Fr. Jim Lee
Pastor

Pastor’s Notebook

“Behold, now is a very acceptable time, behold, now is the day of salvation.” – 2 Cor 6:2

These words were proclaimed on Ash Wednesday to begin our Lenten journey. It is late that same evening and I am filled with such gratitude and thanksgiving. As is often the case in normal times, the Masses were full to overflowing. We had to make distribution of the ashes available after Masses. Even during Covid times, people have a deep yearning for the rituals of our faith that speak to the very depths of our hearts.

As you read this, the first weeks of Lent will have already passed. This Sunday is the first of three scrutinies and exorcisms of our elect, those adults who will be receiving the Sacraments of initiation of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter vigil. These scrutinies will all take place at the 9:30am livestream Mass. We will use the readings from Year A for those Masses: the woman at the well, the man born blind and the raising of Lazarus. Please pray for our elect.

How has your Lent been unfolding? Have you been able to fast from some distractions to be able to have a bit more time for prayer? Have you been able to fast from screen time to have more time to do the daily readings for Mass? Have you been able to fast and abstain from meat on Fridays to feel a deeper hunger for God and also be in solidarity with those who do not have enough food to eat and are so often hungry?

How are you choosing to be a good steward of your financial gifts this Lent? How are you consciously making choices for almsgiving? With whom will you share not merely from what’s left over, but from your very substance? What will you do without so that others may have enough for their basic needs?

Lent challenges us. Lent confronts us. Lent doesn’t let us off the hook. Lent wants us to be deeply honest. Lent wants to stretch us. Lent wants us to become saints. Will we allow Lent to do its work within us?

I so need Lent, yet I struggle to surrender, to give myself over, to trust ever more radically in God’s unconditional, eternal and infinite love. What about you? Let us pray for one another.

In Christ, through the intercession of Blessed Pier Giorgio, I love you.

Pastor’s Notebook

“Behold, now is a very acceptable time, behold, now is the day of salvation.” – 2 Cor 6:2

These words were proclaimed on Ash Wednesday to begin our Lenten journey. It is late that same evening and I am filled with such gratitude and thanksgiving. As is often the case in normal times, the Masses were full to overflowing. We had to make distribution of the ashes available after Masses. Even during Covid times, people have a deep yearning for the rituals of our faith that speak to the very depths of our hearts.

As you read this, the first weeks of Lent will have already passed. This Sunday is the first of three scrutinies and exorcisms of our elect, those adults who will be receiving the Sacraments of initiation of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter vigil. These scrutinies will all take place at the 9:30am livestream Mass. We will use the readings from Year A for those Masses: the woman at the well, the man born blind and the raising of Lazarus. Please pray for our elect.

How has your Lent been unfolding? Have you been able to fast from some distractions to be able to have a bit more time for prayer? Have you been able to fast from screen time to have more time to do the daily readings for Mass? Have you been able to fast and abstain from meat on Fridays to feel a deeper hunger for God and also be in solidarity with those who do not have enough food to eat and are so often hungry?

How are you choosing to be a good steward of your financial gifts this Lent? How are you consciously making choices for almsgiving? With whom will you share not merely from what’s left over, but from your very substance? What will you do without so that others may have enough for their basic needs?

Lent challenges us. Lent confronts us. Lent doesn’t let us off the hook. Lent wants us to be deeply honest. Lent wants to stretch us. Lent wants us to become saints. Will we allow Lent to do its work within us?

I so need Lent, yet I struggle to surrender, to give myself over, to trust ever more radically in God’s unconditional, eternal and infinite love. What about you? Let us pray for one another.

From Fr. Lou

The Eucharistic Prayer: Prayers Before Consecration

The Eucharistic Prayers all begin with God. In the ancient manuscripts, this invocation took the form of addressing God as “You”, which in Latin is Te. As these Missals (the books that contain the words for the Mass) became more artistically enhanced through what is known as illumination of a manuscript, the “T” often became a Cross. In time—and with the invention of the printing press—a page began to be added to the Missal between the Sanctus and the beginning of the Canon with an image of Christ crucified. This seems like a small point, but I have always found it beautiful: this connection that the offering of Christ on the Cross is the same offering we enter into at this Mass. They begin not with our action, but with God. 

In the United States, we have begun kneeling by this point, which sometimes creates an elongated pause between the Holy Holy and the beginning of the Canon itself.  Sometimes this can distract us from seeing the connection between what we have already begun: this great act of Thanksgiving that is now continued by the priest. I am convinced that kneeling became a posture because what used to be done was actually more difficult—that of remaining profoundly bowed for the entirety of the Eucharistic Prayer! A profound bow is not just a tilt of the head, it’s from the waist. Try holding that posture for a couple of minutes! In the past, posture was less uniformly regulated for Christ’s faithful—the laity—during Mass. Today, we have been given these more uniform postures as an attempt to show “a sign of the unity of the members of the Christian community gathered for the sacred liturgy: it both expresses and fosters the intention and spiritual attitude of the participants” (IGMR, 42). What this is saying is that these common postures help us all to recognize that we are all taking part in this offering of the Mass together.

The prayers before the consecration take different forms in the different Eucharistic prayers. In Eucharistic Prayer I (the Roman Canon), they continue the action of thanksgiving and petition from the Preface, including prayer for the whole Church—individual living members of the Church who participate for the redemption of their souls, in hope of health and well-being, and paying their homage to God and praying in communion with all of the saints who are paying their homage to God in their heavenly worship of Him.

I want to take a brief moment to expound on the prayer for the Church in the Canon. It is what begins Eucharistic Prayer I and it also begins the preparation for Communion in the prayer immediately preceding the Fraction Rite. In the first prayer, we hear that we are praying not “for our pope and bishop” but praying “together with our pope and bishop and all those who, holding to the truth, hand on the Catholic and Apostolic Faith.” What binds the Church is this action of offering, in which everyone is participating: the pope, bishop, us, the communion of saints, all are here! These prayers are not arbitrary. Even if some of them occur after the consecration in other Eucharistic prayers, they are all stating something that we hold to be true: that at this one Sacrifice, all of heaven and earth come together to unite in the worship of God the Father through Jesus Christ in the unity of the Holy Spirit.

For further study see:

The Priest and the Canon of the Mass

Homily of Pope Benedict XVI, 13 Sept 2008

Sacramentary of Charles the Bald, ~890s

From Fr. Lou

The Eucharistic Prayer: Prayers Before Consecration

The Eucharistic Prayers all begin with God. In the ancient manuscripts, this invocation took the form of addressing God as “You”, which in Latin is Te. As these Missals (the books that contain the words for the Mass) became more artistically enhanced through what is known as illumination of a manuscript, the “T” often became a Cross. In time—and with the invention of the printing press—a page began to be added to the Missal between the Sanctus and the beginning of the Canon with an image of Christ crucified. This seems like a small point, but I have always found it beautiful: this connection that the offering of Christ on the Cross is the same offering we enter into at this Mass. They begin not with our action, but with God.

In the United States, we have begun kneeling by this point, which sometimes creates an elongated pause between the Holy Holy and the beginning of the Canon itself.  Sometimes this can distract us from seeing the connection between what we have already begun: this great act of Thanksgiving that is now continued by the priest. I am convinced that kneeling became a posture because what used to be done was actually more difficult—that of remaining profoundly bowed for the entirety of the Eucharistic Prayer! A profound bow is not just a tilt of the head, it’s from the waist. Try holding that posture for a couple of minutes! In the past, posture was less uniformly regulated for Christ’s faithful—the laity—during Mass. Today, we have been given these more uniform postures as an attempt to show “a sign of the unity of the members of the Christian community gathered for the sacred liturgy: it both expresses and fosters the intention and spiritual attitude of the participants” (IGMR, 42). What this is saying is that these common postures help us all to recognize that we are all taking part in this offering of the Mass together.

The prayers before the consecration take different forms in the different Eucharistic prayers. In Eucharistic Prayer I (the Roman Canon), they continue the action of thanksgiving and petition from the Preface, including prayer for the whole Church—individual living members of the Church who participate for the redemption of their souls, in hope of health and well-being, and paying their homage to God and praying in communion with all of the saints who are paying their homage to God in their heavenly worship of Him.

I want to take a brief moment to expound on the prayer for the Church in the Canon. It is what begins Eucharistic Prayer I and it also begins the preparation for Communion in the prayer immediately preceding the Fraction Rite. In the first prayer, we hear that we are praying not “for our pope and bishop” but praying “together with our pope and bishop and all those who, holding to the truth, hand on the Catholic and Apostolic Faith.” What binds the Church is this action of offering, in which everyone is participating: the pope, bishop, us, the communion of saints, all are here! These prayers are not arbitrary. Even if some of them occur after the consecration in other Eucharistic prayers, they are all stating something that we hold to be true: that at this one Sacrifice, all of heaven and earth come together to unite in the worship of God the Father through Jesus Christ in the unity of the Holy Spirit.

For further study see:

The Priest and the Canon of the Mass

Homily of Pope Benedict XVI, 13 Sept 2008

Sacramentary of Charles the Bald, ~890s

Lenten Small Groups

Week 3 ~ The Cleansing of the Temple

This week in the reflection video Fr Jim explains that in the Gospel of John, Jesus begins his public ministry with the cleansing of the temple. With this cleansing, Christ is the new temple. He has a new teaching—the good news that the kingdom of God is at hand. Fr Jim asks us to think about how God is asking you to follow Him. Think about how God is asking you to fulfill your call as a disciple, how you can share that good news. He asked Neil, a parishioner, to share how he has shared this good news with others. Neil talks about the effort he has put into learning more about his faith and developing his relationship with Christ. Watch the video on the website to hear how he has learned to love talking about his faith and the love Jesus has for each person.

Reflect this week: What does evangelization mean to you? In what ways have you tried to evangelize??

If you are unable to join the 430+ parishioners journeying through Lent in small groups, you can follow along by using the reflection sheets and videos posted here.

Contact: Michaela Moreau at (360) 292-7104 or mmoreau@saintmichaelparish.org

FORMED Pick of the Week

When asked what they should say in prayer the Lord gives his disciples the “Our Father.” This prayer is a gift from the Lord and one that we should especially turn to in times of crisis. This series will go line by line through the prayer highlighting what it meant to Jesus’ first century audience and what it means for us today.