Thought for the day

The great scenes in the Bible, precisely because of their greatness and indeed uniqueness, can be difficult to access personally.  For the Baptism of Jesus, there are at least two potential approaches.  Firstly, we could go back in our minds to a life-changing turning point in our own lives, so that we can speak of before and after.  Secondly, we could also turn to our own experience when we felt deeply the affirmation of our identity and worth as “the beloved” of someone.  In the case of Jesus, these are combined: his identity and life are one, something we would like to be able say about ourselves too.

Prayer

Abba, Father, let us hear again today your words of affirmation to Jesus and in Jesus to us all.  As your beloved sons and daughters, draw us more closely into your own life of love. Amen.

 

THE PAROCHIAL NOTICES

 

LAST WEEKEND’S FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS                  

Collections              R 15 479, 10                Planned Giving            R  6 937, 77

Southern Cross     R         60, 00              Calendars                         R     150, 00

Thank you most sincerely for your generosity!

 

 

Please note that if it is your intention to get married in the Catholic Church, you need to give the Church at least six months notice of your intent to get married.  Please contact the Cathedral office to set up an appointment with one of the Cathedral clergy to complete the Pre-Nuptial Enquiry.

 

 

PLEASE NOTE THE FORTHCOMING EVENTS

14th January at 18h30         CATHEDRAL FINANCE COUNCIL MEETING

17th January at 18h30         CATHEDRAL PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL MEETING

19th January at 09h00         Morning of Recollection and Training for everyone  involved in ministry in the parish.  Join the team from the Centre for Pastoral Development at Lansdowne Parish Hall.  Guest speaker is Father Peter-John Pearson, Vicar General of the Archdiocese.  The cost is R30and please bring your own mug for coffee/tea.  Please RSVP to Sharyn on 021 462 2417

19th & 20th January              Address to the Parish Regarding the Parish Finances.  This will take place at the end of all the weekend Masses.  We request all parishioners please to remain after the final hymn.

 27th January                          Catechist Sunday – Recommissioning of Catechists

01st February                        Holy Mass will be celebrated at the Cathedral at 13h10 to mark the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act by Parliament on 01st February 1997.

03rd February                        Catechists Fundraising after the 10h00 Holy Mass

23rd February                        An Introductory Session for anyone interested in Discerning for the Priesthood or Religious Life or maybe just curious about what such a vocation might entail.  The venue is the Chancery (Cathedral Place), behind the Cathedral and it will be from 10h00 until 12h30.

 

LITURGY: THE BAR IS LOW, SADLY

 

Rev. Fr. Russell Pollitt SJ

 

In Catholic circles people often talk about the same old things: a decline in numbers; young people don’t seem to be interested in the church, many don’t darken the door of a church after Confirmation or defect to other Christian communities; parishes struggle to survive financially; bad sermons … the list goes on.  It is easy to find counter arguments to some of these talking points.

Some people argue that young people join other churches because it “feels good” and this should not be the reason for attending church.  Others excuse bad sermons by saying we should go to mass for the Eucharist and not the sermon.  But there comes a point when we have to stop and ask ourselves an important question: what is the quality of our liturgical service or pastoral care?

In the last few weeks I have been to at least three parishes incognito.  Two of the three would fail a quality test if one took the Sunday Eucharistic celebration and “measured” it against the liturgy documents of the Church and its local implementation.

A number of things are inflicted upon mass goers: Christmas carols sung like funeral dirges – or songs and hymns irrelevant to the liturgical season; endless words – “mini-sermons” – outside often long-rambling, out-of-touch-with-reality homilies; in some parishes the insertion of private devotions at different points that are not proper to the liturgy.  There were also badly prepared proclaimers of the Word and, embarrassingly, presiders who had clearly not looked at the Eucharistic Prayer (especially the first Eucharistic Prayer) and so landed up butchering it.

One gets the feeling that in many parishes little time is spent on liturgy preparation.  In some places choirs are well prepared, but the rest of the liturgical ministries are poor.  Often people (especially presiders) are quick to jam all sorts of irrelevant extras into the liturgy, but the very basics are done badly.  The quality bar, sadly, is very low.

Like it or not, the days of people going to Sunday mass because it is an obligation are waning.  Bad liturgy does not inspire.  There is also a plethora of choices.  People choose to go to other churches where they are more likely to be fed spiritually so that they can live their lives in a difficult and complicated society.  For the most part, the quality of preaching in Catholic pulpits is abysmal.  Sadly, for many young people, the fact that the Catholic Church has the Eucharist does not keep them coming back when everything else is done half-heartedly.

The Catholic Church has a beautiful liturgical tradition which, if done accordingly, is full of symbol and wisdom which conveys simply and beautifully the Good News of salvation.

Why, in so many places, do we ignore the books, and think that DIY liturgy is more meaningful?  Why do we jam all sorts that is not proper to the celebration of the mass into the Sunday liturgy?  If we just did what the liturgical books prescribe, we might immediately up the bar and raise the quality of our service.

Follow Russell Pollitt SJ on twitter @rpollittsj

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