Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Holy Family

The value and importance that a family represents varies. It will depend a lot on the experience one has had. And so, we cannot compare it with the existential dilemma of what came first, the chicken or the egg. This is because the family can be better or worse, depending upon the value and importance given to the family by parents.

For example, there are times when young couples say that they do not wish to continue with the errors of their parents, “We will be different with our children so that they will be better that us.”

And so this is the beginning of different families beginning a better experience, breaking away with bad habits.

As we analyze the importance that parents represent we end up comparing them to the Holy Family.

The family is the cradle of society. Each new member has as their first experience a family that receives them with love. This experience begins their formation as to how they will live others.

The natural, common and important role of the father will help the new little being. He will give protection. He will provide. He will give love and affection in every possible way and will be a good example.

No one can erase these and many other good actions of the father. These experiences in the life of the son or daughter will surely help define who they are as they

The mother, without a doubt, is the closest person as life begins.

From the moment of conception, the mother must decide whether or not to accept the child.

As she decides to accept the child within with love, she also accepts all of the challenges that this implies. She will not only carry the child in her womb, but she will carry that child through all the chapters of his or her life.

The new little person will feel the warmth within the mother’s arms. The child will hear and recognize mother’s voice, will be nourished by her, and will even recognize and share in her moods.

All of these feelings create experience that will give security to the little person and will influence the future of that person.

This experience of family will give a certain security to the new little person and, in time, he will have a value that challenges his own reality: I want to be better; I can be better; I want better for my family; I want to be more just; I want a better environment; I want a better society; I want to give better, more to others; etc.

What we have analyzed here could be a family that is truly holy, where the plan of God is fulfilled.

The formation the parents will give their children is experiential and the parents will be consecrated to fill such a mission. Thus, their children will live a future that they may be able may be able to transform as they are able.

The Holy Family of the bible gives us the same example, the same structure. The only difference being the time in which they lived.

Let us briefly analyze…

The mother receives the child:

The Annunciation

Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.” (Luke 1:30-31)

Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." (Luke 1:38)

The father receives the child:

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.

Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.

Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. (Mt. 1:18-20)

When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.
He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus. (Mt. 1:24,25)

The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him. (Lk. 2:40,52)

The Initiative of Jesus

As is most natural during adolescence, Jesus took initiative even though there would be lack of understanding and inconvenience on the part of his parents. (Lk. 2:41-50)

This first action not only reaffirms his know-how and his experience, but also serves to deepen his awareness so to be able to fulfill his the mission given to him. (Lk. 4:18-19)

Until the ultimate consequence (Lk. 23:46-47)

The questions that remain are:

1. What was the mission of your parents?
2. What was your experience of family?
3. What is your mission?

The Angelus Prayer
The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary. . .

Behold the handmaid of the LordBe it done unto me according to thy word.
Hail Mary. . .

And the Word was made Flesh. And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary. . .

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God,That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let Us PrayPour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts;that, we to whom the Incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, Was made known by the message of an Angel, May by His Passion and Cross, be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ our Lord.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Celebrations en Honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe

It is true that this blog entry is a little overdue. The fact of the matter is, I had many photos in my digital camera and I just kept putting off uploading them to my PC and doing the crop and irfanview thing. That’s the thing about digital cameras. One must really be religious about uploading them or you end up with a ton of photos!

These photos are from recent masses in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I had the great honor of serving as a pastoral musician for both of these celebrations.

The first mass was held in Dec. 11th at St. Alfred parish in Taylor. The procession began and went through St. Alfred school. You know, that school building is a lot larger than she looks from Telegraph Road! The school children had adorned the halls with "Ojo de Dios" and "Papel Cortado," as well as with other fine art work.

We processed through the halls with the parish’s deacon carrying the image of Our Lady. The community sang "Las Apariciones Guadalupnanas" and ended the procession with "Las ManaƱitas a la Virgen de Guadalupe."

It really was a wonderful celebration with the parish’s newly formed Spanish choir. Kudos to Teresa P. for organizing the choir. Congrats, Tere, on the parish’s newest little Guadalupana!
The second celebration I had the honor of serving for was held on Dec. 12th at Detroit’s Most Holy Trinity Parish. Located in Corktown, this historic church is one of the most beautiful in the City of Detroit. The acoustics are phenomenal. The stations of the cross are huge and beautiful paintings. Trinity houses many lovely statutes, including one of St. Patrick. (This parish is THE place to be for St. Patrick’s Day Mass!)

The organ itself is one of the oldest pipe organs in the city. . . .The couplers on that instrument can offer a challenging touch to those of use who are so accustomed to playing electronic organs! Yes, it’s a beautiful instrument indeed there at Most Holy Trinity!

The Guadalupe celebration at Most Holy Trinity was bilingual. And I must say, Fr. Russ really does have a way with bilingual celebrations as these can challenge even the best of presidors.
The thing is, I prefer a mass that is bilingual. I mean, for those of us who are 2nd and 3rd generation in the States, being bilingual is a very natural state of our being. We’ll flip flop between the 2 languages all the time. I realize that sometimes this can frustrate folks. . .especially when the not so well informed want to repeat everything about mass in the other language. Anyhow, my point is that Fr. Russ really has a handle on celebrating a good bilingual liturgy. The mass in Honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a perfectly good example.

The photos above show Our Lady in each of these parishes. The first iImage of Our Lady of Guadalupe is St. Afred parish in Taylor, MI. The other image is at Most Holy Trinity in Detroit, MI.