In the Catholic faith, the holiest day of our year. It is the event that gives the definition to our entire faith. If someone were to ask, what is the second most important day, I would suspect that a majority of people would say that it is Christmas. While Christmas is extremely holy, the second most important is, in fact, Pentecost.
St. John Chrysostom wrote of the feast of Pentecost, “Today we have arrived at the peak of all blessings, we have reached the capital of feasts, we have obtained the very fruit of the Lord's promise.” The word comes from the Greek word for “fiftieth” and is celebrated fifty days after Easter.
It is celebrated as the birthday of the Church. Pentecost is the feast when the Holy Spirit entered into the life of the Church. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Holy Trinity, and it is because this Spirit of God is now in the Church, that the Church is alive. It is because of the Holy Spirit that the Apostles and all disciples to the present day are able to declare that Jesus Christ is Lord. It is the Holy Spirit that moves Catholics to love God and love their neighbor. It is the Holy Spirit that gives the Saints their grace and mercy to sinners.
Next weekend is the birthday of the Church. Let us thank the Lord for the great gift of the third person of the Holy Trinity and the life of the Church that leads us to heaven.
This weekend, our Archdiocese had the honor of ordaining four new priests to serve the people of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. It is a mass that has many great symbols that help define the sacramental priesthood that Jesus Christ gave to his Church. I would like to explain a few of these symbols:
The first, is that each candidate is called by name. As you have probably noticed, the idea of “name” is connected intimately with many of our sacraments. At Baptism, the first question is “What name have you given your child.” At confirmation, your confirmation name is used before you are anointed. And at ordination, the man is called by name. This is symbolic of the reality that God calls each candidate for the priesthood by name. It is not a general invitation to this particular sacrament, but is an intentional seeking out of this man for this particular duty within the Church.
The bishop also lays his hands on the head of each candidate for ordination. This is the moment where the bishop calls down the Holy Spirit to transform the soul of the man for ordination. Holy Orders is only one of three sacraments that permanently changes the soul (the other two are baptism and confirmation). They laying on of hands is found through the Bible, all the way back through the Old Testament.
Next the priest is vested with the chasuble for the first time. This is the primary garment that the priest wears at mass. Often, the new priest will have a friend or a mentor vest him for his ordination. I asked Fr. Mark Juettner to vest me because he was my mentor priest for my four years of major seminary.
The bishop will then pour the holy oil of the Sacred Chrism on the hands of the newly ordained priest. The hands are consecrated because it is through them that sacraments will be ministered, such as the Eucharist or Anointing of the Sick. This is the same Sacred Chrism that is used at baptism and confirmation.
Finally, each newly ordained priest receives the gifts of the people: The bread and the wine that is to be used for consecration at the mass. At the heart of the priesthood is the celebration of the mass, and thus it is fitting that each newly ordained priest will receive these gifts that will be become a central part of his life as a priest.
The ordination rituals are very powerful symbols and a sacrament for the life of the Church. I would request that you pray for these four newly ordained priests. It is possible that one of these newly ordained priests will be the one to give any of us our Last Rites before we meet God face to face. Let us ask God to give them the graces to be holy ministers of the sacraments who guide us ever more closely to the heart of Jesus where we find mercy and love itself.
Please pray for Fr. Andrew Zipp, Fr. Joseph Connelly, Fr. Louis Floeder and Fr. Joseph Gifford.
It is a common practice for Catholics to have objects blessed. Almost every week here at the parish, someone asks either Deacon John or myself to bless a particular object: A rosary, scapular, statue, an image, ect. Once a religious object is blessed and dedicated for divine worship or veneration, it must be treated with reverence and must not be used in either an improper or profane way (cf. Code of Canon Law, #1171).
So what should we do with these when they break or we simply are at a point where we need to get rid of them. The primary way that Catholics dispose of any blessed object, including old palms from Palm Sunday or even Bibles, is to reverently burn or bury them.
his practice starts, in fact, with the objects that are often used a mass. When a vestment becomes tattered to a point beyond repair or a chalice is no longer in a condition to be used, they are typically burned or buried. If holy water needs to be changed out, we do not pour it down the drain with sewage water, but rather, we pour it into the ground. Even when we receive new holy oils after the chrism mass, we pour the excess old oils into the ground. The idea comes from the same natural process we have where when a person passes away, we return their remains to the earth, for we are dust and unto dust we shall return. It is the same attitude that all gifts come from God and all are returned to God.
Taking this approach with our blessed objects is in opposition to our disposable culture that simply throws everything into the garbage. There is no reverence or recognition of the goodness of the thing that we have. But by disposing of our blessed objects in this way, we acknowledge the goodness of God and his gifts to us.
So if you are a person who gardens or you (or a neighbor) is doing any landscaping, that is a good time to take stock of the religious items you have any that are beyond repair, it is very appropriate for you to place them in the ground. Or, if you are having a bonfire this summer, you may bring along your blessed objects to burn reverently in the fire (NB: It would be inappropriate to place holy objects in the fire and the immediately begin cooking s'mores over the fire. Rather, it would be recommended to cook first and then use the same fire for disposing of blessed objects). If this is done as a family, it can be a beautiful opportunity to teach your children about sacred objects and how to have an appreciation for all that God gives us.
Last weekend and this weekend, our parish celebrated the First Communion for 45 of our young people. This is a great joy for any person, but it is also a great celebration for the parish. We celebrate this as a parish because through their participation in receiving Holy Communion, these young people are entering into union with (communion) Jesus Christ in the most intimate way given to us by God. We rejoice with them and we are reminded of how we ought to celebrate each time we united ourselves with Jesus Christ through the reception of Holy Communion. Please pray for these young people and for our entire parish, that we might grow in our appreciation of the Holy Eucharist and join our hearts in union with Jesus’ most sacred heart.
Lauren Claire Aune
Sophia Mary Frances Bartz
Michael Vincent Blake
Melissa Flores Campusano
Ivy Jo Cheney
William Benjamin Christen
Colby Lee Dove
Madilyn Americus Elke
John Carlos Escobar
Owen Neil Finwall
Gore Tombe Gabriel
Lander Benjamin Guzman
Adam Steven Hansen Jr.
Anton Joaquin Atienza Hanson
Isaac Tibi Joseph
Vivien Ann McFadden
Abigail Riley McGinn
Sophia Elizabeth Meinhardt
Madelyn Grace Moore
Branko John Quentin Nemanich
Jack D. Olive
Joseph James Pauly
Griffin James Pokladnik
Emma Grace Sievert
Adriana Michelle Reyes
Matthew S. Romanowski
Parker Steffen Shook
Stella Ivanna Soegianto
Sophia Katherine Theis
Natalie Elizabeth Thornburg
Chiagoziem Isaac Ude
Rainy Kate Bengston Valentine
Alysa Charlotte Willems
Elizabeth Anne Wilson
Many people, including Catholics, think that Easter is simply one day on the calendar. And while this may be how we often celebrate Easter, we ought to remember that Easter is both an octave as well as an entire season.
First, it is an octave. Because this celebration is of such high importance (it is the very heart of our faith), the Catholic Church sees that it deserves not just a 24-hour moment, but eight full days where we celebrate. That is why if you attended mass on any of the days from Easter Sunday to Divine Sunday, the priest even used the term “on this day” in reference to the Easter resurrection. It is even such a day of celebration that when meat was typically prohibited for eating on all Fridays during the year, people would be able to eat meat on Easter Friday.
However, we do not only celebrate the octave, but Easter is of such great importance that it becomes an entire season. It lasts 50 days (whereas Lent is only 40), and it ends on Pentecost, which is June 9th this year. Many times for Christmas, people speak of it being an entire season, and we ought to do the same for Easter. So here are a few suggestions on how to celebrate the entire Easter season:
Decorate your house: I know that growing up, my mom enjoyed decorating the house for the different seasons of the year and different holidays. In the fall, we had a scarecrow and corn stalks on the lamp post in front of the house. For St. Patrick’s Day, there were green decorations. We ought to do this same for our liturgical church seasons. Decorating our house with signs of the resurrection, with “Alleluia!” and religious symbols is a great way to remind ourselves that we are still in the Easter season.
Plant an Easter garden: The Easter season coincides with spring every year and many people enjoy planting. A garden is a natural representation of new life. So selecting plants that can be a reminder of the Easter resurrection.
Pray the Alleluia: During the 50 days of Easter, it is a great practice to end your usual prayers with “Alleluia”. When you gather as a family and pray the “Bless us O, Lord…” feel free to add “Alleluia” at the end. Or even sing the Alleluia to celebrate the Easter season.
Make your own Easter candle: In the Church, we have the large Easter candle prominently displayed in the sanctuary as a reminder of the light of the Resurrection shining in the darkness. People can make a personal easter candle or even simply designate a special candle that is only lit during Easter. It can be on the dinner table, it can be lit for night time prayers or morning prayers. It becomes a personal reminder of the light of the resurrection.
Catholics have an entire season of Easter where we celebrate the most important moment in human history, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Let us celebrate this not for a day or a week, but for an entire season so that we are transformed into a people who live in the resurrection of Jesus on a daily basis.
Fr Nathan LaLiberte