Our community decided in 2008 that the mission of our parish was life-long learning. Everything we do centers around teaching the depth and richness of the Roman Catholic Faith. Our weekly 3-Minute Catechesis is read from the Ambo prior to Mass beginning. A written copy is made available in our weekly bulletin along with additional information for those who want to learn more. Visit us online at www.risensaviorcc.org for more information.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Beginning With Thanks

When we gather for Mass, we gather to give God thanks and praise.  At the beginning of Mass we begin with two elements that reflect thanks and praise; they are the Penitential Rite and the Glory to God.
It can be easy to misunderstand the purpose of the Penitential Rite at Mass.  The Penitential Rite is neither a replacement for the Sacrament of Reconciliation (which is why we don’t make the sign-of-the-cross at the end of it), nor is it about making us feel terrible about our sinfulness.  That would not help us to enter into a spirit of celebration as we begin the Mass.
While we do acknowledge our sinfulness, we do so in light of the wonder of God’s forgiveness.  The emphasis is less on our sins than it is on God’s merciful love.  We are here because God has forgiven our sins.  We are here because of God’s grace poured out in our lives.  We don’t deserve this gift, but we rejoice in God’s goodness and love.
Because of this, the Penitential Rite serves to remind us of a basic reason we have to give thanks to God.  The emphasis is on the reconciliation Christ has won for us rather than on our sins.  Listen, for example, to the language used for the third form of the Penitential Rite:
You were sent to heal the contrite;
you came to call sinners;
you plead for us at the Father’s right hand;
The Penitential Rite always focuses on God’s forgiveness.  This gives us good reason to give God thanks.
Sometimes, like during the Easter Season, we replace the Penitential Rite with the Sprinkling Rite.  This ritual action reminds us of our baptism, which freed us from the power of sin and made us God’s adopted children.  This rite, too, leads us to express our gratitude to God for forgiveness and for new life.

Most Sundays after the Penitential or Sprinkling Rite we take time to praise God with the ancient hymn known as the Gloria.  This is a song of almost pure praise to God, with only two general requests for God to have mercy on us and to hear our prayer.  It reminds us of the wonder of God and the privilege it is for us to come into God’s presence.  Like the Penitential Rite, the Gloria leads us to give God Thanks and Praise.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Clergy Vestments

It has been customary in every age and country for those in certain positions to dress differently from the general population, to wear a uniform, perhaps, or carry a badge symbolizing authority. Special dress says “I am set apart for some definite work.” It is for this reason that our clergy - the priests and deacons - wear vestments.
The vestments worn by the priest at Mass are the alb, the cincture, the stole, and the chasuble. Each of these has its own history and its own symbolical meaning.
The alb is a long white, robe-like vestment worn by all clergy at liturgical celebrations. The alb, from the Latin word alba, meaning "white,” can be traced to the ancient Roman alb worn under a cloak or tunic. Its color symbolizes purity.
The cincture is the proper name for the girdle worn around the waist to bind the alb closely to the body. It is generally white and made of braided linen, or sometimes wool.
At Mass, and also in nearly every other religious function, the priest wears around his neck a stole, a long narrow vestment. The deacon at Mass also wears a stole, but in a different manner: diagonally from his left shoulder to his right side. The stole symbolizes the authority and responsibility to serve in imitation of Christ.
The most visible vestment for a presider at Mass is the chasuble, which comes from the Latin casula, which means "little house." The chasuble symbolizes joy, a house that the word of God inhabits, a cloak for the spiritual journey, and a sign of our leader's role. The chasuble also reminds us of the seamless garment Jesus wore on his way to the cross.
The dalmatic is the vestment of deacons. It is about the same length as the chasuble of the priest, and at first appears almost identical. However, the dalmatic has sleeves and is usually squared at the bottom, where the chasuble is rounded. The dalmatic gets its name from a Roman garment made of wool from the province of Dalmatia.

The vestments worn by the clergy serve as a visual reminder to all of us - including the clergy - that what we are participating in is holy and sacred. Like other elements in the church such as candles, stained glass, music, and so on, vestments add a rich and colorful element to the celebration of the Mass.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Come On In; The Water’s Fine

Do you remember a time when you were hesitant to jump into a swimming pool or wade into the waves at the ocean?  A friend or family member, already in the water, perhaps called out to you, “Come on in; the water’s fine.”
Sometimes we approach the Mass a bit like that body of water.  We know that jumping in is the only way to really enjoy it, but we’re still hesitant to make the leap.  Perhaps we are shy by nature and inclined to play the wallflower.  Perhaps we don’t really like to sing or don’t think we have a very good singing voice.  Perhaps we participate well most Sundays but just got up in a bad mood this morning.
There can be a lot of different reasons we hesitate to jump in, but the only way to fully benefit from the liturgy is to enter into it with our whole selves.  We are invited by Christ to share in his worship with every part of ourselves – mind and heart, body and soul, eyes and ears and voices.  We need to worship the Lord with both our interior disposition and our external expression.
When the Mass begins, we are called to offer our praise to God by joining in the opening song.  This song often expresses the theme of the feast or the season we are celebrating, helping us to enter into the mood of the celebration.  Sometimes it may be more general, speaking simply of beginning our worship.  In either case, it calls us to move beyond the limits of our own little world and become part of something much larger.
It is important to realize that our liturgy is the common action of all of us who have gathered.  Mass is not a time for private prayer, but a time for communal prayer.  The entrance song reminds us of this fact, because the song itself draws us into a communal act of praise.  Each of us contributes his or her own voice to one musical sound. 
This is the most important function of music in the Mass.  It unites us in a common act of worship.  It is a unifying element that recurs again and again throughout each Mass, continually calling us to worship as one Body in Christ.
Music also adds a sense of solemnity to our celebration, lifting it out of the ordinary and expressing our joy and our thanksgiving.  Music can lift our minds and our spirits as we lift up our voices to the Lord.
All of this works, or course, only if we join in the singing.  It takes all our voices together to give God the praise that God is due.  It takes the cooperation of each person in the assembly if our music is to be as prayerful as it can be.  If you think your voice isn’t that great for singing, so what?  As Deacon Mark is fond of saying, “If you think God gave you a bad voice, you owe it to God to give it back!”  Don’t let any fear or hesitation keep you from joining in.  Come on in; the water’s fine.

Sunday, June 7, 2015


On this Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi, it is important to remember that we are many parts in the Body of Christ and we should treat everyone with the love that Christ gave to us.  One way we can follow Christ’s example is in the way we act behind the wheel of a vehicle. 
Whenever we drive, wherever we drive, we are called to virtue.  Most of us think of “road-rage” as something only done on the open road.  But road-rage happens even in our parking lot.  We become impatient as others are parking their cars; we become frustrated when others don’t drive as well as we think we do.
As many of us learned growing up, the opposite of love is not hate; the opposite of love is selfishness.  And selfishness is the underlying problem in our parking lot.  Our parish has always seen itself as a welcoming community – that welcome begins as our friends and neighbors drive into the parking lot.  Give each other a moment to park safely, be conscious that people are walking to and from the buildings and give pedestrians the right-of-way. Never park in a fire lane.  It is illegal and we need to keep these areas clear in case we have an emergency.
Defensive driving techniques indicate that backing up is one of the most dangerous things we do in our cars.  If you must back up, do so slower than you can walk and back up only as far as you absolutely must before pulling forward.  If possible, pull forward into the stall in front of you so you won’t need to back up at all. 
Crossing Wyoming Boulevard is a dangerous challenge.  There have been traffic accidents in front of the church, some of them quite serious.  Some parishioners are using the entrances as exits by doing little “s” maneuvers to cross the median to go north.  Others are pulling into the inside lane of traffic and then stopping while they wait to make a U-turn at Scotts Place.  This is not only against the law, but also highly dangerous.  Please respect that the “DO NOT ENTER” signs are there for our safety and apply to all of us.   Don’t make a U-turn at San Francisco.  Don’t turn left onto Wyoming from Scotts Place.  Even though these are legal, for everyone’s safety, all traffic should turn South, or right, onto Wyoming.  Those desiring to go north can turn left or right onto San Francisco and go to either Barstow or Louisiana.   

Many parishioners are concerned that even though we are being given more time between Masses we won’t solve the underlying cause of the problem in our parking lot.  However, if we truly live as Christians and use Jesus as our example, we will pay attention to the rules of the road, use common sense, and be courteous; not only as we travel to and from Risen Savior; but also, wherever we travel.