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166 • Part II. The Sacraments: The Faith Celebrated

Sacraments. He believed that all the aspects of liturgical celebration

should be understood.

Martin produced a small card that contained a record of days of

grace in his life: Baptism, First Confession, First Communion, Confirmation,

and his ordination (Holy Orders). On the respective days, he burned a

candle before this framed card and spent an hour in prayer reflecting

on the saving grace he had received from God. He frequently reminded

his people to celebrate the anniversaries of their own sacred days, when

they received their own first Sacraments.

He spent several Lenten sabbaticals in Rome. Each day he partici-

pated in Lenten liturgies at various ancient churches in Rome, studying

their history and art. He incorporated this experience into his Lenten cate­

chesis for his parishioners and others, helping them to sense Lent as a

journey to Easter. He possessed an instinctive appreciation of the sacra-

mental principle in which the visible elements of nature and history speak

of the hidden but active presence of God in Christian worship.

Inspired by Pope Pius X’s

motu proprio

on sacred music, he popular-

ized Gregorian Chant to the point where his people could sing it easily

and prayerfully. He taught them the prayer life of the Church by which

they could enrich their lives in union with Jesus ever interceding for us

before the Father.

Msgr. Hellriegel died in 1981.

The encyclical

On the Sacred Liturgy

by Pope Pius XII was a major

statement about the Church’s liturgy in the years prior to the Second

Vatican Council. Pope Pius provided a vision for the Church’s liturgical life

that bore fruit in the Second Vatican Council’s

Constitution on the Sacred



Sacrosanctum Concilium

). Msgr. Hellriegel and others working in

the liturgical movement drew inspiration from these developments.


The Church celebrates in the liturgy above all the Paschal

mystery by which Christ accomplished the work of

our salvation.

—CCC, no. 1067