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.

Wedding Anniversaries

05-27-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2000 Resource Publications, Inc.

On special anniversaries, a married couple may wish to celebrate their union with a blessing at church. Although many parishes organize a "renewal of vows," the liturgy of the church has always avoided precisely that ceremony. Instead, the church offers texts for a Mass on the occasion of the anniversary and a blessing of the couple.


Veni, Sancte Spiritus

05-20-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2002 Resource Publications, Inc.

On Pentecost we insert a hymn into the Scripture readings of the day. After the second reading and before the Gospel, we sing "Veni, Sancte Spiritus," or "Come, Holy Spirit, Come!" – the sequence for Pentecost Sunday. A sequence is a hymn added to the Liturgy of the Word on special days throughout the year. Sequences are optional, except for those on Easter and Pentecost.

"Veni, Sancte Spiritus" was probably composed by Stephen Langton (1228), the archbishop of Canterbury, although some think Pope Innocent III (1216) was the author. Stephen Langton is also responsible for dividing the books of the Bible into the chapters we mostly observe today.


Communion Twice

05-13-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2001 Resource Publications, Inc.

Catholics share communion at Mass no more than once a day. But there are exceptions. The Catholic faithful gather once a week and share communion at the Sunday Eucharist. Some come to weekday Masses in addition. Ordinarily, we participate in no more than one Mass a day. The custom of communion only once a day restrains abuses by those who might spend their day going from Mass to Mass and communion to communion. To share communion devoutly requires good preparation. The benefits of a good communion do not quickly disappear.


Ascension on a Sunday

05-06-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2001 Resource Publications, Inc.

The Ascension of Christ, which traditionally falls on a Thursday, may be celebrated on a Sunday in certain parts of the world. The Ascension originated as a Thursday celebration because of the story of the even from the opening of the Acts of the Apostles. There, Luke says that Jesus rose from the dead, appeared to believers for 40 days then ascended to the heavens. Even though the accounts of the ascension in the Gospels suggest it took place after a shorter period of time, the liturgy of the church has honored the chronology from Acts by celebrating the Ascension on Thursday of the sixth week of Easter.


First Communion Dress

04-29-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2002 Resource Publications, Inc.

Girls sharing communion for the first time traditionally wear a white dress and veil. But the tradition is fairly recent, and the garment is not required. The origins of this custom are not clear. References to white first communion dresses appear in the 18th century. At that time children shared communion for the first time around age 10 to 12 or even older. Several interpretations of the dress emerged: It was the dress of angels who worshiped at God's throne. It imitated the garb of those serving in a royal court. It recalled the baptismal garment. And, of course, it resembles a wedding dress.


Eucharistic Prayer Choice

04-22-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2004 Resource Publications, Inc.

The Eucharistic prayers used at Mass are in four categories. The first group, simply numbered one through four, contains the principal prayers for Mass throughout the liturgical year. A second group is used for Masses of reconciliation. The two prayers of this group were originally composed for the holy year 1975 when Paul VI was pope, but they have been approved for general use, especially in penitential seasons and days when the Scriptures invited us to reconcile.


Praying the Eucharistic Prayer

04-15-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2003 Resource Publications, Inc.

The Eucharistic prayer is the most important part of the Mass. It is also the demanding part. The Second Vatican Council invited the full, conscious, active participation of the people at Mass. During the Eucharistic prayer, the priest has almost all the words, but the assembly is not passive. Even here –especially here – in silence and acclamation, we offer full, conscious, active participation.


Baptismal Certificate

04-08-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 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.



04-01-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2005 Resource Publications, Inc.

Baptism in the Catholic Church may be administered either by immersion or pouring. The two options are always listed in that order, indicating a preference for baptism by immersion, even though pouring is more commonly practiced.



03-25-2018Liturgy CornerFr. Paul Turner © 2005 Resource Publications, Inc. (edited by Jonathan Branton)

The Catholic faithful use palm branches at Mass on Palm Sunday and bring them home for devotional purposes. “Palm Sunday” is the popular name for the Sunday before Easter, though its full title is “Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion.” Two Gospel passages are proclaimed at Mass that day: One tells of people waving branches or spreading cloaks to welcome Jesus in triumph to Jerusalem, and the other tells of his Passion and death.



03-04-2018Liturgy Corner

An indulgence is the remission of punishment for a forgiven sin. If your child breaks a window at home and tells you, "I'm sorry," you may forgive the young offender, but you may still issue a punishment. In the Catholic Church the sacrament of reconciliation brings forgiveness of sins, which may still carry punishments. Indulgences relax the punishments.