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.

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.”



09-16-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2004 Resource Publications, Inc.

Mustum is a special grape juice that may be used for Mass under certain conditions. The juice is either fresh or preserved by methods that suspend its fermentation. Its nature has never been altered by freezing. Its contents have not been enhanced by preservatives or sweeteners. Mustum is not the same as grape juice commonly sold in grocery stores. Its production is carefully monitored and its distribution is comparatively small. It is obtained through some of the companies that produce altar wine.



09-09-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2001 Resource Publications, Inc.

An altarcito is a small altar that believers set up as a place for their personal prayer. This Hispanic custom is often observed in homes, but it may also be seen in schools, businesses or other locations. The actual altar might be a single shelf or a small table, usually set against a wall. Upon it are placed images of Jesus, Mary and the saints who have special significance to the household, such as Martin de Porres or a personal patron. Some families hand down such images from one generation to the next, so the articles represent the local family as well as the church's saints. Those who use this altar for prayer may also place a lighted candle there.



08-26-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2005 Resource Publications, Inc.

The cathedra is the chair at the cathedral where the bishop sits when he presides for worship. The word "cathedral" comes from the world "cathedra".

The cathedra is reserved seating. Only the diocesan bishop may sit there. If another bishop presides for worship, he sits elsewhere unless the diocesan bishop permits him to use the cathedra. Everyone else sits in other chairs. Whenever a priest presides for Mass at the cathedral, he sits in a different presider's chair and not the cathedra. If other bishops are present for a cathedral service at which the diocesan bishop presides, they sit in other chairs. No other seating should attract so much attention that people might confuse it with the cathedra.


The Pallium

08-12-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2005 Resource Publications, Inc.

The pallium is a special collar worn by metropolitan archbishops over the chasuble at Mass. This narrow white woolen band circles the neck and drops black-tipped pendants down the chest and back. The pallium is decorated with six black crosses and pierced with three decorative pins.


The Cinture

08-05-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2002 Resource Publications, Inc.

The cincture is a rope worn around the waist of a liturgical minister wearing an alb. (An alb is the long white vestment that covers the minster from neck to ankle.) The cincture functions like a belt. It is sometimes called a girdle, but because that word refers to another type of garment in English, it is rarely used. The cincture is not the same as the fascia, a wide belt worn over a cassock.



07-29-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2004 Resource Publications, Inc.

The alb is the fundamental vestment for any liturgical minister. It covers the body from neck to ankle like a light, close-fitting robe with sleeves. It is white. The vestment takes its name from the Latin word for this color.

When a priest or deacon vests for Mass, he wears an alb beneath his stole and chasuble or dalmatic. If the alb does not conceal his other clothing at the neck, he wears an amice beneath the alb. If the alb is too long, he ties a cincture around it, binding the vestment at his waist.



07-22-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2004 Resource Publications, Inc.

The amice is a liturgical garment that may be worn around the shoulders under the long white alb. It is a rectangular or oblong linen cloth worn lengthwise. Two strings or tapes dangle from adjacent corners of the top, where a cross is sewn in the middle.

Not only the priest but the deacon and even the servers may wear the amice, alb and cincture (the belt that holds the alb in place). While vesting before Mass, the minister traditionally kisses the amice at the cross and then places it around the back of the head at the neck. The two long strings are crossed around the waist in the front, in back, and then in front again, where they are secured with a knot. The word is related to the Latin word amictus, meaning “wrapped.”


Vestures for Ministers

07-15-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2000 Resource Publications, Inc.

The diversity of vestments shows the diversity of ministries. At almost any Eucharist the priest's attire differs from the server's. A deacon also wears vestments pertinent to his ministry. Readers rarely do. The assembly wears no liturgical vesture. Communion ministers in some communities wear something to distinguish their role; in other communities they do not. There is no universal rule governing this choice.


New Topics

07-01-2018Liturgy Corner

As the Liturgy Corner has just passed its first year in the bulletin, we would like to take this opportunity to ask parishioners if there are any burning questions that you have about Liturgy or liturgical items in the Church that have not been addressed. Have you had a question about the way we worship and never know what the answer was or why we do it? If so, you can send your questions to Jonathan Branton, Director of Music & Liturgy, by calling the Parish Office or by email at

If you wish to approach him while at Mass, please do so after Mass and have your question written down to give to him. All inquiries will be anonymous when published. As new topics for discussion come in, you will see them in the upcoming Liturgy Corner articles. Please feel free to submit as many questions as you wish.