From Fr. Paul 10-15-2017

Training for Lectors and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

During the month of October we have been offering instruction and training opportunities for liturgical ministers, those individuals who assist at Mass as Altar Servers, Lectors, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and Ushers. Last week we held our most recent training for Altar Servers. And I am grateful for those willing to assist at the altar. This Tuesday at 6:30pm in the church we will offer instruction for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHCs), those specially trained to distribute the Body and Blood of Jesus at Mass. New EMHCs are required to attend, and returning EMHCs are highly encouraged to attend as this is an opportunity for new instructions and questions. Each EMHC should be commissioned by the Archdiocese, and we are moving toward this process. At 7:30pm we will hold a training for our new Lectors, those who will proclaim the Word of God at Mass. Since by assisting at Mass in this capacity you are public witnesses of the Catholic Faith, Lectors and EMHCs need to be practicing Catholics and should have received the Sacrament of Confirmation. Again, I ask returning Lectors to attend as new information will be shared. Thank you for your service and cooperation!

Calling New Ushers!

I would especially like to invite men and women from the parish to consider being an Usher at Mass. We are in great need of new ushers as many of our current ushers serve each Sunday. I would like to have multiple teams for each of our three Sunday Masses so that we can alternate. Ushers assist greatly at the liturgy by welcoming and assisting parishioners and visitors to St. Mary, helping with the collection, and distributing bulletins after Mass. Archbishop Vigneron’s pastoral letter, Unleash the Gospel speaks of “unusually gracious hospitality.” Ushers are often the first people parishioners and visitors encounter when they enter a parish, and I want our usher teams to be great examples of this gracious hospitality and welcoming spirit. The time commitment for ushers would be generally during Mass, arriving at least 20 minutes before the start of Mass. This would greatly help our parish, so I invite you to consider this opportunity to serve God as you serve our community. Training for new and returning ushers will be Tuesday, October 24th at 7pm in the church. Feel free to contact the parish with any questions. Young Adults: Please consider this as a great opportunity for you to serve the parish!

As we look for other opportunities to extend a gracious welcome, we will add some words of welcome at the beginning of each Sunday Mass after our lectors receive their new instructions. This welcome will offer a greeting, welcome our visitors (we often have many visitors at Mass), and introduce the Sunday or feast day (For example: Today we celebrate the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time or Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost). It will also ask the congregation to silence their phones out of respect for the liturgy, as well as introduce our presider for Mass. This greeting will precede the first hymn.

Next weekend we will have a relic of Saint John Paul II present at the Masses. The congregation will be blessed with the relic at the end of Mass and there will also be an opportunity to venerate (honor) the relic after Mass.

As Catholics, we have a history of honoring the bodies of holy men and women. This history goes to the beginning of the Church. We worship God alone, but we honor the Saints, those holy men and women that offer us a great example that life as a disciple of Jesus, someone who follows Jesus at all costs, is possible. We need these powerful witnesses to give us courage and we should ask for their prayers and intercession. St. John Paul II was an amazing Saint of our time.

Have a blessed week,

Fr. Paul