Sunday, October 26, 2014

Anointing of a New Altar

This is the 2nd time I have witnessed the anointing of an altar. I saw it in Mississippi and now again I was privileged to witness it at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Casa Grande, Arizona.

 Myself and many parishioners traveled the 2.5 hours to Casa Grande on October 19 to witness our former pastor, Fr. Ariel Lustan, to be installed as the 11th pastor of this parish. Part of the ceremony was to anoint the new altar installed in their church.

The entrance procession always begins with the Knights of Columbus serving as the honor guards.

As you can see the church is built very long. It reminded me very much of the architecture of the Immaculate Conception Church in Yuma.

After the entrance procession Bishop Kicanas blessed the people with holy water and then we went into the Liturgy of the Word.

After that was the Rite of Dedication and the Anointing of the Altar which the Bishop explained the ceremony to all of us.
Notice the beautiful rays of sunshine coming through the window onto the altar to be dedicated.

The first step is the Anointing of the Altar with holy Chrism.

Bishop Kicanas pours sacred chrism over the whole altar. The anointing with chrism makes the altar a symbol of Christ, who, before all others, is and is called "The Anointed One". (Notice the altar server holding all those white towels. They will be needed shortly. )
Bishop Kicanas rubbed the sacred chrism into the top of the whole altar.


The next step is the incensing of the altar.

 Incense is burned on the altar to signify that Christ's sacrifice, there perpetuated in mystery, ascends to God as an odour of sweetness, and also to signify that the people's prayers rise up pleasing and acceptable, reaching the throne of God. (from Rite of Dedication of a Church and an Altar)

The next step is the covering of the altar. 
This was done by the people of the parish, who I could tell practiced this several times to perfection. 
 The many white towels are now used to rub off all the oil from the altar before the altar cloth is put on top.

 A plastic sheet was put down first and the beautiful, white altar cloth was laid on top of the altar.

The covering of the altar indicates that the Christian altar is the altar of the eucharistic sacrifice and the table of the Lord.  (Rite of Dedication of an Altar)

After this ceremony, Fr. Ariel was installed as pastor. He renewed his promises as a priest and was then presented to the parish staff and the assembly of people.

He then along with all of us prayed the Profession of Faith and Fr. Ariel renewed his Oath of Fidelity.

The people in the parish presented to the Bishop and Fr. Ariel the symbols of his pastoral responsibility at St. Anthony of Padua Parish. The symbols presented were : Keys to the church and tabernacle, book of the Gospels, baptismal shell, purple stole, the three holy oils and the altar of sacrifice.

After Mass we walked to the first church built for the parish. It was renovated and was now being blessed by the Bishop.

Take a look at the beautiful wooden ceiling of this church built in 1935.

And why not :):):)

Thursday, October 16, 2014


The season of Fall is here in Sierra Vista amidst the mountains. We do not have any leaves changing colors but we know it is Fall because the temperatures are dropping. No more 90's and a jacket in the early morning hours is appreciated.

Part of our Fall celebration is the annual Blessing of Pets for St. Francis Day. Since Oct. 4th fell on a Saturday we celebrated on the 3rd with our school Mass outside. Our pastor and organist were both out of town so I recruited the chaplain from Fort Huachuca-Fr. Pete Uhde and three of our students who are taking piano lessons played the keyboard for us. (The puppy is taking lessons too. )

The pets lined up with their owners after Mass for a blessing.
This student's pet died last year so he brought a picture of him for a blessing-gone but not forgotten.

 This little altar server was proud to hold the holy water through all the blessings.
 The whole family was present as their two dogs were blessed.

After the blessing a parent gave me a Packer cheesehead. A great gift for the feast of St. Francis. You wouldn't believe how many students come to my office to look at it and say, "May I please try it on Sister?"  And some even say-"Is it really made of cheese?" :):):)

Now for the real celebration of St. Francis Day.
Sr. Joellen and I on the 4th went to Mass together at St. Andrew's Catholic Church and then out for breakfast. I was disappointed there were no cinnamon rolls. I was ready to celebrate with one. Then a stop at the Hallmark store to see if they started their Christmas card sale that is in October. (not yet). Off to Papa Murphy's Pizza where we ordered our pizza for dinner that night while we watched the Nebraska football game. (The pizza did not get eaten though until Monday.) One of our teachers from All Saints Catholic School picked us up to watch the Junior High football game that some of our 8th grade boys played in.

 After the game, he invited us to dinner at The Olive Garden. It was a four course meal ending with pumpkin cheesecake. There was no room for pizza that night.

Sunday, after Sr. Joellen got home from religion classes, I started to preheat the oven for our Papa Murphy's Pizza when the phone rings and it is our landlady who is also our school nurse, calling to invite us to her father's 90th birthday party at his house which is down the street from us. So off went the oven and off we went walking to the party-card in hand.

We enjoyed Filipino food and homemade chocolate cake. Again-no room for pizza.

Monday night we at last ate our St. Francis Day pizza and it was still good with the special ice cream we bought to go with it.

During this month of October, for P.E. classes, we are teaching how to jumprope in a variety of ways because we will be doing the Jump Rope For Heart the first week of November. I have improved my jumproping skills. I can now jump backwards and cris-cross and beginning Double Dutch. Many of our students bought jump ropes to practice at home and all of our non-jumpers are now jumping. :):):)

Since teaching P.E. this year I have discovered how little P.E. equipment we really had so I wrote a grant to the Huachucans to fund our program. I was given a check for over $1,700 to buy what I need. The students were thrilled and so was I.

Our week of Fall Break began and I took a day to celebrate it in Tucson with friends. I went to the installation Mass of Fr. Miguel as pastor of St. Odilia's Parish.

They also began that day the 50th Jubilee Celebration of their parish.

After that we went to the Cheesecake Factory to celebrate a friend's birthday by enjoying a chocolate cheesecake.

During Fall Break there was  a funeral of a young border patrol agent who died. The funeral procession came through two fire trucks that held up the U.S. Flag. What an honor to a fallen agent.

There are still a few days left to our Fall Break!  I intend to enjoy them :):):) and this wonderful Fall Season!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

What does a Franciscan Sister do on the weekend?

Saturday, September 27th was a very busy one. It began with 9:00am Mass at St. Andrew's Church with Sr. Joellen, who is the DRE here.


The Mass led into the March for the Poor with our students, parents, and faculty taking part in it along with members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society from both parishes. Food was collected all week at All Saints Catholic School and at St. Andrew's Parish. The food was put into grocery carts and pushed as we all marched one mile from the church to the
St. Vincent de Paul Store in Sierra Vista.

After that I changed clothes and went to Our Lady of the Mountains Parish for a Baptism of two children. The parents are on the Strong Catholic Family Committee with me.

Then it was back in the car, stop at Our Lady of the Mountains Convent to pick up Sr. Joellen and off we went again to St. Andrew's Parish. We were invited to the San Lorenzo Feastday celebration planned by the Filipino community. It was held with the 5:00pm Saturday night Mass.
The Filipino teens carried the statue of San Lorenzo in the entrance procession.

Fr. Ariel Lustan, a Filipino priest who was pastor at Our Lady of the Mountains, was invited to come back to Sierra Vista from his new parish in Casa Grande to celebrate this special Mass.

On Sunday, I am enjoying a great day off while I watch the Packer and Bears game and we are doing great this Sunday!!

Saturday, September 13, 2014


Fr. Mike Bucciarelli was installed as the 4th pastor of Our Lady of the Mountains Parish in  Sierra Vista by the Bishop of Tucson-Bishop Gerald Kicanas. The event took place on Friday night, September 12th at 6:00pm.

Before the festivities began there was time for Fr. Mike to meet with his fellow priests from the vicariate that he serves as their Vicar and also with the deacons from our parish and the neighboring parishes (  a large group of them).

The altar servers were ready in time along with the Knights of Columbus who served as Honor Guard for the evening.

There were many church items that symbolized the role of a pastor that were brought up as part of the installation ceremony. 
These are just a few of them.

Mass began and all church choirs were present and sang different parts of the Mass.

 The Bishop during the installation ceremony kneels to the side in the sanctuary. The new pastor celebrates the Mass.
 Some students from All Saints Catholic School waiting for their turn in the presentation of symbols.
The Bishop begins by reading the promises Fr. Mike takes as pastor.  (See how bright it is outside)

After Fr. Mike makes his promises to the Bishop he is presented with the symbols of his role as pastor. The Bishop reads about each one as they are brought forth to Fr. Mike.

The first to be presented was the key to the church and the key to the tabernacle.

After that the ceremony veered from the ritual by having Sr. Carol and students present the mortgage to Fr. Mike. It was paid in full as of September 2014!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  The people in the parish gasped and clapped. They were surprised it was paid off in 5 years and it was a 15 year mortgage.

 We presented a symbol of our school's Mission Statement .
 Such beautiful words!!

The Gospel Book was presented next followed by a purple stole.

A shell representing Baptism was next and then the three jars of the Precious Oils.

The Mass continued with our newly installed pastor. It was now dark outside our beautiful church window.

This is the Body of Christ, Do This in Remembrance of Me.

The Blood of Christ.

After Mass, time to greet the Bishop, congratulate Father Mike and enjoy some of his cake.

Sr. Carol and Sr. Joellen with Bishop Kicanas