Bulletin (March 9, 2003)

Our Parish Council is sponsoring a nine day Novena of Prayer in March. It will focus on the financial needs of our parish and of specific needs families within our parish. The Novena, in honor of the Infant of Prague, begins on March 17 (St. Patrick's Day) and continues through the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25.

History: Originally from Spain, a lovely statue of the Child Jesus made its way to a Carmelite monastery in Prague, Czech Republic. In 1631, Saxons invaded the city, pillaging even the monastery. The sculpture of the Child Jesus was thrown out with the waste behind the High Altar. Here Father Cyril a Matre Dei found it when he returned to the abandoned church. After many vain attempts, Father Cyril finally received a bequest from a Prague citizen to repair the broken arms – and to begin the restoration of the monastery. The Holy Child of Prague has been the source of many miracles, especially regarding finances, health and children. Holy Family Church has a representation of the Infant of Prague in a niche near the altar of St. Joseph.

As a young priest, I was pastor of a parish that faced some nerve racking financial problems. After various attempts to find a solution, I made a novena to the Infant of Prague. The results were extraordinary - both for the parish and for me personally. I know many other people have received graces - financial and otherwise - by their prayers to the Child Jesus. We need to pray not only for ourselves, but for our country and world, that the overall economic situation will change and that we can avoid war. Also there are families who face other needs, for example problems with a child or the inability to conceive a child. As you will see, the novena allows for various intentions.

This weekend we will inaugurate some minor liturgical changes. As I see it, they have three purposes.

First, a clarification of identities: the priests, deacons and laity should each perform their proper roles. In recent years, we priests have become more secularized and a certain segment of the laity has become “clericalized.” Sometimes the extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers have appeared almost as “concelebrants.” To avoid that impression, the norms state that they should not enter the sanctuary until the priest has received Communion. Also the priest and deacon are to distribute Communion to them and hand them the ciborium or chalice.

Secondly, the changes aim at a greater unity regarding the postures of sitting, kneeling and standing. Thus, the faithful are to kneel from after the Sanctus (Holy, Holy) until the conclusion of the Great Amen. Then they remain standing until the last person has received Communion or the end of the assembly’s Communion Hymn. At that point they may kneel or be seated until the Prayer After Communion. (Obviously, exceptions are allowed when kneeling or standing would impose a difficult burden.)

Thirdly – and most important – the changes are aimed at preventing any disrespect for the Sacred Species (the Body and Blood Christ). The Archbishop has indicated a preference that the priest and/or deacon purify the sacred vessels at the credence table. Next Sunday will initiate these and the other instructions. I ask your patience and prayerful support.

El Consejo Parroquial esta patrocinando una Novena de Oración en marzo. Enfocará en las necesidades financieras de la parroquia y familias dentro de ella. Será en honor al Santo Niño de Praga, comenzando el 17 de marzo hasta el 25, Fiesta de la Anunciación.

Este fin de semana inauguráramos unos cambios litúrgicos. Tienen tres propósitos. Primero, aclarar identidades: Los sacerdotes, diáconos y laicos deben asumir sus propios roles. En los últimos años, los sacerdotes quizás hemos sido más “seglares” y unos laicos más “clericales.” A veces los Ministros Extraordinarios de Eucaristía han dado la apariencia de ser “concelebrantes.” Para evitar la impresión las normas afirman que no deben entrar en el santuario hasta que el sacerdote ha comulgado. El sacerdote y diacono deben distribuir la Comunión a ellos y luego darles el copón o cáliz. Segundo, los cambios promueven una unidad mayor en cuanto a cuando la asamblea debe sentarse, pararse o hincarse. Así, los fieles deben estar hincados desde el final del Santo hasta la conclusión de Gran Amen. Y luego se quedan parados hasta que la ultima persona ha comulgado – o hasta la conclusión del himno de Comunión. Entonces se puede hincar o sentar hasta la Oración Después de Comunión. (Obviamente, hay excepciones si es muy difícil arrodillarse o pararse por largo tiempo.) Tercero – y más importante – los cambios quieren prevenir falta de respeto para las Sagradas Especies (el Cuerpo y la Sangre de Cristo). El arzobispo ha indicado la preferencia que el sacerdote y/o diacono purifiquen los vasos sagrados en la mesita del santuario. El próximo domingo iniciaremos estas instrucciones. Pido su paciencia, apoyo y oraciones.