Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Monday, February 26, 2007
Life through pain
Sunday, February 25, 2007
The Holy Father and his aides in the Roman Curia began spiritual exercises this afternoon.
The Holy See announced that the Pope will hold no audiences or attend any public engagements until the retreat concludes Saturday morning.
Before praying the Angelus today with the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father asked the faithful to "please support me with your prayer, and I will be happy to do the same in the recollection of the retreat, invoking divine power on each one of you, on your families and your communities."
Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, retired archbishop of
The exercises began in the Mater Redemptoris Chapel with the exposition of the Eucharist, vespers, an introductory meditation, adoration and Benediction.
Cardinal Biffi will preach three meditations each day. There will also be daily recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours, adoration and benediction.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Solemn Pontifical Mass
Clericus Cup 2007
Friday, February 23, 2007
In a move to protect the sacred character of the liturgy, the cardinal has ruled that any speaker at a funeral must confine himself to at most a 5-minute talk. Only one talk is allowed, and the tone of the eulogy should be in keeping with the spirit of prayer for the deceased, avoiding jokes about his weaknesses, the guidelines add.
Cardinal Pell explained that the guidelines were necessary to prevent abuses in the funeral liturgy. In some cases, he said, a series of eulogists spoke at length, resulting in overly long services; in other cases a highly emotional speaker added to the grief of the families. In most extreme cases, laughing references to the drinking or sexual conduct of the deceased profaned the ceremony.
The cardinal noted that in some countries-- including the US-- Catholic funeral guidelines do not allow for any eulogy (as distinct from the priest’s homily at the funeral Mass). In the
Thursday, February 22, 2007
More on the need for liturgical reform
Abbot: I believe that the Dogmatic Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium was a response to a widely held conviction that the liturgy needed a reform. The Council Fathers were seeking to bring out the community aspects of the mass, as well as make it more effective in teaching the truths of the Catholic Faith. Unfortunately, the theological necessity for a continuity in the underlying doctrine and structure of the celebration of the Mass in its preconciliar and post conciliar forms had undergone a rupture or break with Tradition. That is what we are dealing with today. The Second Vatican Council clearly called for some modest reforms in the liturgy, but it intended them to be organic and clearly in continuity with the past. The Old Rite becomes a living treasure of the Church and also should provide a standard of worship, of mystery, and of catechesis toward which the celebrations of the Novus Ordo must move. In other words, the Tridentine Mass is the missing link. And unless it be re-discovered in all its faithful truth and beauty, the Novus Ordo will not respond to the organic growth and change that has characterized the liturgy from its beginning. This is what should be prompting many of us to the founding of a new liturgical movement which will be able to give back to the liturgy its sacramental and supernatural character, and awaken in us a faithful understanding of the Catholic Liturgy. – From an interview with Abbot Christopher M. Zielinski OSB, Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey,
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Parce, Domine, parce populo tuo:
ne in aeternum irascaris nobis.
Spare your people Lord.
Be not angry Lord with your people forever
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Solemn High Mass
Pancakes are the traditional treat of the Jewish Hanukkah festival. They are fried in oil to commemorate the oil found by the Maccabeans when they recaptured
Large or small, fat or wafer thin and made with a wide range of flours, pancakes are given different names by different peoples. There are Hungarian palacsinta, Chinese egg rolls, Jewish blintzes, Russian blini, Italian cannelloni, Swedish plattar, Mexican tortillas, American hotcakes, German pfannkucken, Norwegian lefser, Austrian nockerin, Welsh crempog and Australian pikelets: but undoubtedly the most famous of them all is the great French crepe.
Monday, February 19, 2007
Liturgical reform needed
Active instrument of divine mercy
Give Confession top priority, Pope asks priests
The Holy Father was speaking to the father-confessors of the Roman basilica and the officials of the Apostolic Penitentiary, led by Cardinal James Stafford. He told them that the priest, as confessor, is an “active instrument of divine mercy.”
The task of the confessor, the Pope said, is to help the penitent “recognize the gravity of sin,” and resolve to avoid sin in the future, while provide “the comfort and consolation of Christ.”
“How many penitents find in confession the peace and joy they were seeking for so long!” the Pope said. He encouraged priests to help the faithful use the sacrament properly. To do so, he said, confessors must learn as much as possible about the background of their people, the problems they face, and the spiritual problems they encounter.
Above all, the Pope continued, “We cannot preach forgiveness and reconciliation to others if we do not experience these things personally.” He encouraged confessors to make frequent use of the sacrament themselves, so that they too have a fuller appreciation for the forgiveness offered by Christ through his priestly ministers.
The sacrament of Penance, the Pontiff concluded, “is a specific ecclesial service to which we must give priority."
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Friday, February 16, 2007
Love. Bless. Pray.
This weekend’s Gospel. Luke 6: 27-38.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“To you who hear I say,
love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
To the person who strikes you on one cheek,
offer the other one as well,
and from the person who takes your cloak,
do not withhold even your tunic.
Give to everyone who asks of you,
and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
For if you love those who love you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners love those who love them.
And if you do good to those who do good to you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners do the same.
If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners lend to sinners,
and get back the same amount.
But rather, love your enemies and do good to them,
and lend expecting nothing back;
then your reward will be great
and you will be children of the Most High,
for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
“Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give, and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you.”
The Sermon on the Plain continues: Although the righteous will be persecuted and rejected and God will judge the persecutors, Jesus issues a call to love the enemy. In fact, Jesus' call is specific: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whether in attitude, action, word or intercession, the enemy is to be loved.
The exhortation is underlined by three concrete examples. First, if someone strikes you on the cheek, then offer him the other. Such a slap would be delivered by the back of the hand, though the context here suggests any action that communicates rejection. Jesus' point is that even in the midst of such rejection, we continue to minister to others and expose ourselves to the threat of rejection.
Second, Jesus gives the example of someone stealing one's outer garment. He advises letting them have the undershirt too! The point is that one should not seek revenge but remain exposed and be willing to take even more risks.
Third, one is to be generous and not keep account. Disciples should be marked by a genuine readiness to meet needs. To the one who begs, give. From the one who takes, do not seek to get it back.
It is no accident that Jesus' words against judgmentalism come right after the call to be merciful as God is. An unwillingness to be judgmental is almost a requirement for those who face persecution. Without it, lines of battle would become hardened and the ability to love the enemy would be destroyed.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
It was a good day
Of course, the day began with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass where we called to mind the Holy Apostles to the Slavs. There was a good number of people at this morning's sacred synaxis.
I went to my office to find various holiday goodies piled on my desk. Sugarless Peppermint Patties are actually quite tasty.
My weekly study group met for an hour. This week's topic was "Fasting and Abstinence: History and Development." We digressed, sort of, sharing ethnic Lenten dishes.
My afternoon was occupied with Altar Server scheduling and training.
I returned to my office early evening to celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony with a small, private ceremony for a lovely older couple.
Later, I joined the Spanish-language religious ed classes to give a brief talk on Pope Benedict's encyclical, Deus Caritas Est. Then, off to the Parish Hall for a Valentine potluck dinner of tamales, enchiladas, salads, and cakes.
I arrived home in time to place a call to Mom and Dad with Valentine greetings. They were treated earlier in the day to a free buffet which is offered for senior couples with decades of marriage behind them.
Lastly, Oreo and I took a little stroll around the neighborhood. The pooch got a little Valentine treat at the close of the day.
Life is good!
According to church tradition St. Valentine was a priest near
This was around when the heyday of
Valentine, a bishop , seeing the trauma of young lovers, met them in a secret place, and joined them in the sacrament of matrimony. Claudius learned of this "friend of lovers," and had him arrested. The emperor, impressed with the young priest's dignity and conviction, attempted to convert him to the roman gods, to save him from certain execution. Valentine refused to recognize Roman Gods and even attempted to convert the emperor, knowing the consequences fully.
While Valentine was in prison awaiting his fate, he came in contact with his jailor, Asterius. The jailor had a blind daughter. Asterius requested him to heal his daughter. Through his faith he miraculously restored the sight of Asterius' daughter. Just before his execution, he asked for a pen and paper from his jailor, and signed a farewell message to her "From Your Valentine," a phrase that lived ever after.
Valentine thus become a Patron Saint, and spiritual overseer of an annual festival. The festival involved young Romans offering women they admired, and wished to court, handwritten greetings of affection on February 14. The greeting cards acquired St.Valentine's name.
The Valentine's Day card spread with Christianity, and is now celebrated all over the world. One of the earliest card was sent in 1415 by Charles, duke of
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Getting ready for Lent
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday
are days of Fasting and Abstinence
ABSTINENCE – The Law of Abstinence requires a Catholic 14 years of age until death to abstain from eating meat (beef, chicken, pork) on Fridays in honor of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday. Also forbidden are soups or gravies made from them. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, and shellfish are permitted, as are animal-derived products such as margarine and gelatin which do not have any meat taste.
FASTING – The Law of Fasting requires a Catholic from the 18th to 59th birthday to reduce the amount of food eaten from normal. The Church defines this as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal in quantity. The fast is broken by eating meals and by drinks which would be considered food.
Thanks to Catholic Church Conservation for directions to this article:
Monday, February 12, 2007
Mass to Mark Benedict XVI's 80th Birthday
Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Holy Father's vicar for
"We pray with the Pope and for the Pope, praying for an abundance of divine blessings for him," wrote Cardinal Ruini, president of the Italian episcopal conference.
The Mass will be celebrated on Divine Mercy Sunday, a liturgical solemnity introduced by Pope John Paul II.
The cardinal also asked the faithful to pray for Benedict XVI on April 19, the second anniversary of his election as Supreme Pontiff.
On April 2, Benedict XVI will preside over a Mass for the eternal repose of John Paul II.
Labels: Benedict XVI
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Graciously accept, then, we beseech You, O Lord, this service of our worship and that of all Your household. Provide that our days be spent in Your peace, save us from everlasting damnation, and cause us to be numbered in the flock you have chosen. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Friday, February 09, 2007
Sometimes you feel like a nut ...
Pray for them
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Blessed are you... Woe to you...
This Sunday’s Gospel is Luke 6:17, 20-26.
Jesus came down with the twelveJesus taught with authority. Nothing indicates that more than the blessing and woe section of the Sermon on the Plain. It recalls the Old Testament prophets. Jesus thunders the truth with promises of blessing and judgment. The four blessings are followed by four parallel woes. God does not always see things as we do. He looks at the heart, not at externals. He gives promises for those who enter into grace humbly, while warning of judgment for those who remain callous.
and stood on a stretch of level ground
with a great crowd of his disciples
and a large number of the people
and the coastal region of
and Tyre . Sidon
And raising his eyes toward his disciples he said:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
is yours. kingdomof God
Blessed are you who are now hungry,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who are now weeping,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you,
and when they exclude and insult you,
and denounce your name as evil
on account of the Son of Man.
Rejoice and leap for joy on that day!
Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.
For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way.
But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
Woe to you who are filled now,
for you will be hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will grieve and weep.
Woe to you when all speak well of you,
for their ancestors treated the false
prophets in this way.”
The woes also reflect prophetic tradition. A woe warns of condemnation. Here Jesus addresses the judgment of God to the callous. The lack of a genuine spiritual dimension in their life is seen in the comparison Jesus makes between them and the false prophets. For those who do not engage God on the divinity's terms there looms nothing but the terrible expectation of a day of reckoning. The world's values are not God's values. God's blessing can be found in surprising places.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
World Day of the Sick Indulgence
By Cindy Wooden | Catholic News Service
Pope Benedict XVI authorized the indulgences in order "to enrich" the World Day of the Sick and to highlight Christian teaching on "the value and function of suffering" accepted as a way to express sorrow for one's sins and trust in the fact that Christ's suffering is a source of salvation, said the Vatican statement released Feb. 5.
The statement was signed by U.S. Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, head of the
An indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment a person is due for sins he or she has committed.
A plenary, or full, indulgence is being offered to those who join the official celebrations of the World Day of the Sick in
Plenary indulgences also can be obtained Feb. 11 by people who dedicate at least several hours that day to providing loving care for a sick person, especially one with an incurable or terminal illness, and by the sick themselves.
All those who want to receive the indulgence must go to confession, receive the Eucharist -- or promise to do so as soon as possible -- and pray for the intentions of the pope, all in a spirit of total detachment from the attraction of sin.
Cardinal Stafford said partial indulgences are being offered "between Feb. 9-11 to all the faithful each time they address, with a contrite heart, devoted prayers to the merciful God" on behalf of someone who is sick.
For the libbys
Labels: Benedict XVI
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
I am the spiritual director for a woman who is the coordinator of what is called, “Catholics Come Home” at a nearby parish. This is a gathering of Catholic “reverts.” Every Lent an effort is made by the parish to invite those who have been moved by the Spirit to re-enter into the life of the Catholic Church. This evening I spent several hours with the group. We worked through a few spiritual exercises and shared the varied stories of life’s journeys. It was truly a sacred time. For this I am grateful. Thank you Lord, once again.
Munda Cor Meum
At Monday’s Adoration I received the following gift from the Lord:
I found myself standing at the edge of a sea with the water gently lapping against my feet. I looked out and what seemed to be a rising sun shedding its warmth on me. I understood that warmth to be not the creation, but the Creator. This warmth of His Presence moved across my body from left to right. The movement halted and settled upon my head, lips, and heart. I immediately thought of the Munda Cor Meum--
Munda cor meum ac labia mea, omnipotens Deus, qui labia Isaiae Prophetae calculo mundasti ignito: ita me tua grata miseratione dignare mundare, ut sanctum Evangelium tuum digne valeam nuntiare. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen. Jube, Domine benedicere. Dominus sit in corde meo et in labiis meis. ut digne et competenter annuntiem evangelium suum.
Cleanse my heart and my lips, O Almighty God, Who cleansed the lips of the Prophet Isaiah with a burning coal. In Your gracious mercy deign so to purify me that I may worthily proclaim Your holy Gospel. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. Lord, grant me your blessing. The Lord be in my heart and on my lips that I may worthily and fittingly proclaim His holy Gospel.
… just another blessing! Thank you, Lord.
Monday, February 05, 2007
Redemptionis Sacramentum says...
If you want to kneel, you may kneel
Here is the relevant guidance from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments contained in Redemptionis Sacramentum, issued in April 2004:
“In distributing Holy Communion it is to be remembered that ‘sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who seek them in a reasonable manner, are rightly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them.’ Hence any baptized Catholic who is not prevented by law must be admitted to Holy Communion. Therefore, it is not licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful solely on the grounds, for example, that the person wishes to receive the Eucharist kneeling or standing.”(Emphasis added.)
“Although each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice (emphasis added.), if any communicant should wish to receive the Sacrament in the hand, in areas where the Bishops’ Conference with the recognitio of the Apostolic See has given permission, the sacred host is to be administered to him or her...”
To read Redemptionis Sacramentum in its entirety from the Vatican website:
Ad te clamamus
Sunday, February 04, 2007
Pope to lead full slate of Holy Week, Easter liturgies
By John Thavis | Catholic News Service
The pope's Holy Week activities will begin with a procession and Mass in St. Peter's Square on Palm Sunday, April 1.
As he did last year, Pope Benedict will celebrate a chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on Holy Thursday and that evening will preside over the Mass of the Lord's Supper in the Basilica of St. John Lateran in central
On Good Friday he will celebrate the liturgy of the Lord's Passion in St. Peter's Basilica in the late afternoon, and then will lead a nighttime Way of the Cross at the Rome Coliseum.
On Holy Saturday, the pope will preside over the Easter Vigil in St. Peter's Basilica. On Easter, April 8, he will celebrate Mass in St. Peter's Square and give his blessing "urbi et orbi" (to the city of
Italian Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, retired archbishop of
Cardinal Biffi was said to be a strong supporter of the pope in the conclave that elected him in 2005. The cardinal is well-known in
The pope's schedule through April also includes a parish visit in
On April 15, the pope will celebrate a special Mass in St. Peter's on the eve of his 80th birthday.
Labels: Benedict XVI
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Friday, February 02, 2007
Awaiting the Promised Land
Within the Roman Catholic Church, since the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council, this feast has been referred to as the Feast of Presentation of the Lord, with references to candles and the purification of Mary de-emphasised in favour of the Prophecy of Simeon.
Its formal name is either the festival of the Purification of the Virgin (especially in the uniate rites of the Catholic Church), or the Presentation of Jesus in the
Thursday, February 01, 2007
St. Thérèse of Lisieux
In the disguise of ingratitude from friends.
In the disguise of being misunderstood.
In the disguise of failure.
In the disguise of being dishonored.
In the disguise of sickness.
In the disguise of poverty.
In the disguise of our daily work.
Our Lord isn’t anxious for us to suffer so let’s not complain to Him any more than is necessary! He sees us in our misery and looks forward to our final victory. If we could only appreciate the great work He’s doing in preparing these crosses for us. - St. Thérèse of Lisieux
Pope Benedict's February Intentions
Pope Benedict XVI's general prayer intention for February is: "That the goods of the earth, given by God for all men, may be used wisely and according to criteria of justice and solidarity."
His mission intention is: "That the fight against diseases and great epidemics in the
Labels: Benedict XVI