In this season of Advent,
—The Blessing Candles
Dear Parishioners and friends of Corpus Christi Parish,
In Advent and Christmas time the Catholic Church calls us to celebrate the Incarnation: God becoming human in Jesus Christ, becoming human with us and for us. It’s true that God’s divine, eternal Son was born in Bethlehem once for all. But it is just as true that the Incarnation, like the mystery of the Cross, continues throughout all time, generation after generation. God is still becoming human by sharing his life with us. St. Augustine said that God became human so that human beings could become God, that is, daughters and sons of God, sharing in his divine life through Jesus Christ.
For most Christians, “Advent,” which means “coming,” remains a time to prepare for the joys of the wondrous season of Christmas. During this season we would encourage you to take advantage of the numerous opportunities to worship with your parish family.
Our normal mass schedule is Saturday Vigil 4:00p.m., Sunday Masses at 8:00a.m., and 11:00a.m. On Christmas Eve we will celebrate Mass at 4:00p.m., 7:00p.m., and 10:00p.m. Christmas Day Mass is at 10:00a.m. Please join us and ask your family and friends to come as well. All are welcome in this place.
We wish you all a very blessed Christmas. May the peace, joy and love of Jesus and his Blessed Mother be with you always! You, and your family, will be remembered in the intentions of our masses this Christmas season.
Peace n’ all good---
Whether you are new to our parish or have been a long-time member, please know that you are welcome. Take a moment to search our website to view the many ministries and events Corpus Christi Church offers. Each week one of our ministries is highlighted at the end of each Mass. The coordinator will explain their ministry and invite those interested in finding out more information to see them in the vestibule or in the parish center for hospitality following Mass. Please take a moment explore the possibility of placing your gifts into service for our parish and the wider community.
Also, why not reach out to a family member, friend, neighbor or someone you know that has been away from the Church? Invite them to attend one of our parish liturgies or other activities. Jesus invites all to “come and see” the good work He has begun in the “Body of Christ.”
Once again we embark on our Lenten journey toward Easter. Lent is a time of prayer and renewal and an opportunity to refocus our relationship with God. We began our Lenten pilgrimage on Ash Wednesday. As our brothers and sisters have done for generations, we placed ashes on our heads as signs acknowledging our sinfulness and our mortality. From Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday, the Church keeps a time of penance – a time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
The US Bishop’s Conference is offering a variety of resources to help Catholics observe Lent. With the theme “Give Up, Take Up, Lift Up,” resources include a new series of audio retreat podcasts in English and Spanish for the Sundays of Lent, video reflections on Lenten themes, and a downloadable Lenten calendar with quotes from Pope Francis’ Message for Lent. . . and other teachings and suggestions for taking an active approach to the three traditional pillars of Lenten observance: prayer, fasting and almsgiving. The bishop’s website, found at (www.usccb.org/lent) also includes facts about saints whose feast days or memorials fall within Lent, a reflection on fasting, information on rediscovering the Sacrament of Penance, and a section on Holy Week observances.
Use Advent wisely! Don’t let the secular “holiday season” rob you of the true meaning and the true richness of our Christian faith and culture.
There are times when we can become so busy with Christmas preparations, that the meaning and real joy of the season can be lost to us. There are times when our actions would indicate that we are lost, even to ourselves. Regardless of our current circumstances, we are never lost to God. While we may be blind to God's presence in our life, God is with us and, if we open ourselves to him, he will show us a way back. Regardless of what may impede us, let us diligently prepare the Way of the Lord.
Pope Francis reminds us of our mandate to reach out to one another and to the stranger, especially the poor among us. During this season of “getting ready”, let us reflect on our God who cares about each person. This is a season of welcome and joy. Let us remember Advent for what it is meant to be: a period of spiritual preparation and penance for the celebration of the birth of our Redeemer. May this Advent truly be a time of believing in God's love for us.
In His peace-
Marriage and the Family
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has stated that, “only familial unity, a gift of the God who is Love, makes the family a true abode for love, a house that welcomes life and a school of Christian values for its children." "According to the divine plan," he continued, "the family is a sacred and sanctifying place and the Church, always close to it, sustains it in its mission, above all today because there are many perils that threaten it from within and without. Divine assistance is needed that it not gives in to discouragement and so every Christian family should look with confidence to the Holy Family, the original 'domestic Church'." The Holy Father expresses the certainty that "the humble and holy Family of Nazareth, the icon and model of every human family, will not cease in sustaining you from heaven. It is indispensable, however," he concluded, " that you have constant recourse to prayer, to listen to the Word of God, and to an intense sacramental life together with the effort to always live Christ's commandment of love and forgiveness. Love does not seek its own interest, does not brood over injury, but rejoices with the truth."
As disciples, we all have been called to “love one another” as Christ loves each of us. Married couples, especially, have need from time to time to revisit the sacramental moment when they exchanged their wedding vows and established their covenant with God. Frequently, one of the readings chosen for their wedding comes from St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 13:4-7) – “Love is always patient and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited, it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage, it does not store up grievances. Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but finds its joy in the truth. It is always ready to make allowances, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes.”
I recently came across a revised edition of a great book: Good News for Married Lovers: A Scriptural Path for Marriage Renewal. I highly recommend its practical and pastoral advice to all couples seeking to renew their relationships and strengthen their family life. Here at Corpus Christi Church we will be hosting a presentation on the diocesan Marriage Encounter Program sometime in October. Stay tuned!
Peace n' good,
As I pen this missive, the Cardinal-electors of the Church are preparing to enter the Conclave for the selection of a new Bishop of Rome to succeed Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who just one month ago announced his resignation from the See of Peter. Historically, the world’s attention has been especially drawn to the workings of the Roman Catholic Church in times of councils and conclaves. This unprecedented Lenten experience has been no different.
I believe that we will have heard by this weekend the words, "Habemus Papam," meaning “we have a Pope!” During the period of interregnum (the time between popes) there has been much attention drawn to the “needs of the Church” and speculation as to who would become our next pope. The cardinals held ten congregations (meetings) where 161 of them had an opportunity to address their concerns for the Church. This time of fraternal dialogue prepared them to be open to the workings of the Holy Spirit in the papal conclave proceedings.
As pastor of the universal church the bishop of Rome exercises his ministry in a unique way. He has special responsibility for preserving and building unity among its 1.2 billion Catholic members, including the 5,100 bishops and 412,000 priests. In carrying out the many spiritual, magisterial and governance aspects of his mission, it is hoped that the new pope will draw particular inspiration from the two men who preceded him, Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
Please continue to pray for our new Holy Father, that he may be strengthened as he embarks on his ministry of unity, love and peace; and in union with the bishops of the Church, bring Christ’s message of new evangelization to the world.
In His peace,
“Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message
is heard through the word of Christ.”
Our mission, as disciples of Jesus, is to “proclaim Christ to all people” (Redemptoris Missio, 3). In fulfilling this role, our Parish Lenten program, “Living the Eucharist,” fosters spiritual growth and discipleship as all those participating come to know more profoundly the love of Christ in the Eucharist. This small-group sharing event deepens our faith as we come to more fully understand the life and mission of the Church that flow from and lead to the Eucharist.
To then become true disciples of Christ we must take responsibility for nurturing our faith that it may grow and enable us to be the welcoming parish we profess to be. Our focus must be Catholics who’s practice of the faith has become cold and distant. “Fallen away” Catholics are rapidly becoming a larger group than those who profess the faith. Matthew Kelly reports that 70% of Catholics no longer practice their faith or even believe in the “true presence” of Christ in the Eucharist. Further, he warns, 85% of those young people making their Confirmation will leave the Church within 15 years.
Clearly, we’re doing something wrong. We need to rebuild our parish, discern our mission, make disciples, and reach out to the un-churched and the no longer practicing Catholics in our parish. We need to live our faith and share it with others. We all are called to share in the threefold ministry of Jesus by virtue of our Baptism. We can’t sit by idly letting others do the work. Are you aware that all the ministry and service accomplished by our parish is performed by less than 10% of our members, and only 30% participate in some degree of parish life on a regular basis? Where do you fit in?
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI made the New Evangelization a focus of his teaching. In heralding in this Year of Faith with a Church synod on evangelization he highlights the importance of this mission to fulfill Christ’s mandate to “go and make disciples of all nations (Mt 28:19). We are in the “disciple making business,” and all our efforts will be directed to that goal. We pray that the new evangelization taking place right here at Corpus Christi will allow every parishioner to become a “better version of yourself” and become all that God has created you to be.
In His peace,
THE YEAR OF FAITH
Pope Benedict XVI, at the start of this year, said that the world has become like a spiritual desert, a place where the awareness of God has been largely lost. In this desert where God is so often forgotten, the Pope is calling each of us to grow in our faith in God. In a world that has lost God, the Pope is also calling each of us to joyfully bear witness to others that there is a God who loves us and has saved us.
At the heart of our efforts in this year must be prayer. During Lent, spend more time in prayer and through this prayer, strengthen the recognition of God’s presence and draw closer to Him.
When Pope Benedict’s resignation took effect this past Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 2:00pm (local time), the bells of Corpus Christi heralded his departure as Bishop of Rome as he took up temporary residence in Castel Gandolfo. They will ring again once our new Holy Father is publicly announced. Pope Benedict XVI will retain his papal name but will be called Pope Emeritus. “He will still be called His Holiness Benedict XVI,” said the Vatican press office director, Father Federico Lombardi. “But he will also be called Pope Emeritus or Roman Pontiff Emeritus.”
In this “interregnum,” this interval until a new Pope is elected, let us pray for His Holiness Benedict XVI that he may know the blessing and love of God during the remaining years of his life on earth. Let us also pray for the Church’s College of Cardinals that they may be true to the promptings of the Holy Spirit as they prayerfully consider who will next lead our Church in this Third Millennium.
In His peace,
The Apostles’ Creed
You may have noticed at Mass today that we used the Apostles’ Creed instead of the Nicene Creed. The origins of the Apostles’ Creed are believed to predate the Nicene Creed. It is universally recognized by many Christians as a shared statement of our faith in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The Apostles’ Creed may be used at any Sunday Mass, but the church particularly recommends its use during Lent and Easter Time. Why? Because the words of this ancient Creed have been used for centuries as the basis of our baptismal promises, and the seasons of Lent and Easter put a strong focus on baptism. During Lent we prepare those who will be baptized at Easter while readying ourselves to renew our own baptismal promises. As we recite the Apostles’ Creed, it will stir up in our hearts our commitment to Christ which was first made at our own baptisms and prepare us to renew our promises this Easter.
Sincerely in Christ,
Dear Parishioners, Visitors, and Friends of Corpus Christi,
We began our Lenten season with Ash Wednesday. When we think back of the Lent we celebrated in our childhood, we probably remember the “giving up” of candy, sweets, movies or other things. It was more a time of sacrifice rather than a time of “doing something for others.” Fasting and the giving up of things are still very appropriate for it is part of the Christian tradition to discipline ourselves and to reflect on the value of sacrifice.
We should give up something which we like such as candy, coffee, dessert, maybe even alcohol, and take the money which we would normally spend and put it aside for others who face hunger in their daily lives. It could be put toward our “Operation Rice Bowl.” Lent is also that time when we should do something for someone else such as a person who is sick who might need a visit, a neighbor who needs some extra help, an office worker who could use a friend at lunch.
Think of the many things we could do and do them! May this Lent be a great time of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. May it be a time of conversion for all of us.
Peace n' Good,
As we prepare ourselves for once again entering the Lenten season I draw your attention to the many offerings we have for your spiritual growth and renewal here at Corpus Christi Church. Please mark your calendars and take the time to reflect on the many graces our God has blessed you with. And what blessings should we acknowledge? To help you with that, here is a brief reminder from the Church of the Holy Trinity in New York City that my sister sent me.
“If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of the world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, spare change in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy. If you checked your e-mail on your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that opportunity. If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the many who will not even survive this day. If you have never experienced the fear of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 700 million people in the world. If you can attend a place of worship without the fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death, you are envied by more than three billion people in the world. If you can hold your head up and smile, you are not the norm—you’re unique to all those who live in doubt and despair.
So, as they say, just remember to put a little gratitude in your attitude.”