As we ponder the Gospel of Mark on the First Sunday of Advent,
we may encounter Jesus' words in a new way. At the start of the liturgical year,
Jesus tells us "Be watchful! Be alert!" How might we want to be more aware this
year of our readiness for God? Perhaps part of our preparation will be in being
alert to the needs of those around us. In doing so, we might then help others
welcome the mystery of the Incarnation in their lives.
In this issue of Pastoral Liturgy®, Fr. Ronald Patrick Raab,
CSC, contemplates the Incarnation as he reflects on the Collect
of the First Sunday of Advent. He relates the running forth to meet Christ,
that the prayer describes, to the love that overcomes fears during this time
of year. We do not need to run or hurry through the season, he advises, because
Christ is with us.
The article "Celebrating Sacraments in the Midst of the Sunday Assembly"
confronts an issue that many parishes seek to resolve. Author Fr. Daniel J. Merz
considers the value of the whole parish experiencing the celebration of Baptism,
First Communion, Matrimony, and Anointing of the Sick during Sunday Mass as well
as the pastoral challenges. Parish staff will want to read and discuss this article.
Soon parishes will look toward Lent. The environment of that season needs to be
inspiring in its sparseness. In "Recalling Our Baptism: Environment during Lent,"
J. Philip Horrigan writes on how treatment of the Paschal candle, cross, and baptismal
font can aid the faithful in their consideration of their baptismal indentity. Parishes
will want to be sure to provide this article to their environment and art committee.
Edrianne Ezell's article "Why the Rush? Christian Initiation on College Campuses"
addresses topics that are not solely faced by campus ministers. Many Christian initiation
coordinators seek to slow people down in the process so that they have sufficient time for
spiritual growth. The second article in the Initiation section, "The Scrutinies: Transforming
the Elect and the Parish," relates how the Lenten rites helped the parish as well as the elect
discover where they are blind and thirsting. Initiation ministers and the pastoral staff will
find these articles valuable.
Many parishes find that that the faithful are apprehensive when asked to sponsor an inquirer
or catechumen. The downloadable resorce "What Is the Role of the Sponsor?" will help parishioners
understand that sponsors need to possess and interest in others and hospitality—not a theological
Parishes will want to be sure to distribute the Living Our Faith article "A Centerpiece for Prayer"
to families. The article shows how to make a simple Advent wreath and use it during daily prayer.
As we enter Advent, pastoral ministers will be responsible for many details to help parishioners
prioritize Christ during the season. In the midst of the busyness of parish life, seek quiet. A daily
practice of even a few minutes of contemplation will nourish your soul and aid you in your service to
May this season be a joyous one for you.
Bishop Joseph N. Perry
Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago
Using the liturgy as its source, Pastoral Liturgy® has been intentionally designed to be of service to the whole parish with resources for leaders and parishioners, those who are just beginning to learn about liturgy, and those who are seasoned volunteers and professionals.
The six 32-page, full-color issues follow the course of the liturgical year to provide guidance for liturgy preparation, faith formation, liturgical art and architecture, and the many areas of parish ministry that flow from the liturgy to witness the Gospel and build the kingdom of God.
Pastors, parish staffs, liturgy committees, catechists, musicians, architects, and everyone seeking to learn more about how the liturgy forms and informs all of parish life will find this resource a valuable support to understanding the liturgy more fully and incorporating it as the source for all they do. That's why Pastoral Liturgy® magazine is the liturgy magazine for the whole parish!