Fr. Doug’s Musings 

5th Sunday of Ordinary Time

On Saturday, February 3 and on Saturday, February 10, beginning at 1:30 pm, we will have training sessions for those people who would like to serve Mass during our Saturday afternoon/Sunday liturgies. These sessions will be followed by an opportunity for those serving to get to know one another and to share some pizza!

The new servers will begin to exercise their ministry on the First Sunday of Lent. You will notice that during the weekend Masses we will do things a little differently.

You will notice that candles (either two or four) will be brought forward in our opening procession depending upon the number of servers. At the beginning of Mass, the Book of the Gospels will be carried in during the procession and placed on the altar.

When the procession arrives at the foot of the sanctuary – the ministers will pause. Those who are not carrying something will bow. Then all will proceed to their proper places.

During the Gospel Acclamation, the Presider will lift up the Book of the Gospels and take it to the Ambo. During this time, the servers will carry the candles and hold them during the proclamation of the Gospel.

At the Preparation of the Gifts, the people will bring the gifts forward and present them to the Presider and the altar servers. The people will return to their places. The Presider will then offer the Bread and the Wine at the altar and all will respond, “Blessed be God forever.”

At the end of Mass, after the Communion Prayer and the blessing, we will have the announcements. Following the announcements, the ministers will once again gather at the foot of the sanctuary and those who are not carrying something will bow. We will then turn and proceed out of the nave (main body of the Church).

Thoughts and Things

Sunday, February 11 is World Day of Prayer for the Sick. As Catholics, we know that the Corporal works of mercy include: feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, ransoming the captive, burying the dead, sheltering the stranger, comforting the sick, and clothing the naked. On February 11th we will pray for the sick and hopefully offer them a reminder of our prayer and support for them. While we will bring those who are sick to the Church, let us not forget those who for various reasons, cannot come to the church to receive this very visible sign of support and encouragement. Perhaps during the coming season of Lent, we can make a special effort to support those who are sick and suffering in our families and in our communities.

Lent has a two-fold purpose: It recalls or prepares us for Baptism and it emphasizes a spirit of penance. During the season of Lent, we pay special attention to God’s Word and we make a special effort to pray – either individually or with others. Why do we pay special attention to God’s Word and why do we make a special effort to pray? We do these things to prepare ourselves to celebrate the Paschal Mystery – the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. The Death and Resurrection of Jesus are, on the one hand, a reminder of how much God loves us and, on the other hand, they are the means of our Salvation. Because Christ died and rose from the dead, the gates of heaven are open for all God’s people.

During Lent, in addition to paying special attention to God’s Word and committing ourselves to prayer, we also pay attention to the needs of the Church and our world and so we give alms – we make a special contribution to the Church AND we engage in fasting and penance.

Traditionally, we fast from food but we can also fast from behaviors, bad habits so as to free up time for prayer and for caring for the poor – engaging in acts of charity, putting into practice the corporal works of mercy. We also do penance. We examine our lives and identify our sinful behaviors and we seek forgiveness and we do penance – we look for ways to pass on to others the love and mercy of the God who saves us from sin.

As Lent approaches, let us think about how we will prepare our hearts, our minds, our bodies, and our spirits, for the Paschal Mystery – the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ who continues to dwell among us through the power of the Holy Spirit.