Formation for Liturgical Ministries – Instilling the Proper Motivation for Ministry

Formation for Liturgical Ministries –

Instilling the Proper Motivation for Ministry

As part of their formation, those wishing to serve in a liturgical ministry need to learn what they will be expected to do during the celebration of Mass.  For   example, prospective lectors must learn how to find the assigned readings in the Lectionary; the proper way to carry the Book of the Gospels in the opening procession and where to place that book on the altar; how to approach the  pulpit for the reading; how to project their voices to be heard and clearly       understood by the congregation. However, such basic training is not sufficient. Understanding and appreciating the proper motivation for ministry in the liturgy is very important. “Without this understanding and appreciation,         liturgical ministers may simply go through the motions like actors who do not appreciate or understand the roles they are playing” (USCCB, Catechetical   Sunday, 2011)

They also need to understand why they do what they do during the liturgy and how their actions relate to the entire assembly of worshippers. For example, it is not enough for ushers, or collectors to know they are responsible for “finding seats” and “passing the basket.” Such ministers must see themselves as those charged with the responsibility of recognizing their fellow Christians, not just as part of a crowd but as part of the living Body of Christ assembled to hear God’s Word and to share his life.

Liturgical ministry formation must also include an examination of motivation. Liturgical ministers should be motivated by a love of God and a love of neighbor. They need to be motivated by a desire to imitate the love and service of Jesus Christ who “did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt 20:28). Whether bishop, priest, or deacon; whether the extraordinary minister of Holy Communion or lector; whether music director, cantor or choir member; whether altar server or MC, all need the proper motivation if they are to bring their ministry to life. 

Fr. Joseph Ayinpuusa ~ Parochial Vicar

Formation and On-going formation for Liturgical Ministries

Formation and On-going formation for Liturgical Ministries

To be effective in their respective roles, initial and continuous formation of liturgical ministers is very vital. While each minister needs to have adequate knowledge and understanding of their respective ministries within the liturgy, a general understanding of the liturgy as a whole is necessary.

To begin with, liturgical ministers need to have a deeper understanding of the Mass, as “the summit toward which the activity of the Church is             directed;” and “the fount from which all the Church’s power flow’s (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy [CSL] no. 10.)  They should be made to understand and appreciate the Mass as “the primary way the Church gives praise and thanks to God; to recognize the ways Christ is present in the Mass; and to realize that, in receiving Holy Communion, we become what we receive, namely, ‘a holy communion’ sent forth to transform the world.”  (USCCB, Catechetical Sunday, 2011).

Liturgical ministers also need to understand the basic structure of the Mass. For many people, the Mass seems to be a series of unrelated actions and rituals that eventually culminate in the reception of Holy Communion.  However, while the Mass consists in some sense of two parts, namely the  Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, these two are so closely interconnected that they form but one single act of worship.  (CSL no. 56) Each minister in their respective ministries may play a unique role in the liturgy, but the various ministries in the liturgy are related. The different ministries in the liturgy are like different parts of one body, a dysfunction of one ministry negatively impacts the entire liturgy. Hence, all liturgical ministers need to have an understanding of the liturgy, an appreciation of their particular ministry and its relationship to the other ministries in the Mass.

Developing a deeper understanding of the Mass, however, will not happen in one training session; it can only happen over time. Hence, the need for ongoing formation of our lay liturgical ministers.

 Fr. Joseph Ayinpuusa ~ Parochial Vicar

Lay Liturgical ministers - called to be Instruments of Christ’ Real Presence

Lay Liturgical ministers - called to be Instruments of Christ’ Real Presence

Since Vatican II, our Church has been teaching us that those who come together for the Liturgy cannot simply be spectators. We who attend Mass, the Assembly, are asked to fully participate in the Liturgy, consciously and actively. Active participation means listening carefully, responding meaningfully, singing robustly, and allowing our spirits to be nourished through the Eucharist. Active participation also means that we are Christ to one another in the Mass.

In addition to the ordained ministries of bishop, priest, and deacon, lay people are blessed with talents and called forth by God to share those gifts for the benefit of the church. Through Baptism the faithful share in Christ’s mission and in his holy priesthood. The presider cannot do all that needs to be done during a liturgy so that it is a beautiful offering of praise and sacrifice to God. By using their skills and talents to help, Liturgical Ministers share in Christ’s priesthood. Through the presider and through them, in their different roles, Jesus is revealed. So, Liturgical Ministers, both ordained and non-ordained, are called by God to be instruments of Christ's Real Presence.

Lay (non-ordained) Ministries within liturgical worship are not simply tasks to be performed. They are actions in the service of God and his assembled people, fulfilling the instruction and example of Christ. Hence, Liturgical Ministers have a special opportunity to be Christ to those assembled by their acts of service within the Mass. By welcoming as ushers, by proclaiming the Word as lectors, by assisting as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and by serving the celebrant as MCs. and Altar Servers, lay liturgical ministers are Christ present sacramentally.

For effective service, however, each role to be fulfilled is to be accomplished by individuals possessing the proper skills and having received appropriate formation - instruction and preparation.

Fr. Joseph Ayinpuusa ~ Parochial Vicar

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

All Liturgical celebrations, especially the celebration of the Eucharistic Liturgy, are celebrations of the whole Church. They are not private functions. The Church is the “sacrament of unity:  the holy people united and arranged under their bishops. Therefore, liturgical services pertain to the whole Body of the Church” - Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (CSL 26).

The key Christian ministries are the ordained ministries (Bishop, Priest, and Deacon) but, through Baptism, all the People of God share in the life of Christ and have a responsibility to take part in Christian ministry in some way. “The Church earnestly desires that all the faithful be led to that full, conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations called for by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation … is their right and duty by reason of their baptism” (CSL 1963 n. 14).

There are numerous ministries in which the People of God can participate. There are individual ministries who serve all the faithful by executing different functions. These functions are integral and necessary parts for the liturgy to be performed in a dignified and reverent manner, and for respecting the nature, shape, and dynamics of the liturgy. These ministries may include Bishop/Priest (Main Celebrant), Deacon, MC, Altar Servers, Extraordinary  Ministers of Holy Communion, Lectors, Ushers, Music Ministers (choir/cantor), etc. 

All liturgical ministers exist for the service of the Body of Christ, the People of God, the assembly gathered in God’s name. Although serving in any of these ministries should be a source of joy and satisfaction for individual people, these ministries exist for the benefit and service of the Church and not for individual or personal piety, spiritual growth, or status. As such, these ministries are regulated by Church and Liturgical law and are submitted to the authority of the Bishop and the local Pastor (USCCB).

Fr. Joseph Ayinpuusa ~ Parochial Vicar

Hospitality in Sacred Scripture

Hospitality in Sacred Scripture

On a Sunday when the readings focus our attention on hospitality, the first pillar of stewardship, we might take home the following passages and reflection on one or two during the week:

Genesis 18:2-4: “Looking up, he saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them; and bowing to the ground, he said: “Sir, if it pleases you, do not go on past your servant. 4Let some  water be brought, that you may bathe your feet, and then rest under the tree.”

Psalm 15: The Response to the Psalm answers the question of who shall live in the presence of the Lord: “He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.”

Lk.10:38: “As they continued their journey, he [Jesus] entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.”

“The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt:  I am the Lord your God.” -Lev 19:34

Jesus identifies himself with those who are strangers to us - “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” -Matt 25:35

“Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality.” -Rom 12:13

“Practice hospitality ungrudgingly to one another.” -1 Peter 4:9

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” -Hebrews 13:2

Our Christian witness is reflected in how we treat one another - “By this all men will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.” -John 13:35

As you reflect on these passages, ask yourself how you might be a better hospitality minister in the parish.

Monsignor John S. Mbinda

One Community Center and Hospitality

One Community Center and Hospitality

The first noticeable thing one notices at Starbuck upon entrance is a greeting and welcome! Immediately, one is made to feel at home and valued. As the Construction of our One Community Center advanced, it is time to examine our Hospitality Ministry as a way of life. There is a banner on our campus that reads,  “St. John Apostle & Evangelist Church, a place to feel at home.” We consider our entire campus as a space of Aloha and welcome.

At the beginning of our 5-year plan, we started Aloha Hospitality Ministry in order to extend hospitality from the parking lot to the pews. For a while, we had had our parking lot greeters with yellow jackets on the parking lot waiting to welcome all newcomers, parishioners, and visitors. Parishioners arriving in the rain were met with a smile and escorted with an umbrella all the way to the church. If we are committed to hospitality as a way of life, we need to resume that parking lot ministry. We must not give up, but encourage each other by coming forward to serve in the parish.

Our One Community Center will be a space where we extend warm  Aloha and hospitality to all who take part in our events. Therefore, we will need to establish a welcome desk inside our community center where event guests will be welcomed and register for the event.

In order to be more effective in our Aloha and Hospitality Ministry, we will have to use more creative ways to make visitors feel welcome. For example, we could provide welcome cards at the registration desk as visitors arrive for any event. More attention will need to be given to people with disabilities and seniors by giving the extra care they need.

Monsignor John S. Mbinda

OCC Capital Construction and Campaign Update Snapshots

OCC Capital Construction and Campaign Update Snapshots

In the bulletin of June 15/16, was an insert with a recap on the town hall meetings of June 3 and 8. Since there were many items in that insert, here is a snapshot on the OCC construction and capital campaign.

$2,500,000 Parish Goal


$2,200,000 Actual


Construction: Started Nov 2018   

  • On budget: $6M (was $6.5M)
  • On time: Roof raised – June 2019
  • Estimated completion: Dec 2019
  • Dedication: December 21, 2019                                                                                                     

Capital Campaign, Parish:  

  • Parish Goal: $2.5M
  • Thermometer: $2.2M
  • Anonymous Donor: $750K
  • Next $250K possibly December 2019.
  • Capital campaign officially ends on December 21, 2019.

 Capital Campaign, Foundations:

  • Atherton Foundation - $75K Closed!
  • Cooke, CPB (Jun 2019) - $10K Closed
  • Weinberg- pending grant submission in August 2019.

 Capital Campaign, Next Steps:

  • Launch “Raise the Roof” Campaign: July
  • Launch “Memorial Tile” Campaign: July
  • Finalize Donor Recognition Plan: August
  • Solicit neighborhood businesses: August/September

 Monsignor John S. Mbinda

Leadership Transition and Implications

Leadership Transition and Implications

In the bulletin of last Sunday was inserted a summary of the two townhall meeting we had in June. This article concerns itself with only one aspect, namely, leadership transition and the implications for our parish life going forward.

Beginning July 1, 2019, our parish will initiate a process of well thought out leadership transition. This process requires all new leaders and staff give the lead to the rest of parishioners. The organization chart below gives an idea of who is who in the new leadership.

As you can see from this new organization chart, the leadership transition means new leadership on the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) as well as in other ministries. One of the implications is that all parishes have to follow the new PPC diocesan norms that stipulate membership on the PPC. Under these new diocesan norms, the term of service as PPC chair as well as all ministry is clearer than before. As of July 1, all ministry chairs who wish to continue as leaders will only do so as vice-chairs for one term of one year. Then a new vice-chair will come in and transition as the new chair after two years. At that point, the chair will become vice chair and exit in one year. That will be the new pattern of transition as we go forward. Please be familiar with our parish new leadership and talk to them if you have a question about their team. Both the Preschool Board and the Parish  Planning & Building Team (PPBC) do not report to the PPC.

Monsignor John S. Mbinda

The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ


The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Corpus Christi – Background History

As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most   Holy Body and Blood of Christ also known as Corpus Christi in Latin, it is important to know its background. The feast owes its origins to St. Juliana, a nun in Liege, Belgium. St. Juliana at an early age developed her devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and was inspired to start a feast in honor of the Holy Eucharist.   However, long before St. Juliana, the   Catholic Church had a rich theological tradition on the Holy Eucharist leading to its devotion. St. Thomas Aquinas considered the Holy Eucharist as the greatest of all Sacraments (cf. Summa, III:65,3).

Pope Urban IV (1261-1264), issued a decree in September 4, 1264, instituting the Solemnity of Corpus Christi for the Universal Church. The Pope also asked the esteemed Dominican, theologian St. Thomas Aquinas to write the prayers for the proper of the Holy Mass, as well as several hymns to enhance the beauty of the feast of Corpus Christi. Among the text of the hymns prepared by St. Thomas Aquinas were the Pange Lingua, which we sing during the transfer of the Holy Eucharist to the altar of repose on Holy Thursday; the O Salutaris Hostia which we use at the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament; the Tantum Ergo, taken from the Pange Lingua, which we normally use at Benediction; and the Lauda Sion, which is the optional Sequence used on the feast of Corpus Christi before the Gospel Acclamation. St. Thomas Aquinas also composed the classic Panis Angelicus, a rendition of which is a favorite wedding hymn. As we celebrate Corpus Christi this Sunday, we are rooted in a long tradition, wherein the genius of Catholicism art, beauty, and truth blend so well together.

Happy Feast of Corpus Christi! 

Monsignor John S. Mbinda

The Holy Trinity: Center of Our Faith

The Holy Trinity: Center of Our Faith

The Holy Trinity is the center of our Catholic faith. That is why we begin and end all our prayers "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit". This prayer leads us into the mystery of, the Most Holy Trinity. One of the optional greetings used at the beginning of each Mass sums up the mystery of the Holy Trinity: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you." (2 Cor. 13:14) The Solemnity of the Holy Trinity helps us to affirm our central truth and faith in One God: the Father (who creates), the Son (who redeems) and the Holy Spirit (who sanctifies, unifies and reconciles).

In his teaching, Jesus gradually reveals to his disciples the mystery of being totally united with the Father. One is reminded of the conversation between Jesus and Philip in St. John's Gospel, where Philip wanted Jesus to show them the Father. Jesus replied to him: "You must believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me" (Jn. 14:11.) The conversation with Nicodemus in the Gospel this Sunday implies that out of love the Father sent the Son, the bearer of the Holy Spirit, the source of life. This communion with the Father is the goal of our extraordinary mission on earth.

The Holy Trinity is not just a subject for theological speculation on the three divine persons in One God. The Holy Trinity is not so much about the awesomeness of God, but about an awesome lover who draws us into communion with Him. The Holy Trinity is a life of communion to be lived, shared and celebrated liturgically. Therefore, we need to go beyond talking about love, communion, sharing and putting that into practice by being instruments of reconciliation, mercy, and communion. As one bishop put it jokingly, the reason why God in creating us does not put us directly into heaven is because if He did so, we would mess life up there! Our life here on earth is a time to practice our stewardship in concrete ways by sharing, our time, talent and treasure and living in communion with the people God has given us on our journey to heaven.

Monsignor John S. Mbinda