Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Something New to Finish off Lent

Besides the palms this past Sunday you may have noticed something different in the Church behind the altar. There is a “new” crucifix hanging there. In this blog post I will attempt to answer a few questions that you might have about this change.

Where did this “new” crucifix come from? 

Well technically, it’s not a new crucifix, the crucifix was carved by Charles Kublois for the new church when it was first opened and has been in the Holy Family Chapel at the back of the Church ever since. Interestingly enough Charles Kublois also carved the great statue of St. Joseph that is also in the Holy Family Chapel.

Why was the crucifix moved to this new position?

To answer this question I consulted our Pastor Fr. John. He let me know about a document called the General Instruction of The Roman Missal. Basically this document lays out all of the regulations and guidelines for everything from the Structure of the Mass to the flowers used for decoration in the Church. On the subject of a Crucifix near the altar the General Instruction of the Roman Missal has this to say: 

308. Likewise, either on the altar or near it, there is to be a cross, with the figure of Christ crucified upon it, a cross clearly visible to the assembled people. It is desirable that such a cross should remain near the altar even outside of liturgical celebrations, so as to call to mind for the faithful the saving Passion of the Lord.

Father John felt that we needed a more prominent, fixed, crucifix that we could look upon and reflect on Christ’s great love for us.

What was put in the spot where the Crucifix was previously?

Fr. John commissioned a local artist and parishioner Haley Weisenburger to paint a beautiful picture of the Holy Family for that location (pictured below). 

In the painting the Holy Family is surrounded by the three arch angels including our name sake St. Michael. I would encourage you to stop by the the chapel area sometime and pray in front of the wonderful images of the Holy Family that are located there.

Whatever the reasons for the move I have to say the timing couldn't have been better. As we enter this Holy Week the new positioning of the Crucifix seems to be a final push for our attention.  Now is the time. Now is the time to refocus our minds, our hearts, and our lives on Jesus Christ and the sacrifice he made for us. 

God Bless,

Peter Garcia

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Making this the “Best Lent Ever”

We are about halfway through Lent, and this is usually where everybody hits the slump! Lent is a challenging liturgical season for me, and each year I am determined to make this Lent a better experience, instead of begrudgingly dragging myself along through my Lenten sacrifices. Finding joy in sacrifice and suffering is always a difficult process, and the midway point of any project is usually where things start to fall by the wayside, so as we approach that mark, I am once again trying to redirect myself toward having a positive, joyful Lenten experience.

Here are a few suggestions that have been helpful to me this year, I thought I would pass them along in case they are helpful to others. The first thing I did differently this year is that I gave myself a more open-ended Lenten sacrifice plan. I have certain things that I have chosen to give up, but I also made a mental list of “extra” things I am not required to, but have the option to give up. By not setting it in stone, I have found that it’s actually been easier to make those sacrifices. Whenever something feels required, and not a choice, it always seems worse, doesn’t it? So, by making my “extra” sacrifices a choice, I have found that I have a much higher level of commitment and am feeling more joy in the process.

Secondly, I had the privilege of attending the Matthew Kelly presentation at our parish last weekend, and felt very inspired to do more spiritual reading and spend more quiet time with the Lord. As a mom of two little ones and working part time, my very limited “free” time is precious to me, and I would normally rather spend that time watching TV, crocheting, or doing some other craft to relax. J But, I again am making a choice (rather than enforced requirement) to spend at least 10 minutes doing some spiritual reading or quiet time each day, and I have found that I have gained so much from this very small practice of sacrificing time. I also discovered Matthew Kelly’s Lent program on his website called “Best Lent Ever.” It’s totally free and anyone can sign up. He provides a very short video, inspirational quote, Scripture passage, or spiritual reflection to inspire us each day to reflect on Jesus’s sacrifice for us. It’s super quick and yet very beneficial, I have gotten a lot out of it. I encourage you to check it out here: http://dynamiccatholic.com/bestlentever/.

I hope you have been having a meaningful Lenten experience so far, and as we hit the halfway mark, I encourage you to stick with it and move forward with renewed vigor as we keep our eyes on the glorious Resurrection – less than a month away! We can do it!

God bless,

Shay McKinley

Sunday, March 8, 2015

What is the purpose of Christ in our Neighborhood?

We are midway through the season of Lent and nearly 250 members of our parish are participating in the Christ in our Neighborhood program.

A number of our participants have shared with me the joy they feel when they gather with fellow parishioners, family and friends to discuss the Word of God each week.

Alice Beas, our director for small church communities, has also expressed excitement over this Lenten process. People have shared with her their desire to continue reflecting on Sunday scripture each week with their groups.

The purpose of Christ in our Neighborhood in Lent and the small church community process is to give people an opportunity to be engaged in the parish.  

Rather than being lost in a parish this size, parishioners have a chance to connect with others in small group settings.

The success of this Lenten series has sparked interest in future weekly gatherings. I am already creating a full years worth of Sunday reflections so that current and future groups could gather together on a weekly basis.  Visit christ-ion.com for weekly PDF downloads. They are free!

For information on how to start your own small church community or be placed in an already existing group, call Alice at 858-487-4755.

Father John