Come Worship as a Family

            As parents you send a very clear message to your children on Sunday when you get up and go to Mass together. That message is: “Today is the Lord’s Day. The most important thing we do is go and worship Him.”

            The third commandment states, “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath Day.”  Keeping the Sabbath day holy has always meant that we go to our Church and we actively worship the Lord. It is impossible to keep this commandment by staying at home. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can worship God just as well at home as you can at church. That is simply not true. You are not capable of offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at home. You are not capable of changing ordinary bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus and then placing His Life into your very souls. Only the Mass can do that.

            In the Old Testament, the Sabbath day was on Saturday; the seventh day. This is because God rested on the Sabbath day. He completed all of His work of creation in six days and rested on the seventh. The Jews of the Old Testament worshiped God on Saturday. As Christians, however, we worship not on the seventh day of the week, but instead on the first day of the week. Sunday is the new Sabbath; the Sabbath of the New Testament or New Covenant that Jesus established at the Last Supper, just before He suffered, died, and arose from the dead. We no longer give to God the last day of the week. Instead, we give Him the first day of the week. We do not give to God what is left over; from our surplus. We give to Him from our sustenance. Everything we have comes from God. Every talent; every bit of money; every accomplishment; and all of our time, is a gift from God. We owe everything to Him who blesses us abundantly. On Sunday, we go to Mass and we worship Him in grateful thanksgiving.

            The Mass is a sacrifice. The sacrifice that Jesus offered His Heavenly Father at the Last Supper is made present right on our altars every single Sunday (and at every Mass). We are able to participate in that saving sacrifice even though it happened so long ago. We offer Jesus to God in sacrifice, but we also offer ourselves. The bread and wine that is brought to the altar represents us since it was made by human hands. It becomes the saving cup and life giving bread. We offer our very lives to God at each and every Mass. God in turn changes that ordinary bread and wine into His very Body and Blood. We take and eat it. We place the very life of God into our souls. It transforms us. It makes us holy; giving us the strength to live the life He has planned for each of us; able to love Him and love others.

            There is nothing more important than taking your family to Mass every single Sunday (or Saturday evening). You send a clear message that worshiping God is of most importance. On Sunday before we do anything else, we go and worship our God. We come to Him in humble praise and with a spirit of thanksgiving. We offer our very lives to God. In return, He places His life inside of us.

            Help your children to begin to understand the Mass. Show them how they can follow along in the Missalette. Teach them that God is talking to them in the Mass readings and that Jesus speaks directly to them in the Gospel. Show them how to fold their hands and to pray when the congregation prays; to respond with the people. Most especially, explain what happens to the bread and wine on the altar; how it becomes the very Body and Blood of Jesus. Make them aware of the moment of Consecration. When the bells ring, the priest is truly holding up Jesus for all to see. Teach your children, “That is Jesus! He is now present!”

            In addition to Sunday Mass, attend Mass during the week if at all possible. The more often you take and eat the Eucharist the more holy you become. Why? Because when you eat the Eucharist God places His very life into your soul. This is truly spiritual food. This is how Jesus remains with us and sanctifies us throughout our lives. For this reason the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass takes place every day in a Catholic Church and usually more than once. It is important to offer the Sacrifice of the Mass to our Heavenly Father every day. This is the sacrifice that saved us and continues to save us.

            At Holy Spirit Parish, the Weekly Mass schedule is as follows:

Saturday:         5 pm

Sunday:           7:30 am; 9:00 am; 11:45 am; 2:00 pm Spanish Mass

Monday:          7:30 am; 12:00 Noon

Tuesday:          7:30 am; 12:00 Noon

Wednesday:    7:30 am; 7:00 pm

Thursday:        7:30 am; 12:00 noon

Friday:             7:30 am; 9:00 am School Mass (when school is in session)

            There are certain days, besides Sundays, that we are obligated to attend Mass. These are called Holy Days of Obligation. Below is a list of Holy Days of Obligation in the United States.

Holy Days of Obligation in the United States:

  1. Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God—January 1st
  2. Ascension of Jesus—40 Days after Easter (Usually celebrated on a Sunday, however.)
  3. Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary—August 15th
  4. All Saints Day—November 1st
  5. The Immaculate Conception of Mary—December 8th
  6. Christmas—December 25th

On these days, we are just as obligated to attend Mass as we are each Sunday. For this reason, our parish church offers additional Mass times: 6:30 am; 9:00 am (school Mass); 12:00 noon; and 6:00 pm. The parish church tries very hard to accommodate all work schedules on these days.

            There are additional days that are great opportunities to take your family to Mass. These are not Holy Days of Obligation, but they are important days to attend Mass as a family. One day in particular is Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is the start of Lent. This is the day that we remember that God made us from the dust of the earth and it is into dust that our bodies will one day return. It is great to bring your children and allow them to receive the blessed ashes.

Holy Week offers us ample opportunities to grow closer to God through Jesus. On Holy Thursday we celebrate the “Mass of the Lord’s Supper.”  This is the day in which we remember the Last Supper; the day that Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. At the Last Supper, Jesus instituted the Mass. The Mass became the “New Passover Meal”. Jesus replaced the Passover Lamb with Himself. This is also when He instituted the Eucharist. On Good Friday, we celebrate the Veneration of the Cross. This is not a Mass. In fact, Good Friday is the only day each year that the Mass is not celebrated. Each person comes forward to offer a gesture of veneration to the cross held by a deacon or priest. Most people kiss the cross, but some simply touch it and bow or genuflect. We are also offered Holy Communion at the Good Friday worship service. Additional hosts are consecrated on Holy Thursday for this purpose.

            These are excellent opportunities to involve your children in our rich Catholic Faith. At the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we are truly Catholic. This is the source and summit of our faith.

Perpetual Adoration

            Here at Holy Spirit Parish, we have a Perpetual Adoration Chapel that is open 24 hours per day, seven day per week. Inside this small chapel you will find chairs with kneelers that face an altar. On the altar is a Monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament.

            Please understand completely, that what you see inside this Monstrance is a consecrated host that we call the Blessed Sacrament. As Catholics we believe that this is truly our Lord Jesus Christ in bodily form. People go into this chapel to worship our Lord and pray to Him in person.

He is never left alone and cannot be left alone. For that reason, parishioners have signed up for hour time slots that they keep each week.

I cannot stress to you enough how important it is for your children to learn to adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and to have devotion to Him in this way. Take your children inside the chapel to pray once per week or as often as you can. Even if you can only spend 10 minutes with our Lord, it is so important for you to do this. No one else is going to take your children. It is up to you to teach this devotion to them.

Prayer in the chapel provides a very intimate time with our Lord. You will feel His presence and it will take no time before you realize how important and meaningful it is to do this. This also teaches your children to sit down and have quiet prayer time with the Lord. 

Be sure to explain to them that they must remain quiet and pray to Jesus from their hearts. Make sure that they understand that what they are seeing in the Monstrance is truly our Lord. In His presence, they can tell Him anything. They simply need to learn to talk to Jesus often and without restraint.

Again, this is something that is very, very important for you to do as a parent for your children to help them to grow in their relationship with Jesus.