The Heart of Christ, The Heart of the Church's Year
During our recent days of Presbyteral Assembly in Rochester a seasoned priest was reminiscing with me about one of the examinations that was given in the seminary: it was an exercise in reading and interpreting for the examiner the ‘Ordo’ – which is the official guidebook for how the Liturgy is celebrated within a particular Diocese. Essentially every sacristy throughout the world is equipped with one of these little books, which also, includes special anniversaries for a Diocese, especially the dates of priests deaths. This sounds easy, right? We’ll for the avid priest, yes, but not necessarily for the nervous seminarian. The Ordo famously uses lots of abbreviations and makes lots of assumptions that the one who consults it knows what all of the terminology means. You might say it is a bit akin to reading a periodic table for the first time. I might also add that until relatively recently, the Ordo was published only in Latin! The Ordo clarified which prayers were used on which date and guided the celebrant’s (and sacristan’s) preparation for Holy Mass and the prayer of the Divine Office. The Ordo becomes especially important when multiple liturgical celebrations converge so as to be able to tell according to a carefully laid out hierarchy which ‘wins out’.
Over the last several weeks, Mother Church has sought to impress upon the minds and hearts of the faithful throughout the world the central mysteries of Faith from Ascension to Pentecost to Trinity Sunday to Corpus Christi. We have a way of forgetting the primacy of these spiritual truths and so the Sacred Liturgy seeks to remind us and draw the focus of our hearts. This happens especially in the so-called ‘strong seasons’ such as Advent and Eastertide, Lent and Paschaltide – but it is no less true throughout the year. Having just emerged from a glorious series of special Sunday Solemnities to bring the Liturgical Cycle to a grand finale, this week offers three additional ones: Nativity of St. John the Baptist (June 24), the Sacred Heart of Jesus (June 28) and Sts. Peter and Paul (June 29). Much could be said about each of these occasions in their own right, but perhaps taken as a whole they are a reminder of the ‘festal nature’ of our Faith. We celebrate through the course of the Liturgical Year the triumph of God’s grace in human hearts. Through the course of our keeping of the Liturgical Year, the goal is that our hearts, like the hearts of St. John the Baptist and St. Peter and St. Paul might become more like the Sacred Heart of Our Lord in humility, charity and all the virtues. It turns out that the Heart of the Church’s Liturgical Year is the Sacred Heart of Our Lord. Jesus, Meek and Humble of Heart, make our hearts like unto Thine!
I hope the course of your summer is going well, even if it is passing rapidly. I’m looking forward to a few days in the far reaches of Northern Minnesota with my dad canoeing and seeing the sights. We hope to visit one of the border lakes together, Lac La Croix (Lake of the Cross)—and promise a prayer for all of you! May your observance of the 4th of July be an occasion of coming together with family and friends to give thanks for the freedoms that we enjoy.
Just a few final notes:
+ As the current Fiscal Year winds to a close this weekend, please consider an additional gift to help us finish the year strong. It is hard to remember in the heat of summer that collections suffered considerably during the winter months due to numerous weekend snow storms and extreme cold. Thank you for your consideration and for your steady generosity. Weekly Sunday contributions are the mainstay of our parish budget. We pledge to be good stewards of your sacrificial gifts.
+ Fr. Jerome Coller, O.S.B., a priest of St. John’s Abbey and a longtime weekend assistant at St. Clement passed away on June 22. Ordained in 1959, he had suffered from an extended sickness and celebrated his 90th birthday in February. He was a close friend of Fr. Earl Simonson and is well remembered at St. Clement. Fr. Jerome’s funeral was celebrated at the Collegeville Abbey church this past Friday. May these two long-serving priests of God rest in peace!
+ Like last summer, we are encouraging young people from our parish to get involved in Totus Tuus which is being hosted just up the hill at St. Charles Borromeo. More information and a web-link are available on page 7 of the bulletin. Similar to Vacation Bible School, this great week focuses on helping young people grow in their faith through catechesis and the Sacraments. The week is open to incoming 1st – 12th grade students and the cost is $20 to participate. The Daytime Sessions are Monday-Friday (9:00am-2:30pm) and are for incoming grades 1-6. The Evening Sessions are Sunday-Thursday (7:30-9:45pm) and are for incoming grades 7-12. Give it a thought!
+ I am grateful for the support and generous service of so many who assisted with the moving Prayer Vigil for Fr. Simonson as well as the Funeral Mass at St. Charles. Both were hugely attended and fitting occasions of prayer and relfection. I was also grateful for our festive celebration of Corpus Christi last Sunday at the St. Clement 11 am Mass. Certainly this could be a tradition to build on but it was a special honor to have nearly twenty Knights and Dames of Malta from around the Twin Cities and beyond who joined in our modest Eucharistic Procession around the church. They gathered to add solemnity and to celebrate their patron St. John the Baptist on the vigil of his birthday. Truly God was praised!
A Note from Deacon John:
Dear Friends at St. Anthony of Padua, St. Clement, St. Hedwig, and Holy Cross,
Over the last several months I have been helping my wife, Patti, sort through a complicated financial problem within her extended family. It has occupied a significant portion of time for both of us and, although we think that we are within sight of a resolution, we also think that the next several months will be the most difficult of all. Along with that, I have a benign, but bothersome, health concern that could use more attention on my part.
So, several weeks ago, I requested a six-month leave from my ministry at our parish. Last week I received word that Archbishop Hebda has granted me a leave of absence that will allow me to take that time away from Holy Cross. It was a difficult decision for me to request this leave. I took counsel from my spiritual advisor, family, friends, and trusted colleagues. I prayed about it for some time. I will miss you all for during my leave.
But this is a “so-long” note, not a farewell. Even though anything can happen, the leave that Archbishop has granted keeps in force my formal assignment to Holy Cross. So it is my hope that at the conclusion of my leave I will resume active ministry at Holy Cross. I look forward to celebrating the feast of Mary, Mother of God with you in 2020.
I have appreciated Fr. Howe’s understanding and support during this time. I have relied on your prayers and support for any good that I have done over the last eleven years; please continue to pray for me, as I will for you.
With my grateful and heartfelt good wishes to you all,