This weekend we begin the first of four Sundays in Advent. Our Advent theme is “Wake Up and Welcome the Light”. Advent is not only a season of light and darkness as we wait for the coming of Christ, but also a clear signal Christmas is near. Of course, no one needs to tell you that, whether you were busy on Black Friday or Black Thursday or you are neurotic, like me, and started your Christmas shopping in July. We know it is the time for gifts and the season for giving.
Perhaps one of the greatest gifts in my life time has been the work of the Second Vatican Council. This Wednesday, December 4th, we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of its greatest achievement. Fifty years ago this Wednesday, in a landslide vote of 2,147 and four against, the Council, set in motion a reshaping of the way Roman Catholics worship unlike anything tried before.
You may not all remember it, but until 1963 Catholic worship, especially the Sunday mass, was fixed, rubrical, clergy oriented, unchanging and often unintelligible. Our worship was largely stressing external actions and what the priest did with his back to the people “up there”, while the people were passive viewers, and it was all in Latin! Fifty years ago this week the Bishops at Vatican II changed all this. Before long, lay men and women read the scripture for the first time and became Eucharistic Ministers. Catholics received the consecrated bread in their hands and were offered consecrated wine from the cup and a wide variety of Scripture readings were introduced.
Four principles guided the Bishops renewal in worship: 1. Full active participation by everyone as our right and duty; 2. Adaption of worship to local circumstances, especially important in missionary countries; 3. Authority of local Bishops and Bishop’s Conferences to make decisions for local circumstances and culture; and, 4. Bringing worship in line with contemporary special needs, education and maturity of Catholics.
As you may have noticed some of these principles are being challenged, compromised and even reversed today. A dramatic recent example must be the new English translation of the mass for English speaking countries, imposed on us all since 2011.
To celebrate this important work and look at the future we have invited a delightful and outstanding speaker to join us this Friday night at 7:30 pm (in church after the First Friday, 7:00 pm mass). Together we will look at the way we have worshipped and the way we will worship in the future with Fr. David Pettingill. This is an evening not to be missed.
Welcome, Fr. Dave! Don’t miss him!
Advent is also celebrated as a season of women and especially of Mary as we wait for the birth of her new born child. During the four weekend of Advent our homily time will be shared by four women parishioners, once again in recognition of their giftedness and giving.
This week’s homilist is Marcy Fox. Marcy Fox, Ed.D., a member of
Christ the King parish for twenty-seven years, has been a teacher and administrator in the field of Religious Studies in Catholic high schools for over 30 years.
She is also an adjunct professor in the School of education at the University of San Francisco. She currently teaches full time at Carondelet High School in Concord.
Priest Convocation – It’s been three years since the last one! Bishop Barber has asked all parish priests to join him for this year’s Priest Convocation in Napa. We’ll begin this Monday afternoon at 4:00 pm and continue until Thursday at noon. Fr. Timoney, myself and Fr. Vince Cotter plan to be there. It will give us all a chance to look at where the Diocese has been and where it is going next. Be sure to assist us with your prayers.
Brian T. Joyce