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News from the Vatican
More from Misericordia et Misera

The Jubilee Year of Mercy is over!  The Holy Door is closed!  But Pope Francis, in issuing his Apostolic Letter Misericordia et Misera, teaches us once more that “….nothing of what a repentant sinner places before God’s mercy can be excluded from the embrace of his forgiveness….”and it is by His forgiveness “…that God shows us the way to turn back to him and invites us to experience his presence anew…”  That mercy is “…always a gratuitous act of our heavenly Father, an unconditional and unmerited act of love….”

The Jubilee Year celebrated here in Detroit was intense.  Thousands of pilgrims took the journey through the Holy Door, thousands of the faithful experienced the Come Encounter Christ events, and hundreds joined prayer teams at their parishes.  Pope Francis challenges us now to look to the future:

  • “…what we have celebrated during the Holy Year, a time rich in mercy, must continue to be celebrated and lived out in our communities…”
  • Through the experiences of the Holy Year we have received the gift of mercy, the gift of forgiveness, the gift of the Father’s love…
  • But every gift we have received has been given to transform us, to increase our faith in God’s love, and ultimately to be given away to others who are in need of mercy
  • According to Pope Francis, “Mercy cannot be a mere parenthesis in the life of the Church,” here today but gone tomorrow. “…mercy constitutes (the Church’s) very existence”.
  • “Let us not hold on jealously to what we have received, but share it with our suffering brothers and sisters, so that they can be sustained by the power of the Father’s mercy.”
  • “Mercy is the meeting of two hearts: the heart of God who comes to meet the human heart.  The latter is warmed and healed by the former…. (and) comes to realize that…I am loved, therefore I exist; I am forgiven, therefore I am reborn; I have been shown mercy, therefore I have become a vessel of mercy.”
Archbishop Vigneron is calling us to become "joyful missionary disciples". What does this mean? “No one whom God sends into our lives can be ignored.
  • the weak and vulnerable
  • the distant and alone
  • the unemployed and those not receiving sufficient salary
  • the homeless
  • the immigrants
  • the refugees
God is calling us to embrace all of our brothers and sisters. This is what evangelization is all about…becoming the living presence of Christ daily.
           
In addition, Pope Francis has extended the following faculties:
  • “to all priests the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procuring an abortion”...stating firmly that abortion is a grave sin…however “there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father”
  • “that those faithful who, for various reasons, attend churches officiated by the Priests of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X, can validly and licitly receive the sacramental absolution of their sins”.  This faculty is extended “beyond the Jubilee Year, until further provisions are made”
Finally Pope Francis has requested that:
  • dioceses continue the 24 Hours for the Lord initiative close to the 4th Sunday of Lent which provides the faithful with the opportunity for confession for a full 24 hours at certain selected church(es)
  • and on the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time the entire church celebrate the World Day of the Poor… a day to reflect on how poverty is at the very heart of the Gospel

News from the USCCB

Misal Romano, Tercera Edición Confirmed for the United States

It has been a long time that Spanish-speaking Catholics in the United States have been waiting for the Spanish translation of the Roman Missal for the United States.  It has finally received confirmation from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.  At present it is being edited and reviewed.  An implementation date will be established and more information will be provided when the process is complete.

National Migration Week

National Migration Week will be celebrated January 8th – 14th.  This year’s theme, Creating a Culture of Encounter, invites all to reflect on the circumstances confronting immigrants, refugees, children and victims and survivors of human trafficking.  So many are being forced by poverty, war, etc. to leave the homeland they love and seek a home elsewhere.  Let us take the opportunity to encounter these newcomers not as strangers, but as children of God whom the Lord has sent to us that in encountering them we will encounter the Lord in our midst.  (Attached is the 20117 National Migration Week Prayer Card…English and Spanish.)

For those who have not read Archbishop Vigneron’s address at the celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe in support of immigrants it is attached here.


International Week of Prayer for Christian Unity January 18 - 25

This year’s theme for the International Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is: “Reconciliation – The Love of Christ Compel Us”.  Christian Unity is something that the Church has desired and prayed for.  When the committee met to plan this year’s theme they decided it would have two accents:  on the one hand, there would be a celebration of God’s love and grace, the justification of humanity through grace alone; and on the other hand, the materials being prepared would recognize the pain that the division afflicts on the Church, name the guilt, and offer an opportunity to take steps toward reconciliation all the time acknowledging that
 “…what we yearn for is unity in the love of the Father, which comes to us as a gift in Jesus”.  “The unity we seek is not the fruit of our human efforts or the product constructed by ecclesiastical diplomacy; this unity is achieved by journeying…encountering each other as brothers (and sisters).  The unity we pray for is not uniformity; nor is it absorption; neither does it tolerate proselytism.” (Taken from Pope Francis’ address to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, 11/10/16). Use this link 
Booklets published in preparation for the “2017 Week” to examine the material prepared by the international planning group.  Here you will find and Ecumenical Worship Service for each of the 8 days of prayer and background reading on the history of this week of prayer.    

Also, this is the Graymoor web page on which you will find Daily Scripture and Prayer Guide, General Intercessions, English and Spanish prayer cards, etc.


RCIA
Rite of Election 2017
The Rite of Election is scheduled to be celebrated on March 4th at 11 am, 2 pm, and 5 pm; and on March 5th at 2 pm.
 
We will be following the same procedure as we have for the past few years including having the catechumens called by name, coming forth to sign the Book of the Elect, taking a place on the sanctuary for the questioning, affirmation and election.
 
We need your cooperation for these options to flow smoothly. 
 
  1. Please fill out the response form with all the information that is requested and return it to Sr. Georgette by January 20, 2017. Use one of the two options listed below
    1. Fill out the form electronically.
    2. Download the letter and response form and mail the form to Sr. Georgette.
    3. Please fill out a response form even if you have no catechumens or candidates. Indicate no one on the form. This will save us a follow-up call.
  2. You will receive notice by email to say that I have received your response form. If you do not receive this email within a week, please contact me.
    1. Each form will be processed as received and you will receive your assignment and further directions after January 27. We do this in order to be able to include a full seating plan for you.
    2. Please choose 2 celebrations indicating first and second choices. We will try to honor your first choice but if necessary may have to assign you to the second choice.
    3. There will be special seating for those who will be calling the names of the catechumens and candidates (one person per parish).
    4. In order to accommodate more parishes at each celebration we will have reserved seating for each catechumen, candidate, a sponsor for each and three seats for team members who are present.
    5. There will be no seating on the sanctuary.
Given the limited space for guests it will be incumbent on you to provide your catechumens and candidates with time and questions for reflection (Mystagogy) after the ceremony.  In a sense this can be an opportunity for them to proclaim to their family and friends the good news of their election and affirmation and another good training in the Christian life.
 
For the past few years there has been a parish at each celebration who has volunteered to be the host parish.  The Host Parish is asked to provide liturgical ministers and persons to help in setting up the Cathedral for each service.  These ministers are members from the parish but not catechumens or candidates.  If your parish would like to be involved in this ministry please contact Sr. Georgette at 313-237-6064; Zalewska.Georgette@aod.org.
 
I look forward to working with you to make this a truly wonderful celebration.
 
RCIA Topics are scheduled to be offered at Sacred Heart Major Seminary on Saturdays of January 14th, 21th, 28th, and February 4th and 25th.  See flyer for more information.  Please remember that these topics would be valuable for all of your RCIA Team members. 


Calendar Alert
January 7th Vigil of the Epiphany is celebrated this evening
January 8th Feast of the Epiphany
  There is an ancient custom of announcing the dates of movable feasts for the coming year at this celebration. A copy of this Epiphany Proclamation is attached that can be used either after the reading of the Gospel or within the homily.
January 9th The Baptism of the Lord
  Ordinary Time begins tomorrow.
January 16th Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  The Mass for the Preservation of Peace & Justice may be used today.
January 18th - 25th International Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
January 23rd Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children
  Mass "For Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life" #48 1A or B from the Masses and Prayers for Various Needs is used today.
January 25th Conversion of St. Paul
 
You Have Been Asking

1. How many crucifixes are we allowed to have present on the sanctuary during the celebration of the Eucharist?

According to GIRM 308:
"... either on the altar or next to 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 ..."

The USCCB Committee on Divine Worship has published a resource: Built of Living Stones. Number 91 gives us the following explanation: 
The cross with the image of Christ crucified is a reminder of Christ's paschal mystery. It draws us into the mystery of suffering and makes tangible our belief that our suffering when united with the passion and death of Christ leads to redemption.  There should be a crucifix "positioned either on the altar or near it, and . . . clearly visible to the people gathered there."  Since a crucifix placed on the altar and large enough to be seen by the congregation might well obstruct the view of the action taking place on the altar, other alternatives may be more appropriate. The crucifix may be suspended over the altar or affixed to the sanctuary wall. A processional cross of sufficient size, placed in a stand visible to the people following the entrance procession is another option. If the  processional cross is to be used for this purpose, the size and weight of the cross should not preclude its being carried in procession. If there is already a cross in the sanctuary, the processional cross is placed out of view of the congregation following the procession.
 
2. Can a birth parent be a sponsor if they are not raising the child who has adoptive parents raising it?

In the case of an adoption the Code of Canon Law does not envision the birth parents being in the picture. The reason why parents are prohibited from being sponsors is because they already have a bond with the child.  The birth parents will always have a “natural life-giving” and “spiritual” bond with the child.  The adoptive parents take on a “legal”, “moral” and “spiritual” bond of raising the child in the ways of faith and life.  Whereas, the sponsors are to truly have the “spiritual” bond with the child.  Parents, whether birth or adoptive, already have a bond with the child; we are looking for someone to have a pure “spiritual parental” bond with the child.  (Msgr. Browne)

3. Last month I read the policy concerning children of parents in the Eastern Catholic Church who are in the Catholic school and are asking to be prepared for Holy Communion.  This year we have an Orthodox family who has a child in the school asking for First Communion.  May a parish prepare an Orthodox child attending the parish school for First Holy Communion?

NO. Those persons who have been baptized Eastern Orthodox Church are not in full communion with the Church.  Although their baptism is valid, and there is a partial communion between the two, the schism that caused the split still exists. Unity with the Orthodox Church has been at the heart of the ministry of every pope since Vatican II. We cannot pretend that unity exists when it does not.  Recently in an address to the Council for Promoting Christian Unity Pope Francis said:
  •  Unity is not the fruit of our human efforts or the product constructed by ecclesiastical diplomacy, but is a gift from on high…unity is journey rather than a destination
  • Unity is not uniformity
  • Unity is not absorption…neither does it tolerate proselytism, which is instead poisonous to the path of ecumenism.
In addition, neither the Catholic Church nor the Orthodox Church has a policy for open Communion.

There are a number of Eastern Orthodox Churches in the Detroit area. (see below)  It might be well for you to encourage the Eastern Orthodox persons to attend these churches. The other option could be that on their own after much prayer…they might ask to come into full communion with the Catholic Church. But even then, they would not be members of your church but rather of the corresponding Eastern Catholic Church. 
 
A list of Orthodox churches in Detroit can be found here.

Resources

The Journey/El Camino is a new resource published by Paulist Evangelization Ministries to help parishioners experience Jesus Christ more personally and deeply.  Prayer, video scripture, and sharing all provide a powerful way to help strengthen faith today.  It is available in English and Spanish, with a special component for youth. Visit: pemdc.org/the journey to see the trailer, introduction and group leader orientation.
 
The David Initiative 
What if our liturgical music was as moving and powerful as the mass deserves?
The David Initiative is collaboration between many organizations/artists that dream of seeing this question answered.  In order to see this reality we need to invest in a new generation of music ministers.  Their first project is a competition to equip Catholic Parish and campus music ministers with the mentorship and resources they need to set up music discipleship programs at their parish.  Check here for more information. 
 
Faith Catholic a publishing company based in Lansing has created a new series of pamphlets that can be given to parishioners as they prepare for sacramental celebrations of their children including Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation.  More information at
www.FAITHCATHOLIC.com
 
Three Great Days:  Preparing the Liturgies of the Paschal Triduum by Jeremy Helmes
The Paschal Triduum requires the energy, time, and talents of many people within the parish community.  In this book, Jeremy Helmes draws on rubrics, liturgical theology, the church’s tradition, and plenty of lived experience to offer a sound guide to planning and preparing.  For more information check the Liturgical Press website.
                                                   
Marriage: Unique for a Reason: This video series produced by the USCCB highlights the unique meaning of marriage.


 
Parishes around the Archdiocese are offering workshops and other experiences for adults who are interested in growing their faith. These are advertised in Parish Mail. You may request to be placed on the list of those receiving this news at aod.org/parishmail

January 2017


Events

Sacramental Record-Keeping Workshops

February 15
St. Alfred
Taylor

February 23
St. Hugo of the Hills
Bloomfield Hills

February 24
Sacred Heart Major Seminary
Detroit

RCIA Topics
All presentations will take place at Sacred Heart Major Seminary
Detroit

Overview of the RCIA
January 14
9:00am - 12:00pm

The Pre-Catechumenate
Jnuary 14
1:00pm - 4:00pm

Catechumenate A
January 21
9:00am - 12:00pm

Catechumenate B
January 21
1:00pm - 4:0pm

Presiding at Minor Rites
January 28
9:00am - 12:00pm

Purification and Enlightenment
January 28
1:00pm - 4:00pm

Mystagogia
February 4
9:00am - 12:00pm

Parish as the Initiating Community
February 4
1:00pm - 4:00pm

Canon Law for RCIA Teams
February 25
9:00am - 12:00pm


Honoring the Life and Legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
January 16
Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament

 

Visit the worship events page

 

 


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