SATURDAY
September 2, 2000
volume 11, no. 158


LITURGY for Saturday and Sunday, September 2-3, 2000

Saturday, September 2, 2000

    Saturday September 2:
    Weekday in Ordinary Time and
    Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday
    FIRST SATURDAY

    Green or white vestments

      First Reading: 1 Corinthians 1: 26-31
      Psalms: Psalm 33: 12-13, 18-21
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 25: 14-30
Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday
        Honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary is a custom first promoted by the Benedictine Monk Saint Alcuin back in the days of Charlemagne. He composed different formulas for Votive Masses for each day of the week, with two set aside to honor Our Lady on Saturday. This practice caught on with great enthusiasm and eventually the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday became the Common of the Blessed Virgin. This Mass was a favorite with retired priests and those whose sight was failing for most had memorized this Mass and were able to say it by heart without having to read the Lectionary or Sacramentary. One reason Saturday was dedicated to Mary was that Saturday held a special meaning in Mariology. First of all, as Genesis accounts for, God rested on the seventh day. In the Old Testament, the Sabbath was Saturday. Jesus, Son of God rested in the womb and then, when He became incarnate, in the loving arms of Mary from birth until she held His lifeless body at the foot of the Cross. Thus the God-head rested in Mary. It was also on Saturday after Good Friday that Jesus gave His Mother a special gift and reward for keeping her faith in His Divinity intact by making an exceptional appearance to her. Thus, because of these reasons, the devotion spread by St. Alcuin and other liturgies that evolved within the Church, Saturday took on a special Marian significance. Saturday took on even more significance in honoring Mary when Our Lady imparted to visionary Lucia in her third apparition at Fatima on July 13, 1917, "Our Lord wishes that devotion to my Immaculate Heart be established in the world. If what I tell you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace; the war will end...I ask the consecration of the world to my Immaculate Heart and Communion of reparation on the First Saturday of each month...If my requests are granted, Russia will be converted and there will be peace...In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph, and an era of peace will be conceded to humanity." As we draw nearer to that wonderful event, it is more important than ever to honor Mary's request on the First Saturday as well as each Saturday that her feast is commemorated in the Church calendar, not to mention responding to her call daily with the Rosary and attending Daily Mass, nourished by her Divine Son present body and blood, soul and Divinity in the Blessed Sacrament. It is in the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary where she remains in the background in the liturgy of the Word so that her Divine Son's words and His Presence take the spotlight as He should while Mary remains the chief intercessor before the Holy Trinity as she should and serves as the ideal for all Catholics to strive for, as we should. The Dictionary of Mary states quite succinctly, "Through these liturgical acts, (honoring Mary on Saturday) Christians exalt the person of Mary in the action that renews the sacrifice of Christ and in the action that prolongs His prayer."

SUNDAY, September 3, 2000

      First Reading: Deuteronomy 4: 1-2, 6-8
      Psalms: Psalm 15: 2-5
      Second Reading: James 1: 17-18, 21-22, 27
      Gospel Reading: Mark 7: 1-8, 14-15, 21-23
Though superseded by the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, September 3rd is the traditional Feast of Pope Saint Gregory the Great, Supreme Pontiff, Doctor of the Church and Founder of Gregorian Chant:

Feast of Pope Saint Gregory the Great, Religious and Doctor of the Church
       The same barbarian ransacking that Augustine faced in the early 400's revisited in the early 600's while Pope Saint Gregory the Great was guiding Holy Mother Church as the 64th successor of Saint Peter. Born in Rome in 540 to a Roman Senator, Gregory began his career following in the footsteps of his father by becoming prefect of Rome from 573-578. After the death of his father, Gregory gave it all up for God. He gave everything he had to an assortment of monasteries, building six monasteries in Sicily and even turned his own palatial home in Rome into a monastery. In 579 Pope Pelagius II ordained Gregory a deacon, sending him as an emissary to Constantinople amid the opulence in the court of the Emperor there. But Gregory disdained these perks, opting to continue living the monastic way of life while still carrying out his duties. In 586 Pope Pelagius recalled him to Rome where Gregory was given the position of abbot of St. Andrew's Monastery, while performing the full time duties of the Holy Father's Secretary. It was an important step in his grooming for four years later he was chosen to succeed Pelagius who had died from the plague on February 7, 590. Seven months later on September 3, 590 Gregory became Pope. This Benedictine was the first monk in the history of the Church to be elevated to pontiff and continued his contemplative ways while still maintaining a busy, active schedule as the leader of his people, calling himself the "Servant of the servants of God." His first official act was forming penitential processions to the seven churches in Rome to petition God to end the deadly plague ravaging the city. Gregory's and the people's prayers were answered as the plague was diminished. Gregory knew this from the vision he received of an angel in a castle at the Vatican which, from that time on, became Castel Sant'Angelo near the river Tiber. During his fourteen year reign Gregory reaffirmed the civil authority of the pope, thus beginning the "temporal power." He was a pope who called for great reform within the Church unifying her with disciplinary measures necessary to expand the mission of the Church. That mission included England, France, Spain and Africa where he sent numerous missionaries to evangelize the true faith. Gregory was creative and original in his administration as Pope and his actions became the benchmark for how the Holy Father would rule from the Vatican to the entire world. He became an ideal role model for priests, bishops, religious and lay people throughout the world. Gregory also revised the Sacramentary and the liturgy of the Mass, introducing chants in the Mass which would become the celebrated Gregorian Chant. He was given the moniker "Great" seven hundred years later by Pope Boniface VIII and was proclaimed one of the great Doctors of the Church along with Saints Ambrose, Jerome, and Augustine...all from the same era of the early centuries. Like our Holy Father Pope John Paul II today, the Canticle of Mary responsory proclaims that "Gregory put into practice all that he preached so that he might be a living example of the spiritual message he proclaimed."

September 2, 2000
volume 11, no. 158
DAILY LITURGY



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