Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Song At The Stroke Of Midnight

It is truly a time to celebrate, reminisce, and rejoice.  Hopefully you will have some kind of singing voice tonight. However well you sound, may you join in the verses and chorus of  Robert Burns' poem:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I'll be mine!
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pu'd the gowans fine;
But we've wandered mony a weary fit
Sin' auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidled i' the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roared
Sin' auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And there's a hand, my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught
For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

May our eternal God grace the new year with abundant love, peace, and joy. May the coming twelve months bring you closer to Him and those you love. May riches in whatever form come your way and be spread to others.

Happy New Year, Everybody!

Last Day's Last Word

If you are any kind of regular visitor to my infinitesimal corner of the universe, you may recall I have two sentences I use frequently to give a broad description of the happenings in my life.  One is, "The status quo is status quo," meaning nothing has really changed. The other is, "Go Forward," a motto I have adopted almost since the beginning of this 'blog as a source of focus and motivation. Obviously with the latter there is always the opportunity to compare and contrast where you were at a specific "then" and "now". How fitting on the final day of 2014 I chose to do that.

As for the state of my state, the status quo is status quo. While opportunities have come and gone the past twelve months (most of them going without any mention of their leaving), I can take comfort in the fact I am still willing to battle. A long time ago a distant cousin once mentioned to me I wasn't a quitter. While I may be more selective in my skirmishes, it still holds true. The vast majority of the frustration is found in the lack of progress in securing a full-time job and the reluctant acceptance of the "don't call us, we'll call you" attitude of whoever does the hiring. When it comes to the job search, silence is deadly. Sometimes, you can't "Go Forward" unless you are invited.

At times, this makes me wonder if God has abandoned me on this cross. The cry of my soul saying, "What do You want" grows louder with each passing moment, hopefully not creating a white noise which does not allow me to listen to the reply. Discouragement is one step removed from despair, which is one step away from sloth. That is definitely not "Going Forward".

Yet, I do realize I have been blessed. I am longing for Heaven while still here on Earth and not some "where" else. My prayer life, while still spotty, is still there. The injunction to "pray and work" is still a grace I embrace and need to more. Perhaps I need to find better soil for the seeds to be planted.

I am in a position of having an open hand and not a closed fist. There is comfort without being comfortable. Filled, but still hungry. Having, but still wanting. The Augustinian restlessness, both spiritually and materially, is here.

So, what do I do in 2015.

What else?

"Go Forward."

The status quo, with the help of God, will be a different status quo.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Let's Talk Liturgy: Part 4

This continues the series of reflections about the liturgy as requested by the Most Rev. John C. Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City, for the education of the people of the diocese. This was read at the Masses celebrating the Fourth Sunday of Advent and printed in the Intermountain Catholic the following Friday.

The Introductory Rites, Part II 
One of the most ancient Church documents – the Didache [di-dah-kay] - states that on the Lord’s Day, people are to come together to give thanks “after first confessing their sins.” We continue this ancient practice at the start of Mass by what is called the “Act of Penitence.” This act takes place at the beginning of Mass for good reason: Matthew records Christ’s command that we be reconciled with God and one another before offering our sacrifice at the altar. By proclaiming our sinfulness before a merciful and loving God, we show our continuing need for conversion, healing, and reconciliation. 
The Penitential Rite, as it is sometimes called, has a four-part structure. First, we are invited to reflect for a few moments in silence on our sinfulness. This is followed by a common proclamation, the Confiteor, that all are sinners before God. Recently restored to the rite are the words, “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.” The priest concludes the rite by asking for forgiveness for all present. Although the rite concludes with the priest’s absolution, it does not take the place of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. 
On some occasions, especially during the Easter Season, the Penitential Rite may be replaced by what is called the “Rite of Sprinkling.” This sprinkling of the people with holy water is a reminder and renewal of our baptism and harks back to a popular eighth-century monastic practice. Three different prayers are given for the blessing of the water to be used in the sprinkling. The third, used during the Easter season, highlights the Paschal Mystery and calls to mind Christ’s resurrection, which lies at the heart of all reconciliation. 
After the act of penitence, we acclaim the Lord and implore his mercy in the words: “Lord, have mercy.” Addressed to Christ, this acclamation may take the form of “Kyrie, eleison” (Lord, have mercy), “Christe, eleison” (Christ, have mercy), “Kyrie, eleison” (Lord, have mercy). It is usually sung in dialogue by the entire assembly with the choir or cantor.  Short verses, also addressed to Christ, may be inserted into the acclamation. 
The Penitential Rite continues with the Gloria, which is sometimes called “the angelic hymn.” Echoing the words of the angels at Bethlehem, this hymn-anthem has a beautiful Trinitarian characteristic. The text mentions all three persons of the Trinity. The Gloria is preferably sung on Sundays outside Advent and Lent, as well as at other solemn celebrations. 
Once the Gloria ends, we hear, “Let us pray,” signaling that the Collect follows. The name given this prayer – the Collect – describes its purpose. It is intended to “gather together” the intentions of the faithful. The Collect has the same structure as other prayers during the Mass - an address, a petition, and a conclusion. The priest invites the people to pray, and a brief silence is shared, thereby allowing those present to be aware of God’s presence and to call to mind their intentions. The prayer is addressed to God the Father; the petition is general since it sums up the prayers of those present; and the conclusion is through Jesus Christ.

A whole homily could be devoted to destroying the notion the Penitential Rite is a substitution for the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. I truly believe a lot of people think that, which may play a very small role in the difference between the lines at the Confessional and the Communion Rite. And where does it say you can add words to the Kyrie, in a style similar to what was done with the Lamb of God years ago and has since be abrogated?

Again, good basic information (which is what is needed), but my observation still stands.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

2014 Christmas Card

Adoration of the Shepherds (1622)by Gerrit Van Honthrost (1592-1656)

May the birth of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ bring you peace, joy, hope, and love throughout the coming year. May you receive His grace and mercy in abundance. May your life be pleasing to Him Who is the Redeemer of the world.

Merry Christmas, Everybody!

December 2014 Morning Offering Prayer Intentions

Here are the intentions for this month when reciting the Morning Offering:
Universal Intention - Christmas, hope for humanity. That the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will. 
Evangelization Intention - Parents. That parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith.
Reflections for these intentions are found here.

(NB--My apologies for not posted this sooner.)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

2014 Christmas Eve Reflection

The Second Reading of the Feast of the Nativity--Mass During the Night:
The grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good. 
Titus 2:11-14 
Many of you will hear this proclaimed as you observe your obligation to assist at a Mass this day. Written well after the birth of the Christ Child and with an eye towards His Second Coming, St. Paul packs a lot in this short section of his letter to Titus. As an act of "lectio divina", allow me to share some thoughts about this passage.

"The grace of God has appeared." What had been foreshadowed by the Law and foretold by the Prophets has now become a reality we can see and hear. Emmanuel--God is with us. The Word made Flesh. How audacious is our God. And yet he is not condescending to us when He descends to us. He has promised fulfillment and He has delivered, through the delivery of His Son via the Blessed Virgin Mary.

"Saving all." Yes, humanity has been redeemed. It is still up to us as individuals to accept the invitation to the Wedding Feast to come and to be a worthy guest, however. It is a message especially important to those who are not fully incorporated into the Mystical Body of Christ and to those who have fallen away. There will be many of these Prodigals in the pews tonight. Sometimes, it takes an infant to tug on the heartstrings.

"Training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires." Why does it seem like the Devil is even more of a roaring lion today? Evil's ugly head has reared higher, it seems. Yet the victory is won; He has overcome the world and defeated Satan. As the Teacher, so His disciples. His example in the wilderness is ours. We cannot serve two masters. We, like Him, are in the world but not of it.

"To live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age."  Does this not hearken to the prophet Micah, "You have been told, O mortal, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you:  Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God"? (6:8) The admonition to stay sober and vigilant, for it was thought the Second Coming would be soon, still carries weight. We live in "this age" as much as those for whom the letter was addressed.

"We await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ." Be aware, for you will hear this right after the Lord's Prayer. As we waited for His birth and await his Second Coming, these words ring true during this part of the Mass. It is especially true since the consecration has just taken place, the real "appearance of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ". From the "House of Bread" to your house of worship, the "blessed hope" is here.

"Who gave himself for us." His whole life, as a gift to and from the Father, was gift to and for us. He poured out Himself time and time again on Earth so it would be as in Heaven. The Crucifixion and Resurrection, seen also in the Eucharist, were His ultimate present here and for eternity. The Words of Institution are an invitation.

"To deliver us from all lawlessness." Substituting either the word "sin" or "evil"  for "lawlessness" would work as well here. It is why He came into the world. He fulfills the seventh petition of the Lord's Prayer.

"To cleanse for himself a people as his own." Later in this same epistle, these words, proclaimed as the Second Reading of the Feast of the Nativity--Mass At Dawn, show us how much He loves us:
When the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy, He saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life. 
Titus 3:4-7
 This can also be claimed for the phrase above as well.

 "Eager to do what is good." As Catholics, our Faith inspires and informs our good works (c.f.--James 2:14-26). This is our joy in Christ. This is how we cooperate with Him in the redemption of the world. This is working with the "grace of God".

On this holy night, as we come to celebrate such a great mystery, as we marvel at how and why such an event occurred, as we keep watch with the shepherds, as we rejoice with the angels, let us be in awe and wonder. As we cannot fathom how or why God would do such a thing, we can only accept it in faith, hope, and love. As the Christ Child reaches out to us, let us reciprocate.

Hodie Christus natus est.

Preparing A Royal Welcome

It is the final day of our Advent journey. Once again we will arrive at the "House of Bread". We will seek "shelter" from our "travel". We are among the not yet counted throngs of people in the City of David.

Have we notice this traveler along the way? Did we look for the Holy Family? Is there a sense that Emmanuel might make an appearance? Let this Advent hymn finish your preparation:

The Coming Of Our God 
1. The coming of our God
Our thoughts must now employ:
Then let us meet him on the road
With songs of holy joy. 
2. The co-eternal Son
A maiden's offspring see:
A servant's form Christ putteth on,
To make his people free. 
3. Mother of Saints, arise
To greet thine infant-King,
And do not thanklessly despise
The pardon he doth bring. 
4. In glory from his throne
Again will Christ descend,
And summon all that are his own
To joys that never end. 
5. Let deeds of darkness fly
Before the approaching morn,
For onto sin 'tis ours to die,
And serve the Virgin-horn. 
6. Our joyful praises sing
To Christ, that set us free;
Like tribute to the Father bring,
And, Holy Ghost, to thee. Amen.

In these final hours our confinement will soon be complete:

Ero cras.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Let's Talk Liturgy: Part 3

This continues the series of reflections about the liturgy as requested by the Most Rev. John C. Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City, for the education of the people of the diocese. This was read at the Masses celebrating the Third Sunday of Advent and printed in the Intermountain Catholic the following Friday.

The Introductory Rites, Part I 
The preparation that we began before Mass continues as we gather as the Church. The Introductory Rites help us to discover a unity that is already ours, but still waiting to be realized by our participation. The Entrance Procession, Veneration of the Altar, the Greeting, the Penitential Rite, the Kyrie, the Gloria, and the Collect - all serve to prepare us for celebration. They help to establish a sense of unity, so that we might hear the Word of God and celebrate the Liturgy of the Eucharist joyfully. 
One of the signs of that unity is our common bodily posture – when Mass begins we all stand. Standing from the beginning of the Entrance Song through the Collect signifies our sense of preparation for the whole liturgy. But standing is not the only symbolic gesture we experience at the beginning of Mass. There is movement as well, starting with the Entrance Procession. The procession serves more than a functional purpose of getting the priest and other ministers to their proper place in the sanctuary. It serves a symbolic purpose as well, for it reminds us that we are the People of God, a pilgrim people, on a journey to the Kingdom, with this Mass being an important part of that journey. 
Because this journey is a joyful one, we add our voices to the Entrance Song, even though we may protest that we cannot sing. The Entrance Song is more than just “walking music;” it opens the celebration and introduces us to the themes of the liturgy. It reminds us that liturgy is a common action – a communal act of prayer, not a private act – that calls us to move beyond the limits of our own world and enter something larger.   
A further sign of our preparedness occurs when the priest and other ministers reach the altar. Now we witness a sign that unites us not only to each other, but to our ancient past – the Veneration of the Altar. Arriving at the table of the Lord, the priest and deacon venerate the altar with a reverent kiss, for it is on this table that ordinary bread and wine will become the Body and Blood of Christ. In fact, the altar represents Christ, who is the priest, the victim, and the sacrifice.  
The symbolism of being one people of God continues as we join with the priest in making the sign of the cross. This symbolic gesture, dating from at least the second century, signifies the presence of the Lord and is a traditional prelude to prayer. Romano Guardini, a priest and author wrote: “It is the holiest of all signs. When we cross ourselves, let it be with a real sign of the cross. Instead of a small cramped gesture that gives no notion of its meaning, let us make a large, unhurried sign, from forehead to breast, from shoulder to shoulder, consciously feeling how it includes the whole of us at once.” 
The greeting by the celebrant, “The Lord be with you,” which follows the sign of the cross, is not intended as a friendly “good morning.” Rather it is more like a wish that those assembled will experience the presence and power of the Lord in the community they have formed. Our response, “And With Your Spirit,” is more than a simple expression of good will; it is a reminder that our celebrant has received the Spirit of God in ordination and is, therefore, a special “servant of Christ” (1 Cor 4:1). The greeting announces that the Lord is here in this place. It indicates that what we do here is different from our day-to-day activity. It affirms that we have gathered in the name of Christ to offer praise and thanksgiving as his body. The Greeting and our response express “the mystery of the Church gathered together.”

My only quibble is with the adding of "our voices to the Entrance Song, even though we may protest that we cannot sing." The implication is that the congregation must be involved in order for there to be "full, conscious, active participation". Again, the "interior" vs. "exterior" argument that is at the heart of what this phrase truly means peaks from its hiding spot. Believe me, you can find on the internet both sides quite easily, and quite vociferously I may add.

On the whole, there is good information presented.

NB:  As the newspaper has titles for these reflections (even if the Liturgical Commission did or did not), I thought it best to include them.  I have updated the previous two post to reflect this change.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"Veni, Veni" Once More

It has become an annual tradition in this infinitesimal corner of the universe. Like the longing the Israelites had as the time for the Savior to arrive drew closer, the yearning for Christmas grows with each passing day on the Advent calendar. And, like Mary, we can count along with her until the days of our confinement will be complete.

I present for the tenth time (and, yes, this is an accurate accounting, unlike the one title I used in a similar post) a series of meditations on the "O" Antiphons, specially designed verses sung/recited before the recitation of the Magnificat at Vespers/Evening Prayer for the next seven days. Each one recalls a title the redeemer of the Chosen People would have. And while people are familiar with the vernacular hymn (whose verses are typically sung in reverse order of how they appear in the Divine Office/Liturgy of the Hours), the antiphons themselves provide a much richer vein of material to mine.

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf and Fr. Mark Kirby, OSB again will provide their insights into the meanings of these phrases while I will add my tidbits of thought as well. Recordings of the antiphons are available as well. Arguably my most popular posts, I hope they still provide you with worthy words of contemplation.

"Gaude, gaude, Emmanuel nascetur pro te, Israel."

Come; see them later.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Let's Talk Liturgy: Part 2

This continues the series of reflections about the liturgy as requested by the Most Rev. John C. Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City, for the education of the people of the diocese. This was read at the Masses celebrating the Second Sunday of Advent and printed in the Intermountain Catholic the following Friday.


Preparation for Mass
There is an old saying that goes: “We receive what we give.” To receive something good, we have to give, whether it is acquiring an education, doing well in a job, or even learning to play golf. 
This applies with equal force when it comes to the Mass – we receive what we give. Sometimes we may hear people complain, “I don’t get anything out of Mass.” Such a statement begs the question: “How much did you give?” And I don’t mean the collection plate. Rather: How much did you give in preparing for Mass? Did we hurry in at the last minute, just as the processional was starting, with our hearts and minds still caught up in the worries and concerns we woke up with? Or did we take time to prepare for Mass?  How much did we give in order to receive? 
Most of us can recall a time in our lives when we might have spent hours preparing for a big date. Why? Because we knew that to receive the attention, the love, and affection of another person, we had to give of ourselves; and that by doing so, we would receive. At Mass we meet someone in sacramental form whose attractiveness goes beyond all other experience: This is Christ the Lord. But to receive such a blessing, we must give of ourselves in order to receive. Just like the big date, we must prepare. 
Our preparation should begin long before the start of Mass: ideally, during the days leading up to Sunday Mass. We might begin by reading the Scriptures for that Sunday, followed by a rosary. Fasting for at least one hour before attending Mass is also a helpful preparation. Above all, we should strive to be at peace with one another, for as Jesus said, “If you bring your gift to the altar and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift at the altar, go first to be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Mt. 5:23)   
We can prepare for Mass by forgiving and being reconciled with others. The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation can work wonders in bringing peace to an otherwise troubled conscience. 
Sometimes our preparation for Mass can be jeopardized by arriving late, hurrying to find a place to park, and then searching for an inconspicuous place to sit … certainly never the front pew! Church tradition can help us to slow down and to enter with a worshiping attitude. Pause at the entrance of the church and dip your fingers in the holy water, reflecting for a brief moment on the significance of what you are doing. Perhaps before Mass begins stop to light a votive candle and offer a short prayer. Enter the church slowly and reverently, pausing to genuflect before the Blessed Sacrament or to make a profound bow before the altar. If possible, kneel for a few minutes to offer prayers or to reflect on a special intention for that Mass. 
The sacrifice of the Mass is the most important event that happens every Sunday. But to receive it well, we must be willing to give. And the more we give, the more we will receive.

How fitting that during the season of Advent, a season of preparation, this gentle exhortation to ready yourself for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass well in advance of when you enter the vestibule is given, that those final few minutes before the beginning of the Liturgy of the Word is a time to ready yourself to be in the presence of the Lord. Much more could be said about the need for Confession, the "atmosphere" in the church before hand (chatty, homey meeting space or sacred building, dependent on the architecture and the attitude of the laity and clergy), or even the "why" and "how" of what we do (e.g.--the dipping of fingers in a holy water font and the making of the Sign of the Cross). While you can't force people to be reverent, you can encourage that behavior.

And that is the point of this reflection.

UPDATE:  12/19/2014. Addition of the title and editorial format.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Let's Talk Liturgy: Part 1

This is the first in the series of reflections about the liturgy as requested by the Most Rev. John C. Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City, for the education of the people of the diocese. This was read at the Masses celebrating the First Sunday of Advent and printed in the Intermountain Catholic the following Friday.


Have you ever wondered why we celebrate Mass the way we do? Why do we have a procession at the start of Mass? Why do we make the sign of the cross? Why do we sometimes kneel, while at other times we stand? Why are we encouraged to join in the singing? Questions such as these are often on the minds of every Catholic who comes to Mass. We look for answers to questions such as these to help us not only to become better-informed Catholics but, more importantly, to help us enter more fully into our Eucharistic celebration. As the Second Vatican Council emphasized, “Full, conscious, active participation by all the people” is the “aim to be considered before all else.” 
At the request of Bishop Wester, each parish in the diocese has been asked to present a series of short talks on the structure of the Mass. These Four-Minute Reflections, following the Prayer after Communion, will hopefully help us, as the assembly, come to a better understanding of the Mass, and enable us to participate more fully, consciously and actively. They will not be sermons, but carefully prepared talks that over time will cover the key aspects of the Mass. Imagine a “class about the Mass” without ever leaving the comfort of your pew! 
The purpose of these reflections will not be to overwhelm us with a lot of detail, but rather to increase our awareness of how various parts of the Mass work together to heighten a sense of unity as we are drawn into the sacred mystery and then sent forth to carry on Christ’s mission in the world. We will see how the introductory rites – the procession, the singing and prayers – prepare us to listen attentively to the word of God so that we may enter more joyfully and gratefully into the Liturgy of the Eucharist and Communion. Then, renewed by word and sacrament, we will better appreciate the significance of the prayers, blessings and dismissal that come at the conclusion of Mass. 
You can do a lot of things in four minutes: drive four miles, write an email, heat up your dinner, or listen to a song. We believe that these Four-Minute Reflections will provide a better understanding of the symbols, gestures, and rites that are sometimes not understood or taken for granted at Mass thus enabling us to share more deeply in the mystery of this great sacrament. Over the course of the liturgical year, we will strive to shed some light on practices that are ever ancient and yet, ever new. We invite you to listen attentively to what is being presented. And remember: Each reflection will only take four minutes.

In the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, following the Prayer after Communion and before the Final Blessing and Dismissal is an optional section where announcements are made; this is where these talks will be inserted. For the sake of consistency throughout the diocese, it is the best place for it. It is not meant to take time away from the homily; before Mass interferes with the congregation's preparation and after Mass people are looking to leave.

I am hoping the underlying current of this is to give examples regarding what is the most contentious phrase found in Sacrosanctum Concilium--"full, conscious, and active participation". Is is about doing or is it about being, doing flowing from it? It seems to be hinting at the second part of the last sentence.

The serial continues.

UPDATE:  12/19/2014. Addition of the title and editorial format.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Let's Talk Liturgy: Introduction

From the Chief Liturgist and Chief Teacher of the Diocese of Salt Lake City, as found in the November 28 edition of the Intermountain Catholic, the diocesan newspaper:
My Dearest Brothers and Sisters,  
Liturgy is our communal act of worship of the Father, in Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is not a mere re-enactment of what took place during the final days of Jesus’ life, but a real encounter with the risen Christ. It is through the celebration of the Mass that we give praise and adoration to God for the marvelous gift of redemption, and together become Christ’s body in the world.  
Because liturgy is central to the life of the Church, it is fitting that we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Vatican II by renewing our understanding and experience of the Church’s liturgy. Therefore, I am asking each parish in the diocese to present a series of Four-Minute Talks on the different parts of the Mass. These scripted Four-Minute Talks, prepared by the Diocesan Liturgical Commission in conjunction with the Office of Liturgy, explain what occurs during the Mass. Intended to be read aloud following the Prayer after Communion, the Four-Minute Talks provide an opportunity for reflection as we deepen our appreciation for the liturgy and to become more attentive to its celebration. 
My hope is that as we study the liturgy, we will be inspired to live as Easter people; people filled with the good news of salvation, people who feed the poor and welcome the outcast, people who embrace the lonely, and fight for justice, people who strive to live more faithfully, celebrate more joyfully, and live the gospel more fully, not just on Sunday but every day. 
Asking God’s many blessings upon you, I remain, 
Sincerely yours in Christ,
The Most Reverend John C. Wester
Bishop of Salt Lake City
The members of the Diocesan Liturgical Commission are as follows:
Chair:  Msgr. Colin F. Birchumshaw, Vicar General
Deacon Mike Bulson
Fr. Sam Dinsdale
Deacon Sunday Espinoza
Maria-Cruz Gray
Susan Northway
Deacon Mark Solak
Deacon Armando Solorzano
Margaret Stepan
Sr. Joseph Cecile Voelker, CSC
These short reflections began on the First Sunday of Advent and will continue through March, according to the paper. As when I heard it, they are only to be read, not editorialized.

I will be posting these instructional messages on Saturday, the day after they are printed in the paper. Unlike what happens in the various parishes, I may have something to say.

Stay tuned.