Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Biblical Walk through the Mass Bible Study



Last week we held our first sessions of this five-session study programme published by Ascension Press. The desire in the parish to know more about the Mass and to understand it better is amazing. The advent of the new English translation has surely been a wonderfully providential occasion to provoke renewed interest in the Mass.


Between 50 and 60 people have signed up for the programme which takes place in two groups: Tuesday evening with a repeat on Wednesday morning.


Highly to be recommended, thoroughly orthodox, deeply theological and biblical. The significance of the changes with the new translation is also explained.

Our parish wishes to record its thanks to the Marquette Diocese Legacy of Faith for funding the purchase of the presentation materials.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Father Frank Pavone, Priests for Life and Bishop Zurek of Amarillo


OK, I will post after all, but not in such detail as the post I deleted. Apparently my original post is out there in the ether thanks to Google Reader etc.

To know what I think, just go to Dr Edward Peters' blog In the Light of the Law. He makes all the pertinent canonical comments with which I agree wholeheartedly.

Another lay person has commented on this matter too. See Diane at Te Deum Laudamus: Fr. Frank Pavone has ministry restricted to Diocese of Amarillo and Disappointment with Fr. Pavone.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Young people witnessing to their faith - and being harrassed for it


I am impressed by the lively faithfulness of the young Catholics in my parish. Those who come to Mass bear joyful witness to life and love of God. In the church it is easy - they are welcomed, their families encourage them. Out in the world, they are challenged - those who are not home schooled attend the state schools where the expression of religious practice - by and large - is not permitted due to the separation of church and state.

Our young people need to be prepared for tough times. They will face ridicule, hatred and persecution for their beliefs.


Father Zuhlsdorf (MUST READ: Young person’s account of harassment and violence at WYD) describes what some young people experienced in Madrid at the recent World Youth Day. Some people hate the Catholic Church. Catholics hate no one - they love all mankind, especially those who hate them! Young people: trust in the Lord.
Father Ray Blake (The Illiberality of a Local MP, Hatred?)is also receiving hate messages because of his faithful and compassionate teaching on marriage. Go and express your prayerful support of this good priest.

In case you are looking for a blog post published yesterday...

after prayer and reflection I decided to delete it. Let's just pray for the situation and those involved.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Born again by water and the Holy Spirit


Congratulations to Mary Beth and David Patrick Langin on the baptism of their son Hunter Patrick today. Hunter was baptised using the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in the presence of his parents, godparents (pictured above), grandparents, great grandparents, and members of our parish youth group who have just begun to meet on Sundays. Mr Langin teaches some of them sports in the local high school.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Priests Retreat with Father Benedict Groeschel


Monday to Thursday this week I participated in the Marquette diocesan priests' retreat at Marygrove Retreat Center. The food is excellent! And so were the conferences given by Father Groeschel, founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.

Father is clearly ageing - he miraculously survived a serious car accident some years ago - but is full of practical wisdom. Death was mentioned in probably every one of his conferences which dealt with the topics of Faith, Hope, Trust and Charity in the life of a priest. He spoke about Purgatory (pronounced in his Jersey City accent as Poygatoyry - "if you want to know what Poygatoyry is like, go to Joysy City" he quipped) and said that he expects to spend a long time there and looks forward to meeting us there too! There's a thought - we are all likely to need Purgatory.

Father also spoke clearly on some of the madness that has occurred in the Church in recent years, particularly the catastrophe of the Blessed Sacrament having been removed in so many churches and chapels to side rooms or concealed spaces where It is hidden from view.

Another "small world" eperience occurred as Father Fidelis - Father Benedict's "carer" pictured above - and I remembered one another from when he was superior of the CFR community in London. He remembers also my brother, Father Stephen, and my sister Susan who was and is very much involved in the pro-life movement in London.

New birth in Christ


Congratulations to Doctor Michael and Mrs Amanda Harl on the baptism today of their daughter Emory Grace. Emory Grace was baptised in the Extraordinary Form and so benefits from the exorcisms and blessings administered during the ceremony. In the picture are Emory's parents and Godparents, and her proud brother (who held the salt as it was being blessed and exorcised) and sister.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Young catholic blogger looking for some publicity

Sean Gough, 21, Catholic, and discerning his vocation. Share in some thought's on faith and other things here...

Making Things Happen at KI Sawyer, MI


Our Lady Help of Christians is an outreach of our parish here at St Anthony's, Gwinn. The Sisters of St Paul de Chartres have embraced it as one of their particular apostolates.

I expect that not many people will imagine that there can be poverty and deprivation in this remote and beautiful part of the Upper Peninsula.

Necessary funding was granted by Catholic Extension and their representatives made a fact-finding visit recently. Read their report about it at the Catholic Extension Blog.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Archbishop Vigneron leads the faithful of Detroit on pro-life vigil



Diane at Te Deum Laudamus reports on a massive turnout of faithful on a pro-life vigil led by Archbishop Vigneron. A pastor leads, the sheep follow.

Father Rutler on Nine Eleven


Father George Rutler, Pastor of the Church of Our Saviour on Park Avenue, New York City, writes a weekly "Pastor's Corner". In today's edition he says:
Christian civilization is again under attack, and little resistance is shown by a society of indolence, promiscuity, infanticide, eugenics, extravagant debt, crime, collapsed family life, and marriage so surrealistically redefined by Gnostics that 44% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 think that matrimony is becoming obsolete.

It is currently here but will probably be moved to an archive which isn't regularly updated. So I reproduce it here in full:

FROM THE PASTOR
September 11, 2011
by Fr. George W. Rutler

Providential symmetry sets the plaintive anniversary of September 11, 2001, on a Sunday, which is always a celebration of the Resurrection. By rare indult, Holy Mass on this day replaces the ordinary liturgical Propers with suffrages for the dead. We live as mourners, never forgetting the wanton rampage of evil on that Tuesday whose late summer brilliance was so affronted by the moral darkness of those who blackened the bluest sky.

These days pick up the pace from the pleasant torpor of summer, and on this particular day ten years later, we also move on into a new decade to engage a cultural war against the moral offences which have afflicted our time. The Second World War was won by people who knew the difference between good and evil. Things have changed, and there is a lot of ambiguity now about what constitutes integrity and truth itself. Many take the shortcut of denying that we are in a war at all. It was the mistake made by decadents in the 1930’s, like the “Cliveden Set,” who underestimated the pulsating hatred on the pages of “Mein Kampf.” Christian civilization is again under attack, and little resistance is shown by a society of indolence, promiscuity, infanticide, eugenics, extravagant debt, crime, collapsed family life, and marriage so surrealistically redefined by Gnostics that 44% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 think that matrimony is becoming obsolete. The battle of good against evil will not be won by a culture of narcissists led by leaders chosen because they make people feel good instead of being good.

Christians do not confuse optimism and hope. They do not optimistically think that “wishing will make it so.” They hopefully trust in God, who “made us to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in heaven.” So today we sing a grand hymn by Cecil Spring-Rice, “I Vow to Thee, My Country.” He wrote the first version as a diplomat in Stockholm in 1908. At the end of his career as British ambassador to Washington in 1918, Spring-Rice altered its bluster after the traumatic carnage of the First World War. It is set to the magnificent melody of Gustav Holst from the “Jupiter” section of The Planets, which sustains even the lame poesie of more recent alternative lyrics preferred by insensitive taste. Spring-Rice gave the strong chords for the moment, paraphrasing in cadence Proverbs 3:17:

And there’s another country, I’ve heard of long ago,
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

New Missal Translation "can help us, even more than before, lift up our hearts and minds to God"



Another excellent pastoral letter, this time from the newly consecrated Bishop of Aberdeen, the Right Reverend Hugh Gilbert OSB.

Father Tim Finigan highlighted the following excerpt from the letter:
‘The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.’ In Christ, the Son of God takes on everything human, except sin, and transforms it. And in the Liturgy this mystery of the Incarnation – the Word becoming flesh – lives on among us. Everything speaks of it. When we gather to worship we come together in a building – not usually in any building, though, but in a church, a building dedicated for worship. The ministers who lead our prayer don’t wear just ordinary clothes, but vestments. We stand, sit or kneel, but each of these postures now has a special meaning. We come together to listen to readings – not any readings though, but words inspired by the Holy Spirit, words that are now the word of God. We gather round a table – but not any table, rather a holy table, an altar. We eat and drink – but not any food or drink, rather bread and wine which have become that holiest of things, the Body and Blood of the Lord, his very Self. In the Liturgy, ordinary things are taken up by Christ and the Church and become vehicles of something greater than themselves. And so it is too with the words, the language, we use in prayer. Christianity has always, to some extent, created its own language. It took the words of ancient Israel or the Greco-Roman world and filled them with a new meaning. And so, in the Liturgy, we use words that carry the resonances of a long tradition, words that express our faith, and are rich with many centuries of experience of the God who has spoken to us in Christ. The new translation of the Missal is very aware of this and tries to be loyal to it. And, once again, when these words are sung, they can lift our hearts even more.
The rest can be read at the diocesan website.

Pastoral Letter from Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury


Bishop Davies has written a splendid pastoral letter to be read in all churches and chapels of the Shrewsbury diocese on the 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time. His themes: Friday Abstinence, the anniversary of Pope Benedict's visit to the UK, renewal of the celebration of the Eucharist.
On the Anniversary of Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Journey
to the United Kingdom

To be read in all churches and chapels of the Diocese
on
the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
11th September 2011

My dear brothers and sisters,

The extraordinary scenes as they unfolded on the streets of London and Birmingham would disturb public opinion, shock media commentators and prompt a statement from the Prime Minister. I write to you today not of the rioting which brought violence to so many cities this summer but of the visit of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, twelve months ago. In cities where mobs momentarily brought fear, much greater crowds gave witness to their faith and joy with Pope Benedict. Today I wish to mark this happy anniversary of the Pope’s visit to our country and to draw inspiration from those days last September. Just as so many Catholics from many different backgrounds stood together in public witness with the Holy Father so this September in two small ways we are being called to stand together in that same witness of faith and unity.

From Friday this week, the Bishops of England and Wales have restored the practice of abstinence from meat every Friday. We are familiar with this act of penance on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday but now it is extended to every Friday other than Feast Days like Christmas Day.

For a number of years we have been asked to choose our own act of self-denial on Fridays to mark the day on which Our Lord gave His life for us. But we know this obligation has in practice been often forgotten. So abstinence from meat each Friday (and for those who do not eat meat, abstinence from some other food) will become a weekly reminder that we are a people called to penance and to conversion of life together. It will become a small but significant weekly witness to our Catholic life and identity. And so I wish us to embrace this in a positive way despite the practical difficulties we may encounter. The very fact this will be an act of penance shared by all Catholics will be a witness to our faith in the midst our working and family lives.

I am also conscious we have just begun to use the new translation of The Roman Missal which unites us in worship. At the heart of Pope Benedict’s visit to our country was always the Holy Eucharist celebrated with great dignity and adored with love and reverence. The Holy Father asked that the introduction of this revised English translation would be something more than simply a change of wording: “I encourage you now to seize the opportunity that the new translation offers,” he asked, “for in-depth catechesis on the Eucharist and renewed devotion in the manner of its celebration.” As we become more familiar with this fresh translation, I hope it will enrich our prayer and understanding, help us to recognise more clearly in the Liturgy the words and images of Scripture and, by the beauty and richness of its language, express our wonder at the mystery and reality of the Mass. I hope we will always go beyond the translated words to the reality they express at the heart of the Mass: Jesus Christ, His Sacrifice and His Real Presence with us as we come together with all the Church.

We recall a year ago those extraordinary moments in London’s Hyde Park when more than 80,000 people knelt with the Pope in silent adoration of Christ, God and man who, “makes himself wholly and entirely present,” in the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist (CCC 1374). “Together,” Pope Benedict invited us, “in the silence of common adoration let us open our minds and hearts to his presence, his love, and the convincing power of his truth.” May the newly translated prayers of the Mass be such an invitation for us; and may the renewed practice of Friday penance become a weekly reminder of the people we are called by daily conversion to be. In all our homes, working lives and communities, by coming together each Sunday in the Mass, may we always give witness to the unity and joy of our faith seen so wonderfully during Pope Benedict’s visit to our country twelve months ago.

+ Mark

Bishop of Shrewsbury

Friday, September 9, 2011

Planned Parenthood manager coverts, facility closes.


From 40 Days for Life. Ramona's talk is about 8 minutes into the video.

Nine Eleven and the Cross

          Nine Eleven. Words that now have a definite meaning in the English speaking world. Even in my own country, where the month and date are written in the opposite order, we know what 9/11 means.

          Nine Eleven. An event that changed America and the world. I’m sure everyone can recall what they were doing at the time. I was on my way home from the funeral of a priest - Father John Daly - who had had a deep effect upon me and my family when I was a young boy. Quite possibly I owe my vocation in large part to him. As a newly ordained priest he consecrated our home and family to the Sacred Heart, he taught me how to serve Mass, he frequently visited unannounced and blessed images and Rosaries… I had decided not to have the car radio on but to drive home in silence. When I got home the Chair of the parish council phoned me and referred to ―terrible events in America‖ and then moved on to the matter he wanted to discuss. Then a friend phoned and asked if I had my TV on and whether I had seen the planes hitting the twin towers, and had I heard the news of the plane that hit the Pentagon. I hadn’t. There and then, while still on the phone, I switched the TV on and couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

          Today will be a day of much remembering, a day of thoughtful reflection, a day for prayer. It is regrettable that public prayer has - at least at the time I write this - been excluded from the acts of remembrance that will be held at Ground Zero. Prayer is instinctive to man. I bet that many who considered themselves non-religious found within themselves the desire to pray on 9/11.

          On the occasions when I have visited New York City, I have always tried to pay a visit to Ground Zero. It feels like a pilgrimage that one must make when one is so close to a place of such tragedy. It is a place where one asks how such an event could have been conceived in the hearts of men. It is a place where one realizes how quickly what man builds can be destroyed. It is a place where one makes contact with the lives of the individuals who lived and worked and died in that place, and where one ponders the heroism of so many who took part in - and lost their lives in - the rescue efforts. It is a place where one prays for those who died and who lost loved ones. It is a place where one prays that enmity between human beings will cease, that we may all be one in Christ who "is all and in all."

          It is also a place where I find the spirit of America. In visiting the memorial center nearby, I was touched to learn how, whenever a dead body - or what was left of one - was found in the rubble, work would stop, people would be silent, the American flag was laid over the remains on the stretcher, and a moment of prayer was observed: great dignity in the midst of grief.

          The bulletin cover today carries the image of the Cross-shaped steel beams that were found in the rubble or the World Trade Center, as if the Lord wanted to remind everyone - and the world - that His Son had already taken upon himself the suffering and death of all involved in this event. It was from the Cross that the Lord uttered his prayer for forgiveness for those who "know not what they do."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
          Tomorrow (Monday 12th) I join 27 other priests from the diocese for a retreat at Marygrove Retreat Center. The retreat will be preached by Father Benedict Groeschel CFR whom most people will know through his appearances on EWTN or his books. I’m sure you will keep your priests in your prayers.
God bless you. Fr John.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

All faithful Catholics are bigots - according to CNN's Piers Morgan

If, like me, you accept the Church's teaching that homosexual activity is immoral and that the orientation itself is disordered (prepare for hateful comments now - in spite of the fact that homosexual orientation is not the only disordered orientation: so is paedophilia, addictions to alcohol, drugs, temptations to beat your spouse, or to kill your unborn child, or to steal - these are all disordered in need of healing and amendment of life), you're a bigot.
CNN's Piers Morgan: “I guess one of the reasons it’s troubling and difficult for people to come out [as gay] is because of the level of bigotry that’s out there against them. I have to say that your views you espoused on this issue are bordering on bigotry, aren’t they?” Morgan asked the candidate.

Presidential candidate Rick Santorum: “Are you suggesting that the Bible and that the Catholic Church is bigoted? Well, if that’s what you believe, fine. I think that—I shouldn’t say ‘fine!’ ... Saying a church is bigoted because it holds that opinion that is Biblically based I think is in itself an act of bigotry”
And this after the following exchange when Santorum demonstrates the true charitable attitude that all should have - far from bigoted:
MORGAN: How many sons do you have?

SANTORUM: We have four boys and three girls. [Large family by many standards. Presumably he knows a thing or two about bringing up a family.]

MORGAN: How would you feel if one of your sons turned around one day and said, "Dad, I'm gay"?

SANTORUM: I would embrace them, love them and try to help them through what I would see as a very difficult and troubling time in their lives. I know a lot of gay people. I know a lot of the folks that I've talked to who have gone through this, go through a lot of very difficult times in their life in coming to that decision and struggling with it even after admitting it. So, this is a difficult issue. I understand it's difficult issue. And my job as a father is to love my son unconditionally which I do and would do, and would continue what I could do to support him so he could live a good, a healthy and decent and faithful life.
For a CNN interviewer (who himself professes to be catholic) to be allowed to get away with calling his interviewee - and, by implication, all faithful catholics - bigots is, unfortunately, not beyond belief. It's the age we live in . Freedom of speech if you espouse the relativistic politically correct policies of the day, but not if you hold views that correspond to eternal truths, in this case concerning marriage.

As long as we know, that's fine. We can be prepared for martyrdom, if the Lord considers us worthy of such an honour.

See Lifesitenews.

Father Barron on the obsession of atheists with religion - and why we need to pay attention to them.



Thanks to Accepting Abundance.

Mgr Georges Lemaitre - great priest and scientist

A Reluctant Sinner has posted an excellent article on his blog: Far from being opposed to science, Catholicism is its best advocate and defence - We should rejoice in men like Mgr Georges Lemaître, who are heroes of science and witnesses to the Church's devotion to reason and logic. In it he lists many catholic scientists who have made outstanding contributions to science and the often irrational reaction of "rationalist" scientists at the thought that the universe might have had a beginning, for this would inevitably lead to the conclusion that it came from something that was nothing material, i.e. a mind (Whom we call God.)

The comments are excellent too.

Great read.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pope's prayer for teachers



From Vatican Information Service:

Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for September is: "That all teachers may know how to communicate love of the truth and instil authentic moral and spiritual values".

His mission intention is: "That the Christian communities of Asia may proclaim the Gospel with fervour, witnessing to its beauty with the joy of faith".

Some good news from Ireland: 22 new seminarians commence studies in Maynooth.

The Seminarians by Irish College
The Seminarians, a photo by Irish College on Flickr.
An outsider might think that Ireland is producing no vocations. Not so! For sure it would be great if the numbers were higher, but here are the statistics according to Zenit for the last few years:

2006: 30
2007: 31
2008: 30
2009: 36
2010: 16
2011: 22

These figures are for the national seminary in Maynooth. Irish seminarians also attend the Pontifical Irish College in Rome. Altogether there are more than 90 seminarians for the dioceses of Ireland.

Bishop Says Men Are Responding With Hope to God's Call

MAYNOOTH, Ireland, AUG. 30, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Nearly two dozen new seminarians began their studies for the priesthood at Ireland's national seminary Sunday.

The 22 men have an average age of 25 and they come from 14 of the 26 dioceses of Ireland.

After an introductory month, 18 of the students will commence their academic formation in Maynooth and the remaining four will undertake their studies at St. Malachy's College, Belfast.

Monsignor Hugh Connolly, president of the national seminary, St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, welcomed the students and their families.

"You come from a wide range of backgrounds, previous experiences, and the four corners of the country, but with one common factor -- you are responding to an invitation given in and through faith, to become priests who will spread the Gospel in the years to come," he told them. "I thank the families and friends of the new candidates for their strength and generosity in supporting the men thus far, and I invite you to continue to provide this vital encouragement. The road ahead has many challenges."

Bishop Donal McKeown, chairperson of the Council for Vocations of the Irish Episcopal Conference, spoke of the changes in the Church in Ireland.

"Despite the uncertainties of the future, all new seminarians are responding with hope to God's never ceasing call to proclaim his kingdom," he observed. "God still has faith in people. With grace and the vision of the Gospel, it is possible to build community, to promote healing and to build supportive relationships. God has asked you to accept his call to go out to the rich harvest where the laborers are few."

The new students bring the number of seminarians for Irish dioceses to more than 90.

In the last five years the total annual number of new seminarians beginning their studies in Maynooth has been: 16 in 2010; 36 in 2009; 30 in 2008; 31 in 2007; 30 in 2006.

Msgr Andrew Wadsworth on ICEL and the New Translation

From the Bishops Conference of England & Wales:


In a few days Catholic parishes in England and Wales will begin to use the new translation of the Roman Missal for the celebration of Mass. Monsignor Andrew Wadsworth, Executive Director of the Secretariat of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), talks about the new translation:

“There has been a lot of feedback from the countries that are already using elements of the translation. The Order of Mass is already in use currently in South Africa, in New Zealand and in Australia and a number of places including ourselves here in England and Wales are now implementing the sung parts of the Mass, and looking to an implementation of the Order of the Mass at some stage between now and the beginning of Advent."

Feedback

“Generally the feedback has been very positive. People find the elegance of the language, its dignity, the sort of cadence of the language - which particularly lends itself to the sung parts of the liturgy - they find all of that to be a great improvement."

Music

“The printed altar edition of the new Missal has the largest amount of music of any Missal the Church has ever produced in any language. The style of the music that’s in the altar edition of the Missal is Gregorian chant, which is a common form of liturgical song which is traditional in the Catholic Church and takes us back to the Church of the first Millennium and the earliest centuries. That’s the music which is in the Latin Missal, of which our English Missal is a translation."

“So the music that we have in the new Missal, that’s about to be implemented, is an English adaptation of those same Latin chants that are found in the Missal. Now we’re not saying that that will exclusively be the style of music that people have to adopt in their liturgies. The Church admits a great diversity of styles, not only of liturgical celebration but particularly of liturgical music."

Creativity

“I think it’s exciting to think that there will be a great moment of creativity. A lot of composers have already responded very positively to this challenge and a lot of new Mass settings are becoming available at the present time. A lot of very familiar settings that we’ve sung for a long time have been revised by their composers so that they meet the needs of the new text.”

In England and Wales, the Order of Mass in the new translation will be used in Catholic parishes from September 2011, and from Advent 2011 all of the Mass will be said using the new translation.

Listen here: ICEL's Mgr Wadsworth on the New Missal

Thanks to Fr Z.

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