For a couple of them, the Easter Vigil was their first time in the church building. Their tenacity and the call of Christ to baptism overcame even the uncertain times of the pandemic, to bring them to the Eucharistic table on the night of the resurrection.
One wrote of the experience that at the moment of her baptism, she could “feel the pain, darkness, sin, any shame be washed away in the waters of baptism” As she was baptized, confirmed and received Eucharist – her life was transformed. Theologically, she received the indelible mark of Christ on her soul. Ontologically, her soul was introduced to Christ in a new, profound way by the Rites of Christian Initation which is a series of Liturgical celebrations over the course of a year or more, punctuated by periods of catechesis and spiritual formation.
No doubt, this is a testament to the action of God working in her life, in and through a very dedicated, faith filled team, as well as strong liturgies of welcome, the scrutinies, and praying for them by all of you who are members of Christ’s Body of the Church of St. Monica. The work of the Spirit acts in and through you – the Body.
Another of the neophytes shared that as the musicians lead us in chanting the ancient litany of the saints, she entered into it – felt like she “mattered”, and the she was “standing on the shoulders of giants” as she prepared to step towards the font, and have water poured over her in the name of the trinity.
Sin, darkness and shame washed away. The Litany of the Saints – standing and being held up on the shoulders of the giants – the saints of all ages.
We are them. THEY are us. Just as they were freed from sin and stand on big shoulders—so to does the community, walk with them during Lent, preparing OUR hearts, to renew baptismal promises, experience the new, clean, fresh feeling of the newly baptized, and reminded that the saints journey with us.
Should you have a friend searching or should you want to journey with someone to the waters of baptism and see for yourself the conversion journey by serving as a sponsor, we encourage you to contact Suzette at or call (310) 566- 1541. Every year, people begin this journey and they need a companion,one of you, to share the gift of faith and how God and Christ speaks to you.
God bless your continued Easter Season – we have several more weeks to go, and our Mystagogia will continue to break open what we celebrated at Easter.
-Dale Sieverding, Director of Worship
Take some time with this tried and true way to reflect on Words of Sacred Scripture
Read Meditate Pray Contemplate
Lectio Divina is a prayerful reflection on a Scripture passage from any part of the Bible. Our process proposes reflecting on the Gospel of this coming Sunday, in order to prepare your mind, heart and soul to hear Christ speaking to you in the Liturgical proclamation of Scripture by Lector, Psalmist, Priest.
This week for Lectio Divina, we hear another of the resurrection appearances of Jesus from Luke. He appears to the gathered disciple community after the walk with Cleopas to Emmaus. How has Christ appeared to you this week? How would you know?
What did they experience?
Nothing they could understand:
entry through a closed door
greetings of peace from a dead man
What did you ask?
Why are you troubled
Why does your heart falter
What did they see?
Nothing they could trust:
or flesh and bones?
What did you say?
Touch these hands and feet
Is there anything to eat?
any time of the year
I feel the grief of Good Friday,
the absence of Holy Saturday,
the confusion of early Easter Sunday
the terror of your unexpected appearance, your shocking presence
Help me see you: alive, vibrant, restored, returned, sure, reassuring
Help me hear you: that suffering precedes resurrection, that it was needed
Help me come near you: through repentance, releasing my untoward ways
Help me know you: in the breaking of bread
So I may witness
Learning to Pray: A Guide for Everyone by Rev James Martin, SJ: A how to book on prayer. How to get started, how to spend time with God, how to listen to God's voice. Fr. Martin uses his articulate writing style and incisive sense of the human person to help everyone learn how to pray. It is available on Amazon or on Audible.
Let us Dream: The Path to a Better Future, a book of reflections recently published by Pope Francis. This is a way to see the path through the pandemic, and how to grow from this journey. In three short chapters, A Time to See, A time to Choose, A time to Act, the Holy Father reflects and challenges us to think about how this pandemic crisis will change us. This is the book you have heard our priests mention the past few weeks in their homilies, and we recommend it as a good read. Available on Amazon or at Holy Grounds.
New American Bible, Revised Edition This translation of the Bible is used at the Liturgy.
It would be good investment in your faith development. Use it when your family or household reads the Bible together, and also for for your own study.
Available on Amazon in paperback, hardcover and leather bound editions.
The Word on Fire Bible: The Gospels: This edition of the Bible is being published in several volumes by the Bishop Robert Barron’s organization, The Word On Fire. The Translation is the Revised Standard Version – Catholic edition. The volume with the Four Gospels is the first to be published. It includes artwork illustrating Scriptural stories in all mediums: painting, stained glass, manuscript illuminations and more. It includes easy-to-read background stories of the Gospels and Jesus’ life, and is a unique entry into understanding more deeply the person and story of Jesus as told by the four evangelists.
Available through Amazon or directly from www.wordonfire.org
The Confessions of St. Augustine – I would be remiss if I didn’t offer you for your reading enjoyment, or re-reading if you’ve already read, the Confessions. St. Augustine’s self-indulgent Spiritual Auto-biography, which has inspired Christians who desire a deeper relationship with Christ to read and study the Confessions. This could be your next pandemic project!
Looking at monastic insights we might gain and learn from as a result of pandemic isolation:
What is Lectio Divina? - A Short video by Fr. James Martin, SJ
A resource put together as a gift to our Church for moments of prayer toward the end of life, especially useful for us as we accompany a loved one who may be in hospice, or near death when a priest cannot come to celebrate the Anointing of the sick.
This resource was prepared and sent to us for use by The Liturgical Press. It was prepared for use during this pandemic for times when a priest cannot come for anointing of the sick, or at the time of death, if a funeral is not able to be celebrated. I have sent it to a number of families, friends and neighbors upon hearing of illness or death, and it has been well received and offers a variety of prayer and home liturgy options for families and groups of friends. Check it out, share it if you know of a family or friend who could use it.
Sharing the Word of God at Home is a resource offered to give families ideas for reading the Bible together, listening to God’s Word at home in a family, household, or single person at home setting.
A Mother’s Reflection on Liturgy: Word, Sign, Symbol, Ritual was written a few years back, but is a great short two-page reflection on sharing the liturgy with young families and understanding the pieces of the liturgy.