Below the pictures is the program for Tonight's Mass of Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest, April 21, 2010, for the Year of the Priest. At the homily in the program, I have inserted the homily that I will give tonight.
Photos from this past Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday:
As fate would have it, we're celebrating the Year of the Priest tonight. It was planned several months ago for this date. But who knew except God that the Year of the Priest would be so much fun? At one point I thought maybe this is an inopportune time for this celebration and thought it perhaps best to cancel it. But you know what? We need the prayers of our people, we priests need to be praying and we need to look to Jesus Christ the High Priest to guide us through the stormy waters of today to the calm of eternal life. After all, isn't that the primary role of the ordained priest? It is to lead people to the end of the world, either their own, or the world collectively and prepare them for their personal judgment and the final judgment. Jesus Christ the High Priest when He makes us a part of Him brings us to that glory. The ordained priest is meant to show that in Word, Sacrament, especially the Most Holy Eucharist and in service.
Prior to the Mass, the Knights of Columbus are providing a meal for the visiting clergy.
Our Mass for tonight:
Votive Mass of Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest
Processional Hymn Hymn of Joy # 264
Introit: (chanted in Latin by Men's Schola)
The Lord has sworn and he will not repent: “You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek. Alleluia, alleluia. The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand.”
Greeting: Dominus Vobiscum.
Et cum spiritu tuo.
Rite of Blessing and Sprinkling: (Chanted in Latin by Men's Schola)
Vidi aquam: I saw water coming forth from the temple on the right side, alleluia: and all those to whom
this water came were saved, and shall say, alleluia, alleluia. V. Give praise to the Lord, for He is good:
For His mercy endures forever.
Gloria in Excelsis Deo-Latin #105
Liturgy of the Word
First Lesson: Acts 20:17, 18, 28-32, 36
Responsorial Psalm: Ps. 110: 1, 2, 3, 4
“Priest forever, like Melchizedek of old, the Lord Christ offered bread and wine.”
Second Lesson: Hebrews 5:1-10
Gospel: John 17: 6, 14-19
Homily: Fr. Allan J. McDonald, Pastor
We all have our favorite priests. Like some talent shows, I could go and place my hand over each priest and ask for applause and the one with the highest applause on the applause meter would get crowned “The Best Looking and Most Beloved and Most Talented Priest of the Year.” Yet, the priesthood of each of us ordained here is not to orient you to us and our warm and loving personalities, our good looks or our gifts and talents, but rather to orient all of us to Jesus Christ the High Priest—He is the greatest and he will never disappoint us and His priesthood is not based upon a personality contest, but on obedience to the will of His Father in Heaven, so much so He willingly lays down His life for us on the Cross and becomes not only our eternal and exclusive High Priest, but also the Victim of Sacrifice that His Heavenly Father loving accepts and receives, thus accepting all of us united to Christ the High Priest and His eternal Sacrifice on the Cross. The obedience of Jesus Christ the High Priest and Victim is the obedience that the Church should imitate, not only the ordained priests of the Church, but all of God’s priestly people by virtue of our complete initiation in the Church through Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion. But when we are disobedient, we have a High Priest who offers us forgiveness and penance for the remission of sins. He embraces the repentant thief on the Cross and He embraces us who are repentant in the Sacrament of Penance.
Topic Statement: The ordained priesthood is meant to orient the Church to the exclusive high priesthood of Jesus Christ who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Jesus Christ the High Priest will never be transferred from this parish, He is always here!
1. We priests are most effective when we direct your attention away from us and toward Jesus the Sovereign King and High Priest and His complete holiness.
a. I learned a couple of lessons about me just this past week. One of my close friends in Augusta called me a week ago Monday to tell me her father died and to ask if I would celebrate her father’s funeral Mass which I did this past Monday. In my conversations with her, she asked me if I remembered a certain couple that I received into the Church the last year I was at Most Holy Trinity in Augusta, in 2004. I said, I did. Well my friend went on to say that once I left Holy Trinity six years ago, this couple just felt that things just weren’t the same without me there, so they joined a non-denominational Church. Well at first, I was flattered, my successor Fr. Brannen wasn’t good enough for them, I would only do! But then I thought, I really must not have not a very good job with this couple in preparing them to become Catholic if they thought they were just joining me and my wonderful way of doing things rather than joining Jesus Christ through the Church and picking up their cross and following Him. I failed! I oriented them to me when I should have made sure I oriented them to Jesus Christ the high priest and the Church he founded and sustains through His Word and all of the Sacraments. The second experience was one hour before the funeral I celebrated for my friend’s father. As I walked into the darkened vestibule of the Church an older Catholic who was my parishioner from 1991 to 2004 was leaving and came up to me and asked me if I was the new priest. Just to let you know, since my departure in 2004, Most Holy Trinity has had three more pastors in five and a half years, Fr. Brannen stayed one year, Fr. Donahue four years and now Fr. Kavanaugh is in his first few months. This former parishioner said, he needed to get to know me as his new pastor and go to confession. I said I’m not your new pastor; I’m your old pastor. Then he said, Oh, I didn’t recognize you, I thought you were the new pastor—what’s your name? I’m sure he made a mistake because the vestibule was dark and he was old; certainly he knows who I am! In Catholic parishes, ordained priests come and go, but Jesus Christ always stays. You can count on that! If you are oriented to Christ, it won’t matter what priest is helping you stay oriented in that direction.
2. The mission of the ordained priesthood and of all God’s priestly people is to make known God’s love in Jesus Christ which is for everyone in the world, no one is excluded.
a. Pope Benedict speaking to 15 thousand youth this past Sunday in Malta had a question and answer period with them. Of particular importance were the words of the young man who represented those on the “margins of the Church”, because of the reality of broken families, abuse, different sexual orientations. He said, all of them, including some immigrants, (and I quote) "have had experiences that have distanced them from the Church." "We - he said - feel that not even the Church herself recognizes our value," "she considers us to be a problem” and that "we are less readily accepted and treated with dignity by the Catholic community than we are by all other members of society."
The Response of Pope Benedict was: "God rejects no-one. And the Church rejects no-one!” And, if even St Paul "has often been harsh in his writings," it is because "in his great love, God challenges each of us to change and become more perfect." Hence the "do not be afraid! You may well encounter opposition to the Gospel message. Today’s culture, like every culture, promotes ideas and values that are sometimes at variance with those lived and preached by our Lord Jesus Christ. Often they are presented with great persuasive power, reinforced by the media and by social pressure from groups hostile to the Christian faith. It is easy, when we are young and impressionable, to be swayed by our peers to accept ideas and values that we know are not what the Lord truly wants for us. That is why I say to you: do not be afraid, but rejoice in his love for you; trust him, answer his call to discipleship, and find nourishment and spiritual healing in the sacraments of the Church. Here in Malta, you live in a society that is steeped in Christian faith and values. You should be proud that your country both defends the unborn and promotes stable family life by saying no to abortion and divorce. ...Other nations can learn from your Christian example. In the context of European society, Gospel values are once again becoming counter-cultural, just as they were at the time of Saint Paul."
b. I was taught in the seminary that the best priests were the ones who were faithful to God, faithful to His Church and willing to be prophets in proclaiming the truth, even if the truth was out of season. One priest professor told us that our duty as young priests would be to afflict the comfortable with the Word of God and Church teaching and to comfort afflicted with the loving consolation of God’s word and His sacraments. That’s a delicate balancing act and when people hate you for teaching the truth that makes it even more uncomfortable for us ordained priests. But the Holy Spirit is our consolation. The Holy Spirit is your consolation too, as God’s priestly people.
c. But the most important thing I’ve learned about God’s people that all of us here present have tried to be a good priest for, despite our sins and failings, is that all of you are good, you are intrinsically good. We have to love you as Christ loves his bride the Church and that’s the best thing We priest can do for you and you can do for us, trying to imitate Christ the High Priest’s unconditional love. One of the most profound ways that we priests experience Christ’s unconditional love for you is in the Sacrament of Penance which renews the gift of forgiveness in Holy Baptism and repairs any bonds that you might have broken with Christ and His Church through sin. Offering absolution in the “Person of Christ the high Priest” is awesome! It’s God’s unconditional love for you and God’s call to each priest to show that love to you.
Conclusion: Shortly, the priests at this altar will act in “Persona Christi” in the “Person of Christ” as Jesus Himself sends down the Holy Spirit Who will consecrate ordinary gifts of Bread and Wine and make them His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, the Glorious Risen Body of our Lord and Savior. Jesus the High Priest will also embrace us and continue to consecrate us in this Sacrifice and with your priest and all of you His priestly people. We are united to Christ our High Priest and Victim and swept up into the eternal Sacrifice of Christ and experience her in this Church the Paschal Feast of Heaven. May our Communion in the Body and Blood of Christ continue to make us a part of Christ’s priestly people, united with Him for eternity by our worthy reception of the eternal Priest who is also the Lamb of God, the Lamb of Sacrifice and Food and Drink for our earthly pilgrimage to the eternal wedding banquet of heaven.
Profession of Faith (Chanted in Latin)
Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, factorem caeli et terrae,
visibilium omnium, et invisibilium.
Et in unum Dominum Jesum Christum, Filium Dei unigenitum.
Et ex Patre natum ante omnia saecula.
Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero.
Genitum, non factum. consubstantialem Patri: per quem omnia facta sunt.
Qui propter nos homines, et propter nostrum salutem descendit de caelis.
Et incarnatus est de Spiritu sancto ex Maria Virgine:
Et homo factus est. (Profound Bow)
Crucifixus etiam pro nobis; sub Pontio Pilato passus, et sepultus est.
Et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas.
Et ascendit in caelum: sedet ad dexteram Patris.
Et iterum venturus est cum gloria, iudicare vivos et mortuos: cuius regni non erit finis.
Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum, et vivificantem: qui ex Patre Filioque procedit.
Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur , et conglorificatur: qui locutus est per Prophetas.
Et unam sanctam catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam.
Confiteor unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum.
Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum.
Et vitam venture saeculi. AMEN.
Response: Lord, hear our prayer.(Sung)
Liturgy of the Eucharist
Gift Procession and Preparation of the Altar and the Gifts
Offertory Antiphon: Christ, having offered one sacrifice for sins, has taken his seat forever at the right hand of God; for by one offering he has perfected forever those who are sanctified. Alleluia. (chanted in Latin by Men's Schola)
Cantate Domino Michel Richard de la Lande
Cantate Domino canticum novum. Cantate Domino omnis terra.
Et benedicite nomini ejus.
Sing to the Lord a new song. Sing to the Lord all the earth and bless His name.
Preface Dialogue (Latin) #106
Sanctus: #107 Latin
Memorial Acclamation (Mass of Creation)
Great Amen (Mass of Creation)
Lord’s Prayer (Chant)
Rite of Peace
The Breaking of the Bread
Agnus Dei (“Mass of the Holy Trinity”) Choir
Communion Antiphon (Chanted in Latin by Men's Schola)
“This is the body which shall be given up for you. This cup is the new covenant in my blood,” says the lord.” Do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” Alleluia.
Holy Communion Procession
At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing # 271
Panis Angelicus #543
Adoramus te, Christe Theodore DuBois
Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi;
quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
Christ, we do all adore Thee, and we do praise Thee forever.
For by Thy holy cross hast Thou the world from sin redeemed.
The Choirs of St. Joseph
Prayer after Communion
Recessional (Regina Caeili) Be Joyful, Mary, Heavenly Queen #267
Father Allan J. McDonald, Pastor
Father Justin Ferguson, Parochial Vicar
Monsignor John Cuddy, Retired
Deacon Don Coates
Deacon Tom Eden
Deacon Pat Mongan
* * * * *
Beau Palmer, Cantor
The Choirs of St. Joseph
Nelda M. Chapman, Organist and Director of Music
Everyone is cordially invited to a reception in the Social Hall immediately following the Mass.