Dear School Parents,
There is hardly anything more precious to me as a priest than to be with children when they are praying. In the Catholic Tradition there is no greater place for prayer than the Holy Mass. We at Star of the Sea Parish have a long and proud standing tradition of school Masses. At the Mass, all children come together and pray while sharing in the love God has for them.
In order that we all have a better understanding of this grace-filled tradition of school Masses at Star of the Sea I am going to briefly address a few common principles that the Archdiocese of San Francisco, Fr. Illo, Mr. Hanley and myself all share in relation to our school Masses. I will also answer some questions about my new weekend assignment at Star of the Sea parish.
- Children at every Mass are a great gift to the Church – we are especially grateful to God for the opportunity for our school children at Star of the Sea Parish to attend Mass.
- We will celebrate school Masses every week at Star of the Sea. The times vary according to school scheduling, Fr. Vito’s availability and parish activities during the day.
- We invite and encourage all interested school parents to attend any of the Masses.
- We are committed to the safety of our Star children at every school event – especially at the Mass. Due to an unfortunate event at a school Mass right before the Easter break, when without permission an adult stood up and spoke to the whole assembly, we will be holding a meeting with representatives from the school and the parish to assure that we are doing everything possible to safeguard all of our children from these kinds of incidents at both our school and parish Masses in the future.
- Shortly before I came to Star of the Sea, Fr. Illo stated that altar boys and girls are encouraged to serve at all weekly school Masses. This year we trained 20 new altar servers and they are doing a great job! Each Fall there will be training for new altar servers at our school Masses in grades 5th – 8th. At the school Masses we have myself and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion (trained lay people) distribute the Body of Christ.
- Now that I am helping out at Star of the Sea Parish on weekends many of you have asked Mr. Hanley and myself what the Masses are like and when I serve the Mass. Hence, I will state briefly Star of the Sea’s parish understanding and vision of the Sunday Masses. With the encouragement of the archdiocese, Star of the Sea parish is trying to establish the Sunday 9:30 am Mass as one having a more traditional approach to the sacred liturgy which includes Gregorian Chant, incense and polyphony. The Mass is chanted by the priest and it is all in English. There is also a chanted Latin Mass at 11:30 am every Sunday. A quiet Mass with no music is at 8:00 am and a Mass with more contemporary music at 1:30 pm. At a Sunday Mass at Star of the Sea you will usually find that only the priests will distribute Holy Communion. Nevertheless, if there is a very large assembly, then extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion (trained lay people) also help distribute the Body of Christ. Star of the Sea parish also allows communicants the option of receiving Holy Communion at the altar rail, and also on the tongue, or the hand. The Sacrament of Confession is available before every Sunday Mass. The Vigil Mass on Saturday begins at 4:30 pm and the Sacrament of Confession begins at 3:15 pm. The music at the Vigil Mass on Saturday is a mix of chant and contemporary. Usually the Mass is chanted by the priest.
After the Sunday Masses there are opportunities to gather together for coffee, donuts, breakfast, brunch and other goodies. For those interested, Mr. Hanley will list the Mass times and which priests are saying the Mass in each weekly letter that he sends out. (There are also visiting priests besides myself and Fr. Illo who celebrate the different Masses each weekend.)
Again, the Archdiocese of San Francisco, Mr. Hanley, the teachers and staff at the school and parish, Fr. Illo and myself are committed to making Star of the Sea Parish and School a prayerful, holy and safe environment for our children at both our weekday and Sunday Masses.
Please always feel free to contact me at 415 823 3256 at any time for whatever reasons.