Father's Sunday Talks

Talk 7 – Summary of Talks on Vatican II

posted Feb 13, 2021, 7:38 AM by Church Office   [ updated Feb 13, 2021, 7:38 AM ]

Talk 7 – Summary of Talks on Vatican II

 

I.                 Church and World History

 

Pope John XXIII oversees the opening of Vatican II on October 11.  He called it the New Pentecost. Why? Because he knew that the Catholic Church needed a rebirth to change its role as a major world entity.  Although the power and influence of the papacy had decreased over time, there were more Catholics throughout the world than any other denomination.  However, the people were being torn to being loyal to their national government or to the Catholic Church.  Issues such as birth control, giving to the poor, vocations, ethnic churches, the mass, the role of the laity in the church, the dignity of human life and many other issues needed to be addressed. So Pope John XIII convened Vatican II to address these and many other issues.

 

 

II.               The Issues Before Vatican II


One of the primary goals of Vatican II was to bring the church up to the present times in society.  Many felt that the church had not adapted to the many changes that the world had undergone in the past few hundred years. The world was getting smaller and the world’s issues needed to become the church’s issues.  Pope John XXIII made a statement during the opening ceremonies that the church was IN the world and needed to have a greater impact on how the world dealt with many problems.  Some of these concerns were poverty in third world countries, full and active participation in the mass, the conflict between different religions throughout the world, how do we live out our call to be a disciple of Christ, and many others. 


Some bishops felt the church needed to be overhauled to meet these objectives.  However, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the leaders of Vatican II believed in two concepts.  The first is Aggiornamento and the second is Ressourcement.  Aggiornamento is an Italian word the means to bring up to date or to bring up to the modern standards.  However the word Ressourcement means getting back to the basics; to get back to the fundamentals as a way of getting the Church caught up to modern times. 


At first, these two words or concepts may seem contradictory. However, when put together, Pope John felt that the church had drifted away from the ideals set forth by Christ when He established the Catholic Church.  The pope believed that the way to bring the church into more modern times was to focus on the basic teachings of Christ here on earth.

 

 

III.             Changes to the Mass

 

1)               The word Liturgy means work of the people so the Liturgy or the mass should allow the people to give proper worship and praise to God.  The Mass is the source and summit of our Catholic Faith and is the font from which all grace from God flows. It is also our greatest path to holiness. However, to fully receive these graces and blessings, we the people must be full and active participants at the mass.  Prior to Vatican II, we were more observers than participants.

 

2)               To further the desire for us to be more fully active, the language of the mass was changed from Latin to the native language of the people attending the mass. The council wanted us to pray with our hearts and not our minds.  They wanted us to pour out our emotions and feelings to God throughout the mass.

 

3)               The mass needed to be more clear and focused on the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  Over time, the Latin Ritual strayed from the true focus of these two main parts of the mass.  Also, these needed to be enhanced, especially the Liturgy of the Word.  To accomplish this, a third reading from the Old Testament was added to the Lectionary for Sunday and feast days.  Further, a homily was required that focused on explaining the readings to the congregation.  Previously, it was a sermon on any topic chosen by the priest or Bishop.  Also, the Prayers of the Faithful were added to the liturgy to allow the people to raise their petitions to God.

 

 

IV.            Other Changes Within the Catholic Church

 

One of the major changes within the Catholic Church after Vatican II was the role of the laity, especially women and girls.  They were now permitted to be Eucharistic Ministers, Lectors, Acolytes, and altar servers. Pastors and priests had to adopt a life of service to the people.  They were told to get out of the rectory and go where they were needed. Vestments and chalices were to more simple and not so ornate.  The money was to be used to fund programs for the needy and not on expensive items for the priests.When going to confession, the penitent had the option to go face-to-face or go the behind the screen.  The face-to-face allowed the priest and the penitent to have a deeper discussion about how the confessee could turn away from their sins.  The priest could be a spiritual director for the them.  Also, more emphasis was put on the root cause of the sins and not just on the number of sins committed.

A new catechism was proposed to replace the Baltimore Catechism.  The teachings of the church needed to be brought up to contemporary standards.  A new code of Canon Law was written to explain the rules and regulations of the church.  The position of permanent deacon was established to help in parish ministry.  Because families were having fewer children, the council realized that there would be a shortage of priests.  To help, the council created a position within the church called a permanent deacon.  They take the vows of celibacy, obedience and prayer.  It is a ministry of service and he and his wife are required to provide a service to the parish.


Nuns were allowed to wear regular clothes instead of their habits.  This was a welcome change for many religious orders.  However, as a result of the reduction in the number of nuns, the Catholic schools had to hire lay people to teach.  This drove up the cost of Catholic Education and many parishioners were unable to afford to send their children to Catholic schools.


Funerals were changed from a mass of mourning to a celebration of life.  Priests used to wear black vestments and now the priest wears white to represent the deceased person’s new life in Christ. Black vestments were eliminated from the church.


More Eucharistic prayers were added so that the priest had more options to choose from when saying mass.  At each mass, the priest can choose the prayers for the day (the Opening prayer, prayer at the Offertory, and the prayer at Communion), the preface, and the Eucharistic Prayer.  For the sacrament of marriage, the church lessened the restrictions on mixed religious marriages.  With so many Catholics marrying non-catholic Christians, the church made it easier for the couple to get married in the church and to have a mass said as part of the marriage ceremony.

 

 

V.              The Dignity of the Human Person

 

It all starts with Jesus’ declaration that the Kingdom of Heaven exists in the world today and not just in the next world after we have died.  This means that all humans are created in the image and likeness of God.  We are all brothers and sisters of Christ.  Also, we have a body and a soul that will exist forever. We have all been given the gift of free will.  This gift allows us to freely choose to love God or not.  In our willingness to choose to love God, we can love him more than if we were forced to love Him.  The dignity of human life means that a human has the ability to live out this gift of free will.  Therefore, as brothers and sisters of Christ, we are called to follow His example of loving God and loving others, freely. We do so in our own vocation and help others to live out their calling.  To fulfill our calling we need the help and support of others, especially our family, friends and local parish. 

 


VI.            How to Bring People and the Youth Back to Church

 

First, I want you to realize that bringing people back to the church is not an easy process.  It is more of a marathon and not a sprint.  And to make matters worse, the Covid-19 restrictions may hamper our efforts.  With that said, there are still many ways that we can help others find God in their lives.  We can also improve our efforts to get the youth more involved in our parish.

 

So how do we get started?  The first thing is to realize is that one of the main reasons people are not coming to church is they feel they don’t need God in their lives.  Sure, they may believe in God and know they should come to church.  However, their life is going along just fine, they are busy doing things and to them, life is good so God is not really needed.  Sometimes it takes a tragedy or emergency for people to turn to God.  It is hard to find God in parties, at the Country Club, or in any other celebration.  Yet, God is easily found in hospitals, funeral homes and other places that people are in need of God’s help.  Now, I am not suggesting this is the only way to get people to turn to God, but it is the fastest. 


Now let turn my attention to the youth.  Based upon many studies, especially from Bishop Robert Barron, this generation wants to be involved with the needs of the poor and needy.  They would much rather work on projects or programs for social justice than to come to mass.  They prefer to spend time loving their neighbor than coming to mass.  This is great to an extent.  However, they also need to share in the mass and the sacraments.  I suggest that parents encourage their children to donate food and clothing and even time to the poor.  Block off an hour to go through closets and select clothing to be donated or through cabinets and donate food. 


These are just a few ideas on how to get people and the youth more involved with their faith.  Like I said earlier, it takes time and we need to be patient.  We have to meet them on their terms and in their place and not force our views on them.  We also need to invest more of the parish’s resources in evangelization and the youth. Once this pandemic subsides, we can hold more social events, meet and greet events, and other gatherings to introduce others to the great hospitality of our parish.  I am very proud of you for inviting others to come to our beloved church.  It is in a personal invitation that we can reach the most people.  I hope we can continue to grow our parish.

Talk 6 – How to Bring People Back to the Church

posted Feb 12, 2021, 5:15 AM by Church Office   [ updated Feb 12, 2021, 5:16 AM ]

Talk 6 – How to Bring People Back to the Church

 

I.                 First, I want you to realize that bringing people back to the church is not an easy process.  It is more of a marathon and not a sprint.  And to make matters worse, the Covid-19 restrictions may hamper our efforts.  With that said, there are still many ways that we can help others find God in their lives.  We can also improve our efforts to get the youth more involved in our parish.

 

II.               So how do we get started?  The first thing is to realize is that one of the main reasons people are not coming to church is they feel they don’t need God in their lives.  Sure, they may believe in God and know they should come to church.  However, their life is going along just fine, they are busy doing things and to them, life is good so God is not really needed.  The analogy I like is trying to sell car tires to someone that bought tires a couple months ago.  They are riding in their car just fine and don’t need new tires.  What can change their minds or get them to need new tires?  Having a blowout on the highway or getting a flat tire.  Then they need tires immediately.  The same pertains to God.  Sometimes it takes a tragedy or emergency for people to turn to God.  It is hard to find God in parties, at the Country Club, or in any other celebration.  Yet, God is easily found in hospitals, funeral homes and other places that people are in need of God’s help.  Now, I am not suggesting this is the only way to get people to turn to God, but it is the fastest. 

 

III.             So what is another reason people fail to have a deep relationship with God? Pride!! As I mentioned earlier, their lives are going along just fine without God.  They fail to realize that everything they have comes from God and they need to give thanks to God for the many blessings they have in their lives.  They need an attitude of gratitude and humility; the opposite of pride. Again, not easy to change the orientation of their hearts.  So how do we help change their hearts?  It starts with us going to them and meeting them in their environment.  Christ sent his Disciples out to the various towns and villages to spread the good news.  We need to go to them rather than waiting for them to come to us.  Then we need to have an open dialogue.  About the many blessings they have in their lives.  To compliment them on their success and their families.  Then we can gently remind them or offer thanks to God for their gifts in this dialogue.  It is gentle way of reminding them that their achievements and blessings come from God.  Another way is to tell them how blessed by God you and your family are and how you credit God for your gifts and success.

 

IV.            Another way is living a life that others would want to emulate.  Let’s say you want to convince someone to take up golf.  Yet, when you bring them to a golf course, they see the golfers angry, throwing clubs, cursing, etc.  The person would most likely say to you, why should I learn to play golf if everyone is angry and frustrated?  That doesn’t appeal to me.  The same goes for bringing others to Christ.  If we walk around grumpy or discouraged or unhappy, how is that appealing to outsiders?  Regardless of our circumstances, we need to have a positive outlook in our lives.  We have to live a life that appeals to others.  I know this is hard, especially during these difficult times.  However, if we don’t show that our faith is greater than fear, who else will?

 

V.              Another approach is talking to them about where do they find or see God in their lives.  We may see or feel God’s presence in church and during mass.  They may find God in nature, in a beautiful sunrise, in the birth of a child or many other places. I have often spoken about how I experience God on the golf course.  Again we need to let them explain to us where they see God and why that is.  This allows them to express their views about God and not us telling them about God.  We must seek first understanding before we can share our perspective.  Another question to ask is where they find true happiness and peace.  We know that only a relationship with God/Jesus can bring us true happiness and peace.  I thought I would be happy when I was drinking, yet it was a false happiness.  They too may be chasing after happiness in the wrong places.  Rather than telling them that they are wrong, ask them how that is working for them; have they found true happiness and peace?

 

VI.            Now let turn my attention to the youth.  Based upon many studies, especially from Bishop Robert Barron, this generation wants to be involved with the needs of the poor and needy.  They would much rather work on projects or programs for social justice than to come to mass.  They prefer to spend time loving their neighbor than coming to mass.  This is great to an extent.  However, they also need to share in the mass and the sacraments.  I suggest that parents encourage their children to donate food and clothing and even time to the poor.  Block off an hour to go through closets and select clothing to be donated or through cabinets and donate food.  However, they still need to come to mass as a way of praying for those in need, to give thanks for the blessings they have received and to receive the Eucharist to nourish them. 

 

VII.          Also, more resources in our parish need to be invested in our youth.  We need to ask them how they want to be educated in their faith.  How can we provide them a place to ask questions anonymously?  They want to ask tough questions and may be embarrassed to ask them in public, at CCD, or to even ask their parents.  How can we structure a youth program that would be of interest to them? Where do they experience God in their lives? They have a great hunger for the truth and we need to get them the truth in a manner that truly speaks to them.  I know Covid has curtailed our ability to have CCD and other gatherings to help them.  Yet, we need to be prepared to offer them resources to allow them to grow in their faith.  We also need to get them more involved in the mass.  Maybe a youth choir would be one idea.  Another idea would be a youth mass where they do all the ministries at the mass.  In this way, they take ownership of the mass; it becomes more meaningful to them. 

 

VIII.        So what happens if the people we try to help never come back to the church? What if they never develop a meaningful relationship with God or with Jesus? Are they damned to hell for all eternity? No!! Jesus calls us to love God and love our neighbor.  Also, God is love.  Our time on earth is to help prepare us for living in a world of perfect love in heaven.  The people we are trying to bring back to the church are loving people.  If they were not loving people, I doubt we would make such an effort to help them.  We have to trust in God’s mercy and hope that they will one day join us in heaven.  They may have to spend more time in Purgatory but eventually they will be with us in heaven. This doesn’t mean we should give up trying to help them in their relationship with God.  It just gives us hope that one day, they too will be saved.

 

IX.            These are just a few ideas on how to get people and the youth more involved with their faith.  Like I said earlier, it takes time and we need to be patient.  We have to meet them on their terms and in their place and not force our views on them.  We also need to invest more of the parish’s resources in evangelization and the youth. Once this pandemic subsides, we can hold more social events, meet and greet events, and other gatherings to introduce others to the great hospitality of our parish.  I am very proud of you for inviting others to come to our beloved church.  It is in a personal invitation that we can reach the most people.  I hope we can continue to grow our parish.  May God bless all of you for your help and continued support.

Talk 5 - The Dignity of the Human Person

posted Feb 1, 2021, 11:18 AM by Church Office   [ updated Feb 1, 2021, 11:19 AM ]

Talk 5 – The Dignity of the Human Life

 

I.                 Why did the Council focus so much on the dignity of Human Life?

 

It all starts with Jesus’ declaration that the Kingdom of Heaven exists in the world today and not just in the next world after we have died.  This means that all humans are created in the image and likeness of God.  We are all brothers and sisters of Christ.  Also, we have a body and a soul that will exist forever. We have all been given the gift of free will.  This gift allows us to freely choose to love God or not.  In our willingness to choose to love God, we can love him more than if we were forced to love Him.  The dignity of human life means that a human has the ability to live out this gift of free will.  Therefore, as brothers and sisters of Christ, we are called to follow His example of loving God and loving others, freely.

 

II.               Our one true vocation is to live our lives as a Disciple of Christ. 

 

This means dying to self like Christ.  To put God first in your life by doing the will of God.  It is our universal call to holiness by loving God and loving others above ourselves like Christ did.  However, we need our freedom to live out this vocation.  Those prevented from living this vocation must be freed from oppression. This oppression can be poverty, illness, government restrictions, lack of places to worship, and many other causes.  It is up to the wealthy and prosperous to help the needy fulfill their calling. 

 

III.             How do we live out this one vocation?  We have three choices.

 

A.    Married Life

Marriage life is when a couple has unconditional love for each other. This reflects God's infinite love that he has for us. Marriage symbolizes Christ's love for the Church and his followers. By a man and a woman being united by marriage express that love by sharing in God’s creative blessing. As parents, they help to nourish their children in faith and love.  They also guide them in forming their consciences, teaching them about how to live out their lives as Disciples of Christ. By using their gifts and talents, a married couple they can provide the necessary resources to grow and develop their children in a manner that allows them to eventually live out their own vocation.

 

B.    Single Life

 

Single life is when a person/ persons are committed to being single. This gives them the opportunity to become closer to God, to love God, and serve others. People that are single are free from the obligations to family. This makes single people more reliable to help and serve the Catholic Church, assist the needy, and care for others. Some examples people following a single life can display within their communities are, being coaches, volunteers, big brothers or big sisters, mentors, and other volunteer opportunities. By single people pursuing their vocations, the gifts and talents they receive from God are used to serve others.

 

C.    Religious and Clergy

 

Religious life is when priests, sisters, and brothers commit their life to God, rather than being in a romantic or sexual relationship. These people devote themselves to the Church, to the needy, to their communities, and to charity work. By following the vocation of a religious life, priests, nuns, and brothers spend most their time in prayer with God, and serving their Catholic community.  The priest is to inspire others to further their relationship with God, through the life of Jesus Christ. The religious and clergy dedicate their lives to first be Disciples themselves and inspire others to do the same.

 

IV.            Where does our Discipleship start?

 

It starts with each individual.  We must first align ourselves with the teachings of Christ.  In order to do this, we need to hear the scriptures at mass or read them in a Bible.  We must learn the teachings of the Catholic Church so that our consciences are properly formed.  We can’t teach or guide others until our own life is conformed to Christ.  Then we can help our family members to become disciples in their own unique way, using their gifts and talents to love God and to serve others.  Our family is a domestic church and is to be the foundation of our faith, hope and love.  We can then expand to our friends, our parish, our local community and then the world.  I like to think of our relationships and responsibilities as concentric circles, growing out from the center, Christ our Savior.

 

To help in this regard, we need to be nourished by the Eucharist, feed off the love and energy of our fellow believers and disciples.  Christ needed help in his own ministry and we need help in our own.  The parish should provide you with opportunities to love God and love our neighbor.  It is up to us to take advantage of these opportunities and encourage our family and friends to do likewise.

 

So how do we manage or resources? We again turn to our sphere of influence.  We have to take care of our families, local church and local communities first and then try to help others.  We also have a responsibility to plan for the future and set money and resources aside.  However, we are not to spend lavishly at the expense of the needy.  This is referred to the preferential option for the poor.  Our parish puts this principle into action by our tithing of 10% of each Sunday collection to the needy in our local community.  You and your family can donate food, clothing, time and money to support various charities. This decision is up to you. However, if you are looking to get your children more involved in the church, this is one way to encourage them to spend time helping others.  I will have more to say on that next week.

 

V.              Summary

 

We are created in the image and likeness of God and are called to use our gift of free will to love God and love others as Disciples of Christ.  We do so in our own vocation and help others to live out their calling.  To fulfill our calling we need the help and support of others, especially our family, friends and local parish.  May God continue to bless you on your journey to everlasting life.

 

Talk 4 – Other changes within the Catholic Church as a result of Vatican II

posted Jan 25, 2021, 9:56 AM by Church Office   [ updated Jan 25, 2021, 9:56 AM ]

What is the role and responsibility of the Catholic Church is in today’s society?

Talk 4 – Other changes within the Catholic Church as a result of Vatican II

 

I.                 One of the major changes within the Catholic Church after Vatican II was the role of the laity, especially women and girls.  They were now permitted to be Eucharistic Ministers, Lectors, Acolytes, and altar servers.  Prior to the Council, only men could serve in the church.  Women were treated as equals to men. They no longer had to cover their heads at mass.  Why the change?  It goes back to the early church erroneously blaming women, Eve, for sinning after the temptation of the devil.  The church realized that both men and women sinned in the Garden of Eden.

 

II.               Pastors and priests had to adopt a life of service to the people.  They were told to get out of the rectory and go where they were needed. Before Vatican II, a parochial vicar would work for 15-20 years at various parishes.  Once they became pastors, many believed that they had worked long enough and let/made the assistants do the pastoral work of the parish.  After the council, all pastors and priests were asked to serve the parishioners by going to hospitals, nursing homes, the catholic schools, shut-ins, etc.  This did not go over well with the pastors and many left the priesthood or retired early.

 

III.             Vestments and chalices were to more simple and not so ornate.  The money was to be used to fund programs for the needy and not on expensive items for the priests.

 

IV.            When going to confession, the penitent had the option to go face-to-face or go the behind the screen.  The face-to-face allowed the priest and the penitent to have a deeper discussion about how the confessee could turn away from their sins.  The priest could be a spiritual director for the them.  Also, more emphasis was put on the root cause of the sins and not just on the number of sins committed.

 

V.              A new catechism was proposed to replace the Baltimore Catechism.  The teachings of the church needed to be brought up to contemporary standards.  However, I still used the Baltimore Catechism in the seminary because it was simpler and easier to understand.

 

VI.            A new code of Canon Law was written to explain the rules and regulations of the church.  Again, this document was very out of date and needed to be revised.

 

VII.          The position of permanent deacon was established to help in parish ministry.  Because families were having fewer children, the council realized that there would be a shortage of priests.  To help, the council created a position within the church called a permanent deacon.  They take the vows of celibacy, obedience and prayer.  It is a ministry of service and he and his wife are required to provide a service to the parish.

 

VIII.        Nuns were allowed to wear regular clothes instead of their habits.  This was a welcome change for many religious orders.  However, please note that the religious orders that continue to wear their habits are thriving and the ones that wear casual clothes are slowly dying out.  As a result of the reduction in the number of nuns, the Catholic schools had to hire lay people to teach.  This drove up the cost of Catholic Education and many parishioners were unable to afford to send their children to Catholic schools.

 

IX.            Funerals were changed from a mass of mourning to a celebration of life.  Priests used to wear black vestments and now the priest wears white to represent the deceased person’s new life in Christ. Black vestments were eliminated from the church.

 

X.              More Eucharistic prayers were added so that the priest had more options to choose from when saying mass.  At each mass, the priest can choose the prayers for the day (the Opening prayer, prayer at the Offertory, and the prayer at Communion), the preface, and the Eucharistic Prayer.  Before Vatican II, there were only two Eucharistic prayers to choose from.  Now, the priest has his choice of 10 prayers and over 40 prefaces to choose from when saying mass.  This gives the priest the opportunity to pray a mass with a common theme throughout the mass.  The theme is based upon either the feast day or the readings for that day.  To help the priests, the bishops issue a book called the Ordo that lays out the various mass options for that day.

 

XI.            For the sacrament of marriage, the church lessened the restrictions on mixed religious marriages.  With so many Catholics marrying non-catholic Christians, the church made it easier for the couple to get married in the church and to have a mass said as part of the marriage ceremony.

Talk 3 – What changes were made to the Catholic Mass and why were they made

posted Jan 18, 2021, 11:44 AM by Church Office   [ updated Jan 18, 2021, 11:46 AM ]

What is the role and responsibility of the Catholic Church is in today’s society?


Talk 3 – What changes were made to the Catholic Mass and why were they made


Before we can discuss the changes to the sacred Liturgy, the mass, we need to understand why the council at Vatican II felt the mass needed to be changed.  Here are some of the most important goals or objectives in making the changes.

 

1)               The word Liturgy means work of the people so the Liturgy or the mass should allow the people to give proper worship and praise to God.  The Mass is the source and summit of our Catholic Faith and is the font from which all grace from God flows. It is also our greatest path to holiness. However, to fully receive these graces and blessings, we the people must be full and active participants at the mass.  Prior to Vatican II, we were more observers than participants.

 

2)               To further the desire for us to be more fully active, the language of the mass was changed from Latin to the native language of the people attending the mass. The council wanted us to pray with our hearts and not our minds.  They wanted us to pour out our emotions and feelings to God throughout the mass.

 

3)               The mass needed to be more clear and focused on the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  Over time, the Latin Ritual strayed from the true focus of these two main parts of the mass.  Also, these needed to be enhanced, especially the Liturgy of the Word.  To accomplish this, a third reading from the Old Testament was added to the Lectionary for Sunday and feast days.  Further, a homily was required that focused on explaining the readings to the congregation.  Previously, it was a sermon on any topic chosen by the priest or Bishop.  Also, the Prayers of the Faithful were added to the liturgy to allow the people to raise their petitions to God.

 

4)               Some other changes involved the laity and women. With the shortage of priests and deacons, the church recognized that it needed the assistance of the laity during the mass.  Now you have men and women proclaiming the word of God and distributing the Holy Eucharist.  This was especially needed since the council insisted that both species of the Eucharist should be served at all masses.  This change doubled the number of Eucharistic Ministers needed.

 

The following are a list and explanation of some of the changes that came about from Vatican II;

 

  1. The priest faces the people while saying mass.  Before, the priest faced the same direction as the people.  This was so that his prayers and the prayers of the people would flow together in unison.  Now, the prayer style at mass is called “call and response”, stemming from the Jewish Shabbat service that Jesus celebrated during his time here on earth.

 

 

  1. Eliminate the communion rail and altar servers using a paten to catch any of the Eucharist.  Also, lay people were now permitted to serve communion along with the clergy.  You have the option to receive communion in the hand or on the tongue. These changes were made primarily to reduce the time it took to serve communion during the mass.  At large churches, it took 15-20 minutes to serve communion and that took away from the flow of the mass.  Also, with large congregations and the fasting requirement before mass, there were many complaints about how long it took to distribute communion.  Plus now that you could receive both species, the communion rail was very impractical.

 

  1. Additional readings, homilies and prayers of the faithful were added to the liturgy of the Word.  Before Vatican II, there were only two reading from Scripture, a New Testament reading and a passage from one of the Gospels.  A reading from the Old Testament that had a similar theme as the Gospel was added.  Also, the priest was required to give a homily that explained the readings to the people.  This was difficult for some priests since they had little training in Scripture interpretation.  That is why protestant Biblical scholars helped to teach Catholic clergy how to study the meaning of biblical passages as a way of preparing their homilies.  The Prayers of the Faithful were added so that the specific prayer intentions of the people could be raised to God.  It made the last part of the Liturgy of the Word the most personal part to the people.

 

  1. After Vatican II, priests were allowed to use microphones while saying mass.  Can you hear me now??

 

  1. Vatican II recognized that Sunday actually started at sundown on Saturday so they allowed Saturday vigil masses.  They also changed the rules for fasting to only one hour before the reception of communion.  The hour is so that the stomach can clear away any food and drink so the Eucharist can be received into an empty stomach.

 

  1. Other musical instruments can be used at mass.  The pipe organ is still to be the main instrument for music but other instruments such as guitars, pianos, drums, trumpets and other instruments can be used.

 

  1. Other forms of culture can be instituted at mass if they are native to the people.  For example, some cultures start the mass with a liturgical dance in lieu of the opening procession.  Just a word, don’t look for this to be implemented here at Ss. Peter and Paul.  I have enough trouble just walking down the aisle, let alone dancing!!

Talk 2 – The goals and objectives of Vatican II

posted Jan 11, 2021, 9:09 AM by Church Office   [ updated Jan 11, 2021, 9:11 AM ]

What is the role and responsibility of the Catholic Church is in today’s society?

Talk 2 – The goals and objectives of Vatican II

One of the primary goals of Vatican II was to bring the church up to the present times in society.  Many felt that the church had not adapted to the many changes that the world had undergone in the past few hundred years. The world was getting smaller and the world’s issues needed to become the church’s issues.  Pope John XXIII made a statement during the opening ceremonies that the church was IN the world and needed to have a greater impact on how the world dealt with many problems.  Some of these concerns were poverty in third world countries, full and active participation in the mass, the conflict between different religions throughout the world, how do we live out our call to be a disciple of Christ, and many others. 


Some bishops felt the church needed to be overhauled to meet these objectives.  However, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the leaders of Vatican II believed in two concepts.  The first is Aggiornamento and the second is Ressourcement.  Aggiornamento is an Italian word the means to bring up to date or to bring up to the modern standards.  However the word Ressourcement means getting back to the basics; to get back to the fundamentals as a way of getting the Church caught up to modern times. 


At first, these two words or concepts may seem contradictory. However, when put together, Pope John felt that the church had drifted away from the ideals set forth by Christ when He established the Catholic Church.  The pope believed that the way to bring the church into more modern times was to focus on the basic teachings of Christ here on earth.


For example, the church needed to recognize and be more accepting of other Christian denominations, be more forgiving towards the Jews, and respect the beliefs of the Muslims and other non-Christian faiths.  Before Vatican II, the church condemned the Jews for killing Jesus on Good Friday.  In actuality, it is our sinfulness as a human race that killed Jesus, not the Jews.  Other Christian denominations have more in common with us than our differences and we need to learn from each other on how to love Jesus. One way that the Protestants were involved in Vatican II was in the ways to study the Bible.  Many biblical scholars helped the bishops to learn different ways to interpret passages in the bible and then how to teach seminarians to do the same.


So what are the basic teachings of Christ that the council wanted to focus upon?

Christ held the first mass at the Last Supper.  Vatican II wanted to bring back more full and active participation during the mass.  As a result, they decided that we needed to change the language of the mass from Latin to the native language spoken by the people of that parish.  In this way, they could respond to the priest when called upon during the mass.  Rather than coming to mass to listen to the priest, the people could fully participate in the mass.  Also, a third reading was added to bring more Scripture passages into the mass.  Another change was allowing women and girls to serve so that the mass was more inclusive of both genders.  Women were now permitted to serve as lectors and Eucharistic ministers.  Girls as well as boys could be altar servers.


Another change was that pastors and priests were to live a life of service to the people in their parish, rather than having the attitude that the people were there to serve them.  Christ came to serve others and the clergy needed to adopt the same attitude.  This concept was not well received by many pastors and priests.  Unfortunately, many left the priesthood as a result of this change.  In an effort to help the priests in a parish, more emphasis was put on the permanent diaconate ministry.  Up to Vatican II, the only deacons were transitional deacons that would one day be ordained as priests.  Laity were also given more responsibility by the forming of parish councils to handle the running of the parish and the finance council to help in the monetary decisions of the parish.  The pastor must obey the decisions of the finance council.  It is the parish’s money, not the pastors!!


Many of you attended Catholic Schools like I did.  If so, you are familiar with the concept of Catholic Guilt! The nuns and priests taught us that God was a punishing God, ready to mark down all our sins in his huge ledger and that we would spend eternity in hell as a result of these sins.  Sure, we could go to confession but God was just waiting for us to sin again so He could punish us.  Jesus taught us to love and not to condemn. St. John teaches us that God is love in his first letter.  Vatican II wanted to embrace this view of Jesus and God.  Sure, we acknowledge that sin exists and that we need to repent of our sins.  However, God in more loving and merciful and we need to do more to accept God’s love rather than worrying about the punishment for our sins.  This was a major change in the perspective the Church had towards God.  Some people may feel that the church has minimized sin and focused too much on God’s love.  My belief is that we need to be more in the middle and try to avoid sin and to ask for God’s forgiveness, yet to truly be a disciple of Christ, we can’t be burdened with guilt.


The next area that the Council addressed is called the preferential option for the poor.  Christ embraced the poor and marginalized and the Catholic Church did not have a focus or programs in place to help the poor.  Vatican II called on all Catholics to donate time, talent, and treasure to help those in need.  But how much should we give?  The council suggested that each household donate 5% of their gross income to the local parish and 5% to charities of your choice.  In this way, each family can donate 10% of their income to those in need.  It is from this idea that we tithe 10% of each Sunday collection to the poor and needy in our community.


Two issues that the Council felt strongly about was the universal call to holiness and the dignity of the human person.  These two go hand-in-hand.  We are created in the image and likeness of God and given the gift of free will.  However, because of religious oppression in many countries, people are unable to live freely and make choices that allow them to love God and love others.  The dignity of the human person is the idea that we need to live in a society where we have the ability to choose to love God or not.  We need the freedom to make our own choices in how we want to live out our vocation as a disciple of Christ.  The Council felt this oppression had to be stopped. 


I hope this helps you to understand more about what topics the Council felt to be important.  In the next few weeks, I will expand my discussion on these topics and try to show how the church has come up to the standards of the world by going back to the basics, the teachings of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Talk #1 – Major Events in World and Church History

posted Jan 5, 2021, 10:42 AM by Church Office   [ updated Jan 11, 2021, 9:12 AM ]

What is the role and responsibility of the Catholic Church is in today’s society?

 

Talk #1 – Major Events in World and Church History

 

I.                 Pentecost- The birthday of the Catholic Church is Pentecost Sunday so I am going to start on this date for my review of World and Church History.  Once the Holy Spirit filled the Apostles, they went out into the world to spread the message of Jesus Christ.  They could not stay in and around Jerusalem because the Romans still occupied this area and would put to death any follower of Jesus.  They went to places such as Eastern Europe, Turkey, Greece, Asia Minor, Northern Africa, Spain, Syria, Persia, Ethiopia, Egypt, and even Great Britain.  St. Paul traveled predominately around the port cities of the Mediterranean Sea.  St. Paul and all the Apostles, except St. John, were martyred.  St John died on the island of Patmos, off the coast of Greece.  As a result of the wide reach of the Roman Empire, the early church had to grow and develop in secret.  Masses were said in a person’s home or in the Catacombs under Rome.  Therefore, the early church grew very slowly. However, one of the primary missions of the early church was to take care of widows, the crippled, and the poor.  To ensure that this took place, the church established the position of Deacon to serve.  This position still exists today and the main role of Deacons is to serve others.

 

II.               325            Constantine become Emperor of Rome and declares the Catholic Church to be the one true church throughout the Roman Empire.  At this point, the Roman Empire stretches throughout much of the developed world.  When he made his declaration, people came forth in very large numbers to join the church.  It also started the movement to build churches, cathedrals etc., throughout the world.  Latin, the native language of Rome, became the universal language of the church.

 

III.             500            St. Benedict establishes the Rules for Monastic Life; work and pray. As a result, monasteries were constructed throughout Europe. The monasteries were built just outside a town and the monks would grow crops, raise livestock, milk cows, weave clothing etc.  They would then take the goods to the marketplace and sell them or give them away to those that couldn’t afford to pay full market price.  As a result, many men would join the monasteries to participate in these ministries.  This increase in vocations allowed more churches to be built and the church continued to grow at a very fast pace.  Most of the emperors and kings throughout the civilized world were Catholic and the pope, the head of the Catholic Church, had a great influence on how each country was run, or to discourage wars etc. If a country was being invaded by the Muslims or Turks, the Pope would send his army to help the country under siege to repel the attack. 

 

IV.             1054          The Great Schism between the Western Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church took place.  The division occurred because of the Filioque Clause in the Nicene Creed.  The Roman Catholic Church states that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.  However, the Eastern Orthodox Church follows the Gospel of St. John that states the Holy Spirit proceeded from only the Father and not the Son.  Seems to me like this issue can be resolved in the coming years.  Pope Francis and the Patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church are in discussions to bring the churches back together. However, as a result of the schism, the pope lost much of his authority and influence throughout the Eastern part of Europe and Northern Africa.

 

V.              1455          John Gutenberg invented the printing press and the first book ever printed was the Bible.  Before the invention of the printing press, Bibles were copied by hand, mostly by the monks. Each Catholic Church received a very large Bible and chained them to a podium or stand so that they couldn’t be stolen.  The people in the parish did not have access to a bible so their only exposure to the Scriptures was during mass.  Once the printing press was invented, Bibles went into circulation for the churches and parishioners.  They were printed in various languages, predominantly in Latin and English.  As the Bible became more available, the church continued to grow.  Many more cathedrals and churches were built throughout Western Europe.

 

VI              1517          The Protestant Reformation is the most important date in Catholic Church History since its birthday on Pentecost.  Fr. Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of his Bishops rectory.  As a result, the Catholic Church was divided into many different Christian denominations.   At first, each denomination was primarily associated with a country.  For example, Germany was Lutheran, England was Anglican, Spain was Catholic, etc.  This became known as nationalism.  The king or emperor of a country had the ability to determine the denomination of his/her country and was often the head of both the church and the country.  This greatly reduced the power and influence of the Pope.  The Catholic Church started the Counter Reformation and changed many of the items that Luther objected to in his 95 theses.  Had Luther just been patient and met with his bishop and the pope, many of the issues would have been resolved and the reformation would not have occurred.

 

VII.            1700’s       Some countries like France, Spain, Portugal, and England started to explore the Western Hemisphere.  Spain, by Christopher Columbus discovered America.  The French landed in Canada, the Portuguese ended up in Brazil and the Spanish also landed in South America.  Although a Catholic discovered America, the Spanish spent most of their time developing the Caribbean and Florida.  The English landed in the Northern part of America and these were mostly Quakers.  They wanted independence from the governing bodies of the country so the doctrine of separation of church and state was ratified.  What this document states is that a religious leader cannot hold public office and public official can’t run a religious institution.  However, all agreed that God was an integral part of America. “In God We Trust” became the motto of the country.  Other European countries began to explore Africa and Asia.  Why?  They needed more natural resources to fuel their growth. 

 

VIII.        1800-1900’s in American Church History          As America became more settled, each religious denomination starting building churches throughout America.  Since many different countries were Catholic and the people from these countries wanted to pray in their native language, each ethnic group built their own Catholic Church in the community where they lived.  Once the church was built, the people would send a letter requesting priests to reside at the church.  That is why there were so many ethnic churches throughout the Northeastern part of America.  These remained in existence until Vatican II when all churches were asked to use English as the language for the mass instead of Latin or the native language of the parishioners.

 

IX.            1900-1962              The first part of this century was consumed in world wars.  However, the Catholic Church grew substantially and vocations were at an all time high.  Parishes would have 4-5 priests, Catholic families were large and most families wanted one son or daughter to enter the clergy or religious life.  The family still had other children to carry on the family tradition and/or family business.  Although the Pope was against both world wars, his power had diminished so much that world leaders would not listen to his objection.  Also, unlike in previous centuries, his army was too small to make a difference.  Now, it was only used for the protection of Vatican City.

 

X.             1955           The Television started to become available to the average family.  Families still received a daily newspaper, but TV brought the news to life.  Now, instead of reading about the starving children in Africa, you could see them on TV.  Charitable organizations such as UNICEF and Feed the Children were running ads on TV, asking for donations.  Catholic Relief Services started during this time to help those in need.  Other organizations such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army also grew in influence to help the poor and needy. As a result, people were being asked to donate to help others throughout the world.  The World was getting smaller and the world’s problems were on full display for everyone to see in their living room.

 

XI.            1950-1984              The cold war and the nuclear arms race. As the division between the free world and communism grew, the nuclear arms race took center stage throughout the world.  Massive amounts of money and resources went into building of nuclear arms to protect the respective countries.  This money would have been used to feed the hungry, social programs to cut unemployment, job training to develop trades and other programs.  How many of you remember air raid drills and bomb drills?  Climbing under our desks when the alarm would go off or how many had bomb shelters at your home? The pope was openly against this buildup of nuclear weapons but his comments fell on deaf ears. Even though the Berlin wall came down in 1984, countries today still spend trillions of dollars on their respective militaries.

 

XII.           1962           Pope John XXIII oversees the opening of Vatican II on October 11.  He called it the New Pentecost. Why? Because he knew that the Catholic Church needed a rebirth to change its role as a major world entity.  Although the power and influence of the papacy had decreased over time, there were more Catholics throughout the world than any other denomination.  However, the people were being torn to being loyal to their national government or to the Catholic Church.  Issues such as birth control, giving to the poor, vocations, ethnic churches, the mass, the role of the laity in the church, the dignity of human life and many other issues needed to be addressed. So Pope John XIII convened Vatican II to address these and many other issues.

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