Welcome to the Office of Sacred Worship
Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin
*Gregorian Chant Introit
For audio and
printed music of the Introits for the Church year,
LITURGICAL CALENDAR FOR 2013
here for the 2013 Diocesan Liturgical Calendar
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THE CHURCH BECOMES FULLY VISIBLE IN THE LITURGY
Vatican City, 3 October 2012 (VIS) - The
time dedicated to liturgical prayer in the life of
Christians, especially during Mass, was the central theme
of Benedict XVI's catechesis during his general audience,
held this morning in St. Peter's Square.
Prayer, the Pope explained, "is the
living relationship of the children of God with their
immeasurably good Father, with His Son Jesus Christ and
with the Holy Spirit. Therefore the life of prayer
consists in dwelling habitually in the presence of God and
knowing Him. ... Such communion of life with the One
Triune God is possible through Baptism, by which we are
united to Christ, ... because only in Christ can we
dialogue with God the Father as children".
For Christians prayer means "constantly
gazing at Christ in ways that are ever new", said the Holy
Father. "Yet we must not forget that we discover Christ
and know Him as a living Person in the Church. She is 'His
Body'. ... The unbreakable bond between Christ and the
Church, through the unifying power of love, does not annul
'you' and 'me' but exalts them to their most intense
unity. ... Praying means raising oneself to the heights of
God, by means of a necessary and gradual transformation of
By participating in the liturgy "we make
the language of mother Church our own, we learn to speak
in her and for her. Of course this comes about gradually,
little by little. I must progressively immerse myself into
the words of the Church with my prayers, life and
suffering, with my joy and my thoughts. This is a journey
which transforms us", the Pope said.
The question of "how to pray" is
answered by following the Our Father, the prayer which
Jesus taught us. "We see that its first two words are
'Father' and 'our', and the response then becomes clear: I
learn to pray and I nourish my prayer by addressing myself
to God as Father, and by praying with others, with the
Church, accepting the gift of her words, which little by
little become familiar and rich in meaning. The dialogue
God establishes with each one of us in prayer, and we with
Him, always includes a 'with'. We cannot pray to God
individualistically. In liturgical prayer, especially the
Eucharist, ... in all prayer, we speak not only as single
individuals, but enter into that 'us' which is the
The liturgy, then, "is not some form of
'self-expression' of a community. ... It means entering
into that great living community in which God Himself
nourishes us. The liturgy implies universality", and it
"is important for all Christians to feel that they are
truly part of this universal 'us', which is the foundation
and refuge for the 'me', in the Body of Christ which is
To do this we must accept the logic of
the incarnation of God, Who "came close to us, making
Himself present in history and in human nature. ... This
presence continues in the Church, His Body. The liturgy,
then, is not the recollection of past events but the
living presence of Christ's Paschal Mystery which
transcends and unites time and space".
"It is not the individual priest or
member of the faithful, or the group, which celebrates the
liturgy. Rather, the liturgy is primarily the action of
God through the Church with all her history, her rich
tradition and her creativity. This universality and
fundamental openness, which is specific to all the
liturgy, is one of the reasons for which it cannot be
invented or modified by a single community or by experts,
but must remain faithful to the forms of the universal
The Church becomes fully visible in
the liturgy, the Holy Father concluded, "the act by which
we believe that God enters our lives and we can encounter
Him. The act in which ... He comes to us and we are
illuminated by Him".
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RITE FOR DISTRIBUTING HOLY
here for the "Rite of Distributing Holy Communion
Outside Mass", updated in light of the translation of the
third edition of the Roman
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THE LITURGY, A SCHOOL OF
Vatican City, 26
September 2012 (VIS) - The liturgy as a school of prayer,
as a "special place in which God addresses each one of us
... and awaits our response", was the theme of Benedict
XVI's catechesis during his general audience, held this
morning in St. Peter's Square.
The Pope explained how, in the Catechism
of the Catholic Church, "we read that the word 'liturgy'
originally meant a 'service in the name of/on behalf of
the people'. If Christian theology took this word from the
Greek, clearly it did so thinking of the new People of
God, born of Christ Who opened His arms on the Cross to
unite mankind in the one peace of God; 'service in the
name of the people', a people which exists not of itself
but which has come into being thanks to the Paschal
Mystery of Jesus Christ".
"The Catechism also states that in
Christian tradition, the word 'liturgy' means the
participation of the People of God in the work of God". In
this context Pope Benedict recalled how the document on
the liturgy had been the first fruit of Vatican Council
II. "By beginning with the issue of liturgy, light was
very clearly thrown on the primacy of God, on His absolute
precedence. ... Where the gaze on God is not decisive,
everything becomes disoriented. The fundamental criterion
for the liturgy is that it should be oriented towards God,
in order to ensure we participate in His work.
"Yet, we might ask ourselves", the Holy
Father added, "what is this work of God in which we are
called to participate? ... And what makes the Mystery of
the death and resurrection of Christ, Who brought
salvation, real for me today? The answer is this: the
action of Christ through the Church and the liturgy; in
particular the Sacrament of the Eucharist which causes the
sacrificial offer of the Son of God Who redeemed us to be
present; the Sacrament of Penance in which we pass from
the death induced by sin to new life; and the other
Sacraments which sanctify us".
Quoting again from the Catechism of the
Catholic Church the Pope affirmed that "a sacramental
celebration is a meeting of God's children with their
Father, in Christ and the Holy Spirit; this meeting takes
the form of a dialogue, through actions and words'. Thus",
he explained, "the first requirement for a good liturgical
celebration is that it be prayer and dialogue with God,
first listening then responding. ... Sacred liturgy offers
us the words, it is up to us to enter into their meaning,
absorb them, harmonise ourselves with them. ... One
fundamental and primordial element of dialogue with God in
the liturgy is concordance between what we say with our
mouths and what we carry in our hearts", he said.
The Pope then referred to a particular
moment in which the liturgy calls upon us and helps us to
find such concordance: the celebrant's invitation before
the Eucharistic prayer: "sursum corda", meaning "let us
lift up our hearts"; lift them up, that is, "out of the
mire of our concerns and desires, our worries and our
distraction. Our hearts, the most intimate part of us,
must open meekly to the Word of God and join the prayer of
the Church, in order to be oriented towards God by the
very words we hear and pronounce".
"We celebrate and experience the liturgy
well", the Pope concluded, "only if we maintain an
attitude of prayer, uniting ourselves to the mystery of
Christ and to His dialogue of a Son with His Father. God
Himself teaches us to pray. ... He has given us the right
words with which to address Him, words we find in the
Psalter, in the great prayers of sacred liturgy and in the
Eucharistic celebration itself. Let us pray to the Lord
that we may become increasingly aware of the fact that the
liturgy is the action of God and of man; a prayer that
arises from the Holy Spirit and from us; entirely
addressed to the Father in union with the Son of God made
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ON THE USE OF THE RITUAL BOOK
SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS IN THE ABSENCE OF A PRIEST
arisen recently about the use of the ritual book
Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of
The most concise
summary of legislation surrounding the use of these rites
for the Diocese of La Crosse is found in the 1997 document
“Revised Norms for Leaders of Prayer in the Diocese of La
“If a priest is unavailable due to [a foreseen] illness
or another commitment, and there is no priest available to
lead the parish in the eucharistic action, parishioners
are to attend Mass at a neighboring parish....
Only in the circumstances of a sudden or unforeseen
absence when, with the faithful already assembling, the
pastor or other priest cannot be present for the
celebration of Mass (for example, sudden illness or the
onset of hazardous road conditions that keep a visiting
priest from traveling) should the parish deacon or Leader
of Prayer mark the Lord’s Day with the Liturgy of the Word
and the distribution of Holy Communion…. In the
Diocese of La Crosse, then, Sunday celebrations of the
Word with the distribution of Holy Communion outside Mass
are limited to emergency situations” [emphasis in
Nursing homes and prisons are exceptions to the
emergency-only condition. Deacons and Leaders of
Prayer in the Diocese are trained accordingly.
Questions about the use of
should be directed to the Office of Sacred Worship
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Sunday, July 1 was another great day in the Diocese of La
Crosse, for on this day the Diocesan Televised Mass
apostolate to a great step forward in serving the
homebound: its Mass became closed-captioned.
While the Federal Communications Commission and the
nation’s broadcast stations have long encouraged closed
captioning, the Diocesan Mass (and other non-profits whose
broadcasts met strict conditions) had not been
due to the cost of captioning.
But like many things (not all!), greater access to
more inexpensive technology has made the technical process
It had been an unfortunate irony, in many ways,
that the one program that could benefit the most from a
captioned broadcast—the Sunday Mass to the homebound—was
one of the few that had yet to be so captioned.
Many letters, for many years, had expressed this
very thought; and there are letters even now, just after two weeks of
captioning, that confirm the good of the endeavor.
If you are able, please promote this Televised Mass
to those you know, in your parish or in your family, who
would benefit from the Sunday Morning broadcast.
Current stations and times include:
River, Channel 34, at 6:30 a.m. Sunday.
Claire, Channel 18, at 9:30 a.m. Sunday.
La Crosse, Channel 19, at 9:30 a.m. Sunday.
Marshfield (Public Access), Cable Channel 98, Digital
Channel 989, at 10:30 a.m. & 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
Stevens Point (Public Access), Cable Channel 95, Digital
Channel 984, at Noon and 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Wausau, Channel 9, at 6:30 a.m. Sunday.
Wisconsin Rapids (Public Access), Cable Channel 96,
Digital Channel 985, at 8:30 a.m. Sunday.
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SOME DEEP (LITURGICAL) THOUGHTS BY FR. AIDEN KAVANAUGH
In the last issue of
LaCrosseRoads, I introduced
Fr. Aiden Kavanagh and some of the gems of his 1982 book,
Elements of Rite: A Handbook of Liturgical Style.
Here, for ongoing reflection, are a few more, this time on
liturgy’s inherent structure and order:
Avoid disorder and last-minute makeshift
The history of Christian worship is a story of flight from
disorder and makeshift. Confusion, far more than
formality or informality, bespeaks an obscured Gospel and
obscures it, as 1 Corinthians 11-14 is at pains to point
out. Tradition and a certain good order are
qualities of faithful liturgical worship. (p.12)
The baptismal font speaks of new life
The baptismal area is kept free of rumpled vestments,
cotton wads, stacks of reading material, and folding
chairs. The pool itself is kept clean. It
contains what is called ‘living water’ not because things
grow in it but because it moves to give life to those who
lie in death’s bonds. (p.18-9)
Repetition and rhythm in the liturgy are to be fostered
No rule is more frequently violated by the highly educated
and well-meaning, who seem to think that never having to
repeat anything is a mark of effective communication.
Yet rhythm, which organizes repetition, makes things
memorable, as in music, poetry, rhetoric, architecture,
and the plastic arts no less than in liturgical worship.
Rhythm constantly insinuates, as propagandists know.
It constantly reasserts, as good teachers know.
It constantly forms individuals into units, as demagogues
and cheerleaders know.
It both shrouds and bares meaning which escapes mere
words, as poets know.
It fuses people to their values and forges them to common
purpose, as orators such as Cato, Churchill, and Martin
Luther King knew.
It frees from sound and offers vision
for those who yearn for it, as the preacher of the Sermon
on the Mount knew. (p.28)
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BISHOP CALLAHAN'S PRAYER FOR THE YEAR OF FAITH
and Blessed Face of my Redeemer, Holy Countenance that
brings consolation in the midst of difficulty and
tribulation, may we always recognize You, O Lord, as the
One Who first loves us and calls us to Yourself.
recognize and know Your Voice, the Word, Who awakens in us
our deepest familiarity with Divine comfort—inner peace
and correct vision. Increase our faith, Lord, in
this special time of prayer.
recognizing and hearing, we may proclaim to others our
faith and offer You to them as part of Your own generous
plan and gift. Help us see Your Face in the face of
others and love You in them.
Mary of the New People formed in the Fire of God’s Wisdom,
help us live in the blessed assurance of God’s Love,
confident of His presence even in days that are dark.
power of the Holy Spirit, the Enlightening Voice of Truth,
help us to become holy, and by the abiding presence of
Jesus, lead us to the Kingdom where love is fulfilled and
the Banquet is celebrated in the light of His Face
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THE MAKING OF A SAINT
All of Christian formation—including
and especially the RCIA—is designed to remake fallen men
and women into an image of Jesus Christ: to become a
saint, in other words. For this to happen, parents,
pastors, godparents, catechists, and RCIA directors must
know first of all who and what Jesus is, he who is the
model according to which those on the journey are remade.
What characterizes Jesus? What are those things
which identify and mark him? The tradition has come
to see three principal ways in which Jesus Christ—the one
divine Person in two complete natures—carried out his
saving work: his prophetic office, his priestly
office, and his kingly office. As prophet,
Jesus taught of divine things, showing in his very self
the “plan of the Mystery,” which is God’s design for men,
women, and all creation. As priest, Jesus
showed perfect love, not only on behalf of God to man, but
by reciprocating that love from man to God on Calvary’s
cross. As king, Jesus was at the service of
his own subjects, healing, feeding, and comforting those
in his care.
The characteristics of Jesus become ours through the
sacraments of initiation. In fact, when our faith
speaks of “sacramental character” (especially in the
sacrament of Baptism), it is the character of Jesus, in
this three-fold office, which is meant.
Christian formation—that is, forming people in the image
of Christ—is therefore remaking them (like ourselves!)
according to the character of Christ the prophet, the
character of Christ the priest, and the character of
Christ the king. To one of the Baltimore
Catechism’s most famous questions, “Why did God make
me?”, the response is returned based upon this three-fold
ministry: “To know him [a prophet’s work], to love
him [the action of the priest], and to serve him [the role
of the king] in this life and to be happy with him forever
in the next.”
Accordingly, the Rite for the Christian Initiation of
Adults proscribes a formation model based upon these
three characteristics of Jesus our model. RCIA has
first of all a catechetical or prophetic element.
Here, the Church (through her pastors and catechists)
teaches the truths of the faith to those in formation.
But becoming (or being) a Christian is not simply about
how much one knows, however necessary knowledge is.
For this reason, a second element, the priestly
dimension, is a part of RCIA’s formation process.
Prayer—and lots of it—is found throughout the time of
formation, both liturgical prayer—the Rite of Acceptance,
Blessings, Rite of Election—and devotional prayer—becoming
acquainted with Eucharistic Adoration or the Rosary.
Yet, while “two out of thee ain’t bad” for some, it’s
still not sufficient for one seeking the full stature of
Christ. The kingly dimension, where
candidates become increasingly aware of their obligations
to others, both in the Church and outside of it, is an
An RCIA program needs each of these elements—catechetical,
liturgical, and pastoral—if it is to do justice to Jesus
and those seeking his likeness.
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