Wednesday, December 8, 2010

San Jose: The Renewal of the Liturgy

I hope this Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception finds you growing closer to Mary, the Mother of God.

I will be leaving for the airport soon to catch my flight home to Chicago. Raining here in the San Francisco Bay area this morning.

I had a chance for a private tour of the San Jose's beautiful Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph last night. Here's photo of the exterior:

Yesterday's meeting with the bishop and clergy of the Diocese of San Jose was a good one. There is a vision here in the Diocese that would well be imitated by other dioceses. San Jose celebrates its thirtieth anniversary as a diocese next year. Accompanying the implementation of the new translation of The Roman Missal will be a general renewal of the liturgy here in the diocese. The plan for that renewal was a major topic of yesterday's sessions. Results from a survey taken by priests and parish leaders in the various deaneries of the diocese were shared. People were asked to assess various aspects of parish liturgy and to name those things that need to be done to improve parish worship. Most in the room were in agreement that another survey needs to be taken, this time taken by the laity in the parishes. This is a smart move. It will help the diocese determine the paths it will need to take for liturgical renewal. Concerns were expressed about how to stem the tide of the exodus of faithful Catholics from regular celebration of Sunday Mass. Others urged diocesan leaders to get to the heart of the meaning of the liturgy—the celebration of the paschal mystery—as they prepare a pastoral plan for the diocese.

The first thing I said was how envious I was of this vision for the Diocese of San Jose. Many dioceses across the country are saying that the implementation of the new translation will be accompanied by liturgical catechesis, but, for the most part, it is the process for implementation that will take up most of the time and energy. Here in San Jose, the plan for the renewal of the liturgy will take place over a number of years, with the implementation of the translation being a part of the larger picture. I was so impressed that I told those gathered that there is a part of me that wishes that I could plop my parish—Saint James—into the Diocese of San Jose. (And the weather would certainly be an improvement!) All parishes could use the kind of continued renewal of the liturgy that will unfold here in the Diocese of San Jose in the coming years.

This diocese certainly has its work cut out for it. Please say a prayer for the general renewal of the liturgy, as well as those here in San Jose who will be hammering out the pastoral plan.

I am looking forward to getting home to Chicago for a day. I leave for the Diocese of Orlando on Friday to work with the musicians there and to help serve the people of Nativity Parish in Longwood.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

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