Saturday, February 27, 2010

RCIA Notes…on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

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The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – is the manifestation of the Pascal Mystery (Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ).

For Catholics, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is one of the highest forms of prayer. It’s a communication between us and God.

Preparation for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

For the faithful it’s a good practice to arrive at Church between 5 to 10 minutes before Mass

Why? First…it allows time for personal prayer. Secondly…you have to opportunity to read over the Sunday Readings. You will find reading over the Sunday Readings before Mass can be a great way to get more out of the readings.

However…you can also prepare the readings at home. The Readings can be found at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Web Site www.usccb.org/nab.

The Priest also should prepare for each Mass. Below you will find the list of vestments and their symbols.

Amice – the helmet of salvation

Alb – purity

Cincture – chastity

Stole – authority

Maniple – sorrow or the weight of the priesthood

Chasuble – Charity

The Structure of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

Introductory Rites

- Sign of the Cross/Greeting

- Penitential Rite or Sprinkling Rite (the sprinkling rite is often used during the Easter Season)

- Gloria (exception of Advent and Lent)

- Opening Collect

The purpose of the Introductory Rites is to prepare us for the entire celebration (to listen to the Word of God and receive Him in the Holy Eucharist.)

Liturgy of the Word (God speaks to us about His life)

- First Reading (usually from the Old Testament)

- Responsorial Psalm (is our response to the word of God)

- Second Reading (usually from the New Testament)

- Gospel Acclamation

- Gospel (the life of Jesus)

Suggestion to not read the word of God as it is proclaimed, read it as suggested before Mass. Some times when we listen and read at the same time we can lose sight of the meaning.

- Homily (the purpose of the homily is to reflect on the word proclaimed and to apply it today)

- Profession of Faith (Creed)

- Prayer of the Faithful (closes the Liturgy of the Word and serves as a transition to the Liturgy of the Eucharist)

Liturgy of the Eucharist (We turn our hearts and minds to God)

- The Offertory (The altar is prepared…the gifts of bread and wine accompanied by the offering of the faithful is brought forward)

- Prayer over the Gifts (preparation of the Sacrifice)

- Eucharistic Prayer (the turn towards Calvary)

- Our Father

- Sign of Peace (Go make peace with your brother)

- Reception of Holy Communion (represents the resurrection of Christ)

- Prayer after Communion (is a prayer of thanksgiving)

Concluding Rite

- Announcements

- Greeting/Blessing

- Commission (to go in peace)

The faithful is encouraged after the priest leaves the altar to spend some time in prayer offering to God a prayer of Thanksgiving. This could be an extra 3 to 5 minutes.

Homily for the Friday of the First Week of Lent

Reconciliation is important! It’s important for us this Lent to strive to be reconciled with God and one another. As we heard this morning in the first reading the wicked are called to turn away from evil. By seeking forgiveness and turning away from evil, they find eternal life.

This process of reconciliation is a lifelong process. You and I are called to conversion daily. In our world today it’s not always easy doing the will of God. There are a lot of things in the world that can tempt us. The key is not to become discouraged. When we fall you and I simply must get right back up again. This morning as we prepare to receive our source of strength in the Most Holy Eucharist, may we ask the Lord for the gift of perseverance to overcome our own sinfulness and to become reconciled with Him and with our brothers and sisters!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Homily for Thursday of the First Week of Lent

“Everyone who asks receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” For us it doesn’t always seem that way. We ask the Lord for something, in our minds it seems like our words fall on deaf ears. However, the Lord always answers our prayers.
Perhaps the Lord doesn’t answer them according to the way we want them answered. God is not even bound by our own time. Things happen for a reason, we might not know what, when, why and how, but they do. Our challenge today is to always be open and trust in the will of God. May we respond in faith to the Lord and say Lord I know you always answer and hear me, help me to be open and trust in your Divine Will.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Homily for Wednesday of the First Week of Lent

"A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn." Our responsorial psalm gives us all something to ponder this morning. Lent is a season of repentance. It's a time for us to reflect and turn away from our sinful ways and back to God our loving Father.

Yet, because we are human we keep failing. We keep making the same mistakes over and over again. If we stop to think about it, when we fail there is a part of us that immediately recognizes it. When we sin, it's easy for us to become discouraged and frusterated. However, if we keep a contrite heart and humbly present ourselves to the Lord each time we fail, He will not reject us. Continuing with the Sacred Liturgy, may we meditate closly on those beautiful words of the psalm, "A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Homily for Tuesday of the First Week of Lent

Our Lord tells us this morning not to babble like the Pagans, "who think they will be heard because of their many words." What does our Lord mean? Many times we think when conversing with God we feel the need to say many things. We can become so wrapped up with what we are going to say we begin to babble.

God knows our needs even before we ask and present our needs to Him. Yes, prayer is a conversation with God and yes it is important. Yet in our prayers it not so much the words that are important, its the very fact that we take the time to spend it with Him which is more important to the Lord. It's not what we say; it's more about placing ourselves into the palm of His hand. As we reflect today on our Lord's words may we strive to be faithful allowing ourselves to bask in the presence of the Lord.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Homily for the First Sunday of Lent

We have a lot to be thankful for! The Lord has blessed us with many wonderful things, and also has done many wonderful things for us. This morning Moses reminds the Israelites that it was the Lord who delivered them out of Egypt. It is important for us this evening/morning to be reminded of the importance of trusting in the Lord.
When things get difficult we need to place our faith in God. As we listened to the account of Jesus being tempted in the desert from Luke’s Gospel, the devil tries to get Jesus to use His powers for himself and not to trust in the Father. You and I when faced with challenges the devil tries to do the same thing. He tries to get us to place all our trust in ourselves and our own abilities and not on God. Our responsorial psalm this Sunday is one of faith, “Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.” When we are faced with great difficulties we need to cry out to God, and when we do He always answers us. Perhaps He answers us in ways we don’t expect or even want but He always answers us according to His divine will.
As mentioned we are very blessed! One of the first things Moses said to the Israelites, “The priest shall receive the basket from you and shall set it in front of the Altar of the Lord. In the promulgation of the New Liturgy one of things restored was the offertory procession. During the offertory the gifts of bread and wine along with your monetary offering is brought forward. At first when we think of the monetary offering our imediate reaction is the Church is asking for money. While your monetary offering is important and necessary for the life of the Church, there is even a greater reason for it. The collection is a symbolic offering of oneself. It allows everyone the opportunity to particapate in the offering. That is why it’s important for it to be taken up. When one places their envelope into the collection basket it should fill one with great joy that they offered a piece of themselves up to the Lord.
Offering our lives up to the Lord is very important. God has given us everything. So as we continue on our Lenten Journey may we be reminded of all the things given to us by the Lord and strive to place our trust in Him more often.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Homily for Thursday after Ash Wednesday

Reflecting on this morning’s passage of Luke’s Gospel, the Lord relays the prediction of His upcoming passion to his disciples. It was a hard passage for us to hear because in this short Gospel the Lord tells us what it means to be one of His followers. Jesus told them, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
May we strive each day to be disciples of the Lord, and ask Him for the grace to embrace the crosses life has in store for us!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Homily for Ash Wednesday...6:30PM Mass

“Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.” You and I gather here this evening to begin the Holy Season of Lent. It’s a time for us to turn away from our sinful ways and back to God.
In today’s first reading from the prophet Joel one line stands out above all the rest, “Rend your hearts, not you garments, and return to the Lord, your God.” So often during the Season of Lent we rap ourselves up with this great idea of giving something up, and perhaps there are some things we should give up, especially those things that prevent us from coming to the Lord. Lent isn’t really about giving things up such as worldly possessions; it’s more about giving our hearts completely over to the Lord.
The Holy Season of Lent is about preparation. Instead of focusing on giving something up for this season of Lent, perhaps one might consider taking sometime out of the schedule to go out of the way to assist someone we know who might be going through a rough time. When we help others we condition our hearts to serving the Lord. Another way we can prepare our hearts is through prayer. Perhaps we might make it a point to take advantage of the many spiritual opportunities the Church offers during this holy season. Perhaps attending Stations of the Cross on the Friday’s during Lent might be another way of preparing ourselves spiritually. Making it a point to accept the Lord’s invitation of going to confession is another way. Finally if one’s schedule allows going to Mass another day during the week. These are only some of the things we can do to go in our faith this Lenten Season.
May the ashes placed on our foreheads remind us of our need for conversion! As we take time to reflect during this sacred season may we strive to give our hearts completely over to God!

Homily for Ash Wednesday...7AM Mass

My brothers and sisters this morning you and I begin our Lenten Journey. As we receive ashes on our foreheads this morning may we be reminded of our call to turn away from sin and to be faithful to the Gospel. Christ implores us to be reconciled to God.
We are reminded by Paul in his letter to the people of Corinth, “Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Today is the day! This Lent may we strive to give up those things that prevent us from coming to the Lord more often and use this time that has been given to us to rend our hearts to Him completely!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

FASTING FOR LIFE

This past weekend our youth group fasted for thirty hours and collected food for our parishes St. Vincent DePaul Program. Here is the video of the homily given to them during the Holy Hour.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3USLKUrLW-Y

Homily for Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

“Blessed the man you instruct, O Lord.” Every time we gather to celebrate these Sacred Mysteries the Lord instructs us. It might not always be a formal instruction but many times is a subtle one. In other words it might not be something we hear, but rather something we experience.
This morning Saint James opens his letter by saying, “Blessed is he who perseveres in temptation for when he has been proven he will receive the crown of life that he promises to those who love Him.” You and I at times will experience great difficulty and sometimes fall into the trap of sin. When that happens the person we blame first is God. However, it isn’t God who tempts us, but as Saint James points out this morning, “each person is tempted when lured and enticed by his desire.”
Today you and I must strive to recognize the presence of the Lord in our lives and to put ourselves completely into the palm of His hands. In doing so, we will experience our Lord’s instruction leading us in the direction of His Kingdom.

Homily for Monday of the Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

Saint James reminds us this morning to “consider it all a joy, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” Whenever we are challenged it’s easy for us to turn around and complain. However we are reminded this morning of how blessed we are by those challenges.
Yet it is easy for us to miss the presence of the Lord in the midst of our daily lives. When challenged and put to the test we turn around like the Pharisees and ask from Him a sign. However, He is here present among us. This morning we must ask ourselves; do we see the Lord in others? When we come here to worship, are we hearing Him speak to us in the Sacred Scripture? Also do we recognize His presence in the Eucharist? While it’s easy for us to say that He is indeed here, many times we take it for granted. As we struggle with the various trials life has in store for us, may we pray for the grace to always be open the Lord’s presence within our midst.

Homily for the Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

“Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.” Today’s readings remind us of our need to place our trust in the Lord. So often you and I rather than placing all our trust in the Lord we place our trust in worldly things. Yet this morning we are once again reminded of our need to place our trust in the Lord who has the ability to heal and sustain us.
The prophet Jeremiah says, “Cursed is the one who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the Lord.” You and I can never do anything on our own. What happens when we place our trust in only ourselves and the things of the world? We find ourselves worse off than we were before in a spiritually. Jeremiah continues, “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches outs its roots to the stream.” This image that the prophet uses was very popular during the time of the Babylonian exile. Roots of trees would naturally stretch themselves out in a way that would be easier for it to receive nourishment. In using this image the prophet Jeremiah is illustrating what happens to those who place their trust in God. As roots find their source of strength in the waters of the stream we find our source of strength in the Heavenly Father.
The Gospel account for today is Luke’s version of the Beatitudes. His account of the Beatitudes is slightly different than Matthews. In Matthews Gospel the focus is more on the spiritual, whereas Luke’s focuses more on the physical. As we heard this morning, “Blessed are the poor. Woe to the rich. Blessed are you who are now hungry for you will be satisfied. Woe to you who are filled now, for you will be hungry.” What is our Lord trying to get across to us today? The rewards of following the Lord are greater. Yes we can be happy for a little while if we place our trust in material things, but it won’t last.
It’s easy for us to become discouraged. Flipping the channels on television, reading the headlines of the newspaper, surfing the net there is a lot of negative things making the news these days. There are a lot of evil things going on in the world and bad things happening to good people every day. Yet today the Lord challenges us to keep our chins up and move forward. He says clearly to us this morning/afternoon, “Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold your reward will be great in heaven.”
In a few short days you and I will begin our Lenten Journey. May we take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to divest ourselves of those things that prevent us from coming to Him more often! Despite the challenges we all face day after day as we approach the altar of the Lord let us today renew our hope in the Lord.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Homily for Friday of the Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

“I am the Lord, your God: hear my voice.” Our Lord speaks these words to us regularly. It doesn’t hurt for us to be reminded of that from time to time. He cries out to us day after day reminding us that He is our God, he can do all things.
In the Gospel account the people were astonished with all that the Lord did. They said, “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” The Lord has the power to heal us if we let Him. This morning may we are reminded of the Lord’s power. Let’s be attentive to His voice!

Homily for Thursday of the Fifth Week of Ordinary Time...the Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes

Another short one...

Today we celebrate the Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes. Also today is the World Day for the sick as promulgated by our late Holy Father Pope John Paul II On this feast of Our Lady we ask for her intercession for all those suffering from various types of illness.

Homily for Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

The mouth of the just murmors wisdom...and sometimes that wisdom is silence...No homily today because of the Blizzard!

Homily for Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

We find King Solomon in the first reading standing before the altar of God and offering a prayer. In talking to the Lord he says, “Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below; you keep your covenant of mercy with your servants who are faithful to you with their whole hearts.” In this quote we find the central theme of our readings today, faithfulness to God.
Looking at the Gospel this morning our Lord was rather blunt this morning with the scribes and Pharisee’s when he said, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites as it is written, ‘this people honors be with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vein do they worship me; teaching as doctrines human precepts.” This warning directed to the Scribes and Pharisees by the Lord is also directed to us today, Tuesday February 9, 2010. Many in today’s world reject the commandments of God. They follow their own desires and wants and openly reject God’s plan. Now you and I at times may struggle to keep God’s commandments but we don’t reject them. We recognize when we fall and we get right back up again seeking His forgiveness.
Today we must pray for those who struggle to accept and follow God’s commandments. May we also pray for ourselves that we may always be faithful to God’s will!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Homily for Monday of the Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

Jesus keeps us all in his loving care. He wishes to dwell in our hearts. In today's Gospel account from Mark, people sought out Jesus. They sought him out to seek healing.

Our Lord healed many people physically, but that was to bring about a greater healing, a spiritual one. We too, also seek out Jesus to bring us comfort and peace. As we prepare to receive the living bread from heaven, may we be open to the Lord's healing power.

Homily for the Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Do you have what it takes to stand up and follow the Lord? That’s a question you and I must ponder today. The central theme of the readings is about following the ways of the Lord. It is easy for us to say, “Here I am Lord, send me.” However when push comes to shove it’s not as easy as it looks.
What does following the Lord entail? Following the Lord entails giving up our own desires and wants and to sacrifice them for Him. Many times we have it reversed; we sacrifice our time with the Lord for our own desires. Can we model Simon, James and John and give up everything? Giving up everything today doesn’t mean we abandon our responsibilities and our vocations. It means giving up our desires to follow the Lord.
Today Jesus calls us to follow Him, may we model the example of the prophet Isaiah, and say to the Lord, “Here I am Lord, send me.”

Friday, February 5, 2010

Winter Weather and Mass Attendance

While in most places Masses go on as scheduled...Catholics should know...the obligation to attend Sunday Mass is not binding when the road conditions become too dangerious. The Lord does not want us to risk our lives and the lives of others. Please be safe!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Homily for Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Ordinary Time…the Memorial of Saint Blase

This morning we celebrate the memorial of Saint Blase, bishop and martyr of the Church. Saint Blase not only was a bishop but he was also a physician. Today we come here to worship our divine physician, the one who can alleviate or heal all our illnesses.
Saint Paul in writing to the Romans says something very prophetic, “not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character hope, and hope does not disappoint.” If we allow it, we can grow in faith through suffering. All we have to do is unite of sufferings with that of the sufferings of Christ. Saint Blase did perform a miracle of healing a sick child from aliments of the throat, but more importantly he was united to Christ in a special way through his martyrdom.
We are blessed with a God who loves us show much that he provides for our needs through the Sacraments of the Church. While he does not always choose to heal us from our afflictions he does reach out to alleviate them. This morning as you and I prepare to receive our Lord into our hearts may we together strive to take advantage of the gifts He has given us to alleviate the crosses of our everyday life.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Homily for the Feast of Presentation of the Lord

“Now, master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” In this statement of faith from Simeon, he recognizes the special role the child that was before him was going to have in the life of the world.
The child there before Him was the Christ who is the light of the world. On this feast of the Presentation of the Lord it is custom is a lot of places to bless candles. Why do we bless candles? While today we use more commonly flashlights to lighten things up when the power goes out around a darken room, back in the day candles were used to give light. In the rite of baptism we present the newly baptized with a lightened candle saying the words, “receive the light of Christ.” As they did for many years, candles lit up rooms and darken paths much like Christ lights up the road for us to journey towards the heavenly kingdom.
Jesus Christ was the messenger that the prophet’s spoke of that would prepare the way of the Lord. On this Feast of the Presentation of the Lord may we strive to always follow Christ our true light!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Homily for Monday of the Fourth Week of Ordinary Time

You and I are called to be compassionate towards one another. In the Gospel today Jesus healed a man by casting out the demon that was inside him. How would we react if we encountered an individual like that man in the Gospel? Most of us would write off the individual thinking to ourselves that they are crazy. How about if we encounter someone truly poor living on the streets? The first thing that pops in our minds is why they don’t get a job to support themselves.
We are many times quick to judge without knowing all the facts. If we encounter an individual like that in the Gospel nine times out of ten they are crazy because they are struggling with a particular problem. Why are they crazy? How did they get to this point? For the poor person living on the street, how did they get there? What can we do to get them back on their feet? You and I have many opportunities in a day to show compassion to others. Today, following the example of Christ let us be compassionate to those in need.