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

Liturgical Change, Pt. 1

Liturgical Change, Pt. 1

Dear Parishioners,

As expected, some liturgical changes will be coming in order to help the faithful more reverently participate in the celebration of the Eucharist. Below is the text from the Office of Divine Worship which explains one specific change regarding kneeling:

Beginning on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ this year, Archbishop Sample has determined that during the celebration of Holy Mass, after the Lamb of God, the faithful will kneel.

The current General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) states under the section regarding Movement and Postures that: “The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.” [43]  Previously, the Archdiocese had instructed that the faithful remain standing after the Lamb of God.  [The General Instruction on the Roman Missal, 2000 Revisions and Adaptations for the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon.]

Archbishop Sample has determined that a more reverent celebration of the Eucharist will be aided by a change in this posture.  Kneeling is a posture of adoration and has been part of the Communion Rite for many centuries.  By kneeling after the Lamb of God, the faithful prepare for the moment in which the priest presents to them the Sacrificed Lamb [Ecce Agnus Dei – Behold the Lamb of God].  This posture of adoration is most appropriate before the reception of Holy Communion.

After the Lamb of God the faithful should remain kneeling until they move from their place to receive Holy Communion.  The tradition of remaining kneeling after the reception of Holy Communion until the priest has returned to his seat is to be commended.

Those who cannot kneel due to infirmity or other impediment should be seated so as to not impede the view of those who kneel.

This change will unite us with the Universal Church, the majority of the Dioceses in the United States and indeed the other diocese in the State of Oregon.  More importantly, Archbishop Sample believes it will enhance the reverent participation of the faithful at Holy Mass and increase their devotion to the Holy Eucharist.

This change will take effect beginning at all Masses of The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, 3 June 2018.

Upon receiving this letter, I contacted the Office of Divine Worship and spoke to Msgr. Gerard O’Connor regarding our specific situation at St. Anne and our reality of offering Mass in the Parish Center Sky Room.  I told him that we have been standing all through the Eucharistic Prayer due to our lack of kneelers and space.  He reaffirmed that we had been doing the appropriate liturgical response for our situation, and upon asking advice, he said that we should continue doing what we have already been doing until we move into our new church which will have pews with kneelers. So, please note that the above liturgical change won’t take place for St. Anne until September 1st when we have our Mass to dedicate our church. Both missions of St. Patrick of the Forest and Our Lady of the River have normal liturgical situations and are to follow the new norms beginning June 3rd, as prescribed in the communication from the Office of Divine Worship, above. 

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

Easter Season Reading

Easter Season Reading

Dear Parishioners,

Happy Easter season!  Yes!  Season! Our culture celebrated Easter and is now on to the next thing. We continue to celebrate and focus on the Resurrection of our Lord for 50 days until the Solemnity of Pentecost which is May 20th. Then we return back to Ordinary Time in Week seven. In the meantime, we will hear a healthy dose of the events that followed the Resurrection via the Acts of the Apostles, both in the weekly readings and Sunday readings at Mass. I recommend reading to that entire book at home so as to get a sense of continuity and the amazing faith of the Apostles and new Christians. Remember that this is our heritage. We have with us the successors of the Apostles today in our bishops and we celebrate the same Sacramental life that they did. You will also see who they held each other closely in their hearts.  You will read how powerfully the Holy Spirit moved in their midst. But, you will also read that they still had many trials issues and were persecuted. And while they had their own personal struggles with each other, they focused their energies at spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. While you read the book, here’s some questions to ponder:

  • What role did the Apostles play in the first Christian communities?
  • How did the Apostles get along with each other?
  • What power/authority did the Apostles demonstrate?
  • What are some of the issues the Apostles had to face?
  • What events paralleled things from Jesus’ life?
  • How did the Christian community help each other?
  • What fears/hardships were present in the Christian community?
  • How did they receive new-comers/strangers?
  • What healings/miracles occurred?
  • What healings do you see today? 
  • What cities were visited?
  • Who were converted?
  • Who did you relate to the most?
  • What does your reading call you to do?
  • How has your reading changed your view of the first Christian communities?

May this Easter season help raise your hearts and minds to the things beyond this world.  Despite the challenges of our own time and in our personal lives, I pray that this Easter time remind us all of the great things that went on in the early Church and still do today.

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

Easter Is All Around Us

Easter Is All Around Us

Dear Parishioners,

Happy Easter! Christ is risen! Alleluia! Alleluia! It is possible because Christ first suffered, died, and rose from the dead, making possible eternal life for us all. This process of suffering, death, and resurrection is also called the Paschal Mystery in theological terms. If we look about, it is all around us.

First, look at nature. Winter is officially ended (though maybe someone needs to remind Mother Nature), and from the places where dead plants and leaves once were, the first shoots of flowers are peaking through the soil and buds are clearly seen on the trees.

Look at our new church being built. This journey for our parish is not one simply of human hands, but of prayers, and most of all God’s blessing.  Despite our doubts and disbelief, God has made it possible.  But, we all had to make the journey of suffering, death, and resurrection: suffering in the sacrifice of financial giving to make a new church a reality, death to the old building as it was being demolished, and now we are experiencing the resurrection clearly seen by gazing at the bright yellow shell of a new building coming out of the ground.

Most importantly, look at our lives. All of us have come to us this Easter bearing the burdens of many sufferings and deaths. Loved ones have died since we were here last year. Close friends have moved away or we moved away. Some marriages have been struggling, or worse, broken apart. A new sickness or physical issue has made itself present. The faith of someone who is close has been shaken or abandoned. Again, all of us have come with suffering and death.  But, remember that this is not the end of the story. We must remember that our sufferings and deaths can be redemptive if we join the to that of Christ’s. As much as these things hurt, we must bring them to Him! How? Let him know of your pain. Just tell him. But, also listen and be open. Allow Jesus to touch that pain, so to begin the healing. Let Jesus into the death that has occurred so you can rise from your ashes. We must remember that our Lord desires to heal us. It is for this reason he came. He wants to give us a joy that is beyond our understanding and circumstances. We just need to let him in. By doing so, we can experience an Easter of our own, not despite our sufferings and deaths, but through them.

If you have been away from your Faith and the Church due to some kind of suffering, please return.  Know that our Lord has not abandoned you, but wants you to share your sufferings with him. He knows all of it. He walked that path before you. And he opened the way to rise above it. But, it requires letting go of control, anger, hurt, resentment, addiction, unforgiveness, fear, and past sins. The Sacrament of Reconciliation (aka Confession) is a good start. Regardless of what has kept you away, know that you are welcome to come home to your Church, your Faith, your Lord who is waiting for you with open arms.  If you’ve been away for so long that you are unsure how to return, we have a wonderful gathering that begins this Tuesday at 6:30 PM in room 1 of our Parish Center.  We call it, “Welcome Home Catholics,” and it is an informal way to explore the things that you may have forgotten or just need to be encouraged about. This Easter, come home.  Do not let anything get in your way. This may very well be the beginning of a new start of joy and meaning by reconnecting with your Faith.

Easter is all around us. It is in nature, our church, and deep in our lives.  A new beginning is before us. Through Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection, new possibilities of life and joy abound. Easter is a time to rejoice in this gift of Salvation. So it is right and just that we lift up our hearts and voices in praise, knowing that Christ has made all things new.  And we know that God wants us all to experience it, for Easter is all around us. Alleluia! Alleluia!

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

Invite Others Home

Invite Others Home

Dear Parishioners,

Blessed Palm Sunday!  May the passion of the Lord bring a renewed appreciation for what Jesus did for us. May all our pain and suffering transform us for the salvation of souls.  In that same vein, I want to encourage everyone this week to consider others who are suffering, especially those who have been away from the faith. We know true happiness because of faith.  But, many do not see it the same way. For many, someone within the Church has hurt them.  Others have hidden suffering which they prefer to hide and they think going to church will make the hurt all the worse. For some, it is more of a matter of just getting out of the habit.  Regardless of the reasons, I want to encourage you to seek out your friends and neighbors and invite them to join you for Easter Mass. If they are so interested, consider inviting them to Holy Thursday and Good Friday. For some people, all they need is a loving invitation. Let them know which time you will be going and even consider driving them and invite them to sit with you at Mass. Remove any barriers that may cause them hesitancy. You may be nervous to make the invitation, but just consider it a risk worth taking. Helping others come home for Easter may be the greatest thing you could have done for them. Helping them come home may have eternal consequences.  

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

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