Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Regional Report

the Inland Register

(From the May 19, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)

Archdiocese of Portland

ST. BENEDICT – Abbot Jeremy Driscoll, new leader of the Benedictine monks of Mount Angel Abbey, has written scholarly theological works, but he favors books he penned for a wider readership.

“It ought to be possible for any serious Catholic to understand the Mass or anything of our faith at depth without being a theologian,” Abbot Jeremy says. “God wouldn’t set it up that way.”

What he likes most of his works is his 144-page What Happens at Mass?, which he wrote during a month alone at the Oregon coast and published in 2005 (Liturgy Training Publications, softcover; revised 2011). He had just finished an academic book on the Eucharist and decided to leave his notes and tomes behind. He would communicate what had stayed in his heart.

“I felt I was in a trance when I wrote that book,” he says. “It poured out of me.”

In What Happens at Mass? Abbot Jeremy recognizes that we tend to take liturgy for granted, but he re-proposes Mass as a “stunning” event.

He stresses the word “happens” because, he asserts, something really does happen.

“God is acting! He acts to save us,” Abbot Jeremy writes. “It is a huge event. In fact, there is nothing bigger.”

Mass, Father Jeremy writes, is God’s initiative, gift and action.

“The Mass is about love,” the book says. “It is not an idea about love, but a supreme encounter with love.” This encounter is not vague or misty; it’s meeting God through Jesus.

Abbot Jeremy writes that, yes, Mass is mystery, but not in the sense of a whodunit or in trying to piece something together. Mystery long signified a superabundance of meaning, something we can’t understand unless it’s revealed. Mystery, Father Jeremy writes, is “a concrete something that when you bump into it, it puts you in contact with a divine reality.”

Mass “increases the density” of Christ’s presence, Abbot Jeremy told the Catholic Sentinel last year in an unpublished interview. He noted Scripture, the gathered community, the responses of the people, the presiding priest, and the most intense moment of concentration – bread and wine transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. After Mass, the community that walks out the door is also a presence of Christ.

You could meet God in the woods, Abbot Jeremy said, responding to what many Oregonians say about their own spirituality. “But you don’t encounter the death and Resurrection of Christ in this intense form in the forest by yourself.”

When we realize God loves us and has given his entire life for us, it changes us completely, Abbot Jeremy said. “We are so inclined to fall away from love. To come back is life giving. Mass brings us back on track again and again.”

Abbot Jeremy suggested that during the offertory at Mass, worshipers should be aware that they also can bring whatever is occurring in their lives at that moment.

“Whatever happened this week, what someone did to me last week, that is fruit of the earth I place from my hands into Christ’s,” Abbot Jeremy said. “He transforms my life and gives it back utterly more than it could be because of my own efforts.”

PORTLAND – Portland’s 32nd annual Cinco de Mayo Fiesta was celebrated May 5-8 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

A spiritual highlight is the annual mariachi Mass, at which Portland’s Archbishop Alexander Sample presided on May 8. Liturgical music and dance were provided by the internationally known Mariachi de Guadalajara and Oregon’s Premier Grupo Ballet Folklórico.

“The Mariachi Mass provides a spiritual and cultural aspect to the Cinco de Mayo festival, where positive family values are emphasized and shared by the Hispanic community,” organizers say.

– Catholic Sentinel (Oregon Catholic Press)

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