St. Sebastian Church enjoys a long history of engaging and meaningful worship for the youngest of members at their baptism through the most frail of members as they are anointed with the oil of the infirm or are sent off to Abraham in the church’s funeral rights.
Although some people drive substantial distances to attend mass, many walk to this neighborhood church with elderly parents or with children in tow to attend one of three Sunday masses: 8:00 A.M., 10:30 A.M. or 6:00 P.M. Daily communion services, led by lay prayer leaders, are held Monday, Tuesday, and Friday at 8:15 A.M. Weekday masses are held at 8:15 A.M. on Wednesday and Thursday. The Parish school attends the Wednesday weekday mass along with those who attend daily services and many school parents. These liturgies are designed by various groups of teachers and creatively involve the children in the many stories found in the scriptures and also in the many rites and symbols of the church’s liturgical year.
Preaching, music and church environment are extremely important components of these quality liturgies, as noted in a recent Parish-wide survey. Homilies are always scripture based, often with significant exegesis. Further they are very challenging as they relate Christian values to everyday life. The adult choir sings at 10:30 A.M. mass and has just completed recording its third compact disc. To assist the pastor with weekend masses, various “help-out” priests are utilized, many from India who are studying at Marquette Univerity. Paid sacristans assist the priests for all liturgies, including weddings and funerals. St. Sebastian has two active but retired deacons. They often assist at funeral wakes or for a private baptism if required. Children’s Liturgy of the Word is celebrated once a month, and children are always invited to stand around the altar at 10:30 A.M. mass. Families with youg children are found at all masses, especially the 10:30. While there is no formal crying room, the gathering space does provide visual and aural contact with the mass, allowing parents and children a break from the church proper. While St. Sebastian is demographically a diverse congregation, especially in the Parish school, the assembly is largely Anglo. Yet still, Spanish is sung with some regularity at all masses.
The Prayer and Worship Committee has been busy studying and implementing the many recent liturgical reforms. To date, our Parish is in partial compliance – in a strict sense – with these norms and, with the pastor’s direction, has implemented that which is pastorally sound and which is in the spirit of Vatican II liturgical theology. The lectionaries include the RNAB translations of the scriptures, and the Children’s lectionary is often used for the children’s masses.
Devotional liturgies are rarely celebrated but do occur on occasion, such as in Lent for the Stations of the Cross. While there has been little ecumenical activity in the community, St. Sebastian has recently begun joint worship with Divine Word Lutheran (ELCA) this past Thanksgiving and will do so again for Ash Wednesday.
St. Sebastian is known for its hospitality at mass, for its prophetic preaching, its moving liturgies, for its family feel, for its transcendent beauty, and for the vibrancy of its members, both at mass and throughout the week.
Parish Staff Contact:
Michael Kamenski, Director of Liturgy & Music