Update on Miscellaneous Items For Our New Church

Update on Miscellaneous Items For Our New Church

Dear Parishioners,

In the ongoing process of rebuilding our new church, there are things that we are still working on. In the spirit of letting everyone know about where we are on some things, I offer you these items to think about and pray about.

1. Confessional Update - We have installed acoustical paneling on the ceiling of each confessional which has really helped.  But, that is not sufficient.  The walls need acoustical abatement. So, at the time of this writing (Oct. 1), we are expecting a shipment of 2”-thick acoustical panels which will then need to be installed.  Once installed, I have confidence that this will make these rooms very quiet and private. Due to the extended dividers in the confessionals, a penitent who enters and desires to offer their confession face-to-face will be hidden from those outside of the confessional, rendering others from knowing if the confessional is occupied or not.  So, we will need to install some kind of additional system to let waiting penitents know that the confessional is available.

2. Votive Candle Tables - I have been asked by many people about this topic. In the process of setting up the church, we planned to put the votive candle stands back, yet we cannot find where they went after removing them from the old church. It is possible that we had a parishioner store them for us, but we don’t know if that is the case or who that was if so.  So, if you know where those stands are, please notify the office so we can arrange to have them picked up.  Thanks.

3. Audio-Video System Update - This past week, we got the camera behind the baptismal font working and on the network. You may have noticed one of our sound engineers walking and sitting about during Mass with an iPad. This iPad is networked to our digital mixer. This now allows the person managing the sound system to manage the system without the need to be sitting at the desk in the back. The desk will eventually be set aside on the North-facing wall and free up space behind the last pew. Next, we need to bring audio and video to the Cry Room, Bride’s Room, and Day Chapel. The speakers in the Narthex will also need to be connected to the audio system. Additionally, we need to install a larger screen for our projector and then tune the system to the specific acoustics  to the church nave (think seating area with pews). Our wireless system has extra antennas that will be mounted in the entry area of the church so as to increase the range of our wireless system to include places outside the front of the church. We also have plans to have speakers outside for folks to hear when we have ceremonies outside such as the Blessing of Fire at the beginning of the Easter Vigil Mass.  There are other details, but those are the highlights.

4.  Stations of the Cross - I am in an ongoing email dialogue with a vendor about the siz and costs of a specific set of Stations of the Cross that the Bazaar Guild agreed would be appropriate. At this time, I cannot nail down a cost, but will let everyone know once I do know. I am cautious that they will be ready in time for the first weeks of Lent.  

5. Outside St. Anne Statue - This has also been a topic of questions from many parishioners. The status and due date of delivery for this statue for our outside South-facing niche is not fully known. The actual artisan lives in Central America. We inquired via our vendor, and we received a list of projects the artisan is working on, ours being third on his list. So, we are discerning about our direction for this project. I recommend you send this to prayer.

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

Liturgical Changes, Part 4, Altar Servers

Liturgical Changes, Part 4, Altar Servers

Dear Parishioners,

Back in July, I wrote about some liturgical changes that effect our Readers when processing in with the Gospel Book at Mass. Changes that we are making are due to four things: A more thorough reading of the General Instructions to the Roman Missal (GIRM), the new Archdiocesan Liturgical Handbook (ALH), input by parishioners, and our present situation with the new church. So, let me offer some of the changes that you will be seeing or have already observed, as it relates to our Altar Servers.

Genuflecting and Bowing

At St. Anne, during the Introductory Rites, the procession will be lead by the two Altar Servers with lighted candles, between them a minister carrying the cross. Visually, they will be walking parallel to each other. This is only possible due to the width of the new center isle. This formation will be repeated at the Concluding Rites when the procession departs from the Altar. In the past, the Altar servers walked behind the cross and didn’t carry them again after the Gospel procession. We will be examining how these norms can be reflected at our mission churches. The Gospel procession will remain unchanged. When there are not enough Altar Servers in the procession, we will look to a Reader, Sacristan, or another minister to carry the cross. Adaptations must happen when we are short ministers. When the procession reaches the foot of the Sanctuary, either in the Introductory (cf. GIRM 274) or Concluding Rites (cf. GIRM 193), the group of ministers are to genuflect to the Tabernacle unless they are carrying an object (ex. cross, candles, incense) or who otherwise cannot genuflect, in which case they are to make a profound bow. Altar Servers, indeed all ministers, are not to genuflect during the celebration of Mass itself (GIRM 274) unless specifically prescribed (ex. the Priest genuflects three times during the Eucharistic Prayer). Instead, when they enter the Sanctuary, as their duties frequently require, they will bow to the Altar and then enter the Sanctuary to execute their prescribed ministry.

Bells & Incense

Upon the dedication of our new church, it was decided to re-introduce the use of bells at Mass. Altar Servers are to ring the bells at the elevation/showing of the species of bread and wine after they have been consecrated and transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. Bells are a sacramental of the Church. In general, the use of bells are optional, but are a long standing tradition in the Church (Introduced around 1100 and became common around the 13th cent.) that signals special moments in the liturgy. In this case, they alert and proclaim the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. They are also used on Holy Thursday and Easter Vigil Saturday at the Gloria.

implemented are the ringing of bells at the elevation/showing of the species of bread and wine after they have been consecrated and transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. Bells are a sacramental of the Church. The use of bells are optional, but are a long standing tradition in the Church (Introduced around 1100 and became common around the 13th cent.) that signals special moments in the liturgy. In this case, they alert and proclaim the presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

The use of incense is a very ancient tradition, being mentioned 147 times in the Bible (NABre). It was placed on an altar accompanying the Ark of the Covenant (cf. Exodus 30:1-10), referenced as a sign of prayer in Psalm 141, placed in the Temple in Jerusalem, and imaged in golden bowls in the Book of Revelation (Rev. 5:8). It’s use today is a more controversial sacramental since many people find it difficult to breathe when incense is being used, and some have allergic reactions when it is merely present. These issues extend to the use of parishioners wearing perfume at Mass (this is why all liturgical ministers are not to wear cologne or perfume). Incense can be included in the Introductory Rites (procession, blessing the Altar), the Gospel Procession, the Preparation of the Gifts, and the Concluding Rites (procession). We will continue to use incense for our most special solemnities in the year (Christmas and Easter) and when requested at a Funeral Mass. Altar Servers who have shown exemplary service will typically be chosen at Thurifers (one carrying the Thurible and Boat needed for incense) for this particular. Finally, we are considering the idea of choosing a few of these same Altar Servers to be further trained-up to become a Master of Ceremony who can guide, lead, and teach junior Altar Servers during the Mass.

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

The Church Is Not Falling Apart

The Church Is Not Falling Apart

Dear Beloved Faithful,

Given the current issues afoot in the Church, I’d like to offer the following challenge and encouragement...

The Church is not falling apart. The sins of man do not define the Faith. Have no fear. Christ is our light. In this difficult time, let us not allow punditry to win the day. All abuse and cover-ups will come to the light. In time, things will become more clear. Our role as Catholics is not to add to the hysteria with cries of schism or destruction. Our calling is to be faithful. 

Jesus promised us that the gates of hell would would not prevail against his Church. Regardless of who may be guilty, incompetent, innocent, or otherwise unworthy, the Bride of Christ will remain. We are not built on the holiness of the bishops or the Pope. Even if all of those who are being accused by Viganò are guilty, and even if the pope steps down, a new pope will be selected by the grace of the Holy Spirit. 

All we need to worry about is whether each of us are living the life worthy of the calling we have received. Just remember whose Church this is. I choose to be ever more mindful of my own sins and be open to God’s grace working through me, his imperfect vessel. Other than that I refuse to listen to punditry. 

God will once again heal and absolve his Bride. God will continue to inspire others to greatness in the faith. God desires, in his perfect compassion and mercy, to bind up and heal the wounded victims. We must join in solemn prayer and concord for the Holy Spirit to breathe fresh upon us all and remember the true source of all healing: Jesus Christ. In the meantime, fasting from news and praying for victims of abuse in all walks of life are spiritual acts of love which we all can do. 

Despite all the punditry, in our RCIA groups this year, the Spirit is clearly at work. Candidates have awareness and concern for victims of abuse, and they are truly focused on the Faith and Holy Mother Church. It’s inspiring. They are not shaken by the prophets of doom. Do not be shaken by alarmists. 

Finally, let us, once again, take heed of the wisdom of St. Pope John XXIII who proclaimed just prior to the opening of the Second Vatican Council:

At times we have to listen, much to our regret, to the voices of people who, though burning with zeal, lack a sense of discretion and measure. In this modern age they can see nothing but prevarication and ruin … We feel that we must disagree with those prophets of doom who are always forecasting disaster, as though the end of the world were at hand. In our times, divine Providence is leading us to a new order of human relations which, by human effort and even beyond all expectations, are directed to the fulfilment of God’s superior and inscrutable designs, in which everything, even human setbacks, leads to the greater good of the Church.

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

Keeping our Church Beautiful, Clean, and Focused

Keeping our Church Beautiful, Clean, and Focused

Dear Parishioners,

Well, we’ve had a few weeks and weekends under our belts and we continue to work on kinks throughout the building. In addition, we are pondering on processes and policies for good stewardship of the church. In this regard, we are being very mindful to keep the church clean and free of clutter.  We ask that folks do not bring old magazines, prayer books, pamphlets, religious sacramentals, or food items for the purpose of sharing them. Our old church narthexes quickly got cluttered up with all kinds of things which started to make it look like a swap meet or thrift store.

As far as sharing food or seasonal garden items are concerned, our school is considering creating a location outside in the front of the school building for people to share their home garden produce. That means, if such items are left anywhere else on the campus, they will likely be thrown away. If parishioners would like to have some items (ex. pamphlets, posters, free items to give away) put in the narthex of the church, please submit a written request to the office which will be reviewed by the staff for consideration.  If you feel called to help out in cleaning the church or any other part of our campus, please reach out to Stephen Voehl, our Business Manager who, among many other roles, manages the physical stewardship of our facilities. Our church is an amazing work of art. It is a building which has been inspiring people long before it was even completed. Let’s keep it that way.

The same goes for all parts of our campus. During demolition and construction, and the need to move to the Parish Center for Mass, we became much closer as a community. We also became more aware of the need for repair and upkeep of the Parish Center and other buildings. Please commit yourself to being mindful of the trash or other things that clutter up our facilities. If a ministry in which you are involved uses the kitchen and especially the stove/oven/grill/refrigerators, etc., please make sure that you leave things cleaner and better than how you found them. Clean up the floor and take out the trash accumulated after your meeting. Check the bathrooms to make sure trash isn’t about the floor and that the toilets are flushed. Report any issues to the office at your next opportunity if something is broken. Make sure to lock the doors of a facility if you are the last one’s. Communicate to another group that you are leaving and what doors are or need to be locked.

We must all commit ourselves to being stewards, tending the goods which God has given us.  An entitlement or attitude of assumption (that someone else will do what you should do) can very easily become sin. So, let us all take responsibility and be accountable to each other about our collective need to keep our buildings, facilities, grounds, indeed all the physical goods of our parish clean. When new people come to our church, the state of repair and cleanliness of the facilities speaks volumes. Let them see how much we love God and each other by taking good care of St. Anne Parish.

Let’s commit ourselves to good stewardship of the amazing gifts given to us by God. Let us keep our focus on the Eucharist and the sacramental life where we encounter and commune with Christ, the reason why our parish exists. May we and our campus demonstrate our mission that we are a “welcoming community, inspired by the Holy Spirit, we seek out to proclaim Christ’s loving mission.”

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

Thank You!

Thank You!

Dear Parishioners,

Last Saturday’s Dedication Mass was a momentous event in the history of our parish. It was truly awe-inspiring. I am so grateful to all who made it possible. This miracle in our midst is the fruit of our faithfulness and the graciousness of God to help us on our pilgrim journey.

In my remarks at the end of the Mass, I failed to mention some important people who have been deeply involved in the process of making our new church possible, a group that has demonstrated great patience when the process intersected and/or disrupted their normal work of ministry. Probably hardest his is our school. Second would be our pastoral ministries for our children and adults. I want to express my thanks to all of our staff who have sacrificed in myriads of ways during the fundraising, demolition, and construction may displaced a ministry or caused gaps in communication or forced something to cancel. Our Business Manager, Stephen Voehl, and school Principal, Colleen Kotrba, have had to shoulder many unexpected things and roll with the punches as them came. Our parochial vicars, Frs. Tetzel and Arjie have especially helpful in taking on more work, as I had to take on more administrative duties related to the new church building. Indeed, I am very proud of all of our staff, for they have demonstrated a steward’s response to the continually changing situations in this journey, especially those which presented themselves without warning at times. Again, thank you to our administrative and ministry staff, teachers, aides, and volunteer ministers who have done so much behind the scenes during the last two years of this building project.

I also failed to thank our Evangelization Team who helped to reach out and contact various clergy and other important persons who have played important roles in our history. Thank you to our Evangelization Team! A big thank you needs to be offered to Cora Carino whom I asked to lead and coordinate our reception that followed the dedication Mass. She was able to seek out and find parishioners from our Knights of Columbus, Hispanic community, and Filipino community to offer food. She was able to recruit helpers to set up and take down the tables and chairs that we used. Clearly, everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Thank you to all who did their part to make the reception such a wonderful and joyous event! Thank you also to Alan Crews and his Transition Team who quietly moved us out of our old church and is still in the process of moving us into the new church. Thank you to our Liturgy Committee who has been reflecting on our Divine worship ever since I arrived eight years ago and who has been studying ideas and options to lift up and normalize our liturgy. Their work continues, for which I a am so grateful. Finally, thank you to all those whom I have not mentioned who made many sacrifices, mostly unseen, which enabled us to be where we are today.

Hopefully, we will now be more present and able to offer pastoral ministry while letting our new church serve as an opportunity and catalyst to lift up our faith knowing what God has done in our midst. As for me, I look forward to offering opportunities for faith formation for our parish and missions.  In that vein, I plan to personally offer opportunities via a workshop on the Theology the Body for adults and a six week series for our teens. I am planning on guiding a six-week series on the Mass via some new videos produced by Bishop Robert Barron. See the rest of this bulletin for details about these as we get closer to October.

May God help us continue to be faithful stewards of the gifts which we have been given, for by being people of gratitude, we proclaim Christ’s loving mission.

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

Liturgical Change, Part 3  The Role of the Reader in Procession in the Absence of a Deacon

Liturgical Change, Part 3 The Role of the Reader in Procession in the Absence of a Deacon

Dear Parishioners,

As we continue to review our liturgy in light of the New Archdiocesan Liturgical Handbook, I would like to draw your attention to a small detail that we have implemented when we don’t have a deacon.  In the entrance procession, again when there is no deacon, the Readers processes in with the Altar Servers and Priest. When the group reaches the front of the Sanctuary, they will all make a gesture of reverence (a bow to the Altar or Genuflection when there is a Tabernacle behind the Altar).  Then all ministers will take their place. The Reader who is carrying the Book of he Gospels will enter the Sanctuary to “enthrone” or put the Book of the Gospels in the holder which is on top of the Altar. The change here is that prior, the Reader would not stop when approaching the Altar and then immediately enthrone the Book of the Gospels. The simple change is that they will wait in the front of the Sanctuary with all the other ministers when they make their sign of reverence. A note to make here is that if a genuflection is the called for gesture, then the ministers do this unless they are carrying something, such as the Book of the Gospels or Candles, or other items. I hope this helps when you notice something is a little different when the procession approaches the Altar. The reason for this change is first, the General Instructions to the Roman Missal (GIRM) call for it, and secondly it does not confuse the roll of the deacon who is the only one who approaches the Altar with the Book of the Gospels straight away upon reaching the Sanctuary, an action I had our Readers doing for quite a long time.  My bad, as they say! This is all in the efforts to keep our liturgy in conformity with liturgical norms.

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

The Patron Saint of Unconditional Love, St. Anne

The Patron Saint of Unconditional Love, St. Anne

Dear Parishioners,

In the process of honoring our past and building for the future, I went to visit Chris Hart, parishioner and local artisan also known as the “Saint Painter.”  We asked her if she would take our status and recondition for our new church. The progress is going very well. In the course of the process of stripping, cleaning, and preparing the statue, Chris wrote a moving blog entry about her specific experience with our St. Anne statue (possibly the oldest of all our statues) and her childhood memories which taught her about unconditional love. I found it quite personal, educational, and spiritually moving. With her permission, I include her story below.

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

 

The Patron Saint of Unconditional Love, St. Anne
by Chris Hart
thesaintpainter.blogspot.com

 

I was one of those children that did not look forward to kindergarten. Actually, I hated it. I disliked the first day, the second day and all the days that followed. I simply didn't understand why I needed to leave the quiet bliss of the outdoors and sit in a stuffy classroom. I much preferred going barefoot in warm powdery dust to wearing shoes on a waxed linoleum floor. I would rather pick wildflowers while exploring a creek bed than read a book about picking wildflowers while exploring a creek bed. I was easily brought to tears by Sister Martha's strict humorless teaching style. There was not one thing about going to school I liked. 

 

My mother would cheerfully drive me every morning as I begged her to let me stay home.  She would patiently walk me to the door promising to pick me up in the afternoon.  I was determined to never let her forget the anxiety and misery I felt. Finally, one especially exasperating morning she walked me into the church on our way to class. It was empty and dim with that familiar smell only a Catholic church seems to have.  She stood in front of a St. Anne statue and told me the story of St. Anne, explaining that she was Mary's mother and Jesus' Gramma.  

 

This particular statue was about 5 feet tall and depicts St. Anne teaching her young daughter, Mary to read.  My mother told me that Mary was born late in St. Anne's life just like I had been and St. Anne felt her daughter was a blessing, not an inconvenience just like my mother felt about me. She said St. Anne valued education over stuff just like she did. She explained that St. Anne wanted only the best for her daughter just like my own mother wanted for me. I looked at the statue for a long time. It had beautiful deep rich colors with shining Gold leaf accents. I was mesmerized by the faces and how their eyes reflected the same deep love I saw in my mother's eyes every time she looked at me. In that moment, I realized how much my mother loved me.   

This Mothers Day, almost 60 years later, I began the task of restoring a very old damaged St. Anne statue for a nearby Catholic church. It seemed like a good day to work in my studio since my mother has been gone almost 4 years and I still feel sad on this day. Even now I find new ways to miss her, remembering things I forgot to ask and forgetting she isn't here to call.  I held part of the statue in my lap and I patiently dissolved layer after layer of old paint, touched up by many well-intentioned people over the years.  As I carefully removed the different colors, parts of the original finish began to show through. As damaged as it was, I recognized something as a wash of tears came over me. I was working on the same statue my mother had introduced me to years ago. How masterfully my mother had used the story of another mother, St. Anne, to help me understand what is most important. Just like the layers of paint I was removing, she had peeled away the layers of excuses, showing me the meaning of unconditional love.

Archdiocesan Liturgical Handbook

Archdiocesan Liturgical Handbook

Dear Parishioners,

Recently, the Office for Divine Worship, under the leadership of Monsignor Gerard O’Connor, published a 350+ page document to guide parishes and their staff with the Liturgy. It is called the Archdiocesan Liturgical Handbook or ALH for short. It’s intent is “to serve as a guide to many of the aspects of the life of our diocese and our parishes that concern the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy and the understanding of the faith it expresses” (Archbishop Sample, ELH). It is intended to be a “living” document that will be updated over time as new situations arise. It includes “positions, policies, best practices, and particular norms for the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon” (ibid.).

I have been reading this document and highlighting things which may apply to us. Some need more reflection while others don’t even apply to us. For those that do apply to us, I will be sharing those items in the weeks and months ahead. Our Liturgy Committee will also be reflecting on these things to evaluate our own liturgies and determine if any changes are needed.

The chapters of the ALH covers many things about the Mass and beyond. Here are some of the topics: The Archbishop, the priest, deacons, movement and posture, lay ministers, bread and wine, sacred objects and furnishings, music and singing, the parts of the Mass, Masses with the Archbishop, Sunday parish celebrations, reception of Holy Communion, reservation of the Blessed Sacrament including perpetual adoration, aspects related to the RCIA, Baptism of infants, the seven Sacraments, Funerals, Extraordinary Form of Mass, Liturgical year, popular pieties, eastern Christians, and special circumstances.

I have not heard or seen such a document prepared for a diocese. So, this is rather innovative.  I look forward to learning more and seeing where we find ourselves within the norms and guidelines of the ALH. In future bulletin letters, I will publish some of the texts that refer to things that most interest our community. And as always, I am open to your thoughts and constructive comments.

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

New Assignments

New Assignments

Dear Parishioners,

Deacon Stephen Kenyon

Beginning June 9th, we will be welcoming Deacon Stephen Kenyon who, as a seminarian, will be spending 8 week of this Summer with us, gaining experience and knowledge of pastoral ministry in a parish setting.  He was ordained for our archdiocese on May 19th by Archbishop Sample at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland

Dcn. Stephen is a “transitional” deacon as compared to Dcn. Bob who is a “permanent” deacon. Their titles give the sense that they are similar and different.  Both are truly ordained as deacons.  Both are part of the hierarchy of the Church: deacon, priest, and bishop. The difference is that Dcn. Stephen is studying and preparing for priestly ministry where Dcn. Bob was ordained to remain a deacon. Their faculties are similar (baptisms, weddings, funerals, assisting at Mass, offering a homily), but Dcn. Stephen will be engaging in preaching more so and shadowing the priests during his time with us. For the most part, you will see him accompany me at Mass while Dcn. Bob will be helping our other priests during Dcn. Keynon’s time with us.

Please pray for Dcn. Stephen as he journeys closer to that day of his ordination in June of 2019.  I am sure he will experience the warm welcome and encouragement which is part of our mission as a parish. I look forward to getting to know Dcn. Stephen and help him on his way to greater service in our archdiocese. 

Father Arjie Garcia

Beginning July 1, we will be receive Fr. Arjie Garcia as our new Parochial Vicar.  Previously, he was assigned as the Parochial Vicar at Shepherd of the Valley in Central Point and St. Anthony in Tigard. According to his online biography, Fr. Arjie was born in 1985 in the Philippines, he is the oldest of four children. He began studying for the Archdiocese of Portland at Mount Angel Seminary in 2010 and was ordained by Archbishop Sample with Fr. Tetzel

I have had many interactions with Fr. Arjie while he was at Shepherd of the Valley, and I look forward to serving with him as priests for St. Anne and her missions, Our Lady of the River and St. Patrick of the Forest. Again, please pray for Fr. Arjie and give him the warm welcome for which we are known.

Fr. Tetzel Umingli

As many of you may now know, Fr. Tetzel will be heading to St. Paul Parish in Silverton, a suburb East of Salem and minutes from Mount Angel. This will allow Fr. Tetzel to complete his work on his masters degree without the issue of travel from Grants Pass. We will be hosting a farewell party for Fr. Tetzel on June 27th at 6:30 PM at the Kelly Youth Center. He will be departing either than night or early the next morning. It has been a blessing to us all to have Fr. Tetzel with us these past two years. Join me in prayer to help him in his new parish assignment. 

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

Liturgical Change, Pt. 2

Liturgical Change, Pt. 2

Dear Parishioners,

As part of the changes for our liturgical practice, Archbishop Sample wants to clarify the value of daily Mass and what we should be doing when there is no priest present to offer Mass.  Commonly, we have offered a communion service presided over by our deacon or, if he is unavailable, a trained layperson.  Since the Church has never given an official accommodation for such situations, our archbishop wants us to stop offering communion services in lieu of one of the other great liturgies of our Church, The Liturgy of the Hours, with adaptions for a more extensive use of Scripture from the day's official Scritpure readings.  Here's a more thorough reflection by Msgr. Gerard O'Connor, our Director of the office of Divine Worship:

The Most Holy Eucharist, “stands at the center of the Church's life”, since it truly “contains the Church’s entire spiritual wealth: Christ himself, our Passover and Living Bread.” “The Church has received the Eucharist from Christ her Lord not as one gift – however precious – among so many others, but as the gift par excellence, for it is the gift of himself, of his person in his sacred humanity, as well as the gift of his saving work.” That surpassing gift of the Eucharist is where the Church draws her life, the dynamic force of all her activity and her whole sense of purpose and direction. As the Second Vatican Council proclaimed, the Eucharistic sacrifice is “the source and summit of the Christian life”.

Any discussion of weekday liturgical worship must begin by recalling the importance and normative character of daily Mass in the life of every Catholic community. Pope Paul VI recommended that priests “worthily and devoutly offer Mass each day in order that both they and the rest of the faithful may enjoy the benefits that flow so richly from the sacrifice of the cross.”(Mysterium Fidei, 33) Pope John Paul II echoes these words in stating: “We can understand, then, how important it is for the spiritual life of the priest, as well as for the good of the Church and the world, that priests follow the Council’s recommendation to celebrate the Eucharist daily,” and he like many popes before him, states that "priests should be encouraged to celebrate Mass every day, even in the absence of a congregation, since it is an act of Christ and the Church”.

It is important to make the distinction between the celebration of Holy Mass and the reception of Holy Communion outside of Mass. It is clear that the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacrament of the Eucharist cannot be separated theologically and are only separated temporally due to pastoral necessity.

With regard to the separation of the Sacrifice and the Sacrament of the Eucharist, Pope Paul states: “The few things that we have touched upon concerning the Sacrifice of the Mass encourage us to say something about the Sacrament of the Eucharist, since both Sacrifice and Sacrament pertain to the same mystery and cannot be separated from each other. The Lord is immolated in an unbloody way in the Sacrifice of the Mass and He re-presents the sacrifice of the Cross and applies its salvific power at the moment when he becomes sacramentally present — through the words of consecration — as the spiritual food of the faithful, under the appearances of bread and wine.” (Mysterium Fidei, 34)

In the same encyclical Pope Paul makes a distinction between the celebration of Holy Mass and the reception of Holy Communion: “For such a Mass brings a rich and abundant treasure of special graces to help the priest himself, the faithful, the whole Church and the whole world toward salvation—and this same abundance of graces is not gained through mere reception of Holy Communion.” (Mysterium Fidei, 32)

It is the expectation of the Church that: “The faithful should normally receive sacramental Communion of the Eucharist during Mass itself, at the moment laid down by the rite of celebration, that is to say, just after the Priest celebrant’s Communion.” In fact the Second Vatican Council refers to it as the “more perfect form of participation in the Mass.” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 55)

In order to promote this new practice, the office of Divine Worship has crafted a high quality booklet entitled, "Parish Weekday Prayer."  Here's a reflection from Msgr. O'Connor on this booklet:

Sometimes the faithful of a parish cannot be present at the Holy Eucharist during the week due to the absence ofa priest or excessive travel requirements. Whilst daily Mass is highly encouraged and considered ideal, sometimes it is not possible. In these circumstances the faithful are likewise encouraged to gather and pray together.

There are many prayers and devotions which are available to a group of the faithful gathered in the absence ofa priest; however the Liturgy ofthe Hours has pride ofplace since it is the 'Prayer of the Church'. The purpose of the Liturgy of the Hours is to sanctify the day and all human activity and this community prayer has a special dignity since Christ himself said: "Where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them" (Mt 18:20).'

This book of weekday prayer has been prepared to allow those gathered on the weekdays ofthe Church's year to pray together the Liturgy ofthe Hours in such a way as to incorporate the Sacred Scripture that would be provided during the Liturgy ofthe Word at Holy Mass.

By adapting the Liturgy of the Hours in such a way, the faithful can continue to follow the sequence of readings that are presented to the Church during the liturgical year. This integral reading of Sacred Scripture during the celebration of this adapted Liturgy ofthe Hours is approved by the Archbishop, only for this Parish Weekday Prayer in the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon. Although this collection of Parish Weekday Prayer is envisioned to be celebrated in the morning it may also be used at other times of the day.

This change will take effect on June 3rd.  Click the following link to download this booklet: Parish Weekday Prayer

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor