Saturday, December 31, 2011

US Anglican Ordinariate to be established tomorrow

As announced by the USCCB on Nov. 15th. We await the announcement tomorrow. Reluctant Sinner writes about a prediction and gives further background. It will be a historic day for the Church in the USA.

Pope Benedict places his hopes in the youth

Educating Young People in Justice and Peace: the theme of the 2012 World Day of Prayer for Peace, January 1st.

Now, this isn't a message about an end to wars. In fact, the Pope states that "Peace is not merely the absence of war, and it is not limited to maintaining a balance of powers between adversaries." The Pope's message is about fraternity, solidarity, the nature of man.

Pope Benedict asks us to help young people to acquire an "integral formation of the person including the moral and spiritual dimension focused upon man's final end." In other words, to understand the truth about man, it would be helpful to know why he exists or to answer the question: who is man?

The message is deeply philosophical. While he says that the "Church looks to young people with hope and confidence," he does not admit that they have all the answers. Rather, while there must certainly be a willingness to listen to young people:
Attentiveness to young people and their concerns, the ability to listen to them and appreciate them, is not merely something expedient; it represents a primary duty for society as a whole, for the sake of building a future of justice and peace
the older generation must educate young people:
It is a matter of communicating to young people an appreciation for the positive value of life and awakening in them a desire to spend their lives in the service of the Good.
The Holy Father continues:
Educating ... means leading young people to move beyond themselves and introducing them to reality... This process is fostered by the encounter of two freedoms, that of adults and that of the young. It calls for responsibility on the part of the learners, who must be open to being led to the knowledge of reality, and on the part of educators, who must be ready to give of themselves. For this reason ... we need authentic witnesses [I presume the Holy Father refers to adults here witnessing to the young], and not simply people who parcel out rules and facts; we need witnesses capable of seeing farther than others because their life is so much broader [because of acquire wisdom perhaps?]. A witness is someone who first lives the life that he proposes to others.
Pope Benedict's complete message may be found here.

New Year Blessing

May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord let his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord uncover his face to you and bring you peace.”

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It isn’t possible to be Christocentric if we are not solidly Marian. Mary: destroyer of all heresies.

Photo from eclectic imaging. Lady altar of the Church of San Carlo in Corso with
a variation on the antiphon quoted in this post. "You only have destroyed
all heresies."
This might seem a rather extreme notion and yet it is referred to in a letter from the Congregation for the Clergy on the occasion of the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God.

The letter quotes the antiphon from the old Roman Breviary and the Tract in the Mass Salve sancte parens from the 1962 Roman Missal:
Gaude, Maria Virgo, cunctas haereses tu sola interemisti in universo mundo – Rejoice, O Virgin Mary, thou only hast killed all heresies in the universal world’.
But here is the letter in full (with some addedcemphases):

The connection between the Lord’s birth and Mary’s Divine maternity is clearly expressed in one of St Cyril of Alexandria’s (444) twelve anathemas, which was accepted by the Council of Ephesus (431) and defined the dogma of the faith that Mary of Nazareth is the Mother of God: ‘If anyone does not confess that Emmanuel is God in truth, and therefore that the Holy Virgin is the Mother of God, for she bore in a fleshly way the Word of God made flesh, let him be anathema’. (Denz-Schonm, 252 - ) Only a few days ago we adored the presence of the Word Incarnate in the humble manager at Bethlehem.   Now, the Church invites us to turn our gaze towards that other magnificent figure in the crib, the Mother of God, God made flesh.

In recent times the devotion to the Mother of God has weakened in some sectors of the Church.  There were concerns, by some, that honouring Mary too much may turn our attention from the adoration of Christ.  It was therefore deemed appropriate the radicalise the Christo centricity, highlighting only the uniqueness of Christ’s salvific mediation to the detriment of the participative mediation of the angels, saints and the Mother of God.  In doing so they have forgotten the ancient adage:  ad Jesum per Mariam – ‘to Jesus through Mary’.  The Mother always leads us towards her Son, and never further away from Him.  The II Vatican Council expressed this teaching through the following words:  :  For all the salvific influence of the Blessed Virgin on men originates, not from some inner necessity, but from the divine pleasure. It flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on His mediation, depends entirely on it and draws all its power from it. In no way does it impede, but rather does it foster the immediate union of the faithful with Christ.(Lumen Gentium, n.60 ).

In reality we must recognise that Mary’s role does not constitute an obstacle, but rather is an efficacious aid the admission of faith in Christ.  The Mother of God, with her virginal purity also represents and defends the purity of Christian doctrine.  The following beautiful Marian antiphon is found in the breviary: ‘Gaude, Maria Virgo, cunctas haereses tu sola interemisti in universo mundo – Rejoice, O Virgin Mary, thou only hast killed all heresies in the universal world’.  The renowned biblical scholar, Ignatius de la Potterie, commented on this antiphon as follows: ‘It is not that Mary had done something in her life against heresies, but the recognition of Mary in the Marian dogmas, that is a sign and bulwark of the steadfastness of the faith’. 

Cardinal Ratzinger, in his book-interview with Vittorio Messori, (Report on the faith) highlighted that ‘Mary triumphed over every heresy’.  If we grant Mary the place that is suggested in Tradition and dogma, we find her already truly central to the Christology of the Church.  The first dogmas, regarding her perpetual virginity and divine maternity, and also the ultimate dogmas (the Immaculate Conception and her bodily Assumption into heavenly glory), are the secure basis for the Christian faith in the incarnation of the Son of God. The Marian Dogmas implicitly confess both faith in the living God, who can intervene in the material world, and also, the faith regarding the ultimate realities (resurrection of the flesh and therefore the transfiguration of the same material world).  Also, one hopes for the realisation of the project to re-introduce, preferably on the feast of Mary’s bodily Assumption to heaven on the 15th August, the beautiful antiphon put aside for the liturgical reform.’  (in 30 Giorni, 12 [October 1995], p.71).

It isn’t possible to be Christocentric if we are not solidly Marian.  In these days the Church prays in a particular way for peace.  It is appropriate that the faithful turn to the ever Virgin Mother of God, to obtain from the Lord, through her intersession, the gift of peace for every one of us, for the Church, and the world.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A bloody Christmas Day in Nigeria

Two Catholic churces attacked, almost forty dead, many more wounded. Militant Islamist group Boko Haram claims responsibilityl

See BBC News.

See Fox News.

The candy cane, as I have recently learned, illustrates that the Christmas feast is a prelude the shedding of His blood by Our Lord Jesus. The three thin red stripes represent the scourges inflicted upon Christ in His Sacred Passion, and the thick red stripe represents His Sacred Blood shed upon the Cross. The cane is in the shape of a shepherd's crook - the shepherds sought their Good Shepherd in the Babe in the manger.

Christian brothers and sisters of ours shed their blood and died today, as did St Stephen whose martyrdom we celebrate tomorrow and the Holy Innocents whose sacrifice we celebrate on Wednesday.

Let us pray for the security of our Christian brothers and sisters in Nigeria, and for PEACE!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas - not so peaceful for the Christians of Iraq

 This was the scene in a Baghdad church October 31st last year.

At that time the US Bishops said the US has a moral obligation to help Iraq. Now the troops have come home. What will happen?
Vatican Radio: Chaldean Catholic officials have cancelled traditional Christmas Eve midnight Masses in Iraq because of security risks. They said Iraqi Christians will spend Christmas in "great fear" because of the risk of new attacks.

“We have many difficulties because of the situation that there is no peace and no security, permanent security,” said Bishop Mar Shlemon Warduni, Auxiliary Bishop of the Patriarchate of Babylon, Iraq, of the Chaldean Catholic Church. “So for these days of Christmas and the New Year, we hope to celebrate the feast, but not Midnight [Mass], because there are too many difficulties.”

Bishop Warduni said that, despite many difficulties, for Christians in Iraq, “Our duty is to pray for peace.” He spoke of his prayer during this holy season: “And so we ask the Child of Bethlehem to give us this security and peace, to give us joy and peace, and we cry with angels ‘Glory be to the Lord in the highest heaven, and peace on the earth. We ask him this only, and not only for the Iraqi people, for Christians in Iraq, but for everybody in the Middle East.”

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thanks to 9A at De La Salle College, Belfast

Thank you 9A for your kind Christmas card. Be assured of my prayers for you and for your teacher. May you have a Happy and Holy Christmas, and every blessing in the New Year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Wonder of Life at Christmas

This video by Youth Defence

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha to be canonised - the first Native American Saint!

I was delighted to hear this news on local Public Radio this morning. I have blogged before about Blessed Kateri.

Barbara Bradley Hagerty/NPR. Jake Finkbonner, shown with his
father, Donny, and mother, Elsa, nearly died after contracting
a flesh-eating bacterium. His family and friends prayed for a
miracle, and now the Vatican has declared that his recovery
was considered a miracle by the church.
The canonisation can take place thanks to a miracle attributed to Blessed Kateri's intercession by which a young American boy of Native American descent Jake Finkbonner recovered from a flesh-eating bacteria that nearly killed him. Further details can be read at The Bellingham Herald (h/t to The Deacon's Bench).

Here is the Vatican's Press Release:
VATICAN CITY, 20 DEC 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father yesterday signed decrees acknowledging miracles attributed to the intervention of seven blesseds (four women and three men) who will shortly be canonised. One of the new blesseds is Kateri Tekakwitha, the first native North American to be raised to the glory of the altars.

Kateri Tekakwitha was born in 1656 in Ossernenon (present-day Auriesville, U.S.A.). Her father was a Mohawk chief and her mother a Roman Catholic Algonquian who had been educated by French missionaries. At the age of four she lost her family in a smallpox epidemic which also left her disfigured and with poor eyesight. Adopted by a relative, the chief of neighbouring clan, she continued to nurture an interest in Christianity and was baptised at the age of 20.

The members of her tribe did not understand her new religious affiliation and she was marginalised, practising physical mortification as a path of sanctity and praying for the conversion of her relatives. Having suffered persecutions which put her life at risk, she was forced to flee to a native American Christian community in Kahnawake, Quebec where she made a vow of chastity and lived a life dedicated to prayer, penance, and care for the sick and elderly. She died in 1680 at the age of 24. Her last words were: "Jesus, I love you". According to tradition, Kateri's scars disappeared after her death to reveal a woman of great beauty, and numerous sick people who participated in her funeral were miraculously healed.

The process of canonisation began in 1884. She was declared venerable by Pius XII in 1943 and beatified by John Paul II in 1980. As the first native North American to be beatified she occupies a special place in the devotion of her people. Her feast day falls on 14 July.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bishop Mark Davies to restore central position of Tabernacle?

I have heard from a good priest friend of mine from another continent (not Europe) that he was watching Bishop Davies' recent Advent reflection on EWTN during which he announced that the tabernacle at Shrewsbury Cathedral would be placed in a central position.

Has this been announced anywhere else?

It would certainly be in keeping with what Pope Benedict wrote in his post synodal apostolic exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis:
"The correct positioning of the tabernacle contributes to the recognition of Christ's real presence in the Blessed Sacrament. Therefore, the place where the eucharistic species are reserved, marked by a sanctuary lamp, should be readily visible to everyone entering the church. It is therefore necessary to take into account the builiding's architecture: in churches which do not have a Blessed Sacrament chapel, and where the high altar with its tabernacle is still in place, it is appropriate to continue to use this structure for the reservation and adoration of the Eucharist, taking care not to place the celebrant's chair in front of it."
In some cathedrals, there is a very prominent Blessed Sacrament Chapel, but if a Cathedral is no bigger than a large church, it would seem to me far more preferable to have the Tabernacle in a central position. (For liturgical rigour, the Blessed Sacrament could, of course, be removed when the Bishop celebrates. Liturgists would have to advise as to whether this is a possibility, a recommendation, something advisable or something required. I don't have the law on this matter readily available.)

If you visit the Cathedral's website, you will notice that the good Bishop will make himself available for confessions from 11pm to 11:30pm Christmas Eve, prior to the Midnight Mass.

UPDATE: This reflection will be repeated Friday December 23rd on EWTN UK at 09:30 and 19:00 hours GMT and on EWTN in the US on Wednesday December 21st at 11pm PT/Thursday 22nd 2am ET.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bishop Mark Schmitt Funeral Arrangements

The following details were communicated to the diocese by Bishop Sample today:
It is with extreme sadness that I inform you of the death of the Most Reverend Mark Francis Schmitt, Tenth Bishop of Marquette. Bishop Mark Schmitt died December 14, 2011, in DePere, Wisconsin. He was 88 years of age. Requiescat in pace!

The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit and Metropolitan of the Province of Detroit, will celebrate the Funeral Mass on Tuesday, December 20, 2011, at 11:00 AM ET, in St. Peter Cathedral, Marquette, Michigan. Bishop Alexander K. Sample, and Bishop James H. Garland, will concelebrate along with other attending bishops and priests. Deacons in attendance are invited to dress in cassock and surplice and participate in the procession.

The schedule is as follows:
Monday, December 19, 2011:
  • The body of Bishop Mark Schmitt will be received in St. Peter Cathedral at 10:00 AM ET by Bishop Alexander Sample, Bishop James Garland and clergy
  • The body of Bishop Schmitt will lie in state in the Cathedral from 10:30 AM until 9:00 PM ET
  • A rosary will be prayed at 3:00 PM ET
  • The Vigil Prayer Service will be celebrated at 7:00 PM ET
Tuesday, December 20, 2011:
  • Bishops, Priests and Deacons are invited to pray the Office for the Dead in the Cathedral at 9:30 AM ET prior to the Funeral Mass
  • Following the Office for the Dead, Bishops are invited to vest for Mass in the Bishops’ Meeting Room in the Cathedral gathering area
  • Priests and Deacons will vest for Mass in the Media Room on the lower level of the cathedral. Priests will vest in diocesan chasubles, but please bring your white diocesan stole in the event that we run short on the number of chasubles
  • Knights of Columbus and the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre will dress in the Pope John Paul II Meeting Room on the lower level of the Cathedral
  • The Rite of Committal will be celebrated in the Cathedral Crypt immediately following Mass
Bishop Mark Schmitt was born on February 14, 1923, in Algoma, Wisconsin. He was the fifth of eight children born to Charles Jerome Schmitt and Anna (Netzer) Schmitt. He is survived by his sister, Marge Schmitt and numerous nieces and nephews.

Bishop Schmitt was ordained to the priesthood on May 22, 1948, in St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Following his ordination Bishop Schmitt served as pastor in several parishes before being consecrated as Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay on June 24, 1970. On May 8, 1978, Bishop Mark Schmitt was installed as the Tenth Bishop of the Diocese of Marquette in St. Peter Cathedral, Marquette, Michigan, where he faithfully served the people for 14 years. He retired on November 11, 1992.

Bishop Schmitt was beloved by his brother priests and deacons, his diocesan staff and the people of the diocese. He was a dedicated and loving priest, friend and bishop.

Please remember him in your prayers and at your Masses.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample
Bishop of Marquette

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bishop Mark Schmitt RIP

Bishop Schmitt, bishop of Marquette from 1978 - 1992, died today. May he rest in peace.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Church of the Holy Ghost, Tiverton, Rhode Island

Is this not a beautiful sanctuary? Found it by chance while googling "adoration candles".  Visit the parish.

"Two people talking stop forty people praying"

Thanks to berenike for drawing my attention to Bishop Hugh Gilbert's pastoral letter for yesterday.

Silence in church is vital. There is the Great Silent One in the Tabernacle who cannot be heard if we talk in church.

After complaints from people about levels of noise in the church, instead of the recessional hymn I asked everybody after the 11am Mass to kneel for some moments in silent recollection and thanksgiving. After priest and servers had observed their silence on their knees, the people were invited to depart in silence and, if they wanted to socialise/visit with others, to do so either in the narthex or in the room where coffee was provided. The atmosphere was transformed.

Bishop Gilbert's letter will be a very helpful text for my homily next Sunday!

See Prayer - Divine Silence and homesickness for the tabernacle and altar...

Accepting the chant as normative for liturgical celebrations

Glory To God In The Highest And On Earth Peace To People Of Good Will from Church Music Association of Amer on Vimeo.

Here is an excerpt from a presentation by Msgr Andrew Wadsworth.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cardinal Foley dies

Cardinal John Patrick Foley, former Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem died today. He was 76. The Cardinal had been suffering from Leukaemia and had returned to Philadelphia in the US.

In his comments to Vatican Radios Italian service, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi said “everyone who had ever met Cardinal Foley admired and loved him for his kindness and for his spirituality.”
Father Lombardi also recalled the Cardinal’s work in the field of communication as President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications saying, he was always well prepared and very competent.
He added, that he had just received in the last few days a letter from Cardinal Foley thanking him for a copy of the newly published book on the History of Vatican Radio.
May he rest in peace.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Bishop Sample on the Lost Generations - and the need for a renewal in the catholic faith

Bishop Alexander Sample during his January 2006 episcopal ordination at
St. Peter Cathedralin Marquette
. Photo from Catholic World Report
“I was taught the faith in Catholic schools using materials that were weak and insubstantial. I wasn’t being taught my faith. The liturgy suffered from experimentation as well. … My generation raised up the next generation. Since we weren’t taught the faith, we raised children who weren’t either.”

This is how Bishop Alexander Sample of Marquette, Michigan—who, at age 50, is one of the US’ youngest bishops—describes the damage done to the American Church by decades of weak catechesis.

Exclusively at Catholic World Report, Bishop Sample shares how his experiences growing up in the 60s and 70s have given focus to his efforts to offer future generations of Catholics faith formation that is “solid, substantive, [and] systematic.”

He also shares the surprisingly positive fruits of the priestly sex abuse scandals that he has seen spring up in his diocese, as many young men have come forward “to become part of the solution, to rebuild the Church.”

Click here to read Bishop Sample’s interview, exclusively at Catholic World Report.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bishop Sample's Christmas Message to His Priests

Yep, that's it. With his Christmas card to priests, the Bishop enclosed this gift. I think it tells all the clergy very clearly where he wants to lead us and where he wants us to lead our parisioners: right behind our Holy Father, Pope Benedict.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Society of St Pius X rejects a "Preamble"

Pope Benedict with SSPX leader Bishop Bernard Fellay
For some time the Vatican (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) has been in talks with the Society of St Pius X. Here Zenit reports that the SSPX has rejected the "doctrinal preamble" presented to them by the CDF. Well, I suppose they consider it important to get the "preamble" (the before walk) right before proceeding on the walk!

I have to say that they probably have a point about "the sterility of 50 years of openness to the modern world." I am glad the Church is looking in on itself now, concentrating on getting the liturgy right, restoring right teaching, etc.

ROME, NOV. 30, 2011 ( The superior-general of the Society of St. Pius X, Bishop Bernard Fellay, has declared that his group is not in full agreement with the content of a "Doctrinal Preamble" offered to them by the Vatican.

The preamble is the first part of a document designed to bring the Society of St. Pius X back into communion with Rome. It was sent to the group in September, by Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Bishop Fellay made his opinion known in a Monday interview posted on the organization's Web site. He said that a note accompanying the preamble explained that the text was not definitive, so that is why they are proposing some changes.

He claimed the preamble needed "many modifications" but added that for the moment he was not going to make public the text itself or what changes the group is requesting. He did say that once talks with the Vatican have taken place following the society's proposed amendments, the text of the preamble will be made public.

The interview made clear that the path to reconciliation between the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X will not be easy. Bishop Fellay spoke openly of his dissatisfaction with some of the documents of the Second Vatican Council and of "the sterility of 50 years of openness to the modern world."

The preamble sent to the society by the Vatican continues a series of conversations begun in 2009. The rupture was formalized when the society's founder and then leader, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, illicitly ordained four bishops in 1988 without the authorization of the Roman Pontiff.

Irish Dominicans Interactive

Another wonderful sign of renewal in the Church in Ireland - an initiative of student Irish Domincans. Their audio series Ears to Hear promises to be a rich source of Catholic tradition - with short audio clips from the Fathers of the Church to inspire us in this season of Advent and always, giving a voice to the Saints in the internet age.

Worth checking out.

Extraordinary Form of the Mass at Gwinn - and a request

Bishop Sample celebrating Mass in the Extraordinary Form
at St Peter Cathedral
I celebrated the Extraordinary Form of the Mass for the first time in the parish this evening. A goodly congregation was present considering some serious snow had fallen - 14 communicants, plus some little children. Two of our young servers did extremely well considering they had only had one hour's practice yesterday. They were assisted by an adult who regularly attends the weekly EF Mass at St Peter Cathedral in Marquette.

My intention is to celebrate this form of the Mass on the evenings of my day off, Thursday, and maybe on other occasions if the faithful request it.

This evening I celebrated with my small travel edition of the Missale Romanum which I brought with me from England and which you can find reviewed by Fr Z.

Whilst I don't mind celebrating with this Missal privately - it is a very worthy  publication - for a public Mass it has its drawbacks. I did not notice any damage to the tabs as Fr Z did but the glue binding the tabs to the page also binds pages to pages, so that one has to use two hands to carefully separate the pages during the celebration of Mass. This evening I slightly tore one of the pages of the Canon. Also, I now notice my age: my sight is not as good as it was and I found myself struggling with the smaller print.

So, I need to buy a new Missal.

I could get the 1962 Missal published with the approval of the late Cardinal O'Connor. The lowest price I have found it available for is $110.00 (s/h included) from Roman Catholic Books or $99.99 plus $12.25 s/h from Fraternity Publications i.e. the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter (FSSP). This is the Missal I bought for (and donated to) my previous parish in South Ashford, England. My verdict on this Missal is that is quite adequate - it does the job and would be fine.

However, there is a much nicer one: a 2008 reprint of the well-known and beautiful Benziger Brothers Missal approved by the late Cardinal Spelman, with ad libitum prefaces that were approved in July 1962, including a restored Advent preface, and Masses approved for use in the dioceses of the USA.
Fr Z reviews it here.

The lowest price I have found it available for is $320.00 plus $17.00 s/h from Preserving Christian Publications. The website of Biretta Books gives further details, including examples of the beautful type setting and artwork (far superior to the O'Connor Missal above) shown below:

My question: would anyone like to help me get either of these Missals for the parish? See About Me if you would like to email me.

Keys of the Kingdom on Fox UP Premieres Sunday Dec. 11th 11:30am

KinGdomLOWERHarbor from Gchild Productionz on Vimeo.

The above is a trailer. Kevin Branson is founder of "Claves Regni Ministries" and Father Ryan Ford is Associate Pastor at St Peter Cathedral, Marquette.


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