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As we come to the end of the Church year (Advent being the beginning of the next Liturgical Year), I wanted to begin to share with you some insight and catechesis behind some of the more noticeable changes I have made in the sanctuary, and during the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of Mass.
Father Taylor has undertaken the training of our altar servers, and you have most certainly noticed the reintroduction of the Sanctus bells, rung by our altar servers during the Liturgy of the Eucharistic within Mass.
Sanctus bells derive their name from being rung first during the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy) in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. They have been rung as part of the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Church for more than 800 years.
About the thirteenth century, outdoor tower bells began to be rung as "Sanctus bells" during the Mass, specifically at the Consecration (epiclesis) and the presentation of the Eucharist (elevation of Host and Chalice by the priest). Most Sanctus bells used today are small handheld bells, of three to five bells, that are rung in the Sanctuary during the Mass as directed in Chapter IV, paragraph 150 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM).
Sanctus bells are first rung at the epiclesis, when the priest prays to the Holy Spirit to change the gifts of bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ.
The bells are rung a second time as the priest elevates and presents the Body of Christ, and are rung a third time as the priest elevates and presents the chalice filled with the Precious Blood.
Sanctus bells may also be rung at specified times outside of the Mass, such as during Holy Benediction and during adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
The Sanctus bells are more than an auditory signal meant to "wake up" the congregation to the consecration of the Eucharist. Sounding the bells at the moment Christ becomes present in the Eucharistic species of bread and wine is an audible sign of our joyous praise and thanksgiving.
I hope that the reintroduction of the joyful noise of the Sanctus bells helps to raise your hearts and minds to the Real Presence of our Eucharistic Lord on the Altar of Sacrifice.
As we come to the end of summer, our parish and school are certainly starting to buzz with excitement and activity. Our new principal, Ms. Margaret Beale, and her teachers and staff are welcoming new students, as they start an exciting year of renewal at Immaculata. I encourage all parishioners, and especially school parents, to become involved in building a strong PTO increasing overall parent involvement to support the mission of Catholic education.
Father Taylor will soon begin the training of altar servers, as we seek to bring a holy discipline to our service at the Altar of God. Servers should have already received Holy Communion, and should be mature understand the great responsibility of serving at the Altar with great reverence. Father Taylor will see that servers receive proper formation before they begin to function, including: appropriate guidance on maintaining proper decorum and attire when serving Mass; instruction on the Mass, and its parts and their meaning; objects used in the liturgy (their names and use); and the various functions of the server during the Mass and other liturgical celebrations. I encourage all young people, and especially young men, to see Father Taylor about joining in this important apostolate.
And finally, I would like to announce that, after consultation with the head of facilities and architecture at the Diocesan level, our Capital Campaign committee, and others, I am moving the Parish Offices to the newly acquired St. Joseph Center, hopefully in September. I want to honor the many contributions to our Capital Campaign which allowed the acquisition of this property, and properly maximizing the use of this wonderful building will support that end.
With our Parish Office located at the St. Joseph Center, along with Faith Formation and meeting space, the building will become a hub of daily parish activity. Our parish office staff will be able to work in a professional environment, all under one roof, and thereby extend ever greater customer service to our parishioners and visitors. Such an impressive building warrants being more than evening meeting space and, with this move, the St. Joseph Center becomes the face of the Parish of the Immaculate Conception. The current parish office space in the church basement will be repurposed for additional meeting space, youth and prayer group space (access to our chapel), and a dedicated choir practice space (underscoring the importance of that apostolate).
If you have not already done so, I hope this news encourages you to consider making a pledge to assist in bringing our Capital Campaign to the finish line. Be assured of the prayers of Fr. Taylor and myself for you and your families, through the intercession of Mary, the Immaculate Conception.
It is with great joy and excitement that I welcome Ms. Margaret Beale as the new Principal of our beloved Immaculata Catholic School! Ms. Beale comes to Immaculata after eight years at Asheville Catholic School, during which time she was an integral part of taking a struggling school, and helping to transform it into a growing and vibrant Catholic institution. The Principal Search Committee was very impressed with Ms. Beale’s accomplishments, her positive and uplifting attitude, and her strong work ethic.
Ms. Beale lives her life on a strong foundation in the Catholic faith, and is focused on promoting and maintaining positive, constructive relationships with parents, teachers, alumni, and our parish, to help build a strong school and parish community.
Ms. Beale has high expectations of herself, and her students and teachers, but guides students towards those high goals with a disposition of encouragement and love. I have every confidence that she will teach solid Catholic moral ideals to our children, instill leadership skills, and prepare our students academically, to live their lives in the fullness to which God calls them.
As your Pastor, I am looking forward to Ms. Beale bringing a new energy and enthusiasm to Immaculata Catholic School, but she needs your prayers, and your energy and enthusiasm, too. Now is a great time to get involved at Immaculata, so I encourage you to see me or Ms. Beale about energizing our PTO and parent involvement, and in sharing the value of a Catholic education with our community.
I also encourage you to enroll your children at Immaculata, if you have not done so yet. At the very soul of an Immaculata education is the education of the soul. Welcome, Ms. Margaret Beale, as our new Principal!
I want to thank you all for the warm welcome you have extended to me, as your new Pastor, and to our new Parochial Vicar, Father Britt Taylor. As you can imagine, the pace has been rather hectic since I became Pastor of Immaculate Conception on Tuesday, July 9, 2019.
I have shaken a lot of hands, I have heard a lot of opinions, and have not had time to unpack much of anything at the rectory! Change is a challenge for most of us, because we become set in our ways and comfortable with the environment in which we have become accustomed to living. So, during these times of change, we all must turn to the words of the Lord: “Foxes have dens, and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” (Mt 8:20).
Christ is telling us that to truly follow Him, we must not become too attached to our comforts, whatever they may be. We must be ready to pick up our Cross, and follow Him wherever He leads us. Jesus was uncompromisingly honest; He never allows us the illusion that the Christian life is easy. And so we must not come to think that we can settle into our comfortable dens and nests; following Christ, then, always involves change.
To be followers of Christ means to be prepared to deny ourselves of our own will, and embrace His. We come to His Church on Jesus’ terms, not our own. But that does not mean our enthusiasm should be diminished; just that it should be directed by God’s will, and not one’s own agenda.
We have a lot to be excited about here at Immaculate Conception, and Immaculata Catholic School! Indeed, change is in the air; and yet, God is guiding us in very positive directions. And, as your Pastor, I ask everyone to discern what God may be asking you to do, in following Him. I am certain He is asking all of us to stretch ourselves beyond the comforts of our nest, and get involved in His saving Mission through the Parish and School.Be assured of my prayers for all of you.
DAILY MASS SCHEDULE
We realize that change can be a bit unsettling for everyone and, in this time
of transition, we want to minimize any disruptions. However, some
changes have to be made now, while others can wait. After consultation
with the Diocese regarding our parish dropping from three priests to two,
a new daily Mass schedule has been developed, such that it can be
managed by two priests, while also allowing for one day off per week for
each priest. While it may be the case that the Weekend Mass schedule
could be fine-tuned for similar reasons, we will study that possibility over
a longer period of evaluation.
Beginning on Monday, July 15, 2019
Monday Masses 8:30 am and 12:10 pm
Tuesday Mass 12:10 pm
Wednesday Masses 8:30 am and 12:10 pm
Thursday Mass 12:10 pm (no adoration)
Friday Masses 8:30 am and 12:10 pm
(all these events in main church) Adoration 9 am – 3 pm
Benediction at 3 pm
Confession 2:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Saturday Mass 9:00 am (no morning prayer)
Thank you for your cooperation and understanding during this time of
Fr. Christian Cook
Fr. Britt Taylor
Pastor Parochial Vicar