Friday, November 19, 2010


Each year the Church invites us to remind ourselves of God’s plan of salvation for us sinners. Each day throughout Advent we are presented with yet another prophet providing further insights into the Messiah who will be sent by God to take away our sins and to restore our friendship with God.

Advent is rightfully called a “new beginning” since God’s plan of salvation is lived out yet anew year after year.

Advent 2010 has an added feature since we now begin a year-long preparation for the use of the new Roman Missal which has been recently translated more accurately into today’s English. This third edition of the Roman Missal in English will be used starting with the first Sunday of Advent 2011.

Priests, deacons, religious, various ministers, choirs, and all of the Catholics of our Archdiocese will be given special sessions to prepare to celebrate the Mass in English according to the new translation. The new translation has many word changes because this translation is more fully faithful to the original Latin text.

Preparing ourselves for new wording and new responses at Mass is only part of the “new beginning” which we will celebrate as Advent 2011 begins next year. I am hopeful that these months of catechesis will help us renew our understanding of the Eucharist in our lives as Catholics. As Catholics, we are singularly a “Eucharistic Church.” Our celebration of the Eucharist from the earliest days of the apostles, and down through history, distinguishes us from all other Churches who call themselves Christian.

The Eucharist is one of God’s greatest gifts to us in and through his Son, Jesus Christ. Recall the two men journeying to Emmaus on that first Easter Sunday afternoon who encountered the Risen Jesus without knowing it was him, and then their eyes were opened as he sat at table with them and “broke the bread” for them—then vanishing from their sight.

We must recall that in the consecrated bread and wine, we truly receive Jesus Christ, body and blood, soul and divinity. The bread and wine are totally changed from the appearances of bread and wine into the very Body and Blood of our Risen Savior, Jesus Christ.

As Catholics, our faith in the total transformation of the bread and wine distinguishes us from many other Christian Churches. We do not believe that the bread and wine simply serve as “reminders” or “symbols” of the Last Supper. Rather, we believe that the bread and wine are changed substantially into Christ’s Body and Blood—usually referred to with the term “transubstantiation”.

The Advent season we begin this year will be a time of preparation and renewal of our love for the Eucharist. The changes in wording and translation are only secondary to the great mystery of our Faith—receiving the sacred Body and Blood of Jesus Christ!