Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mass Changes: Part III

III. Gloria

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will”

This is a reference to Lk 2:14. Those that hear the Word of God and respond to it are people of good will. They will be those who will work for peace and be the presence of peace in the world.

The excessiveness of “We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, and give you thanks for your great glory” to God is exactly the point: our hearts and minds and voices will always search for the right way to praise him completely. But because we are limited by our humanity, our hearts and minds and souls seek to praise God.

St Paul puts it this way: “In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings” (Rom 8:26).

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mass Changes: Part II

II.  Penitential Act - The Confiteor
Priest: “[Friends; brothers and sisters; et al.], let us acknowledge our sins, and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
All: “I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, (striking breast) through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; (continuing) therefore I ask the blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God. “

Notice the change in words (again, in italics). The guiding principal is a closer adherence to the Latin, not a stronger critique on our virtue. The new translation expresses more grandly the seriousness of our sin, and the sincerity of our contrition; it also helps us to further recollect that we might enter more deeply into the prayer of the Mass. 

Furthermore, look at what the priest says to introduce the Confiteor.  This is both an acknowledgement of our sin (no way, or reason, to hide from that) and a deeper embrace of the fact that this Eucharist is a total gift from the Father. Additionally, we’re asking each other to pray for us; we’re all invited to this banquet, this Eucharist, and we’re here together. Let’s pray for each other and help each other along the path to holiness and sainthood.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What I'm Reading Now...

A book called The Way of Silent Love (click here for book description).  It's written by an anonymous Carthusian Monk. It's actually a series of retreat conferences given on The Beatitudes (Click here for Scripture passage).

It's a remarkably beautiful book; I recommend it to you, and would like to share two brief excerpts.

"... if the essence of the spiritual life is a personal relationship of love with God, it is a relationship with a Person who is (apparently) absent and invisible, and we need constantly to look for the signs of his presence, principally in his Word, to give substance to the bonds that unite us to him" (66).

"Thus, it is intimate and personal prayer, this 'exchange of love where one meets one to one this God by whom one knows one is loved', that sustains living, personal contact with God" (70).

Peace to you,

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mass Changes: Part I

I.  Introductory Rites

[The Priest genuflects, reverences the altar with a kiss, goes to the presiders chair, leads us in the Sign of the Cross, and then says:]

Priest: The Lord be with you.
Congregation: And with your Spirit. (From here the changes in words will be denoted by italics.)

The greeting and response acknowledges and expresses a desire that the Lord be present to the Spirit, that is, present in the Soul of each member and in the entire community.

“Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am in their midst” (Mt 18:20).

The priest asks it for the people and the people ask it for the priest. This initial dialogue establishes the interdependence of the priest and the people as they take up their roles in praising God. This also begins the dialogue that happens between the priest and the congregation throughout the Mass.

We repeat this exchange several times during the course of the Mass, each time the Priest (or the Deacon at the Gospel) greets the congregation with “The Lord be with you, “ the congregation responds with “And with your Spirit.”

Scripture references:
“The Lord be with your Spirit” (2 Tim 4:22).
“The grace of the Lord Jesus be with your Spirit, [Amen]” ( cf. Gal 6:18 & Philemon v. 25).

Monday, October 24, 2011

"7 Habits of Highly Effective Catholics"

This is from Deacon Tom's Homily last Sunday at the 9am Mass.

1. Participate in the Sacraments Regularly - Weekly (and daily if Possible) reception of Holy Communion. Regular celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (monthly, quarterly).

2. Dive Deep Into Prayer - Conversation with God- He's waiting for us to go to Him in prayer!

3. Build up Virtue and Root out Vice

4. Know the Sacred Scripture and Know the Teaching of the Church - Is there a copy of the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church in our home? Both hold the answers to all our big questions?

5. Practice Joy, No Matter the Circumstances - Happiness is a feeling, joy is an interior disposition that comes from our Hope in the Redemption and Salvation that are ours because of what Jesus did!

6.  Seek Spiritual Direction - meeting with a priest or lay person trained in Spiritual Direction can help us discern where God is leading us and how best to respond to Him.

7. Share Your Faith - pay it forward, pass it on, share the Love, Faith, and Hope.

Peace to you today.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

From Oct 22 Homily

The full audio of the homily will be available on the MQP website by Tuesday afternoon.

Some folks asked that I put those two short prayers on the blog.

1) For those times when you think you're unlovable, remember this and pray with this: 'True holiness is allowing the Father to Love us, even when we fail.' 

2) For the times when Loving is hard, or when you feel depleted, offer this prayer: "Jesus, please Love this person in the way they need, because right now, I can't. And do the same for me."

Peace to you,

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Part I: Our Tradition

What’s a Roman Missal?

The Missal is the collection of the prayers that are used during the course of the Mass.  We call it Roman because they are the prayers that are used during the Mass of the Roman Catholic Church. [This is to differentiate it from say, the Maronite Catholic Church, which has a Missal of its own.]  So, in short, it’s a book. It’s also called the Sacramentary because it helps us to celebrate the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

Why the new translation?

First, a brief history.  For the first 300 years following Jesus’ death, it was illegal to be a Christian (read, a Catholic).  So, when it was time to gather for the weekly Mass, it would be celebrated in people’s home or in secluded places (like the catacombs of Rome).  Two books of the Bible describe these meetings: Acts of the Apostles and Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians.  The Masses seem to be the same, but it’s argued that because of the secrecy and wide swath of homes used, there was little uniformity to the way we prayed.

In the 300s when Constantine made Christianity legal and cathedrals and churches started to spring up, certain geographic areas started writing down the prayers they used during their Masses.  Well, needless to say, the variety was great.  As the Church began to grow though and the Spirit began to reveal for us the common ties that bind us together, it was discerned that we should all pray the Mass in a universal way. After all, when the Nicene Creed was drafted in 325 we professed that we were, “one, holy, catholic and apostolic church”.

So, in the 1500s, the Pope collected all the prayers from the various places in the Catholic world (mostly Europe) into one book and he called it a Missal. And because the Catholic Church was a huge cultural, religious, economic and political influence in the world, the book was written in a language that educated men and priest could read and understand- Latin.

The Catholic Church, all around the world, prayed the same Mass in the same language. No matter where you were, or what language you spoke, if you were away from your home you could at least understand the language when you went to Mass.

(There’s a lot missing here: only educated men and priest could speak/read/understand Latin.  Women, children, slaves, illiterate, etc. wouldn’t have been able to understand/read/speak Latin.  This is a topic for another time.)

The Church prayed in Latin for almost 500 years until 1964 when the Pope, guided by the Holy Spirit, decided that Mass should now be prayed in the language of the particular land, the vernacular. So, if you were in Germany, the Mass was prayed in German; France, in French, and in the US, English, etc. This was a huge innovation!

So, to answer the question: why the new translation?

In the 1960s when the decision was made to switch to the vernacular language, the translation from the Latin into English was done very quickly and it was known that, eventually, it would have to be done again. But, they rushed the job, and as a result, the English was a good, but not a great, translation of the Latin.

In 2001, Pope John Paul II asked for a new translation from the Latin to English. 10 years later, in 2011, it’s ready! We will begin using a new translation of the Roman Missal, first written in the 1500s, on the First Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2011.

This new translation will give us an opportunity to rediscover the fathomless depths of our Catholic Mass: the great mystery and miracle that is performed and celebrated on our altar; the vast reality of God’s Triune nature, his Incarnation in Jesus Christ and the redemptive act of Jesus’s Life, Death and Resurrection.

It will give us more opportunities to pray in a different way, knowing that we are united with, even more closely, our fellow Catholics all around the world. It’s our unity that makes us strong! We celebrate our Unity, our Faith, Hope and Love every time we offer the Eucharist- a perfect sacrifice of praise!

More to come.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Why you changin' my Mass?

I'm sure you read in the bulletin a couple of weeks about the changes to the Roman Catholic Mass (a.k.a. Liturgy, Mass, Eucharist) coming at the end of November.  Fr. Bob wrote about it in the bulletin; he's going to do a couple "Mass and Class" sessions on it; there will be some information about it on the MQP website (Click here); and I'm going to post some things on this blog.

The good news is that we won't be changing the way we pray, just some of the words.  But the changes to those words are significant enough that a little background wouldn't hurt as we prepare to make the switch come November 27.

So, on this blog, beginning tomorrow (Oct 22), I'll post a series of entries about the new translation of Mass, (a.k.a. the Roman Missal).  We'll start off with a general introduction to the book that the priest uses called the Roman Missal, or more commonly, the Sacramentary; move on to a brief history of the Mass in the Roman Church; reflect a little on the great mystery and miracle that is the Mass; and then have a series of 8 entries that introduce the biggest changes to the words we'll be using.

If, as we go, you have questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to drop me an email ( or post a comment/question here on the blog. I'll respond to the best of my knowledge. (Or failing that, I'll just make something up... just kidding.)

It is my prayer, that despite the newness of change, we embrace this new translation and see it as an opportunity to deepen our love and reverence and appreciation for the Mass and the gift of the Eucharist. We step out in obedience and trust, and together as a community of faith, pray that the Lord continue to strengthen our Faith, Hope and Love for Him, and for one another.

Mary, Queen of Peace, Pray for us.

Peace my friends,

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Movie to see: "The Way"

I went and saw a movie on Monday afternoon called, The Way.

It stars Martin Sheen and was written, directed and produced by his son, Emilio Estevez (he also has a minor, recurring role in the movie).

It tells the story of a man who loses his son. He undertakes a pilgrimage along a famous route in northern Spain to a shrine where it is held in Tradition that St. James the Apostle is buried.  As the man, played by Sheen, makes the 500 mile pilgrimage, he meets a cast of colorful characters along the way.

As their relationships develop and deepen, the good and bad side of the human condition come to light and each character must face themselves and the others is a new way.

The ending of the movie is very, very moving. It will leave you thinking; perhaps, like me, wanting to see it again.

I recommend this movie to you. You will not be disappointed.

Peace to you,

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sad News from Africa

We are saddened to hear of the death of Father James Kisero Awuor. Father James was with us back in July asking for our help in building a children's hospital and obstetrics ward in his village in Kenya.  On his return to Kenya this week, Father James was attacked by an armed gang, stabbed in the chest, and died in route to a hospital. Because it was such a long journey, they did not arrive in time.

We all embraced Father James for his enthusiasm and contagious love for Jesus and the Church, and his own vocation.  Many responded with financial gifts to help Father James carry out his mission from the Father.

We pray for the repose of his soul; that he may enjoy the eternal embrace of the Father.  We are grateful to the many people who made gifts of prayer and money for Father James's mission.

We are committed to carrying on Father James's work- God's work- of building the children's hospital in the village of Bolo. [A parishioner is in contact with Archbishop Okoth in Kenya and will keep us informed.] If you are interested in helping in any way, please let me know.

Eternal rest grant to Him, O Lord. And may your perpetual light shine on him forever. Amen.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Game On Sunday!!

Get ready for the big game come Sunday.

Our first reading from Isaiah describes a banquet that we don't want to be left out of. The Good News is that we're invited to this same banquet every Sunday, and really every day we wanted to. It's a banquet being celebrated on earth and in Heaven.

The second reading wraps up Paul's Letter to the Philippians.  Paul's had his fair share of misery and exaltation. And he knows who butters his bread!

Our Gospel reading, from Matthew, picks up where we left off last Sunday. Once again Jesus is trying to teach us, encourage us, challenge us really- "Get your invitation to the banquet I'm throwin'! This is one party you DO NOT want to miss!"

Click here for the readings.

I'm going to preach on Isaiah and Matthew's Gospel. They combine to present us with a powerful reality: the table is set, the food is ready, there is even a place for us at the table. One question remains: Am I on the guest list?

Jesus responds: "Well... you tell me."

See you Sunday.

Peace to you,

True Self/False Self: A Way to Peace

So, for our daily prayer...

Click and read Psalm 46.

Then, read this:

"God is within- within our cities, within our communities and families, within our hearts. Let us turn within and get in touch with this God of might who is a God of love. Getting in touch with our true self, the self that is one with all others, we can find a peace that can only rejoice that the Lord burns all chariots of war, that he makes war to cease to the end of the earth, that he need us to use our genius to create a better world for everyone" (Pennington, 71).

From Psalms: A Spiritual Commentary, by Father M. Basil Pennington, OCSO

This is a great book; I recommend it to you for spiritual reading.

Peace to you.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Self-Surrender: Losing to Win

I read this paragraph yesterday. It's from a book called Too Deep For Words, by Thelma Hall.

"For most English speaking people, the words 'self-surrender' have an almost totally negative connotation. They imply a giving up, a kind of defeat, in submission or capitulation. A quite different sense is found in the French equivalent. The foundress of [the Religious of the Cenacle], St. Therese Couderc, has left a spiritual legacy in the form of a monograph on self-surrender, entitled in the original French, 'Se Livrer,' which has the more positive meaning: to 'hand or deliver oneself over to'- i.e., a freely chosen act of love. This is the axis of conversion: the total turning to God in self-donation" (Hall 23).

Whoa! And that's what Jesus did for the Father on the Cross. And that's what he calls us to do everyday in ways big and small. First to Him, and then to the people we love.

Another piece of my prayer today:  the refrain of a hymn comes to mind. It's called "You Are Mine."

"Do not be afraid I am with you.
I have called you each by name.
Come and follow me,
I will bring you home.
I love you and
You are mine."

Peace and prayers for you today,

Monday, October 3, 2011

Greetings from Chicago

Greetings to you from the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois outside of Chicago.

I'm here for the week continuing my academic work with the Institute of Priestly Formation from Creighton University.

I woke up very early this morning- it was still dark.  My room is on the third floor and so I look down onto a green space with trees, grace and some shrubs.  I sat down to pray a bit and noticed that you can't really see trees in the dark. I realize it sounds kind of mundane, but really, many other things reflect light: cars, windows, etc. These things I noticed, the trees I did not. As the dawn arrived, the night wore off and the light, little by little began to fill the space that was once covered in darkness.  The trees began to take on light and their form and features began to take shape.

This university/seminary was built in the 1920s. I wonder when they planted those trees... they are tall now; full of leaves. For how many years have those leaves been receiving that sun, and the roots the rain that have pushed the branches out and out to provide shade for weary and ruminating priests and a place of rest for weary birds?

Why all this? "Get to the point FrC!"

A Monday meditation for us:

Are we willing to grow too? Will we allow the light of Christ to permeate our life, especially the darkest of places and allow Him to bathe those areas in the warm light of Love, Forgiveness, and Healing?

Are we dedicated to the long, steady process of conversion? Trees don't grow over night; and saints aren't made in the blink of eye. Here have we been planted and here we are to grow; to put down roots and be nourished.

Jesus, who is the Light of the World (Jn 8:12ff), cover me, bathe me, blind me with your Light that I may see with eyes of Faith, Hope, and Love. Amen.

Have a good day.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Follow Up to Discussion: Spiritual Reading/Prayer

I was with some women from MQP this weekend on their ACTS retreat and made repeated reference to this book.  I wanted to provide a link to it's description:

Click here.

This next one is also related to it and is also very good.

Click here.

I recommend both to you for spiritual reading.  They are very accessible, readable, and affordable.

Grace and Peace to you,