“Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people (1 Pet. 2:9; cf. 2:4-5), is their right and duty by reason of their baptism. In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit; and therefore pastors of souls must zealously strive to achieve it, by means of the necessary instruction, in all their pastoral work.
Dear St Michael Parishioners,
As we approach the new liturgical year and Advent, I would like to share with you my plan - in cooperation with the Parish Liturgical Committee - to lead St Michael's into a liturgical restoration. During the four Sundays of Advent, we shall receive catechesis on the importance of liturgy, and how we can achieve full, conscious and active participation in our worship every Sunday. Our goal is to make our Sunday liturgy an encounter with our Lord through hymns, postures, gestures, responses, Scripture and Eucharist.
On the first Sunday in Advent, you will receive a Postures & Gestures booklet on how Holy Mass is celebrated in our parish. This guide has the General Instruction of the Roman Missal as its source and reference.
Some questions that will be included in our Advent catechesis on the liturgy are as follows:
· How should we prepare for Sunday Mass?
· What is the best attire for Mass?
· What should I do when I enter the church and before I leave the church?
· What is the meaning of the signing of the Cross on the forehead, lips and chest before the Gospel?
· Is extending my arms towards priest when I say “and with your spirit” an appropriate gesture?
· Is holding of hands or the raising my arms during the “Our Father” an appropriate gesture?
· Do I kneel or stand after the Lamb of God?
· What is the proper way to receive the Precious Body and Blood of Jesus?
· What is the purpose of the collection during Mass?
I hope and pray that this effort to refresh our knowledge of the Mass will be a great gift for us as we worship God together in a unified way with a full, conscious and active participation.
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta often spoke on the preciousness of each Mass. Frequently she would instruct newly ordained priests to “celebrate each Mass as if it is your first Mass, your last Mass and your only Mass.”
Why is this liturgical restoration important and essential for our parish? The answer is plain and simple. The Mass is the feast of Heaven here on earth - right here in Livermore. Let us strive to celebrate it with joy, reverence and faith!
Blessings to you.