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    A View from the Pew

    Keep the fire burning

    This week, the comprehensive worship resource magazine Celebration ( published my article Sacred Art in Advent: Two models of the Advent wreath in their November issue (41:11). I wrote the article to offer liturgical ministers a few different and creative options from the traditional model of the evergreen wreath with three purple candles and one rose candle. The article provides some information on how to think and reflect about liturgical environment during Advent and asks readers to consider their own worship space and communities within the contexts of liturgical documents and several other resources. I offer directions on how to create two different models.

    Model I

    I learned how to construct Model I  when I worked with Fr. Paul Caron at St. Francis Xavier. He taught me that rich and worthy symbols need no explanation; they speak for themselves. Worthy symbols provide expression for a worshipping community that "draws the faithful into the compelling love of Christ and sets them on fire." (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 10). Candle bearers carry the candles weekly throughout the season of Advent. The light of Christ 'builds' throughout Advent as the community anticipates Christmas, when the symbol is transformed into the fullness of seasonal light and joy. Model I serves the community throughout Advent until the end of the Christmas season when the church celebrates the Baptism of the Lord.





    In Celebration's article, I describe how Model I becomes part of the weekly procession throghout Advent. If you want to see Model I in action, go to St. Anthony's in Mattapoisett, MA where Fr. Caron serves as pastor. Fr. Caron and the parish community of St. Anthony's provided these beautiful photos. I'm grateful to Fr. Caron who continues to inspire and teach anyone fortunate enough to work and worship with him. He represents the finest skills in liturgical and pastoral praxis.  

    Model II 

    I created Model II for the Chapel of Mary at Stonehill College and describe its construction in the article. In my first year at Stonehill, I tried Model I during Advent and Christmas. However, the symbol overwhelmed the smaller worship space that seats about 180 people. Even though the cathedral ceiling of the chapel afforded a generous height for Model I, the Advent symbol did not resonate with that worshipping community. I went back to the drawing board and applied the basic questions: what Advent symbol could I create that would be worthy, of superb quality and appropriate for this worship space?

    The Advent symbol for the Chapel of Mary became four small wreaths that I used to flank both ambo and altar. I give directions to create Model II in the article in Celebration. This model also continues to serve as the liturgical environment throughout the Christmas season with a few alterations of candles and replacing violet and rose lattice with holly berries.

    You can purchase independent copies of the article at Celebration or you can become a subscriber. I highly recommend the second option. Here's why.

    Take a look at Celebration's FREE October issue.  Celebration offers indispensable tools for presiders, preachers, musicians and other liturgical ministers. The publication also provides articles that inform, educate and inspire ALL ministers to be the best that we can be for the people we serve and for the liife of a dispirited world. Click on the link --- a treasure awaits you! 

    To align with the opening of the Second Vatican Council's opening on October 11, 1962, Celebration offers some really informative and inspiring articles. Here's a small sample of some of the material within this gem of a magazine. 

    A New Way of Being Church by Biagio Mazz

    Key Teachings of the Second Vatican Council by Biagio Mazz

    Vatican II Redux: The Council's documents send us forth by Peg Ekerd

    Remembering Heaven: Sacrosanctum Concilium: The first act of Vatican II by Barbara O'Neill

    As a special monthly feature for the next year, liturgist Gabe Huck invites us to reflect on a passage from one of the documents of the Second Vatican Council in Celebration. He challenges us. "For those who preach, I encourage you to consider these reflections as leading to preaching one Sunday each month on the council documents." You bet, Gabe. 

    Celebration Publications invites you to download the October issue FOR FREE and “view it, print it, share it with your colleagues, and publish the content in your parish bulletin: it's yours to use." How's THAT for a bargain?! I even provided you with the FREE PDF... click and enjoy! 

    Friends, we need to keep the fire burning under the burner of what Vatican II began 50 years ago. Let’s revisit the magnificent documents that the Second Vatican Council produced. The Spirit of God breathed a gust of wind into the counsel imagined and convened by Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli who became Pope John XXIII. Pope John envisioned a church that gave hope, joy and life to the world. What does that mean for us as baptized Christians in 2012? 

    Let's find out together. At long last, The Roncalli Center will launch on October 9, 2012 at 7:00 pm. Save the date and time and check back next week for more information.

    As always, feel free to comment, ask questions and voice concerns. And send in anything that you might like to see or hear the Roncalli Center address in the months ahead. I'm open to all suggestions. This center is for you.