer constitutes an ideal time to bring to our people an awareness of the ecumenical mission of the Church. In addition, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity provides us with an excellent opportunity for our parishes and institutions to deepen our ecumenical spiritual life in union with our fellow Christians.

The 2008 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity marks 100 years since the Society of the Atonement began praying for Christian unity. Today, the tradition continues with the encouragement of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the World Council of Churches’ Faith and Order Commission.

The theme for the 2008 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:12a, 13b-18).

With this in mind, I write to encourage you and to give you permission to observe Sunday, January 20, 2008, as a special day of prayer for Christian Unity and to substitute the prayers of the Mass of the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time with the prayers of the Mass for the Unity of Christians (#13, Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions, A or B, Sacramentary, p. 889-891). In addition, you are free to use either the Preface for Christian Unity (#76 in the Sacramentary) or the new Eucharistic Prayer I, “The Church on the Way to Unity,” with its proper Preface.

I would also request that you include a petition for the unity of all Christians in the Prayer of the Faithful on that day.

Lastly, although the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity traditionally focuses on our relations with other Christians, I would like to encourage you to keep in mind the importance of doing all that we can to maintain good relations with the leaders of the many non-Christian religions that abound in Santa Clara County.

I thank you for your generosity in ministry and, in particular, for your attention to the ecumenical and inter-faith endeavors.

With every best wish and kind regard, I remain,

Sincerely yours,

Patrick J. McGrath
Bishop of San José


Below are some intercessions you can include in the Sunday Masses during the weekend of January 19-20, 2008. Please feel free to adapt and translate these according to your needs.

For the entire body of Christ into which all Christians are baptized: [pause]
for the grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ;
for an appreciation of our differences,
the acknowledgement of our need for each other,
and the untiring effort to be one body united in one Spirit.
We pray to the Lord.

For all who have been hurt by the division among Christians: [pause]
for ecumenical families and households;
for church leaders and their congregations;
for the light of salvation to descend upon all the nations
and the Spirit of God over all the ends of the earth.
We pray to the Lord.

In addition, the Web site of the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute may be helpful for you in your planning. Resources include homily notes specifically for January 21, 2008, which coincides with Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday and prayers and reflections in Spanish and English.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Today can be your best day ever

So 2008 has begun, and I'm sure some of you have already made new year's resolutions. 2007 seemed to go by like a blur for me, and 2008, with its earliest-possible Lent, looks like it won't be any different. There are just too many things on my plate and not enough time or energy to savor each day. I tried journaling, but that didn't last more than a few days. But I found some helpful tips at zenhabits, a blog about getting your life organized, simplified, and happier.

Check out his post about "10 Simple, Sure-fire Ways to Make Today Your Best Day Ever.

Blessing of Calendars on the Feast of the Epiphany

This prayer by Diana Macalintal originally appeared in Today's Parish Minister, Vol. 40, No. 1, January, 2008

photo courtesy of stock.xchngBlessing of Calendars on the Feast of the Epiphany

In every age, O God,
you have been our help.
To the wise men of the East,
your star rose at the appointed time to lead them to your Son.
To those at the Jordan, your Spirit descended upon Jesus
to show us that indeed the time of your kingdom had come.
And at the wedding banquet of Cana,
time stood still as the guests drank fully
from the bottomless cup of joy Christ provided.

You created all time and set the stars in motion,
and yet not one second of our life goes by without your care.

Bless then our time-keepers—
our calendars and clocks, watches and daytimers,
computers and cell phones, notepads and notebooks.
Help us not be slaves to them
or to fill them so much that we miss your presence here and now.
But let us use them to help us be in the right place at the right time
where we can do your will and witness you at work in our world.
May we remember each moment and never forget
that you are with us until the end of time.

This we pray in the name of Christ, yesterday and today,
the beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega.
To him be glory and power
through every age for ever and ever. Amen.

The Parish Staff’s Prayer for the New Year

This prayer by Diana Macalintal originally appeared in Today's Parish Minister, Vol. 40, No. 1, January, 2008

The Parish Staff’s Prayer for the New Year

God of every time and season,
you give us another year to fill with new beginnings.
We have so many dreams for our parish this year,
so many promises we want to keep,
so many new habits we want to learn.
Yet so much from last year is still left undone.

Erase our failings of the old year,
clear away the decay left by our complacency,
and wipe clean the slate of broken covenants from the year gone by.

As the calendar changes and the old gives way to the new,
help us not to dwell on the past
but to use its memory to move us ever forward to your kingdom.

Renew our hope and strengthen our resolve
to keep our new year’s promises to this parish
so that we may serve your people faithfully through every season
and walk joyfully with them each day of the year.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Proclamation of the date of Easter on Epiphany, 2008

The Solemnity of the Epiphany is a traditional time to announce the major feasts and celebrations of the Church for the upcoming year. Before the advent of online calendars, Blackberries, perpetual calendars, and handheld organizers, the formal announcement at Epiphany was the usual way the Church made known the date of Easter and all the celebrations that are dependent upon its date.

In the Roman Catholic Church, the date of Easter moves each year because it is affected by the lunar and solar cycles. The Council of Nicaea (325 AD) determined that Easter would be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox, or first day of spring (in the northern hemisphere). (The Orthodox Churches use a different calendar system, and so their date for Easter is different. You can read about the difference in Easter calendaring here.)

The Sacramentary Supplement, in which you can find the proclamation, states: “Although calendars now give the date of Easter and the other feasts in the liturgical year for many years in advance, the Epiphany proclamation still has value. It is a reminder of the centrality of the resurrection of the Lord in the liturgical year and the importance of the great mysteries of faith which are celebrated each year” (#2).

The proclamation can be sung (a cappella) or spoken by a deacon, cantor, or reader at the ambo after the gospel, after the homily, or after the prayer after Communion.

The text of the proclamation remains fixed except for the dates for that year which must be inserted for the proclamation. Below are the dates for 2008 (in red).

Proclamation of the Date of Easter on Epiphany

Dear brothers and sisters,
the glory of the Lord has shone upon us,
and shall ever be manifest among us,
until the day of his return.

Through the rhythms of times and seasons
let us celebrate the mysteries of salvation.

Let us recall the year’s culmination, the Easter Triduum of the Lord:
his last supper, his crucifixion, his burial, and his rising,
celebrated between the evening of the twentieth of March
and the evening of the twenty-third of March.

Each Easter—as on each Sunday—
the Holy Church makes present the great and saving deed
by which Christ has for ever conquered sin and death.
From Easter are reckoned all the days we keep holy.

Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent,
will occur on the sixth of February.
The Ascension of the Lord will be commemorated
on the fourth of May*.
Pentecost, the joyful conclusion of the season of Easter,
will be celebrated on the eleventh of May.
And this year the First Sunday of Advent
will be on the thirtieth of November.

Likewise the pilgrim Church proclaims the Passover of Christ
in the feasts of the holy Mother of God,
in the feasts of the Apostles and Saints,
and in the commemoration of the faithful departed.

To Jesus Christ, who was, who is, and who is to come,
Lord of time and history,
be endless praise, for ever and ever. Amen.

*In the western dioceses of the United States, the celebration of the Ascension is moved to the seventh Sunday of Easter.

Liturgical Coordinators' Gathering - January 8, 2008

Lent begins in 37 days! Ack! And Christmas isn't even over yet! So let's get a move on and start thinking Lenten thoughts.

Liturgical Coordinators’ Gathering
“The Liturgical Arts of Lent:
Word, Music, Movement, and Environment”

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

10:00a - 12:00p

Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception
219 Bean Avenue, Los Gatos, 95030

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

You will come away from this meeting with:

  • Five things every Lenten homily must do (and how to help your homilists do them);

  • Three ways Lenten music is different from the rest of the year;

  • Ten ways to do liturgical movement without breaking out the ballet slippers;

  • Eight items necessary for flawless Lenten environment;

  • And because Easter can't be far behind...Triduum Tips and FAQS.
Get 2008 started right. Bring your ideas, best practices, and questions. And here are the dates for the Liturgical Coordinators' Gatherings for the year:
  • Tuesday, March 4, 2008, Saint John the Baptist, Milpitas

  • Tuesday, May 6, 2008, Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Morgan Hill

If you have any questions about these gatherings, please contact Diana or 408-983-0136.

Catechumenate Support Group - January 3, 2008, 7:00p

Lent is only five weeks away! That means the Rite of Election and scrutinies are just around the corner! This is what our Bishop McGrath said to the catechumens in 2006:

The world will tell you to hate your enemies; this community will tell you to love them. The world will tell you to store up your riches, live the “good life,” grab more power, vote for the one who will make your life easier, be an individual; but this community will tell you to give not only your cloak but your shirt as well, take care of the orphan, the widow, and the outcast, put on Christ, lose yourself, take up the cross, give away all you have, give away even your life. This is what baptism is about. This is what the season of Lent is about. This is what being Catholic is about. This is what you must be about if you will give your name to God today. (Read his entire homily here.)

Are your catechumens ready to take the plunge? Are you ready?

At our next Catechumenate Support Group (the evening edition), we'll discuss:
  • How do you prepare a Rite of Sending that gets not only your catechumens, but also your sponsors and assembly ready for Lent?

  • What do your catechumens and godparents need to know about the Rite of Election? Do they even have to go?

  • Are the scrutinies optional? They seem kind of boring. How do we make them more interesting?

  • What do you do with candidates during Lent? Should you celebrate the Rite of Sending for recognition by the Bishop and the Call to Continuing Conversion?

  • How do you get more sponsors and more people involved in the catechumenate ministry of the parish?

Everyone who attends the meeting will receive a FREE photocopiable bulletin insert on the Rite of Election to be given to the assembly. Get some practical answers to these and your other questions at the next Catechumenate Support Group Meeting.

Catechumenate Support Group Meeting
"Ready or Not, Here Lent Comes!"

Thursday, January 3, 2008
7:00p – 8:30p

Holy Spirit
1200 Redmond Avenue, San Jose

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

Other Catechumenate Support Group dates for the year:
  • Thursday, March 6, 2008, 12:30p – 2:00p, host parish needed - contact Diana
  • Thursday, April 3, 2008, 7:00p – 8:30p, host parish needed - contact Diana
  • Thursday, June 5, 2008, potluck dinner, host parish needed - contact Diana