St. Francis of Assisi Weekly Reflections

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.

Why do we Renew our Baptismal Promises?

04-21-2019Liturgy CornerMarlon De La Torre, MA, MEd. and Stephen Beale

Baptism is a crucially important sacrament. It’s the only sacrament mentioned explicitly in the Nicene Creed. Christ’s specially appointed forerunner was John the Baptist. And the first thing Christ did in His public ministry was to get baptized. Our human identity is intimately linked to the sacrament of Baptism. This may come as a surprise to some but the reality of our existence is intertwined to this first sacrament of initiation because it provides us with a rebirth as sons and daughters of God. The solemn significance of baptism is underscored by the fact that it can only be done once and is irreversible. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it, “Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation. Given once for all, baptism cannot be repeated.”


The Meaning of "Hosanna"

04-14-2019Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner, © Resource Publications, Inc.

In today’s Palm Sunday Liturgy, we start with the Opening Antiphon of “Hosanna to the Son of David…”. Also, in every Liturgy of the Eucharist, we say or sing “Hosanna in the highest…” during the Holy, Holy in the Eucharistic Prayer. Even though we say it every week or every day, do we know what it means? The word’s origin comes from a Hebrew phrase for an exclamation of praise, especially for Jewish festivals, such as Passover.

The word Christians use today is the Greeks’ creation. They used Greek letters to create the pronunciation of a Hebrew phrase: hoshiya na, meaning, “Save, please!” The word “hosanna” came in liturgical usage to serve as an expression of joy and praise for deliverance granted or anticipated. When Jesus came to Jerusalem for his final presentation of himself to Israel, the expression came readily to the lips of the Passover crowds.



03-10-2019Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner, © 2002 Resource Publications, Inc.

Lent is the season that prepares us to celebrate Easter. The main reason Lent is important is that Easter is our most important feast. On Easter we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, whose passage beyond death into life offers redemption to believers. The resurrection is the cornerstone of Christian faith. The mystery of Christ’s rising from the dead is so deep that the church invites us to six weeks of preparation before we fully celebrate it. We call that period Lent.

For the faithful, Lent is a time of penitential practices and spiritual discipline. During this time we acknowledge our sins and seek God’s help to overcome them. Traditionally, we engage in acts of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Together these actions show our dependence on God, our renunciation of the fascinations of this world and our desire to better the lives of others.



02-24-2019Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2001 Resource Publications, Inc.

Every third year most of the Gospels at the Sunday Eucharist come from Luke. In Ordinary Time, we hear many passages about Jesus’ ministry in sequence. During Advent, Christmas and Lent we hear sections that accent the themes of those seasons.

Luke excelled in quantity and quality. As the writer also of Acts of the Apostles, he composed nearly a third of the New Testament. The most eloquent of all the evangelists, Luke includes in his Gospel the beautifully crafted stories of the Annunciation to Mary, the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son. Without his work, we would have no knowledge of those stories.


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.