During Lent feel free to feed your mind and spirit

By Laurie Hallstrom

The guidelines for Lent are printed on the next page.  Just in case anyone would like a few ideas, or a nudge, here is a peek at what a few Catholics do for Lent.

Mary Ann Koenig is a member of St. Anthony Church, Fairfax. “Now that we are empty nesters I’m afraid we aren’t as deliberate about daily practice, but we are always sure to have a donation ready for the Holy Thursday collection for the poor.”

At her parish there is no resident priest. Parishioners in Fairfax lead their own Lenten prayer services. “There are Stations of the Cross every Wednesday before Faith Formation led by the students and on Fridays stations are led by the Knights of Columbus,” she said.

Koenig added, “For penance in recent years I have tried to add some sort of prayer or devotional rather than (sometimes along with) giving something up. I have used Dynamic Catholic’s Lenten materials several times.” 

 It has been tradition to have tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches after the Ash Wednesday Mass at her church.  “We follow that with some kind of short film about Lent, or the life of Christ that is suitable for all ages,” she said.  

“One thing our family has done for years is observe the Paschal fast from Holy Thursday after evening Mass through Holy Saturday after the Vigil service. It’s more than a food fast — we don’t use radio, television, or other technology, and computers and telephones only as necessary. It’s a fast of silence from the noisiness of our lives.” 

Mike Krynski of Blessed Sacrament Church, Rapid City, said he doesn’t have a special charity during Lent. “There is a minor increase in prayer and I do go to confession,” he said. “I try to eat very light on Ash Wednesday and on Fridays, and I drink plenty of water to stay hydrated,” he said.

Sandy Kelly goes to Sacred Heart Church in Philip. Asked about almsgiving, she said, “We try to find a charity, usually which helps children, to fund. If we find an opportunity to serve, we will do that too. It really is not planned out — we see what comes up during Lent.”

Like Koenig she uses Dynamic Catholic resources during Lent. She adds to that books provided by the parish.

 “On Fridays we try not eat between meals. We do tuna casserole, cheese/olive pizza, fish sticks and fish. For fasting, it helps to stay busy and when I do really feel the hunger I think about those who may feel this on a regular basis or reflect on the Passion.”

William F. Greene, of St. Mary Church in Newell, said he doesn’t add any giving to charitable causes for Lent because, “I give to charity all year long.” To increase his Lenten prayer life he said, “I pray on the Passion story and I limit pleasurable activities during Lent.” He concurred with Krynski about drinking plenty of water. On Ash Wednesday and Fridays during Lent he usually eats just vegetables.

Frank Birkholt is from St. Anthony of Padua Church in Hot Springs. When asked about almsgiving he said, “I hope to do more this year, but in the past, I really haven’t done anything extra.”

Regarding prayer and penance, he said,  “I have a normal holy hour, but I try to spend more time in addition to that.  Also, I tend to be more diligent with reading the Bible during Lent. I try to prepare my heart by going to confession more than once a month during Lent.” He said he abstains from alcohol, caffeine and sweets during the season of Lent.

He observes the church rules for fasting  from meat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays during Lent. “This Friday observance is something I try to carry over all year,” he said.   “I also try to do a three day fast over the triduum.  The biggest tip I have for fasting is prayer prior to starting it and do it on behalf of somebody else.”

“ I have a great recipe for black bean and squash chili that I love to make for Lent,” he said.

 Tammi Williams is also from Blessed Sacrament Church, Rapid City.

 Traditionally during Lent she chooses little acts of taking the time to handwrite letters, make actual phone calls and visit others in person. At her house they choose one organization or charity to give a gift of money.

“Non-traditionally, I step out of my comfort zone and try new things — teach a religious ed class, serve as a Eucharistic Minister, teach adult reading, volunteer as a teacher’s aide, or lead a prayer group with other families. 

 Williams said she does not add new prayers specifically for Lent, but is highly involved year round. “I’m in the Veritatis Splendor Institute Masters 1 Class and a Cor ad Cor prayer group. I highly recommend them both,” she said, adding the Cor ad Cor prayer exercises are designed to complement the liturgical seasons.”

Williams fasts two days a week regularly. “By fasting on Wednesday and Friday, I mean one meal — usually supper. I prefer fish or soup, nice bread, no meat. I find it helpful for fasting to attend Mass and receive the holy Eucharist. I make the fast for a specific intention (offer it up for a family member’s health, my growth in virtue …), and I pray to the saints for their intercessions,” she said.

Chancery employees examine hospitality at new pastoral center

As the remodeling of the new pastoral center continues, the staff who will soon occupy the building are also preparing.  Within the Chancery, there has been a working relocation committee for many months who are tackling everything from copier, IT and phone needs, to future signage, furniture needs and office assignments. Beyond these practical tasks which need to be coordinated and decided upon, the staff has also been looking at how we can better serve one another, the parishes and our neighbors after the move. In January of 2019 when Bishop Robert Gruss announced the purchase of the building on Main Street in the West River Catholic, the headline read: “The Diocese of Rapid City will have a public face in the community.”  We are committed to strive to have that “public face” reflect the face of Christ.

To assist us, we began a series of staff trainings in January designed to teach, encourage and inspire the entire staff to embrace a Catholic Way Of Life as outlined by our Stewardship vision. In January, we focused on the first pillar: Generous Hospitality. We spent a considerable amount of time exploring how, as a Chancery staff, we can embody the virtue of welcome in this pillar.

In the Diocese of Rapid City, we take as our model for welcome the Rule of St. Benedict which states: “Let all guests who arrive be received like Christ, for he is going to say, ‘I came as a guest and you received me’” (Mt 25:35). In the Characteristics of a Stewardship Parish, we encourage parishes to see that, “generous hospitality embraces everyone who comes through our doors … parishioners, inactive Catholics, non-Catholics, and newcomers are all treated as welcomed guests in the same way Jesus would be welcomed.” Since Jesus is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, we strive to “roll out the red carpet,” so to speak, for anyone we encounter. This is at the heart of Generous Hospitality: Welcome.

In the Characteristics of a Stewardship Parish, the Office of Stewardship provides concrete ways this virtue is lived out in parish life. We too, as a Chancery staff, brainstormed and discussed practical ways in which we can embody the virtue of welcome in our work. The discussion surfaced a wealth of practical ideas, and general principles, as well as potential challenges and pitfalls. A few highlights of dialogue were:

To create a clean, well-kept, ordered and attractive space inside and outside our building with clear signage that communicates clearly what we do, and helps people feel welcomed, comfortable and valued.

To be joyful, kind and attentive to all. To go the extra mile to answer questions, serve parishes, and help those who need our assistance.

To be committed to providing excellent hospitality to all who come in, even though we know hospitality can seem inefficient and cumbersome in an office environment.

We also brainstormed about practical ways we can live out the other two aspects of Generous Hospitality: Invitation and Fellowship. Over the next few months, additional trainings will help us to better live out Generous Hospitality in our new location. These trainings will introduce us to the downtown community, giving us information that will help us be a good neighbor and allow us to discern how best to respond to all who walk through our door.  Lastly, we will be trained in how to respond appropriately to potential dangers. We are committed to work towards becoming a “Stewardship Chancery,” to continue to inspire and encourage one another to live Generous Hospitality, and we look forward to taking a closer look at the pillars of Lively Faith and Dedicated Discipleship after we are settled in our new office space.  

The Office of Stewardship exists to assist parishes and individuals in incorporating stewardship into their parish and daily life.  We would be happy to conduct similar training for parishes and/or deaneries. If you would like to learn more about becoming a stewardship parish, and journey with the Chancery staff as we pursue this, please call or email us. Or visit our webpages at: www.rapidcitydiocese.org/stewardship for resources, ideas and opportunities to live the Diocesan Core Value of stewardship.

Our amen should lift the rafters

(This is the fourth in a series of columns on the Eucharistic Prayer. To understand fully this text, refer to the November and December issues of the WRC.)

In this series we have reflected on the Eucharistic Prayer. We have walked through the various aspects of the Eucharistic Prayer including the opening dialogue, the preface, the Holy, Holy, the invocation of the Holy Spirit (epiclesis), the consecration, the remembering of what Jesus has done for us (anamnesis) and the offering of the body and blood of Christ to God the Father. We then move into intercessions. We are familiar with intercessory prayer. We offer to God our petitions in the Universal Prayer or Prayer of the Faithful, after the Creed.

It is most fitting to ask God for the things we need at this point in the Eucharistic Prayer. We have recalled the saving work of God and especially the gift of his Son Jesus. We know that the Lord is truly and really present with us through the power of the Holy Spirit. We have joined ourselves to Jesus’ sacrifice to the Father. With all this we confidently ask the Father for what we need.

The number of petitions in each Eucharistic Prayer varies, but there are several common themes that are present in all of them. We pray that we may be made one, united with Christ and one another. We pray for the whole church, for the pope and church leaders, for peace in the world and for those who have died. These petitions are prayed by the priest on behalf of the people. We are confident that the God who has blessed us with the gift of salvation in his Son and who is present in our Eucharistic gathering, will hear us. He will give to us what is best. We pray with hope, trusting and believing that God will respond.

The intercessions bring the Eucharistic Prayer to its completion. There is one thing more to do. The priest leads the congregation in the great doxology. The priest tells God the Father that all glory and honor belong to God. This glory that we express is given through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the one who revealed to us the glory of his Father and invited us to honor God by sacrificing our lives with him (Jesus’) to the Father. We say, “through Jesus and with Jesus and in Jesus.” We pray in union with the Holy Spirit whom we have invoked in the Eucharistic Prayer and who is present with us. He has transformed the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, and he is transforming us in this wonderful exchange.

The response of the congregation is the Great Amen. Amen prayed with glorious music is our affirmation. We believe what the priest has prayed for us and with us. We have joined our lives to Christ, and we have offered ourselves to God the Father. We are in the presence of the Blessed Trinity. Our amen at this moment should lift the rafters. It is an acclamation of all that has gone before in this wonderful experience we call the Eucharistic Prayer.

Understanding the depth and richness of the Eucharistic Prayer is vitally important to our praying it well. The call from the Vatican Council II for conscious participation in the Mass is in part, fulfilled in this understanding. A deeper appreciation can also lead us to a more active engagement in the Eucharistic Prayer. The priest vocalizes the words of the Eucharistic Prayer. We enter in by attentive listening. We respond to the dialogue at the beginning and sing the three acclamations. I also think that some unspoken prayers on our part could enhance the experience of prayer.

When the priest is engaging in the various parts of the Eucharistic Prayer, could we not be speaking in our mind and heart a phrase that joins us to the action of the prayer? For example, when the priest is speaking of the great words of God at the beginning of the Eucharistic Prayer, could we not be praying mentally, “thank you Lord.”  When he invokes the Holy Spirit on our part, we could mentally pray, “come Holy Spirit.” We the priest is offering petitions during the Eucharistic Prayer, we could mentally pray, “Lord, hear our prayer.” These expressions, offered in silence, could help us continue to focus on the priest’s vocal prayer and draw us deeper into the whole prayer experience.

I hope this series has been helpful in revealing the richness of the Eucharistic Prayer. It is, as we said at the beginning, the center and high point of the entire celebration (of the Mass). GIRM 78

February – Diocesan Pastoral Center Updates

February 21, 2020

February 18, 2020

Diocesan Choir for Chrism Mass

I would like to personally invite you to join our Diocesan Choir for the Chrism Mass, March 30, 7pm, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Rapid City.

I strongly encourage you to prayerfully consider joining us for this very special Mass and be a good steward of the gifts God has given you. The Chrism Mass is a blend of music, holy oils being blessed, and a time for laity to support their priests. I have listed the dates and times of our choir rehearsals, all of which are held at the Cathedral. I would ask that if you live near Rapid City, you attend at least two of these rehearsals. If you are not able to attend these rehearsals but would still like to share your musical talents, please contact me at amber@cathedralolph.org or by calling 605-342-0507. If you have any questions please contact me and I will be happy to help you as I am able.

Choir rehearsals for this Mass will be held on the following dates:
Sunday, March 22 — 2:30-4pm
Thursday, March 26 —
Sunday, March 29
— 7-8:30pm

Please prayerfully consider joining us for the Mass — even if you decide not to sing in the choir — so that we can show our support to our priests as they renew their priestly vows.

Thank you and may God’s grace be upon you! 

— Amber Larsen