From the Rector: All Saints Day and All Souls Day
Oct26

From the Rector: All Saints Day and All Souls Day

All Saints Day and All Souls Day All Saints’ Day (also known as All Hallows’ Day or Hallowmas) is the day after All Hallows’ Eve (Hallowe’en). It is a feast day celebrated on 1st November by Anglicans and Roman Catholics. It is an opportunity for believers to remember all saints and martyrs, known and unknown, throughout Christian history. As part of this day of obligation, believers are required to attend church and try not to do any servile work. Remembering saints and martyrs and dedicating a specific day to them each year has been a Christian tradition since the 4th century AD, but it wasn’t until 609AD that Pope Boniface IV decided to remember all martyrs. Originally 13th May was designated as the Feast of All Holy Martyrs. Later, in 837AD, Pope Gregory IV extended the festival to remember all the saints, changed its name to Feast of All Saints and changed the date to 1st November. The primary reason for establishing a common feast day was because of the desire to honor the great number of martyrs, especially during the persecution of Emperor Diocletion (284-305), the worst and most extensive of the persecutions. Quite simply, there were not enough days of the year for a feast day for each martyr and many of them died in groups. A common feast day for all saints, therefore seemed most appropriate. Along with the Feast of All Saints developed the Feast of All Souls. The Church has consistently encouraged the offering of prayers and Mass for the souls of the faithful departed in Purgatory. At the time of their death, these souls are not perfectly cleansed of venial sin or have not atoned for past transgressions, and thereby are deprived of the Beatific Vision. The faithful on earth can assist these souls in Purgatory in attaining the Beatific Vision through their prayers, good works and the offering of Mass. All Souls’ Day is marked on 2nd November (or the 3rd if the 2nd is a Sunday), directly following All Saints’ Day. Other rituals include the offering of Requiem Mass for the dead, visiting family graves and reflecting on lost loved ones. In Mexico, on el dia de los muertos (Day of the Dead), people take picnics to their family graves and leave food out for their dead relatives. Whilst praying for the dead is an ancient Christian tradition, it was Odilo, Abbot of Cluny (France) who, in 998AD, designated a specific day for remembering and praying for those in the process of purification. This started as a local feast in his monasteries and gradually spread throughout the Catholic Church towards the end of the 10th century AD. While All...

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From the Rector: Divine Revelation
Oct20

From the Rector: Divine Revelation

This is a portion of the lesson we give to our RCIA class on Divine Revelation. It’s a great refresher for every Catholic to study.   God’s desire to communicate with us comes from His burning love for us (CCC#50).  The two ways of knowing about God are through:    Human _Reason_ : That which we know about God on our own power;    Divine _Revelation_ : That which we know about God only by His assistance.   Revelation is God’s free choice to share His life with us (CCC#50). Revelation: _Supernaturally_ makes up for what reason lacks – Intimacy with God; Moves us past knowing about God and invites us into to a _Relationship_ with Him; Reveals God’s _Mystery_, His plan of loving goodness.   The purpose of God’s plan is to save us, to bring us to heaven (CCC#51-53). God’s revelation helps us make a response to love Him _Beyond_ our own ability. Revelation includes God’s saving _Words_ and _Deeds_ in history. Revelation culminates in the Person and mission of _Jesus_; There is no further revelation after the death of the last _Apostle_.     Christ communicated His plan of salvation to the Apostles through (CCC#75-79; 84-87): Scripture, the _Speech_ of God, written under the _Inspiration_ of the Holy Spirit; Tradition, the living transmission of the Gospel, includes: _Doctrine_ (beliefs); _Sacraments_ (worship); _Morality_; _Prayer_. The gift of teaching authority (the _Magisterium_), given to the Apostles and their successors.   The Catholic Understanding of Divine Revelation   Scripture Tradition Magisterium     Authors God Human Writers Old Testament: Jewish People New Testament: The Apostles Christ The Apostles The Apostles’ Successors (Pope and Bishops) Christ and the Holy Spirit     Foundational  Scripture Verses 2 Timothy 3:16   “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” 2 Thessalonians 2:15   “Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.” Matthew 28:18-20   “18. Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19.Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, 20. teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”   Includes   Old Testaments – People of Israel New Testament – Christ and the Church   Doctrine (see Catechism) Sacraments Morality Prayer     The Gift of Doctrinal Interpretation   Given To The Church The Church The...

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From the Rector: Funerals-Part III
Oct06

From the Rector: Funerals-Part III

Funerals: Part III of the Series The Order of Christian Funerals is the book which contains all the prayers, rituals, readings, and instructions approved for use in the Dioceses of the United States for carrying out Catholic Funeral Rites.  As mentioned in the first Part of this series, there are three Major parts of the Funeral Rites. 1.) Vigil for the deceased, 2.) The Funeral Liturgy itself, (Mass) and 3.) the Rite of Committal. The Vigil.   The Vigil and Related Rites and Prayers include the rites that may be celebrated between the time of death and the funeral liturgy.  The Vigil is the principal celebration of the Christian community during the time before the funeral liturgy.  It may take the form of a liturgy of the Word or of some part of the Office for the Dead (the Liturgy of the Hours). Two vigil services are provided in the Ritual book, the Vigil for the Deceased, and the Vigil for the deceased with Reception (of the body) at the Church. The Vigil may be celebrated in the home of the deceased, in the funeral home chapel, or some other suitable place.  It may also be celebrated in the Church, but at a time well before the funeral liturgy, so that the funeral liturgy will not be too lengthy. The Vigil in the form of the Liturgy of the Word consists of the introductory rites, the readings, the prayer of intercession, the Lord’s prayer and a concluding rite.  At the vigil, a member of the family or a friend of the deceased may speak in remembrance of the deceased.  Also, at the Vigil sacred songs appropriate to the occasion may be sung as an entrance and at the closing. Music for Catholic worship should always originate from the voices of the actual participants, and not the playing of recorded sound, while recordings that are especially meaningful to the family may of course be used outside the liturgy itself at public receptions or private gatherings of the family and friends. Where it is the local custom to pray the Rosary for the deceased person, this might be prayed after the Vigil. If the Vigil includes the reception of the body at the Church, then this ritual is not repeated at the beginning of the Funeral Liturgy. If the Vigil takes the form of the Office of the Dead it may be celebrated either as Morning Prayer (Lauds)  or Evening Prayer (Vespers).  This office should be sung whenever possible. The Liturgy of the Hours consists of three Psalms, a reading, intercessions, the Lord’s prayer and concluding prayer. According to local custom, the Rosary might follow this Office. If a viewing of the body...

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From the Rector: Funerals-Part II
Sep29

From the Rector: Funerals-Part II

Funerals: Part II of the Series In last week’s column we addressed the process of beginning the arrangements for the Funeral after the death of a loved one.  A very common question that often arises at this point is if the persons will be buried bodily, or if they will be cremated before burial, and what instruction the Church gives in regard to these questions. Questions about the presence of the body at the Funeral Mass It has always been the preference of the Church that the body of the deceased person be present at the Funeral Mass.  In fact, there is a different form of the Liturgy if the body is absent, and a slightly modified form if the cremated remains are present. There are several reasons for this tradition, the first and most important is the correspondence of our death to the death and burial of Our Lord Jesus.  He was taken down from the cross, and his body was laid in the tomb from which he rose again on Easter Morning.  In imitation of him we are placed in the grave, awaiting the day of the Resurrection. In times past, there was a concern on the part of the Church, when in certain cultures this correspondence was being called into question, or was being denied by the cremation of the body. In particular,  where there was an intention to scatter the ashes rather than to bury them, therefore, there was a very long period when Catholic burial was not granted to a person whose bodily remains were intentionally cremated.  Over time that tension has been resolved, and in our time, cremation is generally performed for economic  and not ideological considerations. In light of this development, the pastoral practice of the Church does permit the burial of the cremated remains now, however, there remains a preference for the cremation to take place after the funeral when possible. This is not an absolute requirement, but a preference.  What has not changed is the insistence that the cremated remains be treated with the same dignity as the bodily remains.  Namely, that the cremated remains are to be buried promptly in a grave or mausoleum and are not to be kept indefinitely or scattered. The ceremony for the interment of the cremated remains at the cemetery is virtually the same as for the body present in a casket.  The ground is blessed where the person is laid to rest, and therefore the grave becomes a sign of hope as the place from which our loved one will rise again from the dead when Jesus comes in Glory.  A grave site...

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From the Rector: Funerals: Part I
Sep22

From the Rector: Funerals: Part I

Funerals: Part 1 of the Series Whenever one of us experiences the loss of a loved one, we are faced with having to make a lot of decisions concerning family issues, financial questions, sometimes legal and property management  issues.  In the midst of the tremendous sorrow we are also faced with trying to plan arrangements for the funeral.  In our distress we turn to the Lord to look for comfort and place our trust in His Goodness and Love for us. In order to try to make this process less stressful we will be presenting a series of articles to help spell out what goes into the preparation should the need arise. The Church’s three part liturgy.   The Funeral Rites of the Church consist of the 1.) Vigil for the deceased, 2.) The Funeral Liturgy itself, and 3.) the Rite of Committal.  Additionally the Office for the Dead, which we also refer to as the Liturgy of the hours, may also be prayed for the deceased person.  The Church “ministers to the sorrowing and consoles them in the funeral rites with the comforting word of God and the sacrament of the Eucharist.  Christians celebrate the funeral rites to offer worship, praise and thanksgiving to God for the gift of a life which has now been returned to God, the author of life and the hope of the just.  The Mass, the memorial of Christ’s death and Resurrection is the principal celebration of the Christian funeral.  The Celebration of the Christian funeral brings hope and consolation to the living.  While proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ and witnessing to Christian hope in the resurrection, the funeral rites also recall to all who take part in them God’s mercy and judgment and meet the human need to turn always to God in times of Crisis.” (From the Order of Christian Funerals). At the time of the death of a loved one. If it so happens that there is some warning that your loved one is in danger of death, please don’t hesitate to call for a priest.  It is a tremendous blessing to receive the Sacraments and be strengthened spiritually in preparation for death.  But, even if the person dies suddenly it is a good practice to notify the parish priest who can come and pray with the family if possible. In the days following. Once a mortuary has been selected and meeting with the funeral director has been arranged, a call to the parish secretary is the best way to find out when the church building is available and when a priest or deacon is available for the funeral...

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From the Rector: Keeping Sunday-All Day
Sep15

From the Rector: Keeping Sunday-All Day

KEEPING SUNDAY—ALL DAY Celebrating the Sunday Eucharist—though central and essential—does not complete our observance of Sunday. In addition to attending Mass each Sunday, we should also refrain “from those activities which impede the worship of God and disturb the joy proper to the day of the Lord or the necessary relaxation of mind and body” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 453). Sunday has traditionally been a day of rest. However, the concept of a day of rest may seem odd in a world that runs 24/7, where we are tethered to our jobs by a variety of electronic gadgets, where businesses run as normal no matter what the day of the week, and where silence seems to be an endangered species. By taking a day each week to rest in the Lord, we provide a living example to the culture that all time belongs to God and that people are more important than things. As Pope John Paul II said in Dies Domini (The Day of the Lord), his apostolic letter on Sunday: Through Sunday rest, daily concerns and tasks can find their proper perspective: the material things about which we worry give way to spiritual values; in a moment of encounter and less pressured exchange, we see the true face of the people with whom we live. Even the beauties of nature—too often marred by the desire to exploit, which turns against man him- self—can be rediscovered and enjoyed to the full. (Dies Domini, no. 67) Not everyone has the freedom to take Sundays away from work. Some people, including medical professionals and public safety workers, must work on Sundays to keep the rest of us safe and healthy. Others must work for economic reasons beyond their control. Resting on Sunday does not mean that we are inactive. Instead, Sunday is traditionally consecrated by Christian piety to good works and humble service of the sick, the infirm, and the elderly. Christians will also sanctify Sunday by devoting time and care to their families and relatives, often difficult to do on other days of the week. Sunday is a time for reflection, silence, cultivation of the mind, and meditation which furthers the growth of the Christian interior life. (CCC, no. 2186) To celebrate the Lord’s Day more fully, consider trying the following: ✠ Don’t use Sunday as your catch-all day for errands and household chores. ✠ Share a family dinner after Mass. Have the whole family join in the preparation and cleanup. ✠ Go for a walk or bike ride and give thanks to God for the beauty of nature. ✠ Spend time reading the Bible or a spiritual book. ✠ Pray the...

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From the Rector: A Plan of Life: Part II
Sep08

From the Rector: A Plan of Life: Part II

A Plan of Life: Part II The weekly plan: In the course of the week, designate one day in which to emphasize each one of the pillars. On that day include an item from a particular category that might not be done as frequently: Examples: Spiritual formation day: A special day for fasting, lectoring or serving a at a weekday Mass. Human formation day: A once a week choir practice; an extended hike; House cleaning day. Intellectual formation day: A once a week class or conference. Pastoral formation day: A Special visit to nursing home or teaching a CCD class. The weekly plan takes into consideration absolute essentials like Sunday Mass. The Monthly Plan: The monthly plan reminds one not to neglect certain practices that should engage in at least monthly. Examples: Spiritual formation: Spiritual direction and Confession. Human Formation: Letters, calls or visits to family members, Bookkeeping. Intellectual Formation: Finishing a book that has been lingering. Pastoral Formation: Pro- Life activities, promoting vocations. The yearly plan: This plan is used to set goals for the coming year and evaluate the past year. It also reminds us about special days we should plan for throughout the year. Examples: Spiritual Formation: Plan an annual retreat, Celebrate the Anniversary of one’s Baptism Day. Human Formation: Plan when and how to spend Vacation time; plan to learn more chant. Intellectual Formation: Commit to learning improving language skills in the coming year. Plan to contribute an article to the diocesan paper, or to learn a new language. Pastoral Formation: Decide which apostolate will be undertaken in the following year....

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