Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter - Allelluia! Christ is Risen!

"Christ is Risen!"
"Truly, He is Risen!"

Easter Masses
7:00 a.m. (Worship space)
9:00 a.m. (Worship space)
9:05 a.m. (Gym)
11:00 a.m. (Worship space)
11:05 a.m. (Gym)
12:45 p.m. (Worship space)
2:30 p.m. (Spanish)
5:00 p.m. (Worship space)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday schedule:
8:30 a.m. Morning prayer

2:00 p.m. Blessing of Easter Food

4:00-6:00 p.m. Confession
9:00 p.m. Easter Vigil Mass


Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday

Good Friday at Blessed Sacrament
  "Through his suffering my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear." (Isaiah 53:11)

8:30 a.m. Morning prayer
12:00 Noon Midday prayer
3:00 p.m. Celebration of the Lord's Passion
(Liturgy of the Word, Veneration of the Cross, Holy Communion)
5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. Confession
7:00 p.m. Tenebrae (Candlelight readings, psalms and evening prayer) (Gym)

Today is also the special Holy Land Good Friday Collection to help Christians living in the Holy Land.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday
Today we physically hold palm branches in our hands at Mass.  It is Palm Sunday.
Looking through the branches in the crowd at Mass we are there in Jerusalem, watching as Jesus enters the city. He is known for healing the blind and lame, curing those with leprosy, forgiving sins, casting out unclean spirits, calming the stormy waters, multiplying the loaves and fishes, and raising the dead to life. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, he has taught us to love others, even our enemies, with mercy and generosity.  He is God's only Son and the promised Savior sent to redeem us from sin and death. No wonder we welcome him with awe and praise! “Hosanna!”
We walk with Jesus today through the story of his betrayal, surrounded by disciples who fall asleep during his agony in the garden, and then abandon him at his arrest and crucifixion. Yet, Jesus still loves them and shows his love even to the extent of dying on the cross.
In this Year of Faith, may we take time and find ways to speak about our faith with others.
As Pope Francis said in his homily for Palm Sunday, “It is good to follow Jesus, it is good to go with Jesus, the message of Jesus is good, it is good to come out of ourselves, from the edges of existence of the world and to bring Jesus to others!"
When people ask us how our weekend was, may we have the courage to tell others we went to Mass for Palm Sunday, and heard the story of Jesus’ passion and death at the beginning of this Holy Week. May we take time to ask people “What faith do you practice?” and open the door for a spiritual conversation where we can share the story of Jesus.
May we have the courage and the charity to share our faith with even one other person this week and even talk about these days of Holy Week and share what Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter are all about.
By speaking about our faith with others, as well as living out our faith, let us be known as people of faith!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Adult Confirmation: Be Sealed With the Gift of the Holy Spirit!

Isn’t confirmation just for 8th graders? If you missed it back then is it too late to still be confirmed? Why would you want (or more accurately NEED) to be confirmed?

Confirmation is for ALL baptized Catholics! It is never too late to receive this powerful sacrament. It is not necessary as an indispensable means of salvation, but it is obligatory for all those who are able to understand and fulfill the Commandments of God and of the Church.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the sacrament of Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace. Specifically:
It roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, "Abba! Father!";
It unites us more firmly to Christ;
It increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us (wisdom, knowledge, counsel, understanding, piety, fortitude, fear of the Lord);
It renders our bond with the Church more perfect;
It gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross. (CCC 1303)

The roots of this ancient sacrament can even be found in Sacred Scripture. We read in the Acts of the Apostles (8:14-17) that after the Samaritan converts had been baptized by Philip the deacon, the Apostles "sent unto them Peter and John, who, when they were come, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost for he was not yet come upon any of them, but they were only baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus; then they laid their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Ghost."

So that’s the “technicalities,” but what this sacrament really is is a love story that can lead you on an incredible journey. You see the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, but also known as the love between the Father and the Son. This is the type of love that absolutely captivates, envelops, embraces, and consumes. This is the love that will transform your life if you let it. If you can even begin to perceive and experience the love that God has for you, you will never be the same.

The Holy Spirit is also the spouse of the Blessed Mother. She joined her will to God’s and consented to the Holy Spirit to come upon her and this obedience produced the greatest fruit of all...Jesus Christ himself. The fruits of the Holy Spirit you can enjoy include Charity, Chastity, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Generosity, Goodness, Joy, Kindness, Modesty, Patience, Peace, and Self-Control. These are the fruits that will enable you to be a better spouse, parent, sibling, daughter, son, friend, and human being.
If you choose to receive these gifts of the Spirit you may find yourself yearning to spread and teach the faith as a catechist, serve in various ministries of charity, pray more deeply and peacefully, listen more intently, judge less, offer mercy and compassion, be less self-absorbed and more concerned with the needs of others, live your life selflessly and with more purpose knowing where you came from, why you are here, and what your ultimate destiny is.

If you were confirmed as an adolescent but didn’t appreciate the gifts with which you were empowered, it is never too late to open and use them! A gift left wrapped and in a dark closet is of no use to anyone.

Classes for adult confirmation will be held April.  Contact Susan Doyle in the parish office for more information.
For more information on confirmation visit the Catechism of the Catholic Church or the Catholic Encyclopedia.
You can also pray the Novena to the Holy Spirit.
For further reading on the Holy Spirit try The Sanctifier: The Classic Work on the Holy Spirit by Luis Martinez.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Habemus Papam: First Words of Pope Francis!

Catholic News Service article on Pope Francis.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina is our 266th Roman Catholic pontiff.
Text from Vatican Radio:
Brothers and sisters good evening.

You all know that the duty of the Conclave was to give a bishop to Rome. It seems that my brother Cardinals have gone almost to the ends of the earth to get him… but here we are. I thank you for the welcome that has come from the diocesan community of Rome.

First of all I would like to say a prayer pray for our Bishop Emeritus Benedict XVI. Let us all pray together for him, that the Lord will bless him and that our Lady will protect him.

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory to the Father…

And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and the people, this journey of the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood. My hope is that this journey of the Church that we begin today, together with the help of my Cardinal Vicar, may be fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city.

And now I would like to give the blessing. But first I want to ask you a favour. Before the Bishop blesses the people I ask that you would pray to the Lord to bless me – the prayer of the people for their Bishop. Let us say this prayer – your prayer for me – in silence.

[The Protodeacon announced that all those who received the blessing, either in person or by radio, television or by the new means of communication receive the plenary indulgence in the form established by the Church. He prayed that Almighty God protect and guard the Pope so that he may lead the Church for many years to come, and that he would grant peace to the Church throughout the world.]

[Immediately afterwards Pope Francis gave his first blessing Urbi et Orbi – To the City and to the World.]

I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will.

Brothers and sisters, I am leaving you. Thank you for your welcome. Pray for me and I will be with you again soon... We will see one another soon.

Tomorrow I want to go to pray to the Madonna, that she may protect Rome.

Good night and sleep well!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Traditions and history behind the conclave

Photo credit: 
Anytime a conclave takes place, the entire world it seems is focused on Vatican City and the small chimney above the Sistine Chapel where the cardinals are gathered in complete secrecy discerning the will of the Holy Spirit and electing our next Holy Father.

The Catholic Church is awash in tradition and a conclave is certainly no exception. The handwritten ballots from each cardinal are burned in a special furnace after each vote - when a new pope is chosen, white smoke emerges from the chimney and when there is no decision, black smoke appears.  The tradition of letting the world know what is happening inside the conclave with smoke signals is a relatively new one in Church history.  A brief and interesting history can be found at the St. Michael Society blog here:

And what about the actual politicking, so to speak, of choosing a new pope. Do the cardinals have heated debates inside the conclave? Not really. The atmosphere is truly one of prayer and contemplation as the cardinals open their hearts and mind to the will of the Holy Spirit. After the first ballot is taken and the results come in, the cardinals can get a feel for which candidates have the higher vote totals and proceed from there. However, a certain amount of campaigning can take place during the dinners and lunches during breaks in the conclave. This article from John Thavis, a Catholic journalist, answers some of these questions in more detail:

And lastly, we need to pray for the cardinals as they choose our next Holy Father. It is an enormous responsibility. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York who is experiencing his very first conclave, wrote early this morning on his blog asking for prayers: “…ask the Lord to send His grace and His mercy upon His Holy Church, and upon us cardinals who have the frightening task of electing a new Bishop of Rome!”

Come Holy Spirit and watch for the white smoke!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Conclave to Elect New Pope Begins Tuesday, March 12

When the Cardinal enters the Conclave to begin to elect the new pope on Tuesday,  March 12, the Cardinals will follow a regular schedule.
They will live in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, not far from the Sistine Chapel where the Cardinals will vote for the new pope beginning on Tuesday afternoon.
The Arlington Diocese website has a page dedicated to the Conclave with many helpful resources including links to Catholic news websites.  The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website has a page called "Inside the Conclave" with a full-color graphic on the different elements of the Conclave.

If you use Facebook, you may want to "like" the Facebook pages for Vatican Radio or Vatican News to receive regular updates.  You can also follow Vatican News on Twitter.
Let us pray for all of the Cardinals and the whole Church as we look forward to the election of our new Holy Father.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Lent and Sequestration

©CreationSwap/Jeremiah Bauer
We’ve been hearing a lot about sequestering this Lent. Of course we are faced with a budget sequestration forcing sizable and somewhat painful fiscal cutbacks because different authoritative groups can not decide how to use our precious resources. Additionally, the College of Cardinals will be sequestered shortly in Rome to choose a new Pope as Pope Benedict XVI surprisingly announced his retirement on February 11. So what does sequestration have to do with Lent? Let’s take a look at some synonyms for sequester: aloneness, insulation, seclusion, segregation, isolation, solitude, separateness, privacy. Seems sequestration may have a lot to do with Lent.

Originally it was a legal term referring to the act of valuable property being taken into custody and locked away for safekeeping, usually to prevent the property from being disposed of or abused before a dispute over its ownership can be resolved or a debt can be paid.

In chemistry it is the inhibition or prevention of normal ion behavior by combination with added materials. Think of the refiner’s fire. “For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' lye. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord.” (Malachi 3:2)

This Lent God is seeking to take each one of us into a special place for safekeeping, pruning, and purifying so we can then be sent back out stronger and more viable than ever so we do not waste our precious gifts and talents he has bestowed upon each one of us in order to serve Him and one another; gifts that so many elements of the world seek to pilfer, splurge, squander, or exploit. Where will you allow God to sequester you? Under the safekeeping of his beautiful Mother’s mantle of humility? In his sacred, precious wounds? At the solemn yet powerful foot of the cross? In the dark and quiet garden of Gethsemane with the weary Peter, James, and John? Or will he take you out on the deep rough waters with the apostles or leave you in the belly of a whale with Jonah or the lion’s den with Daniel and Gabriel? Wherever you go, you can go with the saints who have been there before, and of course the angelic powers will always be with you.

Every Lent doesn’t always have to be a desert, but you are called to allow a little extra time for God to work in your life. Your personal lenten sequester will not produce a new Pope, but it will produce powerful fruits, especially if you allow the Holy Spirit to work as the Cardinals do. As Christians, God has already claimed ownership over us and has sent his Son to pay the debt for our sins, but he will not hold us captives against our will. We must cooperate with his graces to reap the true reward. Just remember that no matter how secluded the sequester or deep the cuts, he will never ever leave us alone. We are loved forever and always. Just let go and trust.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Blessed Sacrament School 2013 Gala and Auction: Caribbean Calypso

The Blessed Sarcrament School gym was transformed into a Caribbean Calypso celebration for the school's annual Gala and Auction held 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 2, 2013.  This event, which involves months of planning by a team of committeed volunteers, is the largest fundraiser for the school and helps to purchase educational materials, replace outdated equipment, enhance facilities and maintain competitive salaries to attract and retain highly qualified teachers.
Participants selected from a huge amount of items available for both the silent and live auction. 

Congratulations to all who helped to make this year's Gala and Auction a great success! Contributions can be made to the school's BSS Annual Fund.