Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments: November 2012 Archives

I love the Syriac tradition of liturgical theology. Often I find it a far more satisfying liturgical tradition than the Latin church craziness I face. It is Semitic, very biblical and rich in humanity. I recommend that you immerse yourself in the poetry of Saint Ephrem, deacon and Doctor of the Church.

The Maronite Church is one of whose heritage is West Syrian theologically; historically it's rooted in the mountains of Lebanon. Their Advent Season has already begun with what is called the Season of Announcements (follow this link for more info on the season). This past Sunday was the Announcement to Mary. This coming weekend the Maronites will celebrate the Visitation of Elizabeth.

Father Steven Bonian, SJ, writes frequently on the sacred Liturgy of the West Syrian Church, the Maronites. See how he connects the Creator, creation and the Liturgy; the image of the Garden is key here for us Christians who are seeking salvation, that is, to dwell again in the Garden of Eden. 

Father Bonian said about the Sunday of Mary's Announcement:

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Today, the Letter of Saint Paul to the Galatians (3:15-22), reminds us of how the promise made to Abraham is now being fulfilled through those who believe; those who live by the Law and the Torah of the heart through righteousness. To such as these --like Mary-- is the gift of God and his promise handed down through his angels. The Gospel of Luke makes it clear that Mary is the righteous one who has gained the favor of God, and thus, inherited this Gift (Christ) and the Promise (Salvation).

In the Gospel-Icon of Mary and the Angel drawn for us by Saint Luke, and framed for us in this Sunday's prayers --in the context of the relationship of the creator with his creation --the mountains, the earth, the sea, and the waves are rejoicing in God's Word! Mary herself has become the New Earth (as Saint Ephrem would teach us) and true representative for all of God's creation. The Son of God comes to dwell in her, and through her God has returned to live --as in Paradise-- in the midst of his creation. Now in Mary, the new covenant, and God's plan of salvation is being fulfilled. She has become the Cloud, the Pure Womb, the Fountain of Life and Blessings!
zielinski-sisinono.jpgThe Pope appointed Benedictine Abbot Christopher Michael John Zielinski to the be the Head of the Office (office manager) of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on Saturday, 24 November 2012. He is the number 3 person in the Congregation serving with Antonio Cardinal CaƱizares, Archbishop Arthur Roche and Father Anthony Ward, SM.

Dom Michael, 59, a native of Lakewood, Ohio, is a monk of the Olivetan Congregation of Benedictines having professed monastic vows in 1972, who studied at Sant'Anselmo and ordained in 1977. Dom Michael is a past religious superior of the Abbey of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Pecos, NM). Until now and since 8 May 2008, he's been the vice president of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church and the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archeology.

He is also a consultor to the same Congregation. 

Dom Michael gave an interview that covered his thinking on the Tridentine Mass in 2007.

Saint Benedict, pray for us.
Saint Bernard Tolomei, pray for Abbot Michael in his new work for the Church.
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Being really Catholic opens one's point of view to a great richness of the entire Church, East and West; being Catholic as John Paul II reminded us, is to breath with both lungs to invigorate the whole body. Most often Latin Catholics are too skeptical, too closed-minded to look beyond their parochial understanding of God and Church.

Each Sunday Jesuit Father Steve Bonian, a Maronite Catholic American priest reflects on the liturgical theology of his church. If you done a little reading in the liturgical history of the Church you will recall with joy that the Maronites have an incredibly rich liturgical tradition that ought to be appreciated more. For one thing the Maronite Liturgy is wonderfully Semitic in its pattern of prayer.

The Maronite Church, the majority of Catholics from Lebanon, celebrated yesterday the Sunday of the Consecration of the Church. The Roman Church does not have an equivalent liturgical observance, unless you make a connection with the Christ the King Sunday, the final Sunday of the Roman Church's year.  The Maronite liturgical theology for the Sunday of the Consecration of the Church you note that "the Bride-Church re-consecrates herself and her children, the faithful, to Christ."

Father Bonian writes,


The letter to the Hebrews reminds us that the Temple in Jerusalem and it's rituals was only a temporal preparation for the "new order" that would be established between Christ and his Church and her children.

From now on the Children of God would worship him in Spirit and Truth on earth as in the Heavenly Jerusalem. For it is not God's will to dwell among stones, but in the caring hearts of his faithful people, and among them to establish his Kingdom. Our Church Community is this New Temple!

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benedict and devil.jpgThe Church is not monolithic: let's consider the various observances of feasts of All Saints and the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed (All Souls):

All Saints

  • November 5: the Society of Jesus
  • November 7: the Order of Preachers
  • November 13: the Order of St Benedict; Order of St Augustine; the Trinitarian Order
  • November 29: the Franciscan Families

All Souls

  • October 5: the Capuchin Order
  • November 5: the Franciscan Families
  • November 8: the Order of Preachers
  • November 13: the Carthusians
  • November 14: the Order of St Benedict; the Trinitarian Order
  • November 15: the Order of Carmel
  • November 16: the Servite Order

All Souls

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For more than a 1000 years Holy Church has remembered all the dead on one day and reminding the faithful what we believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus and thus for those who die in grace. Spend some time with the Mass Collect below. It is not merely remembering the dead, as good as it is, but also to hold fast to the faith we are Baptized into: Christ's death and resurrection.

As a way of entering into what the Lord desires, the Church formed the All Souls Indulgence. Read about it here. You have until November 8 to observe the conditions of the Indulgence.

God, who has raised Jesus from the dead, will give life also to your mortal bodies, through his Spirit that dwells in you.

With the Church we pray,

O God, who willed that your Only Begotten Son, having conquered death, should pass over into the realm of heaven, grant, we pray, to your departed servants that, with the mortality of this life overcome, they may gaze eternally on you, their Creator and Redeemer.

What is a Holy Day?

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Mass at The Our Father.jpgFor Catholics it is Sunday, not the Sabbath (Saturday) in the technical sense as it applies to Jewish theology, but it is the day of worship of the One Triune God in the Triumph of death by death itself; it is Sunday which commemorates the Resurrection of Jesus, that is the fulfillment of the Paschal Mystery (life, death, Resurrection and Ascension of the Lord). Sunday is the perpetual Day of the Lord in practice.

From the earliest days Christians understood each Sunday as a "Little Easter" and it is celebrated with great seriousness. But Christians never forgot to celebrate, Easter, the Resurrection of the Lord, with great solemnity preceded by a period of preparation we call Lent and the Sacred Triduum. The Lord's Day is observed, the Mystical Body of Christ hopes, as a day of rest and worship of God that is demanded of us by the Third Commandment. It is THE day of the week on which the making of money and being a slave to work is turned on its head (CCC 2172).

What do holy days teach us? Why does the Church bother insisting on them today? In the spiritual sense holy days are a gift in the same way Sunday is a gift. Recall that the key gift God gave us in the Decalogue is rest, just as He rested. The gift of the Sabbath, and observing the Sabbath, is looking for meaning, knowing with certitude that we are children of God who live in freedom. The Sabbath is THE time to reflect upon Someone and Something greater than we are. We are made for the Infinite, not the finite. If we apply the gift of Sunday, of the Sabbath to the point of observing holy days we will notice that that one's holy day observance is another way to make real the graces of Easter in ordinary life. As the great French scholar Father Louis Bouyer once wrote, we are "grafted upon Him [Christ] so that the same life which was in Him and which He has come to give us may develop in us as in Him and produce in us the same fruits of sanctity and love that it produced in Him."

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments category from November 2012.

Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments: October 2012 is the previous archive.

Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments: January 2013 is the next archive.

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