The Thomas Merton Center celebrates Sunday liturgy each week at the regularly scheduled 8:45 am parish Mass at St. Thomas Church. Members of the community plan these liturgies in the spirit of the Second Vatican council, (1962 - 1965) and its call to " full, active and concious participation" in Catholic liturgical life.
The liturgy is designed to augment, support and lead the development of ecumenical spirituality; and to foster new ways for Catholics and other Christians to develop a deeper spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ and, through Him, with God. From its Catholic Roots it seeks to join with members of other faiths, Christians and non-Christians, to support religious education and spiritual development.
The Liturgy committee for the Sunday Mass seeks priests who are interested in working collaborative with us. We invite presiders to lead us in prayer and worship and to provide homilies that illuminate the scriptures and inspire the assembly.
That All May Be One
Our Liturgies are designed to bring all who attend closer to God and to one another, to experience the presence of God in the midst of this worship community.
The Sign of Peace occurs near the beginning of Mass, just after the Rite of Reconciliation “Lord, Have Mercy.” This is a change that is suggested for all the U.S. Church, to tie the community greeting to our communal act of contrition and to improve the flow of Mass.
The stripped altar at the beginning of Mass is a visual reminder of the two parts of the Mass: the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The bare altar allows emphasis to be on the Liturgy of the Word when Scripture is proclaimed. When the Liturgy of the Eucharist begins at Offertory time, the altar will be set and the altar candles lit by members of the Assembly, bringing our attention to the Eucharistic meal we will share.
The food basket which is brought forward during Offertory procession each Sunday is filled by donations from the Mass community and is distributed to needy families in St. Francis Assisi parish in East Palo Alto. Checks may be donated as well-made out to St. Vincent de Paul.
The Word is brought to the center of the Assembly, and the Gospel is proclaimed from there because its message is central to our lives as Christians. We assemble to listen to the Good News and to respond by taking the Word into the world. Turning toward the center, we are looking at each other, the Body of Christ, our sisters and brothers present in the assembly.
You will notice that the Eucharistic Ministers, as servants of the people of God, first serve the family that has assembled, then serve each other in turn.
The Eucharistic Prayer refers to “this bread which human hands have made.” “Real bread is bread that looks like food….. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal says of the bread for Eucharist: ‘The nature of the sign demands that the material of the eucharistic celebration appear as actual food’ (283)” (from Modern Liturgy Answers the 101 Most-Asked Questions About Liturgy by Nick Wagner.ã 1992 Resource Publications, Inc. Reprinted with permission under license number 5949).
We are using bread of the table, as Jesus did. Members of the community bake our communion bread each week, using a diocesan-approved recipe.