Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
In this last couple of weeks many of our outreach and formation programs have begun: PSR, RCIA, Mystagogia, junior high youth group and YDisciple especially. And I know that our new team running our first ALPHA program has already been working hard in anticipation of our October 1st start. Think of all the ways we are doing our best to complement home faith-life with our parish programs! Our young people are given the opportunity to learn the faith together, elementary through high school. Then adults are given the opportunity to explore the Faith and come into the Church, and then delve deeper after they have entered fully.
Finally we will have an outreach program for anybody who just wants to talk about the big things in life and how Christianity pertains. That is our ALPHA program. It will be a nourishing program for Catholics who are already practicing, and for Catholics whose faith practice has waned. ALPHA will also be for non-Catholics, and even for people who have no church background whatsoever. With ALPHA in place we will have covered one more important area of outreach.
As I think about all of our teachers and youth ministers and outreach workers, I am so grateful for all the time, prayerful effort and study that is happening to accomplish the upbuilding of our families – and hopefully all of Paulding County – in the Faith! And I am very proud to see it all happening. Thank you all so much! Let’s all be committed to pray for these educational and outreach efforts in the parish. The Holy Spirit is the One who has to fill these efforts to make them truly fruitful in people’s lives.
Let me mention also at this time our Wednesday morning “Gospel with Father” gathering after Mass in Paulding. I think this has gone well. I usually start preparing for my Sunday homilies already on the prior Monday. So I can easily use my notes and observations from my Monday gospel study to add to our Wednesday morning discussion. I think that discussion has been pretty enriching each week. I very much enjoy hearing the reflections of those in attendance. If you have the chance, please consider coming to one of these sessions, and see if you don’t take something extra away that helps you enter more fully prepared into your weekend Mass.
There is another idea I have to give daily Mass-goers an opportunity to delve more richly into the Faith. Every day a priest and deacon have to pray the Breviary. The breviary is part of the daily “prayer of the Church”, along with the Mass itself. The breviary is a selection of Psalms, with other Scripture readings and hymns and petitions. A priest prays his breviary at least five times each day. It’s a couple hours worth of prayer overall. Well, I am thinking I could easily pray my morning prayer on Thursday mornings after Mass with anybody who wants to stay after. But, more than that, I would want to chant the morning prayer, as I do already. With both of our summer deacons over the past couple years I chanted evening prayer from the breviary every day. We literally chanted every syllable of the prayer. Seminaries teach their men in training how to chant the breviary. Seminarians spend some six-to-nine years chanting the breviary in their seminary training, but then this practice gives way simply to reciting it on their own. It would be awesome to have at least a small community chanting the breviary once each week. This tradition of chanting the Psalms literally reaches back into Old Testament times. Monasteries still maintain this discipline. It would be great exposure to parishioners to experience this. Praying the “prayer of the Church” certainly will mean spiritual enrichment for the whole community.
In order to accomplish praying/chanting the breviary, however, participants will have to have downloaded onto their smartphone the “iBreviary” app. Then I can do a quick training that will take about 15 minutes. With practice, it will become second nature for everybody. When we went on pilgrimage to Italy in February of 2016, everybody downloaded the iBreviary, and we prayed at least one of the hours each day together. It was awesome! So, look forward to more info on this opportunity to chant the breviary together. I envision it happening on a few Thursdays each month, right after the morning Mass, wherever that Mass is scheduled.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,