Saturday, September 30, 2006

Cardinal Arinze in Detroit!!!

I attended the Breakfast with Cardinal Arinze at the Andiamo Ristorante in Warren, Michigan this morning. The Cardinal was in rare form, with the usual sharpness and wit on the liturgy. There are definitely some quotable quotes. I had just gotten my camera out and turned it on, never realizing the Cardinal would walk right past my table. I got the pick off just before someone cut in front of the camera.

The event was MC'd by Teresa Tomeo of Catholic Connection - the morning show now carried by EWTN Radio. I wouldn't be suprised to see them rebroadcasting it, perhaps on the Henry Root show, which airs Sundays at 3:00.

There were many guests at the table with Cardinal Arinze, including the few seen here (from left to right) Father Tad Pacholczyk, Director of Education at the NCBC who was the second speaker, Adam Cardinal Maida of Detroit, Teresa Tomeo at the podium, Francis Cardinal Arinze of the Congregation for Divine Worship (CDW), and, on the far right, Bishop Robert J. Carlson of Saginaw.

For those who did not have a paper and pen to write down his website, the home page for Fr. Tad, it is:

If you ever lose it, you can find it in my sidebar under the Chastity, Purity, Morality, & Life section.

I'll add more posts on this after I've had a chance to go through my pics.

Check back with my home page in the coming days for additional photo posts of this event, with comments, and hopefully a few of those quotes.

Deo Gratias!

Opus Angelorum: Why Pray to Our Lady?

I have had much benefit from the spiritual material on the Opus Angelorum website and I'm not sure how many Grotto-goers, and others know of this rich resource. I'm going to begin leading you to some of these wonderful "circulars" they have on their website.

There are circulars for lay people, circulars for youth, and circulars for priests. What has surprised me is the richness of the youth circulars, which are truly applicable to adults, as well.

In the last 40 years, as traditional devotions were downplayed or ignored in many corners of the Church, the notion of praying to the Blessed Mother has become as foreign to many Catholics, as it is for many Protestants. Hopefully, this article can give us all reason to let her be our mother, as Christ intended on the Cross (John 19:17).

Why Pray to Our Lady?

God's Family

The most basic group or society of all is the family. The family is made up of father, mother and children. Family life, at its best, includes the presence of both parents. Something is lacking if either Mom or Dad is not present in a truly loving manner.

Now the Church can be described as a family. St. Paul never tires of calling the early Christians "brothers". The frequency with which he uses this term expresses the family spirit that ought to penetrate the life of the Church. Here we will quote but a few instances: "I do appeal to you, brothers, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, to make up the differences between you, and instead of disagreeing among yourselves, to be united again in your belief and practice" (I Cor 1,10). In another place this Apostle speaks of "our sister Phoebe, a deaconess of the Church at Cenchreae" (Rom 16,1), and later sends "greetings to Asyncritus, Phlegon,... and all the brothers who are with them" (Rm 16,14). It is very clear that the life of the Church is a family life and that God is the Father of this family. St. Paul starts all thirteen of his letters by mentioning God the Father and nearly always refers to Him as "God our Father". Here it will suffice to show how he greets the Christians of Rome: "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom 1,7).

God is our Father, we are the members of His family. It is for this reason that Our Lord taught us to pray "Our Father, who art in heaven". It is precisely because we have one Father that we are one family of brothers and sisters. We should now ask ourselves: is it possible that God has left this family without Mother? St. Paul tells us that we are "members of the household of God" (Eph 2,19). Is it reasonable to think of a household without a mother? Did Jesus leave us without a mother and still desire that we live as a family?

As He was dying on the Cross He bequeathed to us a gift beyond all proportions. He looked at His beloved disciple and said: "Behold, your mother" (Jn 19,17). To whom was Jesus speaking? Clearly, He first meant to address St. John. But what about yourself and myself, are we not disciples of Jesus, are we not also His beloved disciples? Without any doubt these words were meant for all followers of Christ. Mary is therefore the Mother of Christians.

This is also evident from the Book of Revelation when it speaks of the dragon being enraged with the woman and going off to "make war on the rest of her children, that is, all who obey God's commandments and bear witness for Jesus" (Rev 12,17). All those who bear witness to Christ are children of the woman, of Our Blessed Lady.

Continue reading Why Pray to Our Lady?

Friday, September 29, 2006

Feast of the Archangels: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael

Today is the feast of the Archangels: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.

Catholic Online has a section devoted to the angels, with scriptural references of these named angels.

And, of course - always a fine set of references within Opus Angelorum's website.

Blogging Priest gives advice to Blogging Seminarians - Be Careful!

Fr. Martin Fox gives some excellent advice to seminarians about blogging: Be careful! In some dioceses, this may apply to newly ordained priests, as well.

Advice to seminarians

I've noticed, along with the explosion of blogs of every sort, a number by seminarians discerning the priesthood. I've visited some of them, have some linked at your right, and seen posts from them, linked at other Catholic blogs.

Many of those seminarians visit here, and I'm delighted to have you.

But may I offer you gentlemen some advice?

Be careful about blogging!

This may seem obvious, however -- what you blog is visible to the world, including anyone in your diocese . . . including anyone who may have an agenda in your diocese . . .

I've seen blogging seminarians who boast how orthodox they are; who make it very clear they are traditional and conservative. I just visited a blog where the young man talked about heresy in one of the parishes he was involved with.

Be careful, gentlemen! You're asking for trouble...

Now, some might protest: "Shouldn't I speak up?"
Continue reading Fr. Martin Fox...

You can always read more blog entries from Fr. Martin Fox by clicking on his home page in my side bar, under the Blogging Priests section.

As I said in Father's "combox" the goal is to get ordained. Like a soldier in the bush behind enemy lines you musn't swat at the flies biting you lest you give up your position.

I'll add that while it takes courage to stand up to some of the things you can run across as a seminarian, it takes tremendous self-discipline, prudence and strength to lay low. God will grace you with these things as He is fully aware of all that is going on. A soldier who charges out of the fox hole too early can get himself killed and that renders him unavailable for the bigger mission.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Fr. Guy Sylvester on Catholic Blogging

Some of the other Catholic bloggers are much better at keeping up with the latest news stories. Since I don't have the time or inclination to report and comment on every current event, especially the most reported and discussed, I refer you American Papist and Domenico Bettinelli Jr, among others you may find in my sidebar.

Other interesting commentators you may find include Fr. Guy Sylvester, whose profile reads as follows:

A Roman Catholic priest involved in the research, design and artwork for ecclesiastical coats of arms for over two decades. Interested in all kinds of heraldry, his area of expertise is Roman Catholic heraldry. He is a Fellow of the American College of Heraldry and on the Committee on Heraldry of the NY Genealogical & Biographical Society. He is also a member of several other heraldic societies and organizations. In addition, he has worked for over 15 years in the field of liturgical study and formation.

In particular, there is a post all of us Catholic bloggers should read. I'll start you out here....

You know there's a lot out there in the blogosphere. More interestingly, there is an awful lot out there about the Church. Some blogs are more philosophical and others focus on matters theological. But all have that same quality in common that is true for any blog: that the opinions of the blogger count more than anyone else's. That is, after all, one of the fun things about having a blog. You get to share your thoughts, however deep or shallow with everyone in the world. If people are going to take the time to read then they must care somewhat about what you have to say. But, bloggers also need to beware. Lots of people like trolling the blogosphere for fun. It is a form of entertainment. They don't take it too seriously and neither should the blogger him/herself. The whole point of blogs is that they are for anyone, not just the experts. Having a blog doesn't suddenly lend more credence to your thoughts and ideas. In fact, from one perspective, given the proliferance of blogs in recent years it may even detract from your credibility.

Continue reading Guy Sylvester....

His blog is entitled Shouts in the Piazza

Integrity and Uprightness in Catholic Blogging

We could really use priests to discuss - generically and without finger pointing - some of the things they see in Catholic blogging circles which fly in the face of Christian charity, the CCC, and the ten commandments. We are a poorly catechized generation, and sometimes it is not easy to identify with the old definitions of certain sins, as they apply to our electronic world. I hope I can encourage any priests reading this blog to take up this cause to raise the bar in the "cyber parish" by making some posts periodically to address this issue.

If we are to imitate Christ, there are certain words and actions, including judgments cast publicly on others in what may possibly constitute at the least detraction, and at the worst calumny. In an era of gossip TV, gossip magazines, and gossip cloaked as "news", we need to understand how these two sins may look today in Catholic blogging without singling anyone out. Any one of us may have engaged in these things without even realizing it.

God created those humans who adhere to Church teaching and the Commandments, as well as those who astrange themselves from either or both. He created those who were born into other faiths and religions. All humans have a right to dignity - even the worst offenders.

In this Catholic blogger's opinion, it is fine to attack a person's position, with charity and for the sake of truth - in fact, we are sometimes obligated to do so when we see errors, or injustice. However, it is never ok to attack an individual through name calling and other unchristian behaviors as I've seen on a few well traveled blogs. Many Catholic bloggers are careful to not cross that line, while others seem oblivious to the line. I can only pray that we all stop and reflect about what we write when it concerns others and to be mindful, that in all things there must be charity.

Some interpret the actions of anyone who disagrees with their opinions, regardless of how charitable or skillful a debate is argued, as uncharitable. Then again, it is not much different than those who get up and leave because a priest decides to give a real homily instead of one that is full of banalities. Truth sometimes hurts.

A Testimonial and a Lesson Learned

Over a year ago, I had been participating in a forum with other Catholics when I berated a particular bishop, publicly, using scandalous information about him that I had found on the internet that I assumed to be true. A young man "hit me over the head" in less than charitable fashion, and my defenses went up. We argued back and forth for about a week as he persistently threw the Catechism in my face with regards to detraction and calumny. I got so angry at him and wanted to be right. I took a one month break and began to study the CCC and what he kept throwing at me - admittedly, setting out to prove him wrong, only to find he was right. Furthermore, I discovered that the information I passed along was FALSE. I had engaged in detraction when I spread this information about that bishop. That is, I assumed as true, the moral fault of another - the particular bishop - without sufficient cause (second hand, subjective information - or, gossip), and I conveyed that same information to others. With detraction, it does not matter if the information is true or untrue. Calumny is passing along a known falsehood. It is grave matter,nonetheless (corrections to these distinctions are welcome).

Example: If you learn the neighbor on your left is sleeping with an associate at work, you do not have a right to pass that information on to the neighbor on your right. Approaching the offender would be proper, and possibly that person's spouse, but not some third party who has no stake in the matter. That would be detraction: Telling a true moral fault of someone to another person. But detraction does not need to involve true moral fault. Just passing along something you believe to be true, even if it may be false, in such a manner can also be detraction. It's one thing to report a crime to the police, or for a child to tell a parent about another who is doing something that could endanger himself or others.

As much as that man angered me with his uncharitable approach, I finally reconciled with the notion that my anger was the result of my own imperfections and faults. Perhaps his uncharitable approach was less about bad intent on his part (giving him the benefit of the doubt as we should), than it was about lack of communication skill (read that, he did the best he could given his level of communication skill). The question for me then became, what to do about the anger? It became clear that I was not justified in my anger, especially after discovering he was the one who was correct. There was only one thing left - confession. This then led to one grace that came in useful, while not required - the courage to apologize to the man, and to tell him he was right and I was wrong. He turned me on to the CCC by challenging my actions. I thanked him through a personal email and he responded with much kindness.

We never know how God may speak to us. Hopefully, he will speak to some of us through other bloggers who encourage us to remain Catholic in our words and actions on the internet. Otherwise we become nothing more than pharisees with keyboards.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Blogging Cardinal - Seán O'Malley

Taken right from the new blog of Cardinal Seán O'Malley - just a couple photos from his current trip to Rome.

I'll be adding his blog to my list of "Blogging Priests" and to my blogroll. He's using it now to share his travel experience, but hopefully, he'll continue to blog at least once weekly when he's back.

Ad Orientem! These photos were taken from this post, where the Cardinal celebrated Mass at St. Philip's. Each of the photos are explained. The body of St. Philip is entombed in a crystal casket beneath the altar he is using!

Here is the Cardinal's home page for the blog

Go visit!

Monday, September 25, 2006

October 1, 2006 - Life Chain outside of Assumption Grotto

It's that time of year again for the annual Life Chain. One of metro Detroit locations is right in front of Assumption Grotto. From the Grotto website:

Mark your calendars to join the Right-to-Life Life Chain, Sunday, October 1st, from 2:00-3:30 p.m. out in front of the church to show your support for Pro-Life. Signs will be provided.

Last year, many of the Grotto people were out in front of the Sterling Inn, where the Call to Holiness conference had just ended, so there were not as many people in Detroit. This year, we should all be together.

If you come to the noon Mass, weather permitting, there may be a procession to the outdoor Grotto where benediction will take place around 1:00, otherwise it will be in the parish church. Following that, as you wait, walk over to the school gym and grab a bite to eat with fresh barbequed hot dogs, hamburgers and sausages.

If you can't make it to Assumption Grotto, use the website to find a location near you. It is divided by state in the left sidebar.

I just want to use this as another opportunity to remind you about using, as well. By searching and advertising on this search tool, money is generated and donated to prolife organizations.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Easter Season 2006: Accumulative Photo Post

I need to make some accumulative photo posts to cover previous events where I did not group the photos. This enables me to put it in my sidebar as a single post.

To view stunning photographs of events at Assumption Grotto from Holy Thursday through Divine Mercy Sunday, follow the links below accordingly.

Fr. Perrone plugs Worldwide Fatima Sanctity of Life Day - October 8!

I previously posted on the Worldwide Fatima Sanctity of Life Day, and Assumption Grotto's pastor discusses it in this weekend's bulletin. Father Perrone will be in Italy with Bob and Penny Lord, serving as Spiritual Director for their October 2-17 pilgrimage, and I know he will lead all of them in devotions that day. They requested his presence on this trip after visiting Assumption Grotto last October following the annual Call to Holiness conference.

I have asked our priests on Sunday, October 8, following the Masses, to recite the rosary with you as our part in a worldwide current of prayer For the Sanctity of Human Life. The initiative for this comes from the World Apostolate of Fatima which hopes to send “a billion prayers to heaven” that day. In Fatima, Portugal, itself there will be a congress the preceding day on the theme, “Mary, to you we entrust the cause of life.” Other cooperating agencies in this are Human Life International, Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, and the Pontifical Council for the Family. Big guns. I don’t suppose, however, that many parishes in the Detroit Archdiocese will be joining in: there’s been no publicity about it. But since both I, and now you, know about it, we ought to do some hard praying for this intention.

This is all very timely. October is the month of the Holy Rosary and the 7th of October is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Moreover, the judicial climate in our country now appears to be evermore pro-life-friendly and we may soon begin to see some changes in the unrestricted abortion laws that have stifled many of our pro-life efforts. Action from the Supreme Court would have far-reaching social and political repercussions not only here but throughout the world. Admit it or not, the USA exerts considerable influence in moral leadership–for good or ill–all over the globe through its economic and political power. There would be a lot of adjustments taking place if abortions were restricted in our country.

Of particular relevance for us would be the eventual overturning of the Roe vs. Wade decision which has been the source of untold evils that have crippled our country (and the world). One wonders whether many of our social and now political problems are a result of our involvement in the voluntary killing of human life in the womb. Can it be that the wars that are consuming so much of the world at this time are a consequence of sins against human life? As I mentioned in my Assumption day homily, a central teaching from Fatima is that war is a punishment for sin: a most unpopular and unwelcome doctrine. We have all become used to the cozy deceits of a preaching that tells us that sin has no consequences: God doesn’t punish; He’s merciful only; all people are basically good; and in the end, everybody goes to heaven. Attractive to our tendency both to deceive ourselves and to our sinful inclinations. But is it truth? Ah! that’s another matter. From the sources we have which reveal God’s mind–the bible, tradition and the magisterium of the Church–we get a different understanding of how things are. God hates sin and will, in His mercy, punish the sinner in this life in a variety of ways in order to correct him. Failing to heed these measures, man who dies unrepentant will be punished in the next life: in hell for sins of a grave nature. This is the teaching of a religion that has prevailed from the beginning until the modern era when false prophets have been preaching a new gospel of what we would rather hear. Our Lord and the Apostles warned about wolves that would attack the sheep and about false teachers who would deceive many.

And so we have recourse to prayer for the Church, for the world, for conversion of hearts and for peace. The rosary is the form of popular form of prayer par excellence for these purposes. To add to our motivation for prayer is the latest Islamic uprising against the Pope for something that he didn’t say: never mind that his words and intention were completely mistaken. We need to pray for the safety of the Pope and indeed of Catholics throughout the world. Here again, Our Lady of the Rosary is our greatest ally and source of strength. Let’s not neglect the daily rosary.

New Traditional Dominican Order Bursting at the Seams

I'll be adding this post to my Vocations section in the sidebar, along with the recent post about Assumption Grotto Vocations of 2006.

I want to focus, once again, on the new Domincan order which started about 9-10 years
ago in the Ann Arbor area of Michigan. I call it traditional, because these sisters wear traditional habits and their work is reminiscent of that done traditionally by sisters over the centuries. The youthfulness of this order is visible, as is their joy and enthusiasm whenever they are found at local events. Follow this post through to the bottom and you will see where they are spreading their wings. Is your town next?

Clicking the other pics will yield a larger photo. All of these pictures are taken from the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist website.

As of August 29, 2006 the order has 15 new Postulants....

And, 19 Novices...

There are 30 temporarily professed sisters listed. You can read about each Novice and temp-professed sister, and see from where they come in search of such a religious life on the vocations page. As of August 28, the order reported a community of 70 - a real boom for one that is only 9 years old.

--->History of The Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist


A new chapel was completed. There is no denying, or speculating, or wondering what faith they witness: It's......distinctly Catholic!

Below I post only a few out of the many photos they have of the dedication and construction. In this first photo, you see Bishop of Lansing, Michigan, Carl Mengeling consecrating the altar.

The choir sings during the ceremony and frosted glass is seen in the background.

Concelebrants present........ A careful eye will recognize Fr. Perrone, pastor of Assumption Grotto, off to the left.


Now, what comes next is even better news. At the bottom of this post, I discussed how Mother Angelica's order had to send out 4 sisters to begin a new branch in the Phoenix, Arizona area, at the invitation of Bishop Thomas J. Olmstead. Like a healthy tree, a good order will sprout new branches. This is how the Holy Spirit prevents too much of a good thing from being isolated in one place (and prevents one monastery from turning people away).

Well, Bishop Olmstead recognizes a healthy tree and good things, so he invited some sisters from this traditional Dominican order in Ann Arbor to his town. They have answered the call and have moved in to St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, where they will be teaching and working.

I shouldn't have to tell you that this will be a magnet for young girls to hear their calling in that area. I suspect this will not be the last of the branches that will sprout from this amazing order. It is a testimony that young people are interested in the full Catholic package of prayer and works, as opposed to just works, which has been the empahsis for the last 40 years in many dying communities. Some of these communities which have shifted their focus almost exclusively to social justice are lucky to find one new member every few years.

The Dominicans from Ann Arbor were not done spreading good things and extending branches...

On August 9, Fr. Andrew Bloomfield reported on his blog, that not only had sisters been sent to the Phoenix area, but four others were sent to one of my favorite places: Hilton Head South Carolina.

And, Deal Hudson, in an article entitled 1400 Percent Growth of Dominican Sisters, also points out that Bishop Baker had invited the sisters to South Carolina. They had been doing mission work there in the summers and it was very successful.

God Bless them on their journey - lets keep them in our prayers.

This, to me, is yet another sign that in another 20 years, we will see nuns in traditional habits working in parishes, and Catholic schools will make a strong comeback......God willing!

Oh, and one more thing about this order........ I've heard them singing in Latin and I believe they study the language - something to check out if you have a calling and treasure the language of the Church!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Fr. James V. Schall: Is Christianity a Comfortable Religion?

Homiletic and Pastoral Review does not put many of its articles on the web and I like to bring them to your attention when they are there. This was another outstanding article by Fr. James V. Schall. A general reminder, HPR does have an archive of many articles they have featured - all high quality. I usually print out an article and take it with me for periods of waiting. HPR is published by Ignatius Press.

Right thinking about the Incarnation
seems to be the single
most important issue behind our contemporary turmoil.

Is Christianity a Comfortable Religion?
By James V. Schall

“Make sure that no one traps you and deprives you of your freedom by some second-hand philosophy based on the principles of this world instead of on Christ.” —Colossians, 2, 8.

“Jesus’ mission concerns all humanity. Therefore, the Church is given responsibility for all humanity, so that it may recognize God, the God who for all of us was made man in Jesus Christ, suffered, died, and was raised. The Church must never be satisfied with the ranks of those whom she has reached at a certain point or say that others are fine as they are: Muslims, Hindus and so forth.” – Benedict XVI, Ordination Homily, St. Peter’s Basilica. [1]

“The world cannot hate you, but it does hate me, because I gave evidence that its ways are evil.” —John, 7, 7.

The Rector of our Community, at a graduation Mass, made the amusing, but well-considered remark that, in preparing homilies, priests are well advised these days never to mention the word “love,” unless it actually appears in the scriptural text assigned by the Church, not themselves, to be read for that occasion. Of course, we all recognize that love stands at the heart of Christian revelation. No one wants to change this, unless, of course, he wants to change the premises of Christianity itself, which in fact not a few do. We know that Benedict XVI’s first encyclical was entitled, Deus Caritas Est, that Christ told us “to love one another as I have loved you.” Sometimes we are not told that Christ’s love brought him to the Cross. By implication, he is telling us to expect the same. How many, we wonder, actually want a Christianity that leaves out the difficult and unpleasant parts? To do this reconfiguring is just another way to make, by ourselves, our own religion and reject the one revealed to us.

We have all also heard stories of good people who have been to parishes in which “love” was the only topic ever preached for the last thirty years. The long-suffering congregation never heard mention anything serious about sin, mortal or venial, hatred, persecution, law, penance, mortification, discipline, repentance, or the “thou shalt nots.” These latter are prominently found in the actual Scriptures we are to read and in the works of the Fathers of the Church who followed and explained them. We sometimes have to wonder how these difficult teachings ever got into Scripture in an age in which everyone is said to be saved and everyone should tolerate anything, whatever it is. Of course, I also have heard tell of the pastor who managed to get something about birth control or finances in every sermon he has preached for the past quarter-century.

continue reading Fr. Schall at the HPR website...

Subscribe today to Homiletic and Pastoral Review. A theologically rich, and dignified Catholic periodical. search results for: Deus Caritas Est

When nuns become "pastors"

Dom over at has an interesting story from The Tidings - the diocesan newspaper of Los Angeles. A nun has become the "final authority" in the parish of St. Agatha, while the priest is just...well, you figure it out:

Go read the story, with links, and Dom's commentary...

Indonesia: condemned men denied sacraments; executed

Requiesce in Pace.....

21 September, 2006

Three men sentenced to death denied last Sacraments in Indonesia
by Benteng Reges

Sep. 21 (AsiaNews) - Authorities in Indonesia denied three Catholic men the right to attend Mass on the day before their execution, which was carried out on just after midnight on September 22, the AsiaNews service reports.

Fabianus Tibo, Marinus Riwu and Dominggus da Silva were scheduled to face a firing squad on early in the morning of September 21, but their execution was postponed for a day, without any official explanation. Prison officials refused to allow a priest to hear the men's confessions and celebrate Mass for them one last time on Thursday.

continue reading at Asia News...

Lutheran Bishop Becomes a Priest

H/T to Curt Jester on this one....

Ex-Lutheran bishop found Catholic rock
Joseph Jacobson will be ordained a Catholic priest by Christmas

WCR Staff Writer

Forty years after he was ordained a Lutheran minister, Joseph Jacobson is looking forward to becoming a Catholic priest.

Jacobson, the former bishop of the Alberta Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, was to be ordained a deacon for the Grouard-McLennan Archdiocese at St. Albert Church Sept. 21.

The 66-year-old father of two and grandfather of five expects to be ordained a priest before Christmas and to be appointed chancellor of the Grouard-McLennan Archdiocese and interim pastor of St. John Baptist Cathedral in McLennan immediately after his ordination.

God's path
"I'm very excited," he said. "After 12 years of retirement and wondering where God was leading us, it is good to have a direction. And the job couldn't fit me better as I see it. As chancellor I'll be able to draw on my own experience as a Lutheran bishop. It's amazing."

Jacobson and his wife Carolyne, who live on a farm near Bashaw, joined the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Bashaw in 1999 and became Catholics at the Easter Vigil of 2000. Their two adult children are also in the process of joining the Church.

Jacobson's journey to Catholicism began many years ago, but took a decisive turn in the late 1990s.

"There was a long process leading up to it and a long process that followed after it. But the key moment was in Ireland in 1997 when I realized that the teaching authority of the Church is something Jesus gave to Peter and the bishops and no other Church really can duplicate what Jesus gave," he explained in a recent interview in Camrose.

"You can't substitute for it. You can't find something better. You can't do without it. The Church needs a rock and the rock is the one Jesus gave us and it's the holy father with the bishops and without that there is no rock.

"Any Church that tries to live without that is subject to the shifting sands. Most churches function by a majority vote of members and that means they are very vulnerable to the popular culture. In fact they are exposed to all kinds of extremes with the result that there is no safeguards that we are going to stay on the rock, stay on the foundation of Christ."

Clarity in Ireland
That realization hit him like a ton of bricks while sitting on a rock in Ireland looking at the Atlantic Ocean. "I said, 'Oh, good Lord. I have been trying to reinvent something Jesus made right the first time."

continue reading at Western Catholic Reporter...

Welcome home (soon to be) Fr. Joseph Jacobson!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Rev Richard McBrien: The Pope Meant Well

I never thought I would live to see the day that I would be promoting anything written by Rev. Richard McBrien of Notre Dame. By golly, he did a fine job of defending Pope Benedict XVI on his lecture at the University of Regensberg - the one which some are using as an excuse for unrest, murder, and more. As published in the New York Daily News (emphasis mine):

Muslim leaders should accept apology -
and look in the mirror


When Pope Benedict delivered his address last week in Germany, he set out to define his fundamental, deeply held convictions about the role of reason in religion and society. The world's religious cultures, he said, regard the "exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound convictions." Reason and faith must "come together in a new way," he insisted.
These were points worth making, but they have been overshadowed by the highly charged confrontation that has followed the Pope's scholarly address. To understand and evaluate what has led to the anger in the Muslim world, it is important to remember four points:

First, the presentation was an academic lecture, not a speech. I suspect that not a single person who made a negative public comment about the Pope's words had read the full text. Its content is dense and intellectually demanding - too demanding for anyone not schooled in theology, philosophy, history or cultural studies.

Second, the Pope's reference to a colloquy between a 14th century Byzantine emperor and "an educated Persian" on the subject of Christianity and Islam had much less to do with the justification of violence attributed to the Prophet Muhammed than it did with the role of reason in the understanding of faith. Indeed, when the Pope returned to this colloquy in the lecture's concluding paragraph, it was not to reinforce the point about the incompatibility of violence and religion, but to reassert the emperor's point that acting against reason is "contrary to the nature of God."

At the same time, the Pope's inclusion of the colloquy in his lecture did not require the specific reference that was made to the Prophet and the use of violence in the name of religion. If he felt the need to include the reference to Islam and violence, he should also have explicitly acknowledged the major transgressions perpetrated by the Catholic Church against Jews and Muslims alike.

Third, in an informal address given on Sunday, the Pope said that he was "deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages" in his lecture, "considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims."

But this was not simply the conventional form of too many "apologies," which express regret for any offense taken but without assuming responsibility for having perpetrated offense in the first place. The Pope made clear that the quotation from a medieval text did not "in any way express [his] personal thought." It would have been even better, however, if he also had expressed regret for having included the particular reference, especially since it did not really advance his overall argument. The Pope may deserve a B or even a B- for his unprecedented apology, but certainly not a D or an F.

Fourth, the worldwide Islamic community has a major problem that its leading figures have ineffectively addressed. Certainly, most Muslims would never justify the use of violence (whether physical or verbal) in the name of religion, but it cannot be denied that many do, whether openly or tacitly. The enraged reaction to the Pope's lecture is itself a case in point.

What is clearly needed today is exactly what the Pope urged in his lecture: a respect for reason and an appeal to all religious and secular communities to become "partners in the dialogue of cultures."


Helpers of God's Precious Infants: Vigil this Saturday!

Please make time this Saturday for the Helper's of God's Precious Infants Prayer Vigil outside of two abortion clinics in the 8 Mile near Gratiot area. It starts out with Mass at St. Jude's on 7 Mile in Detroit at 7:30am, then everyone meets at St. Veronica's at 8:40 where a procession will take place to 8 mile - a few blocks away. All mysteries and decades of the Rosary are prayed during the procession and while standing in front of the two clinics. This is peaceful and non-confrontational. Helpers of God's Precious Infants believes in the power of peaceful prayer to save the unborn.

The details can be seen by clicking on a flyer at the organization's blog, which is just starting up. More information will be coming to that site in the future, such as contact names, and various flyers and forms regularly used.

I may not be able to make it this time. So, if there is someone reading this entry, please do what you can to get the word out about the HGPI-Michigan website. Print out a page with the address out and distribute it.

Taking place several times yearly, this event has drawn up to 300 people in recent times. Let's have a good showing. Be there for the unborn and bring the family!

If you follow through to the social, you will hear important news about the day, and about the work of Helpers of God's Precious Infants of Michigan.

This event is well attended by priests and religious.

The Sisters are running an all-night adoration vigil at the chapel, seen in their community profile at IRL, for this event and the unborn. Consider giving your time in this way, as well. And, if you are unable to walk or make the morning procession, consider going to the chapel while the vigil takes place to offer your prayers for this great cause. If you have never been there before, it is at Assumption Grotto parish (click for map). Grotto is a lively place with people always visible. Just ask someone to point you to the convent door where you can ring the bell and ask the sisters how to enter the chapel.

Fr. Andrew Bloomfield - Exploring Heresies

Fr. Andrew Bloomfield (far right above), ordained last year, is exploring the subject of heresies through the works of St. Irenaeus, who lived in the second century, and gives a brief history. This is not an indepth, detailed look, but an overview and he begins his series this week. We will peak in each week to learn a little more as he explores more heresies, and how we might see similarities today. It's a short read and I start you out here with a little more than half. Follow the link for the rest.

St. Irenaeus is perhaps the most important theologian of the second century. As we have seen with the Letters of St. Ignatius, and even the works of St. Justin Martyr, the Church was in her infancy and was suffering persecution throughout the Roman Empire. As such, their works tended to be exhortations to holiness or defense of the Faith. The development of theology, however, was just about to begin. Along with this growth in exploring the Faith came the danger of heresy. Irenaeus responded to the heresies of his time with clarity and firmness.

He was born in the first half of the second century, between 115 and 125 A.D., to a Christian family, most likely near Smyrna in Asia. He seems to have been a disciple of St. Polycarp there; owing to the lively trade with Gaul (modern-day France), the bishop Pothinus was sent as a missionary to Lyons and Irenaeus accompanied him as a young priest. Pothinus was martyred by the Romans, whereupon Irenaeus became the bishop of Lyons. The Roman persecutions were not the only danger to the Church at this time: heresies had also begun to spread. St. Irenaeus of Lyons then began his great work to stamp out heresy and to defend the true Faith until his death sometime around 202 A.D. We celebrate his feast day on June 28th.

Two works remain of great importance: Against the Heresies (Adversus Hæreses) and the Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching. Against the Heresies is a monumental work of five volumes intended to expose and refute the various Gnostic heresies of the time. As we have seen before, gnosis is the Greek word for knowledge; the Gnostic heresies were different ways of searching for a hidden or secret knowledge that would bring salvation. These heresies would appear to use some elements of Christianity, but their beliefs were completely opposed to the Gospel. Since his work is so important, we will spend a few weeks exploring the teaching of St. Irenaeus and the theology that he develops to refute the errors of Gnosticism.

He begins with clarity about error: “These men falsify the oracles of God, and prove themselves evil interpreters of the good word of revelation. They also overthrow the faith of many, by drawing them away, under a pretense of knowledge [gnosis]” (bk. 1, preface). Continuing, “Error, indeed, is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced more true than the truth itself” (ibid.). How often, even today, are the truths of Christianity mocked by the culture, which would present a more attractive “truth” in its place?

Continue reading Irenaeus at Fr. Bloomfield's Blog...

I have been wanting to understand heresies even more after recognizing the possibilities that what is old is becoming new again. Here is an opportunity to get introduced to the subject.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ: Is Dialogue with Islam Possible?

From Ignatius Insight - the Blog of Ignatius Press, is the following article. In the beginning he illustrates Pope Benedict's method of communication using Deus Caritas Est, then shifts a little further in, to the recent speech by Pope Benedict after which, followed violence from Muslims. Fr. Fessio is seen in the photo below taken April 1, 2006 when he kicked off his Spirit of the Liturgy seminar-retreat at Assumption Grotto in Detroit.

Is Dialogue with Islam Possible? Some reflections on Pope Benedict XVI's address at the University of Regensburg.

Both before and since his elevation to the papacy, Benedict has taken a consistent approach to controversial issues: he locates the assumptions and fundamental principles underlying the controversy, analyzes their "inner" structure or dynamism, and lays out the consequences of the principles.

For example, in Deus Caritas Est, Benedict does not address directly the controversial issues of homosexual partners, promiscuity, or divorce. Instead he examines the "inner logic" of the love of eros, which is "love between man and woman, where body and soul are inseparably joined . . ." He shows that it has been understood historically to have a relationship with the divine ("love promises infinity, eternity") and to require "purification and growth in maturity ... through the path of renunciation". In love's "growth towards higher levels and inward purification ... it seeks to become definitive ... both in the sense of exclusivity (this particular person alone) and in the sense of being 'for ever'."

So starting from the "inner logic" of the fundamental reality of love, Benedict concludes to an exclusive and permanent relationship between a man and a woman. That is a fair description of the Catholic idea of marriage, and it excludes homosexual partners, promiscuity, and divorce.

Incidentally, in the very first paragraph of this encyclical, Benedict states: "In a world where the name of God is sometimes associated with vengeance or even a duty of hatred and violence, this message [that God is love] is both timely and significant." Clearly the religious justification of violence is an aberration that's on his mind.

continue reading at Ignatius Insight...

Since I'm not running a significant news site, you might follow this story on the blogs of Domenico Bettinelli Jr, Jimmy Akin, and American Papist - Thomas. They have had many posts already and continue blogging on this issue.

Sandro Magister also has a new article up: Islam's unreasonable war against Benedict XVI.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

National Catholic Register: St. John Hardon?

The following was submitted by John B, with permission from John Burger, of the National Catholic Register, to publish on the web after September 13.

St. John Hardon?

National Catholic Register
August 13-19, 2006

Register Staff Writer

BARRINGTON, Ill. — Preliminary steps toward opening a cause of canonization for Jesuit Father John Hardon don’t surprise those who knew the priest.

At the annual Marian Catechist Apostolate retreat in July in Barrington, Ill., Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis made an appeal for testimonies to the sanctity of Father Hardon, the apostolate’s founder.

“I think if half of Father Hardon’s ideas were implemented, we’d be living in a nation of saints,” said his friend and occasional collaborator Father Joseph Johnson, rector of the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, Minn.

He remembers how people who came to Father Hardon for his advice or blessing for their work would walk away with three other projects.

“He’d take the good you were doing and help you fine-tune it, and say, as long as you’re going down this road, here are a few other things,” Father Johnson said.

Father Hardon himself always added those “few other things” to his own endless apostolic work that lasted until he died at age 86 during the hour of Divine Mercy on Dec. 30, 2000.

A priest for 53 year and a member of the Society of Jesus for 64, he showed his zeal for souls writing scores of books and endless articles, giving countless conferences and retreats, founding a number of apostolates, and promoting Eucharistic adoration and devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Blessed Mother.

He worked at the Vatican for more than 30 years and promoted the use of all the media to evangelize and catechize.

In fact, Father Hardon was asked to write the catechist-training home correspondence course for Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’s Missionaries of Charity, which every sister in the order takes to be able to evangelize and catechize. He became a spiritual adviser to Mother Teresa, and he developed the same course to prepare lay catechists to re-Christianize society, teaching and spreading the faith through the Marian Catechist Apostolate he founded.

According to Elizabeth Mitchell, dean of students at Trinity Academy in Pewaukee, Wis., in Oct. 2005 the Marian Catechist Apostolate asked its national director, Archbishop Burke, to look into introducing the cause for Father Hardon’s canonization.

“There seems to be quite a groundswell of support because of the number of people convinced of the heroic sanctity of Father Hardon,” Mitchell said.

Among them is Richard Guzior of The Real Presence Association in Chicago, an apostolate Father Hardon founded to promote and spread Eucharistic adoration (

On all the trips Guzior took with Father Hardon, especially to Eucharistic congresses, he remembers the priest always working from 5 or 6 a.m. to midnight or later.

“He never wasted any time,” Guzior said. “He would always be saying the Rosary for everybody’s intentions — thousands and thousands of Rosaries.”

With people talking about sainthood and the sixth anniversary of Father Hardon’s death approaching, Archbishop Burke said the time seems right to look into the possibility of opening the cause.

He enlisted Mitchell, a Marian Catechist and former translator for L’Osservatore Romano, to look into the process and do the groundwork.

“I myself discovered it was possible for one apostolate to introduce a cause for the sainthood of the founder of the apostolate,” Archbishop Burke said. “Right now we’re doing the preliminary work to see if the Marian Catechist Apostolate would be in a position to ask for the cause.”

The archbishop had worked with Father Hardon on the development of this apostolate and had asked its founder to establish it in the La Crosse, Wis., Diocese, where he was bishop at the time.
“When I met him he was quite elderly and seriously ill but tireless in carrying this forward,” Archbishop Burke told the Register. “With Father Hardon, I got to know a number of the lay people and priests in the apostolate and see the terrific influence he had on them, leading them to a greater holiness of life and dedicating themselves in a more generous way to the apostolate.”

The same holds for his other apostolates like the Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Media Apostolate, of which Mitchell is an advisory board member.

“Father Hardon couldn’t stress enough the urgent need for the Gospel to be proclaimed through the means of mass communication in the modern world,” she said. “It’s truly a part of his whole vision on the formation of the Church — catechesis and evangelization through the media — with a serious commitment to prayer so that by truly becoming individual saints, we would re-evangelize our nation and the world.”

Used Lord’s Gifts
Jesuit Father Joseph Fessio, provost of Ave Maria University, recalls how Father Hardon encouraged new groups and movements.

“It wasn’t just a kind word,” Father Fessio said. “He’d pray for them and go out of his way to speak to them. If the smallest group asked him to come, he’d travel around the country to give a talk.”

Despite speaking very softly and not including anecdotes in his talks, “people flocked to hear him preach,” Father Johnson recalls. “The integrity of the message coming from his heart so full of love for Christ was what made it so powerful.”

“Father Hardon took every gift the Lord had given him,” he added, “and he used it 100%.”

When could the official opening of the cause and naming Father Hardon a Servant of God come? Once protocols are met, practically anytime, explained Mitchell. She has already received a directive from Rome to begin gathering testimonies from people of advanced age so as not to lose their witness.

Archbishop Burke also must name a postulator well prepared to direct the cause of the saint before announcing the cause has been opened.

At the same time, Mitchell said, Archbishop Burke would like to see a groundswell of prayer for the eventual cause, and, of course, prayers to Father Hardon himself for help in all good endeavors and particular needs.

Joseph Pronechen is based in Trumbull, Connecticut

People who would like to give a testimony can contact:
Elizabeth Mitchell
c/o Trinity Academy
W225 N3131 Duplainville Road Pewaukee, WI 53072

DECEMBER 26, 2006 EDIT: Archbishop Burke is coming to Detroit on December 30, 2006 to remember Fr. John A. Hardon.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Catholic Blogger fired for reading Catholic Blogs at Work

Just when I thought it was getting safe to read some good Catholic content on my lunch hour. Many companies permit limited personal access to the internet on company computers, provided it is not something like porn, or other offensive material.

Curt Jester brings us a sad story of a Catholic blogger fired not for writing to his blog, but for reading Catholic blogs. It seems that religion - specifically the Catholic religion - may be a bit offensive to some.

Well, I was wondering how I would find more time for just non-internet reading. Now I know. I'll pack St. Augustine's Confessions, Homiletic and Pastoral Review, Catholic World Report, and the new Compendium.

Wait.....if someone sees those things on my desk, they may get offended.

Quick - hide!

Exaltation of the Cross

From Volume IV of the Collected Works of Edit Stein on the Exaltation of the Cross (Copyright ICS Publications)

III.4 EXALTATION OF THE CROSS September 14, 1941
In his Holy Rule, St. Benedict ordained that the fasts for religious begin with the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. The long-extended Easter joy and the solemn feasts of summer culminating in the crowning of the Queen of Heaven could possibly cause the image of the Crucified to fade in us or to recede, as it remained hidden during the first centuries of Christianity. But when its time came, the cross appeared gleaming in the heavens, prompting the search for the buried and forgotten wood of humiliation that was to be recognized as the sign of salvation, the emblem of faith and the mark of the faithful. Every year, when the church again raises it before us, we are to recall the challenge of the Lord: Anyone who would follow me must take up his [or her] cross...! To take up one's cross means to go the way of penance and renunciation. For us religious, to follow the Savior means to allow ourselves to be fastened to the cross by the three nails of the holy vows. The Exaltation of the Cross and the renewal of vows belong together.

The Savior has preceded us on the way of poverty. All the goods in heaven and on earth belonged to him. They presented no danger to him; he could use them and yet keep his heart completely free of them. But he knew that it is scarcely possible for people to have possessions without succumbing to them and being enslaved by them. Therefore, he gave up everything and showed more by his example than by his counsel that only one who possesses nothing possesses everything. His birth in a stable, his flight to Egypt, already indicated that the Son of Man was to have no place to lay his head. Whoever follows him must know that we have no lasting dwelling here. The more deeply we feel this, the more zealous we are in striving for the future, and we rejoice at the thought that our citizenship is in heaven. Today it is good to reflect on the fact that poverty also includes the readiness to leave our beloved monastery itself. We have pledged ourselves to enclosure and do so anew when we renew our vows. But God did not pledge to leave us within the walls of the enclosure forever. He need not do so because he has other walls to protect us. This is similar to what he does in the sacraments. For us they are the prescribed means to grace, and we cannot receive them eagerly enough. But God is not bound to them. At the moment when some external force were to cut us off from receiving the sacraments, he could compensate us, superabundantly, in some other way; and he will do so all the more certainly and generously the more faithfully we have adhered to the sacraments previously. So it is also our holy duty to be as conscientious as possible in observing the precept of enclosure, to lead without hindrance a life hidden with Christ in God. If we are faithful and are then driven out into the street, the Lord will send his angels to encamp themselves around us, and their invisible pinions will enclose our souls more securely than the highest and strongest walls. We do not need to wish for this to happen. We may ask that the experience be spared us, but only with the solemn and honestly intended addition: Not mine, but your will be done! The vow of holy poverty is to be renewed without reservation.

Continue reading Edit Stein...

Benedict XVI: Solemn Sacred Music an Important Means of Participation in Worship

The Vatican website still does not have the English version of Pope Benedict's speech given at Alte Kapelle, but Zenit does. German and Italian are now available directly at the Vatican. Unfortunately, there are still no decent pictures of this organ online, which really puzzles me with as spectacular as this one is.

From Zenit:

Code: ZE06091307

Date: 2006-09-13

Papal Address at Basilica in Regensburg

"Solemn Sacred Music an Important Means of Participation in Worship"

REGENSBURG, Germany, SEPT. 13, 2006 ( Here is a Vatican translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered today in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Old Chapel ("Alte Kapelle"), of which his brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, was director. During the visit, the Pope blessed the new organ.

* * *

This venerable house of God, the Basilica of "Our Lady of the Old Chapel," has been splendidly refurbished and today receives a new organ, which will now be blessed and solemnly dedicated to its proper aim: the glorification of God and the strengthening of faith.

An important contribution to the renewal of sacred music in the 19th century was made by a canon of this collegiate church, Carl Joseph Proske. Gregorian chant and classic choral polyphony were integrated into the liturgy. The attention given to liturgical sacred music in the "Old Chapel" was so significant that it reached far beyond the confines of the region, making Regensburg a center for the reform of sacred music, and its influence has continued to the present time.

In the constitution on sacred liturgy of the Second Vatican Council ("Sacrosanctum Concilium"), it is emphasized that the "combination of sacred music and words … forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy" (No. 112). This means that music and song are more than an embellishment of worship; they are themselves part of the liturgical action.

Solemn sacred music, with choir, organ, orchestra and the singing of the people, is not an addition of sorts that frames the liturgy and makes it more pleasing, but an important means of active participation in worship. The organ has always been considered, and rightly so, the king of musical instruments, because it takes up all the sounds of creation and gives resonance to the fullness of human sentiments. By transcending the merely human sphere, as all music of quality does, it evokes the divine.

The organ's great range of timbre, from "piano" through to a thundering "fortissimo," makes it an instrument superior to all others. It is capable of echoing and expressing all the experiences of human life. The manifold possibilities of the organ in some way remind us of the immensity and the magnificence of God.

Psalm 150 speaks of trumpets and flutes, of harps and zithers, cymbals and drums; all these musical instruments are called to contribute to the praise of the triune God. In an organ, the many pipes and voices must form a unity. If here or there something becomes blocked, if one pipe is out of tune, this may at first be perceptible only to a trained ear. But if more pipes are out of tune, dissonance ensues and the result is unbearable.

Also, the pipes of this organ are exposed to variations of temperature and subject to wear. Now, this is an image of our community. Just as in an organ an expert hand must constantly bring disharmony back to consonance, so we in the Church, in the variety of our gifts and charisms, always need to find anew, through our communion in faith, harmony in the praise of God and in fraternal love. The more we allow ourselves, through the liturgy, to be transformed in Christ, the more we will be capable of transforming the world, radiating Christ's goodness, his mercy and his love for others.

The great composers, each in his own way, ultimately sought to glorify God by their music. Johann Sebastian Bach wrote above the title of many of his musical compositions the letters S.D.G., "Soli Deo Gloria" -- to God alone be glory. Anton Bruckner also prefaced his compositions with the words: "Dem lieben Gott gewidmet" -- dedicated to the good God. May all those who enter this splendid basilica, experiencing the magnificence of its architecture and its liturgy, enriched by solemn song and the harmony of this new organ, be brought to the joy of faith.

[Translation issued by the Holy See; adapted]

© Copyright 2006 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

St. Teresa of Avila - a Quote from the Way of Perfection

A quote from St. Teresa of Avila, Way of Perfection - Chapter 28
And now let us imagine that we have within us a palace of priceless worth, built entirely of gold and precious stones -- a palace, in short, fit for so great a Lord. Imagine that it is partly your doing that this palace should be what it is -- and this is really true, for there is no building so beautiful as a soul that is pure and full of virtues, and, the greater these virtues are, the more brilliantly do the stones shine. Imagine that within the palace dwells this great King, Who has vouchsafed to become your Father and Who is seated upon a throne of supreme price -- namely, your heart.

Pipes to admire: Pope Blesses Organ at Alte Kapelle in Regensburg

Watch it tonite (see bottom for schedule). Awesome!!

I turned on my TV hoping to catch another papal event and got a real treat. He was talking about sacred music while the camera panned to the newly installed organ at Alte Kapelle in Regensburg. You have to see these pipes and how they are masterfully crafted into the "Old Chapel". Wow!

I caught only the tail end of the speech, which I can't wait to read later today (was not available yet). Keep an eye on this webpage where all of the speeches and homilies are kept in Italian, German, and English. English seems to be the one lagging - as usual. As the day goes on, those black words should turn to brown, live links.

I'll bring you that link in a subsequent post AND photos of this organ. There aren't any online as of this morning upon a cursory check. But I have no doubts the web will be full of photos as the day goes on. This organ is spectacular!!!

For photos of the Church, visit a website called Structurae where six photos (minus the organ) are shown. In observance of the copyright notice at the bottom of each of these photos, I will not be putting any on this blog, but you can click to get there.

I was able to find a photo album of Alte Kapelle at webshots. Some of the photos are blurry, but it gives you an idea.

If you are able, watch this on rebroadcast tonight:

EWTN rebroadcast:

10:00pm Eastern
7:00pm Pacific

Photos won't do the scenery justice so do try to watch it tonite, or tape it. I've got choir practice tonite, but will bring you photos tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Priest and his Pet Dogs at Mass - Common Sense from a Canon Lawyer

Ed Peters of In Light of the Law picked up on the story of Fr. Louis Scurti who brings his two dogs with him every where, including Mass. It's in a post on his blog entitled, "canine canons". Now, as I pointed out in the original post, this has nothing to do with dogs who assist the physically impaired. It has nothing to do with blessings as St. Francis did. Rather, it is simply about bringing two bigs dogs into church for Mass.

I had to ponder this a little more since I posted yesterday. Why did this disturb me so much? Well, in less than 5 minutes of meditative prayer, I finally figured it out.....

Worship is something in which we should strive to give our total being to God, and God alone. In an era of cellphones, "Blackberries", and multi-tasking lives, our already distracted selves are more easily distracted than ever. Mass is one opportunity for quiet.....IF our pastors and priests minimize or eliminate anything which could divert our attention from Him to themselves, or to anything/anyone else during the Mass.

Fr. Scurti goes on to explain why he brings them to Mass:

If there's a spiritual core to his dogs' presence during the liturgy, it's about making people feel included and at home in the church, he said.

How the people feel is not relevant. That is the whole problem today. That is why so many people don't come on a regular basis in the first place: They have a mistaken idea that "I only need to bother with Mass when it makes 'me' feel good". Nevermind going and giving God his due every week regardless of how we feel. Priests should be challenging us in this regard, not feeding our desires to be constantly entertained and "made to feel welcome". Teach us to come for God's sake, not ours. There's only one word for that kind of worship which puts God first and 'self' second: True!

Dogs in a Church during Mass do not lift our minds to God, but to His creatures. I love dogs and have had two of them. I have 2 aquariums. The animals I've had in my possession are indeed a blessing and a joy. I am always grateful to God for their presence. But, there is a place and time to enjoy them: Mass is not one of them.

BTW - in case you are interested, that is "Jaws" - a 1-inch White Cloud Mountain Minnow in my 20 gallon long. He's soon going to be 4 years old, and is one of 3 remaining from an original school of six.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sandro Magister: Benedict XVI on True Franciscan Spirit

Another excellent print & read article by Sandro Magister of Italy:

Benedict XVI Has Become a Franciscan
A true Franciscan. Against all the environmentalist, pacifist, and syncretistic distortions. Rebuilding the Church was the task Jesus assigned to the saint of Assisi. The pope has made him his own, and is re-proposing him as a model for today

Go read Magister (Benedict-Franciscan)

Audio: Fr. Paul Weinberger - How to respect our Eucharistic Lord

Over at Semper Fi Catholic Radio - an online source for the audio homilies of Fr. Paul Weinberger of St. William the Confessor Church in Greenville (photo page), TX - more of his archives are slowly being added.

There is a real jewel in the under the heading 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2005. From the description box:

This homily treats on the responsibility of those who distribute Holy Communion as well as those who receive the Eucharist.(Pro abortion politicians, reception in the hand) At one point Fr. Paul walks away from the mic to give a visual, which may be hard to hear. Please be patient.
This is a 43 minute audio, which includes the gospel reading at the beginning. I like how he asks people to turn off their cell phones, then waits.

This homily is very "Perronesque" for those who know the Grotto Pastor's straightforwardness. Several times Fr. Paul reminds people that he is just "doing his job" by instructing them as his pastor. He starts out with the story of a man who was killed, apparently after going to Confession.....or not?

There is one thing with Semper Fi Catholic Radio: Look at the time of the audio and make sure you have that time available uninterrupted. This is a new online station and they are working through issues, but currently there is no way to pause the audio for more than a few minutes (it stops - taking you back to the beginning). There is also no way to slide your way through the audio back to the approximate point you left off. But, it is well worth listening to when you have the time. I just let it run while I was computing!

His instruction on how to properly receive Holy Communion is excellent, and he deals with the little discussed issue of particles in the hand. You can get to Semper Fi Catholic Radio any time to hear more homilies by clicking on this icon in my sidebar.

Nine-year old boy guides family back to church.

H/T to "Moneybags" at A Catholic Life for this nice story of a young boy who inspired his family to start going to church. I won't spoil to much here, but give this short-read a few minutes of your time - it is truly inspiring. It underscores the importance anyone in the family can have, in particular young people, on the faith of others.

Valley Center Boy Meets Pope

"Moneybags" is a regular visitor of Te Deum Laudamus! He is discerning the priesthood, so please pray for him, and all of those participating in another blog he started called, Holy Vocations. If you have your speakers turned on, you will get a treat with the sacred music at this site. It is co-authored by a group of young men and women, also exploring religious life. Moneybags has two other blogs, as well - one dedicated to the Holy Rosary, and another on the Dignity of Human Life.

Don't let his nickname fool you - he simply names himself after the Monopoly Game character. It's these kind of young people which give me much hope for the future of our Church. They may face challenges with the current state of affairs in many dioceses and religious institutions. God grant them the courage to persevere as they follow Christ to their respective callings, taking up their crosses and being a beacon of light to all they encounter.

9-11-01 and a prayer...

To the departed whom we now remember,
may peace and bliss
be granted in life eternal.
May they find grace and mercy
before the Lord of heaven and earth.
May their souls rejoice in the ineffable good
which God has laid up
for those who fear Him,
and may their memory be a blessing
unto those who treasure it.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

TV Priest brings his dogs to Mass!?!???

How can this be? I clicked on the TV, which is often set to EWTN the few times I watch it. I have been enjoying the broadcasts of events in Germany with Pope Benedict.

This time, when I clicked it on, I see Fr. Louis Scurti who runs a small university chapel in New Jersey, giving a homily during Mass. Something seemed off in general about the setting and just as I was about to turn it off, this big black dog comes hobbling out from near the altar in the Sanctuary and begins to come out towards the people.

I don't think this was EWTN, but CTND (Catholic Television Network Detroit), which imho, has too much secular focus. They share the same channel on comcast and I don't have a box to get EWTN on the other station where they are not shared.

How can this be that a priest would bring dogs to Mass - a televised Mass yet????

I did a quick google on "Fr. Louis Scurti and Dog" and this article turned up on it. It certainly confirms that these are not dogs for the physically impaired, but the priest's pets and he brings them all the time to Holy Mass!!!

Monday, May 16, 2005


HALEDON - The priest, dressed in a flowing red robe, says Mass. He reads from the Gospel, gives a homily, prays for the sick, blesses bread and wine.

He could be at any Roman Catholic church in the country, except for the dogs near the altar. A black, bow-legged mutt sprawls out for a nap, and a white wolfish type paws gently at a parishioner as the priest talks of Pentecost and Babylon.

Is this God's house or a doghouse? Jesus Christ Prince of Peace Chapel is both. The Rev. Louis Scurti brings his two dogs everywhere, and that includes Sunday Mass. The dogs make people feel at home, Scurti says. Churchgoers add that the dogs give them a sense of calm and peace.
continue reading Scurti and the dogs at the New Jersey Herald...

Who is the bishop of that diocese? Does he not see this??? Does he have any control over a university chaplain?

Good heavens, when Mass goes to the dogs!

And, I'm an animal lover, but this is totally inappropriate.

Voice of the un-Faithful? Lay Org Promoting Dissent

From the National Catholic Register:

Voice of the un-Faithful? Lay organization under renewed fire for promoting dissent
By Tom McFeely
National Catholic Register (

BOSTON, Mass. (National Catholic Register) – Questions are again being raised about the fidelity of the Massachusetts-based organization Voice of the Faithful. The organization, which has repeatedly featured high-profile church dissenters at its conferences, referred to several dissenting individuals and opinions in the Aug. 24 issue of its Internet newsletter, “In the Vineyard.”

Continue reading un-faithful via Catholic Online...

Pope Benedict in Germany - EWTN Coverage

I've currently got the Celebration of Vespers on EWTN and it is a beautiful service. EWTN is running it again at 5:30PM EST. It is awesome, with sacred polyphony & symphony. They are doing it up with class.

Here is the complete schedule of what is remaining to be seen on TV, including the Mass he celebrated this morning which was broadcast at 3:30am. It is being rebroadcast at 2:30PM today!

I believe all times are Eastern Standard Time

Arrival of the Pope for special service and ride in "papamobile" over the open-air ground at the New Fairgrounds in Munich to the altar island.
Sunday September 10, 2006 3:30 AM
Sunday September 10, 2006 2:30 PM ENCORE

Sunday September 10, 2006 11:30 AM
Sunday September 10, 2006 10 PM ENCORE

Arrival at Chapel Square ~ prayers in the "Gnadenkapelle" [Chapel of the Miraculous Image] and Holy Mass.
Monday September 11, 2006 4 AM
Monday September 11, 2006 2 PM ENCORE

Vespers held by the Holy Father with members of the order and seminiarins in the Basilica. Arrival in Marktl, visit to the parish church of St. Oswald.
Monday September 11, 2006 11 AM
Monday September 11, 2006 9 PM ENCORE

Holy Father's arrival at Islinger Field and Holy Mass.
Tuesday September 12, 2006 3:30 AM
Tuesday September 12, 2 006 2 PM ENCORE

Meeting with representatives of the academic world in the University of Regensburg.
Tuesday September 12, 2006 11 AM
Tuesday September 12, 2 006 5:30 PM ENCORE

Tuesday September 12, 2006 12:30 PM
Tuesday September 12, 2 006 9 PM ENCORE

Wednesday September 13, 2006 5 AM
Wednesday September 13, 2006 10 PM ENCORE

Holy Father's arrival, ride through downtown Friesing in "papamobile". Visit to the shrine of St. Corbinian in the Freising Mariendowm Cathedral.
Thursday September 14, 2006 4 AM
Thursday September 14, 2 006 10:30 PM ENCORE

Pope Benedict: The Light House

A nice article appeared in the Der Spiegel (Germany) about the Pope and Catholicism in that country.Gerald Augustinus gives us his own English translation of the article. I know there are people in other countries reading this blog and if you are a native of Germany or know the language well, you may want the original article in German.

It starts out like this...

Benedetto the Light House

Pope Benedict XVI is visiting his country and hundreds of thousands between München and Regensburg will cheer him on. This would have been deemed impossible for quite some time. Is Catholicism in Germany about to experience a renaissance ?

It's kind of hard to see, but click on the gold text above to continue reading in English or German. I hope to add underlines to make it more visible. If someone knows how, email me.

Saturday, September 9, 2006

It's Coming: Adult Catechism with Fr. Perrone!

Fr. Perrone, a very pastoral priest, teaches a class on Virtues in "The Virtuous Woman" held, this past spring(click title for the talk itself!) He offered many classes personally last year, including a Latin-Lite.

Well, it's that time of year again! Fr. Perrone will soon be teaching his adult catechism class starting in October (date, day and time, TBD). What is certain is that it will be held at Assumption Grotto. If it is a small class, it is likely to be held in the rectory basement. If it is larger class, it will be in the school "lounge" where all seminars are held.

Who is this class for:

  • Catholics wanting a deeper understanding of the Catechism.

  • Baptized Catholics who have not been confirmed, and wish to do so.

  • Lapsed Catholics looking to increase their faith through understanding

  • Non-Catholics exploring the Catholic faith

  • Parishioners and non-parishioners.

Ages: While it is typically referred to as "Adult Catechism", there were entire families in the class last year. When we got into some morality issues that were a little too "advanced" for them, their parents simply guided them to the hall temporarily. Of adults there, ages ranged from 18 to senior. Last year, we had about 25 people in the class and it was a mix of that list above. Several non-Catholics opted to join the faith at the end of the class which concluded just before Easter-time.

In speaking to Fr. Perrone, the text he is planning to use this year, is the new Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This book was just released in English early this year, and it comes directly from the Holy See, through the USCCB.

The indepth catechism class is done in a methodical and catechetical format using Q & A. It is a great opportunity to have your questions about the Catholic faith answered by a priest for the duration of the course since it is taught fully by the pastor himself! Like his sermons, Fr. Perrone gives us a look at the Catholic faith in its entirety, with Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and he often peppers-in teachings of the Church Fathers.

Cost: None, except the cost of the text, which will be minimal.

I grew up with the kind of CCD that some of us now refer to as "my butterfly and me catechism". I learned how to finger paint, make posters & banners, and sing kum-ba-yah real well. When I joined Assumption Grotto in June 2005 at the age of 43, I learned very quickly that my childhood catechesis was built on a foundation of sand. There was no substance. In Fr. Perrone's catechism class, which met weekly from fall to spring, my faith strengthened as understanding replaced ignorance stemming from that "namby-pamby" catechism. I was able to see just how much I didn't know, and cleared up some misconceptions. It was exciting to go each week as I learned more.

If you know you are interested, calling the rectory now to add your name to a growing list will enable the parish to get a rough count ahead of time. Since it has not been officially announced through the parish bulletin yet, there is also time to think it over. If you have the Compendium that is fine, otherwise, Cathy - who manages our Giftshop - can put in a rough order ahead of time based on interest. I may try to sit in on at least some of the classes again this year.

Click here for the rectory contact information.

You can always contact me (see my profile) for other questions, as well. If I don't have an answer, I can try to get one for you. Keep in mind that if you call or email, details regarding the start date, day of the week, and time remain to be worked out. I will make another post when this information becomes available.