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What is Liturgy?


What we often hear is the words, The Liturgy of the Mass. But what does that mean? These words refer to what happens during the Mass, (the service of God or work during the Mass). Liturgy is the public work or service of God by which Christ continues the redemption through the Church. Meaning As with all Gods work, the liturgy is His blessing to us. Our response is adoration and praise. Focus The saving life and mission of Christ is the central teaching of our faith: the Churchs liturgy proclaims and celebrates this same mystery. By the Liturgy of the Word (proclamation) and the Liturgy of the Eucharist (the offering of the bread and wine and there consecration), we celebrate the life, passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus in the Mass. On the altar at the words of the priest, re-presentation of Calvary occurs and we receive the Resurrected Jesus in Holy Communion. We unite our works, sacrifices, sufferings and our self in union with the one sacrifice of Jesus as He offers Himself to the Father, on the altar, in union with the Holy Spirit.

Liturgy What is Included in the Sacred Liturgy? The Eucharistic Sacrifice The Holy Mass The Seven Sacraments Sacramentals Liturgy of the Hours

Liturgy Liturgy of the Mass United to Heavenly Liturgy

In the liturgy of the Mass, Heaven unites with Earth and we see the Holy Eucharist as the mystery of faith in which Christ is the High Priest. This sacrifice and sacrament brings creation together and offers it to God. The Book of Revelation presents a striking imagery of the heavenly liturgy and helps us appreciate how the Eucharistic celebration, looks heavenward. At the same time, the Eucharist commits us to do our part to make this world a better place in which to live. The Eucharist unites heaven and earth and calls for our active faith response. In the earthly liturgy, by way of foretaste, we share in that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims. Christ crucified and risen is the Lamb standing as though it had been slain. He is the one high priest of the true sanctuary. The river of the water of life from the throne of God and of the Lamb is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Recapitulated in Christ, these are the participants in the service of the praise of God, in the heavenly liturgy: the heavenly powers, all creation (the four living beings), the servants of the Old and New Covenants (the twenty-four elders), the new People of God (the 144,000), the martyrs slain for the word of God, and the Mother of God (the Woman), the Bride of the Lamb, and finally a great multitude which no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes, and peoples and tongues (CCC, 1137, 1138). What you have come to is Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem where the millions of angels have gathered for the festival, with the whole Church of first-born sons, enrolled as citizens of heaven (Heb. 12:22..) The Eucharist is a foretaste of this joy. It is a confident waiting in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. John Paul II: The Eucharist is really a glimpse of heaven appearing on earth. It is a glorious ray of the heavenly Jerusalem which pierces the clouds of our history and lights up our journey.


The Order of the Mass

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass Has Two Parts: When on enters and leaves the church, one Liturgy of the Word blesses oneself with Holy Water saying: By this holy water and by Your Precious Liturgy of the Eucharist Blood, wash away all my sins, O Lord. Amen.
INTRODUCTORY RITES: Their purpose is to unify the community and prepare the assembled believers to listen to Gods word and then to celebrate the Eucharist. Entrance Song or Antiphon opens the celebration and accompanies the procession. Book of Gospels is sometime carried by the Lector. Greeting - the ministers greet the altar by kissing the altar as a sign of veneration, and then make the sign of the cross with the whole Christian community. The priest then greets the assembled with words expressing that we are about to celebrate the Christian mysteries. Penitential Rite The priest and the entire assembly make a general confession of their sins, typically by reciting the Confiteor ( I Confess to Almighty God) , and this is concluded by the priests absolution (May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive our sins and bring us to everlasting life) . In the Book of James 5: 16, Scripture tells us Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. Kyrie is a Greek word that means Lord (Kyrie eleison means Lord have mercy). The priest and the assembly recite this prayer to implore the mercy of God. Gloria is an ancient hymn whose opening phrase comes from Scripture (Luke 2: 14). The Gloria is only said on Sundays (except during Advent and Lent), and on Solemnities and special feasts. Opening Prayer (Collect) The priest recites a prayer that expresses the theme of the liturgy of the day, and then petitions the Father through the mediation of the Son (Jesus Christ) and in the Holy Spirit. The people make the prayer their own by saying AMEN (so be it. or yes I agree).
Holy Water washes away venial sins and prepares us to enter into the presence of God.

Liturgy Liturgy of the Word:

On Sunday, this part of the Mass is found in a book called the Lectionary which the lector may carry in the procession. The Lectionary has 3 cycles called A, B and C. Each cycle contains all the Scriptures used at Sunday Mass for a year. First Reading this reading is almost always from the Old Testament except between Easter and Pentecost when the reading comes from the Book of Acts. The readings selected for a particular service are chosen to illustrate some common link or parallel with the selected Gospel reading. These readings over a 3 year period acquaint us with the 46 books of the Old Testament. Responsorial Psalm obviously is from the Book of Psalms, expresses many of the emotions and troubles of human existence as the author cries out to God, and then trusts in His deliverance. Second Reading typically this reading is from one of the Letters or Epistles from St. Paul, St. Peter, St. James, or St. John. Thus, this reading acquaints Catholics with the New Testament. Gospel - This Scripture reading is introduced by a chant. Typically this is an Alleluia chant except during Lent when the chant is typically Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ, King of Endless Glory. The priest and the faithful also sign their forehead, their lips and their heart to signify that Gods Word is transforming their minds, their speech and their hearts. The faithful are instructed to stand to hear the Gospel. This is an old Catholic practice that May the Word of God, indicates a special significance for the Gospel, since it is the part of Scripture be on my mind, that contains the words and sayings of Jesus Himself. This practice may have on my lips been adopted from Jesus via the book of Nehemiah. Priest or Deacon Says: and in my heart. The Gospel of the Lord. People: Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.


Liturgy of the Word: (Part 2)

Homily (Sermon) - here the priests explains the three Scripture readings and gives insight into their meaning. Often the priest will relate spiritual messages and points from the readings that are very relevant to our life, and the local circumstances that we live in. During the homily, we should be quietly listening and learning and may also be silently praying for the Holy Spirit to speak through the priest to our hearts. Profession of Faith - this is typically only done on Sunday celebrations of the Mass and Solemnities. The profession of faith is the Nicene Creed which is a statement of our Catholic Christian beliefs that has not changed since the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople in the 4th century. This profession of faith always keeps Catholics knowledgeable as to what the church teaches now, and has consistently taught throughout the centuries. By reciting the Creed, the faithful are acknowledging their consent and agreement with the three previous Scriptures that were read. General Intercessions or Prayers of the Faithful this prayer is generally read by the priest or the lector, and the congregation responds in antiphonal manner. As a rule the sequence of petitions are as follows: 1. For the needs of the Church 2. For public authorities and the salvation of the world 3. For those oppressed by any need (such as the sick members of our parish) 4. For the local community Lector: We pray to the Lord. People: Lord Hear Our Prayer

Liturgy of the Eucharist


At the Last Supper Jesus Christ instituted the paschal sacrifice and meal. In this meal the sacrifice of the cross is continually made present in the Church when the priest, representing Christ, carries out what the Lord did, & commissioned his disciples to do in His memory. Presentation of Altar and Gifts (Offertory) Altar is prepared then the gifts of bread and wine are brought to the altar. Bread and Wine are Offered while the people respond: Blessed Be God Forever. During this part of the Mass, the priest washes his hands as an expression of his desire for inward purification. This custom most likely came from our Jewish roots where the Old Testament priests would purify themselves with several ritual washings prior to offering the Old Testament sacrifices. Priest asks that the sacrifice may be accepted and people respond: May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of His name, for our good and for the good of His Holy Church. Prayer Over the Gifts People Respond: Amen. Eucharistic Prayer - is a hymn of thanksgiving for the whole work of salvation: the offerings become the Body and Blood of Christ. There are four standard Eucharistic prayers with the second one being the oldest and the shortest. These Eucharistic prayers are in the large book that rests on the altar called the Romans Missal. The sub-elements of the Eucharistic prayer are as follows: Preface (Thanksgiving) - in this first part of the Eucharistic prayer, the priest invites the people to lift their hearts to God in prayer and in thanks. The priest praises the Father and gives thanks for the work of salvation. Acclamation - united with the angels the congregation sings or recites Holy, Holy, Holy .. (see Isaiah 6:3). Also called the Sanctus. Epiclesis in this part of the Eucharistic prayer, the priest calls on Gods power (Holy Spirit descends upon the gifts) and asks that the gifts offered by men may be consecrated to become the Body and Blood of Christ, and that this Victim become a source of salvation for those who share in communion.

During the offertory, the people are to offer to God their gifts, works, sacrifices, good deeds, donations and especially their very self to God.


Liturgy of the Eucharist (Part 2)
Narrative or Consecration - in this part of the Eucharistic prayer the words of Jesus at the Last Supper are said This is my Body and This is my Blood.. These words are found in Matthew 26: 2628, Mark 14: 22-24, Luke 22: 19-20 and 1st Corinthians 11: 23-25. Mystery of Faith- The priest states, Mystery of Faith and people respond: We proclaim your death O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come in glory. Anamnesis Therefore as we celebrate the memorial is the fulfillment of the command from Christ through the apostles to keep a memorial of the Last Supper, Do this in remembrance of Me. Offering here the Church offers the spotless sacrificial victim (Jesus Christ) to the Father and in the Holy Spirit. Intercessions in this part of the Eucharistic prayer the priest states that the offering made above is for the whole Church and all of its members, both living and dead. Final Doxology (Great Amen) Through Him with Him and in Him O God Almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit all glory and honor are yours forever and ever. The congregation should express their agreement by a vocal but reverent Amen.

Liturgy of the Eucharist (Part 3)


Communion Rite since the Eucharistic celebration is the paschal meal, in accord with Jesus command, the Body and Blood of the Lord should be received as spiritual food by the faithful who are properly disposed. The sub-elements of the Communion Rite are as follows: The Lords Prayer which comes from Matt 6: 9-13 or Luke 11: 2-4, is recited Sign of Peace or sung by the congregation and the priest together. The priest ends this special prayer that Jesus taught us with an embolism requesting deliverance and peace, and stating our joyful hope in the Second coming of Christ. Rite of Peace before we share in the Eucharist which is the Lord, we express our love for each other and beg for peace and unity among the members of the Body of Christ. Priest: Peace of the Lord be with you. People: And with Your Spirit. The priest will say: Let us offer each other the sign of peace. We generally display some outward sign of this to those near us. This is optional by the priest. Breaking of the Bread this gesture of Christ at the last supper gave the entire Eucharistic action its name in apostolic times. (Emmaus walk in Luke 24: 30) Commingling the priest drops part of the host into the chalice (symbolically represents unity with the bishop and the two natures of Christ) Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) - these words come from John 1: 29. The host is broken during the reciting of the Lamb of God Reception of Jesus by the Priest the priest shows the Eucharist to the congregation saying, Behold the Lamb of God. as the faithful recite Lord I am not worthy, that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and Behold the Lamb of God my soul shall be healed. This prayer comes from Matt 8: 8. During this part of the liturgy it is a wonderful time to ask the Lord for healing (Spiritual, psychological, relational and physical)


Liturgy of the Eucharist (Part 4)

Reception of Jesus by the Faithful - the faithful process to the front of the church to receive Jesus in His Body and His Blood. This is a most intimate time as God Himself touches us flesh to flesh. When the priest offers you Jesus in the Eucharist he says Body of Christ and the proper response is a firm but very reverent Amen or So be it. (This Catholic altar call). Communion Hymn or Antiphon expresses the spiritual union of the community as we shared in the Eucharist who is the One Lord of us all. Prayer after Holy Communion - it is desirable after receiving Holy Communion that the priest and the congregation spend some time in silent prayer as this is meant to be a most intimate time for communing with the Lord in our body, mind and spirit. This period of silence is ended by the priest saying the Prayer after Communion from the Roman Missal. CONCLUDING RITE: This consists of the following: Priests Blessing the priest blesses the congregation in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Dismissal the priest or deacon sends each member of the congregation out into the world to do good works to bring glory and praise to God. The word Mass comes from the Latin word for dismissal. Go forth, the Mass has ended. Processional Hymn


Liturgical Year This is the name given to the days an seasons within a years time in which the Church celebrates Christs paschal mystery. The liturgical seasons begin with Advent (the new liturgical year), in which we prepare for Christmas. The Christmas Season, celebration of Christs Birth. Lent, which are 40 days of preparation for Easter. Easter, which is the celebration of Christs Resurrection, which lasts until 50 days after the Easter and ends on Pentecost Sunday. Ordinary time, which is the season of the year outside of Advent-Christmas and Lent-Easter seasons. One part of ordinary time falls between Christmas Season and Lent and the other falls between Pentecost and Advent.


Liturgical Year
The Liturgical Readings at Mass Sunday- Year A, Year B, Year C For example: 25th Sunday Year B, Ordinary Time readings are: Wis. 2:12, 17-20, Psalm 54, James 3: 164:3, Mark 9: 30-37. Weekday- Year 1 and Year 2 The Liturgical readings help us to hear most of the Bible at Holy Mass in a 3 yr. period on Sunday and in 2 yrs, during the week. Sanctoral Calendar- The calendar of saints throughout the year, example June 13th is always the feast of St. Anthony of Padua. The Catholic Calendar lists the dates of the Holy Days of Obligation in the United States for 2013, as well as the dates of moveable feasts (holy days whose dates change from year to year), such as Ash Wednesday. And dates of Saint feast days. Easter is a moveable feast and is always first Sunday after the first full moon, after the vernal equinox (spring).

Months are dedicated to certain Saints or Devotions. March- St. Joseph May- Blessed Virgin June- Sacred Heart July- Precious Blood October- Rosary November- Holy Souls December- Nativity Weekdays are Dedicated to Certain Saints or Devotions. Sun.-Resurrection and Trinity Mon.- Holy Spirit and Poor Souls Tues.- Holy Angels Wed. St. Joseph Thurs. Eucharist and Priesthood Fri.- Jesus Suffering & Sacred Heart Sat.- Blessed Virgin & IHM


Liturgical Colors
White- Joy, peace, Christ as light of the World and Incarnation, Christmas and Easter Seasons is also for Feasts of Our Lord and Our Lady, and Saints not martyred. Red- Martyrs, Pentecost, Good Friday, Passion of Jesus Gold Easter Day, Christmas Day, Solemnities Purple- Penance, Prayer, Sacrifice, Preparation (Advent and Lent) Rose- Rose Colored (Gaudete Advent and Lataere -Lent) Rejoice Sundays (Break from penance, rejoice because Easter or Christmas is near.) Green- Ordinary Time. This season focuses on the three-year period of our Lord's public ministry, and the Gospel passages, particularly on Sundays, recount His teachings, miracles, exorcisms, and other deeds during this time. All of these teachings and events engender great hope in the mystery of salvation. We focus on the life He shared with mankind during His time on this earth, the life we share now with Him in the community of the Church and through His sacraments, and we look forward to sharing everlasting life with Him perfectly in Heaven.

Gothic Vestments

Gold Roman Vestment Fiddle back

Liturgy Liturgical Items

Cope and Humeral Veil - Used For Benediction Amice- Cloth that goes Around Shoulder and Neck of Priest Alb- White garment under the Vestment Cincture- Rope (Girdle) around the waist of the Priest Vestment (Chasuble) Stole- Cloth Goes Around the Priests Neck Dalmatic (Deacon Vestment) Purificator- Cloth used to purify chalice Pall- Square Cover Goes on Top of the Chalice Corporal (cloth on top of altar) Name comes from Body Altar- Marble Table used to Offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass Altar Cross- Crucifix Placed on the Altar Confessional Stole- Purple Stole Used for Confession Thurible- Censor used to burn incense on black coals. Boat- Contains Incense Cruets Processional Cross- Crucifix Carried in Procession beginning and end of Mass Credence Table- Small Table used to hold hosts, wine, chalice, water, bowl and hand towel Ablution Bowl- used to wash fingers of Sacred Particles after touching Host when finished distributing Communion Chalice Paten- Metal Plate which holds Priests Host Server Paten- Metal Plate with a handle use to collect particles that may fall during Communion Altar Candles- Candles on the Altar Lectern- Pulpit Altar Cloth- Cloth Covering the Altar Book of Gospels Chalice- Gold Plated Cup used to Consecrate wine into the Blood of Christ Lectionary- Scripture Readings Ciboria- Round Metal Container used to hold Consecrated Hosts and has a Lid Roman Missal- Mass Prayers Surplice- White Top used by Servers and Priest Cassock- Black Clothing Used by Priests and Some Servers

Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office) (Breviary)
The remote origin is given to the inspiration of the Old Covenant. God commanded the Aaronic priests (c.1280 BC) to offer a morning and evening sacrifice (Ex. 29:38-29). During the Babylonian Exile (587-521 BC), when the Temple did not exist, the synagogue services of Torah readings and psalms and hymns developed as a substitute for the bloody sacrifices of the Temple, a sacrifice of praise. The inspiration to do this may have been fulfillment of David's words, "Seven times a day I praise you" (Ps. 119:164), as well as, "the just man mediates on the law day and night" (Ps. 1:2). After the people returned to Judea, and the Temple was re-built, the prayer services developed in Babylon for the local assemblies (synagogues) of the people were brought into Temple use, as well. We know that in addition to Morning and Evening Prayer to accompany the sacrifices, there was prayer at the Third, Sixth and Ninth Hours of the day. The Acts of the Apostles notes that Christians continued to pray at these hours. Monastic and eremitical (hermit) practice as it developed in the early Church recognized in the Psalms the perfect form of prayer and did not try to improve upon it. The practices were quite individual from monastery to monastery. At first some tried to do the entire Psalter (150 Psalms) each day, but eventually that was abandoned for a weekly cycle built around certain hours of the day. Among the earliest Psalter cycles of which we have a record is the division given by St. Benedict in his Rule (c.550), with canonical hours of Lauds (Morning Prayer) offered at sunrise, Prime (1st hour of the day), Terce (3rd hour, or Mid-morning), Sext (6th hour or Midday), None (9th hour or Mid-Afternoon), Vespers (Evening Prayer) offered at sunset, and Compline (Night Prayer) before going to bed. In addition, the monks arose to read and pray during the Night. This Office of Matins (Readings) likewise had its divisions, into nocturnes, corresponding to the beginning of each of the "watches of the night" (Ps. 63:6), that is, 9 pm, midnight and 3 am. With the reforms of the Second Vatican Council the traditional one-week Psalter cycle became a four-week cycle. (Today the Office is required

to be prayed by Priests and Religious. Lay persons are encouraged to pray the Office.)


What is Advent? The purpose of Advent is to focus on the coming of our Lord. (Advent comes from the Latin adventus, meaning coming.) The Catechism stresses the two-fold meaning of this coming : When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Saviors first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for His second coming (No. 524). Therefore, on one hand, the faithful reflect back and are encouraged to celebrate the anniversary of the Lords first coming into this world. We ponder again the great mystery of the incarnation when our Lord humbled Himself, taking on our humanity, and entered our time and space to free us from sin. On the other hand, we recall in the Creed that our Lord will come again to judge the living and the dead and that we must be ready to meet Him. A good, pious way to help us in our Advent preparation has been the use of the Advent Wreath.


How to Prepare for Christmas Through Advent we prepare to celebrate the Birth of Jesus on Christmas and we also prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus. Since there are four weeks of Advent, we are able to prepare for Christmas by doing something during each week. For example, on each Sunday of Advent, we can light a candle on our advent wreath, before we offer our prayer before our meal.

Advent Wreath


The wreathe is a circle, which has no beginning or end: So we call to mind how our lives, here and now, participate in the eternity of Gods plan of salvation and how we hope to share eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven. The wreath is made of fresh plant material, because Christ came to give us new life through His passion, death, and resurrection. Three candles are purple, symbolizing penance, preparation, and sacrifice; the pink candle symbolizes the same but highlights the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, when we rejoice because our preparation is now half-way finished. The light represents Christ, who entered this world to scatter the darkness of evil and show us the way of righteousness. The progression of lighting candles shows our increasing readiness to meet our Lord. Each family ought to have an Advent wreath, light it at dinner time, and say the special prayer. The tradition helps each family to keep its focus on the meaning of Christmas.

During Advent


Attend Mass During the Week- We will grow spiritually if we attend weekday Masses during Advent. Special weekday Masses include (Dec. 6th St. Nicholas), (Dec. 8th, the Immaculate Conception), which is a Holy Day of Obligation, and (Dec. 12th the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe). Advents 1st readings involve waiting; the 2nd week, its John the Baptist; the 3rd Week, we rejoice with Gaudete Sun.; the 4th week focuses on the Nativity. Daily Personal Prayer- Every day, we should pray to God for about 10 to 15 minutes. We should also pray the Rosary every day and pray the Rosary with our family. Confess our Sins - Confess at least twice during Advent. Take the family to confession several times, during Advent. You would be surprised at how many children actually want to go to confession, but do not have the opportunity. Strive to work on one sin and examine your conscience every night before going to bed and see how well we did with that sin. To overcome sin, it is best to practice the opposite virtue. For example, if we struggle with pride, we should practice humility. We are required to Confess our sins at least once a year. The Easter Duty asks that we receive Holy Communion at least once year and during the Easter Season.

During Advent


Create a Family Altar On the top of a small table, place an opened bible, a rosary, a crucifix and a picture or statue of Mary. When the family gathers to pray, everyone faces the altar, and may kneel down and pray together. Family Prayer Pray as a family before going to bed. Turn off the TV, Internet, etc.. and gather in the living room. Begin by making the sign of the Cross, then ask each person, who they want to pray for. Then ask each person what they are thankful for the past day. Then read a short section from one of the Gospels. Finally, close with an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be, or Pray a decade of the Rosary, or pray the whole Rosary. Some may want add the Guardian Angel Prayer, or the Prayer to St. Michael, or the Memorare. End with the Sign of the Cross. When praying before meals, add one Our Father, One Hail Mary & the Glory be.

During Advent


Eucharistic Adoration of Jesus Come to Adore Jesus during the week when there is Eucharistic Adoration. Or come before Jesus in the Tabernacle. Our Lord waits for us to come to Him and when we do come to Him, we always leave with peace in our heart. To spend a Holy Hour once a week, can transform the family and bring about peace, unity and forgiveness. Visit or Call Someone- Many elderly would enjoy your visit, whether they are in the hospital, at home, in the nursing home. Or call or visit a friend or relative, who may need encouragement. Help a Neighbor- Many neighbors need help with Christmas decorations, raking their yard, removing snow or perhaps going to the store for them. A good deed is a loving way to prepare for the coming of Jesus. We can also help others by way of money, or food. Charitable organizations need your help to help others. Call local agencies to see how you can be of help.

Liturgy During Advent

Mortification and Fasting
We should do penance during Advent. The color purple represents penance. All of us should strive to deny our self pleasures, such as avoiding sweets, not drinking pop, avoiding desserts, not speaking as often, not watching TV, or wasting time on the Internet. We should try to be silent. But also do things for the love of God, such as our daily duty, keeping the house clean, doing the best we can at our job, taking care of our self and our children. Every Friday of the year, we are supposed to Fast or do some penance. Avoid eating meat, or eat foods you do not prefer. Most of all---fast from sin. To mortify is to die to ones self and ones earthly desires.

Prepare a Manger for Baby Jesus

Make a homemade manger out of sticks using glue, and place within it one straw for every time you make a sacrifice. Then on Christmas Eve place the Infant Jesus on the bed of straws, as a sign you prepared for His Coming.

Keep Watch!
No one knows the day nor the hour of our judgment. And no one knows the day or the hour when Jesus will come again. We should live everyday as though it were our last and prepare as though we had no tomorrow. Pray for a conversion of heart, turn away from sin and be faithful to Jesus, in this way, you will be prepared for Christmas!



Attend Midnight Mass or Mass on Christmas Day- There is a tradition Jesus was born at midnight and so people enjoy celebrating His birth at the Christmas Midnight Mass. Presents- St. Nicholas of Myra was a bishop, who gave gifts and money to the poor. Rather than creating a tale, about him, ask St. Nicholas to obtain presents from Jesus on Christmas. All gifts come from God, so why not refer God as the giver of the gifts? Christmas has been commercialized and the true meaning of Christs birth is becoming lost. The word, Christmas, refers to what the Christians referred to as Christs Mass. Christmas Carols Many families sing Christmas carols together before eating their Christmas dinner. Some families join other families and Church groups to go Christmas Caroling to those who are shut-in. 12 Days of Christmas- The song is symbolic and reminded persecuted Christians of Christian beliefs. For example: Two turtle doves is symbolic of Christs 2 natures, both human and divine. 12 days refers to the 12 days of the Christmas season. The 13th day is the Feast of the Epiphany.

St. Francis of Assisi In the 1200s, he created the first nativity scene, which had real animals & a manger during the Mass. The Christ Child appeared in his arms during the Mass, witnessed by those present. Since then Christians made crches for their homes.

St. Clare She miraculously saw the Midnight Mass and heard the homily from her bed when she was sick and unable to go to Mass.

Lent Lent- What is It?

Forty days of preparation for Easter in imitation of Our Lords forty days in the desert, which he suffered temptation from the devil. He fasted and prayed. It also reminds us of the people of Israels 40 years in the desert and Moses 40 days on the mountain in which he fasted. Lent originated as a time in which non-Christians were preparing to become Christian. Later, those who were already Christians wanted to also prepare for Easter as those becoming Catholic and they too adopted this time, which spread throughout the Church. It was a spiritual time of examination, mortification, penance, meditation, prayer and almsgiving to prepare to receive the Sacraments of the Church, including Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation. The 40 days do not include the Sundays during Lent, because every Sunday, even during Lent is a celebration of the Lords Resurrection.


Three Key Penitential Practices

One of the greatest preachers of the early church explains the key penitential practices of Lent prayer, fasting, and almsgiving or mercy. Saint Peter Chrysologus declares that Prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains, mercy receives. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. Matt. 6:6

Prayer- Praying more than we usually do everyday. And try to pray with deeper intensity and love. To pray the heart, seeking Gods will in our life. We come to daily Mass if possible, pray before Jesus in Adoration in the tabernacle and pray at home in the silence of our heart. We meditate on Sacred Scriptures especially the sufferings of Jesus. We think of Our Lords passion and death so as to grow in deeper love for Him and it inspires us to turn away from sin and to be faithful to Him and the Gospel.

Liturgy Almsgiving and Charitable Works

But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. Matt. 6:3-4 During Lent we seek to help the less fortunate, the poor and make donations to the poor and charitable originations. We do works of charity such as visit the sick, homebound, those in nursing homes. We volunteer: Soup Kitchens, Food Drives, Food Pantries and other Charitable Organizations. As Jesus said, what you do for the least of my brothers and sisters, you do unto me. Matt. 25


Fasting But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you. Fasting is one of the most ancient practices linked to Lent. In fact, the paschal fast predates Lent as we know it. The early Church fasted intensely for two days before the celebration of the Easter Vigil. This fast was later extended and became a 40-day period of fasting leading up to Easter. Fasting is more than a means of developing self-control. It is often an aid to prayer, as the pangs of hunger remind us of our hunger for God. Fasting should be linked to our concern for those who are forced to fast by their poverty. It should lead us to greater efforts to alleviate that suffering. Abstaining from meat traditionally also linked us to the poor, who could seldom afford meat for their meals. It can do the same today if we remember the purpose of abstinence and embrace it as a spiritual link to those whose diets are sparse and simple. That should be the goal we set for ourselvesa sparse and simple meal. Avoiding meat while eating lobster misses the whole point!

Fasting in Practice


In the United States, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has declared that "the age of fasting is from the completion of the eighteenth year to the beginning of the sixtieth." The USCCB also allows the substitution of some other form of penance for abstinence on all of the Fridays of the year, except for those Fridays in Lent. Thus, the rules for fasting and abstinence in the United States are:

Abstain from Meat in Lent Every person 14 years of age or older must abstain from meat (and items made with meat) on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all the Fridays of Lent. Fast in Lent Every person between the age of 18 and 60 must fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. To fast means to eat one meal in one day and not to eat snacks. For some two smaller meals can be taken as long as combined they dont equal one meal. Abstain from Meat All Fridays of the Year Every person 14 years of age or older must abstain from meat (and items made with meat) on all other Fridays of the year, unless he or she substitutes some other form of penance or good deed. If we do not plan to do another form of penance or do a good deed (ex: visit the sick), we are to abstain from meat.


Turn away from Sin- Examine our Conscience and Frequent Confession During Lent, we examine our conscience everyday and to work on one particular sin throughout Lent, striving to practice the opposite virtue. It is good to go to Confession often at least once a month during Lent and hopefully more often as often as once per week if we like. Stations of the Cross Many parishes have Stations of the Cross on Fridays of Lent. This a tradition that goes back to the early Christians, who use to make pilgrimages to the Holy Land to walk the actual foot steps of Christ on His way to Calvary. The Stations were popularized by the Franciscan Order, which helped to establish them in each parish, so people who could not go to the Holy Land, could make the Stations in their own parish.

Ash Wednesday Ash Wednesday begins Lent. Its a day of fasting and abstinence. While its not a holy day of obligation, many Catholics come to Mass to receive ashes which remind us of the need to turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel and it reminds us of our mortality. That we shall all one day return to ashes. Ashes are burnt palm branches from the previous year Palm Sunday. The day before Ash Wednesday is called by some Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras). On this day, Christians used to use up all the fat so that they would not spoil during Lent. However, the day should not be a day in which we do all sorts of sins and eat all kinds of sweets. The day is called by some Carnival day due to the last day in which some people would eat meat. Decadence Day is a horrible day which greatly offends God.



Sacrifices- We are called during Lent to offer sacrifices, to prepare our hearts for Easter. Such sacrifices include avoid eating sweets, icecream, deserts, soda pop, alcohol, stop smoking, avoid television, movies, etc.. But the most important sacrifices include turning away from the pleasures of sin, accepting sufferings in our life, and doing our daily duties (washing clothes, doing our homework, keep our room clean, daily work, job, etc..) with love and joy. Some people will adjust thermostats, so as to avoid the comfort of bodily pleasure. These sacrifices when united to the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross are called offering up, in which we offer them up for the salvation of souls.

Lent Holy Week Begins with Passion Sunday or Palm Sunday, which is the Sunday before Easter. On Palm Sunday, palm branches are blessed and given to the people. There is often times a procession carrying the palm branches at the beginning of the Mass and a Gospel reading before Mass starts about Jesus entering Jerusalem. The Gospel is proclaimed, which is always the reading of the Passion of Jesus. Holy Week Days- Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, Holy Wednesday (special readings for each day) Holy Thursday- Chrism Mass at the Cathedral, which can be moved to another day such as Holy Tuesday. During the Chrism Mass priests renew their promises, oils of blessed (Oil of the Sick, Chrism, Oil of Catechumen) by the bishop. Representatives from each parish in the diocese present at the Mass return with the 3 oils to their parish. In the evening the Mass of the Lords Supper is celebrated in parishes. Good Friday- Celebration of the Passion of Jesus. Holy Saturday- Easter Vigil (Celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus) Easter Sunday- Renew Vows of Baptism and sprinkling rite are added.

End of Lent


Lent officially ends on Holy Thursday. That is when the "Triduum", great three Days of holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday occur leading to Easter. Easter is not only a day but an Octave (eight day) celebration leading to a Season of the Church, Easter Season, which ends on Pentecost.

Holy Thursday- Celebration of the Lords Supper. Hosts are removed

from the tabernacle before Mass and after Mass people will pray before the Hosts in an altar of repose commemorating Our Lords agony in the Garden, when He asked His apostles to stay awake and pray. During the Mass, the priest washes the feet of 12 men in imitation of Jesus washing His 12 apostles. It is the day, Jesus instituted the Eucharist & Priesthood.

Good Friday- (only day no Mass is celebrated). Celebration of the

Passion of Christ is usually at 3pm in parishes, the time Jesus died on the Cross. In the liturgy of the Word we read the Passion of Jesus, liturgy of the Veneration of the Cross and Holy Communion. Easter Vigil- The Greatest of All Masses of the Year. There is the Liturgy of the Fire, which is the blessing of the fire, procession of the Easter Candle, which represents Christ rising from the tomb in the world of darkness. The lights of the Church are not on as the candle is carried. Then the Exultant is sung. Followed by the Liturgy of the Word with as many as 9 readings (7 Old Testament and 2 New Testament) and the Gospel. Homily. Then those who are becoming Catholic will be Baptized after the water is blessed, Confirmation, Profession of Faith, First Communion. Catholic renew their baptismal promises.



There is a tradition that Our Lord first appeared to His Mother before He appeared to Mary Magdalene and the 11 Apostles. Easter celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus. By His resurrection, Jesus conquered, sin, death and the devil. At the end of the world, there will be a General Resurrection, where everyone will receive a new body, both the living and the dead, the good and the bad. The Easter Season lasts for 50 days until Pentecost, the descent of the Holy Spirit.

Resurrexit Sicut Dixit (He has risen as He said)! Alleluia!