Liturgical renewal: Praying in and with the church

By |2016-04-02T00:59:32-05:00Jul 7, 2010|Bishop Richard J. Sklba|

sklbaTo be a member of the pilgrimage that accompanied Archbishop Listecki last week to Rome for the reception of his pallium was a privilege and a delight. Visiting the major ancient basilicas for the daily celebration of the Eucharist was also an opportunity to think about the forthcoming English translation of the new edition of the Roman Missal. After 40 years of experience with liturgy in the vernacular throughout the world we now pause to reaffirm our commitment to full active participation of all of God’s people in the celebration of the sacred mysteries.

Those who shaped the Mass formulas which we call the Novus Ordo in the late 1960s and early 1970s were faithful scholars who knew the church’s long liturgical tradition very well, and who knew what worship should be. We need to be profoundly grateful to them and their scholarly predecessors over the past centuries for restoring and preserving the church’s heritage of communal praise and prayer. I reject any idea of “reforming the reform” as a complete revamping or dismantling of what we now know and love. Make no mistake about it, I like what we experience today and I cherish the way in which the eucharistic liturgy of the Catholic Church is celebrated in the best of our parishes every week across the country.

At the same time, I know the theoretical debate about the art of translation which has also occurred, sometimes in the background, during those same decades. The issue remains the quest for the right balance between the linguistic forms of the original language (Latin) and those of what we call the “receptor” language (English or other vernacular tongues).

Why we need to go to Mass

By |2016-04-02T00:59:33-05:00Jun 2, 2010|Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki|

ListeckiHOHThe weather is turning warmer, dare I say even hot, and the mornings have that wonderful feeling, a freshness that comes with the smells of green. There is no doubt that summer is just about here. Families will scope out various locations for those family trips, perhaps a weekend of camping, a visit to another state or that long week of fun at the summer cabin. It’s great to get away; the change of scenery refreshes the brain and allows a needed rest from the normal routine. Vacations are needed.

The vacations I took as a boy were often a week’s visit to my aunt and uncle. It was terrific for the cousins, as we played together. However, I am not too sure my aunt and uncle received any down time or considered my arrival as their vacation. Their family increased by one when “little Jerome” invaded their home.

The entire church celebrates at ordination time

By |2016-04-02T00:59:35-05:00May 20, 2010|Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki|

ListeckiColumnMay and June are the months for anniversaries, graduations, weddings and, in the Catholic Church, priestly ordinations. Recently, at the archdiocesan priest assembly at Lake Lawn, we recognized those celebrating 25, 40, 50, 60 and 65 years of priesthood. Bishop Sklba, celebrating 50 years of priesthood, gave an inspiring homily reflecting on the struggles and the joys encountered by all who follow the Lord. As priests gathered, they reminisced about their days in the seminary and shared stories of their early days in the priesthood.

I was ordained May 14, 1975. It was a glorious spring day, 70 degrees, with white billowy clouds and blue skies. There were 38 in my class and many of us had ministerial connections to the various parishes within the Chicago Archdiocese. The seminary chapel was jammed. Our ordinations were not only a personal celebration of an accomplishment but a celebration of the men and women who contributed to our journey to the altar. There were many – priests, family and friends – who laid claim to our decision to be ordained. In some sense they were right to claim ownership. Even though there is always a personal commitment on the part of the one being ordained, there are still so many who make up the history of one’s decision.

Believing, belonging: Weekly Mass for practicing Catholics

By |2016-04-02T00:59:36-05:00May 13, 2010|Bishop Richard J. Sklba|

sklbaA few weeks ago I had the good fortune to participate in an international interreligious conference at Boston College. The question posed for the scholars was, “Is this the golden age for Jewish/Catholic relations?” I concluded my talk with a tentative suggestion, namely “Early Bronze age!” They all smiled. I wanted to retain a metallic label, but also playfully allude to the primitive period in human culture as illuminating our own contemporary era of interreligious relations. We are once again still at the beginning of things, and history could go both ways, depending on our honesty, mutual respect and determination.

One of the Jewish speakers, curiously enough, teaches a course on Catholic sacraments at the University of Tel Aviv. He told me that once a person makes a leap of faith, the Catholic sacramental system is completely reasonable, logical, integrated and cohesive. It was a good reminder of the profound blessing which our faith can bring to the lives of people who understand its inner power.

That in turn led me to think about all the confirmation letters which we bishops here in southeastern Wisconsin receive this time of the year, and how often the young people admit that they haven’t been very faithful to regular Sunday participation in the Eucharist. Usually the confirmation programs rekindle a spark of new interest and understanding; the retreat experiences often produce a resolution to change the pattern.   Sometimes the young people become the ones who get their parents up for Mass on Sunday morning!

Weekly participation in the Sunday Eucharist is far more than a mere duty to be gotten through like a dentist appointment or a cold shower. It is far more than a boring interlude in an otherwise interesting life. Included in every Eucharist is a crash course in all the fundamentals of Christian spirituality. Everything is there! For that reason we need to come back, week after week, to recapture the full reality of our life in Christ.

Deacons are dedicated to service of God’s people

By |2016-04-02T00:59:39-05:00Apr 29, 2010|Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki|

HOH-ListeckiI was ordained a priest in 1975. My pastoral experience as an ordained minister has always included the distinct office of the diaconate. The order of the diaconate was restored in the post-Vatican II era. For centuries, the order of deacon was relegated to a liturgical function designated in the celebration of the Latin Mass.

Many of us with a good share of gray hair remember when a solemn high Mass was offered and priests performed the role of deacon and sub deacon. There were a number of famous deacons in the early days of the church: St. Stephen and St. Lawrence were martyred for the faith. A number of people have the mistaken impression that St. Francis of Assisi was a priest when, in fact, he was a deacon. 

The greatest gift Pope John Paul II left us

By |2016-04-02T00:59:41-05:00Apr 14, 2010|Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki|

HoH_Listecki-ColorJohn Paul II has certainly left his mark on the church and for that matter the world itself. His intellectual thought, pastoral leadership and teaching style have been characterized in biography after biography. But I don’t believe anyone can capture the true Karol Wojtyla without understanding the mystic.

Many stories tell of either Bishop or Archbishop Wojtyla visiting a convent or religious house and asking permission to pray in the chapel where the Eucharist was reserved. A sister would often find him prostrate before the tabernacle. His prayer life, especially in the celebration of the sacraments, defined his person. He was a believer who was in communion with God.  His legacy will be debated.

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