The Worship Commission of Saint Michael Church

Called to Worship, Called to Serve



    The Eucharist Builds the Church

    The Second Vatican Council teaches that the celebration of the Eucharist is at the centre of the process of the Church’s growth. After stating that “the Church, as the Kingdom of Christ already present in mystery, grows visibly in the world through the power of God”,35 then, as if in answer to the question: “How does the Church grow?”, the Council adds: “as often as the sacrifice of the Cross by which ‘Christ our pasch is sacrificed’ (1 Cor 5:7) is celebrated on the altar, the work of our redemption is carried out. At the same time in the sacrament of the Eucharistic bread, the unity of the faithful, who form one body in Christ (cf. 1 Cor 10:17), is both expressed and brought about”.

    A causal influence of the Eucharist is present at the Church’s very origins. The Evangelists specify that it was the Twelve, the Apostles, who gathered with Jesus at the Last Supper (cf. Mt 26:20; Mk 14:17; Lk 22:14). This is a detail of notable importance, for the Apostles “were both the seeds of the new Israel and the beginning of the sacred hierarchy”.37 By offering them his body and his blood as food, Christ mysteriously involved them in the sacrifice which would be completed later on Calvary. By analogy with the Covenant of Mount Sinai, sealed by sacrifice and the sprinkling of blood,38 the actions and words of Jesus at the Last Supper laid the foundations of the new messianic community, the People of the New Covenant.

    The Apostles, by accepting in the Upper Room Jesus’ invitation: “Take, eat”, “Drink of it, all of you” (Mt 26:26-27), entered for the first time into sacramental communion with him. From that time forward, until the end of the age, the Church is built up through sacramental communion with the Son of God who was sac- rificed for our sake: “Do this is remembrance of me… Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me” (1 Cor 11:24-25; cf. Lk 22:19).

    Incorporation into Christ, which is brought about by Baptism, is constantly renewed and consolidated by sharing in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, especially by that full sharing which takes place in sacramental communion. We can say not only that each of us receives Christ, but also that Christ receives each of us. He enters into friendship with us: “You are my friends” (Jn 15:14). Indeed, it is because of him that we have life: “He who eats me will live because of me” (Jn 6:57). Eucharistic communion brings about in a sublime way the mutual “abiding” of Christ and each of his followers: “Abide in me, and I in you” (Jn 15:4).

    By its union with Christ, the People of the New Covenant, far from closing in upon itself, becomes a “sacrament” for humanity,39 a sign and instrument of the salvation achieved by Christ, the light of the world and the salt of the earth (cf. Mt 5:13-16), for the redemption of all.40The Church’s mission stands in continuity with the mission of Christ: “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you” (Jn 20:21). From the perpetuation of the sacrifice of the Cross and her communion with the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist, the Church draws the spiritual power needed to carry out her mission. The Eucharist thus appears as both the source and the summit of all evangelization, since its goal is the communion of mankind with Christ and in him with the Father and the Holy Spirit.41

    Eucharistic communion also confirms the Church in her unity as the body of Christ. Saint Paul refers to this unifying power of participation in the banquet of the Eucharist when he writes to the Corinthians: “The bread which we break, is it not a communion in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Cor 10:16-17). Saint John Chrysostom’s commentary on these words is profound and perceptive: “For what is the bread? It is the body of Christ. And what do those who receive it become? The Body of Christ – not many bodies but one body. For as bread is completely one, though made of up many grains of wheat, and these, albeit unseen, remain nonetheless present, in such a way that their difference is not apparent since they have been made a perfect whole, so too are we mutually joined to one another and together united with Christ”.42 The argument is compelling: our union with Christ, which is a gift and grace for each of us, makes it possible for us, in him, to share in the unity of his body which is the Church. The Eucharist reinforces the incorporation into Christ which took place in Baptism though the gift of the Spirit (cf. 1 Cor 12:13, 27).

    The joint and inseparable activity of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, which is at the origin of the Church, of her consolidation and her continued life, is at work in the Eucharist. This was clearly evident to the author of the Liturgy of Saint James: in the epiclesis of the Anaphora, God the Father is asked to send the Holy Spirit upon the faithful and upon the offerings, so that the body and blood of Christ “may be a help to all those who partake of it … for the sanctification of their souls and bodies”.43 The Church is fortified by the divine Paraclete through the sanctification of the faithful in the Eucharist.

    The gift of Christ and his Spirit which we receive in Eucharistic communion superabundantly fulfils the yearning for fraternal unity deep- ly rooted in the human heart; at the same time it elevates the experience of fraternity already present in our common sharing at the same Eucharistic table to a degree which far surpasses that of the simple human experience of sharing a meal. Through her communion with the body of Christ the Church comes to be ever more profoundly “in Christ in the nature of a sacrament, that is, a sign and instrument of intimate unity with God and of the unity of the whole human race”.44

    The seeds of disunity, which daily experience shows to be so deeply rooted in humanity as a result of sin, are countered by the unifying power of the body of Christ. The Eucharist, precisely by building up the Church, creates human community.

    The worship of the Eucharist outside of the Mass is of inestimable value for the life of the Church. This worship is strictly linked to the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. The presence of Christ under the sacred species reserved after Mass-a presence which lasts as long as the species of bread and of wine remain 45-derives from the celebration of the sacrifice and is directed towards communion, both sacramental and spiritual.46 It is the responsibility of Pastors to encourage, also by their personal witness, the practice of Eucharistic adoration, and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in particular, as well as prayer of adoration before Christ present under the Eucharistic species.47

    It is pleasant to spend time with him, to lie close to his breast like the Beloved Disciple (cf. Jn 13:25) and to feel the infinite love present in his heart. If in our time Christians must be distinguished above all by the “art of prayer”,48 how can we not feel a renewed need to spend time in spiritual converse, in silent adoration, in heartfelt love before Christ present in the Most Holy Sacrament? How often, dear brother and sisters, have I experienced this, and drawn from it strength, consolation and support!

    This practice, repeatedly praised and recommended by the Magisterium,49 is supported by the example of many saints. Particularly outstanding in this regard was Saint Alphonsus Liguori, who wrote: “Of all devotions, that of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest after the sacraments, the one dearest to God and the one most helpful to us”.50 The Eucharist is a priceless treasure: by not only celebrating it but also by praying before it outside of Mass we are enabled to make contact with the very wellspring of grace. A Christian community desirous of contemplating the face of Christ in the spirit which I proposed in the Apostolic Letters Novo Millennio Ineunte and Rosarium Virginis Mariae cannot fail also to develop this aspect of Eucharistic worship, which prolongs and increases the fruits of our communion in the body and blood of the Lord.

    1“In the course of the day the faithful should not omit visiting the Blessed Sacrament, which in accordance with liturgical law must be reserved in churches with great reverence in a prominent place. Such visits are a sign of gratitude, an expression of love and an acknowledgment of the Lord’s presence”: Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Mysterium Fidei (3 September 1965): AAS 57 (1965), 771.


July 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What’s Different About Lent? (by Chris Orf)


What’s Different About Lent?


For many of us, Lent is the season we remember from our childhood as the season when we give up something, or the season of Friday Fish Fry.  I remember that my elementary school served grilled cheese and tomato soup for our Friday Lenten lunch.  One thing was certain, Lent was different from those other seasons.


A few things occur during Lent.  The catechumens enter the final stages of preparation for full membership into our faith.  This is a big step for them.  It is a time when they make the decision to become full members of the Catholic Church.  They take this step in front of the St. Michael community so that we may support them and celebrate with them.  Lent is also a time when we prepare ourselves to celebrate the paschal mystery.  It’s also a season that we concentrate on our core beliefs – those things that are really important to us.  It’s the time when we are told to turn away from sin and return to God.  This is a season of cleansing.


It is tradition for some parishes to remove the water from the Baptismal Font during Lent.  Some churches even incorporate sand and cactus plants to give the sense of the desert.  However, in the readings on the First Sunday of Lent this year, we hear of the flood waters that destroyed all on earth and cleansed it in preparation for its new beginning.  The presence of the baptismal water is also a constant reminder of our unity with every baptized person. As we dip into the waters and bless ourselves we not only remember our own baptism, but are in union with each other.  These simple waters connect us to our heritage in the faith – not only those cleansing waters of the great flood, but those waters of the River Jordan in which Jesus was baptized.  It is also appropriate for infant baptisms to wait until the Easter season to turn our focus to the catechumens’ preparation for initiation.  This has been a tradition at St. Michael Church for years with the exception of emergency baptism, of course.


During Lent, we do give up couple of liturgical things.  We stop singing “Alleluia” until Easter.  The “Glory to God” is omitted from the Mass except for a couple big feasts.  The décor is sparse.  Musically, all preludes and postludes will be omitted for the season.  Since Lent is also a season of repentance and returning to God, we’ll sing the “Kyrie” (the Penitential Rite) bringing more emphasis to that part of the Mass.  When the “Glory to God” “Alleluia” and décor do return to our liturgies, they bring with them the celebration of the Resurrection at the great Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday.


So, there are a few very simple things that are different about this season of Lent.


Enjoy the season!


Christopher Orf

Director of Music and Liturgy

St. Michael Church




February 23, 2009 Posted by | Liturgies | Leave a comment

DID YOU KNOW: Ash Wednesday

Why Ashes on Ash Wednesday?



 According to the New Catholic Encyclopedia, ashes are symbolic of mortality, mourning and penance.

The Christian use of ashes as a sign of penance seems to have been taken from Jewish tradition. Originally, ashes were signs of private penance, but then became part of the ritual for public penance.

As early as the 300’s, at the start of Lent, local churches had a ritual for the beginning of public penance.

Pope Urban II (1088-1099) recommended the custom that all churches receive ashes.

“Ashes were put on the heads of men and the sign of the cross traced with ashes on the foreheads of women, presumably because their heads were covered.”

“In the 11th century there appeared a special prayer for the blessing of ashes. And the 12th century gave rise to the rule that the ashes used on Ash Wednesday are to be made from the palm branches of the previous year.”

February 21, 2009 Posted by | Did You Know? | Leave a comment

DID YOU KNOW? – Mary, Mother of God


January 1 is the Feast of Mary, Mother of God. This is the oldest title of Mary, dating back to the Council of Ephesus in AD 431. The title was designed to safeguard the full divinity of Christ against the Nestorians, who wanted to call Mary only the mother of the Christ. A more recent title for Mary is Mother of the Church. Between them, these two titles indicate the importance that Mary has for Catholics: she is the mother of our Savior and our spiritual mother, birthing us into the Body of Christ by her birth of the Head, Jesus. It is her relation to Jesus and the Church that makes Mary of significance in Catholic theology.


Four aspects of Mary’s life have been made official dogmas of the Church. Besides Mother of God, they are her Perpetual Virginity, her Immaculate Conception, and her Assumption into heaven. Many people often mistake the dogma of the Immaculate Conception as referencing the conception of Jesus, but it actually refers to the conception of Mary, preserved from the taint of original sin, in the womb of her mother Anne.


These dogmas are required belief for Catholics, but it does not mean that they are the only aspects of Mary’s life that are authoritatively taught. Titles of Mary such as Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate have a long history in the teaching of the Church’s ordinary Magesterium.


Catholics do not worship Mary; she is not God. The Church distinguishes between latria, the adoration and worship due to God alone, and dulia, the respect, veneration and love we offer to the saints. Mary, as the person most closely associated with Christ and given the highest honor and sanctity by God, is given the highest honor, or hyperdulia.


January 8, 2009 Posted by | Did You Know? | Leave a comment



Advent 2007, the first Simbang Gabi at Saint Michael Church

SIMBANG GABI (seem-BAHNG gah-BEE) is one of the longest and most popular among the Filipino traditions in the country. It is when Catholic churches across the nation start to open their doors shortly before the break of dawn to welcome the faithful to the Simbang Gabi mass.

Simbang Gabi or Mass at Dawn is a nine-day novena to the Blessed Mother. The novena begins December 16 as early as 4 in the morning and culminates with the “Misa de Gallo” on Christmas Eve to welcome the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. In some churches, the panuluyan is reenacted showing the effort of Joseph and Mary to find a suitable birthplace.


Simbang Gabi traces its roots in Mexico when, in 1587, the Pope granted the petition of Fray Diego de Soria, prior of the convent of San Agustin Acolman, to hold Christmas mass outdoors because the Church could not accommodate the huge number of people attending the evening mass.

During the old times, the pre-dawn mass is announced by the ringing of the church bells. In some rural areas, an hour before the start of Simbang Gabi, a brass band plays Christmas music all over the town. It is also believed that parish priests would go far knocking on doors to wake and gather the faithful to attend the misa de gallo. Farmers as well as fishermen wake up early to hear the Gospel before going to their work and ask for the grace of good harvest.


The changing of times does not break the preservation of celebrating Simbang Gabi although it is celebrated in new ways. Still, the tradition of Simbang Gabi continues. Part of it are the colorful lights and lanterns that fill every streets. Beautiful parols are hung in every window. Songs of the season are played everywhere to warm the hearts. Families, friends and even individuals find its way going to the nearest church to attend the nine-day novena. Shortly after the misa de gallo, families gather in their homes to celebrate Noche Buena and feasted on various delicacies like queso de bola, bibingka, puto bungbong, or a drink of salabat or hot chocolate.


Simbang Gabi has become one of the most popular traditions in the country. But it is not just a tradition that is celebrated because we need to do so. It is a significant moment not only because it strengthens relationships among family members but also because it is the time where our faith is intensified. This is the time where we mostly feel the presence of the Lord because it is the spiritual preparation for Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ. It does not matter if one has the stamina to complete the novena or not, what really matters is what is inside the heart. The blessing does not depend on the number of mass attended, but what is important is the disposition of the person who receives the Lord’s blessing.

(Source: The Official Homepage of the Archdiocese of Manila, Philippines)

LANTERN simbang-gabi1

Please check your diocesan sources for the nearest Simbang Gabi event in your area!  Thank you.

December 15, 2008 Posted by | Liturgies | 1 Comment

DID YOU KNOW: Healing?


Every Mass is a celebration in HEALING.  In faith, we receive the Great Physician into our bodies and souls knowing that we will be nourished and healed physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Our Catholic Tradition also invites us to experience God’s presence in a unique way in the Healing Mass.  The service begins with the celebration of the Eucharist.  Then, we are invited to be prayed over individually by the laying of hands and anointing with blessed oil.  There are also opportunities to experience the powerful presence of Christ’s healing love through the Eucharistic procession and the Divine Mercy prayer.  Some people might receive the gift of “rest in the Spirit.”  During his public life, healing was a main aspect of Jesus’ ministry, as it is today, through His Church.  Saint Michael Parish invites you to join in a healing Mass on Saturday, October 4, 2008 at 7:00 PM.  


Is any one among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him
sing praise. Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church,
and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord;
and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and
if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.   (James 5: 13-15)

September 29, 2008 Posted by | Did You Know? | Leave a comment

The Baptismal Font

As a parishioner enters Saint Michael Church, he/she is welcomed by a big marbled baptismal font.  Parishioners that enter the Church all soak their fingers into the font and mark themselves with the sign of their identity – the faith into which they are baptized – in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  The ritual of marking oneself with holy water from the font reaffirms the common bond of the people that worship.  The baptismal font then is a place of unity.

It is interesting and certainly inspiring to see a whole family, or a group of friends, approach the baptismal font together.  Such a holy action transcends the many other visible signs of unity like uniforms and name tags, because as we are blessed by the water from the font, we again acknowledge that all of us are brothers and sisters in the Lord, and members of the one family of Christ. 

next time you enter the worship space, we invite you to take time to appreciate this very beautiful ritual and perhaps even say a short personal prayer like, “My Lord, My Father, I belong to you.  As I make this sign of the cross, keep me united with your family, and help me to remain in your love!”

September 8, 2008 Posted by | The Holy Mass | Leave a comment


VESSELS OF GRACE. The ministries of the Worship Commission gather together in a day of renewal and workshop with Father James Lennon.

The ministries below are among those that are supported and coordinated by the Worship Commission of Saint Michael Church.  If there is any way that we or any of the ministries below can serve you, please call the parish office to direct you to the coordinators.  Thank you very much.

Altar Servers Dedicated, responsible, youth, 5th – 8th grade assist the priest in the celebration of Mass and other worship services: weddings, funerals, confirmation, etc. Periodic meetings will be held for training. This is an excellent way for the young people to be involved in Liturgy, and is a stepping stone to future involvement in Liturgy, such as Eucharistic Ministers and Lectors.

Art & Environment Ministry Responsible for the “atmosphere,” “mood” and “climate” of liturgical celebrations.  A variety of talents are needed.  Imagination, creativity, design, floral arranging, and manpower are welcome.  Volunteers for the Easter and Christmas Seasons are always welcome to assist in the beautification of the church as well as the end of season dismantle of the display.

Bereavement Ministry Assists families in the days immediately following a loved one’s death by providing general pastoral care and also by helping the family plan the funeral liturgy.

Children’s Liturgy of the Word Provides an opportunity for children in Kindergarten through 8th grade attending 9:00 or 10:30 Mass to hear the Sunday readings proclaimed from the Children’s Lectionary and discuss them in an age appropriate way.  Children are invited each week to go to the Parish Center after the opening prayer and re-join their families shortly after the Prayer of the Faithful.  Facilitators are needed to lead these sessions.  Helpers (teens – adults) are needed to accompany the children to, from, and during the sessions.

Eucharistic Adoration Offers a time to adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament on the 1st Tuesday of every month beginning at 8:30am. Volunteers are needed to “keep watch” throughout the day which concludes with Holy Hour and Benediction at 7:00pm.  Sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.

Extraordinary Ministers of Communion Men and women help the priest and deacon to distribute the Body and Blood of Jesus with reverence, dignity, and warm hospitality. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old and are always welcome!

Laundering of Church Linens

Launder albs.

Mass Coordinators Assist at weekend and special liturgies by making sure that everything is set up for the Mass, and making sure that there are enough Extraordinary  Ministers, Ministers of the Word, Ministers of Hospitality, and Altar Servers.  Training is given as needed.

Ministers of Hospitality (Ushers) People who enjoy helping others and have concern for the comfort of the assembly.  In addition to welcoming the community to worship, these ministers tend to those tasks that bring good order to the liturgy.

Ministers of the Word (Lectors) This ministry is open to those interested in proclaiming the Word of God at liturgies and days of celebration.  The lector uses his or her voice, body, and feelings to present the great eternal message proclaimed in Scripture. New volunteers are always welcome!

Ministers to the Sick This ministry offers Christ’s presence and that of St. Michael community by providing spiritual support to the elderly, shut-ins or persons home recuperating from hospital stays.  Members make “at home” visits, offering the Eucharist, and sharing prayer and concern for their well-being.

Ministers to the Sick at the Wheaton Care Center Visit and distribute communion to the residents once every 5-6 weeks.

Music Ministry Music is of preeminent importance in the celebration of our Faith.  It imparts a sense of unity to the assembly and helps set a reverent tone to the seasons of the Liturgical Year.  Please consider lending your talents to enhance our music ministry.

Sewing Baptismal Garments A garment is sewn and then given to the family when their son or daughter is baptized.

August 28, 2008 Posted by | MINISTRIES | Leave a comment

The Holy Mass

Every day, and especially every Sunday, we celebrate the gift of the eucharist that Jesus left the Church through the apostles.  This very rich celebration is the source and summit of our Christian life.

August 28, 2008 Posted by | The Holy Mass | Leave a comment

DID YOU KNOW: Saint Michael?


St. Michael is an archangel! While not closest to the throne of God (the seraphims and cherubims are!), our beloved St. Michael is considered one of the “big kahunas”!

St. Michael becomes the highest of angels because of his humility and it is that humility that destroyed and defeated Lucifer, who was the highest of the angels before its fall.  It is because of Michael’s virtue of humility that he is called “one who is like God”.

St. Michael is the patron saint of artists, police officers, soldiers, radiologists and the sick.

Other important archangels include St. Gabriel (“God is my strength”) and St. Raphael (“God is my health”).

We celebrate the Feast of Archangels including St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael at weekend Masses on September 27th / 28th.

August 28, 2008 Posted by | Did You Know? | Leave a comment