Father George E. Richard II, pastor of St. Anastasia Catholic Church in Fort Pierce, welcomed 170 parishioners to the third week of a seven-week study program on the Mass on Sept. 22. As people gathered to begin class that evening, he joined in with the group’s enthusiasm for the faith with the hymn “Our God is Good.”
“This is a study course on the Mass. It’s a combination of the theology of the Mass and an understanding of all the parts of the Mass. It is encountering Christ, celebrating our faith and sharing a fraternity,” said Father Richard.
The study series was designed by Bishop Robert Barron, founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries and auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He is also the host of CATHOLICISM, a groundbreaking, award-winning documentary about the Catholic faith, which aired on PBS.
This new series on the Mass, published through Word on Fire, is geared towards a new understanding and reverence for the Catholic Mass with the hope of inspiring parishioners to evangelize. The Mass study guide includes six lessons titled “A Privileged Encounter,” “Called Out of the World,” “God Speaks Our Story,” “Responding to God,” “Preparing for Sacrifice” and “The Real Presence Creates Communion.” It also provides a booklet on the topic of “Why Stay Away? — Encountering Heaven on Earth.”
After watching the video assigned for that evening’s lecture, the attendees participated in small group discussions with a facilitator. Analia Parrotta, facilitator of one of the study groups, said, “To me the Mass is a little window to Heaven, it is a personal encounter with Jesus. If everyone knew that, they would come back to the Catholic Church.”
The program is designed to answer many questions Catholics have about the faith, a prominent one being, “Why do we have to go to Mass?”
Betty McKinley from Holy Family Catholic Church in Port St. Lucie expressed that many Catholics go through the motions of the Mass and don’t take the time to understand it. “The study of the Mass helps us to really participate. When we understand what the Mass is all about, it’s easy to talk about it to lapsed Catholics with the hopes of re-evangelizing them.”
For more information on the study series at St. Anastasia Catholic Church, contact Alice West at 772-519-0840 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about “The Mass” study series, visit wordonfire.org.
By Aleen Stanton, Florida Catholic correspondent