Since my arrival, already on several occasions, I have seen gift bearers struggle to maintain their balance up and down the steps of the sanctuary during the Offertory Procession (with an accidental fall at the celebration of Mass on the Fourth of July).
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) states: “It is a praiseworthy practice for the bread and wine to be presented by the faithful. They are then accepted at an appropriate place by the Priest or the Deacon to be carried to the altar” (GIRM 73). “The bread and wine are placed on the altar by the Priest” (GIRM 75). Further instruction continues: “The offerings of the faithful are received by the Priest, assisted by the acolyte or other minister. The bread and wine for the Eucharist are carried to the Celebrant, who places them on the altar” (GIRM 140).
I offer the quoted instruction, so that you may know this is not an issue of personal preference, but rather what the Church now calls for. Its implementation, which I am asking for at all celebrations, will ensure the Church’s vision and should prevent further accidents. Our parish family strikes me, already, as one of intentional welcome and conscious inclusivity. This will further permit those who are unable, or less than comfortable, ascending and descending the steps of the sanctuary to participate in the Offertory Procession. These members of the faithful might otherwise never have been asked or have in the past had to politely decline.
While this procedure has been implemented for some weeks and witnessed by nearly all, to clarify for future celebrations:
Once the altar is prepared, the priest celebrant (assisted by the deacon, when present) and an altar server will receive the gifts of bread and wine at the foot of the sanctuary from the gift bearers. The foot of the sanctuary has been interpreted as “an appropriate place,” as mentioned above in the GIRM (73). When, a deacon is present at Mass, all is received by him from the priest. Therefore, kindly permit the priest to first receive the wine cruet and then the paten of bread. He will, in turn, hand each item to the deacon and/or altar server as necessary. The Church additionally envisions that the gifts of bread and wine are not placed upon the altar until the Prayer of Blessing (i.e., “Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation…”) is prayed over each gift. Often, this prayer is prayed in silence by the celebrant at Sunday Mass while the Offertory Hymn is sung, and aloud at Daily Mass when a hymn is generally omitted, to which the people respond, “Blessed be God for ever.”
Once both gifts are handed to the priest, as he and those assisting him return to the altar, it remains appropriate for the gift bearers to bow in the direction of the altar. As an aside, a series of gestures shows respect for the altar. In processions, liturgical ministers bow to it (a profound bow at the waist), the priests and deacons reverence it with a kiss, and the priest celebrant may also incense it. From at least the time of Ambrose (†397), the altar has been esteemed as a symbol for Christ. “For what is the altar of Christ if not the image of the Body of Christ? The altar represents the Body [of Christ] and the Body of Christ is on the altar” (Ambrose, De sacramentis 4:2, 7 and 5:2, 7).
A kind word of thanks to Fr. Andy, Deacon Dave, our altar servers, ushers, and all future gift bearers who have and will assist with its implementation. If any further explanation or clarification would be appreciated, please feel free to address me following Mass, or contact me at the parish office.
After prayerful consultation with the staff, and consideration from much of what has been shared from Daily Mass communicants, beginning the Tuesday after Labor Day, September 3, Daily Mass will be celebrated in the chapel at 8:30 a.m., Monday through Friday (with the exception of Thursdays when I am often away from the parish). The additional Mass times throughout the week are as much for my own benefit to celebrate Mass, daily, as it is for those who wish to and are able attend. The time change will ensure Daily Mass will not be canceled if a Funeral Mass is scheduled for the same day, eliminating the need to transfer Mass intentions. I am very sensitive to the fact that Masses offered for loved ones are often requested on specific dates of anniversary or hold particular meaning for a family. Also, because our parish office opens at 9:00 a.m., if they desire, staff members are afforded the opportunity to attend Mass before their workday begins.
The traditional Anointing of the Sick Mass, often scheduled for the second Wednesday of the month, will remain in effect, but begin at 7:00 p.m. (celebrated in addition to the 8:30 a.m. Daily Mass earlier that morning). With this increase of celebrations, subsequent Mass intentions are available.
As mentioned in my homily the weekend of July 28, in addition to requested appointments, I will also avail myself for the Sacrament of Reconciliation on Saturday afternoons before the 5:00 pm Vigil, between 3:30 – 4:30 p.m., beginning September 7. As Catholics, we are reminded and encouraged to celebrate this sacrament with some regularity (at least once a year) and whenever we are conscious of a grave (or serious) sin. If it has been a long time, no worries, please do not feel you have to have anything memorized. I (and any invited priests) are there to help guide you through it!
I am asking we give this proposed schedule a try for some time. We may find ourselves proceeding from there. As we continue to share this period of transition, please know of my continued prayers.
MASS & CONFESSION TIMES – BEGINNING 9/3/19
Saturday 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Saturday Vigil Mass 5:00 p.m.
Sunday Mass 9:00 a.m. • 11:00 a.m.
Monday 8:30 a.m.
Tuesday 8:30 a.m.
Wednesday 8:30 a.m.
Thursday No Daily Mass
Friday 8:30 a.m.
Anointing of the Sick Mass 7:00 p.m.
(Second Wednesday of the Month)
Thursday, August 15, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We are reminded of our obligation and privilege to attend Mass on holy days of obligation. This year, Saint Noel Parish will offer the Vigil Mass on Wednesday, August 14, at 7:00 p.m., and on the day, Thursday at 12:00 noon.
FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION – Liturgical Minister sign-up sheets for the Feast of the Assumption and Vigil Mass are on the bulletin board by the kitchenette. Please sign up if you are able to minister on either of these days.
FAITH AND VALUES COLLECTION – We will be collecting for the Faith and Values Appeal for Catholic Education next weekend, August 17th & 18th. This appeal provides tuition support for needy students and their families right here in our diocese.
AT HOME WITH THE WORD – Orders are being accepted thru August 30th for anyone who wishes to purchase a copy of “At Home with the Word.”
Please call the parish office (440-946-0887) to reserve a copy in your name. Payment of $7.25 each can be made at the time of pick up.
FAMILIES PREPARING CHILDREN FOR FIRST COMMUNION THIS YEAR – A letter was mailed recently with information about First Communion preparation. When you receive it, please be sure to promptly reply as the letter instructs. If you are expecting to prepare for First Communion this year and have not received this letter, please contact Michele ([email protected] or 440-946-1128, x121) and leave a message with your name, your child’s name, and your contact information.
FAITH FORMATION PROGRAMS – for children and families begin in mid-September. Registration forms and calendars can be found on the table in the Narthex, in the kiosk, or on our website (https://stnoel.org/faith-formation/) beginning this weekend. You can stop at the table in the Narthex the next two weekends (August 17&18 and August 24&25) and talk with Michele about your family’s faith formation options, or you can contact Michele with any questions ([email protected] or 440-946-1128 x 121).
BACK TO SCHOOL – Pick up a “Backpack Blessing” at the table in the Narthex and start the new year off with a prayer.
LECTOR OR CANTOR – If you feel you are called to become a lector or a cantor, please contact Agnieszka (Aga) Bieniek for an individual meeting. The best way to reach Agnieszka is to e-mail at [email protected] or to call her at 440-946-1128 ex.119.
FREE FRESH PRODUCE – Our next senior market is scheduled for Monday, August 19th from 2-4 p.m. in the Banquet Center. Please spread the word. Our June market served 120 people.
LEAF – Our next LEAF meeting is Monday, August 19th at 7:00 p.m. in the Nativity Room. If you have a loved one who is incarcerated, consider attending LEAF (Listening, Empowering, Assisting Families). LEAF is a non-denominational ministry where relatives and friends of those incarcerated can join with others in conversation and fellowship. Meetings are anonymous and registration is not required. Visit www.leafministry.org or call the St. Noel parish office at 440-946-0887 for more information.
FOOD PANTRY NEEDS – So far in 2019, the pantry has served 940 people with the equivalent of over 8,460 meals. Currently, we are in need of jelly, tuna, soup, and pasta sauce in jars. Thanks to all who support the pantry!!
GUN VIOLENCE – Please visit our website to read statements from Pope Francis and the Ohio Bishops regarding the recent tragic events in our country.
RECYCLE – Have you heard of the waste prevention techniques commonly known as THE 4 Rs – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, then Recycle? The more we REFUSE, the less items you will have to reduce and reuse. Some ideas are refusing straws at restaurants, taking your own reusable bags to the store, opting out of phone books, stopping solicitations, etc. Check out https://stnoel.org/social-justice/recycle/ for more information! It only takes a little effort to make a big difference!
BLOOD DRIVE – Our next blood drive is scheduled for Sunday, August 25th. Make an appointment online at redcrossblood.org.
CURIOUS ABOUT THE CATHOLIC FAITH? THINKING ABOUT BECOMING A CATHOLIC? – If so, RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) might be just for you! Adults from all faith traditions or those with no religious background at all are welcome to participate in our gatherings. In the first phase of the RCIA process, no commitment is required. We simply meet in an informal atmosphere of conversation and sharing, where you are free to ask any questions you have about the Catholic Church, its traditions and its worship, and explore where God might be leading you. Your questions, experiences and thoughts are the basis of these sessions. In addition, we will discuss what the Church teaches about the Bible, spirituality and ways of expressing our faith. If you or someone you know might be interested in inquiring about the Catholic faith, please call the parish office at 440-946-0887.
EUCHARISTIC ADORATION – has made a difference in the lives of the men and women who spend time before the Blessed Sacrament on Mondays between 1:00-9:00 p.m. Each holy hour that you make in the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament releases his grace and power upon you, your family and your parish. We are looking for additional people to fill the 2:00, 3:00 and 6:00 p.m. time slots. If you are free and would like to experience this, please call Jan at 440-951-5593 or the parish office at 440-946-0887. If you are unable to make a definite commitment, please stop in anytime during Eucharistic Adoration and you will be richly blessed.
AUGUSTINE BENEFIT DINNER “SAVE-THE-DATE” This year, St. Noel’s Benefit Dinner to assist St. Augustine Center will be held on Thursday, October 17, 2019. All are invited! This will be St. Noel’s 32nd year of letting our “light shine” by haloing those less fortunate than us. St. Augustine Benefit provides an opportunity to share a meal and help raise much-needed funding to continue the charitable work of the Center. The Center serves 500-600 meals daily, provides clothing, rental assistance, utility help, advocacy for disabled people, and crisis intervention to families and individuals in need. In addition, the St. Augustine Center helps 7-10 other needy parishes in the area. Come be a part of this opportunity to help–more details to follow soon!
ANSELM YOUNG OF HEART – in Chesterland has a trip planned to Chicago, the “Windy City,” for September 23-26. Included are the Studebaker National Museum, a guided tour of Chicago, the breathtaking view from the top of the John Hancock Building, the Shedd Aquarium, the Lincoln Park Conservatory, the Navy Pier, a sightseeing cruise, and the Money Museum. Great dinners are included at Bob Chinn’s Crabhouse, one in Chicago’s Little Italy, and dinner and entertainment at Tommy Guns Garage (a 1920’s speakeasy), and lunch in Indiana’s Amish Country on the way home. Also included are three nights of rooms in the Chicago area, breakfast each day, and gratuities for all included events and meals. Cost is $675 pp ($687 for non-members). For reservations call Nancy Battenfield at 440-729-9684.
Everyone is welcome on Young of Heart trips.
DIVORCE RECOVERY FOR CATHOLICS, AN 8 WEEK SUPPORT GROUP – designed to meet the needs of those who are divorced or separated will begin Thursday, September 5th and conclude on October 24th, at St. Gabriel Church, 9925 Johnnycake Ridge Road, Concord. The group meets from 7- 9 p.m. in the PSR Office of the School. Sessions are designed to offer direction, support, and the tools for coping and moving on. Each group is tailored to meet the needs of the participants. For more information or to register, please call Catholic Charities at 352-6191 or 1-800-242-9755, or email [email protected] There is no charge for this program, all materials are provided, and it is open to people of all faiths.
MUSEUM OF DIVINE STATUES – Located in Lakewood, the Museum is a 501c3 dedicated to the restoration and preservation of sacred art previously housed in parishes throughout the diocese. Their annual fundraiser, scheduled for September 14, 2019, includes a silent auction, and they’re asking for support from local parishes. If you would like to contribute to a gift basket or donate a basket, please contact Anthony (946-1128 x122). More information on the fundraiser is available at st.noel.org.
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