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Mathew Issac. O.S..F.S.
Daily Mass Readings
Sunday, December 16, 2018
Sunday of Advent
December 17, 2018
3rd Week of Advent
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Week of Advent
December 19, 2018
3rd Week of Advent
Thursday, December 20, 2018
3rd Week of Advent
December 21 , 2018
3rd Week of Advent
Saturday, December 22, 2018
3rd Week of Advent
Campus Mass and Devotions
Monday - Friday
Friday Rosary at dismissal time.
First Friday Exposition of the Blessed
First Friday of every month when school is in
Decade of the
Rosary at the
Statue of Mary
Wednesdays at 8
Please join us!
Advent is a
beautiful season. Sadly, for many it often gets
short-changed by the hustle and bustle of Christmas
all about the contrasting symbols of darkness and
light. The symbol of darkness comes from nature
itself. The days of Advent correspond to
increasingly shorter hours of daylight - right up to
December 21st, the shortest day of the year. The
days get shorter and the nights get longer; darkness
increases while sunlight decreases.
We find the
symbol of light in the Advent wreath. Every week
during the four weeks of Advent another candle is
lit on the wreath. Thus, as the days get shorter and
darker, the Advent wreath grows ever brighter.
of nature's increasing darkness can stand for
anything in our world or in our lives that partakes
of the many forms of darkness as, for example, the
pain and suffering of refugees who are caught
between the horrors of war and fear at home and a
very uncertain future in a new land; the very sad
and troubling situation in the Church today; the
frequent storms and wildfires that leave families,
homes and lives in shatters; and the physical or
psychological or spiritual diminishments and
challenges in the lives of many people, perhaps even
in our own. Students in the buzz of academics and
tests. Aging itself can often speak of darkness with
its many diminishments of mind, body and spirit.
Now let the
growing light of the Advent wreath stand for the
fact that God in Christ has taken on every form of
darkness. In the dying and rising of Jesus,
darkness itself has been conquered, death destroyed,
and sin overcome. God's light has given our often
sad and broken world new hope, and our lives new
promise. We who welcome the light of Christ take
comfort in his being the Savior of both. So while
during these weeks of Advent others may go about
their business with very little pause to consider
the coming and blessings of Christ, let us not be
one of them. Let us, rather, shout out God's Good
News: the coming of Jesus as the world's true
Let the hope
that its simple light represents cast out from us
every fear and darkness as we pray together the
Advent prayer: "Come, Lord Jesus, come!"
St. Mary's Community will come together to celebrate
the feast of St. Francis de Sales whose spirituality
is imbued in the school's philosophy "Be who you are
and be that well.".
St. Francis de Sales is the patron of the deaf, the
press, journalists and of adult education. He has
been declared a Doctor of the Church. He was born to
a noble family at Chateau de Sales in the Kingdom of
Savoy near Geneva, Switzerland on August 21, 1567.
Francis was both intelligent and gentle. He knew for
years he had a vocation to the priesthood, but kept
it from his family. His father wanted him to enter a
career in law and politics. In 1580, Francis
attended the University of Paris, and at
24-years-old, he received his doctorate in law at
the University of Padua.
All the time, he never lost his passion for God. He
studied theology and practiced mental prayers, but
kept quiet about his devotion. To please his father,
he also studied fencing and riding. God made his
will clear to Francis one day while he was riding.
Francis fell from his horse three times that day.
Every time he fell, the sword came out of the
scabbard, and every time it came out, the sword and
scabbard came to rest on the ground in the shape of
the Christian cross.
After much discussion and disagreement from his
father, Francis was ordained to the priesthood and
elected provost of the Diocese of Geneva, in 1593,
by the Bishop of Geneva.
During the time of the Protestant reformation,
Francis lived close to Calvinist territory. He
decided he should lead an expedition to bring the
60,000 Calvinists back to the Catholic Church. For
three years, he trudged through the countryside, had
doors slammed in his face and rocks thrown at him.
In the bitter winters, his feet froze so badly they
bled as he tramped through the snow.
Francis' unusual patience kept him working. No one
would listen to him, no one would even open their
door. So, Francis found a way to get under the door.
He wrote out little pamphlets to explain true
Catholic doctrine and slipped them under the doors.
This is one of the first records we have of
religious tracts being used to communicate the true
Catholic faith to people who had fallen away from
The parents wouldn't come to him, so Francis went to
the children. When the parents saw how kind he was
as he played with the children, they began to talk
to him.By the time Francis returned home, it is
believed he brought 40,000 people to the Catholic
In 1602, Francis was consecrated Bishop of Geneva,
although he continued to reside in Annecy. In 1604,
Francis took one of the most important steps in his
life -- the step toward extraordinary holiness and
mystical union with God. In Dijon, Francis saw a
widow listening closely to his sermon -- a woman he
had seen already in a dream. Jane de Chantal was a
dedicated Catholic Christian on her own, as Francis
was, but it was only when they became friends they
began to become saints.
Jane wanted him to take over her spiritual
direction, but, not surprisingly, Francis wanted to
wait. "I had to know fully what God himself wanted.
I had to be sure that everything in this should be
done as though his hand had done it." Jane was on a
path to mystical union with God and, in directing
her, Francis was compelled to follow her and become
a mystic himself. Years after working with Jane, he
made up his mind to form a new religious community.
In 1610, he founded The Order of Visitation.
During this time, it was wrongly thought that
achieving real holiness of life was a task reserved
for only for the clergy and those in religious life,
and not for lay men and women. In addition, that
only contemplatives, people who withdraw from active
participation in the world, could really achieve
Francis insisted that every Christian was called to
holiness and sanctity, lived within their own state
in life. In holding that belief, he reflected the
teaching of Jesus and the early Church Fathers.
Francis laid the groundwork for the teaching of the
Second Vatican Council on what is now called the
universal call to holiness. Francis gave spiritual
direction to lay people who were living real lives
in the real world. He had proven with his own life
that people could grow in holiness while involved in
a very active occupation. He also recognized that
Christian marriage and family life is itself a call
His most famous book, Introduction To The Devout
Life, was written for ordinary lay people in 1608,
not just the clergy and religious.
For Francis, the love of God was like romantic love.
He said, "The thoughts of those moved by natural
human love are almost completely fastened on the
beloved, their hearts are filled with passion for
it, and their mouths full of its praises. When it is
gone, they express their feelings in letters, and
can't pass by a tree without carving the name of
their beloved in its bark. Thus, to those who love
God can never stop thinking about him, longing for
him, aspiring to him, and speaking about him. If
they could, they would engrave the name of Jesus on
the hearts of all humankind."
The key to love of God was prayer. "By turning your
eyes on God in meditation, your whole soul will be
filled with God. Begin all your prayers in the
presence of God."
For busy people living in the world, he advised,
"Retire at various times into the solitude of your
own heart, even while outwardly engaged in
discussions or transactions with others and talk to
The test of prayer was a person's actions. "To be an
angel in prayer and a beast in one's relations with
people is to go lame on both legs." He believed the
worst sin was to judge someone or to gossip about
them. Even if we say we do it out of love we're
still doing it to look better ourselves. We should
be as gentle and forgiving with ourselves as we
should be with others.
He died on December 28, 1622, after giving a nun his
last word of advice: "Humility." St. Francis de
Sales was beatified on January 8, 1661 and canonized
on April 19, 1665 by Pope Alexander VII.
Youth Day is a celebration organized by the Catholic
Church and it unites young people (ages 16 to 35)
and church leaders from more than 150 countries. St.
Mary's High School, in conjunction with World Youth
Day will hold celebrations at the school to coincide
with the international event.
The theme for the 34th World Youth Day, 2019 is, “I
am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me
according to your word.” (Lk 1:38).
The verse comes from Luke’s Gospel account of the
birth of Jesus being foretold, when the angel
Gabriel came to Mary announcing that she would
conceive and bear a son that she would call ‘Jesus’.
Despite the initial confusion (“How can this be,
since I have no husband?”), Mary gave her firm
assent and trust to God by saying ‘May it be done to
me according to your word.’
sacrifice and courage of those who serve was
highlighted by the presence of Phil Agdeppa, Class
of 1998, a California Highway Patrol Flight
Officer/Paramedic who has been given the Medal of
Valor from the State of California and from the
California State Fire Fighters Association for his
part in saving 41 people from death during the Napa
fires, who with his partner officers plunged their
helicopters repeatedly through hurricane-force winds
into and among the flames to rescue people without a
thought for their own safety.
From The Record: "Bishop Myron Joseph Cotta and
hundreds of St. Mary’s High School students and
staff gave thanks and honored those who risk their
lives and run towards danger without hesitation.
Cotta delivered a 15-minute sermon Tuesday morning
for his first Blue Mass, which is now its fifth year
of being observed days before Thanksgiving.
Among those in attendance inside Morelli Gym were
members of the Stockton Police Department, Stockton
Fire Department, San Joaquin County Sheriff’s
Office, California Highway Patrol and Tracy Police
The Blue Mass, which has a long history in the
Catholic Church, reminds the faithful to be thankful
to those who serve in the community in law
enforcement, as firefighters and first responders,
as well as to honor those who have lost their lives
in the line of duty.
“We recognize your self-sacrifice,” said Principal
Kathy Smith. “Today, we pray for your continued
safety and commend the dedication you have to
Serving as Stockton’s sixth bishop of the diocese
since succeeding Bishop Stephen Blaire, Cotta said
the men and women who respond to dangerous
situations are “guardians” who watch over the
It’s been a difficult and trying time for law
enforcement and emergency officials, faced with
senseless tragedies in the form of continued mass
shootings in Pittsburgh and Thousand Oaks,
hurricanes, and the two current devastating Camp and
it’s overwhelming,” said Cotta. “Sometimes we become
a little callous from all this, but we can’t be,
because human life is always at the center of these
First responders who sacrifice their lives for
others can be seen as being similar to Jesus Christ,
Cotta said, and he challenged those in the room
whenever they hear a siren to offer prayer for those
who are responding and for those who are in trouble.
“God bless our firefighters and God bless those
first responders that have gone there and put their
lives in danger, out of love for one’s neighborhood
and laying down one’s life for their friends if need
be,” he said.
In addressing the students sitting in the bleachers,
he said they, too, have an important role in the
community to respond to needs.
“We have to respond as Jesus responds for the sake
of this community,” Cotta said. “How will we respond
to the gifts that God has given you in this point in
your life, at this age in your life, to put into
action and be a first responder to a need?”
Afterward, Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones said it
was an honor to attend the Mass and that he
particularly liked Cotta’s message to the students
“Even the student body has a responsibility to be
first responders in the things that they see and
have influence over within their circles, to do
things for others, and to have courage to speak up
or take action,” said Jones.
The Why of First Friday
and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
is an extension of our celebration of
the Eucharist which happens at every
mass. It is not only a very old devotion
in our Church, but one that highlights
the fundamental mystery of the Holy
Eucharist- that our Lord is truly
present, body and blood, soul and
divinity in the Blessed Sacrament.
In his 1980 Holy Thursday letter to
priests, Dominicae Cenae, Pope John Paul
II wrote, "Since the Eucharistic mystery
was instituted out of love, and makes
Christ sacramentally present, it is
worthy of thanksgiving and worship.
And this worship must be prominent in
all our encounters with the Blessed
What happens: following morning mass in the chapel,
Fr. Mathew will place a consecrated host (the
Blessed Sacrament) in a "display vessel" called a
monstrance on the altar. Throughout the day
individuals and/or classes sign up to fill time
slots, so that someone is present at all times while
our Lord is present to us in this way. If you go you
can pray, read, or simply sit quietly and open your
mind and heart to whatever our Lord wishes to say to
you! Towards the end of school Fr. Mathew will
conclude with a special Benediction (blessing), and
return the Blessed Sacrament to the tabernacle.
All members of the St. Mary's community are welcome
to visit the chapel at any time throughout the day
and/or to attend Benediction at dismissal.
The Real Presence in the Eucharist
Council of Catholic Bishops
The Lord Jesus, on the night before he suffered on
the cross, shared one last meal with his disciples.
During this meal our Savior instituted the sacrament
of his Body and Blood. He did this in order to
perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the
ages and to entrust to the Church his Spouse a
memorial of his death and resurrection. As the
Gospel of Matthew tells us:
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the
blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples
said, "Take and eat; this is my body." Then he took
a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying,
"Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of
the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many
for the forgiveness of sins." (Mt 26:26-28; cf. Mk
14:22-24, Lk 22:17-20, 1 Cor 11:23-25)
Recalling these words of Jesus, the Catholic Church
professes that, in the celebration of the Eucharist,
bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus
Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and the
instrumentality of the priest. Jesus said: "I am the
living bread that came down from heaven; whoever
eats this bread will live forever; and the bread
that I will give is my flesh for the life of the
world. . . . For my flesh is true food, and my blood
is true drink" (Jn 6:51-55). The whole Christ is
truly present, body, blood, soul, and divinity,
under the appearances of bread and wine—the
glorified Christ who rose from the dead after dying
for our sins. This is what the Church means when she
speaks of the "Real Presence" of Christ in the
Eucharist. This presence of Christ in the Eucharist
is called "real" not to exclude other types of his
presence as if they could not be understood as real
(cf. Catechism, no. 1374). The risen Christ is
present to his Church in many ways, but most
especially through the sacrament of his Body and
What does it mean that Jesus Christ is present in
the Eucharist under the appearances of bread and
wine? How does this happen? The presence of the
risen Christ in the Eucharist is an inexhaustible
mystery that the Church can never fully explain in
words. We must remember that the triune God is the
creator of all that exists and has the power to do
more than we can possibly imagine. As St. Ambrose
said: "If the word of the Lord Jesus is so powerful
as to bring into existence things which were not,
then a fortiori those things which already exist can
be changed into something else" ( De Sacramentis,
IV, 5-16). God created the world in order to share
his life with persons who are not God. This great
plan of salvation reveals a wisdom that surpasses
our understanding. But we are not left in ignorance:
for out of his love for us, God reveals his truth to
us in ways that we can understand through the gift
of faith and the grace of the Holy Spirit dwelling
in us. We are thus enabled to understand at least in
some measure what would otherwise remain unknown to
us, though we can never completely comprehend the
mystery of God. . .
2018 Salesian Camp
The Campus Ministry Team
spent a week at Salesian Leadership Camp in
Brooklyn, Michigan. The students had a tremendous
impact on the camp.
St. Mary's student
members, Samantha Rodriguez, Karina Rocha, Spencer
Loewen, John Costello, and David Okekenta had on the
camp truly exhibited themselves to be amazing
leaders and role models. Several priests, staff, and
students present told us how amazing the St. Mary's
students were all week, and thanked us for bringing
How To Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy
Optional Opening Prayers:
You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed
forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up
for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable
Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty
Yourself out upon us.
(Repeat 3 times) O Blood and Water, which gushed
forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of Mercy
for us, I trust in You! Our Father, Hail Mary and
the Apostle's Creed
For each of the five decades (On each “Our Father”
bead of the rosary, pray)
Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul
and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord,
Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of
the whole world
(On each of the 10 “Hail Mary” beads, pray) For the
sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and
on the whole world.
Concluding prayer (Repeat 3 times) Holy God, Holy
Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and
on the whole world.
Optional Closing Prayer
Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the
treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly
upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in
difficult moments we might not despair nor become
despondent, but with great confidence submit
ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy
Source: National Council of Catholic Bishops
The Most Powerful Woman In History
The Blessed Virgin Mary, patroness of
our school, was obedient fully to God's
will, was a humble and supportive mother
of our Savior Jesus Christ and has been
recognized as the most powerful woman in
history as noted in a National
Geographic article: How the Virgin Mary
Became the World's Most Powerful Woman.
"Mary barely speaks in the New
Testament, but her image and legacy are
found and celebrated around the world. .
Do You Have A Vocation?
Is God calling you to be a
priest, a brother or a
member of a religious community?
Have you felt a need to serve
God's people, to minister to
their needs and help them find
out about the love of God?
Ask Fr. Matthew Issac or go to
for more information.
Are you ready to
Wake Up the World?
Vocations Prayer Card
Anyone that is
victimized can go into
any San Joaquin County
McDonad's. The staff is
trained to provide
immediate contact with
authorities and to
provide a safe space.
San Joaquin County
Regional Transit has a
policy that anyone who
is a victim of Human
Trafficking may go to
any bus, inform the
driver who will
immediately alert the
police and if there is a
delay will go off route
in order to bring the
victim to safety.
tradition of offering Masses for others,
particularly the dead, originates in the very early
Church. Inscriptions discovered on tombs in Roman
catacombs of the second century evidence this
practice. The Church's reasoning was well explained
by Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical "Mirae caritatis"
(1902) emphasizing the connection between the
communion of saints with the Mass: "The grace of
mutual love among the living, strengthened and
increased by the sacrament of the Eucharist, flows,
especially by virtue of the Sacrifice [of the Mass],
to all who belong to the communion of saints. For
the communion of saints is simply ... the mutual
sharing of help, atonement, prayers and benefits
among the faithful, those already in the heavenly
fatherland, those consigned to the purifying fire,
and those still making their pilgrim way here on
earth. These all form one city, whose head is
Christ, and whose vital principle is love. Faith
teaches that although the august Sacrifice can be
offered to God alone, it can nevertheless be
celebrated in honor of the saints now reigning in
Heaven with God, who has crowned them, to obtain
their intercession for us, and also, according to
apostolic tradition, to wash away the stains of
those brethren who died in the Lord but without yet
being wholly purified."
If you would like to request that Mass be offered
for a particular intention, a request form can be
found at this
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Mary’s is not responsible for the accuracy or content of
information contained in the site.
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A media initiative of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the
United States — MISSIO App is available.
“This App is a way for the Church and our Holy Father to
reach the growing number of the world’s
people who have access to handheld
mobile devices — a way to connect as the
one Body of Christ,” said Father Andrew
Small, OMI, National Director of the
Pontifical Mission Societies.
The app is available for free at the I-Phone and Google Play
stores on line.
Catholic News Service will keep you up
to date with all the latest news,
commentary and analysis, video and
photos related to the Church and the
The app is available for free at the I-Phone and Google Play
stores on line.
St. Mary's Monthly Junior
St. Mary's Juniors participate in a day long retreat
each month to assist them in their spiritual growth,
to discern God's will for their lives and to provide
a guide for putting their faith into daily action.
For the World
For the victims of the
California wildfires, all first responders, fire
fighters and law enforcement
For those in the St. Mary's High School community
For all the students, faculty, administration, staff, parents and
friends of St. Mary's. So that honesty, and
integrity not be mere words and that a true
commitment to the Catholic faith be exemplified in
the lives of all.
For Ms. Kelly Pudwell who is undergoing treatment
For Those Serving in the Military
For all SM alumni and family serving in the
military. Pray that they be respected and protected,
that their patron saint, St. George, watch over them
and pray to God for their safety, wisdom in their
decision making, fortitude and compassion.
For the Repose of the Souls of SM Alumni,
Faculty, Family and Friends
For the repose of the soul of David
Merritt, son of Maria (Kozina) Merrit '70
For the repose of the soul of Don
Leonardini, husband of Rose Leonardini.
For the repose of the soul of Mrs. Cheryl Best.
Alumni Memorial Page Link
the Holy Father, Bishops, Priests and Religious
For the repose of the soul of Sister Gloria de Jesus
who died on February 2, 2018.
For the repose of the soul of Sister Marie Moliini,
O.P. Class of 1946,
June 11, 1928-Oct. 13, 2017. A long time
member of the St. Mary's community and member of the
SM Hall of Fame.
For the repose of the soul of Father Jairo Ramirez,
who died suddenly at age 56 on October 7, 2017.
For the repose of the soul of Monsignor Erwin Cain
Dec. 21, 1919- June 9, 2017.
Monsignor Cain is in the St. Mary's Hall of
For our Holy Father, Francis l,
all Bishops, Priests and Religious.
Pray that their actions and lives truly exhibit the
values of the Gospel, no matter the cost.
In particular for the members of the order of St.
Francis de Sales who have served the St. Mary's
Community for over 45 years, in particular Fr.
Fallon who has celebrated 55 years as a priest,
Brother James Dorazio, with 47 years as a
religious, Fr. Matthew Issac, and Sister Collette Standard with over 50 years professed, the
Dominicans and Franciscans, all orders and Diocesan
priests that are or have served St. Mary's High
School since its beginnings in 1876.
the unborn and born victims of abortion
For the innocent victims of abortion,
for those who are suffering the personal devastation
of abortion's aftermath, and that the hearts of
those who promote the killing of the unborn be
changed to affirm life. Pray that the minds and
hearts of abortion providers change to embrace life
and not destroy it. Pray that the United States
recognize the right to life of the unborn.
All those facing
unemployment and financial difficulty at this time
Poor Souls in Purgatory
Christian Martyrs, Victims of Terrorism, Natural
Disasters, Crime and Abuse and Poverty
Christian Forgiveness and
"As Bishop of Rome and
pastor of the Catholic Church, I want to ask for
mercy and forgiveness for the behavior of Catholics
towards Christians of other Churches which has not
reflected Gospel values. At the same time, I invite
all Catholic brothers and sisters to forgive if
they, today or in the past, have been offended by
other Christians. We cannot cancel out what has
happened, but we do not want to let the weight of
past faults continue to contaminate our
relationships. God’s mercy will renew our
relationships." -Pope Francis, January 26, 2016.
Misuse of Religion
"Religious fundamentalism, even before it eliminates
human beings by perpetrating horrendous killings,
eliminates God himself, turning him into a mere
-Pope Francis January 12, 2015
Proclaiming the Gospel,
Considering the Person, Salvation
“We need to proclaim the Gospel on every street corner,” the
pope says, “preaching the good news of the kingdom
and healing, even with our preaching, every kind of
disease and wound. In Buenos Aires I used to receive
letters from homosexual persons who are ‘socially
wounded’ because they tell me that they feel like
the church has always condemned them. But the church
does not want to do this. During the return flight
from Rio de Janeiro I said that if a homosexual
person is of good will and is in search of God, I am
no one to judge. By saying this, I said what the
catechism says. Religion has the right to express
its opinion in the service of the people, but God in
creation has set us free: it is not possible to
interfere spiritually in the life of a person.
“A person once asked me,
in a provocative manner, if I approved of
homosexuality. I replied with another question:
‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he
endorse the existence of this person with love, or
reject and condemn this person?’ We must always
consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery
of the human being. In life, God accompanies
persons, and we must accompany them, starting from
their situation. It is necessary to accompany them
with mercy. When that happens, the Holy Spirit
inspires the priest to say the right thing."
“This is also the great benefit of confession as a sacrament:
evaluating case by case and discerning what is the
best thing to do for a person who seeks God and
grace. The confessional is not a torture chamber,
but the place in which the Lord’s mercy motivates us
to do better. I also consider the situation of a
woman with a failed marriage in her past and who
also had an abortion. Then this woman remarries, and
she is now happy and has five children. That
abortion in her past weighs heavily on her
conscience and she sincerely regrets it. She would
like to move forward in her Christian life. What is
the confessor to do?
“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay
marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This
is not possible. I have not spoken much about these
things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we
speak about these issues, we have to talk about them
in a context. The teaching of the church, for that
matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but
it is not necessary to talk about these issues all
The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all
equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be
obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed
multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.
Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the
essentials, on the necessary things: this is also
what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the
heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus.
We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the
moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a
house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance
of the Gospel. The proposal of the Gospel must be
more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this
proposition that the moral consequences then flow.
“I say this also thinking about the preaching and content of
our preaching. A beautiful homily, a genuine sermon
must begin with the first proclamation, with the
proclamation of salvation. There is nothing more
solid, deep and sure than this proclamation. Then
you have to do catechesis. Then you can draw even a
moral consequence. But the proclamation of the
saving love of God comes before moral and religious
imperatives. Today sometimes it seems that the
opposite order is prevailing. The homily is the
touchstone to measure the pastor’s proximity and
ability to meet his people, because those who preach
must recognize the heart of their community and must
be able to see where the desire for God is lively
and ardent. The message of the Gospel, therefore, is
not to be reduced to some aspects that, although
relevant, on their own do not show the heart of the
message of Jesus Christ.”
strong leadership and
support to enhance the work
of the local agencies in
their efforts to reduce
poverty, support families,
and empower communities.
Saint Mary’s Dining Room
An interfaith organization
serving the needs of
Stockton's poor and homeless
by providing food, medical
care and clothing.
Red Rhino Orphanage Project
The Red Rhino Orphanage
Project’s mission is to
house and educate some of
the most desperate and
unfortunate children in
Kenya, enabling them to
become contributing members
of society and leaders of
the next generation
Your Local Catholic Parish
present themselves from
youth ministry to liturgy.
Pregnant and Need
Selected Quotes from Church Documents
Openness to life is at the centre of true development. When a
society moves towards the denial or suppression of
life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary
motivation and energy to strive for man's true good.
If personal and social sensitivity towards the
acceptance of a new life is lost, then other forms
of acceptance that are valuable for society also
wither away. The acceptance of life strengthens
moral fiber and makes people capable of mutual help.
By cultivating openness to life, wealthy peoples can
better understand the needs of poor ones, they can
avoid employing huge economic and intellectual
resources to satisfy the selfish desires of their
own citizens, and instead, they can promote virtuous
action within the perspective of production that is
morally sound and marked by solidarity, respecting
the fundamental right to life of every people and
“Caritas In Veritate” Encyclical of Pope Benedict
But responsibility likewise falls on the legislators
who have promoted and approved abortion laws, and, to the extent that they
have a say in the matter, on the administrators of the health-care centers
where abortions are performed. … In this sense abortion goes beyond the
responsibility of individuals and beyond the harm done to them, and takes on
a distinctly social dimension. It is a most serious wound inflicted on
society and its culture by the very people who ought to be society’s
promoters and defenders.
Pope John Paul II,
Evangelium vitae (1995), no. 59.
When a parliamentary or social majority decrees that
it is legal, at least under certain conditions, to kill unborn human life,
is it not really making a ‘tyrannical’ decision with regard to the weakest
and most defenseless of human beings?....While public authority can
sometimes choose not to put a stop to something which – were it prohibited –
would cause more serious harm, it can never presume to legitimize as a right
of individuals – even if they are the majority of the members of society –
an offense against other persons caused by the disregard of so fundamental a
right as the right to life.
Id., nos. 70, 71.
Laws which legitimize the direct killing of innocent
human beings through abortion or euthanasia are in complete opposition to
the inviolable right to life proper to every individual; they thus deny the
equality of everyone before the law.
Id., no. 72.
Utilitarianism is a civilization of production and
of use, a civilization of "things" and not of "persons", a civilization in
which persons are used in the same way as things are used. In the context of
a civilization of use, woman can become an object for man, children a
hindrance to parents, the family an institution obstructing the freedom of
its members. To be convinced that this is the case, one need only look at
certain sexual education programmes introduced into the schools, often
notwithstanding the disagreement and even the protests of many parents; or
pro-abortion tendencies which vainly try to hide behind the so-called "right
to choose" ("pro-choice") on the part of both spouses, and in particular on
the part of the woman.
Pope John Paul II,
Letter to Families, February 2, 1994, no. 13
On “social sin”:
Also social is every sin against the rights of the
human person, beginning with the right to life and including the life of the
unborn or against a person's physical integrity…The term social can be
applied to sins of commission or omission-on the part of political, economic
or trade union leaders, who though in a position to do so, do not work
diligently and wisely for the improvement and transformation of society
according to the requirements and potential of the given historic
moment…Whenever the church speaks of situations of sin or when the condemns
as social sins certain situations or the collective behavior of certain
social groups, big or small, or even of whole nations and blocs of nations,
she knows and she proclaims that such cases of social sin are the result of
the accumulation and concentration of many personal sins. It is a case of
the very personal sins of those who cause or support evil or who exploit it;
of those who are in a position to avoid, eliminate or at least limit certain
social evils but who fail to do so out of laziness, fear or the conspiracy
of silence, through secret complicity or indifference; of those who take
refuge in the supposed impossibility of changing the world and also of those
who sidestep the effort and sacrifice required, producing specious reasons
of a higher order. The real responsibility, then, lies with individuals.
Pope John Paul II,
Reconciliation and Penance (1984), no. 16
is true that it is not the task of the law to choose
between points of view or to impose one rather than
another. But the life of the child takes precedence
over all opinions. One cannot invoke freedom of
thought to destroy this life…
The role of law is not to record what is done, but
to help in promoting improvement. It is at all times
the task of the State to preserve each person's
rights and to protect the weakest. In order to do so
the State will have to right many wrongs. The law is
not obliged to sanction everything, but it cannot
act contrary to a law which is deeper and more
majestic than any human law: the natural law
engraved in men's hearts by the Creator as a norm
which reason clarifies and strives to formulate
properly, and which one must always struggle to
understand better, but which it is always wrong to
contradict. Human law can abstain from punishment,
but it cannot declare to be right what would be
opposed to the natural law, for this opposition
suffices to give the assurance that a law is not a
law at all…
It must in any case be clearly understood that
whatever may be laid down by civil law in this
matter, man can never obey a law which is in itself
immoral, and such is the case of a law which would
admit in principle the liceity of abortion. Nor can
he take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of
such a law, or vote for it. Moreover, he may not
collaborate in its application.
Physician Assisted Suicide
Statement of the California
Catholic Conference on Legalized
October 5, 2015
The Bishops of California, have issued the following
statement after Governor Brown signed ABx2-15
(Eggman) the End-of-Life Option Act:“The
physician-assisted suicide legislation (ABx2-15)
signed today by Governor Brown makes it legal to
prescribe a lethal dose of drugs to assist
terminally ill patients to take their own life.
This law stands in direct contradiction to
providing compassionate, quality care for those
facing a terminal illness.
“All 48 Catholic hospitals in California provide
excellent palliative care services as all medical
facilities for terminally ill patients should but
often do not. As Catholic Bishops in California we
join hands with the disability rights groups,
physicians, other health care professionals, and
advocates for the elderly in opposing
physician-assisted suicide as the wrong way to
advance the human dignity for those facing a
“Pope Francis has warned us about our "throw away
culture." Have we become so callous in protecting
the sacredness of life that we easily approve of a
physician handing over a lethal dose of drugs to
someone to end their life at their most vulnerable
moment when they most need to be cared for with love
“We are particularly disappointed that the very real
concerns and risks posed to our brothers and sisters
in vulnerable communities of the disabled and
elderly have been consistently ignored by our
state’s elected officials. In a health care
system grappling with constantly escalating costs,
the elderly and disabled are in great peril now that
assisted suicide has become legal. Application
of such a law elsewhere shows that the option to
offer the low-cost alternative of lethal drugs
instead of proper medical care is a temptation not
“For vulnerable people, this isn’t compassion.
There’s nothing in this law that supports or
promotes the common good. This bill does
nothing to validate the lives of the vulnerable.
If anything, this bill says just the opposite and
only serves to increase their emotional burden.
And it facilitates subtle but potent pressures on
the elderly and the disabled to end their lives
rather than become a financial or emotional burden
on their children.
“Nothing illustrates what is wrong with this bill
more than how it got to Governor Brown’s desk having
failed to even get out of committee in the normal
legislative process. In a special legislative
session called to help fix a $1 billion gap in Medi-Cal
funding and other health-financing issues, the
Legislature and Governor did not address the
problems nor offer ways to bring down the cost of
healthcare. Millions of people on Medi-Cal are
still not eligible for palliative or other
‘end-of-life care.’ Instead, lawmakers’
solution to bringing down health care costs is to
allow physicians to end a person’s life. This
will adversely affect the poor, as those with
resources will always have access to palliative
care. This is not compassion.
“The California Catholic Conference has been very
proud to work with Californians Against Assisted
Suicide and its partners from the disability-rights
community, advocates for the elderly, physicians’
groups and other health care professionals during
the debate on physician-assisted suicide. We
thank all these members and the thousands of
Catholics throughout the state who expressed their
opposition for their outstanding work and we will
continue to stand with them in efforts to protect
the most vulnerable Californians.”
Catholic Rites and Churches
having been lifted up from the earth has drawn all
men to Himself. Rising from the dead He sent His
life–giving Spirit upon His disciples and through
Him has established His Body which is the Church as
the universal sacrament of salvation. Sitting at the
right hand of the Father, He is continually active
in the world that He might lead men to the Church
and through it join them to Himself and that He
might make them partakers of His glorious life by
nourishing them with His own Body and Blood.
[Vatican Council II, Dogmatic Constitution on the
Church Lumen Gentium 48]
A Rite represents an
ecclesiastical, or church, tradition about how the
sacraments are to be celebrated. Each of the
sacraments has at its core an essential nature which
must be satisfied for the sacrament to be confected
or realized. This essence – of matter, form and
intention – derives from the divinely revealed
nature of the particular sacrament. It cannot be
changed by the Church. Scripture and Sacred
Tradition, as interpreted by the Magisterium, tells
us what is essential in each of the sacraments (2
When the apostles brought
the Gospel to the major cultural centers of their
day the essential elements of religious practice
were inculturated into those cultures. This means
that the essential elements were clothed in the
symbols and trappings of the particular people, so
that the rituals conveyed the desired spiritual
meaning to that culture. In this way the Church
becomes all things to all men that some might be
saved (1 Cor. 9:22).
There are three major
groupings of Rites based on this initial
transmission of the faith, the Roman, the Antiochian
(Syria) and the Alexandrian (Egypt). Later on the
Byzantine derived as a major Rite from the
Antiochian, under the influence of St. Basil and St.
John Chrysostom. From these four derive the over 20
liturgical Rites present in the Church today.
A Church is an assembly
of the faithful, hierarchically ordered, both in the
entire world – the Catholic Church, or in a
certain territory – a particular Church. To be a
sacrament (a sign) of the Mystical Body of Christ in
the world, a Church must have both a head and
members (Col. 1:18). The sacramental sign of Christ
the Head is the sacred hierarchy – the bishops,
priests and deacons (Eph. 2:19–22). More
specifically, it is the local bishop, with his
priests and deacons gathered around and assisting
him in his office of teaching, sanctifying and
governing (Mt. 28:19–20; Titus 1:4–9). The
sacramental sign of the Mystical Body is the
Christian faithful. Thus the Church of Christ is
fully present sacramentally (by way of a sign)
wherever there is a sign of Christ the Head, a
bishop and those who assist him, and a sign of
Christ's Body, Christian faithful. Each diocese is
therefore a particular Church.
The Church of Christ is
also present sacramentally in ritual Churches that
represent an ecclesiastical tradition of celebrating
the sacraments. They are generally organized under a
Patriarch, who together with the bishops and other
clergy of that ritual Church represent Christ the
Head to the people of that tradition. In some cases
a Rite is completely coincident with a Church. For
example, the Maronite Church with its Patriarch has
a Rite not found in any other Church. In other
cases, such as the Byzantine Rite, several Churches
use the same or a very similar liturgical Rite. For
example, the Ukrainian Catholic Church uses the
Byzantine Rite, but this Rite is also found in other
Catholic Churches, as well as the Eastern Orthodox
Churches not in union with Rome
Finally, the Church of
Christ is sacramentally present in the Universal or
Catholic Church spread over the entire world. It is
identified by the sign of Christ our Rock, the
Bishop of Rome, Successor of St. Peter (Mt. 16:18).
To be Catholic particular Churches and ritual
Churches must be in communion with this Head, just
as the other apostles, and the Churches they
founded, were in communion with Peter (Gal. 1:18).
Through this communion with Peter and his successors
the Church becomes a universal sacrament of
salvation in all times and places, even to the end
of the age (Mt. 28:20).
Western Rites and
Immediately subject to
the Bishop of Rome, the Supreme Pontiff, who
exercises his authority over the liturgy through the
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline
of the Sacraments
ROMAN/LATIN FAMILY OF LITURGICAL RITES
The Church of Rome is the Primatial See of the world
and one of the five Patriarchal Sees of the early
Church (Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch
and Jerusalem). Founded by St. Peter in 42 AD it was
consecrated by the blood of Sts. Peter and Paul
during the persecution of Nero (63–67 AD). It has
maintained a continual existence since then and is
the source of a family of Rites in the West.
Considerable scholarship (such as that of Fr. Louis
Boyer in Eucharist) suggests the close affinity of
the Roman Rite proper with the Jewish prayers of the
synagogue, which also accompanied the Temple
sacrifices. While the origin of the current Rite,
even in the reform of Vatican II, can be traced
directly only to the 4th century, these connections
point to an ancient apostolic tradition brought to
that city that was decidedly Jewish in origin.
After the Council of
Trent it was necessary to consolidate liturgical
doctrine and practice in the face of the
Reformation. Thus, Pope St. Pius V imposed the Rite
of Rome on the Latin Church (that subject to him in
his capacity as Patriarch of the West), allowing
only smaller Western Rites with hundreds of years of
history to remain. Younger Rites of particular
dioceses or regions ceased to exist.
As a consequence of the
Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on
the Sacred Liturgy, Pope Paul VI undertook a reform
of the Mass of the Roman Rite, promulgating a
revised rite with the Missal of 1970. This Missal
has since been modified twice (1975 and 2002). Mass
celebrated in accordance with this missal is the
Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite.
At the time of the
revised Missal's promulgation in 1970 almost all
Catholics assumed that the previous rite, that of
the Missal of 1962, had been abolished. By decision
of the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI this general
assumption has been declared false and the right of
Latin Rite priests to celebrate Mass according to
the former missal has been affirmed (Apostolic
Letter Summorum Pontificum, 7 July 2007). Mass
celebrated in accordance with the Missal of 1962
constitutes the Extraordinary Form of the Roman
• Roman – The
overwhelming majority of Latin Catholics and of
Catholics in general.
– Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Mass celebrated
in accordance with the Missale Romanum of 1970,
promulgated by Pope Paul VI, currently in its third
edition (2002). The vernacular editions of this
Missal, as well as the rites of the other
sacraments, are translated from the Latin typical
editions revised after the Second Vatican Council.
– Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Mass
celebrated in accordance with the Missale Romanum of
1962, promulgated by Blessed Pope John XXIII. The
other sacraments are celebrated according to the
Roman Ritual in force at the time of the Second
Vatican Council. The Extraordinary Form is most
notable for being almost entirely in Latin. In
addition to institutes which have the faculty to
celebrate the Extraordinary Form routinely, such as
the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and the
Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, any
Latin Rite priest may now offer the Mass and other
sacraments in accordance with norms of Summorum
– Anglican Use. Since the 1980s the Holy See has
granted some former Anglican and Episcopal clergy
converting with their parishes the faculty of
celebrating the sacramental rites according to
Anglican forms, doctrinally corrected.
• Mozarabic – The Rite of the Iberian peninsula
(Spain and Portugal) known from at least the 6th
century, but probably with roots to the original
evangelization. Beginning in the 11th century it was
generally replaced by the Roman Rite, although it
has remained the Rite of the Cathedral of the
Archdiocese of Toledo, Spain, and six parishes which
sought permission to adhere to it. Its celebration
today is generally semi–private.
• Ambrosian – The Rite of the Archdiocese of Milan,
Italy, thought to be of early origin and probably
consolidated, but not originated, by St. Ambrose.
Pope Paul VI was from this Roman Rite. It continues
to be celebrated in Milan, though not by all
• Bragan – Rite of the Archdiocese of Braga, the
Primatial See of Portugal, it derives from the 12th
century or earlier. It continues to be of occasional
• Dominican – Rite of the Order of Friars Preacher
(OP), founded by St. Dominic in 1215.
• Carmelite – Rite of the Order of Carmel, whose
modern foundation was by St. Berthold c.1154.
• Carthusian – Rite of the Carthusian Order founded
by St. Bruno in 1084.
Eastern Rites and
The Eastern Catholic
Churches have their own hierarchy, system of
governance (synods) and general law, the Code of
Canons for the Eastern Churches. The Supreme Pontiff
exercises his primacy over them through the
Congregation for the Eastern Churches.
ANTIOCHIAN FAMILY OF
The Church of Antioch in
Syria (the ancient Roman Province of Syria) is
considered an apostolic See by virtue of having been
founded by St. Peter. It was one of the ancient
centers of the Church, as the New Testament attests,
and is the source of a family of similar Rites using
the ancient Syriac language (the Semitic dialect
used in Jesus' time and better known as Aramaic).
Its Liturgy is attributed to St. James and the
Church of Jerusalem.
1. WEST SYRIAC
• Maronite – Never separated from Rome. Maronite
Patriarch of Antioch. The liturgical language is
Aramaic. The 3 million Maronites are found in
Lebanon (origin), Cyprus, Egypt, Syria, Israel,
Canada, US, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Australia.
• Syriac – Syriac Catholics who returned to Rome in
1781 from the monophysite heresy. Syriac Patriarch
of Antioch. The 110,000 Syriac Catholics are found
in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Canada and the US.
• Malankarese – Catholics from the South of India
evangelized by St. Thomas, uses the West Syriac
liturgy. Reunited with Rome in 1930. Liturgical
languages today are West Syriac and Malayalam. The
350,000 Malankarese Catholics are found in India and
2. EAST SYRIAC
• Chaldean – Babylonian Catholics returned to Rome
in 1692 from the Nestorian heresy. Patriarch of
Babylon of the Chaldeans. Liturgical languages are
Syriac and Arabic. The 310,000 Chaldean Catholics
are found in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt,
Turkey and the US.
• Syro–Malabarese – Catholics from Southern India
using the East Syriac liturgy. Returned to Rome in
the 16th century. Liturgical languages are Syriac
and Malayalam. Over 3 million Syro–Malabarese
Catholics can be found in the state of Kerela, in SW
BYZANTINE FAMILY OF
The Church of Constantinople became the political
and religious center of the eastern Roman Empire
after the Emperor Constantine built a new capital
there (324–330) on the site of the ancient town of
Byzantium. Constantinople developed its own
liturgical rite from the Liturgy of St. James, in
one form as modified by St. Basil, and in a more
commonly used form, as modified by St. John
Chrysostom. After 1054, except for brief periods of
reunion, most Byzantine Christians have not been in
communion with Rome. They make up the Orthodox
Churches of the East, whose titular head is the
Patriarch of Constantinople. The Orthodox Churches
are mostly auto–cephalous, meaning self–headed,
united to each other by communion with
Constantinople, which exercises no real authority
over them. They are typically divided into Churches
along nation lines. Those that have returned to
communion with the Holy See are represented among
the Eastern Churches and Rites of the Catholic
Considered either its own Rite or an older version
of the Byzantine. Its exact form is not used by any
other Byzantine Rite. It is composed of Catholics
from the first people to convert as a nation, the
Armenians (N.E. of Turkey), and who returned to
Rome at the time of the Crusades. Patriarch of
Cilicia of the Armenians. The liturgical language is
classical Armenian. The 350,000 Armenian Catholics
are found in Armenia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon,
Turkey, Egypt, Greece, Ukraine, France, Romania,
United States and Argentina. Most Armenians are
Orthodox, not in union with Rome.
• Albanian – Albanian Christians, numbering only
1400 today, who resumed communion with Rome in 1628.
Liturgical language is Albanian. Most Albanian
Christians are Albanian Orthodox.
• Belarussian/Byelorussian – Unknown number of
Belarussians who returned to Rome in the 17th
century. The liturgical language is Old Slavonic.
The faithful can be found in Belarus, as well as
Europe, the Americas and Australia.
• Bulgarian – Bulgarians who returned to Rome in
1861. Liturgical language is Old Slavonic. The
20,000 faithful can be found in Bulgaria. Most
Bulgarian Christians are Bulgarian Orthodox.
• Czech – Czech Catholics of Byzantine Rite
organized into a jurisdiction in 1996.
• Krizevci – Croatian Catholics of Byzantine Rite
who resumed communion with Rome in 1611. The
liturgical language is Old Slavonic. The 50,000
faithful can be found in Croatia and the Americas.
Most Croatians are Roman (Rite) Catholics.
• Greek – Greek Christians who returned to Rome in
1829. The liturgical language is Greek. Only 2500
faithful in Greece, Asia Minor (Turkey) and Europe.
Greek Christians are almost all Orthodox, whose
Patriarch is the Orthodox Patriarch of
• Hungarian – Descendants of Ruthenians who returned
to Rome in 1646. The liturgical languages are Greek,
Hungarian and English. The 300,000 faithful are
found in Hungary, Europe and the Americas.
• Italo–Albanian – Never separated from Rome, these
60,000 Byzantine Rite Catholics are found in Italy,
Sicily and the Americas. The liturgical languages
are Greek and Italo–Albanian.
• Melkite – Catholics from among those separated
from Rome in Syria and Egypt who resumed Communion
with Rome at the time of the Crusades. However,
definitive union only came in the 18th century.
Melkite Greek Patriarch of Damascus. Liturgical
languages are Greek, Arabic, English, Portuguese and
Spanish. The over 1 million Melkite Catholics can be
found in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Canada, US,
Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina and Australia.
• Romanian – Romanians who returned to Rome in 1697.
The liturgical language is Romanian. There are over
1 million Romanian Catholics in Romania, Europe and
the Americas. Most Romanian Christians are Romanian
• Russian – Russians who returned to communion with
Rome in 1905. The liturgical language is Old
Slavonic. An unknown number of the faithful in
Russia, China, the Americas and Australia. Most
Russian Christians are Russian Orthodox, whose
Patriarch is the Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow.
• Ruthenian – Catholics from among those separated
from Rome in Russia, Hungary and Croatia who
reunited with Rome in 1596 (Brest–Litovsk) and 1646
• Slovak – Byzantine Rite Catholics of Slovakian
origin numbering 225,000 and found in Slovakia and
• Ukrainian – Catholics from among those separated
from Rome by the Greek Schism and reunited about
1595. Patriarch or Metropolitan of Lviv. Liturgical
languages are Old Slavonic and the vernacular. The
5.5 million Ukrainian Catholics can be found in
Ukraine, Poland, England, Germany, France, Canada,
US, Brazil, Argentina and Australia. During the
Soviet era Ukrainian Catholics were violently forced
to join the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Their
hierarchy, which continued to exist outside the
homeland, has since been re–established in Ukraine.
ALEXANDRIAN FAMILY OF
The Church of Alexandria in Egypt was one of the
original centers of Christianity, since like Rome
and Antioch it had a large Jewish population which
was the initial object of apostolic evangelization.
Its Liturgy is attributed to St. Mark the
Evangelist, and shows the later influence of the
Byzantine Liturgy, in addition to its unique
• Coptic – Egyptian
Catholics who returned to communion with Rome in
1741. The Patriarch of Alexandria leads the 200,000
faithful of this ritual Church spread throughout
Egypt and the Near East. The liturgical languages
are Coptic (Egyptian) and Arabic. Most Copts are not
• Ethiopian/Abyssinian –
Ethiopian Coptic Christians who returned to Rome in
1846. The liturgical language is Geez. The 200,000
faithful are found in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia,
The Color and Meaning of
During the year, the
priest will wear different colored vestments due to
either the season or the particular reason for
celebration. The guide below provides the reason for
use and what the colors symbolize.
vestments worn by priests and deacons have specific
meanings and are intended to symbolize notonly the
seasons of the liturgical year but the focus of the
specific liturgical celebration, be it a Mass, the
Rite of Marriage or other moment of grace.
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