Returning to our series on the Mass, we have come to one of the most meaningful moments. It is called the EPICLESIS. During the EPICLESIS the priest prays not only with his voice, but also with a gesture his hands make as he lifts them (palms down) high, and lowers them slowly with a downward motion calling down the Holy Spirit over the gifts of bread and wine we have brought, that they may become the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. An altar server rings the bell as if to say, Wake up! Pay attention! Something sacred is happening in the invisible world!
As the priest prays, we ask the Holy Spirit to come down into our hearts, to dwell in our bodies that have become his tabernacle and to make Christ present in us like He did with Mary.READ MORE
When we were baptized, we were baptized into Christ’s death. Take a moment to ponder these profound words. We were baptized into death. In every sense of the word, we are asked to die. This is not just about our final death but about daily deaths due to inconvenience, discomfort, pain, loss, or others’ needs. This is an incredible epiphany given the way we very often approach our lives. We do everything to avoid death, let alone encounter it! Many avoid pain, discomfort, inconvenience, uneasiness, change, interference, and suffering of any kind. We put a lot of energy into finding the easiest and least inconvenient way through many things. Even holding the door open for a stranger or saying hello to someone in the store can be major undertakings.READ MORE
I hope that you are doing great during this challenging times. Today I would like to share some encouraging news.
Today, I would like to talk about the tangible/ material things. It is almost one year since Fr. Christopher and myself arrived at this beautiful community. We, along with Fr. Mario, all our deacons, parish and school staff, committed parishioners, donors and volunteers began last year with all the energy to make our parish a better house of prayer for giving Glory to God. Even in the midst of this pandemic, we haven’t stopped working for you and we continue making improvements for our beautiful parish.READ MORE
It is no wonder that followers of Christ are called the Body of Christ. After all, sharing in the same spiritual food and sacred meal, they become what they eat and reveal the Divine Image. There is so much power for healing in the community of believers. Through the Eucharist, Christ becomes as present in those who have partaken of his Body and Blood as he has the elements themselves. The very presence of God touches the depths of the human soul and visits a part of us that no human being can ever hope to explore. We are God’s. The sacred Eucharistic meal is a celebration of intimacy, the reunion of two loves in constant search of and longing for the other.READ MORE
A well-choreographed dance can be truly inspirational. Each movement and step are interconnected, each contributing a piece of the unfolding artistic story. The beholder is caught up in the rhythms, music, and gestures, realizing that none are dispensable and all are necessary. The same is true of the Divine Dance of the Trinity. Each Person plays a part, using unique gestures and movements that are connected to the other Divine Partners. They tell a story of love. Every movement and step is born of love and flows on into eternity. The Divine Dance never ends.
God the Creator powerfully, yet with gentle love, leads. Creating and recreating, birthing and sustaining, He dances with the compassionate incarnate Son, guided by the breath of the Holy Spirit. They are three distinct Persons but move as One. On one hand, the cascading flow of their Presence appears motionless, yet on the other, flows and moves with effortless attention. They share one heart, one goal, and one purpose and invite all of creation to join in their dance, their joy.READ MORE
As we continue our series on the Mass we move from the THANKSGIVING & PREFACE to the SANCTUS or HOLY, HOLY, HOLY . . .
This familiar prayer unites our human voices to the voices of heaven’s angels so we can together proclaim God’s holiness.
We are to think, as we pray, about God’s perfection, beauty, and his holiness. We use our imaginations to envision the hosts or armies of angels gathered around the altar. If we could see them, we would be astounded!
As we cry “Hosanna” in the highest, the angels are praying with us. Hosanna means “Lord, save us!”
Let this prayer be the cry of your heart especially on this day when we begin the first of eight Masses offering the Sacraments of Initiation to the children of our community.READ MORE
Following the INVITATION TO PRAYER which we considered last week, is the THANKSGIVING in which the priest invites us to “lift up your hearts”. When we hear these words, we ought to bring ourselves to attention, and do our best to ignore any distracting thoughts.
Next the priest says, “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God” and we respond that “it is right and just”. Our response reminds us that God deserves our thanks so much that it’s impossible to thank him too much. The THANKSGIVING is followed by the PREFACE which the priest says on behalf of all of us.
The PREFACE begins “It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation . . .” The words that follow change according to the mystery we celebrate that day. For example, on this Pentecost Sunday, the PREFACE reads: “It is truly right and just, always and everywhere to give you thanks,READ MORE
You can feel so small standing by the seashore. The vastness of all that is before you expands much farther than your eye can see. What is happening on the other side? As tides continue to ebb and flow, what occurs as they come and go remains largely a mystery and the effects of their presence unknown in your sight. Yet, things are moving and changing as you gaze upon the water, as the thumbprint of their presence is left behind. The greater the wind and wave, the greater the effect. But even a gentle breeze leaves its humble mark upon the seashore on which you stand. The smallest pebble still makes a ripple in the great blue expanse of ocean waters. It doesn’t need to be big.READ MORE
Last week we considered the PREPARATION OF THE GIFTS and how we silently place our suffering, joys, work and play on the paten and in the chalice to be transformed in Christ.
Next is the INVITATION TO PRAYER . The priest invites us to pray in a way that is spoken more like a command than an invitation. “Pray, brethren (brothers and sisters), that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God the almighty Father.”
This invitation from the priest for us to join him in prayer teaches us to support our priest with our prayers. We spiritually unite with the priest in humbly asking God to accept all that we offer.READ MORE
What does faith and religion do for us? Ultimately, they remind us of some truths we conveniently forget: we are created by a loving God, we have imperfections, we sin, we need to be forgiven, we have a mission and a purpose, it’s not just about us, and we hunger for the joy of salvation. These are human truths that are not dependent upon whether we like them. Ignoring them places us on the paths of comfort and satisfaction as we blindly pursue the busyness and superficiality of our empty lives. Instead of pursuing supernatural and lasting pleasure, we choose things that are easier and quicker to obtain: sex, drugs, travel, houses, cars, fame, popularity, self-achievement and satisfaction, physical enjoyment, and the like.READ MORE
I would like to begin with a petition. Please pay for the residents of Glencroft retirement center as they have been suffering from cases of Covid19. May the Lord soon stop the spreading of the virus and may Our Lady intercede for them.
In a more positive approach, I would like to share with you the good news that last Sunday we started giving communion to our parishioners who were watching our 10:00 am mass via social media. Approximately around 160 to 200 parishioners came to receive the Eucharist. I was so moved to see the love you have for the Lord. It was great to see those who came. On the same note, let me share with you that we will gradually open our church with more masses. We will do it in phases. According to the diocesan directives, right now, we can only accommodate less than 25% of the church capacity. So in order to do this, now we start offering three masses on Sunday: 8:00 am mass in English; 10:00 am streamed mass bilingual and 1:00 pm mass in Spanish. All here at the main church. But have patience with us because we only can accommodate limited parishioners.READ MORE
In our series on the Mass, we have discussed the Liturgy of the Word, which is made up of the PROCESSION, SIGN OF THE CROSS AND GREETING, PENITENTIAL ACT AND CONFITEOR, GLORIA,COLLECT, 1ST READING, RESPONSORIAL PSALM, 2ND READING, ALLELUIA GOSPEL, HOMILY, CREED, and PRAYERS OF THE FAITHFUL.
Two weeks ago, we began the Liturgy of the Eucharist. First was the OFFERTORY PROCESSION, then PREPARATION OF THE ALTAR.
Today we ponder the PREPARATION OF THE GIFTS during which the priest talks to God about the gifts we bring. He mixes a drop of water into the wine in the chalice and silently prays these words: By the mystery of this water in wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity.READ MORE
In our series on the parts of the Mass last week we considered the OFFERTORY PROCESSION. Now we take a look at the PREPARATION OF THE ALTAR.
Altar servers bring the Sacred Vessels to the priest or deacon and he arranges them on the altar. The chalice and paten are made of precious metal. Some of the most beautiful materials of the earth are chosen to hold the Body and Blood of our Lord.
It’s tempting to “zone out” as the deacon or priest arranges the vessels on the altar, but we can watch attentively as the deacon or priest arranges the vessels.
Notice how he carefully unfolds a pure white cloth called a corporal and places it beneath the paten and chalice. He places a purificator nearby to absorb any tiny spills of the wine and water which will become Christ’s Body and Blood and also to clean the chalice after communion.READ MORE
When earthly lives end, especially when the person is younger, we tend to focus upon and consider what was lost. We think of lost opportunities — things they won’t be able to see, babies they won’t be able to cradle, and adventures that now must go undiscovered. Our minds create this chasm between earth and heaven that sees the losses of this life as permanent ones, never possible to achieve again. This perception causes many folks to remain stuck in their grief as they ponder all of the missed opportunities and regrets.
This is not resurrection thinking. All of the love that we can give and receive, the joy and elation that can be experienced, the adventures that can be undertaken, and the possibilities to be discovered are all part of a continuous journey. They are not ends in and of themselves but are all part of the unfolding of a relationship we have with God, who not only makes all of these wonderful things possible now but sustains them and fulfills them into eternity. The perception and experience of loss is really an illusion, because in God’s eternal kingdom and in God’s time, nothing is ever lost. Even the most intimate and tender of moments we can conceive of sharing with another human being are only part of a journey toward perfect intimate and tender moments to be shared with God in our resurrected life. We become like God and see God as He is in eternity. What greater joy, love, and hope can ever be discovered as we walk down our often dimly lit paths in this world.READ MORE
Last week we discussed the PRAYERS OF THE FAITHFUL The part of the Mass we focus on today is the OFFERTORY PROCESSION.
A family from our parish presents the bread and wine to the priest while a hymn is sung. The family is one of us and we unite our hearts with their actions as we sing the hymn.
Think of how the bread began as a grain of wheat planted in the ground by a farmer and how many people (those who harvested the grain, those who ground it into flour. those who baked the bread and transported it) have collaborated in bringing the bread to the altar. The same is true of the wine. It began with the planting of grapevines in a vineyard so many years ago. People tended, harvested and pressed the grapes and made them into wine.
When we present the “fruit of the earth and work of human hands” we bring all we have and all we are, indeed, all creation to be transformed by the Holy Spirit whom the priest will soon call down over the gifts.READ MORE
May the peace of God be with you. Happy Easter!!
Today I would like to share with you that the good Lord loves you with infinite love. He, more than us, is thirsty for your love and patiently awaiting for the time He will have communion with you. He, more than us, is awaiting eagerly for your return to Holy Mass like a father awaits for his absent children. So thank you for your patience but we believe that many good spiritual things will come out of these restrictions.
Today I would like to cheer you up. We at the parish and school, and with the help of many volunteers, are working tiredly to serve you better. Let me begin by updating you on the good things that we are currently doing. We want to see how are you doing and see if there is anything we can do for you. We did this by setting up a group of volunteers that had the task to phone call our parishioners. Yes we have done many phone calls. Even a man from New Mexico received a phone call from us and he was very appreciative although he has never been at our parish. I think it was the Holy Spirit. In case you haven’t received a call from us, please let us know and we gladly would like to check on you.READ MORE