Many families with roots in Poland and other Eastern European counties celebrate the tradition of the Christmas wafer, or oplatki.
Oplatki are baked from flour and water, are usually rectangular in shape, and very thin; they are identical in composition to the altar bread that becomes the Eucharist during Mass. The oplatki wafers are embossed with Christmas-related religious images, such as a nativity scene.
Gathered around the table for the Christmas Eve meal, the oldest member of the family breaks off a small piece of the oplatki to begin the ritual. The remaining wafer is passed to another member while a prayer for loved ones is said. This continues until everyone at the table has a piece of the wafer. Finally, the family members quietly consume their share.
Oplatki wafers are available at the parish office prior to Christmas.
ADVENT/LENT BULLETIN INSERTS
This weekly resource provides rich and inspiring catechesis for the liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent. Citing the daily readings, This Week at Home is a guide to a deeper understanding of the Scriptures. In addition, this resource focuses on prayer, short reflections, and the saints.
BLESSING OF INFANT JESUS IMAGE FOR HOME CRECHE
On the fourth Sunday of Advent, at all Masses, families are invited to present an image of the Infant Jesus from their Nativity crèche for a special blessing.
In addition, families are invited to take blessed straw to place in the manger of the nativity scene in their home.
ANGEL GIVING TREE
The Angel Tree program reaches out to families/persons in need of assistance during the Christmas season. Parish members are invited to take an angel figure from a tree in the church and purchase the item(s) listed. Wrapped gifts are returned during Advent and are distributed before Christmas to families who are clients of the parish Food Bank or to other organizations which address the needs of children.
ANNUAL CATHOLIC CALENDAR
Each year the parish provides a Catholic liturgical calendar highlighting the liturgical seasons, solemnities, and feasts.
COLLECTION OF BLESSED PALM
Prior to Ash Wednesday, baskets line the altar rail ready to receive blessed palm from the homes of parish members. The blessed palm is then reduced to ashes for distribution on Ash Wednesday.
LENTEN COLLECTION FOR THE NEEDY
In support of the less fortunate, parish members have an opportunity to exercise the traditional Lenten practice of almsgiving by donating toiletries to people in need. Recipients of these donations include the Little Sisters of the Poor, Operation Safety Net, and the County Jail.
STATIONS OF THE CROSS
Praying the Stations of the Cross is an ancient tradition in the Catholic Church dating back to the Fourth Century when Christians went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The devotion calls the faithful to meditate on fourteen events of the passion and death of Jesus Christ.
Stations of the Cross are prayed each Tuesday of Lent following the 7:00 pm Mass.
SEVEN CHURCH WALK
The Seven Church Walk is rooted in the mid sixteenth century. However, it is intimately tied to the Seven Station Churches of Rome where pilgrims would visit the four major basilicas of Rome, as well as the three more significant minor basilicas during Holy Week.
Today the tradition is carried on by visiting seven churches within a particular geographic area. Visiting the seven churches is usually celebrated on Holy Thursday following the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Spending time in personal prayer at each stop is the focus of the visit.
LIVING STATIONS OF THE CROSS
A prayerful reflection on the journey of Christ’s passion and death is enacted on Good Friday
by students of St. Rosalia Academy.
Presenting the living Stations of the Cross through narration, music, and prayer is a unique way of bringing the passion and death of Christ before others and is a means of contemplating Jesus’s love for humanity.
BLESSING OF EASTER FOOD BASKETS
For centuries, the blessing of the Easter food basket has been a cherished Catholic ritual among families of Eastern European origin and adopted by people of all ethnic backgrounds. Baskets filled with Easter foods are brought to the church on the afternoon of Holy Saturday for this traditional blessing.
STORY TELLING AND CHILDREN’S HOLY EASTER EGG HUNT
On the afternoon of Holy Saturday, children in preschool through Grade 3 have an opportunity
to experience the story of Holy Week through song and movement. Symbols of new life are
shared and explained. Accompanied by their parents, children are then invited to participate
in an Easter egg hunt.
WEARING RED FOR PENTECOST
Red, the liturgical color of the Solemnity of Pentecost, represents the flames of fire which appeared over the heads of the Apostles on the first Pentecost. The fire of Pentecost gave energy to the infant Church, compelling the Apostles to proclaim the mission of Christ. Wearing red reminds us that we are called to that same mission.
BLESSING OF PARENTS
Remembering the blessed role of parents, mothers and fathers are honored with a special blessing at each Mass celebrated on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
THREE DAYS OF PRAYER
Annually in October, the parish family gathers for three days of prayer to celebrate the creation
of the new St. Rosalia Parish which was established on October 9, 1993, as part of the diocese’s reorganization and revitalization program. The new parish was formed from the merger of three separate parishes: St. Joachim, St. Philomena, and St. Rosalia.
The three days offer daily adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, evening prayer, and Eucharistic Benediction. Following a specific theme each year, the prayers and music of Evening Prayer develop the theme as a cohesive prayer of praise and thanks.
ANNUAL AUTUMN TRIP
Each year in October, St. Rosalia Parish sponsors a fall trip to a specific destination. Generally included in the trip are transportation, accommodations, and some meals. Sightseeing, entertainment, visits to historic and/or religious sites are annual highlights of the trip. The parish bulletin provides detailed information.
BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE
During the month of October, the Book of Remembrance is made available to record the names
of deceased loved ones. Displaying the Book of Remembrance in the sanctuary during November,
the month traditionally dedicated to the Holy Souls, becomes a visual reminder to hold in prayer the souls of the faithful departed.
SPECIAL ALL SOULS MASS OF REMEMBRANCE
The commemoration of the souls of those parishioners who died within the year is celebrated
in a special Mass scheduled near the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls’ Day), November 2nd. A family member of each of the deceased is invited to light a candle to honor the memory of a loved one.
THANKSGIVING FOOD COLLECTION
Remembering God’s goodness during the past year, parish members generously provide nonperishable food items for the St. Rosalia Parish Food Bank. During the Mass celebrated
on Thanksgiving Day, in a procession of offering, the assembly carries the collected items
to the altar rail.
HOLY HOUR BEFORE THE ENTHRONED BLESSED SACRAMENT
Following the 7:00 pm Mass on Tuesday, the Blessed Sacrament is enthroned for an hour
of private prayer and devotion. Listed each week in the parish bulletin, a special intention is designated for each holy hour.
PRAYER INTENTION BOOK
Seeking the favor of God and the intercessory prayer of others, members of the parish may record their need for special prayer in the Prayer Intention Book displayed in the church
in front of the St. Joseph altar.
PARISH BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE IN ETERNAL LIFE
At each Mass of Christian burial celebrated in the parish, a family member is invited to honor
the departed loved one by recording the name of the deceased and the date of death in the Parish Book of Remembrance in Eternal Life.
MONTHLY PARISH FOOD BANK COLLECTION
Members of the Respect Life Committee, as well as other parishioners, take up a monthly collection after each weekend Mass to benefit the parish food bank. Generosity of giving allows the food bank to continue its mission of support of those in need.
A special prayer in honor of St. Rosalia, patron of the parish, seeks her intercession in carrying out the mission of St. Rosalia Parish.
CRUCIFIX OF CHRIST THE HIGH PRIEST
As an alter Christus, “another Christ”, the priest stands in the place of Christ the High Priest
as he offers sacrifice to the Father, dispenses grace through the sacraments, forgives sins, preaches the Gospel, and governs the Church.
In an effort to promote and pray for vocations to the priesthood, the parish offers the Crucifix
of Christ the High Priest to be taken to the homes of parish members for one week. Using the booklet which accompanies the Crucifix, parishioners pray daily for an increase of vocations
to the priesthood and religious life.
The Crucifix, reserved by contacting the parish office, is picked up after a weekend Mass and
is returned the following Saturday.
CANDLE OF HOPE
In a world often bereft of hope, the need for prayer is monumental. An electric candle burning brightly in a neighborhood window symbolizes the need to embrace an attitude of hopeful expectation and prayer for community and world events.