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Baptism

Holy Week

Holy Week

Dear Parishioners,

Some very special and holy days will soon be upon us. Here’s a short summary of these amazing days.

Chrism Mass
To start off these events, the Church will celebrate, here in the Archdiocese of Portland, the Chrism Mass. This Mass will assemble nearly all of the priests serving our archdiocese at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland, the mother church, the place where the “cathedra,” the chair of the bishop is located, the sign of the authority of Archbishop Sample. At that Mass we priests will renew our promises and join with the archbishop in prayer for the blessing of the Holy Oils (Oil of the Sick, Oil of the Catechumens, and the Oil of Chrism). From that Mass we will return to our respective parishes where these oils will be presented before the community on Holy Thursday.

Palm Sunday
This coming weekend, we celebrate of The Passion of the Lord, also known as Palm Sunday. In this Mass, we begin, in earnest, “Holy Week.” We will be given blessed palms which will be used as signs of remembrance of the the triumphant entry of Christ to Jerusalem. We will listen attentively to the Gospel’s account of the Passion of our Lord in a interactive way, as is our custom. I recommend everyone to wear read that day.

Holy Thursday

Later in that week, on Thursday the 29th, we begin the Triduum, the three holy days that start with Holy Thursday. At that Mass, we hear about the Last Supper and how Jesus washed the feet of his Apostles. After the homily, the priest will wash the feet of people from our community who represent our different ministries. The Eucharist will be received as per usual at Mass, but the conclusion of the Mass will differ. Instead of just ending the Mass, we will offer a period of time (until 10 PM) for people to stay and be present to Christ in the Eucharist on the altar.

Good Friday
On Good Friday, March 30th, all are invited to go to the First Christian Church (305 SW H St.) for an ecumenical Good Friday Service. I have been asked to preach. Later in the evening (7 PM), St. Anne will offer our Good Friday Service where the presider will enter in silence and prostrate himself at the altar. Then we will listen to an extended and interactive narrative of the Passion of the Lord. There will be special intercessions followed by the popular Veneration of the Cross. Lastly, Holy Communion will be offered, and all will leave in a solemn silence.

Easter Saturday and Sunday
On Saturday evening, all are invited for the pinnacle of the Church’s celebrations: The Easter Vigil of Holy Saturday. This Mass will begin outside with the lighting of the Easter Fire, blessing of the new Paschal Candle, and procession into our gathering space (this year our Parish Center). The deacon will proclaim the “Exsultet.” Then the community feasts on a large portion of the Scriptures reflecting on the history of salvation. After this, the Elect come forward to be baptized. Then they join the Candidates to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. This celebration culminates in the reception of their First Holy Communion. The next day, on Sunday, St. Anne will hold all the Easter Masses in the Gym across the street at Lincoln Elementary School. The celebration of Christ’s glorious Resurrection is the reason for our hope. It is the goal for which we long. It is the reason for the season  and the days that follow.  

I hope that you will be able to find time to be part of every moment of these holiest of days ahead.

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

The Scrutinies

The Scrutinies

Dear Parishioners,

As we continue our journey through Lent, there are some very special rites we celebrate for those seeking to enter the Church via our RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults).  I am speaking of the “Scrutinies.”  Often I get raised eyebrows when people hear the name of these rites. They sound quite dramatic, and we actually hope they are for those participating in them.  But, they are not something to fear.  It is my hope that they build up the hope and strengthen the faith of those experiencing the Scrutinies.  

The actual rite comes from antiquity and is celebrated on the third, fourth, and fifth weekends of Lent. So, this week, the Scrutiny was held at the Saturday 5 PM Mass and will move to the Sunday 8 AM and 11 AM Mass respectively in the coming weeks.  Originally, these rites were the ways the early Church assessed the readiness of those who desired to be baptized and, thus, become Christians. Over time, the rituals changed and eventually disappeared along with the whole process of the Catechumenate as it was once called. It was after the Second Vatican Council that the call was made to restore the RCIA and all of its rites and adapt it to modern times. In our case, we use a combined rite for the elect (those to be baptized) and candidates (those already baptized).

What does the rite consist of?  It begins with bringing the elect and candidates with their sponsors before the community. Then there is an invitation to prayer and a period of silence.  The Elect are asked to kneel and the Candidates are asked to bow their heads, both as a sign of inner repentance.  What follows are intercessions for the elect and candidates. A prayer of Exorcism and laying on of hands or hands stretched over is made by the presider. The rite concludes with a dismissal so that they can leave and take part in a deeper reflection on the Word of God already proclaimed at Mass.

The purpose for the elect and candidates at each of the scrutinies is to 1. to uncover, 2. to heal all that is weak, defective, or sinful, and 3. to bring out, then strengthen all that is upright, strong, and good. (cf. RCIA 141).  In the big picture,, “the scrutinies are celebrated in order to deliver the elect from the power of sin and Satan, to protect them against temptation, and to give them strength in Christ.” (ibid. 141).

So, I hope you will be able to witness and prayerfully support our elect and candidates in the Scrutinies. Personally, I find them to are very moving and powerful for all involved, including myself.

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

Blessed Easter!

Dear Parishioners,

Blessed Easter!  Christ is risen from the dead! Alleluia! Alleluia!

All during the season of Lent we’ve been preparing ourselves for this time.  Now it is upon us.  But what does that mean?  You might ask, what significance is that for me?  Well, simply put, it means that there is an opportunity for heaven for you and for me.  It means that we can be forgiven of our sins.  It means that Jesus broke the barrier of death so that we can live forever.  It is the fulfillment of the law and prophets. It means that death is not the end.  It means that the Eucharist is more than just receiving Jesus, it is a foretaste of heaven. 

Easter means that we have many new Catholics in our midst.  On Easter Vigil Saturday, we baptized 9 people, submersing them in the waters of forgiveness.  Sixteen were further confirmed and given their first Holy Communion.  It was a joyous time.  This year’s class of new Catholics were a real inspiration to me and our whole team.  From day one, our RCIA team knew that this would be a special year.  As we gathered for our first class, it became obvious that we could not fit in the room.  There were simply too many people.  What a delightful problem.  So, we simply moved to a larger room for the year.  What transpired was amazing, mysterious, and joy-filled.  I want to especially thank Jessica Bubien, our Pastoral Associate, as this was her first year directing our RCIA.  I want to thank the many persons on her team. Without them, we couldn’t have offered our RCIA well.  Thank you all!

So now that Easter has arrived, I pray that you and your family will have a time of peace and joy.  The days are getting longer and the weather is getting warmer.  These are God’s ways of showing us how much he loves us.  But even then, they pale in comparison to Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross and Resurrection from the dead.  So, let them always remind you of this cost of true love.  

May you all have a blessed Easter!

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

Baptism: What Is It? What Controversies Surround It?

Dear Parishioners,


Happy New Year once again! With each day, we will be receiving roughly one more minute a day longer of sunshine. With each day becoming longer, the nighttime is shortened and pushed away. So too does Christ, our light, our hope, our faith bring light to our hearts. Last week we celebrated Epiphany, a celebration of Christ’s manifestation to the Magi and the whole world. This weekend, we wrap up the Christmas season with the Baptism of the Lord.


Did Christ need to be baptized? No. He needed no forgiveness of sins nor repentance since he was sinless. However, he did so to show us the way. We are to follow him as was St. Paul (1 Cor. 11:1). We need baptism. But, this Sacrament is often misunderstood.


Baptism forgives the one being baptized of original sin as well as any personal sin, makes the person a “new creature” in Christ, incorporates the person into the Church, the Body of Christ, creates a bond between all Christians, and is sealed with an indelible (think permanent) mark (think character) that the person belongs to Christ. All this commits the person to a life dedicated to living a life different than those of the world. This event is not repeatable and is the first step towards full communion with the Church which is completed in reception of the Eucharist and Confirmation.


Baptism is also a source of controversy. One such controversy is that of infant baptism. For some, baptism is some- thing that follows one’s commitment to Christ. For adults this is true. But, for infants it is not possible for them to make a personal assent. So, the parents and godparents make such commitments for them. Even then, baptism is one of the most radical Sacraments in that in infant baptism, the child receives all these gifts (charisms) without any merit or personal choice on their own. In fact, such baptisms demonstrate the incredible radicalness of God’s free grace.


Also controversial is the Church’s claim that baptism is neces- sary for salvation. This theological statement is not something the Church made up, for indeed Christ himself affirmed this where he said that we must be born again of water and spirit (see John 3:5). This is the normative way we receive baptism. Yet, the Church also recognizes other unusual forms which include a baptism of blood (martyrdom) or desire (someone who is a catechumen or desires baptism but dies prior to receiving it).


For further reflection, see the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraphs 1217-1284. If you have an unbaptized child who has not reached the age of seven years old, simple classes are required for the parents and godparents. If the person to be baptized is seven years or older, they have the right to take in-depth classes and receive not only baptism, but first Eucharist, and Confirmation. These classes are part of what we call the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults/Teens/ Children also called the RCIA, RCIT, and RCIC respectively. Please seek out Terry Knouff, our Coordinator of Faith Forma- tion if you or a family member is seeking out the Sacrament of Baptism.


Blessings,


Fr. Williams Holtzinger

Pastor

More Details Regarding Holy Week

Dear Parishioners,

Holy Week is almost upon us. Next Sunday, Parishioners will be invited to begin our Passion/Palm Sunday celebration with the blessing of palms outside the Church at the 9:30 AM Spanish Mass and in the Parish Center at the 11 AM Mass. All the other Masses will begin in the Church proper. This year, there will be two notable changes in our Triduum: The veneration of the cross and the baptisms.

Good Friday: After talking with our Liturgy Committee, I have come to understand that St. Anne’s has historically offered multiple crucifixes for venation on Good Friday service. However, the Church calls for only one cross to be used. It is an option to use a cross or crucifix. Since the theology of the veneration is directed towards the cross (recall the priests intones: “Behold the wood of the cross on which hung the savior of the world...”) and the rite is called the “veneration of the cross,” we will be using one very large cross and not a crucifix. Since it will be almost life-sized, it will allow several people to approach the cross at once and offer their veneration at the foot of the cross as well as the right and left arm of the cross. The size of the cross should aid in the timeliness of this part of the service. Examples of veneration include a bow, a kiss, a genuflection, or a simple touch of the hand according to the preference of the person. Families are encouraged to approach at one time instead of individually waiting for each person to venerate.

Easter Vigil: As mentioned in last week’s column, I described that we will be offering baptisms by immersion or submersion, that is either having water poured all over the person or actually dipping the person all the way under the water. If you have never seen this approach, you will be in for a special treat. I have done immersion/submersion baptisms ever since I was ordained almost ten years ago. For the truly inquisitive, I have posted a video describing how to make a temporary immersion pool and showing actual immersions on Easter Vigil. Go to http://www.frbill.org/frgeek.html to see it on your computer. The baptismal fount will be located between the front pews where there is plenty of space and will remain there for the entire Easter season. When you arrive to Church during the Easter season, you are encouraged to enter the Church, bless yourself from the large fount, and then go to your pew. Of course, the traditional holy water founts at the entrances of the Church will be available.

With the arrival of a new pastor comes some new approaches. It is a new day, and I hope that this Easter will be one of renewal and refreshment to all who come through our doors.

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

A Week of Holiness

Dear Parishioners,

Now that we are well into Lent, internally for St. Anne’s, planning for Holy Week has already begun. Personally, I believe that Holy Week is that series of celebrations that every Catholic should experience each year. If you’ve never attended them, please consider making an effort this time around. Here’s a run down of all the activities.


Palm Sunday: Depending on the Mass, we will be start- ing in the Hall or outside and then process in with our palms to continue our celebration.


Chrism Mass (7 PM, March 29, Portland): This Mass is celebrated at the Cathedral with the Archbishop and almost all the priests serving in the Archdiocese. This is a wonderful time to experience the Church in a larger sense. The Holy Oils are blessed at the Mass and the priests renew their promises from their ordinations. The procession alone is something to behold.


THE TRIDUUM

Holy Thursday (7 PM): This commemorates the
Last Supper Christ had with his disciples. At this Mass we wash the feet of representative members of our parish and focus on the institution of the Eucharist. As such, I’ve ordered special hosts that have images embossed on them and I will be singing most of the Eucharistic Prayer. The oils from the Chrism Mass are pre- sented at the presentation of the gifts and placed in a suitable location. At the end of Mass, the community follows the priest in procession with the Eucharist to the Parish Center where a temporary Altar of Repose has been set up so that the faithful can pray before the Blessed Sacrament. People are welcome to leave when they want until adoration concludes at midnight.


Good Friday (7 PM): This celebration is very simple. It is not a Mass. It begins very solemnly. In addition,
the reading of the Passion narrative is proclaimed. Afterwards, the community comes forward to venerate the cross. Finally communion is distributed, and the service ends.


Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil—8:30 PM): This is the pinnacle of all our celebrations of the entire year. We begin outside with a blessing of a fire (we have a special fire for this year) and the blessing of the Paschal Candle. From there, the community processes in the dark- ened church with their own candles, lighting the church with their very presence. A solemn proclamation is sung called the Exultet. An extended series of readings are proclaimed describing salvation history. Then after a very short homily (and I mean short!), those who are to be baptized come forward. This year we will be offering the most dramatic form of baptism that we can: immersion. The Catechism of the Catholic Church(#1239) considers this to be the “most expressive way” to offer this Sacrament. If you’ve never seen this done, you don’t want to miss it! Next, those who have already been baptized in another faith tradition, pledge their faith in the Church. These people along with all those who have just been baptized receive the sacrament of Con- firmation. The Liturgy of the Eucharist follows with those who were just received into the Church going first. The whole night is full of wonder and joy.


I hope to see you at these celebrations. I am greatly looking forward to them. As with all our most important holy days, I will be doing my best to celebrate them bilingually as a sign and invitation to the major languages present in our community. I pray that your Lenten journey has been full of growth and conversion as well as peace and hope.

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

Mission: Life

Dear Parishioners,

In last week’s homily I offered an invitation and challenge for each one of us. I asked each one of us to claim our baptism and live as a Disciple with a mission. For many, I imagine, this may seem foreign. What mission? Each one of us have been created for a purpose, and at our baptism and confirmation our Father gave us his Holy Spirit so we may have the grace to live that life for which we were called. I don’t know what you mission may be, but I can say that it is not simply to come to Mass for an hour, fulfill your obligation, and forget about your faith for the rest of the week. At the same time, most of us won’t be the next Sts. Therese or John of the Cross.

Seeking out one’s mission in life requires prayerful listening. Listening in order to hear God’s small still voice speak in our hearts and prayer that we may ask for the courage to do whatever we have been called to do. The discernment process then involves personally getting involved in things that strike an interest in us. In the course of time, we will be able to whittle down where our gift reside. Don’t let fear prevent you from trying out something new. You might be surprised that what you fear most is the place where you will find your mission and subsequent joy.

This Sunday, we have one of those opportunities to discern our mission. At 1:00 PM many will be gathering at the county courthouse for the annual March for Life. This event, whose cause is to end abortion through raising public awareness, is an excellent way to participate in one’s faith, make a difference in our culture, and reveal the evil that is perpetrated upon our most vulnerable, our unborn children. As Catholics, being pro-life is not an option. However, the way in which we participate in changing our Culture of Death into a Culture of Life is varied. Among all the various pro-life issues abortion is the most lethal of them all.

Another way to be active as Disciples in mission is by acting on the U.S. Bishop’s call to write our political leaders regarding the ongoing health care reform. The concern is again one of life. The bishops are guiding us to reject any legislation that would promote federally funded abortions while promoting affordable healthcare for all. I recently wrote to Sen. Jeff Merkley regarding this issue. He consequently sent me a form letter back disagreeing with me. So, I sent a response back which was recently published in our local paper. You can go to http://www.usccb.org/healthcare/ and learn more about ways you can help. Check out the flyer insert in this week’s bulletin as well. We will also put a link on our web site to help you easily send an e-mail to Congress.

Many of us are afraid to stand up for our faith. We are afraid of being called radicals or divisive. I agree that we can gather more bees with honey than with vinegar. But do not worry. Standing up for moral health care reform and the peaceful March for Life are loving ways to reveal the truth about our culture of death. These are ways to stir in your heart the Spirit who came upon you at baptism and called you to mission. Your participation in these events is also a way to do the same for others. Take a stand for the thousands of children who are killed every day through abortion. Help increase the opportunity for health care for all. Let God stir your heart. Consider the mission of the lives of the sick and innocent and act in solidarity with your fellow brothers and sisters for causes worthy of a few hours.

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor