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liturgical treasures

Liturgical Treasures in the Month of June

Have you ever thought about the Liturgical Year – the calendar that the Church follows each year to celebrate feasts and saints and seasons? There are two main seasons of anticipation, Advent and Lent, and two seasons of celebration, Christmas and Easter. Then there are some intervening weeks called Ordinary Time. The Liturgical Year presents us, over and over, with the life of Christ, and invites us, through prayer and liturgy, to walk with him.

Now, as of June 2, 2019, we have just concluded the six-week-long celebration of Easter. What comes next is that curious “season” called Ordinary Time, but hidden in Ordinary Time, especially on the Sundays of June, are feasts of extraordinary beauty.

Hidden in Ordinary Time, especially on the Sundays of June, are feasts of extraordinary beauty. Click To Tweet

This year, June 9th is the great Solemnity of Pentecost. Pentecost means “the 50th day.” Sunday is the fiftieth day of the Easter celebration, and its conclusion. On Pentecost, we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church, and the Spirit’s abiding presence with each of us in our own lives, just as Jesus promised. Perhaps we can find a few moments on this great feast to recall the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and to appreciate the ways in which the Spirit is active in our lives. The Spirit’s gifts are wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord.

Then, June 16th we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity or Trinity Sunday. This celebration focuses our attention on a core mystery of our faith; the three divine persons of the One God. We are baptized in the name of the Trinity. We profess our faith in the Trinity with every Sign of the Cross, with every proclamation of the Creed at Mass, with every recitation of “Glory be to the Father….” Most especially, at every Mass we proclaim our faith in the Trinity with our response to the doxology recited by the priest at the conclusion of each Eucharistic Prayer, “Through Him and with Him and in Him, O God Almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours forever and ever.” Amen!

On June 23rd we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Our hearts and minds are turned to another unfathomable mystery at the core of our faith, the Eucharist. The abiding presence of Christ with us, the Real Presence, and the incomprehensible gift which has been given to us in Christ. In the readings for this day, we hear St. Paul telling the Corinthians, and us: “As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes” (1Cor.11:26). On this great solemnity, perhaps we can find the time to consider what the Eucharist means to us, and how we are different or should be because we are a Eucharistic people.

There are two other great liturgical treasures at the end of June, on June 28th, the Feast of the Sacred Heart and on June 29th the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. The first calls us to rely on the great love of Jesus for us, and the second calls us to rely on the foundations of our faith.

After these great celebrations of June, the Liturgical Calendar continues on for the next few months with Ordinary Time, concluding with the Feast of Christ the King in November. Then it will be Advent again, and we prepare once more to walk with Jesus through his life’s journey and ours.

~ Sister Elissa Rinere, CP

Is the Feast of the Ascension a Holy Day of Obligation?

Ascension Thursday and Holy Days of Obligation

On May 30, the whole worldwide Church will celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension. The account of the Ascension of Jesus into heaven is found in the Gospel of Matthew 28:16-20.

Scripture scholars tell us that there are two great “faces” to the celebration. First, the mission of the apostles is transformed from being learners to being teachers. Jesus gave them the mission: “Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit…”

Second, there is a reminder for all the followers of Jesus in every age, that we are also responsible for carrying on the message of the Gospel through our words and deeds. Our mission is to prepare the world for the coming reign of God.

Certainly, the message of the Ascension is significant, but is the Ascension a “holy day of obligation”? Well, it depends on where you live. In 1991 the bishops of the United States established that Ascension Thursday was one of the six days of Obligation to be observed throughout the entire country.

Then in 1999, because of some differences of opinion, it was decided that the bishops of every ecclesiastical province of the country could make a decision about Ascension Thursday for their own people. (An ecclesiastical province is a group of dioceses. There are 33 ecclesiastical provinces in the United States).

So now, in 2019, Thursday, May 30 is a Holy Day of Obligation if you live in the six ecclesiastical provinces of the Northeast, or in Nebraska. The Northeast provinces cover eight states on the Atlantic Coast, from Maine to Pennsylvania, and Nebraska is the ninth. In the remaining forty-one states, the celebration of the Ascension is transferred to the following Sunday, the Sixth Sunday of Easter.

Whether the obligation is yours or not, the meaning and message of the Ascension are worthy of our attention and prayer.

~ Sister Elissa Rinere, CP

Men’s health is a family matter.

Men’s Health is a Family Matter

Men’s health is a family matter.

This is why Our Lady of Calvary Retreat Duplicate is hosting Life Line Screening, the nation’s leading provider of preventive health screenings on Tuesday, June 18, 2019. The screenings provided focus on vascular disease, a leading cause of illness, death and disability among men.

Screenings are fast, painless and affordable. Three key tests check for blocked carotid arteries, an irregular heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation, and high blood pressure, which are the three leading risk factors for stroke. Nearly 800,000 strokes will occur this year, taking a life approximately every four minutes.

Other tests check for abdominal aortic aneurysms and hardening of the arteries in the legs. A bone density screening to assess osteoporosis risk is also offered and is appropriate for both men and women. Many events also offer blood tests, including cholesterol, glucose and c-reactive protein screenings, as well as take-home colon cancer early detection tests.

Screening packages start at $139. Single tests cost around $70.

For more information regarding the screenings or to schedule an appointment, call 1-888-653-6441 or go to www.lifelinescreening.com/communitycircle or text the word circle to 797979. Pre-registration is required.

New Norms on Child Protection

New Norms on Child Protection

Recently, Pope Francis issued a legal new document about child protection and the manner in which allegations of sexual misconduct are to be dealt with in the Church. Commentators fall into two basic categories; those who say the new law is a great step forward, and those who say the new norms do not go far enough. Probably, both views are correct.

In the “norms are a step forward” category, the norms name all clergy and religious as mandated reporters in all instances of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults. There are protections in place for these mandatory reporters, and courses of action to be taken in case of retaliation against them.

Minors are defined as those under the age of eighteen. Vulnerable adults are any persons over eighteen who are in a state of physical or mental infirmity or deprived of personal liberty in a way that limits understanding. Furthermore, victims must be listened to, respected and given whatever spiritual, medical or therapeutic assistance called for in the particular circumstance.
The norms also provide a framework for holding bishops accountable if they fail in their responsibilities to take action, or if they themselves are accused of misconduct.

In the “norms do not go far enough” category, is the fact that all the reporting and investigation of allegations remain within the Church, with bishops or archbishops or with Vatican officials. There is minimal possibility for the involvement of the laity in these processes, so for many, the new norms are not new at all.

There is one important point to be made here. Most dioceses in the United States have had a process for reporting sexual misconduct and investigating allegations in place since 2002. That was the year the Bishops’ Conference (USCCB) implemented what is referred to as the Charter for the Protection of Children. One of the deficiencies of the 2002 Charter is the lack of consequences for bishops who fail to take action when action is called for. The new norms issued by Pope Francis address this point of episcopal accountability, and the USCCB will work to amend the already existing Charter to include this essential point.

Even at this time in the life of the Church, many dioceses around the world have no norms in place for addressing this crisis of clergy sexual abuse, no system for reporting abuse, and no guidelines for carrying out investigations. As this new law is implemented throughout the entire Church, we pray that the scandal of sexual abuse will be rooted out completely and forever.
Note: The full text of Pope Francis’ apostolic letter issued “motu proprio” (by his own authority) is titled “Vos estis lux mundi” and available at www.vatican.va or at www.usccb.org.

~ Sister Elissa Rinere, CP