Dearly Beloved in Christ:
In my last bulletin letter, I spoke of the need for all of us to continue to work toward unity and tried to underscore the unique opportunity we have been given to model for others this wonderful Christian virtue, given the configuration of our parish – six-in-one. If we are to be successful in this endeavor, we must always start from prayer, precisely the Eucharist, for the “Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life” (see: Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 11). From it flows the grace of God, the gift of Christ himself, who gathers us as one. And in the Eucharistic prayers, we pray for unity and for all of humanity and creation as well.
Because of its inestimable value for Christian life, the Church exhorts her children to participate actively, fully and consciously in the Eucharistic sacrifice especially, but no less in all liturgical celebrations (Cf. Vatican II’s Constitution on Sacred Liturgy, 14). This “full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit; and therefore pastors of souls must zealously strive to achieve it, by means of the necessary instruction, in all their pastoral work” (ibid).
At this juncture, I would like to invite us to examine our attitude and dispositions toward the Mass. Do I strive to participate fully, actively and consciously at Mass? What is the manner of my participation at Mass? Do I take some time to prepare through prayer and reflecting on the Readings before coming to Mass, especially on the weekends? Do I make a conscious effort to sing during the Mass, even if the songs are unfamiliar? Do I often find myself aloof during the Mass? If so, have I asked myself why? Do I take time to learn more about the theology of the Eucharist and the Sacrifice of the Mass?
My Beloved brothers and sisters, full participation in the Eucharistic sacrifice (and in all liturgical celebrations) is not optional; “it is our right and duty by virtue of our baptism”! (ibid, emphasis added). When we strive to participate more actively at liturgical celebrations, they become more meaningful and impactful for us. Conversely, if we are lackadaisical, ill-disposed and lacking adequate preparation, the Mass will seem very boring, distant and feel like an undesirable chore. Let us be proactive and prepare adequately so as to participate more fully, actively and consciously at Mass.
One way to do this is to consider serving as a minister during the Mass as a Lector, hospitality minister/usher, sacristan, choir member or a volunteer cantor, and an altar server, (parents, please encourage your children to serve as one; you are welcome to serve as an adult, too). Please contact the office for further assistance.
Today is a special day for us as a parish as we celebrate the Mass of my installation as your new administrator/pastor. Please pray for me and continue to pray for our parish especially that we continue to grow as one Holy Family parish, united in the joy of the Holy Spirit and in charity, as missionary disciples. My prayer for all is that we may imitate the persistent faith of the Canaanite woman in today’s Gospel, especially when things get rough. My gratitude to all those who assisted at/helped in preparation for the Mass of installation and to the Altar Society for graciously providing the light refreshment. And to all who are already tirelessly working in the different ministries in service of our parish, thank you! May God bless and reward you abundantly, amen!
In Christ’s love,
Fr. Jude Ekenedilichukwu Ezuma