The new October Ministry schedules are available here or at the entrances of the church.
This is the weekend that we are asking for pledges for the Annual Bishop's Appeal. Our parish, of course, provides many different ministries and services in the name of Christ. When we make sacrifices for our parish we are doing so for a lot of different important ministries. However, there are many ministries and services which are simply too big to be offered at a parish level. The Bishop's Appeal helps us, as Catholics, to work together to help with the needs of the Church. I ask you to be as generous as you can.
The Annual Bishop's Appeal campaign is now beginning. Next weekend we will show the Appeal video before Mass begins and offer a chance to fill out pledge cards. You will enjoy the video this year... it features our own parish deacon and his prison ministry. Through the Bishop's Appeal we support many different ministries in the Church. I have already made my pledge, and I encourage everyone to bring this to prayer and be as generous as you can.
Pope Francis calls for prayer and fasting, schedules prayer vigil.
In the wake of the ongoing devastating violence in Syria, Pope Francis made an urgent and adamant plea for peace on Sept. 1. The pope called for a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria, the Mideast Region and the entire world on Saturday, Sept. 7. People will gather in St. Peter's Square from 7 to 11 p.m. (1 to 5 p.m. EDT), and the pope invited local churches to do the same. The Vatican event will include the rosary, Eucharistic adoration, Scripture readings and a blessing and remarks from Pope Francis.
The day of prayer will take place on the vigil of the feast of the birthday of Mary, Queen of Peace. In a special way, Pope Francis urged the faithful to invoke her intercession.
Join Pope Francis in working for the "precious gift" of peace here at St. Therese, Little Flower on Saturday, September 7th from 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. for Eucharistic Adoration.
I thank everyone for the cooperation and the understanding in the matter of kneeling and standing at Mass. It isn't always easy to change, but I am grateful for the reactions of good will. Once a few weeks have passed and this has become routine, I think that we will be able to focus a little better on our prayer without thinking about our posture. My hope too is that this will allow us to be a more comfortable and inviting parish for guests. If we all wait and stand until we are done singing the Great Amen and then kneel after we sing the Lamb of God, we will be better united in prayer with one another and also with the Church around the world.
When a new pastor is assigned to a parish, there is a little ceremony which takes place during Mass called an installation. Monsignor Schooler, the regional vicar of this part of the diocese, will represent the bishop on Saturday, October 26, at the 5:30 Mass to officially install me as pastor. I will be asked to repeat my priestly vows in front of the parish, to present the parish staff and the parish council, and then to lead the people in the Creed.
Be sure to check the excellent new parish website at the same address as our old website, www.littleflowerchurch.org. We also have a new Facebook page. We thank those who have worked so hard to improve our communication.
I have found the liturgy in our parish to be beautiful. The singing and participation and attentiveness are wonderful, the reverence is obvious, and the Spirit is clearly working. Having been here now for a month, I find it a joy to pray here.
There is a change, though, that I would like to see in our parish liturgy. After the Lamb of God is sung, the practice in our parish has been to remain standing, and then to continue standing until everyone has finished Communion. I would like to ask that we change that practice, and instead kneel after the Lamb of God is sung. Let me share my rationale.
For many years, I think that standing was a reasonable option. The official instructions for the Mass are found in a document called the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. For several decades these instructions did not make it clear if people were supposed to stand or kneel at that point. In some dioceses, the bishops gave their own instructions, asking all of their parishes to do the same thing, either standing or kneeling. In our diocese, most parishes knelt, but I don't recall ever hearing an official position from our bishop.
However, the GIRM was revised a few years ago. The new instructions state that when the Lamb of God is complete, we should kneel (GIRM #43.) As the priest holds up the consecrated Host and announces "Behold the Lamb of God," there is a moment of adoration. The new instructions direct us to kneel.
These instructions (GIRM #42) also make the point that we should be unified in our posture. If some are standing and some are kneeling, we are left watching each other and wondering what to do, rather than focusing on prayer. I am seeing that. It was especially obvious on our recent holy day when we had many visitors. After the Lamb of God, there was much bobbing up and down as people were looking around and trying to decide what they should do. This was surely a distraction from our focused prayer.
As a benefit, I think that this change will allow us better hospitality. We can be a parish with unique character, but we should be a parish in which visitors are completely comfortable joining us at Mass. I have had visitors who were uncomfortable enough that they stopped me after Mass to ask about this.
One last note: we have many people for whom kneeling is not an option. For those with bad knees or problems with balance, please do not worry. A person can pray just as reverently while seated as kneeling, and very few others will notice that difference. The Lord sees what is in our hearts.
I was edified to see the numbers of people here for Holy Day Masses. That is a good sign of a vibrant parish life of faith.
I have now had my first official parish Staff Meeting and parish Liturgy Committee meeting. I have a meeting scheduled with the parish Finance Committee and will very soon have a Parish Pastoral Council organized. Things are off and running.