Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The "Word" project for 2008

I'm setting a goal for the liturgical year 2008 for the parish of St. Anselm: I'm inviting all parishioners to grow in their appreciation of the Word of God in their lives, and especially in their appreciation of the Word in the celebration of Sunday Liturgy.

With that in mind, I'd like to invite all parishioners to read, study, and meditate upon the Sunday Word each week. Look up the readings for next Sunday's Mass. Savor the readings we'll all hear next weekend. Pray with those readings.

My biggest challenge to the parish is this: Picture the parish of St. Anselm without a resident priest-pastor. Imagine that you've been asked to offer some words of inspiration/reflection at the Sunday Communion service that will replace the Sunday Mass. Reflecting on the Lectionary readings for next Sunday, what would you say to/with/for the people of St. Anselm?

Write down your thoughts and reflections, and keep a journal this year. When we gather for our parish retreat next October, I'd like to host a session of sharing of these journals.

The Church asks us to reverence the Word of God, the first part of every Mass, as being just as important as the second part of Mass, the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The Church does a great job of teaching us that the "Real Presence" of Christ is in the Eucharist, but it is also present in the Liturgy of the Word. Christ is just as present in the proclamation of the Word of God as in the Eucharist! Check out the official teaching of the Catholic Church in the documents of the Second Vatican Council, especially, the document, Sacrosanctum Concilium.

This graphic, a page from the newly published St. John's Bible, from Collegeville, MN, is one of the illuminations from this hand-calligraphed and illustrated Bible. We display the Gospel/Acts version of the St. John's Bible in our daily Mass chapel at St. Anselm.

The challenge for this year is to grow in knowledge and appreciation of God's Word in our lives. Our Protestant brothers and sisters are great at memorizing scripture. I think it's time for Catholics to appreciate the gift of God's Word in our lives.

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