Weekly pastor’s post (January 15)

Dear friends,

Well, here we are – well and truly into 2024 and Ordinary Time! I hope you had wonderful Christmas and New Years celebrations. Despite a lingering sore throat, I sang ‘Joy to the World’ as happily as anyone at all of the Nativity Masses! It was a wonderful couple of weeks, both at the parish and with family & friends.

Now that we’re out of the holiday season, I’ve been turning my attention – and hopefully yours too – to the coming implementation of Partners in the Gospel. Though its not super close, change is clearly on the horizon. On July 1, we will be joined in our parish family (currently planned to be Saint Matthew, Saint Mark, and Saint Pius X parishes) and a new pastor & parochial vicar assigned to lead the joined communities & schools.

Though there are many unanswered questions (who will be our priest? what changes will all of this bring? – to name just a couple!), there ARE things we can do now. Most of those involve looking around our community and simply pitching in! As I mention in my letter in this week’s bulletin (see the last page), there are several areas I’ve identified as needing help right away. Please prayerfully consider how you might help with these – or other! – areas in our parish life. Now more than ever, our parish – and later, our parish family – can benefit from your gifts & talents.

yours in Christ,
Father Maurer

January 15 – Today in the United States, we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This federal holiday marks the birth of its namesake. Though it is held on the third Monday of January, this year that lands on his actual birthday! May we take a moment to praise God in pray for his good work – and that of so many whom he inspired – and ask God to continue to change hearts, so that all might recognize the dignity of every person, regardless of race, color, or creed.

January 16 – The 9 Days for Life novena starts today. Though Roe vs. Wade was overturned in 2022 – a year before its 50th anniversary – the work of building a culture of life remains. Until human life is recognized and revered from conception until natural death, we must continue to pray and work for the support of human life & dignity. Consider joining in the 9 Days for Life novena and inviting others to do the same. Check out the daily prayer & reflection for more details.

January 17 – Saint Anthony the Abbot often takes second fiddle to the patron of lost things – but this Anthony came long before him….almost a thousand years before him, in fact! Born in the third century, Saint Anthony eventually embraced a life of asceticism – one that eventually attracted others to embrace his example. He is credited for the establishment of monasticism in both the East and West. Read more about him at Word on Fire.

January 20 – When I was a kid, one of my favorite saints book was the Picture Book of Saints by Father Lawrence Lovasik, S.V.D. I still have fond memories of paging through the stories & images – and I’m delighted that it is still in print! Of the stories, that of Saint Sebastian (whose memorial is today) was one of my favorites. Even after a failed execution attempt (being shot to death….by bow & arrow), he tried to warn Diocletian (the Roman emperor persecuting Christians) of his sins. Though the second effort to execute him succeeded, his martyrdom inspired many. That he is the patron saint of archery is a particularly delightful bit of Catholic humor! Read more about him at uCatholic.

Partners in the Gospel parish session summary (December 9, 2023)

Thank you again to all who participated in our parish input session on the (new!) Parish Family 12 – the proposed parish family of which Saint Mark parish is a part. We had 5tables, with about 50 parishioners participating. Below is a collation of the summary documents from each table.

Full disclosure: due to Father Maurer taking ill shortly after the sessions, this feedback was not submitted by the December 15th deadline – though it was sent to the archdiocese after the new year for consideration after the fact.

Let us together pray for the Partners in the Gospel process, for all of us here in the archdiocese, and for the archbishop.

2023 12 09 Parish Family Input, Parishioners (Saint Mark, Shoreline)

2023 Christmas season Mass schedule

There’s a lot going on at Saint Mark parish for the holidays! Here is our Christmas season schedule for 2023. See the end of this post for a printable schedule.

Fourth Sunday of Advent (Dec. 23/24)

Fourth Sunday of Advent
Sat., Dec. 23rd — 5:00 pm (vigil)
Sun., Dec. 24th — 8:30 am
Sun., Dec. 24th — 10:30 am

Christmas Mass schedule (Dec. 24/25)

Sun., Dec. 24 – Christmas Eve — 5:00 pm
Mon., Dec. 25 – Midnight Mass — 12:00 am
(No 8:30 am Mass)
Mon., Dec. 25 – Morning Mass — 10:30 am

Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (Dec. 30/31)

Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Sat., Dec. 30th — 5:00 pm (Vigil)
Sun., Dec. 31st — 8:30 am
Sun., Dec. 31st — 10:30 am

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (Jan. 1)

Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God
Mon., Jan. 1st, 2024 — 9:30 am

Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (Jan. 7/8)

Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
Sat., Jan. 6th, 2024 (Vigil) — 5:00 pm (Mass w/ Vespers)
Sun., Jan. 7th, 2024 — 8:30 am
Sun., Jan. 7th, 2024 — 10:30 am

Click the link below for a printable schedule

Weekly pastor’s post (December 17)

Dear friends,

Well, this wasn’t the weekend I had planned on – but as several folks have pointed out, better now than Christmas weekend! Still, I am sorry to have missed out on Gaudete Sunday and being able to use my rose vestments. Ah well. I am grateful to Father Rob Evenson, who was happily available to substitute for me while I recuperated, and to our homebound ministers, who assisted him as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion during the weekend Masses.

Speaking of EMHCs, there will certainly be some question as to why we don’t use them more regularly. To answer that I would gently remind questioners of the instruction from Sacramentum Redemptionis (particularly nos. 154-160). While this weekend provided a temporary need (especially when it was unclear if an elderly priest would be available), the document is very clear:

Indeed, the extraordinary minister of Holy Communion may administer Communion only when the Priest and Deacon are lacking, when the Priest is prevented by weakness or advanced age or some other genuine reason, or when the number of faithful coming to Communion is so great that the very celebration of Mass would be unduly prolonged. This, however, is to be understood in such a way that a brief prolongation, considering the circumstances and culture of the place, is not at all a sufficient reason. (Sacramentum Redemptionis, 158)

In short, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion – at least for the Precious Body – are not something we have a need to use. On the flip side, EMHCs for the Precious Blood are something I would like to pursue. More on that after the new year.

In addition to being Gaudete Sunday, this Sunday was December 17 – the first day of the ‘O Antiphons‘. At Vespers (or Evening Prayer) of each day, the antiphon preceding the Magnificat starts with ‘O’ and then uses one of the titles of the Christ. One of the most popular Advent hymns – O come, O come, Emmanuel’ – uses these antiphons as the inspiration for each verse!

If your interested in doing a deeper dive, my friend Thom Ryng posts on the O Antiphons each year – you might enjoy reading about each antiphon as it comes up, as well as listening to the chanted antiphon. Check it out at his blog The World is Quiet Here.

yours in Christ,
Father Maurer

P.S. Saint Mark parish is offering extra confession times during Advent: Wednesday through Friday, from 5pm to 6pm and on Saturday from 3 pm to 4:30 pm.

P.S.S. This Friday is our last of our December movie nights – we’re watching The Santa Clause. I will admit that I was hoping this would make the list as it is one of my favorites 🙂