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St. Isidore's Chalkboard

Welcome to St. Isidore's chalkboard. At this site we post questions and try to answer questions on events, plans or ideas for our parish ministries and activities. If you have a question just click on the I have a question Mailbox link (at the top of the page and at the bottom) and it will be sent to the Webservant who will relay it to the appropriate resource. Once accepted, assigned, and answered, your question with the answer will later be posted on this page. Just like leaving notes on the old chalkboard at school!

Questions, Issues, Comments
(just click on the issue of interest)

1) Are the priests available 24 hours a day for the Sacrament of the Anointing of the sick? If not what are we to do for our dying who wish to receive this Sacrament?

2) Why do we join hands when saying the Our Father?

3) A discussion of wine in our Mass was brought up recently within a group of my friends, non-Catholics. One of them brought up that the bible states for us not be intoxicated and the use of alcohol should be avoided.

4) Would our Priests and Deacons meet with the members of each group (Eucharistic Ministers, Readers, Ushers), but by individual groups?

5) What does Jesus eat and drink the forty days and nights in the desert?

6) What is the history of coloring Easter eggs?

7) In the Fall of 2002 Bishop Weigand issued a statement on some modest changes to some of the liturgical norms of Mass, e.g., kneeling during the Great Amen, bowing before receiving communion, etc. Please let me know what the changes were again.

8) I was wondering why it is all right for pictures to be taken at the Jubilee Mass, which is a celebratory Mass, and not all right to take pictures at the First Communion, which is also a celebratory Mass?

9) Each of the various Bibles are translated slightly different (maybe a word or two). Does that mean that one is incorrect or are they all correct since they have slightly different interpretations?

10) How are the members of the parish councils and committees (finance, school, etc.) selected?

11) How often is the Sacrament of Confirmation administered in our parish?

12) I was wondering if St. Isidore Parish offers any classes or assistance program for family members coping with and/or overcoming any drug or narcotic addiction to help better their lives?

13) Is it possible to have confessions on Saturday afternoons?

14) Why is it that when Catholics pray the Our Father, they don't include "for the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory are yours now and forever"?

15) Any idea why we use our RIGHT hand in making the sign of the cross?

16) Is it the Church's official teaching that a Catholic must go to Confession once a year?

17) Is there a traditional dress color for both boys and girls for Confirmation?

18) As volunteers aiding families who have an emergency we get requests to contact a priest to aid victims. What should our local T.I.P. Volunteers advise people who ask us to call for a priest to come "RIGHT NOW"? And does the time of day or night affect that advice?

19) I am not yet Catholic but have spoken with a priest at my local church about beginning my RCIA classes. I know I am not able to participate in the Eucharist, but what else am I not encouraged to do during a normal mass?

20) What color do the priests wear during the sacrament of reconciliation and why?

21) When Satan fell to earth, were Adam and Eve already here or were they created afterwards?

22) Do you know why the seven books were deleted from the Protestant bible?

23) What color do priests wear for the anointing of the sick?

24) What colors do Priests wear during Advent?

25) What are the guidelines for Godparents? Do you need to have one male and one female? Do they need to be members of the local parish and/or the Catholic Church?

26) Why doesn’t the Altar Server ring the bells during the Liturgy/Consecration of the Eucharist at St. Isidore Parish?

27) What's the prayer you say when you make the sign of the Cross before the Gospel?\

28) Are there any plans to offer the Latin rite mass at St. Isidore?  I have remained hopeful since the Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum of  Pope Benedict XVI that perhaps we might have it offered.\

29) I plan to be cremated when I die.  What service, rites, etc. does the Church require?

30) I know when the Feast of the Epiphany is but recently I have seen the phrase "Epiphany Season." What is the Epiphany Season?

1) Q: Priests (bishops and presbyters) are ministers of the Anointing of the Sick. It would be a good idea for pastors to instruct the faithful on the benefits of this sacrament. The faithful should encourage the sick to call for a priest to receive this sacrament. The sick should prepare themselves to receive it with good dispositions, assisted by their pastor and the whole ecclesial community, which is invited to surround the sick in a special way through their prayers and fraternal attention. I have had first hand experience with the death of a relative who while dying in the hospital and we could not reach our priests. Since this is a Sacrament that is only administered by a priest and with the previous information as background, my question is, are the priests available 24 hours a day for the Sacrament of the Anointing of the sick? If not what are we to do for our dying who wish to receive this Sacrament? If the issue is telecommunications can the parish afford to give our priests a cell phone for the answering service to contact them?

A: In my almost 22 years as a priest, I have found the Sacrament of the anointing of the sick to be one sacrament that brings a lot of hope, comfort and healing not only for the person who is sick but also for the people who gather around him/her, including the priest.

The sacrament of the anointing of the sick used to be called "the last rites", meaning in many cases that it would be the last thing a person would do before facing death. This misunderstanding of the Sacrament created a lot of fear in the hearts of many people. Jesus dedicated a lot of his time healing the sick, forgiving sins and restoring people to health. He did not anoint people before they died.

The sacrament is for all those who are in need of physical, emotional, spiritual healing. I think it is a wonderful thing if a priest can be beside the person who is dying. Yes, we are on call 24 hours. Yes, we go to the hospitals in Yuba City and Marysville - a lot. There are times when we are in church celebrating the Mass. There are times when we a visiting the sick in their home, just like I did this morning at 10:30. Sometimes we are taking care of the needs of the school. Sometimes we are attending the needs of more than 600 students attending religious education. Sometimes we are attending the needs of the parish from the administrative point of view. Once a week we are in the confessional for a minimum of an hour and a half and up to two or more hours. What I am trying to say is that there will be times when the priest will not be available at the very last minutes when someone calls from the hospital or from their home. We are only two priests for more than 2500 registered families in the parish. I do remember last month, a family called requesting a priest to go to see a member of the family. I was available and immediately went to the hospital, by the time I got there the person had died.

Salvation does not depend on whether the priest is there for me at the last minute of my life, if he is, God bless him. Jesus has already taken care of my salvation as a baptized Catholic man/woman.

We have encouraged people at Mass to call us before they go to the hospital. Sometimes they come to the church to receive the Sacramento of the Anointing of the Sick or we go to their homes to visit them. If there is an emergency we try very hard to be there as soon as we can.

During the holy season of Lent we have a Mass for the anointing of the sick when healthy people can bring their sick and disabled to the church and celebrate the sacrament with the community. We have one Mass in the morning and one Mass in the late afternoon.

Again, it is not a sacrament of the dying, it is a sacrament of the sick, a sacrament that is made available for all those in need of healing.

I am sure I am not providing all of the answers for you. I hope you find this information helpful.
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2) Q: Personally, I don't feel it is necessary to join hands with others for the Our Father during Mass. Why do we join hands when saying the Our Father?

A: Indeed, you are right. It is not "necessary" to join hands with others for the praying of the Lord's Prayer during the mass. Not joining hands does not invalidate the prayer or the entire mass for that matter. Conversely, joining hands during the recitation of the Lord's Prayer does not invalidate the prayer or the mass either. Joining or not joining hands during the Lord's Prayer does not affect the substantial unity of the Roman Rite. My recommendation to you is that if you do not feel comfortable joining hands with your neighbors and expressing solidarity with them during the prayer, then by all means, please do not. It will not only make you uncomfortable but it may even make you resent it.

Movements and postures are signs of community and unity of the assembly; they both express and foster the spiritual attitude of those taking part. When we recite the Lord's Prayer, we express a "petition both for daily food, which for Christians means also the Eucharistic bread, and for the forgiveness of sin, so that what is holy may be given to those who are holy" (General Instruction of the Roman Missal - GIRM 1975 ed., no. 56a).

Movements and postures also help us express what we are trying to say. Some cultures are more expressive (in terms of gestures) than others. Provided that the substantial unity of the Roman rite is preserved, the Church respects and fosters the qualities and talents of the various races and nations (Sacrosanctum Concilium nos. 37-38). Granted that I am not a native of California or the U.S.A., it is my observation that many 'Americans' (see note below) are very expressive not only in words but also in gestures. When they are afraid, they hold on to each other. When they want to express unity, they hold each other's hands. I have seen many people giving other people a hug during funerals. Children as well as adults give me a hug after masses (something that is not common to my Filipino culture). I take it that during the recitation of the Lord's prayer, the community who opt to join hands with other people are simply trying to express their petition for God's forgiveness and provision in unity and solidarity with their brothers and sisters.

(NOTE: We have to consider that the definition of the word "American" as a cultural term is something very nebulous especially here in California. Because of the reality of migration, there is no one definitive cultural trait among the American people. It is constantly being fused with other cultures - but remain Americans all.)
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3) Q: A discussion of wine in our Mass was brought up recently within a group of my friends, non-Catholics. One of them brought up that the bible states for us not be intoxicated and the use of alcohol should be avoided. (Isaiah 5). But, I mentioned that wine is used throughout the bible and seems to be very important. Their position was that wine, back then, was much different than it is now. They stated it was not a fermented drink like it is now.

A: I am very curious as to the documentation of the statement "wine, back then, was much different than it is now. They stated it was not a fermented drink like it is now."

On the side, I don't know if you watch the History Channel but there was a segment in one of its programs about the Welch's grape juice. Apparently, Welch tried to perfect this grape juice formula because of what he saw as a need to provide to the young kids the blood of Christ. This illustrates to me that grape juice was not the norm.

On a more serious note, I think your friend has a little bit narrow interpretation of the 5th chapter of Isaiah (no offense to her/him). The 5th chapter of Isaiah is divided into 2 major sections with a 3rd minor section. The first one is the Song of the Lord's vineyard (5:1-7), the 2nd section is the series of woes (5:8-24) and the 3rd minor section is 5:25-30 which talks about the punishment that God will send to the sinful people.

I would suppose that your friend is probably referring to the 2nd section when s/he talked about forbidding the use of fermented grape juice (wine) in liturgical celebration. Specifically, I think your friend is looking at verses 11-14. The verse goes this way, "You are doomed. You get up early in the morning to start drinking and you spend long evening getting drunk. At your feasts you have harps and tambourines and flutes and wine. But you do not understand what the Lord is doing and so you will be carried away as prisoners" (5:11-13a). This is the third woe and this condemns those who are guilty of drunken luxury that makes them unable to perceive Yahweh's action in history. These are the king's advisers whose imperceptions led to disastrous policies that result in destruction and exile. Verse 22 also talks about the evil of intemperate drinking. In both cases, what we are looking at is the intemperate or the abuse of wine and alcoholic beverage. I don't think sipping the blood of Christ can be labeled as abuse. Would you think it is?

Lastly, wine is a prominent part of the Ancient Near East culture. You see this in the New Testament. Jesus Christ used wine in celebration and at important events. Whenever he would gather his followers, there is food and wine. At the last supper, it was wine that he offered to his disciples. "I tell you, I will never again drink this wine until the day I drink the new wine with you in my Father's Kingdom" (Mt. 26:29).
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4) Q: Would our Priests and Deacons meet with the members of each group (Eucharistic Ministers, Readers, Ushers), but by individual groups? I think this would help each group be consistent in their responsibilities and provide the opportunity to get to know each other better.

A: Our priests and deacons are more than willing to meet with all of our various ministries but we leave the decision for the invitation to attend the meeting with the members up to the coordinator of each ministry.
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5) Q: What does Jesus eat and drink the forty days and nights in the desert?

A: Prior to undertaking his ministry, Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness praying and fasting (Matthew 4:2). But before discussing what he ate or drank please let me first discuss what this forty day fast is about.

Christ used a forty day period of prayer and fasting to prepare for his ministry, which culminated in his death and resurrection. Lent is a period of prayer and fasting and it is fitting for Christians to imitate their Lord with a forty day period of prayer and fasting to prepare for the celebration of His ministry's climax, Good Friday (the day of the crucifixion) and Easter Sunday (the day of the resurrection). Fasting is not a way to make yourself more “religious.” It is not a “hunger strike” to make God pay attention to your prayers. It is not a duty to be done just to get it out of the way. Fasting is an expression of a deep longing to honor God and draw closer to Him. Thus the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "'For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sinning' [Heb. 4:15]. By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert." (CCC 540).

Now for your question what did He eat and drink - we don't know. The Bible doesn't address what his diet consisted of, but only that he did fast. However, we can guess by looking at our civilization's past and current practices. He most likely consumed small amounts of water, unleavened bread and possibly dried fruit and vegetables. These would have been in portions much less than the normal amount of all meals for the forty days and nights.
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6) Q: What is the history of coloring Easter eggs?

A: The Easter Egg actually began as a pagan symbol - the symbol of spring with new growth and life after the winter season. This began before Christ was born. Because of Christ's resurrection, the Easter Egg then later became associated with His rising from the dead and with the Christian celebration of His resurrection. The customs and traditions of using eggs have now been associated with Easter for centuries.

Historically Easter eggs were painted with bright colors to represent the spring season and have been given as gifts. Different cultures have different customs for decorating Easter eggs. In Greece they are painted crimson to represent the blood of Christ. In the Germanic countries they are green and given on Holy Thursday. Some countries go to great pains to make them into intricate works of art. Some practices include not cooking the eggs, but piercing them and blowing out the contents to cook later. Then the egg shells are colored and hung as decorations. Some other artisans, after removing the contents, hollow out the shells and decorate the insides with religious pictures of Christ and the saints.
(Information courtesy of Holidays on the Net)
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7) Q: In the Fall of 2002 Bishop Weigand issued a statement on some modest changes to some of the liturgical norms of Mass, e.g., kneeling during the Great Amen, bowing before receiving communion, etc. Please let me know what the changes were again.

A: The changes were issued by Bishop Weigand in order to effect a commonality in our way of praying the Mass. His two page statement is too long for placement on Chalkboard Page but if you just click on the title of his Catholic Herald Column "Feed My Lambs" of November 16, 2002, you will be taken to a copy of it. Modest Changes in Liturgical Norms Due December 1, 2002.
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8) Q: I was wondering why it is all right for pictures to be taken at the Jubilee Mass, which is a celebratory Mass, and not all right to take pictures at the First Communion, which is also a celebratory Mass?

A: Pictures that were taken at the Jubilee Mass were taken with the pre-approval of the celebrants and under the conditions that they would be taken while someone was speaking, being recognized or awarded certificates in recognition of the Parish's Jubilee. No pictures were taken during the consecration and celebration of the Eucharist. Unfortunately, there were pictures taken at the First Communion celebration, while the children were receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord for their first time. The consecration of the Mass and the receiving of Communion are sacred portions of the Mass, and a time of extra graces and for reflection on these special blessings. This moment is very special in these children’s lives and they should not be subject to the interference of many flashes from cameras, many persons moving around for better camera angle, etc. The children's concentration should focus on receiving Jesus for their first time, and not posing for the camera. Time is allowed after Mass for those parents to take pictures with their children, celebrants and others.
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9) Q: As far as I know either the majority if not all of the Protestants use the King James Bible. Catholics, however, use many different Bibles, the most popular I think being the St. Joseph's edition. But each of those Bibles are translated slightly different (maybe a word or two). Does that mean that one is incorrect or are they all correct since they have slightly different interpretations? Also, I read in "The Rock" that scholars have proven mistakes in the King James Bible, but they didn't list what they were. Does anyone know?

A: You have asked an exceptionally good question. And with that in mind I am providing you with a link which will take you the Catholic Answers website. They have a page titled Bible Translations Guide, which addresses the issues you have raised. They have more answers than can be allowed on this page. Just click on the title and you will be able to view their site. Bible Translations Guide
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10) Q: How are the members of the parish councils and committees (finance, school, etc.) selected? What is the criteria that is used to select the members. Are these positions reviewed annually? Can board members be added, replaced or removed at anytime? By who?

A: Our parish has more than 50 ministries and most have some type of oversight or coordinating team, committee or governing officers. Some of these team leaders/committees/officers are elected (e.g., K of C; ICF; School Board, etc.); some are volunteers responding to advertised requests (e.g., Disciples in Mission Leadership Team, Legion of Mary, Eucharistic Ministers, Lectors); some volunteers are recruited to fill specialized needs because of their expertise and/or work experience (e.g., Finance Committee, Pastoral Council, Parents' Clubs and Groups, Stewardship Committee).

It is important to note that all persons serving on these committees are dedicated volunteers and receive no pay. Also, these teams/committees that serve for these various faith, education, and parish life ministries have governing mission statements and rules, similar to the Robert's Rules of Order, which also govern their members' procedures, duties and responsibilities, and continued tenure in office.
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11) Q: How often is the Sacrament of Confirmation administered in our parish?

A: The Sacrament of Confirmation is generally and historically celebrated twice in the year in our parish. The first celebration is usually at the Easter Vigil Mass, with the sacrament being administered by our Pastor to those Adults being initiated into the church. The Bishop of Sacramento also offers a Confirmation ceremony and reception for those adults who are to be confirmed throughout the Diocese. This is usually offered in the Spring.

The second celebration is administered by the Bishop to our parish's young people who are students who have completed their religious studies in anticipation of receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation. Confirmation students attend roughly 22 classes along with participation in service activities such as participating in the annual October Life Chain, the Procession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Walk for Life in support of A Woman's Friend center and clinic, and attending to 10 Spiritual Hours, 10 Corporal hours, 6 celebrations at Mass, 2 retreats, and attendance at the Chrism Mass.

Each year and prior to the students Confirmation service, the Parish receives a survey letter from the Diocese asking which season would be preferred for the ceremony, i.e., Spring, Summer, etc. Later we receive an appointment letter letting us know the date that the Bishop will be able to celebrate and administer the sacrament to the students at our Parish.
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12) Q: I was wondering if St. Isidore Parish offers any classes or assistance program for family members coping with and/or overcoming any drug or narcotic addiction to help better their lives?

A: It is difficult to determine from your question if you have made use of local community resources to address the physical, emotional and spiritual issues inherent with the problems of addiction. So please let me offer you the following. For critical physical and emotional needs, community resources are immediately available through a family physician, county health and mental health services, and several faith based organizations, including the Sacramento Diocesan Catholic Social Services agency. These are available on a telephonic or walk in basis. Staff in the parish office can assist you in contacting these services. If the focus and immediate need is spiritual, our priests are available to aid you in seeking strength through prayer from God, to facilitate the journey toward recovery.
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13) Q: Is it possible to have confessions on Saturday afternoons, as used to be done? St. Joseph's in Marysville has long lines every Saturday, and many of those waiting are from our parish.

A: The decision made a few years ago to adjust the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) from Saturday to Thursday was made with input from our liturgical committee and in concert with clergy of the North Valley Deanery (Our Lady of Lourdes, Colusa; Sacred Heart, Gridley; St. Joseph, Marysville; Sacred Heart, Maxwell; and, St. Isidore, Yuba City). That decision resulted in adding an additional Mass on Saturday and increasing the opportunity for Reconciliation/Confession to include a weekday, and to increase the availability for the number of hours on that day from one to two, sometimes three hours, to meet the demands of our growing community. As we continue to collaborate in ministry with Saint Joseph, and the other parishes in our Deanery, one of our goals is to find ways to not replicate the same service at the same time on both sides of the river, especially since we are only three miles apart. Having the confessions on Thursday, people from both sides of the river have the opportunity to celebrate the sacrament without having to rush. Parishioners can come before confession, if they wish, and stay as long as they want after going to the confessional, without interruption or having to leave because another service immediately precedes or follows their confession. The faithful are provided with the opportunity to spend the evening in prayer and meditation. Our parish also provides additional hours and days to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation during the seasons of Advent and Lent. And most importantly, there is always the opportunity to provide this Sacrament for those members of our community who have special needs, by contacting our clergy through the parish office. Please note that on the Mass Times and Services web page on this site there is a listing of the day and times for the Sacrament of Reconciliation at St. Isidore and the surrounding parishes. CLICK HERE FOR MASS TIMES AND SERVICES
I hope this information helps.
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14) Q: I recently was asked the following question by a non-Catholic:
Why is it that when Catholics pray the Our Father, they don't include "for the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory are yours now and forever"?

A: The Lord's Prayer is a petitioning prayer and 7 petitions are made within the prayer when saying the Our Father, whether it be in individual silent prayer or in group oral petitioning, as when saying the Rosary. Those occasions when we add the words "for the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory are yours now and forever" occurs when we are at Mass or some other acknowledging event.

On these occasions the Our Father is said in recognizing the petitions within the Our Father, but more importantly the prayer is said to give glorification to our Lord, and that is why those words are presented at these times. Thus in the first example above the prayer is seeking our Lord's intercession as we focus on
personal or group petitioning and in the second example the prayer focuses on the glorification and acknowledgment of our Lord Father.

It has also been noted that in some of the early manuscripts of Matthew's Gospel (although not the earliest), the Our Father ends with: "For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever" (popularly referred to as the "Protestant ending"). The consensus of Scripture scholars has long been that this is an addition made by an early copyist (there were no printing presses) who drew upon David's prayer in the Old Testament: "Yours, O Lord, are grandeur and power, majesty, splendor, and glory" (1 Chron. 29:11). The copyist's addition found it s way into some later copies of the Bible, but was not included in the standard versions.

However, in 1611, just after the Protestant Reformation, the King James Bible included this ending. (The King James Bible, published in 1979, no longer includes it.)
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15) Q: Any idea why we use our RIGHT hand in making the sign of the cross?

A: The use of the right hand when making the sign of the cross or blessing is not a requirement within our liturgical practices or in the General Instruction of the Rite of the Mass (GIRM). It is a cultural practice. In fact the world over historically has shown that the use of the right hand in formal and informal settings is almost innate in mankind. Examples include saluting authorities, pledging allegiance, waving, eating, shaking hands, etc. This is probably because the majority of people are right handed and over the centuries the use of the right hand has predominated with everything from the mundane to the formal and respectful practices.

One is not excluded from using the left hand, but it is sure to attract notice by others. Also, if one has lost their right hand/arm they may choose to use their left hand when blessing oneself. For more information on the Sign of the Cross please visit our FAQ page on this subject: Sign of the Cross.
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16) Q: Is it the Church's official teaching that a Catholic must go to Confession once a year?

A: Section 1457 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “According to the Church’s command, “after having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year.” [Council of Trent] Anyone who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion, even if he experiences deep contrition, without having first receive sacramental absolution, unless he has a grave reason for receiving Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession. [Council of Trent] Children must go to the sacrament of Penance before receiving Holy Communion for the first time.

Since this question has arisen during the season of Lent, the additional following information is also important to the understanding of this issue and the clarifying of any misconceptions.

It is also the Church’s teaching that during Lent a faithful Catholic celebrates the Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation by either receiving this Sacrament individually (e.g., confession) or in a group at the Reconciliation Communal Service (but general absolution is not appropriate at the communal service).

The instruction also provides that one should go to Communion at least once during the Easter season (Easter Sunday through Trinity Sunday). This is commonly referred to as our Easter Duty. And, of course, to receive Communion means that one is in the state of grace, having gone to Confession at some time to be in the state of grace.

Thus there is an obligation, which is an affirmative one, to receive Communion at least once during the Easter season, and logically this would mean that the faithful Catholic is in the state of grace. Please keep in mind that one does not have to have committed a mortal sin to confess. We are encouraged to take the affirmative action of going to Confession, the Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation, for the purpose of receiving grace - with or without any sin.

Thus the bottom line is that if one is a faithful Catholic in the state of grace, confession is not necessary once a year. However, the Easter Duty of receiving Communion is required.

The link below, on this website, provides our Bishop’s instruction on this matter.
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17) Q: Is there a traditional dress color for both boys and girls for Confirmation?

A: The traditional color for Confirmation is red as are the vestments worn by the clergy for the Confirmation Mass. Up until the late 1960s young people use to rent gowns to cover their clothing, usually red for boys and white for girls. That practice subsided around that time, generally because of the understanding that the confirmandi (those being confirmed) were not in vestments for conducting the Sacrament, rather they were to receive the Sacrament. And for there personal dress there was not a required particular or traditional color for the confirmandi. Further, when newly baptized Catholics are confirmed, usually at the Easter Vigil Mass, there is no required or traditional color for them either. They may be gowned, however, usually in white for their Baptism by immersion, for purposes of modesty.
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18) Q: As volunteers for our local community's Trauma Intervention Program (TIP), our group deals with death about 60% of the time when volunteers are called upon for assistance (40 to 60 times a month in the Yuba-Sutter area). A question within our group arises as to what to advise people who ask for a Catholic priest during these death crises, especially after typical business hours. We, as Catholics, know it is more and more difficult for priests to have enough time to deal with all the demands upon their time. What would our priests like our local T.I.P. Volunteers to advise/tell these victims and people who are in a crisis and who ask us (in their words) to call for a priest to come "RIGHT NOW?" Also, does the time of day or night affect this advice?

A: When a person is in crisis it is appropriate to make the effort to contact one of our priests. Who makes this contact is best determined by those at the crisis incident, be it the TIP volunteer, or a family member, or a close family friend. Occasionally more than one request comes in from various persons on the one incident and that may lead to a perception that there was difficulty in making the contact.

We have two phone lines for providing a back up when no person is available to answer the phone. These instances are during non business hours when the office is closed, or during lunch breaks when the office is closed or phone lines are busy. After business hours the first line is forwarded to a answering service and on the other occasions an answering machine will pick up on the second line. If there is an emergency, the answering service will call the priests. If they are unable to reach one of the priests, they call the parish's office manager who follows up. If the answering machine answers the call, it provides instructions on what to do in the case of an emergency and a priest is needed.
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19) Q: I am not yet Catholic but have spoken with a priest at my local church about beginning my RCIA classes. I know I am not able to participate in the Eucharist, but what else am I not encouraged to do during a normal mass?

A: Other than not receiving Holy Communion please participate fully in the Mass. Also, please consider doing a positive act during the Communion of the Mass by proceeding up to the Priest, Deacon, or Eucharistic Minister, with your arms and hands across your chest so that you may receive a blessing. The crossed arms signify that you are not ready to receive the body and blood of Christ but that you wish to receive a blessing. Also, during Mass please sing with gusto! After your completion of the RCIA program you will also be prepared to receive other sacraments, including Baptism (if not a baptized Christian already), Reconciliation and Confirmation. Welcome to our family.
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20) Q: What color do the priests wear during the Sacrament of Reconciliation and why?

A: Vestments are primarily worn at the Celebration of the Eucharist (Mass) and other Eucharistic services, e.g., Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. The colors on these occasions are specific to the liturgical calendar and/or to focus on a specific feast day. As for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, colors and type of attire are not specified since the focus is on the person who seeks reconciliation. Thus the priest who hears your confession may wear his everyday business or street clothes. What they do wear is a stole signifying his official role as a confessor. For more information, please visit our Preparing for Mass page.
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21) Q: When Satan fell to earth, were Adam and Eve already here or were they created afterwards?

A: God's creations are presented told in the book of Genesis 1:1 - 2.2 (i.e., heavens and the earth; light separated from darkness; the dome - sky; gathering of water into seas and its separation from dry land - earth; vegetation with plants bearing seeds and fruit; lights in the sky (stars and sun) to govern day and night; living creatures on the earth of birds and swimming creatures; then animals of all kinds and creeping things on earth; male and female in the image of God). Satan was a fallen angel and the angels were in the heavens prior to these creations. So evil, in the persona of Satan was already present.
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22) Q: Do you know why the seven books were deleted from the Protestant bible?

A: The Catholic Bible (the New American Bible) is not the same as the Protestant Bible (the New American Standard Bible) when it comes to the question you raise regarding the seven books. Those books are Maccabees 1, Maccabees 2, Sirach, Wisdom, Baruch, Tobit, and Judith. Up to the year 1611 the King James version contained all of the books. But following the Protestant reformation these books were deleted. The Catholic Church accepts as Scripture the original Old Testament canon as did the early apostles and the early Church. These books are called by Catholics as the "Deuterocanonical Books," whereas they are often referred to by the Protestants as the "Apocrypha." These books were originally preserved in Greek, not in Hebrew or Aramaic. They became known to the early Christians as the Septuagint, that is, the Greek translation made by Jews before Christ, which became the commonly accepted Bible of the early church. In a desire to translate from original languages, the Protestant Reformers grew suspicious of these books, which were not available in Hebrew or Aramaic, and decided to reject them. The issue was further complicated because Catholic theologians used the scriptures with others to support the doctrines that the Reformers rejected. The Reformers response was to discredit these books as Scripture.
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23) Q: What color do priests wear for the anointing of the sick?

A: The color most often associated when a priest offers this Sacrament is the purple color of the stole that a priest wears as when providing the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Usually the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is provided upon the request of a parishioner who seeks grace when in need of spiritual or physical strength, and especially at time when death is approaching. However, there are special occasions when a mass of healing is offered and those who are ill can receive the sacrament of anointing of the sick in a communal celebration. On these occasions where the priest wears the Vestments of the Mass (Click Here for more information), the Chasuble reflects the color appropriate to the Mass that day. Please also refer to question #1 on this Chalkboard for additional information on this Sacrament.
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24) Q: What colors do Priests wear during Advent ?

A:The liturgical colors for Advent are purple and rose. Purple represents penance and longing and is worn on the first, second and fourth Sundays of Advent.  Rose symbolizes joy and is worn on the third Sunday of Advent (Gaudate Sunday) in glad anticipation of the birth of Jesus. For more information on Vestments click here.
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25) Q: What are the guidelines for Godparents? Do you need to have one male and one female? Do they need to be members of the local parish and/or the Catholic Church?

A: Please visit our Baptism Orientation page. At the bottom there are links to information about Infant Baptism and the Roles and Responsibilities of Godparents and Sponsors. Click here for that page.
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26) Q: Why doesn’t the Altar Server ring the bells during the Liturgy/Consecration of the Eucharist at St. Isidore Parish?

A: Bells were first used in the 6th century to awaken and summon people for liturgical services. The bells were a way in those early years of calling people for a meeting, or to announce over the murmuring sounds that the people should pay attention since something was going to start, somewhat comparable to today’s public address announcement. In the 13th century small bells were used to make the people aware of the Consecration and Communion, because of the fact that the priest had his back to the people, the Mass was said in Latin, not the language of the congregation, and the people were unaware of what was to come. It was later taken into the liturgy as somewhat of a liturgical sign and symbol.

Please note that in the Liturgy of the Mass, the bells are not in the classification of being sacred or a sacramental, that is, they don’t belong to the class of Sacred Vestments (like Chasuble and Stole), or Sacred Vessels (as the Chalice and Paten), or Sacred Items and parts of the Church (like the Purificator, Censer, Sanctuary of the Church, and the Sacristy).

In the Sacramentary, the book that the Priest uses during Mass, which provides prayers, scriptural readings, and procedures, it is indicated that a small bell may be rung on three occasions in the Mass. It is also noted that this is up to the Pastor if he wishes to use them or not. At this time St. Isidore Parish, like others in the Diocese, has chosen not to use the bells.

Here is a link from the Zenit news organization, an official English news service for the Vatican that provides more information on this subject: http://www.zenit.org/article-13788?l=english. Thank you for providing this liturgical educational opportunity.
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27) Q: What's the prayer you say when you make the sign of the Cross before the Gospel?

A: I have received your chalkboard question. I'm not sure which Sign of the Cross you are talking about, because there are two.

The first is when either the Priest or Deacon, prior to the readings, have a blessings on themselves. If it is a Deacon, then the Priest prays over him saying, "The Lord be in your heart and on your lips that you may worthily proclaim the Gospel. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Deacon responses "Amen", and blesses himself.

The Priest, without a Deacon, says, "Almighty God, cleanse my heart and my lips that I may worthily proclaim your Gospel." Then blesses himself.

Then the Priest or Deacon proclaims by saying, "The Lord be with you." And then, "A reading from the Holy Gospel according to ….?" At this point the Priest or Deacon, along with the people sign themselves with the sign of the Cross on their forehead, lips and heart, saying "May the word of God be in our minds and.on our lips and in our heart."

I hope this will answer your question!
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28) Q: Are there any plans to offer the Latin rite mass at St. Isidore?  I have remained hopeful since the Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum of  Pope Benedict XVI that perhaps we might have it offered.

A: Thank you for submitting your question to the parish website’s Chalkboard page. The question is an important one and there is still some confusion on the subject throughout many dioceses in the U.S. When Pope Benedict XVI issued his statement on the Latin Mass, the secular press and media also added to the confusion. So your question provides the opportunity to offer some clarification to the parish community.

One of the critical requirements for offering the Latin Mass is that the priests celebrating the Mass have to be able to speak fluently and correctly in Latin, as well as be able to read and write it. Unfortunately after the implementation of the Vatican II instructions of the early 1960s on the Mass being in the vernacular language of the country, seminaries around the world stopped instruction in the Latin language, as did many of the Catholic High Schools, Colleges and Universities. Today the overwhelming majority of priests do not speak Latin. Thus the Bishops in the Dioceses in the U.S., since the Pope’s instruction on the Latin Mass in 2007, are “stepping up to the plate” in adding this component to the seminaries’ curricula.

What this means is that those priests who were trained before 1962 know the Latin language. Those who became priests afterwards do not. And those who are just entering the seminaries will be provided this education as the seminaries they are attending “come on line” with this addition to the curriculum. There is also the issue that the Altar Servers must also be trained in the Latin responses, as well as the rubrics and protocols of the Latin Mass.

In California and the Diocese of Sacramento there are very few priests who are skilled in the Latin language and have been approved to celebrate the Latin Mass. Our state has 12 (Arch)Dioceses and over 1,070 parishes plus outlying mission churches. In all of California there are only 37 parishes that currently are able to offer a Latin Mass. The Diocese of Sacramento has 103 parishes and 40 outlying missions assigned to these parishes. We are fortunate in that we have 3 parishes in our Diocese that have the trained and approved religious clerics and servers who are able to provide this Mass. They are:

  1. St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, a Diocesan Parish at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays (located at 416 Chestnut Street, Chico). Website information may be found at: http://stjohnthebaptistchico.org/eucharisticcelebration.html
  2. St. Stephen the First Martyr Parish in Sacramento, a religious order parish of the Fraternity of St. Peter. These priests also offer classes and workshops in Latin at 3 different skill levels (located at 5461 44th Street in Sacramento). They have several weekend/weekday Latin Masses noted on their website at: http://sacfssp.com/default.aspx.
  3. St. Joseph Catholic Church, a Diocesan Parish at 9 a.m. on Sundays (located at 1162 Lincoln Way Rd., Auburn). Website information may be found at: http://www.stjoseph.auburncatholic.com/liturgicalschedule.htm

As you can see, it will be some time before the Latin Mass is available at all parishes in our state.
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29) Q: I plan to be cremated when I die.  What service, rites, etc. does the Church require?

A: Per the Catechism and the Code of Canon Law: "The Church permits cremation, provided that it does not demonstrate a denial of faith in the resurrection of the body" (CCC 2301).  In cases where cremation is planned, the Church urges that if at all possible, the body be present for the funeral Mass with cremation taking place afterwards.  However, if for some reason cremation takes place before the funeral Mass, the Diocesan Bishop can permit the practice in his Diocese of allowing cremated remains to be brought into the Church for the funeral rites. This has occurred in our Parish. Whenever a Catholic is Cremated, the remains are to be buried, not scattered, with ashes being buried in a cemetery or mausoleum, as in a Church. This means the ashes cannot be kept at home or somewhere else; cannot be divided among family members; and, cannot be spread out in nature (e.g., mountain, river, ocean, etc.).

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30) Q: I know when the Feast of the Epiphany is but recently I have seen the phrase "Epiphany Season." What is the Epiphany Season?

A: The Epiphany Season is peculiar to the country of Canada. As I understand it, in Canada there is the Advent Season (the 4 Sundays preceding Christmas), The Christmas Season (from Christmas to January 6th, when Epiphany is always celebrated there – I think it may also be a Holy Day of Obligation there also), and then the Epiphany Season from Epiphany to the first Sunday in February (some Protestant Churches go on to Ash Wednesday). These days and seasons follow those of England since that is the primarily country of origin for holidays, etc. for Canada. We would call this period of time in the U.S. as ordinary time, which goes on until Ash Wednesday. In both countries the primary vestment colors on these Sundays is green.

In our parish a weekly liturgical study document that some of our small faith groups use is called Celebrating the Word (CTW). The CTW is published by the Resurrection Center, in Ontario, Canada and thus the writer’s primary audience is Canadians, although the program is growing in the U.S. Thus the reference to the Epiphany Season coming to a close in that document. So sometimes you may see this reference which can be confusing since our Liturgical Calendar is established by the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops and monitored by each Diocese in the U.S.

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