Here is the latest from our Director of Worship, Dr. Paul Ciotti:
January 20, 2021 – Sunday of the Word of God
On September 30, 2019, Pope Francis announced that the Third Sunday of the Year (1/20/2021) would be celebrated as the Sunday of the Word of God. A special emphasis on the Word of God – candles and flowers will be next to the Ambo (lectern).
In the Introduction to the Lectionary for Mass, The book containing the Scripture Readings for Mass, we are reminded of the role of the Word of God in the life of the Church:
In the hearing of God’s Word the Church is built up and grows, and in the signs of the liturgical celebration God’s wonderful, past works in the history of salvation are presented anew as mysterious realities. God in turn makes use of the congregation of the faithful that celebrates the Liturgy in order that His Word may speed on and be glorified and that His name be exalted among the nations.
The Word of God proclaimed in the celebration of the God’s mysteries does not only address present conditions but looks back to past events and forward to what is yet to come. Thus God’s Word show us what we should hope for with such a longing that is this changing world our hearts will be set on the place where our true joys lie. (Preamble, 7).
October 7, 2020
CLICK HERE for an overview of the Ministry of Reader.
September 28, 2020
Holy Communion (Part4)
Christ Himself Is Present in the Eucharistic Species
Christ is “truly, really, and substantially contained” in Holy Communion. His presence is not momentary nor simply signified, but wholly and permanently real under each of the consecrated species of bread and wine. (Council of Trent 1551, Decretum de ss. Eucharistiae Sacramento)
The Council of Trent teaches that the “true body and blood of our Lord, together with his soul and divinity, exist under the species of bread and wine. His body exists under the species of bread and his blood under the species of wine, according to the import of this words.
Holy Communion as an Act of Faith
Christ’s presence is challenging- human understanding, logic, and ultimately reason. His presence cannot be known by the senses, but only through faith. A faith that is continually deepened through that communion which takes place between the Lord and his faithful in the very act.
The teaching of St. Cyril of Jerusalem assists us even today in understanding this great mystery:
“We have been instructed in these matters and filled with an unshakeable faith that what seems to be bread is not bread, though it tastes like it, but the Body of Christ, and that what seems to be wine is not wine, through it tastes like it, but the Blood of Christ.”
The Act of Communion, therefore, is also an act of faith. For when the minister says, “The Body of Christ” or “the Blood of Christ,” the communicant’s “Amen” is a profession in the presence of the saving Christ, body and blood, soul and divinity, who now gives life to the believer.
September 21, 2020
Holy Communion (Part 3)
While the heart of the celebration of the Eucharist is the Eucharistic Prayer, the consummation of the Mass is found in the Rite of Holy Communion. The people purchased for the Father by his beloved Son eat and drink the Body and Blood of Christ. In the great sacrament of the altar, we are joined to Christ Jesus and to one another. As Catholics, we fully participate in the celebration of the Eucharist when we receive Holy Communion. We are encouraged to receive Communion devoutly and frequently. We are to be without grave sin.
UNION with CHRIST- It is Christ himself who is received in Holy Communion, who said to his disciples: “Take and eat, this is my body.” “Take and drink, this is the cup of my blood. Do this in remembrance of me. (Matthew 26: 26-27; 1 Corinthians 11:25) The simple elements of bread and wine are presented by the faithful and placed on the altar by the priest or deacon.
September 14, 2020
Holy Communion (Part 2)
The eyes of faith enable the believer to recognize the ineffable depths of the mystery that is the Holy Eucharist. There are several images for us:
1. Eucharistic Assembly
2. Action of thanksgiving
3. Breaking of bread
5. Holy sacrifice
6. Lord’s Supper
7. Holy Communion
The eucharistic species of bread and wine derive from the work of human hands. In the action of the Eucharist, this bread and this wine are transformed and become our spiritual food and drink. It is Christ, the true vine, who gives life to the branches (John 15: 1-6). As bread from heaven (John 6: 41), bread of angels, the chalice of salvation, and the medicine of immortality, the Eucharist is the promise of eternal life to all who eat and drink it. The Eucharist is a sacred meal, “a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity” in which Christ call us as his friends to share in the banquet of the kingdom of heaven.
The Eucharist is strength for those who journey in hope through this life and who desire to dwell with God in the life to come. Our final sharing in the Eucharist is viaticum, the food for the final journey of the believer to heaven itself. Through the man images, the Church helps us to see the Eucharist as union with Christ form whom she came, through whom she lives, and toward whom she directs her life.” (Lumen Gentium: Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, no. 3)
September 7, 2020
Holy Communion (Part 1)
The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist separates ourselves from protestant churches. As the second Vatican Council clearly states, it is the source and summit from which all flows . . . being Catholic.
The General Instruction of Roman Missal (GIRM) has a lot to say about Holy Communion. This is a multiple part series looking closely at Holy Communion in the Roman Catholic Church:
The Mystery of the Holy Eucharist
On the night before Christ died, He gathered his Apostles in the upper room to celebrate the Last Supper and to give us the inestimable gift of His body and blood. “He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout centuries until He should come again, and so to entrust to His beloved spouse, the Church, a memorial of His death and resurrection.” Thus in the eucharistic Liturgy we are joined with Christ on the altar and at the table of the upper room to “the sacrificial memorial in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated and (in) the sacred banquet of communion with the Lord’s body and blood.” [excerpts from Sacrosanctum Concilium and USCCB.org: Catechism of the Catholic Church.]
Like all acts of the sacred Liturgy, the Eucharist uses signs to convey sacred realities: 1- sanctification is manifested by signs perceptible to the senses. 2- Bread=Body. 3- Wine=Blood.
He who is the “living bread that came down from heaven” (John 6:51) assures us, “whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.” (John 6: 54-55).
Previously called Prayers of the Faithful or General Intercessions. When the Roman Missal was renewed in 2011, the Universal Prayers are a response of all to listening to the Word of God we received in faith and, exercising the office of our baptismal Priesthood, offer prayers to God for the salvation of all.
The series of intentions include:
a. For the needs of the Church
b. For public authorities and the salvation of the whole world
c. For those burdened by any kind of difficulty
d. For the local community
The intentions announced should be sober, be composed with a wise liberty and in few words, and should be expressive of the prayer of the entire community. They are announced from the ambo by the Deacon, cantor, or reader. The people, stand and give expression to their prayer either by an invocation said in common after each intention or by praying in silence.
Also, weekly we pray for the Mass Intentions of the coming week and those whose funerals were celebrated in the past week. Throughout the month and year, an intention is usually added for first responders/healthcare/military, vocations, school students and teachers, graduates, summer traveling, sacramental celebrations: First Holy Communion, Confirmation, Wedding, etc. [notes from The Roman Missal, no. 69-71)
The Ambo, Part II
Last we focused on the Ambo, the place where Sacred Scripture is proclaimed. As was previously stated, proclaiming the Word of God, readers exercise their responsibilities in the liturgical celebration. God speaks to the faithful through them and the effectiveness of their proclamation depends on their conviction, preparation, understanding and delivery. [Introduction of the Order of the Mass, pg. 10]
The faithful, by hearing the reading from sacred texts, may conceive in their hearts a sweet and living affection for Sacred Scripture. [Constitution of Sacred Liturgy, “Sacrosantum Concilium, no. 24]
The types of Scriptural readings include a variety of literary forms to convey the message of salvation. We can hear: narratives, poetry of the psalms, lamentations, parables, prophetic oracles, theological expositions, ancient Israelite history, Christ’s teaching, miracles, Acts of the apostles etc. An awareness of the literary form of a particular reading or psalm and a knowledge of the sacred author’s style enables the lector to proclaim more fully and with great understanding the tone and content of the text. In the Readings, as explained by the homily, God speaks to his people, opening up to them the mystery of redemption and salvation and offering them spiritual nourishment, and Christ himself is present in the midst of the faithful through His Word. [Introduction of the Order of the Mass, pg. 10]
The Ambo, Part I
“Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” [Luke 24: 32]
With these words, the two disciples who had been walking on the road to Emmaus described to themselves in amazement how a stranger who mysteriously appeared to them made sense of the familiar stories of their people’s history. The identity of the stranger became clear to them at the end of their journey when they broke bread together. He was the resurrected Christ, who made the scriptures come alive in a way they had never experienced before. In the reforms of Vatican Council 2, the Church teaches that when the scriptures are proclaimed in the liturgy, it is Christ himself who is speaking. The Word of God has the power to save us.
And so, the Mass that we celebrate today reflects the importance that we give to the proclamation and interpretation of the scripture. The place to proclaim the WORD is called the AMBO. To signify its critical relationship to the Eucharist and the altar table, it can be called the Table of the Word. The Ambo is reserved for the proclamation of Scriptures including the Cantor singing the Psalm, the Homily: building a bridge from scripture to every day life and the Intercessory Prayers. The lector is an important ministry. The Word of God is not merely read during the liturgy. It is proclaimed, yet not with theatrical show. Effective proclamation involves the delivery of the message with clarity, conviction and appropriate pace. It demands the ability to evoke faith in others by demonstrating one’s own faith. Proclamation is a special ministry which presupposes faith. It also rouses faith in those who hear the Word proclaimed. (LM Intro 55)
My Visit to the Church of the Holy Spirit
Last week, I spent a few days visiting my youngest brother and his family who lives in Las Vegas. Yes, the weather was 105 plus degrees and it was super hot despite being in the desert and “dry heat!”. I visited the new parish of the Holy Spirit. Here are some amazing pictures of the Church. The pastor, Fr. Bill designed the church. Their COVID-19 State directives are no more than 50 people at any given Mass. They celebrate 5 masses on the weekend, and disinfect the church after each Mass.
A digital thermometer checks everyone’s temperature arriving into church.
CLICK HERE to see more pictures of the Church inside, and outside Stations of the Cross.
We are all aware that we need a priest to lead the Mass. Sometimes it leads us to think of the Mass as something that the priest does, and “we simply watch him say Mass.” In fact, the Mass is something that we all do together. We need a priest to lead us, but he needs us to worship with him, too.
The first part of the revised Roman Missal, called the General Instruction (GIRM), states that the celebration of the Eucharist is an action of the whole church. We are gathered for Mass forming the People of God, gathered together by the Lord, nourished by His Word. It is a people called to bring to God the prayers of the entire human family, a people giving thanks to Christ for the mystery of salvation by offering His Sacrifice. Finally, it is a people made one by sharing in the Communion of Christ’s Body and Blood. Though holy in its origin, this people nevertheless grows continually in holiness by its conscious, active, and fruitful participation in the mystery of the Eucharist.
“Full, conscious, active participation by all the people in the Mass is what the 2nd Vatican Council in the 1960’s called the “aim to be considered before all else.” (CLS, #14) in the reform and promotion of the liturgy. The council was so concerned about this because it recognized that this kind of participation “is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit.” It is by our taking part in the offering of the Mass that we are to become more and more like Christ. It is our primary path to holiness.
[some notes from Lawrence E. Mick, Revised 2006]
July 15, 2020
July 5, 2020
PLACEMENT FOR PASTORAL MUSICIANS
The Catholic Church has specific documents, norms, and instructions for the celebration of Mass, such as Built of Living Stones. Music is integral to the liturgy. It unifies those gathered to worship, supports the song of the congregation, highlights significant parts of the liturgical action, and helps set the tone for each celebration. (MCW 232, GIRM 103)
The church’s space must support the music and song of the entire worshipping community.
In addition, some members of the community have special gifts for leading the assembly in musical praise and thanksgiving. (LMT 63) The skills and talents of these pastoral musicians, choirs and instrumentalists are especially valued by the Church. Their placement need to clearly express that they are part of the assembly of worshippers. (GIRM 294) In addition, cantors and song leaders need visual contact with the music director while they themselves are visible to the rest of the congregation (cf MCW 33-38). The Responsorial Psalm is scared scripture and is sung at the ambo, where the Word of God is proclaimed. The Psalm is not edited by anyone. At Sunday Mass, the psalm of the day or a seasonal psalm is proclaimed (sung) at the ambo (lectern).
The placement and prayerful decorum of the choir members can help the rest of the community to focus on the liturgical action taking place at the ambo, the altar, and the presider’s chair. The ministers of music are most appropriately located in a place where they can be part of the assembly and have the ability to be heard. Physical situations may necessitate that the choir be placed in or near the sanctuary.
June 21, 2020
June 14, 2020
June 8, 2020
May 20, 2020