Liturgical Tips

The Communal Character of the Liturgy

Liturgical services are not private functions, but are celebrations of the Church, which is the "sacrament of unity," namely, the holy people united and ordered under their bishops (St. Cyprian, On the Unity of the Catholic Church, 7; cf. Letter 66, n. 8, 3).

Therefore, liturgical services pertain to the whole body of the Church; they manifest it and have effects upon it; but they concern the individual members of the Church in djfferent ways, according to their differing rank, office, and actual participation.

It is to be stressed that whenever rites, according to their specific nature, make provision for communal celebration involving the presence and active participation of the faithful, this way of celebrating them is to be preferred, so far as possible, to a celebration that is individual and quasi-private.

This applies with especial force to the celebration of Mass and the administration of the sacraments, even though every Mass has of itself a public and social nature.

-Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium # 26-27

Educational: Saint Margaret of Hungry, O.P. (1242-1271)

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Margaret was born in 1242, the daughter of Bela IV, King of Hungary, and Maria Lascaris, daughter of the emperor of Constantinople. Before her birth her parents had vowed to dedicate their child to God if Hungary would be victorious over the invading Tartars. Their prayers were answered and so when four years old was placed in the Dominican monastery of Veszprim. At the age of twelve she moved to a new monastery built by her father near Buda and their made profession into the hands of Humbert of Romans. Margaret lived a life totally dedicated to Christ crucified and inspired her sisters by her asceticism, her works of mercy, her pursuit of peace, and her humble service. She had a special love for the Eucharist and the Passion of Christ and showed a special devotion to the Holy Spirit and Our Lady.

-taken from the 'Supplement to the Liturgty of the Hours for the Order of Preachers'

Liturgical Tips

The Place of Sacred Scripture in the Liturgy of the Church

Sacred scripture is of the greatest importance in the celebration of the liturgy. For it is from scripture that lessons are read and explained in the homily, and psalms are sung; the prayers, collects, and liturgical songs are scriptural in their inspiration and their force, and it is from the scriptures that actions and signs derive their meaning. Thus to achieve the restoration, progress, and adaptation of the sacred liturgy, it is essential to promote that warm and living love for scripture to which the venerable tradition of both eastern and western rites gives testimony.

-Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium # 24

Religious' Corner

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This past week I had the pleasure of visiting St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, my former home parish in McComb, Mississippi. I arrived there a few minutes before mass began, and I saw the most wonderful thing. A young, African-American girl in the front pew got up and ran across the church into the welcoming, warm arms of a young Caucasian woman and her family. Since then
I have been asking myself, why has this encounter been so moving for me? On one hand, this interaction came as no surprise for St. Alphonsus has always been on the forefront of advocacy for racial and socio-economic equality. On the other hand, what inspired me most was how a new encounter could lead the way for a new history. 

Community life, the second pillar of the Dominican char.ism, requires both a knowledge and appreciation of one's history and openness to new encounters which make way for a new history. Our Dominican church family's history is something that we are proud of here at Holy Rosary. At the same time, this history can only be honored if we work to enhance our traditions and customs by seeking new encounters with the Lord and one another. We must worship together in the present without forgetting the wisdom of our past customs. We also must remember our past without being paralyzed by "how things were done before".

The Holy Spirit invites you and I as members of this Dominican church family to get up from our pews and nm towards a new encounter within our community. These next few weeks we will be exploring what allows or blocks these new encounters from happening. In the meantime, I invite you to pray for the grace to get up from your pews and walk towards a new encounter, a new history.

-br. James Martin Nobles, O.P.

Liturgical Tips

The Promotion of Liturgical Instruction and Active Participation

Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people" (1 Pet. 2:9; cf. 2:4-5), is their right and duty by reason of their baptism.

In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit; and therefore pastors of souls must zealously strive to achieve it, by means of the necessary instruction, in all their pastoral work.

-Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium # 14

Religious' Corner

Our Dominican Church Family A Family of the Word

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"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). To know the scriptures is to know Jesus Christ and to know Jesus Christ is to know the Father (John 14:6). Pope Francis during a Sunday Angelus in 2014 tells us: "A Bible for every family! .. . Not to place it on a shelf, but to keep it at hand, to read it often, every day, both individually and together, husband and wife, parents and children, maybe in the evening, especially on Sundays. This way the family grows, walks, with the light and power of the Word of God!" How true of a statement both for our individual families and for our Dominican church family.

One of the greatest assurances that we have as a Dominican church family is that we are not alone! For, we have the Spirit's inspired and inerrant scriptures to help us along on our journey together towards God. When the scriptures become a part of our lives, we are able to recognize the Bible's stories as our stories. We empathize and relate better to our brothers, Peter and Paul, to our aunts, Martha and Ruth, and to our mother, Mary. These biblical relationships are at the core of our faith. This new year, 2018, can be a year of tremendous growth if you and I invest in these relationships. For some, maybe God is calling you to read and reflect upon Sunday's readings before you come to mass. For others, maybe the Spirit wants you to engage in silent meditation through Lectio Divina. No matter where you find yourself in your faith journey, know that the Word and your Dominican church family want to become a part of your life.

-br. James Martin Nobles, O.P.

Liturgical Tips

The Nature of the Sacred Liturgy and Its Importance in the Church's Life - Part 7

Popular devotions of the Christian people are to be highly commended, provided they accord with the laws and norms of the Church, above all when they are ordered by the Apostolic See.

Devotions proper to individual Churches also have a special dignity if they are undertaken by mandate of the bishops according to customs or books lawfully approved.

But these devotions should be so drawn up that they harmonize with the liturgical seasons, accord with the sacred liturgy, are in some fashion derived from it, and lead the people to it, since, in fact, the liturgy by its very nature far surpasses any of them.

-Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium # 13

Religious' Corner

Our Dominican Church Family - A Parish Family that Prays for One Another

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Praying for others, both the living and the dead, is one of our privileged rights and responsibilities as Catholic Christians. Intercessory prayer in the Dominican tradition guides many-if not most-of our prayers here at Holy Rosary. Our celebration of the Holy Mass, our daily recitation of the rosary, our lighting of the candles at the Altars' of Mary and St. Joseph are just a few ways that we pray for one another. We pray not only as a local community but also as a Dominican church family united with all our great Dominican saints represented in our beautiful stained glass.

We gather again this Christmas as a Dominican church family believing in the power of intercessory prayer and in the meaning of the birth of Jesus Christ. We have certainly been through a whirlwind of a year! In just a few months, we have gone from enduring a devastating hurricane to celebrating with joy becoming a "Champions City" 
(Go Astros!). Our homeless rate continues to drop, but our tent city on the comer of Milam and Alabama seems to be growing. As we celebrate with joy birth of our Lord, my prayer is that you and I continue to remember those who need our prayers the most this Christmas season: the poor, the mourning, and the suffering. Yes, praying for others may be the responsibility for
Catholic Christians, but the gifts of grace that we receive only increase our capacity to love one another and truly be a Dominican church family.

-br. James Martin Nobles, 0.P.