Thursday, July 22, 2021
Feast of Saint Mary Magdalen
Thank you for your prayer, and your fasting, in support of our two most recent Realign Resources for Mission meetings. On Saturday, July 17, we gathered with the deacons of the Diocese of Lansing in Brighton (Zoom meetings happened last night and tonight for the deacons who couldn’t be in person). So far, it’s been very positive and very worthwhile. Thanks to all who attended.
Then on Monday, July 19, the RRM committee met to revise its latest plans in the light of the latest feedback. We also began planning the forthcoming regional meetings that will allow all of us to view those revised plans and to offer comment upon them. We’re now checking the availability of venues and, so, will hopefully have something to announce very soon. Keep praying!
Today in our weekly update, we explore the following principle of the Realign Resources vision: “A parish in the Diocese of Lansing makes and forms missionary disciples through sacred worship that is dynamic, reverent and beautiful.” (Realign Resources for Mission Principle 3.2). Hence, you can:
Read Jeremy Priest, Director of the Office of Worship for the Diocese of Lansing, as he examines the relationship between worship, holiness and evangelization.
Watch George Landolt, Chief Financial Officer of the Diocese of Lansing and member of the Realign Resources for Mission Committee, as he gives his prayerful insights on the work and vision of the RRM process.
Pray this Friday for the priests of the Diocese of Lansing. We love our priests and are delighted to have an opportunity to pray and fast for their health and holiness. Thank you. God bless you.
Yours in Christ,
Chief of Staff,
Diocese of Lansing
“A parish in the Diocese of Lansing makes and forms missionary disciples through sacred worship that is dynamic, reverent and beautiful.” Realign Resources for Mission Principle 3.2
Director of the Office of Worship, Diocese of Lansing
In the late tenth century, a delegation from the kingdom of Kievan Rus’ (modern day Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Russia) ventured on a journey to find the true faith for their domain. Journeying from one territory to the next, they surveyed a host of peoples and witnessed the worship of many religions. After having returned from the solemn liturgy at the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, they reported to their prince:
“Then we came to the edifices where they worship their God…we knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth. For on earth there is no splendor or such beauty, and we are at a loss how to describe it. We only know that God dwells there among men.”
Dynamic, reverent, and beautiful worship is at the heart of the Church’s mission because union and communion with God is the source and summit of the Church’s life. Bishop Boyea recently commented on the fascinating fact that “the real obligation” at the heart of our Sunday obligation “is that we worship God.”
To worship God is to “acknowledge [the Lord] as God, as the Creator and Savior, the Lord and Master of everything that exists,” and so “to praise and exalt [God] and to humble oneself” in his presence (Catechism #s 2096, 2097). In this way, worship moves through words and actions of the body and culminates in an offering of ourselves and all that we have to God, in union with the offering of Jesus, which draws all of reality into communion with God (cf. CCC 1368, 2031).
The worship that attracted the delegation from Kievan Rus’ was not directed at them. The remarkable thing about the story of the way the liturgy evangelized the “Rus” is that none of it was aimed at them. This loose federation of peoples didn’t even speak the language. Nevertheless, what they found in the beauty of the liturgy was worship that was focused on God. “What was impressive about” the worship they experienced, Pope Benedict wrote, “was particularly its sheer lack of a practical purpose, the fact that it was being done for God and not for spectators; it was simply striving to be…before God and for God alone (Rom 12:1; 15:16).”
It might sound obvious to say it, but worship is for God. The evangelical power of worship is derived from the fact that it draws everyone and everything into the worship of God. This is precisely what makes worship dynamic. The dynamic quality of worship does not come so much from its outward expression, but from its God-ward direction — the One to whom worship is directed.
Reverent worship is attuned to the God in whose presence He has gathered us. Accordingly, we kneel, bow, genuflect, stand, sing, speak, keep silence, and chant in ways that acknowledge the Lord who is present. Worship that is reverent draws us into the presence of the Holy One and incites us to awe and even the “fear of the Lord” in His presence. Reverence is that attitude and sentiment with which the sacrifice of Abraham was made pleasing to the Lord (see Gen 22:12).
Beautiful worship shines forth and shows us what it means for heaven and earth to overlap and interlock in every aspect of the Church’s life. The church building is the icon of this union of heaven and earth, this wedding between God and man. When this union is rightly expressed in our art and architecture and all the aspects of the Church’s liturgy, there is a wonder and awe that is experienced, not unlike that spoken about by those pilgrim pagans from Kievan Rus’: “we cannot forget that beauty.”
In order to move forward in realigning our resources for the sake of mission, we must never forget that the missionary impulse to seek the lost and serve the poor begins from our union and communion with the God who saves us and comes to its completion only in the gathering of us all into the communion of the Triune God. The worship of the liturgy is thus the source and summit of all the Church’s life and mission (see Sacrosanctum Concilium 10, 14). It was when the delegation from Kievan Rus’ saw in the beauty of the liturgy “that God dwells there among men” that they were able to become missionaries in their own land. May it be so for all who experience the worship of God in the Diocese of Lansing!
Yours in Christ,
Director of the Office of Worship,
Diocese of Lansing
Watch: George Landolt is a parishioner at St. Mary in Williamston and the Chief Financial Officer of the Diocese of Lansing. He is also a member of the Realigning Resources for Mission committee.
In this short video, George reflects upon the theme of this week’s RRM update: the worship of God. He also gives an update on the current status of the Realign Resources for Mission process as the RRM committee prepares to take the latest draft of their plans back to the clergy and lay faithful of the diocese in a series of regional meetings to be held in coming weeks.