Thursday, April 28, 2011

Keep a green bough in your heart!

By Sister Mary Frances Coleman, R.S.M.
Director, Religious & Consecrated Life

Every year it happens: all of life engages in birth, death and resurrection.

Every year cocoons give up their treasures, a dandelion appears through the cement curtains of a cracked sidewalk. We hold images of people being pulled out of their tomb-like enclosures under rubble after the earthquakes in Haiti and more recently in Japan. Their bodies covered in dust and with profound injuries still fought to gasp for air and life again—resurrection!

And we — are not our lives interwoven with experiences and memories of having shared these Paschal cycles? Don’t we experience our death moments? moments of hope breaking through? The peak event of resurrection following the pattern of the passion and death in the life of Jesus, an anchor of hope for us always.

Every year the dull and dead in us meets our Easter challenge, to live on the frontiers of our existence,  to see the Lazarus deep inside us pick up his cloak and walk toward the light, to be open to the unexpected, to welcome God in every form and situation and always trust in our own greening.

Easter blessings of joy and peace!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Triduum, step-by-step

By Sister Mary Garascia, C.P.P.S.
Pastoral Coordinator, Holy Name of Jesus, Redlands

ONE LONG DAY— that is how the sacred three days of Holy Week, called the Triduum, are described. Lent officially ends at dusk on Holy Thursday, April 21, and we begin the celebration of the death and resurrection of the Lord.

The word “celebration” is used in a special way in liturgical language. When we “celebrate” a mystery of our faith, or celebrate the Mass, we are commemorating an event of scripture or Jesus’ life. But a liturgical celebration is more
than just remembering. Were you there when they crucified the Lord,” a famous English language spiritual asks?

Actually through our celebration of the sacred three days of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday we can say “yes!” We were there! For through our “celebration” of those three days, the events of the Lord’s life come alive. They become not just past events but events in which we participate.

For families with children, Holy Thursday is perhaps the best celebration of these three days. The symbolic action that we participate in this night is washing of our feet. We can wear sandals to Church tonight! This special action invites us to learn with our bodies the lesson Jesus wants to teach us: we are called to be servants of one another as Jesus was for his disciples. Also at this Mass, the three special oils we use for sacraments are presented. The oil of the sick is used throughout the next year in the sacrament of the sick. The oil of catechumens is used to anoint adults preparing for baptism. The oil of chrism is used in the sacraments of baptism and confirmation. The evening ends with a procession with the Eucharist. People stay and pray before the Eucharist, commemorating the time when the apostles prayed in the garden with Jesus, just before his arrest.

Good Friday is a day when Catholics over 14 abstain from meat, and those between 14 and 60 fast. Again the body gets involved in teaching our spirits that we must become empty of worldly things if we want to be filled with the Lord. A few decades ago most businesses closed on Good Friday, and it was traditional to observe silence for three hours, from noon until three. (That was a great challenge for children!) The liturgy of the Church on Good Friday includes the moving veneration of the cross.

Holy Saturday is a day of waiting for dusk when the celebration of Easter begins. It is a day that keeps breaking out in anticipatory joy.

Traditionally Easter eggs are colored on this day, and there is a blessing of foods here at the parish at 9am. Church is getting decorated, choirs are rehearsing, and so are the people who will receive sacraments that evening. The Easter joy bursts out in the evening as we light the new fire, symbolizing Christ alive in our midst. The Easter Vigil begins. Long though it is, this special service is cherished by liturgists and musicians and people, and of course by our new Catholic brothers and sisters. I hope each of you reading this will be able to really celebrate the Triduum this year!

El Triduo, paso a paso

Por Hermana Mary Garascia, C.P.P.S.
Cordinadora Pastoral, Santo Nombre de Jesus, Redlands

UN LARGO DIA-de este modo se describe estos tres días de la Semana Santa, llamados el Triduo. La Cuaresma termina oficialmente al atardecer del jueves Santo, Abril 21, y comenzamos la celebración de la muerte y la  resurrección del Señor.

La palabra “celebración” tiene un significado especial en el lenguaje litúrgico. Cuando “celebramos” un misterio de nuestra fe, o celebramos la Misa, conmemoramos un evento de las escrituras o de la vida de Jesús. Pero una  celebración litúrgica es mucho más que simplemente recordar. Pregunta un famoso autor espiritual de la lengua Inglesa: “¿Estuviste allá cuando ellos crucificaron al Señor?” En realidad, a través de nuestra celebración del  jueves Santo, Viernes Santo y Sábado Santo, podemos responder que “¡sí!” y que ¡Allí estuvimos! Porque mediante nuestra celebración de estos tres días, se vuelven vivos estos eventos de la vida del Señor. No son sucesos del pasado, sino eventos en los cuales nosotros participamos.

Para las familias con hijos, el Jueves Santo es tal vez la mejor celebración de estos tres días. La acción simbólica en la que participamos en esta noche es el lavatorio de los pies. ¡Podemos ir en sandalias a la Iglesia esta noche! Este acto especial nos invita a aprender con nuestros cuerpos, la lección que Jesús quiere enseñarnos: somos llamados a ser servidores los unos de los otros, como lo fue Jesús de sus discípulos. También en esta Misa se nos presentan los tres aceites especiales usados en los sacramentos. El óleo de los enfermos que se usará durante el siguiente año para el sacramento de Unción de los enfermos. El óleo de los catecúmenos que se usará para ungir a los adultos que van a recibir el Bautismo. El santo crisma que es usado en los sacramentos del Bautismo y la Confirmación. La tarde termina con la procesión con la Eucaristía hasta el monumento. Allí, a los pies de la Eucaristía, los fieles oran y contemplan, conmemorando ese rato en que los apóstoles oraron con Jesús en el huerto, momentos antes de ser arrestado.

En el Viernes Santo los católicos mayores de 14 se abstienen de comer carne y los que están entre los 14 y 60, ayunan. De esta forma nuestro cuerpo quiere enseñar a nuestro espíritu que, es necesario liberarse de las cosas terrenas si queremos llenarnos de las cosas de Dios. Hace algunas décadas la mayoría de los negocios estaban cerrados el Viernes Santo y era una tradición permanecer en silencio durante tres horas, desde el mediodía hasta las tres. (Lo cual era muy difícil para los niños.) La liturgia de la Iglesia para este día incluye la procesión para venerar y besar la cruz.

El Sábado Santo esperamos con ansiedad el atardecer, para dar comienzo a la celebración de la Pascua. Es el día en que damos rienda suelta a nuestro gozo anticipado. Ese día se colorean los tradicionales huevos pascuales y hay bendición de los alimentos a las 9:00am en la parroquia. El templo se decora, los coros practican y también lo hacen quienes recibirán los sacramentos esa noche.

Estalla la alegría de la Pascua, cuando habiendo ya anochecido, prendemos el fuego nuevo, que representa que Cristo vivo está en medio de nosotros. La Vigilia Pascual comienza. Y, a pesar de ser larga esta ceremonia, es celebrada con alegría por los liturgistas, los músicos, los fieles y, por supuesto, por nuestros nuevos hermanos y hermanas Católicos. Confío que esta lectura le ayude a celebrar de verdad este Triduo de este año.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Diocese reaches out to victims of violent crime

By Sister Sue Reif, OSF
Diocesan Director of Restorative Justice

When a crime is committed, it’s like throwing a stone into the water and watching ripples go out and out and out and never seems to stop. One violent act effects more people than we can ever imagine: victims and their families, co-workers, neighbors, friends as well as offenders and their families. Murder encompasses the whole community. 

This week is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and parishes are encouraged to remember victims/survivors of violence in their prayers at Masses and other services.  

The diocesan Office of Restorative Justice has committed itself to reaching out to victims of violent crime in a special way. Our work in this area began in February when men and women from 18 different parishes attended a two day training called “Healing the Trauma of Violent Death.”  The training was for parish bereavement volunteers with the hope of giving them additional skills to help families who experience tragic death: the murder of a loved one.

Participants learned about the difference between a justice system of retribution and one of restoration, and ways that the Gospel calls us to be instruments of God’s presence and healing to all affected by violence. A panel of men and women shared personal stories of their loved one who was murdered and how one action has had an on-going effect on their lives.

Participants learned about the 12 components of grief unique to surviving violent death; much different that those of the 5 components of “normal” death. Although the focus was on homicide, there was some discussion of the effects of suicide on loved ones.

A panel of speakers came from the District Attorney’s Office in San Bernardino County, explaining how the criminal justice system works, and how that process affects families.  Victim advocates were present and told about ways that they assist families. 

The training will be repeated this summer with Part 1 on Sunday, August 14 and Part 2 on Sunday, August 21.  Trainings will be offered in English and Spanish from 9:30am-4:30pm at the Diocesan Pastoral Center. 

In the planning stages is an opportunity for a one day retreat in September for adult family members who have experienced the loss of a loved one through homicide.

Anyone interested in attending the next training or the fall retreat should contact Sister Sue Reif in the Diocesan Office of Restorative Justice:  sreif@sbdiocese.org or 909-475-5474. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

No cross, no peace

By Theresa Montminy,
Chancellor

There is a saying in the world of sports, “No pain, No gain”.  In other words, there’s no victory without effort, even painful effort.  There’s no telling how many coaches have drummed this into talks to their losing team in an effort to get them to try harder. What keeps us trying harder during this season of Lent?  Maybe we could adapt a similar saying, “No cross, No peace” a reminder that there is no Easter without Calvary, there’s no love without sacrifice, and there’s no triumph without cost.

There’s a true story of a friend of mine that I would like to share that illustrates the power of the cross in an unusual way.  My friend was training to qualify for a spot on the USA Olympic team as a high diver.  Because she was training, she had special privileges at the pool facilities at the school I attended.  One clear night in October with a moon that was big and bright, some time between 10:30 and 11:00 in the evening, she decided to go swimming and to practice a few dives.  The pool was housed under a ceiling of glass panes so the moon shone bright across the top of the wall in the pool area.  She climbed to the highest platform to take her first practice dive.

She stood on the platform backwards to make her dive, spread her arms to gather her balance, looked up to the wall, and saw her own shadow caused by the light of the moon.  It was the shape of a cross.  Her heart broke at the symbolic value. At that moment her mind was flooded with the true meaning of the cross and the hope that it represented.  It was a moment of conversion. She sat down on the platform to ask God to forgive her sins and to save her.  At that moment, she placed her trust in God . . . 20 feet in the air.

Suddenly, the lights came on.  Security had come in to check the pool.  As she looked down from the platform, she saw an empty pool that had been drained for repairs.  She had almost plummeted to her death, but the cross had stopped her from disaster.

No wonder St. Paul glorified the cross. It is God’s plan to save us from disaster. If we are to make peace in our world, we must first discover the strength of cross.  It represents our hope and our trust in God . . . as we are, where we are!

I welcome your comments about how “Making Peace” in our world speaks to you as we continue to walk together.  Please address your items of interest by electronic mail to officeofthechancellor@sbdiocese.org.