A Season of Service

A Season of Service

St. Dominic’s Ministries only thrive on the work of our volunteers
As Fall gets underway and family activities and sporting events max out our calendars, it can feel as though we are on a speed train toward the holidays. It’s important for each family to take some time now (before the rush) and ask ourselves how will we keep Christ at the center of our home as things continue to get busier and the lure of consumerism draws us (and our kids) in this Christmas? How can we make Thanksgiving and Advent a time for reflection as well as celebration,  so that when Christmas comes we radiate God’s love in witness to the Truth. I know, you are thinking it’s not even Halloween yet, but the programs that serve those in our community at Christmas start now.putyour faithin action at St. Dominc's
After working on the bulletin for almost one year, week after week I see perfect opportunities for families to enrich our faith lives, yet it’s often the same people that take part in these programs. However, once in a while I receive a special message from a parishioner that took a step outside their routine to attend something new, a daily mass,  a Q&A with Fr. Jerome, or a Holy Hour in Adoration and they share their experience with me with such GRATITUDE. But even though I create “blurbs” in the bulletin that are posted for several weeks in a row, I feel so many great things are overlooked; we get so used to looking for photo spreads and flyers we miss the special stories and things that are calling us to put our faith in action and fun ways tocome together as a community in service to others.
So, before your social calendar is maxed out, please consider your family’s participation in one of the following community programs this year. I promise, it’s more than just checking off “hours” it can be life changing.SVdP Giving Tree at St. Dominic's
1) The SVDP Giving Tree: Week after week SVdP volunteers deliver food for the working poor in our community, when the holidays approach the Giving Tree and our popular decorated food boxes are the only proof for some families that God’s if for us, even when it seems all the world is against us. Please consider making calls to reach out to the homes and create a list of their needs, a script and instructions are provided and you can do this on your time. When you see that tree go up and parishioners take the tags you will know in your heart you have made a difference in someone’s life. There is a workshop on October 9th at 7:30PM in the 5th grade classroom.
2) Help out on Church Cleaning Day this Friday October 11th at 8:15 Mass. Take pride in our home Church, it’s history and make it place worthy of God’s praise.
3) Get a group friends together or your family and sign up for a Holy Hour of Adoration. Once or twice a month, spend an hour praying for our children, for ourselves as parents, or family matters. Sitting in silence in that sweet chapel you will encounter Jesus, as a friend. Lay all the pressure of parenting, work, marriage, or other challenges at His feet and you will be amazed at the sense of peace and the insights that seem to come when you make this a routine. You don’t have to commit for a year, maybe it’s just through the holidays. Try it. Contact Laura Batts at 707-649-0603 for details on available hours or check the bulletin.Adoration Image
4) Stop into one of  Dr. Marco Roman’s new Catechism Boot camp Classes starting October 13t/14th. We are so lucky to have this gifted teacher at St. Dominic’s and he will cover a variety of topics that will help you develop a greater understanding of our Catholic faith. Monday evenings, 7PM-9PM in the Mary  Magdalene Room or Wednesdays mornings 9AM-11AM in the Siena Room. 
Thank you and God Bless,
Erin Jacobs
Communications Director
St. Dominic’s Catholic Church

The Rite Note – Observations from the Choir Loft

Solemnity, Feast, Holy Day?  –  “What Am I?”

by Jim Guinasso

Recently, some of us here at St. Dominic’s were surprised to find that the Sunday Mass we thought we were going to for celebrating the 24th SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME was instead that for celebrating the FEAST OF THE EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS.  You may have remarked, if only to yourself, “What gives?  Is this some new Feast?  We didn’t do this last year!”  Well, join the “Club of Possible Confusion”.  Let’s see if I can shed a little light on this with some brief thoughts on what we call in the Church THE LITURGICAL CALENDAR.

The Church wants to “live out” the mystery of Christ and our salvation history in ways that are meaningful to our daily lives as part of our recognizing, living and growing our relationship with God.  Prayer being an important part of that relationship, the Church wants this “living out” to especially be reflected in its daily public worship, the LITURGY.  “Each day is made holy through the liturgical celebrations of the people of God, especially through the eucharistic sacrifice and the divine office.”  (Apostolic Letter, Pope Paul VI, 1969)

2. To this end, it assigns specific days of the year to remember and celebrate the chief events of this mystery and history as well as those of great saintly examples whom we can emulate. What results is THE LITURGICAL CALENDAR.

These designations can be to a fixed date each year or to a time relative to another fixed date or time of year. For example, CHRISTMAS is always designated as Dec. 25th regardless of what day of the week it falls on, whereas EASTER is designated the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring equinox, which can put it as early as Mar. 22nd or as late as Apr. 25th.

4. To ensure that the universal Church celebrates the same entire cycle of mysteries of our salvation as well as the lives of all “those Saints who have universal significance” or who have demonstrated “the universality and continuity of sainthood within the People of God” (Apostolic Letter, Pope Paul VI, 1969), the Vatican controls and publishes The General Roman Calendar.  As needed, the Vatican may adjust this calendar, adding newly canonized Saints or even new celebrations of Our Lord and Our Lady, or removing previously designated Saints no longer recognized as having universal or historical importance.  (NOTE:  Not every Saint is included in The GRC and not being in The GRC doesn’t mean someone is not a Saint.)

5. Because some celebrations of Our Lord and Our Lady or of Saints are not listed on the universal calendar but are still important to the individual nations, cultures, regions, dioceses, or even parishes that make up the Church, or to the groups of religious men and women who serve the Church, the Vatican allows these various entities to “supplement” The GRC with their Particular Calendars, subject to its approval.  Particular Calendars may add the celebration of a particular Saint or mystery, or change its rank, or transfer its date from that assigned in The GRC to another date.

6. All celebrations are ranked so that if 2 or more happen on the same day in a particular year, that which is deemed more important to the universal Church’s yearly cycle must be celebrated, or that which is more relevant to a particular group may be celebrated if it doesn’t conflict with the universal Church’s ranking.

We generally use the word “feast” to cover all levels of a sacred event or Saint we’re celebrating.  But “FEAST” is actually just one of 3 rankings the Church officially uses to tell us what should be celebrated and how to celebrate it.

A “SOLEMNITY” holds the highest rank among Church celebrations and there are 24 days so marked on The General Roman Calendar.  It is a day that recalls and glorifies
●   an important event in the life of Jesus or the most significant mysteries of our faith:
●  CHRISTMAS                    ●  PENTECOST                    ●  CORPUS CHRISTI
                    ●  EPIPHANY                       ●  HOLY TRINITY                 ●  SACRED HEART
                    ●  EASTER                           ●  ASCENSION                      ●  CHRIST THE KING
                           (and the 6 days following plus the Sunday
designated as DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY)
●   or a doctrinal event or title associated with the Blessed Mother:
                   ●  THE ASSUMPTION                                                ●  MARY, MOTHER OF GOD
    ●   or the most important saints of our religion:
●  ST. JOSEPH                                                             ●  STS. PETER AND PAUL
                  ●  THE BIRTH OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST            ●  ALL SAINTS’ DAY
ALL SOULS’ DAY, while technically not part of the 24 solemnities, has a precedence of celebration as if it were a solemnity.  Solemnities have three readings, prayer of the faithful, the Creed and the Gloria which is recited even when the solemnity occurs during Advent or Lent.  They also have proper prayer formulas exclusive to the day: entrance antiphon, opening prayer, prayer over the gifts, Communion antiphon, and prayer after Communion.  In most cases they also have a particular preface.  Some solemnities are also holy days of obligation, but these vary from country to country.  Solemnities are celebrated if they fall on a Sunday of ordinary time or Christmastide.  But they are usually transferred to the following Monday if they fall on a Sunday of Advent, Lent or Easter, or during Holy Week or the Easter octave.

A “FEAST” holds the second rank among Church celebrations and there are 25 days so marked on The General Roman Calendar.  It is a day that honors
    ●   a mystery or title of the Lord (such as THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD, THE TRANSFIGURATIONTHE EXALTATION
                  OF THE HOLY CROSS, etc.);
    ●   or a mystery of Our Lady (such as THE VISITATION, THE BIRTH OF MARY, etc.);
    ●   or Saints of particular or historical importance (such as the Apostles and Evangelists or like the deacon ST. LAWRENCE, etc.)
●   or an important event in Christian history (such as THE CHAIR OF ST. PETER, THE DEDICATION OF THE BASILICA
                  OF ST. JOHN LATERAN IN ROME, etc.)
Feasts usually have some proper prayers but have only two readings plus the Gloria.  Feasts of the Lord, such as THE TRANSFIGURATION and THE EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS, unlike other Feasts, are celebrated when they fall on a Sunday (like our recent Sept. 14th Sunday). On such occasions they have three readings, the Gloria and the Creed.

A “MEMORIAL” is the third category of celebrations and designates most of the rest of the days in The General Roman Calendar not assigned to Solemnities and Feasts.  Memorials are identified as either obligatory, those that must be celebrated universally on an assigned day, or optional, meaning it is up to a celebrant as to whether that particular Saint is celebrated.  All memorials are on fixed dates.  If Scripture mentions the particular Saint, then the Mass readings on that day are taken from the applicable Scripture.  If the Saint is not mentioned in Scripture, then the readings are the ordinary or normal readings assigned for that day.  Many of the memorials, both optional and obligatory, have specific written prayers for use at Mass.  These prayers are known as the “proper” for the occasion.  Some Saints do not have specific prayers, so there are generic prayers written for each category of Saint (pope, bishop, priest, religious, virgin, or martyr) being honored known as the “common” for the occasion.  Memorials never take the place of a Sunday.

The most common Particular Calendars are:
    ●   national calendars, such as The Liturgical Calendar for the Dioceses of the United States of
                  America, published each year by the Secretariat of Divine Worship of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
    ●   diocesan calendars, such as The Liturgical Calendar for the Diocese of Sacramento, published by the Bishop’s Office.
    ●   and religious or lay institute calendars, such as The Liturgical Calendar of the Order of Preachers,
published by the Master of the Order’s Office.

These can be full calendars following the outline of The General Roman Calendar with a group’s special celebrations and rankings indicated, or they can be a list or table of only the significant differences from The GRC.  The calendar for a diocese is typically based on its national calendar, adding or changing what’s important to the diocese: for instance, the anniversary of the dedication of the cathedral is marked as a Solemnity in the cathedral church; or the feast day of the principal Patron Saint of the diocese is marked as a Feast instead of The GRC’s “Memorial” designation.  A parish might do the same for its dedication anniversary and Patron Saint, basing its calendar on that of its diocese but giving its two special celebrations the rank of Solemnities so that they’re not neglected in place of a GRC, national or diocesan lower designation.

Now, if you’re still confused, no problem.  Don’t worry about us here at St. Dominic’s getting our liturgical celebrations mixed up, celebrating the wrong occasion or Saint or at the wrong time.  Doing so would NOT be a sin – not even a “peccadillo”!  God understands!  Our clergy and other liturgical ministers do a very good job of staying on top of the various liturgical calendars and tables governing us, and in most cases, our long history and traditions of past liturgical celebrations keeps us vigilant too.

The important thing is that WE ALL just keep on participating in this day-to-day “living out” of our relationship with God and take the opportunity to use the Church’s Liturgy as one of the best ways of doing that.

Until next time – stay tuned!
Jim Guinasso, Liturgical Singer

Sources: “Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year and the General Roman Calendar” – Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio, Pope Paul VI, 1969
“Liturgical Calendar” – U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops – www.usccb.org
“Solemnities, Feasts, Memorials” by Fr. Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum University – www.ewtn.com
“Understanding the Church Calendar” by Dennis Emmons – Our Sunday Visitor – www.osv.com
“Liturgical Days” – by The Minnesota St. Thomas More Chapter of Catholics United for the Faith – www.mncuf.org

Yup, I Prayed Outside an Abortion Clinic

 Last year during The 40 Days for Life Campaign, I prayed outside the abortion clinic in Vallejo for the very first time….

I had just come back from a spiritual conference and I felt God was leading me down a new path and was asking more of me. I took a leap of faith and went outside my comfort zone of enjoying weekly and sometimes daily Mass. I was happy being Catholic among my family and friends, but I felt I was called to share it now and actively join the new evangelization. I showed up at 9AM with my Rosary Beads and a small Rosary meditation book for moms that I had just brought back from my trip. I introduced myself to the gentleman that was finishing his hour and a car pulled up. Two women got out of the car, through introductions and a little chit chat about ourselves, we quickly found a connection Planned Parenthood Vallejo where I prayedand realized that we both had known a very special priest and we shared how he had touched each of our lives. We took turns saying the meditations for each Mystery. It was a calm and beautiful experience. I made a friend that day and I felt the presence of Mary, and my beloved mother, with us that morning. No altercations, no one to mock us, just a few honks of support from passersby.

The next week I went back and I spent my hour on my own. While I prayed quietly saying the Rosary, a cab pulled up and young woman got out. I simply prayed, “Lord if there is some doubt in her heart speak now, let me send forth all of the love you give me and share it with her now.” As the cab driver was very slowly pulling away, I noticed his Rosary hanging from the mirror and he gave me a nod of support. It was like a little answered prayer, and I was overcome by emotion. A few weeks later, I was with a group of girlfriends for dinner, all Christian yet none of them practicing Catholics. Somewhere in the conversation I said that I had prayed outside the clinic. The response was “YOU DID WHAT????”  I wasn’t really surprised by their response but I was surprised at their lack of understanding of my motivation, having known me for 30 years. I explained, I had no picket sign, I was not chanting or approaching anyone to create any sort of disruption.

And so they asked, “then what did you pray for?”

I answered simply:

  • I prayed those young women inside were not there out of any sort of coercion, from a parent, a boyfriend, an employer, or abuser.
  • I prayed that just seeing me might give even one girl the courage to postpone her decision.
  • I prayed for the young man I watched bring his girlfriend; that he would find real strength and uphold his

    40 Days for Life Campaign


  • I prayed for the workers that they may see one more heartbeat on an ultrasound and have a change of heart.
  • I even prayed that someone would walk out and offer me their baby to raise as my own.

So would I do it again? Absolutely. I trusted God to lead me someplace unfamiliar and He rewarded me with a new friend at St. Dominic’s (God Bless you Katrina), a sense of peace about what 40 Days for Life means as Catholics, and He gave me the words to evangelize where our heart is when we are outside the clinics.

~Erin Jacobs, Communications Director at St. Dominic’s


My encounter with Mother Teresa

17 years ago I was carpooling to work with a friend. We both worked in the marketing department for a large technology company in San Jose. In that part of the Bay Area our company, and it’s competitors, were at the center of the “dot com boom” and all the hype of the internet. We worked long hours, spent a lot of time away from our families and did our best to find balance in our lives. I had my faith, but my friend Sue still struggled with trusting God.
That morning in the car, Sue turned to me and asked, “Do you ever feel like what we do doesn’t matter and isn’t’ making a difference in the world.” At first I responded that we are part of an industry that is creating jobs, opening new opportunities for people to build companies and support their families. As the words were leaving my mouth I realized how shallow it still sounded. Sue replied, “But it’s not like nurses or doctors who are directly helping and serving people.” That’s when I remembered my dream from the night before in such detail. And I shared it with Sue.BlessedMotherTeresa
I dreamed I was taking a walk with Blessed Mother Teresa, down a path at what seemed like a retreat center. There was a little stone building we were walking away from and headed down a paved path that wandered through woods. I can recall in quite detail holding on to her arm and her wrinkled hand in mine as we walked and I confessed to her the same thing that Sue said, “What am I doing with my life that I am not serving God enough. Am I letting Him down?”
She reminded me, whatever we do in our lives it is the small things that matter most to Jesus. How we greet a stranger, help the poor, and even love our family. Most important it is how we build other people up so that they can make a difference too. These small acts have a ripple effect that can change the world. Just focus on love. Love more and God will take care of the rest.
The internet was still in it’s infancy then and news didn’t travel as fast as it does today. By mid-day we were coming back to our desks from lunch and i opened up The Yahoo page online. There was the news, Mother Teresa of Calcutta had passed away.  I struggled to understand the coincidence in the timing of my dream. Had she really visited me? I called home to discuss the news with my mom and shared my dream. She told me Mother Teresa must be my special saint and that I should continue to ask her to pray for me. Ever since then I’ve been drawn to her images, her story, and her work. I have never forgotten the details of that dream and the lessons she shared. They are a great reminder for everyone. 
Happy Feast Day my special saint, please give my mom a hug for me.
Erin Jacobs

St. Anthony finds lost article about Adoration

Let me tell you that the Holy Spirit and St. Anthony have been busy at St. Dominic’s this weeK. The adoration teams have been looking for articles about adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. There is the beautiful article that Deacon Ed wrote of course, but volunteers suggested there was another one that ran years ago. On a totally separate task, the office staff have been emptying old cabinets and a random old bulletin was thrown into my inbox, and what would you believe is the featured article? A very special story about Blessed Mother Teresa and Fr. Groeschel on Adoration. So many blessings here to share!
Since we don’t have issues saved going back to 2006, I’m re-typing the article for you to enjoy.

“How to Make 2006 a Prosperous Year” (by Fr. Carmen January 1, 2006 featured in St. Dominic’s bulletin)

Fr. Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R., directs the Office of Spiritual Development for the Archdiocese of New York. He also teaches psychology at the archdiocesan seminar, plays a pivotal role in a new congregation of Franciscans, writes books and articles, and directs retreats. Like most busy people, Fr. Groeschel would probably like to do more. One day twenty-five years ago, Mother (now Saint) Teresa of Calcutta suggested how this would be possible. Adoration Image
“Father, don’t you realize that you would get much more done if you made a daily holy hour in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament?” Mother Teresa suggested. Of course, Fr. Groeschel objected. “Mother,” he replied, “I hate to say this to you especially, but I am too busy to fit it into my schedule.” “Then you don’t want to do more?” the holy woman came back. “No, ” Fr. Groeschel said in frustration, ” I want to do less.” Fr. Groeschel says that then Mother Tersa delivered one of her “hand grenades” “right between the eyes.”…
“Oh, that’s the problem,” she said, “You want to do less.”
What Mother Teresa advised for Fr. Groeschedul, we can adapt to make this year a really prosperous year. A weekly holy hour in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament enables us to advance our true goals in life. We remove the illusion that personal satisfaction is our number one priority. We seek to provide our loved ones the spiritual support they need, Most critically, we thank God for sending us Christ whose self-giving love, fulfilled on the cross and shared in the Eucharist, has become our end in life and the means to it. But, like Fr. Groeschel, many of us are too busy to take an hour for private prayer during the day. Then we might consider making a holy hour in the middle of the night (like Mother Teresa did at four every morning). There are no distractions at this time, and soon we crave the intimacy with our Lord. 
The Perpetual Adoration ministry feels the need to expand participation. Please consider joining someone in an hour, or perhaps, sign up as a substitute. It may make a great event not to just of your year, but of your life as well.
I hope this little message from the past, and a special Saint, touch your heart and lead you to pay a special visit to our Adoration Chapel where Jesus is waiting to greet you and bless you.
God Bless

From Trials to Triumph, a Catholic (RCIA)Testimonial You’ll Want to Share

My journey to Christ was a long one.  There were a lot of stops and starts, bumps, and dead ends.  If my story does anything for you, I hope it shows you that God is capable of amazing things.  He is truly a patient and forgiving God, and has more faith and love for us than we could possibly have for ourselves. If we choose to believe that, and give Him control of our lives, we too can be capable of amazing things.  My journey through RCIA helped me to realize just that.  I gave control of my life to the one who should have had it all along, and through prayer and trust in God, I found the strength to forgive, I found healing and peace, and found the Holy Spirit had a purpose for my life, for me, just an ordinary mom.

 I had a pretty ugly childhood, and perhaps some of you reading this right now can say the same.  Although I thought I was strong enough to put the ugly behind me, my childhood had scarred me, and led to some not so great life choices. The amazing part is that God took those sins, and he created something beautiful; a testimony that I can now share with others, with all of you.

            In RCIA, we started every class with a prayer.  Week by week, I realized more and more the power of prayer, and began praying on my own, asking God for strength, for healing, for answers.  The more I prayed, the more the Holy Spirit revealed to me, He answered questions in my life that I never knew I had;  why did these bad things happen to me, where was He through it all, what was it all for?

            To answer these questions for you, these bad things happened to me, not because they were God’s plan, but because those around me chose to do wrong.   You often hear that God is always with us. Someone close to me suggested that I pray to God and ask Him where He was in those dark times of my life, so I did.  The Holy Spirit sent me memories of people that I hadn’t thought of in a long time.  Christian families who, in my childhood, had welcomed me into their homes, had fed me dinners, brought me to church, showed me what a healthy family was like; ordinary moms like myself who always made me feel welcome and never turned me away.  These people were my escape. They were placed in my life to help me through those difficult times. I can’t tell you how comforting it was to know, when I thought I was alone, God was truly there with me, in the form of these families.  Knowing I wasn’t alone took away my hurt, my insecurities, and allowed me to reach a place where I no longer felt like a victim, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, I was able to forgive the person responsible for my pain.   I was finally at peace with my past.

 So, the struggles I endured as a child; what were they all for? As I mentioned before, it wasn’t the Lord’s plan for me to suffer like I did, but the wonderful thing about our Creator is, He can transform our pain, our sins, into something beautiful if we only give them up to Him. I did just that, and the Lord turned my pain, my sin, into an opportunity I struggle to find the words to describe.

 I was having a discussion with a group of people and the topic evolved into someone questioning why God allowed bad things to happen to children. The conversation continued on for several minutes, and I sat in my chair waiting, uncomfortably for the topic to pass.  Suddenly, I felt like something was pushing down on me; I felt like I was being forced to speak, but I fought back against it.  The sensation only intensified until I leapt out of my seat and left the room in tears.  A good friend who knew my story came out to comfort me, and I explained to her what I had just experienced.  I told her that I knew it was the Holy Spirit, and I knew that He wanted me to share my story, but I didn’t want to; I was afraid.  I went on to tell her that the Holy Spirit had laid this on my heart a while ago, but I never found myself in a situation where I felt the urge to do so, until that night.  I decided then and there I would not say no to God. He wanted me to do something, and I was going to do it no matter how nervous and overwhelmed I felt.

That night, I spoke to that individual.  Embarrassed, and feeling completely vulnerable, crying and trembling, I shared my story.  I described how, through prayer, I had been healed, and had found the strength to forgive the person who had hurt me, and how God wanted them to know that.  I gave them a hug, said goodnight, and I left feeling completely foolish, and uncertain.  I got in my car, and immediately, I prayed.  I told God that I felt stupid.  I told Him I didn’t know if I had done what He wanted, if I had talked to the right person, and I asked Him for a sign, something, to let me know that I had done the right thing.

A week passed with no sign, until that night.  I saw the person I had talked to.  They said, what I had shared was a gift, and they felt honored that I had shared it with them. I immediately felt relief and joy.  We prayed together, we hugged, and in my mind, a friendship was created.  I don’t know if that person realizes how special they are, and will always be, to me. That night, in that moment, they had given me a gift, an opportunity to turn my suffering into something meaningful, something God could use.  To this person, you know who you are, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for openly receiving what I had to share, thank you for your words of comfort, thank you.  I pray for you often. I love you, God loves you, and I know the Lord has great things in store for you.

  To my fellow RCIA classmates, what amazing people you all are!  I am so blessed to have shared in this experience with each and every one of you. May God continue to grow in your hearts. To my dear group of 1st grade mommies that shared in this amazing journey with me, thank you for your support, and for showing me I can rely on others. I truly love and cherish each of you!  RCIA team, thank you SO much for your knowledge, time and commitment.  Without you, I wouldn’t be Catholic (YaY!).

 To our priests, and soon to be priest (Brother Corwin, that’s you!), you are all so warm and approachable.  To me, you are friends, whose love and commitment to Christ, inspires me. We at St. Dominic’s, are very fortunate to have you.  Father John Marie, you have witnessed my struggles and my triumphs throughout my journey.  Thank you for being there.  Your simple, but powerful, words of encouragement, gave me much to think about, and grow on.  You will always be very special to me, and you will be in my thoughts and prayers as you embark on your new mission for Christ.  Stay dry, ha ha!  

To those of you who are thinking of joining RCIA, yes, a year is a long commitment, but I guarantee, if you open yourself up to it, you will get so much more out of it than you could ever imagine.  So, whether you are hoping to learn more about Catholicism, looking for your own healing and peace, your strength to forgive someone who has hurt you, or for your own personal reasons, RCIA can be your first step to making that happen.

God Bless,

Jazmine Rapp

Farewell Letter to Parish from Fr. John Marie

To the Parishioners of St. Dominic’s,

My friends, I am amazed at how time flies.  Four years have passed since I first came to Benicia for my first assignment as a newly-ordaFrJohMarieined priest.  As I glance at those years, I realize that God has answered the deepest desire of my heart, namely, to become more and more conformed to his Son, the High-Priest Jesus Christ. 

 But such a gift did not come because I deserved it; rather, the Lord chose to bless me with a parish community that reflected the Gospel truth of the Father’s love and mercy for the world.  Your mercy to me began with your welcome and continues with your prayers as I transition to Seattle. 

 May the Lord bless you abundantly for responding to his grace and embracing all of us in the Dominican habit with such love.  Please know that I am grateful beyond words that you have shown me what it means to exercise my priesthood for others.  All y’all (yes, that’s how we say it) will be in my continual prayers.

 And if you are ever in Seattle, you are welcome to visit me at our Dominican parish, Blessed Sacrament.  It is in the University District at:

 Blessed Sacrament Parish

5050 – 8th Avenue N.E.

Seattle, WA  98105.

My email will be frjohnmarie@bspwa.org.

May the peace of Christ reign in your hearts always!  God bless!

~Fr. John Marie


The Rite Note – Observations from the Choir Loft

Feast of Pentecost –

“Sequence”-ially Speaking . . .

One of our Catholic liturgy’s more beautiful and special “ritual notes” is The Sequence. 

Of the 3 greatest FEASTS of the Church, PENTECOST ranks not far behind CHRISTMAS, which, of course, ranks not far behind EASTER – the very reason for being a Christian at all!  Coming 50 days after EASTER, PENTECOST celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, the sealing of Christ’s redemptive mission on earth, the completion of the Triune God’s sanctifying intervention in our lives by assuring us of His almighty Presence with us forever as Father, Son AND Holy Spirit!  It is often referred to as “The BIRTHDAY of the CHURCH” because it marked the beginning of the Apostles’ real acting as “Followers of the Way”, the first name for Christians as mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (9:2).Rite Note

And as we have seen with some of the other great feasts of the Church, there is a special ritual characteristic of the liturgical celebration of this feast, and this time it is a poetic chant or hymn, which we call “a Sequence”.  Not that this feature is unique to Pentecost.  In fact, at one time during the Middle Ages, there were dozens of these liturgical classical metres scattered through the Church’s yearly cycle of celebrations.  One source I read during my research said there may have been as many as 16 in use for Easter alone!  But since the papacy of Pius V in 1570, several years after the great Church Council of Trent (much like Vatican Council II in our time), the number of sequences for the entire Roman Rite (or version of the liturgy) was reduced to four.  And I would say that of the 4, the most familiar, and even possibly the most beautiful, is that of PENTECOST.

But before getting to that, what exactly is this Sequence?  Well, as already mentioned, basically it is a chant or hymn written on a sacred subject.  It is meant to expand on and explain the meaning of a sacred celebration.  But it is written in a particular style of Latin language poetry that is called non-classical -meaning it doesn’t have the same number of word syllables in each verse or stanza but rather tries to fit the wording in such a way that it is more easily suitable to musical chanting.  The verses do come in pairs, however, where the rhythm of the 2nd half of a pair follows that of the 1st half.  In that way, it is often sung in a cantor/choir arrangement, where one or a few singers will do the 1st half of a pair of verses and a choir or larger group will sing the 2nd half according to the same melody.  A Sequence IS meant to be sung, but most often these days it is simply reverently read, especially when there is no one in a parish with chanting ability.  Sequentially, from which its name is derived, a Sequence comes after the 1st reading’s Responsorial Psalm, or after the 2nd reading when there is one.  In any case, it comes immediately before the Alleluia and Gospel Acclamation.

Come HOly SpiritThe 4 Sequences still prescribed in the Roman liturgical style of the “western hemisphere” of the Church are those for EASTER (“Christians to the Paschal Victim”), PENTECOST (“Come, Holy Spirit”), CORPUS CHRISTI (“Laud, O Sion, Your Salvation”), and Our Lady of Sorrows (“By the Cross Her Station Keeping”).  And of those, only the first 2 are required to be sung or read at their liturgies.  There are 2 more Sequences still in use:  most notably the “Dies Irae” (“Day of Wrath”) sometimes included on the Feast of All Souls and in Masses of the Dead; and one allowed our Dominicans for CHRISTMAS (“Sweeten All Your Song With Gladness”).

Of course, originally written for the Latin language, these beautiful sacred poems sometimes lose something in their modern day translations to the language of a country or locale.  Fortunately, the SEQUENCE for PENTECOST is not one of them.  And of the text of this particular Sequence, many hymns to the Holy Spirit have been and continue to be written in beautiful music – most notably the “Come, Holy Ghost, Creator Blest” in English and the great “Veni Creator Spiritus” often still sung in Latin at the beginning of many sacred celebrations where the guidance of the Holy Spirit is being invoked.  Look them up on Google sometime when you get a chance if they don’t come to mind and enjoy the beautiful poetry and musical settings.

But for now, I encourage you to focus on this PENTECOST SEQUENCE for the upcoming Sunday feast of June 8th, and enjoy the beauty of this sacred jewel, reflecting/praying on the spiritual reality and sentiments of this great RITE NOTE.  (Here’s just one of many YouTube links if you want to hear it in English  Pentecost Sequence – Come, O holy Spirit, Come – YouTube  or in Latin  Veni Sancte Spiritus (Pentecost, Sequence) – YouTube)

 1.  Come, O Holy Spirit, come!                              2.  Come, O Father of the poor!
      And from your celestial home                                Come, O source of all our store!
      Shed a ray of light divine!                                       Come, within our bosoms shine.
 3. You, of comforters the best;                              4.  In our labor, rest most sweet;
      You, the soul’s most welcome guest;                   Grateful coolness in the heat;
      Sweet refreshment here below;                             Solace in the midst of woe.
5.  O most blessed Light divine,                             6.  Where you are not, we have naught,
      Shine within these hearts of Thine,                        Nothing good in deed or thought,
      And our inmost being fill!                                        Nothing free from taint of ill.
7.  Heal our wounds, our strength renew;               8.  Bend the stubborn heart and will;
      On our dryness pour your dew;                             Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
     Wash the stains of guilt away:                               Guide the steps that go astray.
9.  On the faithful, who adore                                10.  Give them virtue’s sure reward;
      And confess you, evermore                                  Give them your salvation, Lord;
      In your sevenfold gift descend;                             Give them joys that never end.
                                                        Amen.  Alleluia.

 Until next time – stay tuned!

Jim Guinasso, Liturgical Singer

RCIA Recognition

RCIA Ministry Recognizes Sally Kinane!

A Special Thank you to Sally Kinane!

After 7 years of being St. Dominic’s RCIA Program Leader, Sally Kinane is passing the torch to a new leader Shannon Carter. Sally has made the difference in the lives of over 200 converts to the Catholic Faith and no doubt their families as well. We asked Sally to reflect on her role and time spent dedicated to this ministry.

Here is her story in her own words:



I was with the RCIA program at St. Doms since 2001 and was a coordinator since 2007. I thanked God all during those years for giving me the privilege of working with people who want to enter the Catholic Church. To try and help people realize God’s love for them and to help them love Him is awesome. Then to watch how God works in their lives as everyone’s life is changed after going through the program. But I tell e
eryone that I am just the dog that helps the Shepherd bring people to God. And to tell you the truth, God has really helped me run the program. People would cross my path and give me ideas of how the program might be improved, one of those ideas came to me when I was on a trip to Bolivia. God would put an idea in my head that I wasn’t even thinking about and would sometimes reinforce that idea with something concrete like an article that I happened to read soon after. I think that is what I will miss the most, but I know God will still work in my life other ways.

031I want to thank all the priests, team, and parishioners who have worked in the program with me. I especially want to thank the parish for your support and especially your welcoming of these new people who have entered the church. I don’t think you realize what you all mean to them.

Many tell us that when they went to St. Dominic’s for the first time, they felt at home and most of that is because of all of you. As for what I am going to do (not that I am “retired”), I will still be here at the parish but I have been taking care of my granddaughter in Campbell after school a couple of days a week and will continue that. And I think God is nudging me to try something different, will have to wait and see. RCIA is in great hands with Shannon Carter, a convert to the faith herself. God will continue to guide her now and this program that is so vital to our Parish.



Good Friday Reflection- Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.

Good Friday Reflection, Jesus’ Seven Last Words, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

by Parishioner Mary Brennan, Sat. PM Choir Director

Four months ago, my father passed away.  He was a devout Catholic, even a former Seminarian who repeatedly told his seven children, your purpose on earth is to get to heaven.  He prayed every night and every morning. He taught his children how to live our lives and was always an example of great faith—it was truly a gift from him to us.  I was surprised to learn that in the last few months of his life, as death drew near, that my father—the most religious man I knew, was questioning things.  He prayed to God to keep him strong and to not allow the demons of fear to shake him.  And maybe in our darkest hours is when our faith is the most vulnerable.

Throughout the gospel readings, Jesus teaches us how to live our lives as well. He is often tested by those non-believers in his midst, but he always, always has an answer for them.  And why wouldn’t he? He is the Son of God and all-knowing.  But, we also know the night before his death, that he possessed all the human entities of fear and pain and disappointment.  We witness this in the gospel of Matthew when he writes:

“Jesus prayed, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will but as you will.’” Jesus-Praying-in-the-Garden-of-Gethsemane

To me, this is the most undeniable passage supporting Christ’s humanization that we see in the gospels prior to his crucifixion. He knew what was coming.  He had even predicted his betrayal, condemnation, beating, and death.  And now, as the hour drew near.  He was scared.  His darkest hours were upon him.  And it was then that he was most vulnerable.  As he hung on the cross under unimaginable physical duress, he called to his Father asking why He has abandoned him.  His heart must truly have ached with loneliness and despair.

But, his faith endured.  It endured through the suffering and pain and anguish and loneliness of the cross.  His complete acceptance of God’s will was the most outstanding undeniable demonstration of trust the world has ever witnessed. And, that was possibly one of the greatest gifts we ever received from Jesus Christ. Through his darkest hours, his most vulnerable hour, he demonstrated unrelenting faith.

With his final words and his last breath, he commended his spirit back to the God he KNEW to be the giver of life—Armed with an enduring faith, he accepted God’s will.

We will face every hardship, disappointment, fear, struggle, and pain that the world can throw at us—but only with faith.

Happy Easter, Mary Brennan