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Sunday, October 07, 2007

I can't believe I'll be out of town.

St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center (I'm a staff member at the university it serves) will offer the Extraordinary form of the Latin Rite Mass on Sunday, October 21 at 12:30 pm with Fr. Denis Buchholz of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest as Principal Celebrant.

I am very happy to see the center offering this opportunity for the students and other members of the parish to experience the TLM.

I'm just disappointed that I'll be out of town.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Haven't blogged much lately

I'm sorry for not blogging much for quite some time now. I've been sort of down and out lately. I know it sounds cliche but "dark night of the soul" is what I keep thinking of when trying to describe the last couple of months, in particular the last few weeks.

I've found myself questioning my faith a lot recently. I also noticed that I seemed to be "going through the motions" as Mass while wondering how much longer until it was over. I've also been asking the question a lot lately of if my faith was centered on God or on the Church. Was it the fullness of worship of our Lord or the aesthetic appeal of the Church that drew me into the Catholic Church? I think in a way it was the aesthetic appeal of the Church that sparked my attention and that as I learned more it was the fullness of worship that drew me in. But somehow along the way I've managed to get caught up in all the talk about liturgy (old vs. new), music, liturgical abuses, etc. and lost sight of my real reason for being Catholic.

I've also struggled a lot with temptations lately. I think all of this is related somehow. As I've moved farther away from the real reason for being in the Church I've drawn closer to temptation. There have been several times over the last few weeks and when I've just wanted to give up; to leave the Church and give in to the temptations of this world.

However, I know that this really isn't an option. I also know that the only way to get back on the right track is through meditation and prayer. However, my will is weak. I know what to do, yet still don't do it.

I'm not one to usually make these kind of appeals but pray for me friends as I seek to rekindle a faith grown not yet cold but diminished in its warmth.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Diocese of Little Rock preparing priests for the Latin Mass

The Diocese of Little Rock in Arkansas in embracing Pope Benedict's moto poprio. Diocese, Latin Mass community respond to new papal support.

This is in much contrast to this Springfield, Missouri priest who takes a very un-pastoral approach to those wanting the Latin Mass in his parish.

NFP vs. Contraceptive Video

These videos are made by seminarians. There are five on youtube. Here is the first one.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Traditonal Latin Mass in Kansas City

Kansas City Catholic reports that His Excellency Robert W. Finn, bishop of the diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph, will celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Saturday, Sept. 15.

It's great to see a bishop celebrating the TLM in his cathedral the day after the motu proprio takes effect.

Read more here.

Personally, I've never attended a TLM. However, I really want to and hopefully the opportunities to do so will continue to grow.

Baronius Press


Baronius Press announces the publication of a new edition of The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, from the Breviary of the Extraordinary Latin Liturgy, as permitted by Summorum Pontificum.

“The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary has been a corner stone of Catholic devotion, for both priests and lay people, throughout the centuries. We hope that by publishing this new edition, people today will discover the fruits of these beautiful prayers to the Mother of God” notes Dr. John Newton, Editor of Baronius Press.

Of particular note is the inclusion of the complete Gregorian chant for the Office in this book. The music for the Little Office has never before been gathered together in one volume.

Fr. Berg, Superior of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter warmly welcomed this new publication: “Devotion to Our Lady is part of the spiritual life of the Church, and fulfils her words that all generations will call her blessed (Luke i.48). The Little Office will help the Faithful to pray with even greater devotion to Our Blessed Lady. ”

This publication is published in cooperation with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, A Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right founded with the approval of His Holiness Pope John Paul II in 1988, for the formation and sanctification of priests in the framework of the TRADITIONAL LITURGY of the ROMAN RITE and their pastoral deployment in the service of the Church.



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Baronius Press, the London based Catholic book publisher, has seen a doubling in sales of Extraordinary Rite Missals, since the motu proprio Summorum Pontifum was announced two months ago. “It would seem that Summorum Pontificum, has generated a considerable amount of interest and excitement in the traditional Latin liturgy among the Catholic laity”, commented Dr. John Newton, Baronius Press’s Editor.

As the only publisher in the world of a Church approved 1962 Latin Missal1, Baronius Press has received media attention around the world, including features on Vatican Radio and EWTN. The Baronius 1962 Missal, which is being reprinted at the moment, includes the full text of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum at the front (in Latin and English).

“We felt it was important to include the full text of the Summorum Pontificum in the Missal, as a continuous reminder of the Holy Father’s generous permission, for all the Catholic faithful, to freely participate in the Extraordinary form of the Mass” concludes Dr. Newton.

This publication is published in cooperation with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, A Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right founded with the approval of His Holiness Pope John Paul II in 1988, for the formation and sanctification of priests in the framework of the TRADITIONAL LITURGY of the ROMAN RITE and their pastoral deployment in the service of the Church.

For further information please contact us via our website

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Special Mission

Hey, remember me? The hiatus lasted longer than I had planned. However, I did do some reading while I was away from the blog. While browsing around Border's a few weeks ago I happened to walk into the history section and saw Dan Kurzman's A Special Mission: Hitler's Secret Plot to Seize the Vatican and Kidnap Pope Pius XII.

The book was quite interesting and well written. It tells the story of Hitler's plan to kidnap the pontiff and the men who for various reasons plotted to foil the plan from within the Nazi party. It also gives some insight into the moral dilemma faced by Pope Pius XII. The book does not condemn Pope Pius XII's actions without being overly apologetic either. As a matter of fact the books main focus is on those Nazi officers who would risk their careers, and lives, to prevent Hitler from invading the Vatican for various reasons.

I think it would be a very good book for anyone wanting to know more about this much debated period in Church history.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The hiatus continues

Well for the few of you who still visit this blog you know that I haven't posted in quite a while. I've been taking a break from the blogging world. I had mentioned a while back that I was thinking about starting a series on the different Liturgical Rites of the Church. I am still planning on doing so. In fact, I have gathered quite a bit of information on the Ambrosian Rite.

That being said, I am in the process of moving (just across town) but due to a conflict in the timing of my current apartment lease ending and the lease on the house I am moving into starting I will be crashing on a friends couch for a couple of weeks. I won't have access to my personal computer so the blog will remain on hiatus until after the first of August. After that I hope to return with some interesting stuff to blog about.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Chinese government to destory Marian shrine

China to Dynamite Marian Shrine

"The faithful of the Diocese of Anyang, appealing through AsiaNews, said: "We ask all our brothers and sisters in the Lord to pray for us and spread our message to all the faithful of the world."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

No Road Rage Please

Today the Vatican released a 36-page document titled, Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road. I haven't seen the entire document, but according to Yahoo! the document outlines ten commandment's for drivers.

1. You shall not kill.

2. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.

3. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events.

4. Be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially victims of accidents.

5. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.

6. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so.

7. Support the families of accident victims.

8. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness.

9. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party.

10. Feel responsible toward others.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Latin Mass and baseball

Thanks to St. Louis Catholic by way of Kansas City Catholic for this story from the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch about this weekend's ordination of two priests for the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. Archbishop Burke will celebrate the ordinations using the Traditional Latin Rite. This will be the first time that the TLM has been used for an ordination Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis in 40 years.

Now to the baseball part. Thanks to Kansas City Catholic for pointing out today's Kansas City Star article concerning a pro life fund raising luncheon for Rachel House organized by Kansas City Royals DH Mike Sweeney and his wife. One of the events keynote speakers was Dee Dee Pujols, the wife of Saint Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Rites of the Church

There has been a discussion going on about Catholicism and Orthodoxy on the Catholic Converts blog.

A side discussion about the different rites within the Catholic Church has grown out of that one. This is something that I've found myself interested in. I think it might be what I've been waiting for to give this blog a boost. My intention is to research the various rites and blog about each one. Some of them are obscure however, so finding information may be difficult. If you know of any good resources please pass them on.

Another reason why this interest me is something that happened at Mass this past Sunday. There is a gentleman that attends Mass at my church with what I assume is his wife and children. I had assumed that he must have been from the Eastern tradition by the way he made the Sign of the Cross from right shoulder to left shoulder (I noticed this when he was in front of me a few times). Anyway, this past Sunday I was some what surprised during the entrance procession to see this same gentleman in full vestments. Turns out he is a priest from on of the Eastern Catholic Churches and as concelebrating Sunday's Mass. It was defiantly interesting to here him chant the Gospel reading.

I'm looking forward to learning more about this aspect of the Catholic Faith.

Monday, June 04, 2007

It's been a while and I apologize. I've found myself spending more and more time on the Catholic Converts blog that here lately. I also went out of town for a week to visit my family. I had a great time visiting my family and playing with my nephew but my parent's only have dial-up and posting with a slow connection is some what of a pain.

On the topic of computers. My brother-in-law builds and repairs computers in his spare time and put me one together using parts he had lying around (mostly new ones). I now have a much better computer than before my old one crashed.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mary's Children Rosaries

I want to draw you attention to Mary's Children Rosaries.

If you are in the market for a new and unique rosary, Stephanie may have just what you are looking for. I believe she also takes custom orders. I haven't bought one of Stephanie's rosaries but I did have her repair mine that had broken. So, I am confident to say that she does quality work.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Diocese of Little Rock - seminarians

A poster on the Defenders of the Catholic Faith Forum reports that that Diocese of Little Rock will have 23 seminarians this year. This is great news!

The Diocese of Little Rock has also been without a bishop for a year now. Prayers for a good and faithful bishop for the diocese.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

When God's law isn't good enough . . .

I just saw this article on

Gay bishop plans civil union with partner of 18 years
The article is about Gene Robinson, the openly gay Episcopalian bishop in New Hampshire.

He and his partner are planning to have separate civil and religious ceremonies to enter into a civil union.

"We need to separate the civil rights from the religious rites,"

"Religious people and religious organizations who are not yet ready to offer the church's or the synagogue's blessings on such unions might be supportive of full civil rights for this country's gay and lesbian citizens"
Really? It seems to me that "bishop" Robinson is saying that God's law is no good for our country. Which unfortunately isn't all that uncommon of a opinion. But it seems like "bishop" Robinson has put himself in a bit of a bind here. By suggesting that civil rights and religious rites be separated he seems to acknowledge that gay marriage would be irreconcilable with Christian doctrines but is advocating turning a blind eye to that fact to going ahead with it in the civil arena. But at the same time plans to have a religious ceremony to bless his civil union.

That's not double speak. That is triple, or maybe even quadruple, speak. Is this really a person who should be intrusted with shepherding the faithful, regardless of denomination or creed?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Luukas update

It's been a while since we've had any updates on Luukas. He continues to show signs of improvement. Thanks be to God for the miracle that is Luukas. If you aren't familiar with his story, Luukas lives in Finland and became very ill soon after birth. At one point his doctors did not expect him to live. His story sparked off a wide spread prayer campaign and those prayers have largely been answered as Luukas pulled through the darkest days and his condition improves all the time. Luukas will have many struggles in life but he has already shown himself to be quite the fighter and an inspiration to many. Click on the label at the bottom of this post to learn more about Luukas. And please, remember him and his family in your prayers.

Latest news from Luukas's mom:

Luukas went to see his eye doctor and his neurologist last week. They were both very happy and say that Luukas has progressed, both physically and with vision. Of course his vision is still very little, but better than before. And of course he is still behind with movements and has muscle tense problems, but there has been progress. A thing that worries me, though, is his eye and head movement that looks like epilepsy and takes place many times per day. Especially that with the development of the brain, epilepsy might also progress.

Luukas was at a course for babies with poor or no vision two weeks ago. It lasted for five full days. It was very nice. They have a swimming pool where we can now go with Luukas on Saturdays.

Luukas will get glasses this week, because he is very near sighted. This is the least of his vision problems, but glasses should improve his seeing anyway. He will look sweet in those round blue glasses Very happy childish looking

Catholic Carnival #188

This weeks Catholic Carnival is up.

Check it out.

One Year

Well, Calling Rome Home was a year old yesterday. Of course, my internet service was down so I wasn't able to say anything about it.

Thank you to those of you who read and comment on this blog despite my erratic posting habits.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Global Living Rosary in Kansas City

Here's another reason to hope that I'm still in the Kansas City area next year. In May 2008 the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and the Diocese of Kansas City - St. Joseph (MO) will host a Global Living Rosary at Kauffman Stadium.

Global Living Rosary at Kauufman Stadium

I hope I will be able to attend this event. I'll be very interested in seeing this huge rosary with four foot beads mentioned in the "About the Event" section.

Some good articles from Arkansas Catholic

I like to keep up with what's going on in the Diocese of Little Rock so from time to time I check out the Arkansas Catholic website. I think I may go ahead and take out a subscription since the website doesn't include all of the weekly articles. At any rate, there are three really great articles that I wanted to share.

In, RCIA impact felt in Arkansas and beyond, three converts to the Catholic Faith who are making an impact on thier communities and the world by sharing their Faith are profiled.

A minority, but Crossett Catholics witness to their neighbors shows how a small community of Catholics can band together to share the Faith with thier neighbors. It also highlights our need to pray for priestly vocations. The area focused on in this article has many problems with poverty and declining resources. I went on a mission trip there a couple of years ago. The article mentions St. Mary's in McGehee. On the church grounds is a former Franciscan friary that is now used to house mission groups and is where we stayed. I can witness to the problems the area faces with two priests trying to cover four parishes that are seperated by 45 miles. The priests that were there when I visted, both have been reassigned to other parishes, definately faced thier fair share of challenges.

Finally, It's a 'Christian responsibility' to share the faith, discusses how we can strengthen our own Faith by sharing it with others. I'll quote part of this article to get you interested.

Sharing our faith with others helps each of us as well as the Catholic Church. We trace ourselves back to the early Christian communities, who despite the discrimination and persecutions they experienced, continued to attract converts by their community spirit -- their support and care for each other. We need to revive that spirit. We strengthen our own faith when we share it with others. It is also a means of fellowship with one another. Sharing how we have experienced our faith gives us new ideas to help us continue to grow in our faith but it also creates bonds between us and leads to true caring for each other. How many people in today's world crave the support and care that the Christian community can provide?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

What I said 5 years ago and how I understand it today.

For no particular reason I pulled up my old LiveJournal, don't ask because you won't get the link :-), and started reading through it. Check out the first part of a post from April 19, 2002

I've thought about this quite a bit lately....and it really bothers me how people are all about how you should go to one church and not another....and how they can be so critical about it I think as long as you are going to worship God it shouldn't matter what church it is. baptist, catholic, methodist, non-denominational...whatever C.

This was during my junior year of college and a few months after going to my first Mass and by that time I'd probably been to Mass three times. It was also at a very low point in my life when I was looking for some sort of affirmation anywhere I could find it. Well actually not "anywhere". Even though I was thinking about church and God I really wasn't looking to God. Even though I knew he was calling me somewhere and I gave in and went to church a few times I think I was for the most part trying to hide from Him.
It took another year or more before I reached a real turning point and really asked God for his mercy and guidance. It was at that point that I at first slowly, and finally enthusiastically, set out on the path He had been calling me down all along. That path led me home to the Catholic Church.

I read those words from 5 years ago now and realize that my thoughts were very "me-centered". "As long as it's somewhere that you feel comfortable and you are able to worship and have fellowship with God", how much more self-centered can you get? Even though I used words like worship and fellowship the "you feel comfortable" is obviously the operative phrase. At the time I didn't feel comfortable at the Southern Baptist church I had been to in town but did feel comfortable at the Catholic Church. At the same time I felt pretty comfortable at the Southern Baptist church that I had spent my teenage years in whenever I went home from college. I remember thinking that whenever I moved again I would just have to shop around for a church that I felt comfortable in.

Sometime after this things started happening at my old church back home that made me start to feel uncomfortable with it and over the course of time led to my ultimate disenfranchisement with Protestantism. I guess while I was spending all that time trying to find something that made me feel good, God was slowly guiding me to where he wanted me. Even though I was almost completely focused on myself God used whatever bit of true desire that I had for Him to draw me to Himself.

I think this is a pretty good example of God's grace working in our lives. Even though I was very self-centered and looking out for myself alone, some part of me still had a desire for God. This small part was there because it had to be. God created man for Himself. God implants on the heart of every person a desire for Himself. It is by God's grace that no matter how loud we shout or how far we run we can never completely drown out or get away from this inherent desire for God by which he calls all mankind to Himself.

meeting update

I had my meeting with Fr. Brian this week. As it turns out, another priest in the Archdiocese sent him the original email suggesting that he contact me. Fr. Brian had the impression that someone else had told the other priest about me. At any rate, I have no idea who sent the email. Since they used my email address that I only use for this blog I have to assume it was a reader. I guess God works in mysterious ways. Actually, that was Fr. Brians response after he asked me if I new this other priest and I told him no.

At any rate, Fr. Brian asked me to take the next year to really try to listen to what God is saying. He suggested that I contact on of the sisters at the center about spiritual direction, take part in the center's discernment group, take a class at the center, and really try to beef up my prayer and sacramental life.

Suffer not the children

By boss has gotten involved with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and invited a couple of us from the office to go to a BBBS luncheon today. The luncheons purpose was to both raise money and encourage volunteers. I had thought about getting involved with BBBS in college but didn't really have the time. So today when they passed around pledge cards asking for donations or a indication of a willingness to volunteer I went ahead and marked that I was interested in becoming a Big Brother and for someone to contact me.
So hopefully I'll soon be able to serve God by helping a child.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Catholic Carnival 117

Catholic Carnival 117 is up. There looks to be a lot of interesting posts this week.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Have a good day at work

Feast of St. Joseph the Worker

God our Father, creator and ruler of the universe,
in every age you call man to develop and
use his gifts for the good of others.
With St. Joseph as our example and guide,
help us to do the work you have asked
and come to the rewards you have promised
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Congratulations Seminarian Matthew - FKA Moneybags

Well as the name change would suggest the blogger formerly known as Moneybags at A Catholic Lifeis now a seminarian for his diocese.

Back up to speed . . . almost

The dinosaur computer just wasn't cutting it. It was getting slower by the minute. It took me forever to post over on Catholic Converts today. Since buying a new computer isn't an option right now I decided to risk it all tonight. I determined that the hard drive was the problem with my computer and I really don't want to invest in a new hard drive at the moment. So I took the hard drive out of the dinosaur computer and put it into the newer one. After what has seemed like forever installing drivers I'm back up and running. Obviously I'm still on Windows 98 which does create some issues, but at least I have the benefit of a faster processor and a better graphics card which was also wrecking havic with the dinosaur.
I can do just about anything else that I need to do on my computer at work. But I don't think they would take too kindly to blogging. Being able to keep up with my blogs was the main priority for the home computer so pray that this hard drive holds up.
*update* One big problem I do seem to be having is leaving comments. For some reason I can't get the comment's pages to load. That is quite annoying as I've wanted to leave several comments already tonight.
*update 2* Opening the comments pages seems to work at some times and not at others. So if I don't comment on you blog don't feel slighted. If I do comment on you blog, well then you should feel mighty privileged indeed.

Catholic Carnival 116

Catholic Carnival #116

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Lord Takes It From Me

My yoke is heavy,
The Lord takes it from me.
He gives me his part to bear.

Before time Earthly,
My debt he paid for me,
A new cloak gained me to wear.

Suffering dearly,
His love shown for me,
Heart pierced that mine might hear.

His words come clearly,
Of a new hope for me,
To cast away all my fear.

My yoke is heavy,
The Lord takes it from me,
On a cross for it to bear.

Disclaimer: I'm no poet, cut me some slack. ;-)

A Nice Surprise Today

I went to the 11:00 am Mass today and was pleasantly surprised to find that Archbishop Naumann was there to celebrate Mass. He was the to award certificates of catechist and bless those who has just earned this certification at catechists in the Archdiocese. There were somewhere around 25 students at the St. Lawrence Center plus another 35-40 individuals from around the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas receiving their certificates today.

Being relatively new to the Archdiocese I was glad to get the opportunity to attend a Mass celebrated by the Archbishop. I don't know a whole lot about him but some of the things that I've noticed that he is doing in the Archdiocese seem pretty positive. I thought he gave an excellent homily this morning.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Interesting Email

I received an email (sent to my callingromehome gmail account) tonight from Fr. Brian, Vocations Director for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas (not to be confused with the Diocese of Kansas City - St. Joseph). Fr. Brian lives across the street from the St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center and often celebrates Mass there.
Anyway, in his email Fr. Brian stated that someone had email him and said that I may be discerning my vocation. He offered to meet with me sometime.
This is quite interesting. I have a good idea of who may have sent Fr. Brian the original email, but I'm not completely sure. For clarification, I am in no way offended or upset that someone contacted Fr. Brian on my behalf. I'm somewhat flattered that someone out there would take the time to do so.
I have stated many times that I am convinced that my vocation is not that of the priesthood. However, I often find myself question whether I'm really convinced of that or instead trying to say that I am until it becomes reality.
I must admit that this would seem like one more instance in a line of things that would appear to be nudges in that direction. People have made the suggestion before that I may be destined for the priesthood. I often find myself thinking of what I would say during a homily and have at times found myself experiencing something like a desire to celebrate the Mass (this has especially occurred during the Consecration on a few occasions)
On the other hand, why now? I'm almost 26, just finished 7 years of college, have a decent amount of student loans to pay off, and am well on my way to establishing my career. The thought of it all almost sounds absurd. We're talking years before going to a seminary would be feasible and then probably at least 6 - 8 years of study. Then when I say this it sounds like the most horrible and shallow of arguments.
I am convinced that I am called to serve the Church in some manner. What I'm not convinced of is in what way I am to serve. I'm pretty sure its not in the priesthood, yet I starting to feel that I must resign myself to the possibility that it is. This is all becoming very perplexing.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Computer Problems

Things may get really slow around here. My computer seems to have died. I'm waiting on my computer guru brother-in-law to call me back to see if there is anything that can be done. In the mean time I've pulled a dinosaur of a computer out of the closet. Right now I'm running Windows 98 and boy is it slow! This thing hasn't even been plugged in for almost five years (yeah, I know I'm a pack rat). Just pray that this one doesn't go do too since I can't really afford a new computer at the moment.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Supreme Court upholds Partial Birth Abortion Ban

The Supreme Court has upheld the federal ban on a particular form of partial birth abortion.

Here's one of many articles. This one is from

I found this quote interesting from the minority dissent delivered by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
In a bitter dissent read from the bench, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the only woman on the high court, said the majority's opinion "cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away a right declared again and again by this court, and with increasing comprehension of its centrality to women's lives."
We can only hope that this is a sign of much more "chipping away" at the legality of abortion.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Catholic Carnival 115

Catholic Carnival #115

National Right to Life Convention

Thanks to Kansas City Catholic for the tip.

The 2007 National Rigth to Life Convention is behing held in Kansas City.

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus will be the keynote speaker at the closing banquet.

Book tag

I've been tagged by KaleJ at un-Muted Mumblings in the Book(s) I'm currently reading meme.
So, for want of something better to write about (or for want of the eloquence to write about something better), I have decided to start another blogosphere ‘tag’ and ask fellow bloggers to write about the book, or books they are currently reading.
At the moment I am reading The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis for the second time. I'm currently on The Horse and His Boy.

I started reading Death on a Friday Afternoon: Meditation on the Last Words of Jesus From the Cross by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus during Lent but havent' gotten beyond the first two chapters. I should really pick it back up again soon.

I tag Matt, Mark, and Annabel

Monday, April 16, 2007

Friday, April 13, 2007

Is abstaining from meat only required during Lent?

Yes. And no.

I have talked with people who rightly knew that the obligation to abstain from meat on the Fridays of the year except during the season of Lent and on Good Friday is no longer in effect (at least in the US as I'm not sure about other countries). However, many where surprised to learn that we are still under an obligation to practice some form of self-denial and penance on Fridays during the rest of the year.

The Code of Canon Law states:


Days of Penance

Can. 1249 The divine law binds all the Christian faithful to do penance each in his or her own way. In order for all to be united among themselves by some common observance of penance, however, penitential days are prescribed on which the Christian faithful devote themselves in a special way to prayer, perform works of piety and charity, and deny themselves by fulfilling their own obligations more faithfully and especially by observing fast and abstinence, according to the norm of the following canons.

Can. 1250 The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.

Can. 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Can. 1252 The law of abstinence binds those who have completed their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.

Can. 1253 The conference of bishops can determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence as well as substitute other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety, in whole or in part, for abstinence and fast.

Canon Law gives the bishops conference's the authority to substitute other forms of penance for abstaining from meat on Fridays. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops addressed this in 1966 in its Pastoral Statement on Penance and Abstinence.
24. Among the works of voluntary self-denial and personal penance which we especially commend to our people for the future observance of Friday, even though we hereby terminate the traditional law of abstinence binding under pain of sin, as the sole prescribed means of observing Friday, we give first place to abstinence from flesh meat.

We do so in the hope that the Catholic community will ordinarily continue to abstain from meat by free choice as formerly we did in obedience to Church law. Our expectation is based on the following considerations: a. We shall thus freely and out of love for Christ Crucified show our solidarity with the generations of believers to whom this practice frequently became, especially in times of persecution and of great poverty, no mean evidence of fidelity to Christ and His Church. b. We shall thus also remind ourselves that as Christians, although immersed in the world and sharing its life, we must preserve a saving and necessary difference from the spirit of the world. Our deliberate, personal abstinence from meat, more especially because no longer required by law, will be an outward sign of inward spiritual values that we cherish.

25. Every Catholic Christian understands that the fast and abstinence regulations admit of change, unlike the commandments and precepts of that unchanging divine moral law which the Church must today and always defend as immutable. This said, we emphasize that our people are henceforth free from the obligation traditionally binding under pain of sin in what pertains to Friday abstinence, except as noted above for Lent. We stress this so that "no" scrupulosity will enter into examinations of conscience, confessions, or personal decisions on this point.

26. Perhaps we should warn those who decide to keep the Friday abstinence for reasons of personal piety and special love that they must not pass judgment on those who elect to substitute other penitential observances. Friday, please God, will acquire among us other forms of penitential witness which may become as much a part of the devout way of life in the future as Friday abstinence from meat. In this connection we have foremost in mind the modern need for self-discipline in the use of stimulants and for a renewed emphasis on the virtue of temperance, especially in the use of alcoholic beverages.

27. It would bring great glory to God and good to souls if Fridays found our people doing volunteer work in hospitals, visiting the sick, serving the needs of the aged and the lonely, instructing the young in the Faith, participating as Christians in community affairs, and meeting our obligations to our families, our friends, our neighbors, and our community, including our parishes, with a special zeal born of the desire to add the merit of penance to the other virtues exercised in good works born of living faith.

28. In summary, let it not be said that by this action, implementing the spirit of renewal coming out of the Council, we have abolished Friday, repudiated the holy traditions of our fathers, or diminished the insistence of the Church on the fact of sin and the need for penance. Rather, let it be proved by the spirit in which we enter upon prayer and penance, not excluding fast and abstinence freely chosen, that these present decisions and recommendations of this conference of bishops will herald a new birth of loving faith and more profound penitential conversion, by both of which we become one with Christ, mature sons of God, and servants of God's people.
I mention this because I am guilty of not observing the Friday obligation, even after my ignorance on the matter was relieved. Personally, I've decided to start making the habit of observing the traditional abstinance from meat on Fridays. At any rate we are all still obligated to make some act of penance on all Fridays of the year.

Pope Benedict XVI Birthday

Pope Benedict XVI will be 80 on April 16th.

You can send him a birthday greeting via the Vatican website.

Greetings to our Holy Father Benedict XVI for his 80th birthday - April 16, 2007

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Go and Proclaim, "I have seen the Lord!"

Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me,
for I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and tell them,
‘I am going to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.’”
Mary went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord,”
and then reported what he had told her.
John 8: 17 - 18

Christ's instruction to Mary Magdala is an instruction to us all. While we should cling to Jesus we must not hold him to ourselves. We are to go forth and tell our brothers and sisters, "I have seen the Lord!"

Our every action and every word should shout out, "I have seen the Lord, and He is risen!"

I must admit that I often fail miserably at this. I know that many of my actions and words are far from proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ.

I confess to almighty God,
and to you,
my brothers and sisters,
that I have sinned through my own fault,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done,
and in what I have failed to do;
and I ask blessed Mary,
ever virgin,
all the angels and saints,
and you,
my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.

How gracious our God is to give us the sacraments and the support of our brothers and sisters in prayer. Alone, in our fallen human nature, we would not be able to follow our Lord's instruction. It is by His grace alone, obtained for us through His provisions, that we are able to go forth and tell our brothers, "I have seen the Lord!".

Catholic Carnival 114

Catholic Carnival 114 is up at Profound Gratitude

Monday, April 09, 2007

Thoughts and new old questions

The last few days have been wonderful. This weekend's Easter Vigil marked my first year in the Catholic Church (well, based on the liturgical calendar at least). This year was the also the first time that I had made it to all of the Easter Triduum services. I cannot now remember the reason that I wasn't able to attend the Good Friday service last year.

I was also excited to celebrate in my new parish which I love. At this time last year (and through the summer into August) I was searching for a job. At times it was very frustrating and I would have to remind myself to trust God to open up an opportunity for me and to send me where he wanted me to be. I enjoy my job and believe that God has presented me with a great opportunity. However, I am convinced that a big reason that He sent me to Lawrence, Kansas was the St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center. I'm a staff member at the University and as such this is my parish. It is a wonderful parish were the Faith is alive and vibrant. It gives me great hope for the future of the Church that the students here are exposed to such a great display of the Catholic Faith.

The Easter Triduum liturgies were beautiful. My last parish made heavy use of guitars and contemporary music (not to say that it isn't a great place also. It was there after all that my faith was nurtured). St. Lawrence is much more traditional in it's music selections and has an outstanding organ. The incense was so thick all weekend that you could cut it with a knife. St. Lawrence also uses Latin quite a bit for the Gloria, Sanctus, and Kyrie (okay, Greek on that last one). And I will admit that I had trouble singing the Gloria at the Easter Vigil because I was getting a bit choked up. The same thing happened last year. I think that moment when the Gloria is sung at the Vigil is my favorite moment of the entire year.

During the past few days I have found a renewed joy in my Faith. I haven't been able to get the Gloria out of my head since the Easter Vigil. A couple of other things also happened. Since I was in RCIA I have wrestled with the notion of Communion in the hand vs. on the tongue. We were never given any instruction on this unfortunately and I ended up going along with the crowd and receiving in the hand. Since, then I've always been too nervous to try receiving on the tongue even though I was convinced that it would be the much more reverent option. Right before communion on Holy Thursday I made up my mind to receive the on the tongue. What a difference!!! By Easter Sunday (having a couple of receptions on the tongue under my belt) I noticed that I was much less worried about dropping the consecrated host and much more focused on my Lord whom I was about to receive in the Eucharist. I don't think anything short of an directive from the Pope or Magisterium will cause me to revert back to Communion in the hand.

I've also decided to really try to go to daily Mass. Again, St. Lawrence being the great parish that it is makes this really easy. They offer two every day. So this morning I got up and went to the 8:00 am. What a great way to start my day. I usually am not a Monday person but I think today went much better than usual. So far so good, but I should avoid being boastful as that is the surest way to fall. Right now, I'm going to shoot for making it to Mass every day of the Octave of Easter and hopefully my daily Mass attendance will continue from there.

The Easter Triduum also saw the return of some thoughts about my vocation that I thought, or at least had tried to convince myself, that I had resolved. I found myself questioning again whether or not God could be calling me to the priesthood. I can think of many obstacles to that, which is exactly what I started to do immediately. But then I realized that if that is what God really wanted and if I turned it over to His hands he would resolve those obstacles. However, that being said and I am still pretty sure that the priesthood is not the vocation that God has in store for me. But I do pray for the strength of heart and spirit to say "yes" to whatever he asks me to do.

Along those lines, I think some of this may come from a need to become more involved in the Church. Being a convert and moving 300 miles has left me not knowing very many Catholics, well not practicing ones anyway. I realized that interaction with others in the Church is pretty much limited to the Sign of Peace during Mass, my blogs and those that I read, and the Defenders of the Catholic Faith message board. Not that I don't treasure the friendships I've made on the blogs and message board, but it's not quite the same as having some live face to face interaction with people. So, I think that meeting people has to really be a focus over the coming months. Of course, I am unsure what turn my life will take in the next couple of months. My current job is not the most permanent of positions. I currently have my eyes open for new jobs and in my line of work that almost always involves moving some distance. So as of right now I'm not sure if I will still be in Lawrence or moving somewhere else come the end of June. But, during the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday masses I started to have a strong idea that I should investigate the possibility of joining the choir if I end up staying here. It seems that the choir, like almost everything at the Center is open to students and the "permanent community" (i.e. faculty/staff) alike. I'm not the best singer in the world but I was the the University Choir back at Arkansas for two or three semesters. So basically my thought process went, "maybe I am called to be a priest, no I'm just longing for more involvement in the Church, maybe I should join the choir". Anyway, we'll see where all of this goes.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Gloria in Excelsis Deo

Surrexit Christus hodie, Alleluia

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

New Jersey School Stages Practice Hostage Drill – Portrays Killers as Fundamentalist Christians


On Thursday, March 22, officials at Burlington Township High School enlisted the help of two local policemen to carry out a mock ‘hostage situation’ drill at their school. The drill invoked disapproval from Christian students as the student body was told that the alleged gunmen were “members of a right-wing fundamentalist group called the 'New Crusaders' who don't believe in separation of church and state.”

According to a report in the local paper, The Burlington County Times, the mock gunmen pretended to gun down several students in the hallways before taking 10 students hostage in the school’s media center. Given that the drill was intended to test the disaster response of students, faculty and local emergency personnel, county officers were dispatched during the drill to realistically execute an emergency evacuation of the building.

The drill organizers explained that the supposedly Christian gunmen “went to the school seeking justice because the daughter of one had been expelled for praying before class.”

Continue Reading
It is a practice in Christian charity to not use the words that I want to use over this as they are not appropriate to this blog (or at any other time really).

Later in the article Bob Pawson, National Coordinator of the Scriptures in School Project, points out a flashing sign of bigotry explaining that, "It is perfectly legal for any student or staff member to pray in a public school. They know that no student can ever be expelled for praying before class. Hence, the contrived reason for the mock attack is bogus".

This is nothing more than a liberal left-wing attempt to slander the Christian right. It is scandelous and an outrage.

Catholic Carnival #113

This weeks Catholic Carnival is up. Check it out!

Holy Week Catholic Carnival

Monday, March 26, 2007

Its been a rough Lent

As my few readers can tell, I had taken to the blog with a new vengeance for a few weeks and then I've slacked off a lot. Part of that has been the attention that I've been focusing on my other blog, Catholic Converts as that little project really took off after the first of the year.

But mostly, the last few weeks have been a spiritual roller coaster. I think I've been to confession three times so far during Lent and need to go again (hopefully tomorrow). It's all very frustrating.

I bought Death on a Friday Afternoon by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus to read during Lent. I didn't start reading it until after the 3rd week of Lent, read the first two chapters, and haven't opened it in a week.

And twice in the last week, once about five minutes ago, the thought has entered my mind to completely abandon both of my blogs and just slip back into total anonymity.

As I mentioned in a post an my other blog, when I was in RCIA our director told us right before our first confessions to paint broad strokes without going into too much detail since we would be at a communal penance service and they didn't want things to move too slowly. This was welcome news to my ears since it meant I could be pretty general and avoid detailing some particularly embarrassing things from my past. I've been thinking a lot about this the past couple of weeks and have come to the conclusion that I need to really hammer it all out in the confessional.

I wondering if I haven't been able to say out of the confessional for any length of time during this Lenten season because I need/want to get this taken care of. Is it possible that after each time I go to confession and don't bring this up that on some subconscious level I seek an immediate need to go to confession?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Through the eyes of Christ

Last summer a friend and I went to St. Louis, Missouri for a Cardinals baseball game. The game was on a Saturday afternoon. We drove to St. Louis on Friday night and got up Saturday morning and went to Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. After Mass we hung around and had a look at the Cathedral Basilica. We then left to go check out the Basilica of St. Louis, King of France, also known in St. Louis as the Old Cathedral. On our way we passed by St. Francis Xavier Church near the campus of St. Louis University. We decided to stop and see if it was open. We went in and the nave was mostly dark. There were only a few lights in the sanctuary. I'm not good at using my camera in low light situations but decided to take a photo from the back of the church anyway. We where reading some of the information in the front of the church when a man, whom I hadn't seen before, came out of the nave and started talking to us. I can't remember the details exactly but I believe his story involved a sick child and he asked us if we had any money that we could give him. We each gave him a few dollars from the little cash we were caring and went on our way.

I thought that if he was just waiting around for a chance to bum money from unsuspecting strangers that a dark church would be a weird place to hang out. In any case I offered up a short prayer for this man.

Later, when I downloaded my pictures to my computer I was somewhat surprised by what I saw in this photo. There he is, head bowed seemingly in prayer, sitting in the back pew of a dark church with only the altar illuminated. The light in the rest of the church and the fuzziness is caused by the night/low light setting on my camera.

I just ran across this photo again. I'm somewhat glad that it turned out blurry. I think it's a good reminder that our view of the world is often distorted and we must strive to view all things though the eyes of Christ.

For more pictures from my trip to St. Louis click here

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Monday, March 19, 2007


It seems like everyone is getting in on (PRODUCT) RED. Basically the idea is that companies produce special red products (cell phones, ipods, credit cards, shoes, etc), consumers by these red products, and the companies give a portion of the proceeds to The Global Fund: To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

AIDS/HIV, Tuberculosis, and Malaria are serious problems. By virtue of Our Lord's commandment to "love your neighbor as yourself" we should be concerned with the plight of people suffering from these diseases and should seek ways to help.

However, I've been wary of this whole thing since the media campaign has started. It seems like I don't watch TV without seeing a commercial for some red cell phone or other gadget encouraging me to buy one to support the fight against AIDS/HIV. Every time I see one of these ads I wonder about whether these funds are being used to purchase and distribute condoms.

So tonight I did some digging.

On the Global Fund web page I went to the Funded Programs section and did a search for "condom". Here's some of what I found.

Grant in Detail: Sudan
Total Funding Request: $20,682,531.00
Total Funds Disbursed: $7,521,371.00

Main Activities:
4. Train trainers, service providers and community extentionsts in IEC and condom distribution practice

Objective 2
To increase accessibility to HIV/AIDS/STIs quality services ( e. g. safe blood transfusion, VCT, condom distribution and STIs management )

Global Fund Suspends Grants in Uganda
In the interim period, the Global Fund will work with the Principal Recipient to identify the elements of funded programs involving life-saving treatment to ensure that funding continues to reach those activities. All necessary measures will be taken to ensure that life-saving treatment as well as prevention activities such as condom procurement and distribution financed by the Global Fund will not be disrupted during this period. A team from the Global Fund is ready to travel to Uganda to assist the Principal Recipient in this task.

Obviously we can all help immediately through our prayers. But, what about those of us who find ourselves in a moral dilemma due to the fact that purchasing (PRODUCT) RED products will provide funding for the promotion of condom usage. We can't condone one evil (artificial birth control) to fight another evil (AIDS/HIV).

Does anyone know of any good charities that use their funds to promote abstinence/chastity instead of condoms as a means to control AIDS/STD? I'm honestly not in a position to do much financially at the moment (college debt on a first job out of college, entry level position salary is not fun!) to do much but I hope that I can contribute once my employment (and income) situation improves. For now, I guess prayers are in order that the tide will turn in the fight against AIDS/HIV and other STDs in that more people will see the virtue of abstinence and chastity.

The Seven Last Words of Christ Part 2

This is the second part of a series on the Seven Last Words of Christ as I read Father Richard John Neuhaus’ Death on a Friday Afternoon: Meditation on the Last Words of Jesus From the Cross.

“Truly, I say to you, today you will
be with me in paradise.”

In Matthew 19: 30 Our Lord tells us, “And many that are first, shall be last: and the last shall be first.” Christ continues in the telling of householder who hired laborers for his vineyard. Some began work in the morning, others at the third hour, and still more at the eleventh hour. At the end of the day the last to begin work were paid first and all received the same wage. The first to begin work grumbled that the last received the same wage. The master of the house said to them, “Take what is thine, and go thy way: I will also give to this last even as to thee. Or, is it not lawful for me to do what I will? is thy eye evil, because I am good?”

The Biblical account of Jesus crucifixion tells us that he was crucified between two robbers. One of the condemned railed against him saying, “If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.” The other rebuked the first, “Neither dost thou fear God, seeing thou art condemned under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done no evil.” Turing to our Savior, and his, he said, “Lord, remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom.” Here we have the second of the seven last words, “Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23)

Here we see the last of humanity, a thief, be the first to receive the salvation made available by the Christ crucified. Just has he had done throughout his public ministry; Christ continued to preach even as he faced death on the Cross. He shows us what is meant by the “first shall be last: and the last shall be first.” We must be diligent to not set ourselves first in self righteous assurance of our salvation while condemning others, for the thief, condemned by all, was the first to taste salvation.

In the Sermon on the Mount Christ warns us, “judge not, that you may not be judged” (Matthew 7: 1). We commonly recognize this as a clear instruction to refrain from passing judgment on others. What of ourselves? Should we not also refrain from judging the state of our own salvation? To judge our own salvation secure is to become comfortable or worse, boastful. St. Paul instructs us, “with fear and trembling work out your salvation” (Phillipian 2: 12).

Rather that judge our own salvation to be secure we should live in the hope of salvation. Father Neuhaus quotes St. Thomas Aquinas as saying, “one has to believe of what one hopes that it can be attained, this is what hope adds to mere desire. Man can, namely, also have desire for things that he does not believe he can attain, but hope cannot exist in these circumstances.”

Our hope for salvation is grounded in our belief, that is, our faith that it may be attained. Furthermore, our faith leads us to hope that all will be saved. In his letter to Timothy, Paul tells us, “I desire therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men: For kings, and for all that are in high station: that we may lead a quiet and a peaceable life in all piety and chastity. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2: 1 - 4).

From the Cross our Lord shows us that our belief is not unfounded and therefore our hope justified. He shows us that through his Grace and awesome power, in accordance with His will, even the last of human kind can be saved from the very jaws of death. In fear and trembling we must hope for our salvation and the salvation of all.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Ministry of Reconciliation

KaleJ over at un-Muted Mumblings makes a good point on today's Epistle readings in his post Ministry of Reconciliation

The Seven Last Words of Christ

I am a little behind on my Lenten reading. That being said, I am reading Fr. Richard John Neuhaus', Death on a Friday Afternoon: Meditations on the Last Words of Jesus From the Cross. As we approach Good Friday, I will attempt to offer my own reflections on Fr. Neuhaus writings as I progress through the book.

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

In Eucharistic Prayer III we pray, “Look with favor on your Church’s offering, and see the Victim whose death has reconciled us to yourself.” Here we proclaim the mystery of our atonement, granted to us through the death of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

In Death on a Friday Afternoon, Father Neuhaus outlines four truths of atonement.

  1. Something has gone terribly wrong.
  2. We are responsible.
  3. Something must be done.
  4. We can do nothing.

In partaking of the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve sought the power to determine right from wrong, good from evil. Rather than let them be stored up the prodigal son desired his treasures immediately. In declaring itself blameless, the world condemned God to die on a cross. Yet, they knew not what they were doing.

We, in the here and now, were present in the there and then. It was we who sought and still seek knowledge to judge, treasure, and excuse. We know not what we do, for it is outside the realm of our human understanding to contemplate the fullness of God. To know the full agony of sin would be too much to bear. Yet, we are responsible.

God, who is Justice, demands that reparations be made for that which has gone wrong. The world is disordered and must be made right. Shall we do it? We, in not knowing what we do, are not even able to recognize the depth of our own fault. How are we to right the entire world?

If we can do nothing to right that which we have wronged, then who can? Our answer is found in the person of Jesus Christ, crucified on a cross and raised in glory. Christ, who was not sin, became sin so that he could take our place in justice. In obtaining for us our atonement, Christ did what we could not do in our ignorance. In fact, crucial to our salvation is our ignorance. If we had known that this man, Jesus Christ, was the Son of the Living God would the words, “Crucify Him”, have dared been uttered from our lips. Would we have dreamed to seek our excuse by laying the blame on he that is blameless?

God is not bound by our judgment. Yet he submitted himself to it so that he might forgive us for that which we do and do not know. In his death Christ reveals to us that to which we are blind. It is at the foot of the Cross that the world is rightly ordered and we are able to see.

Continue Reading: Part 2

Parable of the Prodigal Son and Confession

In today's readings we have the Parable of the Prodigal Son, Luke 15: 11 - 32. I thought Fr. Steven related this parable to our need for the Sacrament of Reconciliation quite well. Here is a brief look at what he said with some expansion of my own.

He pointed out that a lot of people object to going to confession saying, "I don't need to go to a priest for forgiveness." However, Fr. Steven points out that the prodigal son could have easily said to himself, "I am sorry for my sins and I know that my father will forgive me" and left it at that. But, the son knew that he needed to HEAR his father's words of forgiveness. So he returned to his father's house to confess his sins and seek forgiveness.

The son plans to say three things, 1. I have sinned, 2. I am no longer worthy to be called your son, and 3. treat me as you would one of your hired servants. However, the father does not allow the son to say this third thing. Rather the father says, "this my son was dead, and is come to life again: was lost, and is found."

In the Sacrament of Reconciliation when we humbly admit our sins and lamment that we are not worthy to be called sons of God. However, we are given by the grace of God the assurance and joy that God runs to meet us and greet us as His sons. Though unworthy of it, He will not deny us His love and kinship.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In preachings of the apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me;
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's hosts to save me
From snares of the devil,
From temptations of vices,
From every one who desires me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and evil,
Against every cruel merciless power that opposes my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.
Christ shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that reward may come to me in abundance.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation

St. Patrick (ca. 377)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Sacramentum Caritatis

Well it seems that most of the Catholic blogging world had read the Exhortation within hours of it's release. I've been much slower. I have read the first two parts. Here are some of the things I've found interesting thus far.
Paragraph 14: The Fathers of the Church often meditated on the relationship between Eve's coming forth from the side of Adam as he slept adn teh coming forth of the new Eve, the Church, from the open side of Christ sleeping in death: from Christ's pierced side, John recounts, there came forth blood and water, the symbol of the sacraments.
This is something that I hadn't really thought much about. This is such an obvious connection, I don't know why I hadn't ran across this before. I've highlighted this section with the intent to track down some of the referrenced writings and read more about this subjetc.
Paragraph 33: From the Annunciation to the Cross, Mary is the one who received the Word, made flesh within her adn then silences in death. It is she, lastly, who took into her arms the lifeless body of the one who truly loved his won "to the end".

Consequently, every time we approach the Body and Blood o f Christ in the eucharistic liturgy, we also turn to her who, by her complete fidelity, received Christ's sacrifice for the whole Church.
I find this to be a very interesting thought as well. The Virgin Mary is our example of a complete Christian life from her yes to being the vessel that would bring Christ into the world to her arms waiting to receive his body from the cross. I think this section of the Exhortation is definatly something to prayerfully contemplate and educate ourselves on. Being not to long ago that I was a non-Catholic with very little to no understanding of the Church's relationship with the Virgin Mary, I can see how I would have been taken aback and very put off by this statement. I think it is important for us to fully understand, and be able to explain to those who don't, that we look to the Virgin Mary as one who at every turn of her life shows us how we ought to receive Christ.
Paragraph 42: Generic improvision or the introduction of musical genres which fail to respect the meaning of the liturgy whould be avoided. . .Finally, while respecting various styles and different adn highly praisworthy traditions, I desire, in accordance with the requests advanced by the Synod Fathers, that Gregorian chant be suitably esteemed and employed as the chant proper to the Roman liturgy.
I am happy about this section on liturgical music. When I first started seriously attending Mass I went to a parish that used a lot of contemporary music with guitars, drums, etc. At first I found this very pleasing. However, over the past year or so my views on liturgical music have changed quite a bit. My current parish uses much more traditional music with organ accompaniment and I find it much more conducive to worship.
Paragraph 49: It should be kept in mind that nothing is lost when the sign of peace is marked by a sobriety which preserves the proper spirit of the celebration, as, for example, when it is restricted to one's immediate neighbors.
Simply outstanding that this is clearly stated. I find it very disruptive when people are wandering all over the church during the sign of peace. Even more so when the priest leaves the sanctuary to shake hands with half the congregation!
Paragraph 53: It is helpful to recall that active participation is not per se equivalent to the exercise of a specific ministry. The active participation of the laity does not benefit from the confusion arising from the inability to distinguish, within the Church's communion, the different functions proper to each one.
This is a very important matter and I am glad that it is included. After the recent directive from Rome that the laity not be allowed to purify the sacred vessels after communion there were some who were quite offended. I was in a brief exchange with another blogger who was upset at the loss of her "right" to full and active participation in the from of purifying the sacred vessels. She seems to have started ignoring me and a couple others who didn't agree with her. I fear that is has become all to commen for things like purifying the sacred vessels and serving as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion have become symbols of status and power within the parish. I'm glad to see the Holy Father taking a strong hand in this area.
Paragraph 62: [In speaking on Masses held with an international mix of worshipers] . . . with the exception of the readings, the homily and the prayer of the faithful, such liturgies could be celebrated in Latin. Similarily, the better-known prayers of the Church's tradition shoudl be recited in Latin and, if possible, selections of Gregorian chant should be sun. Speaking more generally, I ask that future priests, from their time in the seminary, receive the preparation needed to understand and to celebrate Mass in Latin, and also to use Latin texts adn execute Gregorian chant; nor should we forget that the faithful can be taught to recite the more common prayers in Latin, and aslo to sing parts of the Liturgy to Gregorian chant.
This section is quite interesting. Father Z at What Does the Prayer Really Say?, whose blog is down at the moment, has pointed out a conflict in the translation in this passage. Where the English says, "could be celebrated in Latin" the Latin and all other venacular translations use words more accurately translated as "should". Is this a simple error or a diliberate alteration, I'm not sure since I'm not a translation expert. Some have commented that this could be the crack in the door for Latin to continue to be discouraged or even forbidden in many US dioceses. However, I feel that the next couple of lines are meant to be much broader in scope, refering to more than just celebrations with international worshipers. It is clearly stated that common prayers of the Church should be recited in Latin. The Holy Father give a strong indication that he desires that seminarians be adequately trained in Latin. Could this be a hint at the coming of the rumored document from Pope Benedict granting wider usage of the Latin Mass?

These are just a few of the things that I have thoughts on so far. I'm close to halfway though the document and must say that it has been quite educational, uplifting and enjoyable so far. I will share more thoughts after I finish reading it. As I mentioned there are also some things that the document has brought to my attention that I need to explore deeper.