Liturgy Corner

The purpose of the Liturgy Corner is to provide education to parishioners about liturgy in brief and easy-to-understand articles, while encouraging people to be critical and think more carefully about the issues surrounding the celebration of the liturgy. Liturgy Corner articles are primarily written by Father Paul Turner, pastor of St. Munchin Parish in Cameron, Missouri. Fr. Paul holds a doctorate in sacramental theology from Sant’ Anselmo University in Rome. Other articles will be written by numerous liturgists and priests from around the United States, and even some within the Diocese of Orlando.

El propósito de la Esquina Litúrgica es proporcionar educación a los feligreses sobre la liturgia en artículos breves y fáciles de entender, a la misma vez anima a la gente a ser críticos y pensar con más cuidado sobre los temas relacionados con la celebración de la liturgia. Los artículos de la Esquina Litúrgica están escritos por el Padre Paul Turner, pastor de la parroquia St. Munchin en Cameron, Missouri. El P. Paul tiene un doctorado en teología sacramental de la Universidad Sant 'Anselmo en Roma. Otros artículos serán escritos por numerosos liturgistas y sacerdotes de todo los Estados Unidos, e incluso algunos dentro de la Diócesis de Orlando.

Meaning of Alleluia

02-17-2019Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner, © Resource Publications, Inc.

The word alleluia, or hallelujah, is used to express praise, joy, or thanks. The word first appeared around the 14th century in Hebrew scripture. The word “Hallelujah” is the Greek form of the Hebrew. It is often used as “Praise ye Jehovah”. It begins or ends several psalms in the Greek scriptures.

In the context of a liturgy, we use “Alleluia” most often as our Gospel Acclamation before the proclamation of the Gospel. Alleluia is often sung in hymns and psalms as well.


Altar Servers

02-10-2019Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner, © 2004 Resource Publications, Inc.

Altar servers assist at Mass. They may carry the cross, candles, and incense in the procession (General Instruction of the Roman Missal 100). At the preparation of the gifts, they arrange the corporal, purificators, chalice, pall, and missal on the altar (139) and assist in receiving the offerings (140). They present the water to the priest or deacon (142), who adds some to the wine. Servers may incense the priest and the people (75). They wash the priest’s hands (145). They may ring a bell (150) and incense the Body and Blood of Christ during the elevations (179). They may exchange peace with other ministers (154). After communion they may remove the vessels (163). Servers have their own seats, and they show their reverence by their dress, by bowing and genuflecting when appropriate, and by singing and joining in the responses.



01-27-2019Liturgy CornerCopyright © 2001 Resource Publications, Inc.

At Mass, the reader proclaims the readings that precede the Gospel. A person does not need to be an ordained deacon or priest to serve as reader at Mass. The reader sometimes joins the entrance procession. If there is no deacon, the reader carries the Book of Gospels.

Readers exercise their ministry at the ambo. After the opening prayer, a reader moves to the ambo for the first reading. If there is no cantor, the reader may recite or sing the psalm. This responsorial comes from the Scriptures and may be considered a reading like the others. If there is a second reading, another reader may proclaim it. After the homily, if there is no deacon, the reader may announce the intercessions. The entire ministry of the reader takes place during the Liturgy of the Word.



01-20-2019Liturgy CornerCopyright © 2004 Resource Publications, Inc.

The priest is the minister who offers the sacrifice of the Mass in the person of Christ (General Instruction of the Roman Missal 93). He stands at the head of the assembly, “presides over their prayer, proclaims the message of salvation to them, associates the people with himself in the offering of sacrifice through Christ in the Holy Spirit to God the Father, gives his brothers and sisters the Bread of eternal life [and the cup of salvation], and partakes of it with them.”

Christ is the one high priest. When we celebrate Mass, we participate in his one sacrifice. The local priest in our churches leads the people in the person of Christ. In most parishes, the priest leads the people in many other ways, too. He guides their spiritual lives. He meets with them on parish business. He represents them to the broader community. At Mass, he presides over their prayer.


Baptismal Certificate

01-13-2019Liturgy CornerCopyright © 2002 Resource Publications, Inc.

After you were baptized, your name was inscribed in the baptism register of the Catholic parish where the event took place. Your entry also includes the names of the minister, your parents (if you were a child when baptized), your godparents, the place and date of your baptism and the place and date of your birth. You or your family probably received a record of that entry in a document commonly called a baptismal certificate. The certificate is your copy of the official record held at your parish of baptism.


Epiphany Chalk

01-06-2019Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner, © 2001 Resource Publications, Inc.

Some Christians bless their homes on Epiphany each year. With chalk, they write an inscription on the inside lintel above the door. The series of numbers, letters and crosses changes only slightly from year to year. For example, at the start of the year 2019, the line will read as follows: 20+C+M+B+19.

The four digits designating the new year appear at the beginning and end of the line. In 2019, for example, the last number changes to a 9. Because Epiphany comes so near the beginning of the new year, the numbers represent an annual renewal of God’s blessing. The letters have two meanings. They are the initials of the traditional names of the magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. They also abbreviate the Latin words “Christus mansionem benedicat.” “May Christ bless this house.” The letters recall the day on which the inscription is made, as well as the purpose of blessing.


January 1

12-30-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner, © 2001 Resource Publications, Inc.

January 1 is New Year’s Day to most of the world, but in the Catholic Church it is also the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. This is a relatively new title for the day. Older Catholics will remember that we used to call January 1 the Feast of the Circumcision.

Circumcision may not seem like much to have a feast about. But the day commemorated an event in the life of Jesus, just as we have days for his conception, birth, presentation in the temple, baptism, transfiguration, death, and resurrection. Luke specifically mentions the circumcision of Jesus (2:21). It took place, according to the custom, on the eighth day after his birth. That is why the feast commemorating the event fell on the eighth day of Christmas. It just happened to be New Year’s Day. The same passage from Luke says Jesus then received his name. That is why the old calendar celebrated the Most Holy Name of Jesus on the Sunday between the feasts of the Circumcision and the Epiphany. (If no Sunday intervened, the feast occurred on January 2.)


Fourth Sunday of Advent

12-23-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner, © Resource Publications, Inc.

Number of Candles: The Advent Wreath traditionally holds four candles which are lit, one at a time, on each of the four Sundays of the Advent season. Each candle represents 1,000 years. Added together, the four candles symbolize the 4,000 years that humanity waited for the world’s Savior—from Adam and Eve to Jesus, whose birth was foretold in the Old Testament. Some Advent wreath traditions also include a fifth white “Christ” candle, symbolizing purity, that is lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Many circular wreaths can incorporate a white candle by adding a pillar candle to the wreath center.

The 4th Sunday of Advent symbolizes Peace with the “Angel’s Candle” reminding us of the message of the angels: “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men.”

Prayer for the fourth week of Advent: God of our longing, be with us during these final days of Advent. May we walk in the light of Your love as we await the coming of Jesus, Your Son, the One Who is and Who is to come, in Your name we pray. Amen.


Gaudete Sunday

12-16-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner, © Resource Publications, Inc.

The Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday. The term Gaudete refers to the first word of the Entrance Antiphon, "Rejoice". Rose vestments are worn to emphasize our joy that Christmas is near. On this day we celebrate that our waiting for the birth of Jesus on Christmas day is almost over. Rose is a liturgical color that is used to signify joy, so we light the single pink candle on the third Sunday of Advent. The 3rd Sunday of Advent symbolizes Joy with the “Shepherd’s Candle” reminding us of the Joy the world experienced at the coming birth of Jesus.

December 17 marks the beginning of the O Antiphons, the seven jewels of our liturgy, dating back to the fourth century, one for each day until Christmas Eve. These antiphons address Christ with seven magnificent Messianic titles, based on the Old Testament prophecies and types of Christ. The Church recalls the variety of the ills of man before the coming of the Redeemer.
Prayer for the third week of Advent: “Incline your ear to our prayers, O Lord, and make bright the darkness of our minds by the grace of your visitation. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.”