Sunday, March 30, 2014
There have been many sacraments of forgiveness and reconciliation in the history of the Church. Private confession evolved during the Middle Ages and became dominant in the modern church. Baptism was the first sacramental ritual to be clearly associated with the forgiveness of sins. Those who were baptized believed themselves to be freed from their sinful past and reconciled with God.
In the earliest Church it was common for the community to ostracize those who refused correction by the community and continued to sin. But they could be brought back once they confessed their sin to the community and repented of it. St. Clement of Alexandria taught that a fallen Christian could be forgiven after their baptism – but only once, for to fall and repent repeatedly was seen to mock God’s mercy.
By the third century, a general pattern for public reconciliation of known sinners began to appear. Those who wanted to rejoin the community went to the bishop and confessed their error, but before they could be readmitted to the church they had to publically reform their lives. They were excluded from receiving the Eucharist until the community and bishop were convinced their change of heart was complete, and that could be a few weeks or a number of years. In some place penitents were required to stay away from public amusements; in others they were forbidden to hold public office.
In the Fifth Century, Pope Leo the First recognized that not just bishops, but also priests could intercede for the penitent and through God’s mercy offer forgiveness of sins.
Through the centuries the practice has been changed from the public acknowledgement of sin (which could be very humiliating) to private confession with a priest. Penance has gone from months or years of public reform to private acts. What hasn’t changed is the need for a contrite heart and true sorrow for our sins to receive forgiveness.
Whether we call it “Confession” or “Penance” or “Reconciliation” the Sacrament restores us to communion with God and our community from which sin separates us.
Our parish community will celebrate Reconciliation this coming Monday, March 31st at 7:00 PM. As in Lents past, we will have a number of priests available to hear your individual confessions. If you cannot make it to our service, the Lenten services at Holy Ghost, Assumption and Annunciation are listed in the Bulletin.
Sunday, March 23, 2014
Registering in a parish is a declaration of your desire to be part of a Catholic community and to make a commitment to the life of that specific parish. Unfortunately, it is becoming a common occurrence that when someone needs to obtain a letter of good standing from their pastor, they are surprised to find out that they are not registered!
When would you need a letter of good standing from your pastor?
· To become a sponsor for any sacrament, especially if you are going to another parish.
· To get on the archdiocesan speakers list as a speaker outside your own parish.
· To enter the diaconate formation program.
· To enter vowed religious formation.
· To request an apostolic blessing.
· To obtain a school subsidy from your parish for your child who is attending a Catholic school located in another parish.
The reasons some people are not registered are many but the two most common are first, some have been attending the same Catholic parish for years and they consider themselves part of the community; and second, there are those who have been confirmed, are out of high school, and are now adults no longer registered with their parents.
Why is it important to be registered? Ministries and the services a parish provides are driven by the number of registered households and the makeup of those households. It’s difficult to plan ministries, for instance to young adults, when only older adults are registered.
Why do some people resist registering in the parish? Some people do not want to receive envelopes for their donations. It may be that they are not able to give financially to the parish at this time, but most of us are able to contribute some of our time or our talent instead. It was not part of the culture of some of our newly arrived immigrant brothers and sisters, and some people may not feel comfortable providing personal information. For those who are uncomfortable registering, for whatever reason, we encourage you to speak with Father Tim or Father Tom.
If you’re uncertain whether you are registered or not, or you’d like to register, we encourage you to visit our website, www.RisenSaviorCC.org, and click on the “register online” link. It’s easy and will take only a few moments of your time.
Sunday, March 16, 2014
Here we are, 10 days into our 40 day celebration of Lent, which began on Ash Wednesday. Many people over the years have taken their calendar off the wall and counted the days and have found that 40 days doesn’t bring us all the way to Easter. When that happens, many people begin to make up explanations and computations to stretch the 40 days to fit between Ash Wednesday and Easter.
One explanation that has been offered over the years is that Sundays aren’t counted in Lent. The explanation says that because on Sunday we celebrate the resurrection of the Lord, we are called to be joyful, not penitent or reflective. Some even pick up the bad habits they said they would put down for Lent on Sundays because, they claim, Sundays don’t count.
Lent is a time of penitence and introspection during which we take stock of our lives and our relationships to discover what we must change in ourselves to prepare to be truly ready to meet the Risen Savior on Easter.
What most of us miss is that the number 40 is mystical, not literal. It reminds us of Moses’ 40 years in the desert, the prophet Elijah’s 40 day fast and our Lord’s own 40 days of prayer and fasting in the desert. The number 40 in Hebrew numerology always signifies a trial, so to say something lasted 40 days meant that it was a difficult period not that it was 5 weeks and 5 days long.
We are called to look more to the spirit of the law and less to the letter of the law. Just as Jesus himself railed against those who prided themselves in living the letter of the law without examining where their hearts were; we are challenged to live by the spirit of our laws. The first day of Lent began on Ash Wednesday, and the 40th day of Lent is Palm Sunday; but the season of preparation for our Lord’s Resurrection doesn’t end there: we move right from Palm Sunday into Holy Week.
It’s only natural for us to want to put away the inspection of our lives that we’ve been doing. After all, introspection, when done sincerely, is difficult work.
We are given 40 days, plus Holy Week to ask ourselves what can be hard questions: “How aware am I of sin’s power in my life?”, “How aware am I of my personal sin?”, “Am I ready to let God evaluate my life?”, and maybe the most difficult question for some of us, “Am I ready to open my heart to God’s forgiveness?”
Whether we count Lent at 40 days with Sundays off for good behavior, or 46 days with our Holy Week sacrifices, our journey this season through meditation, contemplation and vocal prayer, allows us to be humbled before the Lord our God.
Sunday, March 9, 2014
One of the traditions often practiced in a communal way during Lent is the devotion called Stations of the Cross. In most Catholic parishes you will see, along the walls, a series of artistic representations of Jesus on his way to the Crucifixion. Typically, these are placed at intervals along the side walls of the church, and in most churches these are small plaques with reliefs, paintings or wood carvings.
Since the 17th century, the Stations of the Cross have consisted of fourteen pictures or sculptures depicting scenes of the trail of Jesus; his journey to
his crucifixion, death and burial.
Out of these fourteen traditional Stations of the Cross, only eight are found in scripture. The biblical accounts in the gospels never mention Jesus falling, nor do any of the evangelists mention Jesus meeting His mother or Veronica on his way to Golgotha. Station Thirteen, in many depictions, shows Jesus' body being taken from the cross and laid in the arms of Mary, although biblical accounts state that Joseph of Arimathea secured permission to take Jesus from the cross and bury him. These scenes are included out of tradition.
The Stations of the Cross originated in pilgrimages to Jerusalem. The devotion of the Via Dolorosa, the way of sorrow, was probably developed by the Franciscans after they were granted administration of the Christian holy places in
in 1342. The Franciscans then began to
build a series of shrines in Europe to duplicate those in the Holy Land. These were usually placed along the approach
to a church. Eventually, churches began
to put smaller versions inside or outside their buildings. Jerusalem
Stations of the Cross may be prayed at any time, but is most commonly done during the season of Lent. Risen Savior holds Stations of the Cross on Friday evenings at 6:30 PM. This powerful devotion helps the faithful to make a spiritual pilgrimage of prayer by meditating on Christ's suffering and death.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
We’ve learned that the Liturgy is the public worship of the Church and that the Liturgy of the Word, the Liturgy of the Eucharist, and the Liturgy of the Hours are the church’s three primary liturgies. The planning and implementation of these acts of public worship does not happen by itself. In smaller parishes the pastor normally plans the weekday and Sunday Masses, Feast Days, weddings, funerals, Quinceañeras, and other worship events in the life of the parish. As parishes grow it often becomes necessary to bring in a person who is specially trained to prepare our worship celebrations. That person is referred to as a Liturgist.
The Liturgist directs the parish’s worship programs, plans for the different liturgical seasons such as Lent and Easter, prepares sacramental celebrations and coordinates the sung prayer of the Mass. They provide leadership and training to the liturgical ministers as well as coordinate the clergy, lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, servers, musicians, sacristans, and ushers.
They oversee the décor and maintain the sacred vessels and vestments used in our worship. They also recruit and train people for liturgical ministries.
On top of all these duties, a liturgist coordinates the development of the liturgical spirit of the parish and fosters an atmosphere of hospitality and harmony between the various ministries and the clergy.
Risen Savior is proud to announce that we have hired a Liturgist. Beginning Monday, Mr. Kevin Newman will join our staff. Most recently Mr. Newman has been at the Shrine of St. Bernadette’s here in Albuquerque. He holds a Master’s Degree in Organ Performance and brings 20 years of experience with him. We invite you to welcome and get to know Kevin. He’s a valuable resource who will help us maintain the beauty of our liturgies and help us grow them to new heights.