As we leave summer behind, our focus turns to the liturgies toward the end of the liturgical year. On the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, the processions may be longer, the choir may sing more vigorously, and banners may decorate the church as we herald the king who united heaven and earth. In the midst of our celebration, Christian McConnell writes in this issue's feature, Christ should be acknowledged as a different type of king. In "Celebrating the King Who Gives Hope to the Marginalized," McConnell writes that Jesus is the king who cares for the weakest and identifies with the powerless. He is a king who overturns all earthly notions of royalty.
Reflecting on the Preface for the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Fr. Ronald Patrick Raab, CSC, portrays the humiliation of the cross as leading to a kingdom of holiness, justice, and peace. In the Liturgical Spirituality article, Raab shows that by resting in what Jesus has done for us, our wounds can be healed and any emptiness filled. As members of Christ, we too are to submit ourselves to God to transform the world.
To help the faithful understand this solemnity, parishes will want to distribute the downloadable bulletin insert "Christ's Kingship Portrays Love." Author Kathy Kuczka portrays the Kingdom of God as a place where the lost are welcomed and the poor are raised up. Religious educators will want to be sure to provide the Living Our Faith handout "Christ Reigns over Our Lives," by Kathryn Ball-Boruff, to parents, grandparents, and others who pass on the faith to children. This issue's handout helps children see how we should imitate Christ the King's sacrificial love.
Fr. J. Philip Horrigan emphasizes that visible materials in the liturgy can lead worshipers to contemplate the invisible. In the fifth of a series of articles on the US bishops' document Built of Living Stones: Art, Architecture, and Worship (BLS), Horrigan considers how materials that are part of the liturgy "disclose the 'transcendent value' and the 'aura of mystery' in the Christian message" as BLS, 161, states.
In the "Initiation" articles, Kyle Lechtenberg and Mary Wax highlight ways that catechumens can be welcomed into the community. Lechtenberg discusses the responsibility the parish has to the catechumens in the article "Introducing Catechumens to the Parish Community." He explains that a number of efforts over time are required for the catechumens to become woven into the fabric of the parish. Wax details ways that her parish lets people know about the faith. Her article "Reaching Out as a Parish to Invite People to Catholicism" describes not only publicity efforts but the hospitality that is an essential part of parish life.
Finally, rejoice with me on the advancement of the cause for sainthood of Fr. Augustus Tolton. In June, Pope Francis signed a decree that deemed as "venerable" the first recognized African American priest. Fr. Tolton, a former slave who had been refused admission at seminaries in the United States, modeled perseverance and courage. He lived a life of heroic virtue and his holiness comes from his patient suffering, his brave spirit, and his pastoral heart for all who came to him. He is an admirable example of what a Christian life is all about.
May your days be blessed.
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.
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