Pastor's Blog

RESTRICTED ADULT!

            Restricted Adult—what is Restricted Adult?  The Baptismal Preparation Course that’s what.  So why is the Baptism Course for Parents and Godparents for adults only?  The reason why we ask that only adults attend the Baptism Preparation Course is so that all who are attending can focus on what is being taught rather than on caring for a Child.

            Let’s say that the Parents or Godparents bring a Child who begins to fuss or cry loudly.  The Parents or Godparents rightly change their focus from the course to child care.  One parent or Godparent usually has to leave the Church Hall to take care of the Child.  That person then misses part of the Course.  As parents/Godparents are asked to attend only one class missing part of the class is problematic.

            This is equally true with toddlers running around the Hall.  Again, the focus of the Parents or Godparents of the child changes from the material in the Course to the child running around.  This also distracts the other parents and godparents who are present as well as the teacher and any volunteers who assist with the Course.  (So is arriving late for the course.)

            What is the solution?  Parents/Godparents should take the Baptism Preparation Course and complete as many of the forms as is possible before the birth of the child.  This will allow a Baptism Preparation Course with less distractions for everyone present.  The Baptism Preparation Course then becomes part of preparing for the birth of a child rather than one of the things to ‘fit in’ during the hectic time after the birth of the child.

Fr. Leo Hofmann

Pastor

21 September 2022

Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist         


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AND THEY’RE OFF! 

            “And they’re off!”  I’ve heard the announcer say that at a horse race.  I’ve never heard it actually exclaimed at the beginning of the Entrance at Mass.    So why should the Entrance Procession never seem as a horse race or a charge into battle?

            The ‘purpose of the Entrance Song (Chant) is to open the celebration, foster the unity of those who have been gathered, introduce their thoughts to the mystery of the liturgical time or festivity and so accompany the procession of the Priest and the ministers.’  

The procession is therefore to be at a dignified pace which is neither too fast nor too slow. 

In the Entrance Procession I usually carry a hymn book so I may also join in the singing of the Entrance Song.  For anyone carrying a hymn book and singing, the pace must enable reading of the words and melody of the song.  This applies also to those in the Procession who are trying to read the Entrance Song off the screens (when the screens are used).

            The Entrance Procession at Good Shepherd at this point in time usually includes the following:

Cross-bearer (Adult Server)

(Followed by a space of five to six feet.)

Reader with the Book of the Gospels.  Other reader walks to the right of the Reader with

the Book of the Gospels.

(Followed by a space of five to six feet.)

Priest.

 

            When the procession reaches the area in front of the altar steps the following happens:

The Cross-bearer move to the right and stands on the main floor in front of the processional cross stand.

The Reader carrying the Book of the Gospel stands on the main floor in front of the

centre of the Altar.

The other reader moves to the far right of the Cross Bearer.

The Priest stands to the left of the Reader with the Book of the Gospels.

All make a profound bow except the Cross-Bearer and the Reader with the Book of the Gospel who make a bow of the head.  Those in the procession then move (at the same time) in the following way:  The Cross-Bearer puts the Cross on the stand and then moves to the Adult Server’s chair.   The Book of the Gospels is placed on the Altar and the Reader moves to the Reader’s place in the assembly.  The other Reader moves to the Reader’s place in the Assembly.  The Priests venerates the Altar and moves to his Chair.

In case you are wondering, we will at some point be having the children altar servers.  Until then, we need to have enough adult ministers at every Mass:  readers, adult servers, ushers and ministers of Holy Communion.

Complicated?  Not really.  This simplifies the Entrance Procession and makes sure that each minister knows where the other ministers are going.  That way everyone will be on rather than off (to the races). 

Fr. Leo Hofmann, Pastor                     13 September 2022                                      Memorial of St. John Chrysostom

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I PROMISE

            “I promise,” are words from the consent in the marriage Liturgy in the Catholic Church. What does the couple promise?  The couple promises to be faithful in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, (and) to love and honour each other all the days of their lives.

            As part of the preparation for this life-long commitment, couples take a Marriage Preparation Course.  This Preparation Course may be taken in a number of ways:  on-line or at a parish.

            The Marriage Preparation ministry is one of the most important ministries in the Church.  Those involved in the ministry are living the commitment of Christian Marriage and are examples of living out the promises they made on their wedding day.

            Over the last 29 plus years, the Marriage Preparation Team at Good Shepherd has faithfully prepared couples for Christian Marriage.  The present Team has discerned that, after these many years of helping couples prepare for the life-long commitment of marriage, it is time to retire from their ministry.

            On behalf of the many couples to whom they have ministered and the entire parish, I would like to thank the Marriage Preparation Team for your many years of service and your example to those preparing for Christian Marriage.

            As the Rite of Christian Marriage states:

May the Lord send you help from heaven and protect you.

May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill everyone of your prayers.

 

Again, thank you.

Fr. Leo Hofmann

Pastor

29 August 2022


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JUST THE FACTS

Custodians are at the Church in the evenings and on weekends only when functions are being held.

The Last Rites cannot be given when someone has died.  It is wrong to wait until the ‘last minute’ to call the priest for the Sacrament of the Sick.

The CWL (Catholic Women’s League) does not do funeral lunches.  It is the Bereavement Committee that takes care of funeral lunch hospitality.  The Bereavement Committee is undergoing renewal as the result of Covid restrictions over the last two plus years.  At the present time, no parish organizations are doing funeral lunches at Good Shepherd Parish. 

Say Amen.  At Communion the minister says, “The Body of Christ”.  The person receiving responds, “Amen”.

Don’t grab.  Receive the Host in the palm of your hand.  Pick up the Host with your other hand and consume.

New Pastor.  We have a new pastor at Good Shepherd Parish.  He started here in July 2019.  His name is Fr. Leo Hofmann.

Fr. Marc was transferred to St. Charles Parish in 2019.  Fr. John was transferred in 2013.  Good Shepherd has never had a pastor named Fr. Paul. 

Last week calls came for Fr. Marc, Fr. John and Fr. Paul.  If you have trouble remembering names as do I, simply ask to speak to the Pastor.  On the other hand, if you don’t know who the pastor is, perhaps a more regular attendance at Mass might be helpful.  Check the Bulletin or the Parish Website for up-to-date information.

Fr. Leo Hofmann

Pastor

22 August 2022

Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary


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IT GETS COMPLICATED 

            Thank you to everyone who shares of their financial resources to support the work and ministry of Good Shepherd Parish.  Your generosity helps in so many ways. 

            If you donate using our envelope system, you will receive a receipt which can be used to help reduce your income taxes.  (The receipt is issued at the end of February of the following year.)

            So where does it get complicated?  It gets complicated when an envelope holder at Good Shepherd Parish attends Mass at another parish and puts a Good Shepherd envelope in the collection at the other parish.  So why is it complicated?  Parishes cannot use funds that are in another parish’s envelope. 

            What happens to the Good Shepherd envelope and the enclosed funds?  Let’s say that the name of the other parish is St. Simeon.  The collection counters at St. Simeon put the Good Shepherd envelope to the side.  A staff person at St. Simeon takes the Good Shepherd envelope and mails it to Good Shepherd Parish.  There are the financial costs to St. Simeon Church:  the cost of the time of the staff person and the cost of postage and stationery.  While the costs do not seem like much, sometimes every penny counts and especially if St. Simeon is a parish with few financial resources.

            If you are visiting another parish and wish to make a donation to that parish, that is a good thing.  Please do not use a Good Shepherd envelope.  If you wish your donation to go to Good Shepherd, please wait until you are next at Good Shepherd or mail it to Good Shepherd directly.  You also may drop off your Good Shepherd envelope at Good Shepherd Parish during regular office hours.

            Again, thank you for donating to Good Shepherd Parish.

Fr. Leo Hofmann

Pastor

10 August 2022

Feast of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr

           


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SIGN OF PEACE

Early in the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, the Sign of Peace in the assembly was restored to the Liturgy.  The Deacon (or the Priest if there is no Deacon) says, “Let us offer each other the Sign of Peace.”  A Sign of Peace is given according to local custom.  For most people the Sign of Peace is a handshake.  Others give a hug or some other gesture.

Early in the pandemic a number of precautions were required.  One precaution was the removal of the giving of the Sign of Peace. 

While the Sign of Peace between members of the Assembly has restored in some parishes, I have not yet restored the Sign of Peace.  I have been taking a more conservative approach to this laudable custom.  While I say, “The peace of the Lord be with you always,” I have not invited the members of the Assembly to offer each other a Sign of Peace.

            This will change.  Effective Sunday 31 July 2022 (including Saturday 30 July) I will say, “Let us offer each other the Sign of Peace.”  Members of the Assembly will then offer each other the Sign of Peace.  The Sign to be given is a reverent bow of the head.  If you attend with your own family members or people you know very well, a handshake or hug might be appropriate.  Some people are not yet comfortable with touch and especially touch with people they do not know or do not know very well.

 Fr. Leo Hofmann

Pastor

20 July 2022

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A SUMMER JOB AND A LIFE LONG PROJECT

            In the summers of 1985-88, I was fortunate to work as a chaplain at Penhold Cadet Camp.  There were four Chaplains:  two Protestant and two Catholic. 

            So, what did we Chaplains do?  We ran classes called Character Guidance.  We made sure there were ministers for the Sunday Liturgies.  We counselled Cadets who faced a variety of issues.  At times we counselled the Staff Cadets and the Officers.  On very rare occasions a member of the regular forces would need assistance.  Other issues would come up and we Chaplains would deal with these other issues as best as possible.

            One of the areas we Catholic Chaplains covered in Character Guidance was the Bible.  We did not go into the whole Bible in great depth because each year we were supplied with paper copies of one of the Evangelists.  While some Cadets knew a great deal bout the Bible, others knew very little.

            We would teach the Cadets how to look up a passage and to proclaim it out loud if the Cadet felt comfortable doing so.  Every once in a while, after the cadets had looked up several passages, we would give a reference to a passage that does not exist in scripture.  It was intriguing to see their reactions.  If the Cadets all reacted in puzzlement the lesson was judged a success.

            So how does Character Guidance in the mid to late 1980’s have anything do with us in 2022?  While most of the parish has a good understanding of scripture and know how to look up various passages in scripture, I have observed that as many as 20-30 percent do not know how to look up a passage, do not know about the Table of Contents in a Bible or are not sure which of the Books are in the Old Testament and which are in the New Testament. 

            Bible literacy is an essential part of being Catholic and it is also a necessary part of participating fully, actively, consciously and fruitfully in the Liturgy.  Another reason for becoming more familiar with Scripture is that Archbishop Smith has asked that all meetings begin with Scripture.

            In order help Parishioners to learn more about Scripture, how to use a Table of Contents in a Bible, how to look up passages in the Bible, and the value of Concordances and Commentaries, I will be offering a session on Wednesday 28 September 2022 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM.  As formation and renewal is a life long project, any parishioner who is 16 and older is invited to take part. 

            A second session, which will cover the readings of the Advent-Christmas Cycle, will be held on Tuesday 15 November 2022 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM.  As Advent 2022 is the beginning of Year A (Matthew) this session will be particularly helpful for the Lectors/Readers at the Liturgies at Good Shepherd.  There is no pre-requisite for this session.  Any parishioner who is 16 and over is invited to take part.

            I will publish more information as the time draws nearer.  Meanwhile, circle the dates on your calendars, enter them in your electronic calendars or do whatever will work to remember 28 September and 15 November.

 

Fr. Leo Hofmann

Pastor

8 July 2022


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SOMEBODY

Somebody ought to do something about that!”  What people who say that line and similar lines often mean is, “You had better do something about that!”  Seldom do the persons who complain and make the demand that “somebody ought to do something about that,” make an offer to assist.  It is easier to make somebody else responsible. 

What does a person do if there is a task that ‘needs’ to be done?  The person ought to ask if the person may help.  For most ministries in the Parish, persons 18 and over are required register, to have an interview, to complete “Called to Protect’, and to be trained among other things.  Sometimes none of those things are required.  All that is needed is a willingness to assist in some way if possible.  Perhaps 2 Thessalonians 3:11 comes into play.  “For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work.”

Fr. Leo Hofmann

Pastor

28 June 2022.  Memorial of St. Irenaeus

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IN CASE YOU WANTED TO KNOW

An excerpt from the Criminal Code of Canada

Obstructing or violence to or arrest of officiating clergyman

  •  (1) Every person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years or is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction who

    • (a) by threats or force, unlawfully obstructs or prevents or endeavours to obstruct or prevent an officiant from celebrating a religious or spiritual service or performing any other function in connection with their calling, or

    • (b) knowing that an officiant is about to perform, is on their way to perform or is returning from the perform­ance of any of the duties or functions mentioned in paragraph (a)

      • (i) assaults or offers any violence to them, or

      • (ii) arrests them on a civil process, or under the pretence of executing a civil process.

  • Marginal note: Disturbing religious worship or certain meetings

    (2) Every one who wilfully disturbs or interrupts an assemblage of persons met for religious worship or for a moral, social or benevolent purpose is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

  • Marginal note: Idem

    (3) Every one who, at or near a meeting referred to in subsection (2), wilfully does anything that disturbs the order or solemnity of the meeting is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

  • R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 176
  • 2018, c. 29, s. 13.1
  • 2019, c. 25, s. 59
  • ​(I don't know why all of the crosses appeared on the above excerpt and below.)
  • ​Fr. Leo Hofmann
  • Pastor
  • The Solemnity of  the Most Holy Trinity
  • 12 June 2022

 

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IF I HAD A SON

“If I had a son, would I want him to be a priest?”  At least on one occasion that is how I began the Sunday homily.  I don’t remember the readings of the day or if it was on one of the Sundays known as Vocations Sunday.  Perhaps the readings were about being called by God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.    

To those who have a son, would you want your son to be a priest?  If your answer is no, why wouldn’t you want your son to be a priest?  Is it because you want grandchildren?  Is it because you wouldn’t want your son to work long hours and with relatively low pay?  Is it because you have observed how priests are sometimes treated by other members of the Church and you wouldn’t want your son treated in the same way?  Perhaps you wouldn’t want your son to be a priest because of the abuse scandals.  Perhaps there are some reading this who disagree with the Church teaching as to who may be ordained.  As parents of several sons once told me (about 30 years ago), “We don’t want any of our sons to become a priest because we don’t see very many happy priests.”  These are just some of the reasons for parents not wanting a son to be a priest.

The reality is that priesthood is a call from God through the community.  We cannot force anyone to study and then to be ordained just as we cannot force anyone to any other vocation such as marriage.  There are some priests who discern that they need to leave the active ministry.  To these priests we owe our thanks and our compassion. 

While we are very grateful for the priests who come from other countries to proclaim the gospel and minister in many ways in our Archdiocese, perhaps we need to examine why Good Shepherd Parish has not, as far as I know, produced a vocation to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Edmonton or to a religious community.  This parish was established on August 16, 1978 and Good Shepherd Church was consecrated in 1987.  Will there be a day when there are no priests available to serve on a full-time basis at Good Shepherd?  I am not aware of such a plan.  I am not making some type of forecast, however it is something to think about.

So, about the homily when I asked, “If I had a son, would I want him to be a Priest?”  I didn’t answer the question.  After all, I have no sons (or daughters).  So, you what about you who do have sons?

Fr. Leo Hofmann, Pastor

Good Shepherd Parish

1 June 2022, Memorial of St. Justin the Martyr


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DISPENSATION FROM MASS ATTENDANCE LIFTED!

Effective Saturday, 4 June 2022, the Vigil of Pentecost, attendance at the Sunday Mas will once again become obligatory for all Catholics.

As always has been the case, anyone with a "serious" reason or "grave cause" is excused from this obligation.  Some reasons include:

-anyone who is sick, symptomatic or recently exposed to the coronavirus;

-anyone with serious health risk factors that require them to avoid public spaces;

-anyone who cares for someone who is sick;

-anyone who cannot attend Mass, through no fault of their own, because of frailty or old age.

The above information is from the Decree issued by Archbishop Richard Smith on Sunday, May 8, 2022.

Fr. Leo Hofmann, Pastor

11 May 2022

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LAST (MINUTE) RITES

In the old days, when someone was dying, the priest would be called.  He would administer the Sacrament known as Extreme Unction (Last Anointing).  Sometimes called the Last Rites, it was celebrated at the last minute—or close to it.  Sometimes the person might recover, however the person usually died shortly after the Sacrament was administered.  (Sometimes I think that the person died [of fright] because that is what a visit from the priest meant for many sick people and their families.) 

How things have changed!  While the priest is rightly called when someone is close to dying, the Church encourages people not to wait until the last minute.  In fact, the Church states:  The priest should ensure that the abuse of delaying the celebration of the sacrament does not occur, and that the celebration takes place while the sick person is capable of active participation.  The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick should be celebrated only when a Christian’s health if seriously impaired by sickness or old age. 

There is more to the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick than I have written in the entry.  Just don’t make it the last minute rites. 

Fr. Leo Hofmann

Pastor

22 April 2022

Friday of the Octave of Easter

(Earth Day)

 

 


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NOTIONS—AND MAYBE MORE

Part 2

(For an explanation of the word ‘NOTIONS’ check out the Blog on 5 April 2022.)

1.      “I know you are busy, but ______________________.”  I dread such an introduction in a voicemail, a phone conversation or an in-in-person conversation.  What I hear is something like, “I know you are busy and I want to make you busier.” It is much better to ask in a more direct manner.  “Would you be able to do such and such?”  Besides that, I am always busy.  Isn’t everybody? 

2.     During this pandemic, the Bishops of Alberta gave a dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass.  This means that during this pandemic it is not a sin to miss Mass on Sundays, as well as on Christmas and Mary, the Mother of God (January 1).  I still meet people who think it is a sin to miss Mass during the pandemic.  It is not a sin to miss as long as the dispensation remains in place. 

3.      Regarding 2. Above:  Of course, I meet people who didn’t think it is was a sin to miss Mass before the pandemic. 

4.     Please don’t come to confession and then tell the priest you haven’t sinned.  The only people we believe who did not sin were Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

Fr. Leo Hofmann

Pastor

Thursday of the Lord’s Supper

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NOTIONS—AND MAYBE MORE

Some of the best radio or tv programs are spoofs of more serious productions.  A spoof of the rather weighty program Ideas was on the Royal Canadian Air Farce.  If my memory serves me well the spoof was called Notions:  Things Too Insignificant for Ideas.

Here are some notions that might not rate a whole blog entry however they might be helpful to some people at some time. 

1.      The approved translation of the Bible we use for Liturgies is the New Revised Standard Version.  Other versions are not to be used except for Masses with Children.

2.      The Words of Remembrance (commonly know as a Eulogy) are to be brief (5 minutes long).  Fr. Leo says 5-7 minutes are OK.  Longer than that is way too long!   It is a bit like the episode of All in the Family when Edith and Archie Bunker went to Edith’s high school reunion.  One of the attendees says, “So Edith, what have you been doing with yourself these last 30 years?”  Edith replies, “Right after graduation I went on a week’s vacation to my cousins.”  Edith goes on and on and on telling every detail of her life. That is not what Words of Remembrance or a Eulogy are supposed to do.  Those who are listening should be left with a sense of ‘I would like to know more’ instead of ‘when will this be over?’ 

3.      The word ‘eulogy refers to speech or writing that offers high praise.  At a funeral we gather to offer high praise to God not to the person who has died. 

4.      Did you ever notice how many times the person giving the Words of Remembrance says, “I”?  If the person says, “I” more than a couple of times, the Words are probably more about the speaker than the dead person. 

5.      Some might be surprised to learn that I do not sit around waiting for emails to arrive.  Nor am I always able to answer them right away.

6.      The same goes for phone messages. 

7.      Sometimes people walk into the office area and without being invited go down the hall to my office.  Imagine doing that at a physician’s or lawyer’s office. 

Fr. Leo Hofmann

Pastor

5 April 2022


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REFERENCE LETTER

(Also known as a Pastoral Reference)

(This is an updated version of the Blog published on 18 November 2021.) 

At various times of the year, I receive requests for (Pastoral) Reference Letters by those applying for teaching or administrative positions in Catholic Schools.  I meet in person with each individual making such a request.  I ask a variety of questions.  Depending upon the results of the meeting I may or may not write a Reference Letter.

I have expectations of the individuals requesting Reference Letters: 

1.      The individual regularly attends Mass on Sundays and other Holy Days of Obligation (Christmas and Mary, Mother of God).

2.     The individual is a registered member of Good Shepherd Parish.  This means that the person is on the parish list.  If the applicant does not know if he or she is registered, the person can call the parish office and ask.  (If the applicant is living in the home of his/her parents, the applicant needs to be registered using his/her own name.)

3.     The individual is presently involved in a parish ministry.  While I am well aware of the workload of post-secondary students, some ministries do not require a great deal of time. 

4.     The individual is a fully-initiated Catholic.  The means that the person has been baptised, confirmed and has received Communion in the Catholic Church. 

So why do I have the above expectations?  I am asked to write in the reference that the individual is a practicing Catholic.  If a person does not attend Mass on a regular basis, is not a registered member of the Parish, is not involved in a parish ministry and is not a fully-initiated Catholic, how can I give a positive Reference?  An individual planning a career in Catholic Schools needs to start working on his/her faith life long before the end of the person’s studies. In other words, waiting until a (Pastoral) Reference Letter is needed is too late for this school year and most likely for the upcoming school year. 

Fr. Leo F. Hofmann, B.Ed., M.Div., M.A.

Pastor

3 April 2022

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WHAT HAPPENED?

I will tell you what happened.  I accidentally wiped out almost all of my blog entries.  So what will happen now?  While I won't necessarily be starting all over, I will try to upload some entries from copies that have been made.  Some of the out of date Covid-19 entries will not make it back to these pages.  Of course, I will write some new ones.  Somehow it is appropriate this has happened in Lent.  

Fr. Leo Hofmann,

31 March 2022

GODPARENTS

If I had a child I would want the very best for my child.  Some things might be limited because of finances, illness or other conditions.  Such is life.

There is one thing that is non-negotiable.  Faith would be non-negotiable.  I would want my child to be the best Catholic.  It is true that my child will make decisions about the practice of the Catholic faith when reaching the age of adulthood.  To help my child make the best decisions possible I would want to give my child the best foundation possible.

One aspect of the foundation is the godparents.  I would want the best possible godparents for my child.  The godparents would need to be good examples of what it means to be Catholic. 

I would ask only those who are fully initiated members of the Catholic Church.  This means they have been baptized and have received Eucharist and Confirmation in the Catholic Church.

They would attend Mass on Sundays and on Christmas and New Year’s.

If married, the godparents would be married in the Catholic Church.  If single, a godparent would not be in a common-law or “living together” situation. 

Because being a godparent is an adult commitment, the godparents would be sixteen years of age or older.  While not required, I would want the godparents to show their own baptismal commitment by sharing their time, talent and treasure with a Catholic parish community.

So why are there many necessary qualities to be godparents?  If a child is to grow up to be the best possible Roman Catholic, the child must have examples of practicing Catholics.  While there are many good persons only Catholics can model and pass on the Catholic religion.

Fr. Leo Hofmann

24 October 2019

Each time we participate in the Mass, we pray for change.

In the Eucharistic Prayer, we pray that the bread and wine change into the Body and Blood of Christ. Eucharistic Prayer II, for example, says, 

“Make holy, therefore, these gifts we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall, so that they may become for us the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

We ask God to send the Holy Spirit upon the bread and wine. A word that describes this invocation of the Holy Spirit is "Epiclesis." 

We believe that in the Eucharistic Prayer the bread and wine are changed. In the Eucharistic Prayer, we also pray for another change. We pray that we change. This takes place in the memorial-offering (Anamnesis and Oblation).

We ask the Holy Spirit to come on all those who share in Communion. We ask the Holy Spirit to bring us into unity. This is a second Epiclesis.

Eucharistic Prayer II states this in the following way: 

“Humbly we pray that, partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, we may be gathered into one by the Holy Spirit.”

 Change the bread and wine! Change us too!

 - Fr. Leo Hofman, October 21, 2019