Saturday, October 09, 2004

You asked for it; You got it! Pt. 1

As Fr. H mentioned I am beginning a full scale assualt on people's ignorance of the wondrous gift of the Holy Eucharist. I include my own ignorance and laxity in this assualt as well, just so you won't think that I am playing favorites. Here is the bulletin insert I put in this week.

On this year’s feast of Corpus Christi, the Holy Father declared, that from October 2004 to October 2005, the Church would celebrate a Holy Year dedicated to the Most Holy Eucharist. As the Second Vatican Council pointed out, the Holy Eucharist is the source and the summit of our Christian Faith. It is the source because Christ is truly, really, and substantially present under the appearances of bread and wine. It is the summit because in the Holy Eucharist we have our union with Christ made more perfect. It is this union that we were made by God, to know Him, to love Him, to serve Him, and to be happy with Him forever in Heaven. The Holy Eucharist is the sacramental foretaste of this.

To that end, here in the parishes of Sacred Heart, St. Cornelius, Our Mother of Mercy, there will be many events, small and large, that will lead us to a greater appreciation of the gift of the Most Holy Eucharist.

First, the small things. One of the key elements to fostering Eucharistic devotion is silence. The most recent General Instruction for the Roman Missal (2000) reminded us of this fact. We all have to bear in mind that our churches are places of encounter. Even if there is no one else present in the church, Christ’s presence abides in the Blessed Sacrament. Therefore, we are never alone and we should maintain a respectful silence in deference to the One who is present to us. Also, during the celebration of the Holy Mass, the liturgy re-presents to us the Paschal Mystery, the Death and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, the liturgy is punctuated with silence so that we may unite ourselves to the Mystery at the heart of the Holy Mass. We hope to make this more apparent during the parishes’ Holy Masses. The other small thing we are going to do as a parish is to recite together a prayer of thanksgiving after Holy Mass. I am always appreciative when people thank me for celebrating Mass. When I hear this though, I am reminded of the fact that I am not the source of the Holy Mass; Christ is. The priest is only the unprofitable servant who is doing what he is obliged to do (Luke 17:10). Therefore, we are doing ourselves a disservice if we don’t spend time in thanksgiving both after Communion and after the Holy Mass. After Mass, at the conclusion of the concluding hymn, the assembled congregation will recite together the Prayer to Saint Michael. The prayer is included in the blue hymnal.
Next week, we will go over the big events for this Holy Year.

When my parishioners come into the church this weekend and throughout the year of the Holy Eucharist, they will be greeted with the following sign:

This is the threshold of Heaven
and the very House of God.
Please Maintain Respectful Silence
in the Church in deference
to those who are praying and
to Our Lord
in the Blessed Sacrament.

I put those who are praying first because most people will have difficulty abstracting the notion that Christ is present in a real way in the Tabernacle. Call it playing to their strengths...

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