Bulletin Letter July 5

Dear Parishioners,                                                                                                                                                                        +JMJ

This past week I was asked to translate an address of Cardinal Sarah, head of the Congregation for Liturgy and Sacraments in Rome. (The translation was for somebody in the Diocese.). I thought I would share with you a bit of the fruit of this work. Cardinal Sarah was appointed by Pope Francis back in the Fall, and the Holy Father told Cardinal Sarah to continue “the good work of Pope Benedict” regarding the Church’s continued appropriation of the intention of the Vatican II Council regarding the Mass. Cardinal Sarah writes about the need truly and accurately to read the main document on the liturgy, called “Sacrosanctum Concilium”. My concise summary of what the Cardinal says in the article excerpt below?: “The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is an act of Jesus Himself, who was commissioned by the Father, and who gave the Church the Mass to accomplish the salvation of the world. We must join ourselves to Jesus’ work in the Mass. We do not make the Mass up ourselves. Active participation only requires that the heart be engaged; it can be silent.” I hope these words from the Cardinal can help us all be still more contemplative about the Mass, realizing how amazing an act of Jesus Christ it is! Below are the Cardinal’s words, a small excerpt of the whole document (in translation):

Fifty years after its promulgation by Pope Paul VI, will the Constitution of Vatican II on the Liturgy finally be read? “Sacrosanctum Concilium” is in fact not just a catalogue of “recipes” of reforms, but a real “magna carta” of every liturgical action.

The ecumenical council gives us a masterful lesson in method. In fact, far from being content with a disciplinary approach exterior to the liturgy, the council wants us to contemplate what is in its essence. The practice of the Church always comes from what it receives and contemplates from revelation. The pastoral ministry can not be disconnected from the doctrine.

In the Church “all action is ordered to contemplation” (cfr. n. 2). The conciliar Constitution invites us to rediscover the Trinitarian origin of the liturgical work. In fact, the council establishes a continuity between the mission of Christ the Redeemer and the liturgical mission of the Church. “As Christ was sent by the Father so also he sent the apostles” so that “through the sacrifice and the sacraments, around which the entire liturgical life turns” they might actualize “the work of salvation” (n. 6).

To carry out the liturgy is therefore nothing more than carrying out the work of Christ. The liturgy is essentially “actio Christi”: the “work of human redemption and the perfect glorification of God” (n. 5). He is the high priest, the true subject, the real actor of the liturgy (cfr. n. 7). If this vital principle is not received in faith, it is likely to make the liturgy a human work, a self-aggrandizing celebration of the community.

On the contrary, the proper work of the Church consists in entering into the action of Christ, putting onself into that work of mission which he has received from the Father. So “we were given the fullness of divine worship”, because “his humanity, in the unity of the person of the Word, was the instrument of our salvation” (n. 5). The Church, the Body of Christ, must then in turn become a tool in the hands of the Word.

This is the ultimate meaning of the key concept of the conciliar constitution: the “participatio actuosa” (i.e., active participation). Such participation means for the Church to become an instrument of Christ-priest, in order to share in his Trinitarian mission. The Church participates actively in the liturgical work of Christ insofar as it is his instrument.

In this sense, to speak of “the celebrating community” is not without ambiguity and requires real caution (cf. The Instruction, “Redemptoris Sacramentum”, n. 42). The “participatio actuosa” should not therefore be understood as the need to do something. On this point the teaching of the Council has often been distorted. It is instead to let Christ take us and associate us with his sacrifice.

The liturgical “participatio” must therefore be understood as a grace of Christ who “always associates the Church with himself” (“Sacrosanctum Concilium”, n. 7). He is to have the initiative and the primacy. The Church “invokes him as the Lord and through him renders worship to the eternal Father” (n. 7).

The priest must therefore become the instrument that reveals Christ. As our Pope Francis recently recalled, the celebrant is not the presenter of a show, he should not seek the applause of the assembly, placing himself in front of it as its main interlocutor. Entering into the spirit of the Council means, to the contrary, denying oneself, refusing to be the main focus.

On another note, I am still in need of somebody to help me handle maintenance projects at our Payne campus. [I have a man doing this for me at both of the other campuses. I cannot manage the maintenance of three campuses on my own.] I estimate that the job would be less than 10 hours per week, and I am willing to pay a modest wage for those hours. This person would help me to organize contractors to do such things as cleaning out the eaves troughs, fixing the plastering, getting the parking lot patched and resealed, and working with an exterminator to handle the many bats in the attic. Other projects will surely come. This person would help me, by proposing needs he sees on the campus.

I am also wondering if we could get a team of volunteers to keep up the flower beds and the trimming of the shrubs. Otherwise I will have to pay somebody for such upkeep. We have volunteers at the other campuses for this work. If you can help with any of this, please contact Dianne Jones or me at the parish office.

Finally, I am going to Baltimore to participate in a conference on the Sacrament of Confession and St. Thomas Aquinas’ virtue theology. I will be out of town the evening of Sunday, July 5th through Friday July 10th. Then I will return for weekend Masses (I couldn’t find a priest to cover Masses the weekend of July 11-12.) and head out again for a five-day vacation July 13-17. The parish office staff will be able to get in touch with me for any emergencies.

Have a blessed week!

In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,

Fr. Poggemeyer