Weekend Seven: Eucharistic Adoration
Here at St. Martin de Porres Church, we have Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament every First Friday at Noon. The priest’s host is taken from the tabernacle and placed in a monstrance for public Adoration from noon until 3:00 PM. Benediction, or blessing with the monstrance, concludes adoration at 3:00 PM. Private Adoration takes place in front of the tabernacle on Monday afternoons from 1:00 to 5:00 PM. We also have Adoration on Holy Thursday evening and on Corpus Christi Sunday.
In our world of constant changes and uncertainty, the Holy Eucharist is the only anchor we have. Jesus promises to be with us always – anytime and anywhere. Being in His presence during Eucharistic Adoration is not only beneficial to ourselves but can be a tremendous force for our world. We know prayer can change the hearts of even the most stubborn of people.
Years ago, many parishes celebrated yearly what was called “40 Hours”. Besides its biblical symbolism, 40 Hours Devotion was meant to remind us of the 40 hours that Christ spent in the tomb following His Crucifixion and before His Resurrection.
The closing of 40 Hours was always done with great solemnity, often with a procession and the participation of the First Communion classes and priests from neighboring parishes. In the Archdiocese of Detroit during the 1930's and 1940's, Cardinal Edward Mooney mandated that every parish in the Archdiocese had to schedule a 40 Hours Devotion to cover every weekend of the year. What a powerful prayer that must have been!
Eucharistic Adoration is no less valuable today than it was then. Adoration of the Eucharist is well worth the time we take from our busy schedules. In the past, when our churches were open during the day, people often stopped by for a short visit on their way to or from work or school. Due to the times we live in, churches do not remain open during the day. All the more reason then, during periods of Eucharistic Adoration, to stop and visit. The Lord is always waiting for us.
In our parish, think what a difference we could make in our neighborhood and in our world if many of us would take just a few minutes monthly to sit with the Lord!
Weekend Six: The Real Presence
As Catholics. we believe that during the Mass which we attend here each week, the priest (during what is called the Eucharistic Prayer or Consecration) speaks these words as he holds the communion host, “…He took bread and gave you thanks, He broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said: Take this all of you, and eat of it: for this is my body which will be given up for you”. While the Church emphasizes for Catholics the importance of the entire Eucharistic Prayer within the Mass, we have traditionally recognized that when the priest says “This is my body”, it is at that instant when, through the miracle of Transubstantiation, (tran–sub-stan–see-ay-shun) the bread and wine which we offer as the bloodless sacrifice to our Lord truly becomes the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus. It is His True Presence in the form of bread and wine. It is Christ.
The doctrine of the Real Presence is, first of all, proven from Sacred Scripture. At the Last Supper, Christ simply declared that He was giving the disciples His Body and Blood. Nothing in the context of His words indicates He was speaking figuratively, whereas everything shows He meant it to be taken literally. (confer the Gospels of Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-25; and Luke 22:19-20). .
We worship Jesus in the Tabernacle because He is present there under the appearance of bread and wine as truly as He is in heaven. We should give Him the adoration given to God alone because of His infinite perfection and His supreme domination over all things created.
One form of public worship is Eucharistic Adoration, which occurs when a priest or deacon takes a consecrated host and places it in a monstrance. The monstrance is used for exposition, adoration, and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. During times of adoration, the monstrance is placed on the altar of the church or chapel.
Adoration means taking time to pray before the very presence of Our Lord, Who is exposed in the monstrance. It means you can have some time alone with Jesus to recite your favorite prayers, read the Bible, contemplate acts of faith, hope, charity, thanksgiving, reparation, pray a rosary or do whatever type of prayerful devotion that suits you before Our Lord. You can just sit and say nothing, simply keeping Him company, just as you would a dear friend. If we want Jesus to be with us, we need to be with Him especially during the time of Exposition.
Weekend Five: The Holy Oils
October 21, 2018
Sometimes there is confusion over what we “adore” and what we “venerate”. Adoration is limited strictly to God and the presence of His Son in the Holy Eucharist. We, as created beings, owe our lives to the Creator. Therefore, we worship Him alone. In the presence of the tabernacle or the exposed monstrance, we worship Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. A sanctuary lamp or candle is always lit near the tabernacle, indicating that Jesus is truly present there. Again, our posture and demeanor in His presence should be that of reverence and awe.
We venerate, but do not adore and we do not worship Our Blessed Mother and all the Saints. They are worthy of our veneration and devotion because they have achieved holiness in this world and eternal life in the next. Having completed their journey on earth, they are found to be faithful to Christ and His Church. We also use the word “venerate” with regard to religious objects, such as statues, rosaries, medals, etc. These are usually called "sacramentals," often blessed, for our use to promote devotion. Catholics and non-Catholics may participate in this devotion.
One other piece of liturgical furniture that we often don’t quite understand is called the ambry. Here at St. Martin’s, it is the glass display case near the Holy Family statue. The word "ambry" comes from a Latin word which means “cupboard,” “chest” or “safe.” It is the place where the holy oils are stored, later to be used in the celebration of the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders and the Anointing of the Sick.
These oils for anointing those to be baptized and the sick are made from blessed olive oil. Chrism, which is a mixture of olive oil and balsam, is used for Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders. Chrism is also used in the consecration of churches and altars. It is a sweet-smelling liquid which looks like molasses. The bishop mixes this balm into the olive oil and breathes on it. All three holy oils are made from olive oil which is harvested in the Holy Land and are blessed by the bishop of the local diocese. Here in this Archdiocese of Detroit, it is Archbishop Allen Vigneron who is our Chief Shepherd and Pastor of the Church.
Weekend 4: Liturgy of the Eucharist
October 14, 2018
The highlight of any family get-together is sharing a meal. Whether the meal is a simple picnic, a big holiday celebration like Thanksgiving, or a more formal gathering such as a wedding, sharing food strengthens the bond of those eating together. We seldom choose to eat with enemies or strangers, though sharing a meal can often break down barriers. Sharing a meal in the Bible was a supreme act of hospitality and an invitation to friendship.
Jesus Christ chooses the Passover meal to be His Last Supper and the beginning of His remaining with us through His priests in the Eucharist. In this way, He gives us the example He wants us to follow.
In our day, we have lost a sense of the “art” of dining. Our kitchen or dining room table should be our altar at home. When we take the time pray before we eat, to listen to each other, to share the day’s events and maybe even to sing, we grow closer together as a family. This carries over into worship with our church family, with whom we eat, drink, sing, pray and talk.
When we begin the Liturgy of the Eucharist, members of the congregation carry up the bread and wine to be used in that celebration. The gifts of bread and wine represent all of us and all that we have done the past week. The collection is our response to meet the financial need of our parish. The bread and wine are offered with the gift of our very selves, however imperfect we may be.
The priest prepares the bread and wine at the Offertory, just as we prepare food at home before the meal. At home, the food we prepare changes its outward appearance by cooking, and grilling. During the Consecration at the Mass, the bread and wine are changed into Jesus Himself – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.
As what we eat changes us, gives us strength and gives us the ability to stay healthy, how much more the food we eat at Communion time can change us and strengthen us to remain faithful to Jesus and to His Church, and give us the ability to defend ourselves against all that is not spiritually healthy!
Weekend 3: The Liturgy of the Word
October 7, 2018
The documents of the Second Vatican Council, the last ecumenical council held over fifty years ago, declared that our homes and our families are called “the domestic church.” We can’t expect to feel fulfilled and uplifted when we come to Mass, if in our homes there is discord, animosity or a lack of love and support for those living under the same roof with us. Our home should be the place where we can be ourselves –- always welcome and appreciated in a place of safety. The same welcome and hospitality should be true of the community with which we worship.
When we have disagreements or have done hurtful things to other family members, we need to be reconciled to heal the fracture. Our Penitential Rite at the beginning of Mass does the same with the larger family to which we belong. So does the Sign of Peace, prior to our approaching the altar to receive the Prince of Peace.
When families gather for family reunions, there is usually much story-telling, family pictures and sharing of past history. When we begin the Liturgy of the Word, we listen to the readings from the Old Testament which gives us some of our spiritual family history. The readings from the New Testament tell of the early Church and the messages and works of Jesus Christ. When the Word of God is proclaimed, we try to listen actively as the Holy Spirit speaks to us. If we are late in arriving for Mass, we wait until the reading is finished before we take our place in the pew.
At the proclamation of the Gospel, following the example of the priest or deacon, we make the Sign of the Cross three times – on our forehead, on our lips, and over our hearts. In doing this, we ask God that the Word of God may always be in our minds, on our lips and in our hearts. These are the same words a bishop or priest says when he blesses the deacon before the proclamation of the Gospel by the deacon.
After reading the Gospel, the bishop, priest or deacon kisses the Gospel Book out of respect and reverence for the Word of God. He silently says these words: "May the Word of God blot out all my sins."
A homily by the bishop, priest or deacon follows. A good homily will challenge us and will encourage us to mature in faith and faith-practice. Following the homily is our Profession of Faith, which is a capsulized version of what we believe as Catholics. Universal Prayers of the Faithful reminds us of the need to pray for ourselves and for the needs of the Church and humanity.
Weekend Two: The Meaning of the Mass
September 30, 2018
When we gather together, particularly on weekends, in this sacred place, we call our action together "the Liturgy" or "the Mass." The religious meaning of the word "liturgy" is "public worship for the service of others." It is communal in nature. There is nothing private about the liturgy. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy in 1963 emphasized the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
The Liturgy is an action we do with Christ. The key word is “participating”. The faithful should not be there as strangers or silent spectators. The Constitution says, “…Christ’s faithful…through a good understanding of the rites and prayers …should take part in the sacred service conscious of what they are doing, with devotion and full involvement.” We give, as the Second Vatican Council calls to give, our "full, active and conscious participation." This cannot happen if we are distracted, much like trying to carry on an important conversation with someone while the television set is on, when or someone is using their ear pods or texting to someone else.
The Mass, also called "liturgy," "Eucharist," “Paschal Feast” or “Passover Meal” is the central act of our worship. Our focus needs to be:
-- on the ambo from which the Living Word of God is proclaimed;
-- the altar from which we receive the Bread of Life;
-- the Presider’s Chair from where the presider gathers
all of our prayers into one; and
-- the assembly, which is not just a room full of individual people but rather a gathering of people. By their warmness and hospitality, we become a worshipping community who are called to be Christ for each other.
Gathering is an important part when we come together to worship. That act of hospitality in which we welcome those we know and those we may not know transforms a roomful of individuals into a worshipping assembly. We give of ourselves to each other to make people feel at home, to make strangers feel welcome and make all people glad they decided to come to our community.
Weekend One: Introduction
September 2, 2018
Over the next few weekends, we will offer some ongoing formation on Catholic traditions and practices, and refresh our knowledge of some of the liturgical terms we use. So often we do things as a matter of routine in our everyday lives, and that habit often carries over into our faith and spiritual lives as well. Hopefully, we will take time to reflect on some of the things we do "out of habit" when we come to Church.
When we enter the church, we make the Sign of the Cross with holy water. The holy water reminds us of our Baptism in which we became a part of this wonderful family of God. Do we take the time to make the Sign of the Cross carefully, and prayerfully say the words: "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" calling to mind the Blessed Trinity? This Trinity, which is the perfect community, is the One into which we were baptized. We are called to be reflections of that perfect community of love.
Upon entering the body of the Church, which we believe to be a holy place, we genuflect, acknowledging the presence of Christ reserved in the tabernacle. Genuflecting (which means "to bend the knee") is still the proper posture in the presence of the tabernacle. Before we enter the pew or whenever we cross the tabernacle, we face the tabernacle and bow reverently on our right knee. If we are unable to genuflect, a reverent bow to the tabernacle is acceptable.
While churches today are designed for more camaraderie among the gathered community, there should still be a reverence for the sacredness of this place. We show that reverence in the tone and volume of our voices, in the way we raise and lower the kneelers. We show this in the attention we give to the Word of God proclaimed from the ambo, from which we receive the Word of Life; and in the attention we give to the altar from which we receive the Bread of Life.
You will note, too, that the priest and deacon always kiss the altar at the beginning and at the end of Mass, again, expressing reverence for the altar of sacrifice and for the altar stone in it which contains usually the relic of some saint.
Other postures and actions which we do at Mass will be a part of next week's ongoing formation when we consider the Mass as a family celebration.
Before the start of Mass, a brief teaching on Catholic teachings and practices will be presented. Why do we do this as Catholics? Why do we believe that as Catholics? We hope these brief teachings will help answer those questions.
St Martin de Porres Church
31555 Hoover RD
Warren, MI 48093
Rev. Nicholas Zukowski, Pastor
Rev. Mr. Marion Jurewicz, Deacon
Tel: (586) 264-7515
Fax: (586) 264-4013