Liturgy Notes

Advent wreath

By Paul Turner

An Advent wreath symbolizes our longing for the coming of Christ. The wreath is a circle of evergreen branches into which are set four candles. Traditionally three candles are violet and one is rose, but four violet or four white candles may also be used.

The wreath symbolizes many things. Evergreens signify God’s enduring promise of redemption, evident like green branches in the midst of snow. The circle signifies our hope for the return of Christ, whose kingdom will have no end.

"No one who waits for You is ever put to shame."
  – Entrance Antiphon

The colors of the candles match the traditional colors of the vesture for the four Sundays of Advent. Violet garments signify our penitent hope for salvation. The rose color, which may be worn on Advent’s Third Sunday, signals that the season is nearly over – joy is at hand!

The wreath’s most luminous symbol is its growing light. One candle is lit on the First Sunday of Advent; two on the Second, three on the Third and all four on the Fourth. In the northern hemisphere, Advent comes at a time when the days decrease to their shortest length. As the hours of darkness increase, we light more candles on the wreath. The wreath, which symbolizes the coming of Christ, grows in intensity as the anniversary of Jesus’ birth draws near.

The Advent wreath may be used at home or at church. It should be blessed on the First Sunday of Advent after the homily at Mass, at evening prayer Saturday night, or during a prayer service including biblical readings and Advent songs. At home, the wreath could be blessed by a family member and lit during the evening meal, to remind every one of the true meaning of this holy season.
Copyright © 2006 Resource Publications, Inc ., 160 E. Virginia St. #290, San Jose, CA 95112, (408) 286-8505, Paul Turner, pastor of St. Munchin Parish in Cameron, Mo.
Advent – We hope, we prepare.
The season of Advent begins November 28. It is a time of hope, preparation, and anticipation. Advent makes us think about the two comings of Jesus.

He came first in a humble birth at Bethlehem and He will come again in glory at the end of time. For centuries, the church has used the Advent Wreath as a sign of this waiting. For many, stained glass subtly awakens a spirituality, peace, and comfort within them; just look at our windows.

The plants are more subtle as we hold back and await the joys of Christmas. The prayers we share convey a sense of hope and anticipation. And we begin each week with music that is soft and familiar,
planned to help us prepare and wait.

There is enough excitement and chaos going on around us at this time of the year. We hope and pray that as we worship together with the sights and sounds around us, the season of Advent can remain alive in our hearts for the next four weeks.

Advent notice: Special family packs of resources are available in the narthex of church. They include a variety of advent materials for children and parents. Please call the Faith Formation Office at (727) 821-0155 for more information.

Catholic TV

Visits to the sick

By Paul Tanner

When a member of our church falls ill, our thoughts often turn to the priest. He alone can administer the sacrament of the sick with blessed oil. He alone grants forgiveness in the sacrament of reconciliation.

But anyone can visit the sick. Even you. You probably do already, but you may not realize that you may act as a minister of the church while you’re there.

All the church’s official prayers for the sick come from a book called Pastoral Care of the Sick: Rites of Anointing and Viaticum. It has chapters describing how the priest anoints. But it opens with a chapter on visits to the sick. A priest may visit the sick, but so may any lay person.

“Those who visit the sick should help them to pray, sharing with them the word of God proclaimed in the assembly from which their sickness has separated them” (46).

The liturgy is very simple. The minister may invite everyone to observe silence. Then someone reads a passage from the Bible. You may choose Acts 3:1-10 or Matthew 8:14-17, or one of the Scriptures from Sunday, or any other passage of significance to the household.

This is followed by a responsorial psalm, such as 102 or 27. The minister may then give an explanation of the readings and apply them to the needs of the sick and the caregivers. All pray the Lord’s Prayer.

The minister concludes with a prayer and blessing, perhaps tracing the sign of the cross on the forehead of the sick person.

In these ways you can bring the liturgy of the church to those who are separated from the assembly of believers.

Copyright © 2006 Resource Publications, Inc ., 160 E. Virginia St. #290, San Jose, CA 95112, (408) 286-8505, Paul Turner, pastor of St. Munchin Parish in Cameron, Mo.

 Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest
All Souls Day by French naturalist painter Jules Bastien-Lepage (c. 1882).

The solemnity of All Souls

By Paul Tanner

Crisp autumn chill penetrates our sweater-wrapped bodies to remind us of our weakness before the power of nature. As leaves fall from trees, plants die and animals retreat, we feel the impending threat of death, which waits to take us home.

During this season of the northern hemisphere’s year, the church celebrates the feast of All Souls. As our bodies and minds resign themselves to the inevitable cessation of life, our church calendar brings forth a somber feast to fit our temperament these increasingly darkened days.

The solemnity of All Souls comes as a sequel to that of All Saints. Having commemorated all the blessed who enjoy the face of God in their death, we turn our thoughts to the other souls who await the fullness of God’s glory. The sequence of these two feasts implies a belief that those who have lived lives of holiness enjoy God’s presence and can intercede for us before the throne of God.

The feasts also imply that others, having lived more sinful lives, still await that glory. These are the dead we remember every November 2 – members of our families, friends, the lonely and forgotten, and public figures who have touched our lives. On this day we pray that God will have mercy on them and grant them the vision of blessedness for which they longed.

The liturgy for this day still offers three Masses. When the church created this feast in the middle ages, it became so popular that priests were given the unusual permission to celebrate three Masses that day. The permission remains, as do the separate texts for the Masses, even though not every parish takes advantage of the permission. The readings are drawn from the collection of texts we use for funerals.

When the church gathers for prayer on November 2, we still remember the faithful departed, even when it falls on a Sunday. Those who assisted us in life receive assistance from us in their death. This feast celebrates our union with the church in every place and beyond all time.

Copyright ©1997 Resource Publications, Inc., 160 E. Virginia St. #290, San Jose, CA 95112, (408) 286-8505, Paul Turner, pastor of St. Munchin Parish in Cameron, Mo.

The origin of All Saints Day and All Souls Day

This is a piece called The Forerunners of Christ with Saints and Martyrs. It is one of five panels in a work called Fiesole San Domenico Altarpiece. It was painted by Father Angelico in about 1423-24. Martyrs are shown holding palms. Female saints are shown in the bottom row. Father Angelico was one of the principal painters of the Early Renaissance in Florence. This work was painted for the Friary of San Domenico at Fiesole near Florence. You can learn more about this painting and the others with it at The National Gallery in London.

What All Saints Day means
In designating one day on our calendar for all the saints, the church chooses a time to honor our heroes – the men and women whose example we admire. Coming near the end of the church year, the solemnity of All Saints invites us into the mystery of death and the promise of eternal life.

An early tradition placed the festival on May 13. According to one story, Pope Boniface IV (himself a saint) began the celebration in Rome. On that date in 609 he dedicated a very old building as a new church. The Pantheon had been built to honor all the pagan gods, but Boniface rededicated the building as a Christian church in the seventh century.

He brought the relics of the martyrs from the catacombs to this famous public place of worship. The parade of relics changed the Pantheon from a place for worship of all the pagan gods to a place that honored Mary and all the Christian saints – and in turn the one Christian God. Eventually the idea of a feast of all saints was transferred to Nov. 1, near the end of the church year.

The church honors many saints with a day of their own on the general liturgical calendar, but there are many more saints than those. Since Vatican II, the number of men and women canonized as saints has increased considerably. Although we do not celebrate all their names on specific dates in all our churches throughout the year, we do gather them as one on this day.

Secular tradition has turned the eve of All Saints into a kind of antifestival, a night when heroes of the underworld take command. The Mass for All Saints Day always replaces the one for ordinary time, even when it falls on a Sunday.

What the deacon wears: a dalmatic
In the last few weeks some have asked why the deacon is dressed like the priest.
The vestments are different; the priest wears a chasuble and the deacons wear a
dalmatic during the celebration of the Eucharist. Although they look similar, they
are different. This article explains it a bit more.

By Paul Turner

Today the dalmatic is not the sort of garment you expect to see outside of a church service, but when it first appeared in third-century Rome from Dalmatia across the Adriatic Sea (the same place credited with a breed of dog made famous when 101 of them barked across movie screens), the garment made quite a fashion statement and senators adopted it as a sign of their rank.

A calf-length tunic, wide at the sleeves, worn without a belt, it caused some scandal before bishops and deacons started wearing it as well. By the 11th century, the church designated the dalmatic as a vestment proper to them.

Worn over the alb, the dalmatic looks a lot like a chasuble, the outer vestment worn by the priest when he celebrates the Eucharist. It adopts the same color and often the same material as the chasuble. Many early examples sported two stripes from front to back across the shoulders.

But the big difference in these vestments is sleeves. A chasuble is completely open from hands to floor, but a dalmatic has sleeves. Many people don’t notice the difference. For this reason, many deacons opt to wear the stole without the dalmatic because the deacon’s stole, cutting across the body at an angle and dropping in a dogleg near the knee, is more visibly distinct.

Although the dalmatic is generally identified with deacons, it remains a vestment that may be worn by bishops as well. When a bishop vests for a solemn service, he may wear the dalmatic under the chasuble, and in fact was required to do so for almost the past thousand years. Today he may omit the dalmatic for a good reason, and many bishops have dispensed with it as unnecessary.

During the ordination ceremony, the deacon formally receives his dalmatic, and it is placed on him by an assisting deacon or priest. By this investiture, the garment becomes a symbol of his role within the community.

Copyright © 2003 Resource Publications, Inc., 160 E. Virginia St. #290, San Jose, CA 95112, (408) 286-8505, Paul Turner, pastor of St. Munchin Parish in Cameron, Mo.

Photos: Top, Deacon Jim wears a dalmatic and Father Dominic wears a chasuble. Note the sleeves on the dalmatic. There are no sleeves on a chasuble. Bottom, Deacon Jim sometimes wears a stole. Stoles were once also worn by bishops. | Photos by Jane Winstead

Four parts of the Mass
Growing up before Vatican Council II, we were taught that the significant elements of the Mass were the offertory, consecration, and communion. A latecomer on Sunday morning had “missed mass” technically if he or she was not present for any of these moments.

After the council, the Liturgy of the Word, which was always a part of the Eucharist, took on a new emphasis. And so the important elements were explained to be the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

The new look had the purpose of emphasizing that Christ is fully present in both the Eucharist and in Scripture.

There are two additional parts which are added to encompass the entire liturgy in four parts:  
• GATHERING (Preparation and Introductory Rites) 
• LISTENING (Word, Creed, and Intercessions)
• RESPONDING (Eucharistic Prayer and Communion)  
• SENDING FORTH (Blessing and being sent or missioned)

So if someone were to ask you for the essential elements of the Mass, these four would be a good answer.
– Ministry Resource 2010

Times of Silence
Silence is an important part of the liturgy.

The period of silence during the Penitential Act gives us the opportunity to consider our gratitude for God’s mercy.

Silence after the “Let us pray” gives us an opportunity to personalize the prayers by adding our own intentions for the liturgy.

Silence helps us to listen to God’s Word. Not only does our attentive silence during the reading help us to hear and the lector to proclaim, but silence following the reading gives us time to listen and let our hearts respond to the Scripture we have heard.

The Word of God can have a greater power to move our hearts if we take the time after a Scripture passage is read to really listen to our hearts and allow the message to sink in and translate its meaning to our life.

The same is true of silence after the homily. Silence after all have received communion allows us time for personal thanksgiving.
– Ministry Resource 2010