Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Back from Retreat

It was a wonderful retreat, but the hustle and bustle of daily life - especially longer work hours mandated by upcoming engineering release dates - has left me little time for blogging. Perhaps tomorrow.

I would like to bring to your attention the 2007 Opus Angelorum Retreat Schedule. Maybe they are coming to a town near you.

Until then, consider reading these, starting with a post made by Moneybags at A Catholic Life on one of my favorite confession stories - this one involving St. Philip Neri:

Saint Philip Neri once gave a lady who gossiped the following penance:

"Go to the market, buy a chicken, and pluck it on your way back here, scattering the feathers as you walk. When you give me the plucked chicken, I'll tell you the rest of your penance."

The woman was baffled did as she was told. After she handed the plucked chicken to the saint, St. Neri said, "Now that you've spread those feathers about, go pick them up."

"But, Father! It's impossible to know where they've all gone!"

"Just like the words of your gossip," he said.

Other online articles to read:

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sacred Signs by Romano Guardini: Kneeling

Please pray for me and for all participants in the retreat given by Opus Angelorum this weekend in Holly, Michigan. Pray also for the priests who lead us in this retreat that God grace them during this time of spiritual work.

Comments will be open, but I will have "moderation" turned on. Your comments will be visible after I return and have had a chance to ensure nothing lewd has popped into this blog.

I leave you with a continuation of our current series...


from "Sacred Signs" by Romano Guardini, c 1956
via the EWTN online Library

WHEN a man feels proud of himself, he stands erect, draws himself to his full height, throws back his head and shoulders and says with every part of his body, I am bigger and more important than you. But when he is humble he feels his littleness, and lowers his head and shrinks into himself. He abases himself. And the greater the presence in which he stands the more deeply he abases himself; the smaller he becomes in his own eyes.

But when does our littleness so come home to us as when we stand in God's presence? He is the great God, who is today and yesterday, whose years are hundreds and thousands, who fills the
place where we are, the city, the wide world, the measureless space of the starry sky, in whose eyes the universe is less than a particle of dust, all-holy, all-pure, all-righteous, infinitely high. He is so great, I so small, so small that beside him I seem hardly to exist, so wanting am I in worth and substance. One has no need to be told that God's presence is not the place in which to stand on one's dignity. To appear less presumptuous, to be as little and low as we feel, we sink to our knees and thus sacrifice half our height; and to satisfy our hearts still further we bow down our heads, and our diminished stature speaks to God and says, Thou art the great God; I am nothing.

Therefore let not the bending of our knees be a hurried gesture, an empty form. Put meaning into it. To kneel, in the soul's intention, is to bow down before God in deepest reverence.

On entering a church, or in passing before the altar, kneel down all the way without haste or hurry, putting your heart into what you do, and let your whole attitude say, Thou art the great God. It is an act of humility, an act of truth, and everytime you kneel it will do your soul good.

This is probably one of the greatest things we can ponder today: While the invisible God took on the visible form of Man, did Our Lord ever intend the casual, buddy-like, and lukewarm relationship so easy to fall into in these times?

When we enter the church building, we first look for the Tabernacle which houses Him. Once we enter through those doors, like heaven, we should give all of our focus to Him. No other thing or person should command our attention which should be give fully to the Lord when in His house.

Restore a sense of the sacred by just being silent, humble, still and on your knees before His Majesty. When others are talking in Church remain focused. Don't kneel to make a point. Do it out of love for Him without concern for what others are doing, not doing. Don't worry about what others may think as long as your reasons for kneeling are pure.

When the noise in Church is taking it's toll on you, don't be angry. Get on your knees and ask for God's forgiveness, for "they know not what they do". It's only by the grace of God that many of us "get it" and fall into silent prayer in Church. Recall the noise that must have been around our Lord on His way to crucifixion - the conversations, people going about their business, even jeering Him. He never lashed out at them, nor was He angry. Follow the example of Jesus and offer up these sufferings experienced in noisy parishes in reparation for these offenses, and for conversion of those who do not yet understand.

If you are a priest I can tell you that I was deeply impacted by seeing priests visibly in prayer. They weren't showing off or drawing attention to themselves. Rather, they were just praying and, in essence, served as a witness of the Lord in this capacity. Witnessing them in prayer gave me an indication of Whom I should be "visiting" when in Church.

I've often wondered if the noise in our parishes before Mass would cease if our priests came out 15 minutes prior to Mass and simply knelt in prayer without saying a word, especially if the Blessed Sacrament is central. It communicates something: This is God and we should be silent before Him. The Holy Spirit can work through a priest on his knees, especially if he offers this time for the intention of pre-Mass recollection of those in attendance. Here, a priest of Opus Angelorum was on his knees for one hour - a Holy Hour for vocations. This has been going on the first Sunday of every month at Assumption Grotto.

If you have difficulty kneeling for any length of time and do not have physical limitations, know that kneeling each day for as long as you can, eventually conditions you for longer periods. When I first arrived at Assumption Grotto, I could barely kneel 5 minutes on a soft kneeler, let alone on hard floor. I recall breaking out into a sweat in those early days when I first experienced Eucharistic Prayer I - so often used at Assumption Grotto.

In time, and with persistence, I learned a simple lesson. Some of you will recall a movie called Forrest Gump in which the character, after which the movie is named, coins the expression "Stupid is as stupid does". It became one of many popular Gumpisms. Well,.....

Reverent is as reverent does.

Romano Guardini so eloquently captures this simple lesson. Our outward expression of reverence towards the Lord comes from that interior act of reverence. It is not necessary to "feel" reverence. This is a mistake. Feeling reverence in the heart is a pure grace from God. It's not so much what we do when God makes something feel right and good. It's what we do when he takes the "training wheels" off and we are not graced with such good feelings. Do we persist even when he does not give us such a gift? This is true of all prayer, as well as with kneeling.

Never follow feelings; follow faith and reason. Let's humble ourselves on our knees before the Lord.

More on Kneeling

Catholic Encyclopedia Online: Genuflection
Kneeling and Faith in the Eucharist by Regis Scanlon
Theology of Kneeling by Josef Cardinal Ratzinger
Knees to Love Christ by Bishop Thomas Olmstead

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sacred Signs by Romano Guardini: Hands

from "Sacred Signs" by Romano Guardini, c 1956
via the EWTN online Library

EVERY part of the body is an expressive instrument of the soul. The soul does not inhabit the body as a man inhabits a house. It lives and works in each member, each fibre, and reveals itself in the body's every line, contour and movement. But the soul's chief instruments and clearest mirrors are the face and hands.

Of the face this is obviously true. But if you will watch other people (or yourself), you will notice how instantly every slightest feeling,--pleasure, surprise, suspense,--shows in the hand. A quick lifting of the hand or a flicker of the fingers say far more than words. By comparison with a language so natural and expressive the spoken word is clumsy. Next to the face, the part of the body fullest of mind is the hand. It is a hard strong tool for work, a ready weapon of attack and defence,--but also, with its delicate structure and network of innumerable nerves, it is adaptable, flexible, and highly sensitive. It is a skilful workmanlike contrivance for the soul to make herself known by. It is also an organ of receptivity for matter from outside ourselves. For when we clasp the extended hand of a stranger are we not receiving from a foreign source the confidence, pleasure, sympathy or sorrow that his hand conveys?

So it could not but be that in prayer, where the soul has so much to say to, so much to learn from, God, where she gives herself to him and receives him to herself, the hand should take on expressive forms.

When we enter into ourselves and the soul is alone with God, our hands closely interlock, finger clasped in finger, in a gesture of compression and control. It is as if we would prevent the inner current from escaping by conducting it from hand to hand and so back again to God who is within us, holding it there. It is as if we were collecting all our forces in order to keep guard over the hidden God, so that he who is mine and I who am his should be left alone together. Our hands take the same position when some dire need or pain weighs heavily on us and threatens to break out. Hand then locks in hand and the soul struggles with itself until it gets control and grows quiet again.

But when we stand in God's presence in heart-felt reverence and humility, the open hands are laid together palm against palm in sign of steadfast subjection and obedient homage, as if to say that the words we ourselves would speak are in good order, and that we are ready and attentive to hear the words of God. Or it may be a sign of inner surrender. These hands, our weapons of defence, are laid, as it were, tied and bound together between the hands of God.

In moments of jubilant thanksgiving when the soul is entirely open to God with every reserve done away with and every passage of its instrument unstopped, and it flows at the full outwards and upwards, then the hands are uplifted and spread apart with the palms up to let the river of the spirit stream out unhindered and to receive in turn the water for which it thirsts. So too when we long for God and cry out to him.

Finally when sacrifice is called for and we gather together all we are and all we have and offer ourselves to God with full consent, then we lay our arms over our breast and make with them the sign of the cross.

There is greatness and beauty in this language of the hands. The Church tells us that God has given us our hands in order that we may "carry our souls" in them. The Church is fully in earnest in the use she makes of the language of gesture. She speaks through it her inmost mind, and God gives ear to this mode of speaking.

Our hands may also indicate the goods we lack,--our unchecked impulses, our distractions, and other faults. Let us hold them as the Church directs and see to it that there is a real
correspondence between the interior and exterior attitude.

In matters such as this we are on delicate ground. We would prefer not to talk about things of this order. Something within us objects. Let us then avoid all empty and unreal talk and concentrate the more carefully on the actual doing. That is a form of speech by which the plain realities of the body say to God what its soul means and intends.

More on the book, Sacred Signs by Romano Guardini

Romano Guardini also teaches us something else through writings such as this: How to meditate. Notice how he took such a simple thing and continued to expand on it. Such progression can be the fruit of mental prayer, guided by the Holy Spirit.

But, it takes meditative quiet. If you've never tried mental prayer, just sit with your eyes closed, read a little Scripture and when something hits you, just pause and let it work within your soul.

Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. has written on this subject. From his library of writings via The Real Presence website: All My Liberty: Chapter 10 - Vocal and Mental Prayer

Monday, January 22, 2007

January 22 - Day of Penance

Today marks the anniversary of Roe V. Wade. It was the beginning of the slaughter of innocence.

As many of you already know, there is a march in Washington. Last night, EWTN featured the vigil Mass out of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC. I watched this last year and was very moved by the jam-packed church - mostly youth.

Justin Cardinal Rigali gave an excellent sermon. The procession of priests, deacons, bishops and cardinals was very moving in itself. The opening procession took 30 minutes in which traditional Catholic choral hymns were sung. I don't know how many there were, but processing two by two for 30 minutes, it seemed like there was in the hundreds.

If you were at either the vigil Mass or the morning Mass on the 22nd and took photos, send me a couple and I will post them here. Let me know how you want photo credit to be given - either a real name or a pseudoname.

Please pray for the safety of all those in attendance there in Washington. Offer your prayers and intentions this day for the unborn, for their families, for those suffering from past abortions, for reparation, and for people to come to their senses and end this butchery.

See the miracle of life in the recent National Geographic special - In the womb: Multiples. You will find images from the program there.

Visit the Priests for Life website for more pro-life resources and post-abortion assistance.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Healing after Abortion

If you watched the EWTN interview of abortion survivor Gianna Jessen and have ever had an abortion, please know that nothing is beyond God's forgiveness, for those who seek His mercy.

Don't suffer in silence any longer - seek God's mercy!

Project Rachel
Rachel's Vineyard
Silent No More

Abortion Survivor Gianna Jessen on "Life on the Rock" tonite

Gianna Jessen is not just a survivor. She is a survivor of a botched abortion procedure. The procedure left her with disabilities, but not a broken spirit. She, and her incredible story will be on EWTN's Life on the Rock at 8:00PM EST. If you have cable - don't miss it! If you see this too late - not to worry as they will show reruns. Just visit the show's website for upcoming shows each week.

Don't have cable? If you have a faster connection like broadband or cable, you can catch it right on the internet by going to the EWTN website, then go the menu bar at the top and put your cursor over Television, followed by Live TV - English or Spanish. Follow the prompts. If it asks you to save a file, just save it to your desktop and click "open", then give it a few seconds/minutes to load. You can watch any EWTN program this way. If at an internet cafe or library, just plug headphones in.

I will also try to tape it.

Her story is featured many places on the web and I have made a previous post on it with an extraordinary story of what Giana and a politician did in the Colorado Senate (awesome story if you are unaware of it). The politician, Representative Ted Harvey has also been previously on EWTN and on many radio programs, as well.

A website called, Abortion - Tune into the Truth TV has an article on Gianna Jessen

The UK Telegraph also featured her story.

Gianna has a website, which is still not operational, but appears to be coming online in February 2007.

EDIT: Nothing is beyond God's forgivess for those who seek it. If you have had an abortion, please see my next post.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Off Topic: January 07 Ice Storm - Michigan

Like much of the midwest, we were blanketed with a mix of freezing rain, snow and sleet. Fortunatetly, my immediate area seems to have been spared power outages. However, judging by what I see on the news with tens of thousands out of power, we got hit a little lighter than they did in other local communities.

I decided to go out tonite and play with my camera and play around mostly with close-ups.

Frost and chill, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
Ice and snow, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.

(Dn 3:69-70)

These were taken without flash. There were some overhead streetlights just lighting up the ice coatings.

These were taken with flash....

Fr. Perrone on Michigan Catholic Radio

Assumption Grotto's pastor, Fr. Eduard Perrone, was on Michigan Catholic Radio last night at 6:00pm, for 30 minutes. He was being interviewed by Elaine Babbish of The View from the Pew.

WCAR - 1090am, which feature the program, is often not a reachable station to many in the Metro Detroit area because of the weak signal. I was able to get it on internet radio via the Michigan Catholic Radio website.

If you missed it, you have an opportunity to catch it again at 9:30am to 10:00am tomorrow (Tuesday) - unless you work during the day or have school. All you need is a decent internet connection. If listening at the library or an internet cafe, take headphones and plug them in.

Just click on the Listen Live in the upper right hand corner and follow the prompts.

Father addressed many questions and packed an awful lot into a 30 minute timeslot. In fact, they even managed to squeeze in about a 2 minute clip of the men's chant which sounded beautifully over the radio.

Among those topics:
  • Sacred Music (chant, polyphony). Father said that chant uplifts us to prayer. Chant is special because it is prayer. It is rythm, beat and pulse free. There is freedom of movement. He also stated that the modal melodies provide unusual sounds to ears accustomed to modern scales. He also mentioned that the Latin Novus Ordo features choral works that have been around - some of them - for many centuries and it is a wealth of history to draw on.

  • Assumption Grotto's Latin Novus Ordo Liturgy. Not only did Elaine Babish have a chance to attend a weekday Mass, but she came to one of the recent Orchestral Masses and heard the Mass written by Gretchaninoff. As Father pointed out, this was probably on the second time it was ever performed in the United States and there is an unusual story (featured in this post) about how he came across this music. Elaine was impressed with the fact that there is a Latin Novus Ordo mass in the AM during the week (there are actually two - the 7:30am and 8:30am). Both usually feature Gregorian Chant. Father also pointed out that there are no shortages of daily Masses with the 7:00pm Mass in the vernacular yet. They also discussed how people are not left out of participating in the singing of the Mass at Assumption Grotto. He noted, for example, that even at Orchestral Masses when intricate pieces are done, we still sing the Act of Contrition (in Latin), the Our Father (in Latin), and there are other parts that are sung.

  • Reception of Communion via Intinction. Father addressed the issue of Communion after Elaine pointed out that Grotto-goers receive on the tongue at an altar rail. He explained that intinction is a recommended option for delivering the Sacred Species under both kinds. The norms do not permit self-intinction so Our Lord must be received on the tongue. He also explained that people have the option to kneel at the rail, which the vast majority choose to do, with the exception of handicapped and elderly who simply cannot do so.

  • The Charism of Assumption Grotto Parish. Father was asked if the sacred music was the parishes charism. Father Perrone stated that it is only a portion of the parish's charism. Asked what the primary charism was, Father pointed to an emphasis on strong doctrine, with opportunities for frequent seminars and classses (most of which are announced on this blog ahead of time when I know of them). He pointed out that many of these are led and taught by priests. The liturgy itself is also another part of the parish's charism. (I would have added Confession as one of the charism's of our parish. I'm convinced that Grotto is THE confessional of metro Detroit, with some of the best confessors in town)

  • Father's background: He spoke briefly about his becoming a priest and explained his musical background. This was an abbreviated segment of what you can hear via EWTN's audio archives when he was interviewed by Mother Angelica and Deal Hudson back in the late 90's and early 2000's.

  • The parish's 175th Anniversary: Father spoke about the history of the parish going all the way back to 1832. The interviewed went for a good 7-10 minutes into the 175th anniversary which began this January and will be celebrated throughout the year. He pointed out the many religious events and discussed the pilgrimage nature of Assumption Grotto with her outdoor Grotto and religious festivals (while Father didn't say it, I will: When we talk about our feast day it is not marked with carnivals, beer tents and Vegas rooms, but with many Masses, and a multitude of devotions and prayers throughout the day). He also talked about many opportunities to hear speakers at Assumption Grotto throughout the year and in particular made mention of our Fatima devotions which take place on the 13th of month where children do re-enactments of the apparitions. This is followed by a guest-speaking priest and this year they are working at lining up some great talks.

There was much more, but this is the best summary I can give in the little time that I have.

Sacred Signs by Romano Guardini: The Sign of the Cross

As I stated in my introductory post on this topic, I would like to introduce you to the writings of Romano Guardini as seen in the book, Sacred Signs written in 1956. All of this is still applicable today, if not moreso. In an era of indifference, we need to stop and reflect on such things and enlighten others as to how these things can be seen as holy. Some are obvious, some are not.

I am skipping the Translator's Preface, and the book's Introduction, which you can read at the EWTN library: Sacred Signs.

People bow their heads and cross themselves as they are blessed by Fr. Eduard Perrone following Mass on Guadete Sunday 2006

from "Sacred Signs" by Romano Guardini, C 1956
via the EWTN online Library

WHEN we cross ourselves, let it be with a real sign of the cross.
Instead of a small cramped gesture that gives no notion of its
meaning, let us make a large unhurried sign, from forehead to
breast, from shoulder to shoulder, consciously feeling how it
includes the whole of us, our thoughts, our attitudes, our body
and soul, every part of us at once. how it consecrates and
sanctifies us.

It does so because it is the Sign of the universe and the sign of
our redemption. On the cross Christ redeemed mankind. By the
cross he sanctifies man to the last shred and fibre of his being.
We make the sign of the cross before we pray to collect and
compose ourselves and to fix our minds and hearts and wills upon
God. We make it when we finish praying in order that we may hold
fast the gift we have received from God. In temptations we sign
ourselves to be strengthened; in dangers, to be protected. The
cross is signed upon us in blessings in order that the fulness of
God's life may flow into the soul and fructify and sanctify us

Think of these things when you make the sign of the cross. It is
the holiest of all signs. Make a large cross, taking time,
thinking what you do. Let it take in your whole being,--body,
soul, mind, will, thoughts, feelings, your doing and not-doing,--
and by signing it with the cross strengthen and consecrate the
whole in the strength of Christ, in the name of the triune God.

I would like to follow-up with an additional comment on the Sign of the Cross. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) tells us:

275. A bow signifies reverence and honor shown to the persons themselves or to the signs that represent them. There are two kinds of bows: a bow of the head and a bow of the body.

1. A bow of the head is made when the three Divine Persons are named together and at the names of Jesus, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the Saint in whose honor Mass is being celebrated.

This bow of the head should take place any time the three Divine Person's are named together whether in the Mass or not. Many will bow their heads at the beginning of the Gloria Patri when praying a Rosary, for example, even though this is not part of the Mass. Some are also aware enough to bow during sacred songs when the three Divine Person's are named. This was foreign to me until I came to Assumption Grotto where it is common.

I made a photo post on GIRM 275 previously if you would like to learn more.

Sacred Signs by Romano Guardini: Introductory Blogpost
Te Deum Laudamus! Home

Sacred Signs by Romano Guardini: A Blogpost Introduction

A short time after I discovered the beauty of the liturgy as celebrated at Assumption Grotto, I was discussing it with Fr. Titus, one of several Priests of Opus Angelorum who has been in metro Detroit. With my new found interest in the liturgy, he encouraged me to read the writings of Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. In particular he directed me to Spirit of the Liturgy (Ratzinger).

However, there was another author he encouraged me to read - one, I had never heard of. His name was Romano Guardini (1885-1968). Those who have read Ratzinger's Spirit of the Liturgy may recall that his book was based on the book of the same name - Spirit of the Liturgy (Guardini). Cardinal Ratzinger noted in his introduction:
"My purpose here is to assist this renewal of understanding of the Liturgy. Its basic intentions coincide with what Guardini wanted to achieve. The only difference is that I have had to translate what Guardini did at the end of the First World War, in a totally different historical situation, into the context of our present-day questions, hopes and dangers. Like Guardini, I am not attempting to involve myself with scholarly discussion and research. I am simply offering an aid to the understanding of the faith and to the right way to give the faith its central form of expression in the Liturgy."

While some may think of Spirit of the Liturgy when they hear the name Guardini he had many writings, among which is a very short and spiritually delightful booklet called, Sacred Signs. It was originally written and copyrighted in 1956. This book is not readily available. There was one used copy at a third part seller via Amazon.com, but I just snatched it. I had checked before only to come up empty.

However, it happens to be online in many places. One such place is the EWTN library.

In the coming weeks, and in between other posts, I will be bringing to you exerpts from Sacred Signs. Hopefully, you will find it as interesting as I have.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Bishop Trautman: Encouraging Dissent on Translations?

The war over translations used in the liturgy just went up a notch with a speech given at the Catholic Academy of Liturgy on January 4, 2007, by Bishop Trautman, Chairman of the Bishop's Committe on Liturgy for the USCCB who was the keynote speaker.

I'm going to lead you to two, detailed analyses of the speech and the first is by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf of What does the Prayer Really Say? He brings us the press release with Bp. Trautman's comments and gives us his own commentary in typical Fr. Z fashion.

Fr. Z calls out something in the speech that disturbed me days ago when I had read about it. (Fr. Z's commentary in red, and the emphasis is also his):

Bishop Trautman challenged Catholic liturgical scholars of North America to assist the bishops in promoting a liturgy that is accessible and pastorally aware. [Can a liturgy be "aware"? Scary.] He urged them, in a spirit of respect and love for the Church, to be courageous in questioning [dissenting from…] those developments that would render the liturgy incomprehensible and betray the intention of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). [Is this where we mention that the Council wanted LATIN to be retained as the language of the liturgy?]
This is also called out in the commentary I lead you to next....

Anthony Esolen of Touchstone Magazine dissects this issue with precision in a blog affilliated with the magazine called, Mere Comments. If you are unfamiliar with Touchstone, it is a Christian journal which features content that is conservative in doctrine and has an authorship and readership of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox. The post made by Anthony Esolen is entitled, By the Waters of Babylon. Do read it!

Here is one sample from Esolen, first quoting the press release in italics.
Trautman argued that the proposed changes of the people's parts during Mass will confuse the faithful and predicted that the new texts will contribute to a greater number of departures from the Catholic church.

He meaneth, forsooth, an even greater number of departures. You're sinking in quicksand and there's a willow branch over your head. Don't grab hold of it -- it might snap. By the way, let it be noted that solicitude for the feelings of Catholics in the pews was never very high among liturgical innovators, who didn't care at all, say, whether anybody would be confused by revisions of well-known Christmas carols. Then the rubes had to learn their lessons. Call it the post-Vatican II Eat Your Peas ecclesiology.

I want to recall something for newer readers of this blog who may not have seen it. It is a copy of the debate bishops had over ICEL translations in July-August of 2006. What is of particular interest is that which begins with this:

Archbishop Hughes: I would propose a return to the ICEL text in the Creed, which translates consubstantialis “consubstantial”. I am addressing really the same issue in the three amendments: 11, 12 and 13. And I recognize the pastoral reasons that could be offered in support of remaining with the text we have been using: “one in being”.

But “consubstantial” is a very significant term in the history of Christological controversy. It does express a profound truth that I think is important for us to preserve in the liturgical text. And as we return this to the liturgical text, it provides an opportunity for catechesis of our people.

Follow the dialogue at Adoremus to see how many bishops, and which bishops supported the position of Archbishop Hughes in What the Bishops said...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Archbishop Burke in Detroit: Photo Post 8 (Final)

Photograph by Michael Shuster

Archbishop Raymond L. Burke made one other stop in the Detroit area, as well: St. Michael's Media. What is St. Michael's Media? From their website....

Saint Michael's Media is responding to the call for a New Evangelization. Pope Benedict XVI states that “we are searching for . . . a new evangelization, capable of being heard by that world that does not find access to 'classic' evangelization . . . This is why we are obliged to look for new ways of bringing the Gospel to all.”

Modern social communications are “marvels of technology which God has destined human genius to discover” (Inter Mirifica) and can be used for great good as well as great evil. Saint Michael's Media invokes its angelic namesake in its work of employing the mass media for the illumination of souls with the light and truth of Jesus Christ. Saint Michael's Media strives to be part of the Church's work for the New Evangelization by producing high quality Catholic programming which overcomes the darkness of ignorance regarding the teachings of Christ and His Church
I had heard of St. Michael's Media some months ago by parishioners of Grotto, but have not caught them on local television. In fact, I did not realize they were on local television, not local Catholic television.

Michael Voris, the founder, is a former news anchor and is the host of a television show produced by SMM called, "The One True Faith". This show was originally created to counter the errors and misinformation being spread by the poorly developed DaVinci Code. It was also aimed at poorly catechized and fallen away Catholics, but ended up being of interest to a wide array of people, including atheists, agnostics, and protestants.

There is a local listing for metro Detroit with time and station (and a new season beginning January 14th). If you do not live in this area, you can purchase DVDs of the show. There are short clips of some of the broadcasts as samples. There is a section of further reading, as well.

The best news for all of us is that St. Michael's Media produces podcasts.

From their website:

Here in the web department of Saint Michael's Media we have an unofficial mantra; "Taking the Internet back from Satan one byte at a time". Much of our efforts are directed towards the material on this website, but we are also intrested in producing and distributing a number of Podcasts.
Well, God bless 'em. We are on a similar path because I've been saying for the longest time that the internet is a mission territory and there is a vast battle for souls. Consider that a split second, click away from this site or any other Christian site are traps that feed our fallen human nature (concupiscence). I too originally began this website to share truths of the faith with other Catholics only to learn that there is a mixed audience here. It has been a beautiful experience hearing from other Catholics, as well as non-Catholics.

A few final notes: You can support SMM with your donations, sponsorship, and your purchases at their online store, or at the studio when you visit. No apostolate can run without funding to pay light bills and the like.

And, keep up to date by visiting their blog (yeah!).

Photograph by Michael Shuster

Archbishop Burke's Visit

Other Recent Photo Posts:

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Archbishop Burke in Detroit: Photo Post 7

This photo was taken during Exposition on December 30, 2006

While there was something following the bishop's afternoon talk intended for Marian Catechists, the bulk of the day was open to everyone. In his afternoon talk, the Archbishop spoke about Fr. John A. Hardon and the cause for beatification of this priest. The National Catholic Register had an article a few months back entitled, St. John Hardon?

This is always a favorite shot to get, but is also a difficult one because the lighting is variable. Rain was predicted, but we ended up with a beautiful, balmy, sunny day. This is evident by the brightened stained-glass window in the background which faces South and was giving off more light than I anticipated. This photo is ligthened somewhat, but futher lightening bleaches it and clouds it.

I never use flash, especially at such a moment as it distracts those who came to listen. I also never attempt such a thing during Mass because I must kneel right next to the beginning of the altar rail at the North entrance. Clicking on this photo will enlarge it on most computer screens. His ring is visible.

Abp. Burke followed with Benediction.

My next photo post will conclude the visit of Archbishop Raymond L. Burke with another important stop he made in the metro Detroit area.

Archbishop Burke's Visit

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Monday, January 8, 2007

Breaking News: Amniotic Fluid Yields Stem Cells!

From Associated Press via the Boston Herald:

Scientists reported Sunday they had found a plentiful source of stem cells in the fluid that cushions babies in the womb and produced a variety of tissue types from these cells -sidestepping the controversy over destroying embryos for research.

Researchers at Wake Forest University and Harvard University reported the stem cells they drew from amniotic fluid donated by pregnant women hold much the same promise as embryonic stem cells. They reported they were able to extract the stem cells without harm to mother or fetus and turn their discovery into several different tissue cell types, including brain, liver and bone.

This is amazing, and the secular media is going nuts over it.

I'm sure this will be up on the National Catholic Bioethics Center's newspanel soon, as well.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Archbishop Burke in Detroit: Photo Post 6

We continue with Archbishop Raymond L. Burke's visit, in which he joined those in attendance for a brown-bag lunch in the school gym. After he ate, the Archbishop played a new video about the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in LaCrosse, Wisconsin - his former diocese. I am attempting to get a copy of this video, but if someone should find they have uploaded it to YouTube or elsewhere, please email me at TeDeumBlog@aol.com

This shrine is being built with the blessings of Rome and in cooperation with the Ordinary responsible for the original shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.

The shrine's mission is as follows:

The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin, faithful to the message of the Blessed Virgin Mary through her appearances on the American continent in 1531, serves the spiritual needs of those who suffer poverty in body and soul. It is a place of ceaseless prayer for the corporal and spiritual welfare of God's children, especially those in most need. The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in fidelity to its mission as a place of religious pilgrimage:
  • Pays homage to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America and Star of the New Evangelization;
  • honors Our Blessed Mother as the Patroness of the Unborn;
  • is a fitting and efficacious instrument of the New Evangelization;
  • is a place of sacramental encounter with Christ, especially in the Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation;
  • is a place of thanksgiving for God's many blessings, especially at the time of the reception of the Sacraments or at personal milestones;
  • offers solace and strength to the physically and spiritually afflicted;
  • provides a place of rest and renewal for the weary;
  • educates adult Catholics in their faith and its practice;
  • applies to daily life the teachings and guidance of the Catholic Church, especially through the words of Our Holy Father.

On August 4, 2006 Archbishop Burke publicly announced that the Shrine will be dedicated on July 31, 2008. You can see a chronological timeline here.

At the Shrine's website there are many homilies by Archbishop Burke - founder. You can also support the shrine through purchases made at their Online Giftshop.

The Father John A. Hardon Connection

From the What's New page at RealPresence.Org (scroll down):

In 1999, a year before his death, Father John A. Hardon, S.J. visited Most Reverend Raymond L. Burke (then Bishop of La Crosse Diocese) and approved of the Bishop's plan to build a Marian Catechetical Center at the Shrine complex. After Father Hardon's death, Archbishop Burke (St. Louis Diocese) assumed the spiritual directorship of the Father Hardon apostolates of which The Real Presence Association is one and proceeded directly to fulfill his commitment to Father Hardon.
The Marian Catechetical Center will consist of a variety of resources for the study of catechetics, classrooms for instruction in spirituality and doctrine, and facilities for Catholic radio broadcasting. A library, dedicated to the memory of Father Hardon, will contain many of his treasured materials. The Shrine has already received some of his clothing and prayer materials. Other personal library possessions of Father Hardon are intended to be transferred to the Shrine once proper facilities can be constructed. To receive and preserve the original writings of Father Hardon, the Catechetical Center will have a museum-quality archiving room on site.

Time is of the essence in constructing the Catechetical Center. Of primary importance is the need for a center to fully engage the evangelization resources available through the Marian Catechist Apostolate; of equal concern is the degree of risk associated with so many of Father Hardon's works – currently spread across a variety of locations and not yet secured in an environment of preservation.

The Capital Campaign is underway and an estimated $5M is needed for the construction of the Center. Those who benefit from the works of the Father Hardon Apostolates are particularly requested to come forward to assist Archbishop Raymond L. Burke in this worthy endeavor. No amount is considered too small.

Consider donating to this most worthy cause. As previously mentioned, considerations are underway for the cause of sainthood of Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., who spent his finally years at Assumption Grotto parish where many benefitted from his spiritual direction, his prayers, and zeal that made the Energizer Bunny look slow. If you would like to discuss your donation, call the Executive Director, Sister Christa Marie at 608-788-8601. Sister is a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George - provincial house is located in Alton, Illinois. (Hmmm.....these nuns don't seem to have a shortage of vocations either.)

Archbishop Burke's Visit

Other Recent Photo Posts:

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Archbishop Burke in Detroit: Photo Post 5

Assumption Grotto's pastor, Fr. Eduard Perrone, playing the closing hymn in the choir loft: O Come all ye Faithful. His first passion is visibly all that is the priesthood, but his second is music, and in particular, sacred music. Father wears many hats at Assumption Grotto, which includes that of conductor.

Fr. Perrone looks into a mirror on the organ to see where all are at as he plays. I wonder how often he must renew his license to drive.

Clicking on any photo should enlarge it on your screen. A careful look at this photo will reveal that Abp. Burke is blessing the two sisters of the Missionaries of Charity who were in attendance. Only one is seen from behind in the right-hand side of the photo. The sisters have a mission in another part of Detroit, but are often seen at events at Assumption Grotto, in particular solemn things like Corpus Christi (scroll down in the link to see more photos of the Missionaries of Charity).

About 10 minutes after Mass ended, most had headed over to the school gym for lunch, but a few remained behind in thanksgiving. As I left the choir loft and headed along the corridor, something caught my eye: Incense still lurking in the Church, as I so often see and smell, but this time visibly caught in the noon sun's rays as they broke through the stained-glass windows.

No one can accuse us of being cheap with incense at Assumption Grotto! Here's proof-positive!

God-willing, I will bring photos from the lunch tomorrow or in the next couple of days, where Abp Burke discussed the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. I have requested a copy of a video by Archbishop Burke about this shrine, shown to us during lunch. It was an excellent overview of this project - its status, it's aim, and it's needs.

Things have been very difficult in my family throughout these last two weeks. Both my mother and sister are in poor health at the moment and my sister is still in the hospital fighting a post-surgical infection (stemming from successful cancer surgery on Halloween!!!). Any prayers for them would be appreciated. With other obligations, I will be likely taking "blogger breaks" in coming days before continuing with coverage of Archbishop Burke's visit to Detroit to remember Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. I have a beautiful portrait shot of Archbishop Burke during his afternoon talk in the Church during Exposition that will be among the last I share as it was taken at the end of the day.

Link: Catholic Home Study Courses developed by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., S.T.D.

Archbishop Burke's Visit

Other Recent Photo Posts:

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Archbishop Burke in Detroit: Photo Post 4

The stained-glass window in Assumption Grotto of St. John Chrysostom

Next in our day with the Archbishop of St. Louis, we get into the heart of the Mass - the Eucharistic Prayer. Abp. Burke's microphone was not on during this part, so I could not hear which Eucharistic Prayer he was using. All four Eucharistic Prayers are used at Assumption Grotto, but you can count on Eucharistic Prayer 1 on most feast days and solemnities.

Following the most sacred of moments in the Catholic Mass: The elevation of the Body, and the Blood of Jesus Christ.

Christ instituted the sacrifice of the clean oblation in the Last Supper:

"Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood" (St. Luke 22, 19). (source)

This bread and wine would also be a spiritual food, as insinuated by Our Lord’s words to the Jews in St. John 6, 51-60:

"...the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh. The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? So Jesus said to them, Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you...for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink...When many of his disciples heard it, they said, This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?"

Since Pentecost, the Church has in the Mass carried out Christ’s words "Do this in remembrance of me" in Her daily worship:

"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers" (Acts 2, 42);

"Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts" (Acts 2, 46);
"The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?" (1 Cor. 10, 16);
"For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes" (1 Cor. 11, 26);

Archbishop Burke turns to the faithful and presents Our Eucharistic Lord: "Ecce, Angus Dei..."

More Eucharistic References

More Photo Posts of Archbishop Burke's Visit

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Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Archbishop Burke in Detroit: Photo Post 3

The throne in Assumption Grotto's Sanctuary, which is turned sideways, is one of several small factors making Assumption Grotto's Mass more conducive to the contemplative dimension of the Mass. The priest and the people are not making eye-contact during those parts in which he too is seated.

Returning to the Mass which kicked-off the day with Archbishop Raymond L. Burke at Assumption Grotto as head of the Marian Catechists in a day of remembrance for Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.

From Chapter 1 of Turning to the Lord by U.M. Lang (source: Adoremus)

Inter Oecumenici permits the Mass facing the people, but it does not prescribe it. As Louis Bouyer emphasized in 1967, that document does not at all suggest that Mass facing the people is always the preferable form of Eucharistic celebration.6

The rubrics of the renewed Missale Romanum of Pope Paul VI presuppose a common direction of priest and people for the core of the Eucharistic liturgy. This is indicated by the instruction that, at the Orate, fratres, the Pax Domini, the Ecce, Agnus Dei, and the Ritus conclusionis, the priest should turn towards the people.7 This would seem to imply that beforehand priest and people were facing the same direction, that is, towards the altar. At the priest's communion the rubrics say "ad altare versus",8 which would be redundant if the celebrant stood behind the altar facing the people anyway. This reading is confirmed by the directives of the General Instruction, even if they are occasionally at variance with the Ordo Missae.9 The third Editio typica of the renewed Missale Romanum, approved by Pope John Paul II on 10 April 2000 and published in spring 2002, retains these rubrics.10

The Deacon takes the thurible and incenses the Archbishop

Archbishop Burke in the washing of his hands.

Orate Fratres....

Msgr Henry Breier, who accompanied Archbishop Burke, just before handing off the zucchetto (don't call it a beanie!!!)

In the photo below, an altar boy cradles the zucchetto of an apostolic successor during holy Mass - a special moment for one of Grotto's young men. I apologize for not knowing more about that which is draped over his shoulders and extends down to his hands. The Archbishop's mitre is below the zucchetto. I'm sure one of my many readers can give me the name of this in the comment box, and explain it a little more for the rest of us. It is apparent that these things are considered sacred, otherwise, they would not be held so reverently. I don't know if this is common everywhere, but I have only seen this when a bishop celebrates a Mass at Assumption Grotto. If it happened at any of my previous parishes, I simply don't recall - then again, it was during the more indifferent phase of my Catholic life.

More photo posts from Archbishop Burke's visit.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Photo Post: Vigil Mass for the Feast of Mary - Mother of God

A photo taken of the Word of God around 10:50 PM, December 31, 2006

I must break temporarily from the photos of Archbishop Burke's visit in order to post a few photos from the vigil Mass for the Solemnity of Mary - Mother of God. This vigil Mass is a tradition at Assumption Grotto which takes place at 11:00pm, followed by Exposition with Rosary just after Midnight. This included the chanting of the Te Deum and Veni Creator Spiritus, as well as, the O Salutaris and Tantum Ergo so well known at Assumption Grotto with daily adoration and benediction opportunties, as well as each Sunday following the noon Mass. I would estimate 150 - give or take 30, in attendance. Not bad considering how many had gone to regular Sunday Mass, knowing they would return later that evening. Since it fell on a Monday the Mass was not obligatory. With the exception of the Monday night 7:00pm Mass (which was canceled), the usual holy day Mass schedule was followed: 6:30am, 9:30am, and noon.

When Father Perrone has an unprepared sermon, he speaks with his eyes closed. While his sermons are always good, those which are unprepared are often very profound. He probably has his eyes closed through more of the Mass, than he has them opened. This caused me to stir when I first came to Assumption Grotto, and to consider where I should be at all times in the Mass - spiritually opening myself to the contemplative dimension, should the Lord so grant it. That is what makes the Mass at Grotto so special - it is devoid of the kind of stimulii that would pull one from the meditative quiet so conducive to this contemplative dimension.

As the world brought in the New Year with bubbly, we were bringing it in to the sound of urban gunfire as we received the Body and Blood of Christ. The post midnight Rosary - giving the first moments of the New Year to Mary during Eucharistic Exposition, was a most fitting way to begin, as well.

One last shot of the Word of God, taken prior to Mass.

After the Mass, the majority of those in attendance went to a pot-luck meal in the parish hall around 12:30am. It was beautifully decorated for the occassion, but I did not have the right lens on my camera to get a broad shot of it all. But, I can share a few that I did get.

Someone brought a few cans of silly string. While people went around spraying each other with the stuff, everyone wondered if there was a soul brave enough to.......

Rumor has it that there is a parishioner looking for a new parish......

Fortunately for the parishioner, our pastor and his associate were good sports, considering that while the rest of us could sleep away the morning, they would only get a nap before getting up early and doing the remaining Masses for this feast day.

While we celebrated the New Year, we opted not to pop open the champagne until after we had honored the Mother of God on this special day.

Posting of Archbishop Raymond L. Burke's visit to Assumption Grotto will resume tomorrow, as I drink my first cup of coffee in the early morning hours.

A Te Deum FAQ: Why do you make blog posts daily?

Whenever there is a significant liturgical event at Assumption Grotto, I often have far more photos than I can provide in a single post. Rather than continue posting about an event weeks or months after it has ended, I would rather keep them close together so that one may scroll through a given month in the future. While I continue to post them, there is no need to come daily. Rather, feel free to check in once or twice weekly and simply scroll.

After making many photo posts, I will likely go back to making posts a few times weekly. I read other blogs, and make almost all of my posts early in the morning before I head off to morning Mass prior to work. It helps me to wake up!!!