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
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.