To register for any of the following sessions,
This course offers a foundational theology of ministry rooted in Baptism. Particular focus will be given to the role of the laity in ministry and various types of ministry will be explored. This course provides experience and formation to enable the student to learn a variety of ministerial skills. Sessions are held Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on September 8, 15, 22, 29, October 6, 13, 20, 27, November 3.
A liturgical environment that celebrates the awe of God’s presence and saving deeds cannot be satisfied with anything less than beautiful. The beauty is related to the holy. This course gives all involved with Liturgy knowledge of the Sacraments, the Catholic rites, the Liturgical year, and the faithful’s devotional life in order to equip them to create a sacred environment in which the divine-human encounter can most readily occur. The goal is to care for all the elements of worship, ensuring that the total environment is clean, appropriate, authentic, beautiful, and accessible. The course will present the Liturgical documents as they pertain to sacraments and other rites, environment, liturgical space, church appointments, and the sacristy. This course is required to obtain the Diocesan Certification in Liturgical Ministry. Sessions are held Wednesdays from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on September 5, 12, 19, October 10.
Congratulations to all who graduated this spring. Never underestimate the accomplishment of making it through that step in your life. This last week, I was consumed by my daughter’s completion of the 8th grade, some family members graduating, and some good friends at this parish. Then my mom reminded me it had been 25 years since I graduated high school! Thanks a lot for helping me remember how old I am getting!
There are many life lessons I have learned since then, but one of the most important is to be very thankful for the time we have. It passes very quickly, and before you know it, you are attending your own kids’ school graduations. The time we are given is a gift; we must value that gift by sharing what we have been given.
When we take those graduating steps, some of us may think we have it all figured out. Life eventually tells us that is not true and we learn some things in a hard way. One thing I do know is that when God has been an intentional part of those lessons, it helps. I am immensely grateful for the people I have met, the things I have experienced, and the places I have seen over the past 25 years. Each and every one of those things has been a moment when God helped me grow into something I would never have dreamt.
So I say to the graduates: Be open, be grateful, take time to take time, and allow God to expand your life. You are taking a step into another journey of this exciting life. Celebrate this milestone and then be ready, because before you know it, you will be in my shoes amazed at the pace of life!
The altar is the central focus of a Catholic church. In the Rite of Dedication of a Church and an Altar, all the blessing begins at the altar and spreads out from there. After sprinkling the altar, the bishop sprinkles the people and the walls of the church. After anointing the altar, he anoints the walls. After incensing the altar, he incenses the people. After lighting the altar, he lights candles on the walls. In other words, Christ begins at the altar and emanates outward from there.
Some people think that what makes a church Catholic is the tabernacle. No, it is the altar. For the first millennium, Catholic churches rarely had tabernacles, and when they did, they were cupboards in the sacristy, out of the sight of most people. Even in modern times, in Europe, the reserved Eucharist was kept in a separate chapel.
The altar is a place of action. Gathered around the altar, we do the fourfold action of the Eucharist: we take, bless, break, and eat. This follows the fourfold action of Jesus at the Last Supper. He took bread, blessed it, broke it, and said: “Take and eat.” Eucharist is more a verb than a noun. Catholics have often been guilty of making Eucharist into a noun: the consecrated bread and wine, the Real Presence. While this is true, it is secondary to the action.
Likewise, Catholics will often tell you that the high point of the Mass is Communion. No, the high point of the Mass is the Eucharistic Prayer. That is the time when we join ourselves to the action of Christ. We become one with his self-offering. We offer our lives. Listen to the prayer: “May he make of us an eternal offering to you.” We pray that “filled with his Holy Spirit, [we] may become one body, one spirit in Christ.”
St. Augustine said, “The altar is Christ.” He did not mean that the stone was sacred. He meant that the self-offering surrounding it and laid on it was sacred: the Body of Christ in the bread and wine and the Body of Christ, the Church, who laid it there.
~ Fr. Frank Coady
A few years ago, after the Religious Education year was over, Fr. Don and I were sitting in the break room discussing how the year had gone. I remember telling him that there had been few problems and informed him of the many successes of the year. I said to him, “But it was such a good year because I had such great catechists!” Fr. Don started to laugh. “What? I said. He said, “Sherry, you say that EVERY year.”
Well, maybe I am guilty as charged, but that is only because it is true! Each year, I get to work with devoted, faith-filled volunteers who show up prepared to make the Catholic faith interesting and relevant to our children. They not only prepare lessons that inform our children about the teaching and traditions of our church, they oversee service projects that help others and at the same time teach our children about true joy. The children learn that happiness is not the same as joy. Happiness takes in and has a self-centeredness to it that joy transcends. Joy goes out. The experience of doing good for another, often involving self-sacrifice, is one of the greatest things we as humans can experience. Our catechists live this by their example. I am humbled by their dedication, creativity, and patience.
So, if you know someone who serves as a catechist in our program and has made a difference in the life of your child, grandchild, or just a child you know, please give them your heartfelt thanks. Or better yet, consider volunteering for our program this fall! Our catechists give the best gift of all to the children of St. Thomas More; they invite them into a living relationship with Jesus.
~ Sherry Watts, K-6 Coordinator
Longing for the change of seasons and warmer weather, my thoughts repeatedly drift to Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.
There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every affair under heaven.
A time to give birth, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to tear down, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.
Whatever season of your life you find yourself in now, may you feel God’s warm embrace. BE NOT AFRAID!
~ Rick Smith, Youth Minister