Thursday, June 29, 2006

Saints of the Day

Hi everybody! There's a really nice feature on AmericanCatholic.org called Saint of the Day. I make it my homepage so that way everyday when I turn my computer on there's a new saint to read about. Today the page is about Sts. Peter and Paul, and it's a really nice article. Of course if your checking the blog after today, it will be a different one. You can also search for the saints and read about them even if it isn't their day though! I think it's a really great way to learn about saints. http://americancatholic.org/Features/SaintofDay/default.asp

And to Peter only did Jesus say, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the nether world shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matthew 16:17b-19).

Monday, June 26, 2006

Nuns!

Here are the amazing nuns from Alma, the religious sisters of Mercy! They have a website.

Our Seminarians

Check this out! Here is our seminarians, Eddie Dwyer and Matthew Wozniak, on the Saginaw Diocese website.

Diocese of Saginaw

Sunday, June 25, 2006

St. John the Baptist

I'm writing this in the last hour of the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. Today would be the memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, but the solemnity bumped it. John the Baptist was a pretty sweet saint and the homily at Mass where I was this morning focused on his spirituality and the priest gave us a fun acronym.

LESS ME:

L - Love Our Lady...John Recognized Jesus in her womb.
E - Eucharist; receive it often. John pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God.
S - Self; deny it
S - Sacred Scripture and the writings of the saints; read them

M - Meditate on the word of God in solitude like John in the desert.
E - Examine your conscience often

In all things let us strive to be humble that we may decrease and He may increase.


All-in-all it was a good day. Tomorrow we're back to the green vestments though. Good 'ol Ordinary Time. If I have energy I'll post on the readings, but we'll see (anyone else can feel free to as well).

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Sacred Heart of Jesus

"Behold the heart that so loved men, but received so little in return."


Today's solemnity of the Sacred Heart is primarily a feast of love. When the soldier pierced Christ's heart with the lance, blood and water poured out. Jesus died for love of us. We need to die to self for love of him. During the homily at Mass today the priest quoted a saint who said that each of us should have three hearts: A heart of fire to love God with all that we have, a heart of flesh to love and serve our neighbor, and a heart of bronze to love ourselves in a way that we can avoid pride and other vices.

Today's feast reminds us that Jesus goes out of His way to get us. Let us always remember to be grateful for such a great gift.


Sacred Heart of Jesus, on fire for love of sinners, have mercy on us!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

St. Aloysius, Pray for us!

Today is the feast of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, patron saint of Catholic youth. He was the son of a nobleman who entered the Jesuits. He worked with people who had the plague and eventually died from the disease in his early twenties. He died June 21 in 1591.

I went to Mass at the Carmelite monastery near my house this morning and I knew it was going to be good when the priest intoned "In nomine Patris et Filliis et Spiritus Sanctis..." With the exception of the Sanctus and Agnus Dei, that was the only (audible) latin for the whole Mass, however. He also sang the offeratory prayer, the preface, and the final blessing. He also used Eucharistic Prayer I. The sisters also chanted the Kyrie in Greek and sang the "Soul of my Savior" hymn that the Sisters of Mercy always sing.....anyway, the homily was amazing. At one point the priest said something to the effect of "St. Aloysius didn't do anything that wasn't common among saints. He didn't do anything new." He fasted, prayed, kept vigils, and other things, but his story proves that we don't necessarily need to reinvent the wheel to become saints. He did what the saints have always done...and he changed the world in his own unique way.

St. Aloysius Gonzaga, pray for us!

As a side note, my patron saint, Dominic Savio was frequently compared to St. Aloysius in his biography written by St. John Bosco.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Solemnity of Corpus Christi - Lo! The Sacred Host we Hail

Like always, these are random thoughts. I hope they're coherent. Feel free to comment.


This Sunday we get to celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ...Corpus Christi. Since that's the name of our group, I think it would be really cool if we could remember to pray for each other in a special way this Sunday. We may be all over the state (or in Canada if you count me), but "there is no distance between tabernacles" (I'm going to attribute that quote to Mother Angelica, but since I'm going by memory that could be wrong).

While Holy Thursday was the night on which our savior instituted the mystery of the Eucharist, that holy night is marked by sadness since it is the night of Our Lord's betrayal. The feast of Corpus Christi gives the Church the opportunity to contemplate the mystery of Christ's presence among us in the Eucharist in the joy of Easter. Instead of adoring Him by keeping watch near the altar of repose, we adore Him in the monstrance and celebrate with joyous processions and hymns.

The readings for this Sunday can be found here.

The readings tie into each other nicely. In the first reading we see Moses sacrificing young bulls as peace offerings to the Lord and sprinkling the blood on the people as a sign of the covenant God had formed with them. The second reading talks about how Christ's offering on Calvary is the fulfillment of the sacrifices of the Old Testament. Jesus was both priest and victim. In the Gospel reading Jesus doesn't only say "This is the cup of my blood." He goes on to say "which will be shed for many." The Eucharist has a sacrificial dimension as well. At every Mass, the one sacrifice of Christ is made present. Talk about a mystery!

I can't even fathom how God is so humble that He can take the appearance of bread and allow us to consume Him. The incarnation (God becoming man) was intense enough. God becoming our food...allowing us to consume Him...it's too much. How can I hope to be pure enough to feast at the banquet of the Lamb? I'm not...St. Paul tells us that we should examine ourselves before participating in the Eucharist lest we eat and drink judgment upon ourselves. That's pretty intense. If there are any sins that I could take back from my past they would be those times when I went to communion without examining myself carefully and receiving when I shouldn't have. Our Lord asks so little of us...fortunately for us, He is very merciful.

The Second Vatican Council called the Eucharist the "source and summit" of all Christian life. The Eucharist really is a banquet of love. Jesus promised that He would be with us always, even until the end of time, and He is truly, really, and substantially with us today. If we could only understand what happens each time we go to Mass....

Mary really is the woman of the Eucharist. In Ecclesia de Eucharistia, John Paul II says that Mary's fiat ("Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me as you have said.") resounds in the heart of every believer when they proclaim "Amen" prior to receiving the Eucharist. She is also present at every Mass with every saint in Heaven and every soul in purgatory. When I prepare to receive Communion, I always try to ask her to help me welcome Jesus into my soul with the same openness she did.


And so, with the Angelic Doctor, let's sing, shall we?

Tantum ergo Sacramentum
veneremur cernui:
et antiquum documentum
novo cedat ritui:
praestet fides supplementum
sensuum defectui.

Genitori, Genitoque
laus et jubilatio,
salus, honor, virtus quoque
sit et benedictio:
procedenti ab utroque
compar sit laudatio.

Amen.


or, if you prefer:

Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail;
Lo! o'er ancient forms departing,
newer rites of grace prevail;
faith for all defects supplying,
where the feeble sense fail.

To the everlasting Father,
and the Son who reigns on high,
with the Holy Ghost proceeding
forth from Each eternally,
be salvation, honor, blessing,
might and endless majesty.

Amen.

Meditation on the Mass

This is quite excellent...It's a long read, but worth it. The apparition related to this meditation has not been officially approved by the church (that I can tell), but the local diocesan bishop seems to have given his approval. I really don't know a whole lot about it, but it doesn't seem as though we're looking at anything that would be damaging to the faith. In light of the fast approach of Corpus Christi, I thought it was appropriate.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Pontifical Council on the Family

Check out this link. It's not a long read. http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/family/documents/rc_pc_family_doc_20051007_trujillo-synod_en.html
If it doesn't work, go the Vatican's website, click on the Valencia 2006 tab off to the right, then go down to button that is from Cardinal Alfonzo Lopez Trujillo on the Eucharistic Coherence of Politicians and Legislators.

Vox clara ecce intonat...

http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/nation/14828205.htm


The bishops of the latin church have approved a new translation of the Ordinary of the Mass. I haven't seen the full text, but I've liked what I've seen so far. Some changes (from memory so please don't fault me if they're not 100% accurate):

The confiteor: "I confess..through my fault, my fault, my most grievous fault...."

The Sanctus: "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts...."

"And also with you": "And with your spirit."

Creed: "I believe...."

Ecce Agnus Dei: "Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are they who are called to the banquet of the lamb."
R: "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed."

Overall, it's a pretty exciting time. The propers still need to be translated (prayers for saints feast days and different days during the liturgical year such as collects, prefaces, and other prayers), but the ordinary being approved is a big step. Once official recognitio is granted by the Holy See, the bishops will have to decide whether to implement the changes now or wait until the entire missal is translated which could take some time. The bishops did approve some ammendments to the ICEL text, but the Holy See gets line-item recognitio of those so as long as the ICEL text is acceptable (which I'm hoping it is thanks to the Vox Clara commission), we should have a new ordinary approved within the forseeable future.

These are going to be some of the biggest changes Catholics in the English-speaking world will have seen since the reforms of Paul VI in the 1960's and 1970's (when the vernacular was first permitted). I sincerely hope the bishops and priests enthusiastically promote this new missal and do a good job explaining why this is really a step forward for the vernacular, not a step backward. The new renderings are more scriptural, reverant and more in line with what the church is really saying in the latin originals of their prayers.

All in all, today was a good day. Also, it is the day when the Church would ordinarily be celebrating the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, but we get to do that Sunday instead since we're wimps in America and can't handle going to Mass more than once a week....anyway, I'm excited.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Comment on Trinity Sunday

Just as an interesting side note, Pope Benedict XVI is very strongly Augustinian. The shell on his coat of arms represents the shell used by the boy (in the story about Trinity Sunday below) to empty the sea into the hole in the beach.

Fortune Cookie Wisdom...

I kind of liked this one:

"Don't be afraid to take a big step. You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps."

Trinity Sunday

Praise the Holy Trinity
Undivided Unity
Holy God, Mighty God
God Immortal be adored.


Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. I have not really gone through the reading real in-depth to provide a huge theological treatise, but I thought I'd offer some of my thoughts and if anyone else wants to comment, they can feel free :-).

Whenever I think about the nature of the Blessed Trinity I'm reminded of a story about St. Augustine. I'm not sure how much historical truth is in this, but I think it makes an important point. One day Augustine was walking down a beach contemplating the mystery of the Trinity and he could not bring himself to understand it. While he was walking he saw a young boy digging a small hole and putting water from the ocean into it. When Augustine asked what the boy was doing, he replied, "I'm trying to put the ocean into this small hole." Augustine questioned him, "How could such a vast sea fit into that small hole?" The boy replied "How can you hope to understand the mystery of the Trinity given your limited knowledge?" The boy was really an angel and he disappeared.

I think this story illustrates something important about the Trinity: It's a mystery. We have carefully written formulas for professing a belief in One God, three persons in one substance, but I don't think we can really grasp the full impact of what this means this side of Heaven.

Mary really has a unique relationship with the Blessed Trinity. She is daughter of the Father, mother of the Son, and spouse of the Holy Spirit. More than any other of God's creatures she has been specially chosen by God to be in this relationship and to serve as a mother to the whole human race. She has special reason to proclaim that her soul "proclaims the greatness of the Lord...for He has looked with favor on his lowly servant." And that all generations will call her blessed.

In any case I hope you all had a happy feast day, and don't forget that the Solemnity of Corpus Christi is this coming Sunday! Tantum Ergo is already stuck in my head...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Youth ministry in the early Church

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

For all you translation dorks...

This probably isn't that interesting for the vast majority of you, but I recently stumbled across a blog that discusses the translation of different Mass propers (primarily the opening prayers) into English. It's run by a priest who has the faculties to celebrate Mass according to the Missal of 1962 by the Holy See. He posts about a wide variety of things, but he primarily writes columns where he posts the latin text from the Missale Romanum, the ICEL translation from 1973, and a literal translation that he makes from the latin along with lots of linguistic explanations that are beyond my comprehension. Overall, it is astounding at what has been left out in the English translation that we have been using for so many years. It can be found here: http://www.wdtprs.com/blog/

Anyway...speaking of translations, don't forget to pray for our bishops who will be meeting later this month to vote on a new Order of Mass in English. As many of you know, the newest Missal released by Rome is being retranslated into English and within the next few years we should be seeing some changes at Mass ("and also with you" will become "and with your spirit" "Lord God of power and might" will become "Lord of hosts," and many others). This should bring the English-speaking world into greater conformity with what the Church is really saying at Mass.
Cardinal Arinze (my man) recently wrote a (diplomatic but very firm) letter to the president of the USCCB telling him that the Congregation for Divine Worship will not approve any translation that does not conform to the directives issued by Servant of God John Paul II in his instruction Liturgiam Authenticam which was meant to govern all liturgical translations into the vernacular.

As many of you know, one of the main arguments against changing these Mass propers is that people have become accustomed to them over the last 40 years so there is no reason to change. This is at the expense of a translation that is better rooted in scripture, the tradition of the Church, and what the ritual books actually say. I read somewhere that Cardinal George referred to that argument as "Lefebvrism of the left" and I thought that was pretty interesting and quite hilarious (Archbishop Lefebvre started a schism when he illicitly ordained 4 bishops without a papal mandate because he refused to recognize the Second Vatican Council and the Missal of Paul VI).

These are very exciting times for American Catholics. There should also be a post-synodal exhortation coming out in October that might shake things up a little bit further liturgically, but we'll see what happens there when we get there...I'm kind of hoping for encouraging Mass ad orientum (that is, where the priest faces East) and rediscovering the Church's musical and artistic heritage, but like I said, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

I think I'll pre-empt Sean's comment which will probably be "Brad, you're such a dork" and say I already know.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Capuchins

What can you guys tell me about the Capuchins. Thanks

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Bible Study: Pentecost

The readings for this Sunday can be found here.

There are a ton of different options for the readings this Sunday so they will probably vary from parish to parish. There are also different readings for the Vigil the night before. Unfortunately, I don't really have time to do a lot of extensive research so this will just be my random thoughts on the readings.

All of the readings are very profound for this last day in the Easter Season. St. Luke tells us in the first reading that the followers of Jesus were all in a room together. According to tradition, the Cenacle (the room where they were gathered) was the same room where Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with his Apostles and instituted the Eucharist and the priesthood. In this we can see a clear connection of the coming of the Holy Spirit to the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus.

Red is the liturgical color for Pentecost, Good Friday, Palm Sunday, and the feast days of martyrs. While the red vividly symbolizes the physical manifestation of the Holy Spirit's presence at Pentecost in tounges of fire, it also reminds us of the strength the Holy Spirit gives to us to stand up for our faith even to the point of shedding our blood. Traditionally, confirmation has been described as a sacrament that makes the recipient a "soldier for Christ." The gifts of the Holy Spirit give us the strength to hold fast to our faith in times of adversity and we should pray for an increase in the gifts of the Spirit so we too could have the courage and love for the Lord to be willing to die a martyr's death.

The readings are full of great stuff related to the universal call to holiness. In Paul's first letter to the Corinthians he says that there are "different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit, different forms of service, but the same Lord, different workings, but the same God who produces all of them in everyone...." I see this as an indication that there are a variety of gifts and graces that individuals may be given. This diversity is not harmful as God is the source of all these good things. The first reading shows that the Gospel message was meant for the whole world as many different nations were represented. We need to use our individual gifts to be able to spread the Gospel more effectively as witnesses for Christ.

Finally, the disciples were gathered in prayer and Mary, the mother of Jesus was also there. On this feast of Pentecost, let us look to the Blessed Mother to better learn how to treasure the word of God and reflect on it in our hearts.

Come Holy Sprit and fill the hearts of us your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love. Send forth your spirit and they shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the Earth. O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit instructs the hearts of the faithful, grant, that by the same Holy Spirit, we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolations. Through the same Christ our Lord. AMEN