Friday, August 31, 2007

Catholic Culture: Have the Laity been Clericalized?

This is a copy of an email I receive from Jeff Mirus of Catholic Culture - a wonderful website with a wealth of documents, articles, and even Catholic website reviews. Those reviews, which result in a red, yellow or green status, are spot on. They do not give that red status to websites without good reason, such as containing content that is not in accord with Church teaching. Some websites, as you know, have content which is way off base and in our poorly catechized era, it is helpful to look at the specific issues they highlight in such cases.

Jeff notifies us about his column which is up and talks a little about that in his introductory letter. Follow the links accordingly.

Have the Laity Been Clericalized?

I noted with considerable interest the Symposium on Lay Ecclesial Ministry held this month at St. John's College in Minnesota. A featured speaker called the increase in lay ministry one of the most important paradigm shifts in the history of the Church.

Now I'm always on the lookout for the latest paradigm shift, especially when the shift is attributed to Vatican II. So I returned to the documents to read the shift's blueprint, so to speak. But the blueprint and the shift were different.

Perhaps you'll be interested in what I found:

Lay Ecclesial Ministry and the Vatican II Generation

I've posted my column a day early because I have to be out of the office tomorrow. But there are a couple of other items well worth noting. For example, we've just added a speech by Bishop Fabien Bruskewitz of Lincoln on The Development of Doctrine. If you've ever wondered why Bruskewitz is so heartily disliked by Modernists, this will make it very clear.

And I can't resist alerting those of you with small children to a very entertaining web site for Catholic kids called Cat.Chat. Not a bad thing to file away, perhaps, on the long weekend of Summer's last gasp.

Jeff Mirus, President, Trinity Communications

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Mom in Hospital

I would like to request your prayers for my mother, who is back in the hospital. She suffers from anemia and her count was really low. With the holiday weekend coming, I figured it was best to get her in and not wait. She was admitted.

Hopefully, she will be coming home for the weekend.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

St. Augustine

St. Augustine in his Study (1502-8)
by Vittore Carpaccio

One of the most profound reflections by St. Augustine found in his Confessions was this quote. I had begun reading these some months ago, then had to set it aside because I could not read it at lunch time any longer. It's time to dig it out. This particular work is something I highly recommend, especially if you have drifted and wandered in your faith in any way. Augustine shows us how to find our way back to God because chances are, he's been there; done that, with some exceptions. He exemplifies the humility needed by a soul before Our Lord, and conveys an understanding of God's mercy.

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me,but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.

This is also a good time to remind you that Leonardo Defilippis is coming back to the metro Detroit area to put on a one-man performance on St. Augustine in several locations. I'll bring you an updated list when I get an opportunity. Click here for my original post.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Upcoming EWTN special on Motu Proprio

I just wanted to pass this along from EWTN's home page for The World Over Live.

The World Over Live will be taping a program on Pope Benedict XVI's recent motu proprio on the Traditional Roman Mass, Summorum Pontificum. Our guests will be bishops and canon law experts who will be able to answer your questions on this very important document that restores the use of the pre-Vatican II liturgy (1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII). Email us your questions now to .........." [link to a form to fill out a question has been removed but if you go to EWTN you can fill out your question right there outside of sending an email]

The taping will occur on Thursday, August 30. It will air on the September 14, 2007 World Over Live.

Quick! Get your questions in while you still can - there's only a few days left.

I will be busy at assisting at Assumption Grotto's first Traditional Roman Mass that evening, but will set my tape to record it. I'm sure it will be rebroadcast many times too.

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Get Your "Passport" Ready for Heaven, Says Pope

From, with emphases mine:

Stamp It With Works That Show Friendship With Christ

VATICAN CITY, AUG. 26, 2007 ( Heaven is an equal-opportunity destination, but to gain entry one needs a "passport" stamped with virtues such as humility, mercy and truth, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope said this today in a reflection he gave on the "narrow gate," before reciting the midday Angelus with several thousand people gathered in the courtyard of the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo.

The Pontiff asked: "What is meant by this 'narrow gate'? Why is it that many people do not succeed in entering through it? Is it perhaps a passage that is reserved only for a few elect?"

The Holy Father said that the message of Christ is that everybody has an equal chance of entering through the narrow gate, "but it is 'narrow' because it is demanding, it requires commitment, self-denial and mortification of one's own egoism."

Christ invites all to heaven, he said, "but with one and the same condition: that of making the effort to follow him and imitate him, taking up one's cross, as he did, and dedicating one's life to the service of our brothers."

Benedict XVI makes the point that "we will not be judged on the basis of presumed privileges, but by our works."

"True friendship with Christ," he added, "is expressed by one's way of life: it is expressed by goodness of heart, with humility, meekness and mercy, love of justice and truth, sincere and honest commitment to peace and reconciliation."

The Pope adds, "This, we might say, is the 'I.D. card' that qualifies us as authentic 'friends'; this is the 'passport' that permits us to enter into eternal life."

Before I begin a rather indepth commentary, I wish to provide a disclaimer. I am single and don't have children. Some of this comes from how I was raised and in seeing the sacrifices my mom and dad made in their lives. I see some of those same values in Grotto families and wish to expand on them more here because Pope Benedict has opened the door for the topic.

Mortification? Didn't Vatican II do away with that?

The very points the Holy Father makes in this article on yesterday's Gospel reading are points which have me glued to Assumption Grotto. I can't recall hearing about things like mortification and self-denial in the many years I spent outside of this fine parish and I credit the priests for having the courage to discuss what has become undiscussible. No. Vatican II never did away with concepts of mortification, self-denial, and sacrifice, but it is terminology missing from many puplits today. Yet, are these not the very things needed to serve brother and sister? And, such service is a fruit of our relationship with God, Whom is Love.



When we think of service, we often think of serving those on the streets or the homeless - a very noble thing to be involved with. However, something I noticed as an "outsider" when I first discovered Assumption Grotto in 2005 is the charity visible in many families - the first place we should mirror the love of Christ. When I observed many families who are visibly open to every life that God sends them - whether just one, or 8 or 17, I could see the self-denial of mothers caring for their brood with joy. These mothers don't belong to bowling leagues, they don't get a day to spend a chunk of money at the mall and they don't get to have a $3.00 capuccino on a daily basis.

The families themselves make sacrifices by accepting all that comes with stay-at-home moms, many of whom are well-educated or well-skilled professionals who happily give up the bigger house and material things for an opportunity to raise their own children. The children don't get all of the latest electronic gadgets, the designer clothes, and other vanity-building material goods, but they learn how to temper wants and to distinguish those wants from needs.

I remember as a child being jealous because the neighbors got to go to McDonald's more often. I didn't see the sacrifice my mother was making in putting hours into a much cheaper and much more wholesome homemade meal. Mom's who make sacrifices know that the family can eat for days on the same amount it costs to eat just once at a fast-food restaurant. And, they can be made with less fat, less sodium, and much more nutritious - something we should want for those we love.

In some cases, mom's must make the sacrifice of working because of debt not associated with too many material goods. My mother wanted very badly to be a stay-at-home mom, but had to go to work when medical bills exceeded what my dad's income could handle. He had been hospitalized for a year with pancreatic tumors and nearly died. When, by the grace of God he got better, mom had to go to work. But, I now see the graces associated with it by the slack me and my siblings had to pick up. We had to play a greater role in helping out around the house. The key difference is in why two spouses must work. Is it to support "wants", or "needs"?

Perhaps we need to do an examination of conscience on what "needs" really are before we can truly answer that question for ourselves.


Dad doesn't get to join an endless number of sports leagues or watch his favorite sports. Some of the best dads I know love to watch football, basketball, or baseball, but deny themselves this without complaining to spend precious Sunday time with the family and kids. They recognize the need for this, given how little time they see them while at work. My dad knew how to cook and wash clothes - something he learned to do out of love for my mother who needed an occasional break. In some cases, fathers are so busy with their first responsibility - providing for the family and spending time with them - that it is not even practical for them to participate in any of the fine apostolates we have at our parish. This itself is a sacrifice, which at times, is the right sacrifice, if it interferes with job-1: the family.


I have known people - men and women - who for the sake of involvement in a parish, allow their marriage to fall apart when they don't temper the time spent in those activities. This is not self-denial, but a misguided application of serving the Lord. In these cases, the sacrifice should have been made by spending less time at the parish. Spouses should also consider the sacrifice of allowing each other a little time away in activities that will build virtue and enhance the spiritual life so it is a sacrifice to "let go" of a spouse. For those who do have a little spare time, it becomes a sacrifice to join organizations like the Knights of Columbus where self-denial comes in the form of spending a Sunday afternoon or weekday evening helping at a parish function or charity event, rather than watching a football game. The Knights give up every Tuesday night to run a bingo at St. Sharbel's parish hall in Warren. Do we make the sacrifice when we can to go and support them in this fund-raiser for the parish, if we can spare the money?


Children need opportunities to make small sacrifices and I see this at Grotto too. Siblings care for siblings in order to give mom a break. They help with work around the house to lessen the load on mom and dad, while picking up useful skills and mortifying that endless appetite to be entertained and to just hang-out - a past time not without spiritual dangers. I've known parents who wash their children's clothes all the way up to and through college. I am amazed to see a young adult - male or female - who has no idea how to put on a load of clothes to wash. There is a temptation to do it all for the kids without realizing the greater sacrifice is in teaching them skills they will need for life, while occupying idle time. Kids as young as 10 or 11 are capable of learning to wash and fold a load of towels if properly taught. This enables them to share in making sacrifices and to learn how to mortify the apetite to serve only the "I", and no one else - a problem so visible in society today.


Charity and self-denial don't end with immediate family. There are needy siblings, elderly parents and grandparents who provide all of us with opportunities to practice mortification. That is, the opportunity to do not what we want, but what God places in our path. I just heard on Catholic radio that nursing homes are overflowing with elderly people whom no one visits. Many of these are alzheimers patients who may not recognize us, but nonetheless still need t be loved. Whatever their favorite dish, they will undoubtedly still enjoy those old familiar tastes regardless of their ability to remember.

Visiting a relative with alzheimers or dementia provides us with a great opportunity to practice charity without getting nothing in return. Anything we may do for them may be forgotten only a few seconds later. In some cases, older people need to be in nursing homes if they are a danger to themselves or others, or if their needs are such that physically we cannot care for them. But, how many are willing to make the sacrifice of taking in an elderly parent or in-law who truly doesn't need a nursing home? What must we give up, but time to the service of others in such a case? This time could be spent watching TV, surfing the net, playing sports, or working excessively in order to keep up with the many non-essential material goods that have no role in our getting through the narrow gate.


It's only by the grace of God that we have the work to sustain our lives, a roof over our heads, the food on our table and the clothes on our backs. All it takes is one event out of our control to all fade quickly. While God provides for the needs of the birds and the fish, he depends on us to be the instruments by which this gets done for our needy neighbors. God's love is manifest in the love we give to them in their time of need, while providing opportunities of self-denial and mortifcation for us.

If we have done our best to give up the non-essentials in life, then the children have a good start in witnessning what it means to die to self. But, it's not enough to start and end with the family. Rather, families need to spend some of that time to do no-cost activities in the form of service. It could be at a prayer vigil outside of an abortion clinic, or in taking used items to a crisis pregnancy center, such as Imago Dei. It could be in taking food and clothing to homeless shelters and food pantries. Taking the kids to the nursing home and hospital is also a must if they are to learn by example.

When we follow through with the kind of self-denial, mortification, humility and charity about which our Holy Father speaks, we have begun the trek through the narrow gate.


In closing, I would like to point to St. Monica as an example. She could have used her spare time to do so many other things, but she chose to make the sacrifice of using time to pray for her beloved son, St. Augustine.

While we can use some of our spare time to rest watching TV or doing other things, why not rest in prayer for at least 15 minutes daily for the benefit of our family members and friends.

May we learn from St. Monica how to work and hope for the salvation of all those we know and come into contact with, especially family members.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fr. Perrone Comments Further on Tridentine Preparation at Grotto

I want to pull out of the Grotto bulletin PDF listed in the post below for August 26th, this week's comment by Fr. Perrone. He is planning on writing something each week about preparation and celebration of the Old Mass and I'll bring those words to you here since the PDF will not remain on the web indefinitely. I have added white space for easier reading.

In my spare moments I have been
orchestrating the music for the musical
play, Palla Eius. I have therefore not
been devoting those extra hours to a
needed and careful study of the
Tridentine Mass.

However, I have perused, in casual fashion,
some books which contain detailed instructions
for the priest and the altar servers on how to
celebrate correctly the older form of the
Mass. You would not believe the degree
of complexity specified in such manuals
(often called ceremonials).

But just so that you get some appreciation of
how exacting the so-called Tridentine Mass is
over details of how the celebration
should be conducted, I offer you here a
snippet from these directives. Take, for
example, this randomly picked passage:

“Placing his left hand in the usual
manner on the node of the chalice, and
still holding the Fragment of the Host in
his right hand over the cup, the priest
says aloud Per omnia sæcula
sæculorum... Then, moving his hand and
forearm quietly, he makes with the
Sacred Particle three crosses over the
mouth of the chalice, moving the Particle
from edge to edge, but without touching
the chalice. He makes the first cross
while saying aloud Pax Domini, the
second at the words sit semper, and the
third at vobiscum. dividing these words
as the text of the Canon indicates. When
the server has replied Et cum spiritu tuo,
and not sooner, the celebrant drops the
Sacred Particle into the Precious Blood,
saying silently Hæc commixtio, etc. At
the Holy Name he bows his head.”

Note that the book from which this brief
excerpt is taken runs to over 600 pages!
I quote this to you for a few reasons. I
want you to appreciate the exactness with
which the Church used to expect her
priests to celebrate the sacred liturgy. Not
a single movement was left to chance,
even though there were a few alternative
ways of doing certain gestures.

The next thing I want you to ponder is, by
contrast with the foregoing, in how slipshod
and cavalier manner the new form of Mass is
sometimes celebrated. Although the
revised rite of Mass does not demand the
precise uniformity of the old, departure
from prescribed directives (called rubrics)
in the new Mass is forbidden and often
shocks the religious sensibilities of the

Another thing to notice is that,
even in this brief quotation from a
handbook on the liturgy, words such as
Particle (referring to the Host after it has
been broken by the priest), Fragment are all
capitalized. This is a far cry from our current
vernacular usage in liturgical books and reflects
the desacralizing that has been going on for the
last 45 years. This is also evident in the
current orthography in Sacred Scripture
and in liturgical books by which pronouns
that refer to the Divine Name are in small
case (thus ‘he’ and ‘him’ instead of ‘He’
and ‘Him’. (Faithful readers, kindly note
that your pastor long ago reverted to the
older and more reverential practice of
capitalizing such words, as also ‘She’ and
‘Her’ when they refer to Our Lady.)

I wrote that I would say something about
the Tridentine Mass every week in
preparation for September 14’s 7:00 p.m.
Mass, the first day the Pope has given
permission to celebrate it. I hope that our
execution of the ceremonial will approach
some measure of the perfection which the
old rite expected of its sacred ministers.

For this, let us pray.

Fr. Perrone

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

August 25 News and Blogpost Roundup

I have been incredibly short on time of late and my house is now showing it. I have much work to catch up on, but would like to point you to some news, and to some blogposts worth reading. Hopefully, this will keep my readers busy for a time. I have more photos to bring you, and more photo videos to make. However, routine housework, bill-paying and other tasks must take place first.


August 27, and 28th bring us the feast days of St. Monica and St. Augustine respectively.

Feast days of St. Monica and St. AugustineOn Monday and Tuesday of this week, August 27 and 28, we give thanks to God and Holy Mother Church, for our holy patrons, Sts. Monica and Augustine. Please remember to invoke their special intercession for the return of our loved ones and all lapsed Catholics back to the practice of the faith, and for conversions to the Catholic Faith:The next monthly St. Monica Sodality Mass will be on First Saturday, September 1, at 4 pm. Please join in the recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, Rosary, and St. Monica Prayer beginning at 3:15pm, followed by the Holy Mass at 4pm. For more information, call 313-885-6910.
Scroll down on this page for the prayers to St. Monica and prayers of the Triduum.


First, I just want to re-iterate, that the moving video slideshow on the Anointing of the Sick and powerful Benediction scene also included, has been moved to GodTube - a "morally correct" version of YouTube. Author Amy Welborn (De-Coding Da Vinci), at her new blogsite, was kind enough to give the video some publicity and I thank her for that.


In this PDF at, Fr. Perrone discusses the following:
  • Parish Picnic - this Sunday at Grotto
  • More comments on upcoming Tridentine at Grotto
  • Fr. Perrone speaks on St. Monica Sodality

(A blogpost with this column will be made if the PDF disappears. Please email me at if the link is no longer working)


Something noteworthy is that I accepted an invitation recently to participate in a wonderful blog for which there are many contributors called the Mount Carmel Catholic Bloggers. I've been too swamped to add anything just yet. Please visit this blog on a regular basis to read the many fine spiritual articles available by ordinary Catholics.






Envoy Magazine is back and you can get a free trial copy, along with Patrick Madrid's great book "Search and Rescue". This is a fantastic Catholic apologetics magazine which was on hiatus for a few years and now returns to us with the help of Belmont Abbey College. Read more here on Envoy's return and free copy.

Folks, some of the finest orthodox backers are involved in some capacity. Included on the Board of Advisors are Bishop Robert Baker - the new bishop of Birmingham (home diocese of EWTN), Bishop Robert J. Carlson of Saginaw, and Archbishop Chaput. Among the well-known contributors are Fr. Andrew Apostoli, Steve Ray, and Tim Staples

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Can Spouses use Sacramental Confession Jointly?

This in from Ed Peters:

The practice of spouses jointly celebrating the sacrament of confession recently garnered support from Catholic News Service veteran columnist Fr. John Deitzen. Provided that couples "approve and consider it helpful for their marriage", Deitzen holds that spouses may confess their sins in each other's presence and receive absolution. He notes only that each spouse would be bound by the seal of confession in regard to what he or she learned about the other.

I believe, however, that there are formidable canonical and practical objections to joint sacramental confession, and I set them out for consideration.

.....continue reading at, In Light of the Law

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Anointing & Benediction Video Moved to

EDIT: GodTube seems to be down at the moment (perhaps they too have been hit by storms).

With a violent storm approaching I have only a moment to pass along that I have done some adjustments, added two photos to the video slideshow on the Anointing and Benediction on August 15th, 2007, and have moved it to GodTube was working today.

It is no longer on YouTube so any links to that will be broken. YouTube did not provide any way to filter out what kind of content gets advertised next to my video. Unfortunately, some very unholy videos were made with keywords we typically assocate with holy things. This made their program think I would want those video's shown next to my video as "related". Not!

I understand some people were very upset by what they saw, and I cannot blame them. With Cardinal Rigali, the Filippino Bishops Conference, and other priests & bishops making use of YouTube, I did not see why we couldn't do so too. Fortunately for them, I don't see the kind of vile titles showing up next to their videos. I was unable to find a way to regulate this within YouTube, and was turned off by something else: Very foul language in the comment sections of ordinary videos like one of Hurrican Dean from space. There is software technology they can use to prevent these typed words from showing up, or the software can jumble them. Many sites will suspend or ban people who repeatedly try to use foul language. YouTube appears out of control as much of what I experienced shocked me and there was nothing I could do about any of it, but leave, which I did.

The software at GodTube even thought the name of our parish - Assumption - was a bad word (presumably because of the first three letters). It was being displayed as, !^&#xum;ption . I had to use hyphens between the first few characters in order to get the name of our parish in the description.

Original post still contains an embedded video, but it is now via GodTube. I would be interested to know if anyone seeing it now senses the quality is far better than it was with YouTube. It loaded better, and the pictures were clearer. For those who seen the previous version, I would like to know what you see on quality.

I want to encourage other Catholics to make use of There is a channel for the Catholic Church. We may get some exposure to people of other faiths, but the moral trash should not be an issue. I have turned comments off so that those who do not understand our faith cannot lead weakly catechized Catholics astray.

Without further delay, and because the lightening is as intense as I have seen, this video replaces the previous. Please email me at if there are any further issues.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Queenship of Mary

Today is the Queenship of Mary. I had hoped to begin my series on the Blessed Mother - starting with Mother of God and the Queenship, but just hadn't gotten enough study time in. When I do get thoroughly read up, I will begin the series.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Grotto Video: Anointing & Benediction on Assumption Day

EDIT 8-23-2007: Video has been pulled from YouTube and has been uploaded to GodTube where we hope siteowners ensure we aren't led into exposure to videos that are displeasing to God. There was no way to block or control which videos were being "advertised" next to mine and some of them were quite inappropriate.

This is the first in a series of slide-show videos that I hope to bring you on Assumption Day 2007 at Assumption Grotto. This is not something I can do with frequency as it is highly labor and time intensive and it will be a week or two before I try to complete another segment.

I originally intended to put this up on - a service similar to, but without the trash. However, their upload service was down and I had no idea how long it would take to be available. I plan to eventually move there. Lesson Learned: Wait next time.

This roughly 3 minute video was not intended to be my first production. It was part of a longer, 6 minute clip which some of you seen when I brought my laptop to Grotto. This segment, which features the Sacrament of the Sick and Benediction which took place in the afternoon on August 15, 2007. It was so moving and so beautiful, it deserved to be pulled out so that it could stand alone.

May it be a testimony for the Sacrament of the Sick, for Benediction and most of all, for our Eucharistic Lord. I wanted to capture this sacrament and the mercy and compassion with which it is given. The faces of the priests tell the story. I merely captured it.

I owe it all to the Blessed Mother and the holy angels who made everything fall right into place. The royalty-free music you will hear fell beautifully over the piece, with only minor adjustments needed here and there in timing.

I highly recommend hitting the pause button right after you click twice in the window to start it. Let the video load first (you'll see the red bar struggling along). When it is loaded, then press the play button and it will not be interrupted. Try to use the sound as it really boosts the overall quality of the piece.


It was brought to my attention that people may mistakenly believe this was one of those communal type anointing services where everyone and their uncle gets anointed casually. Those of you who know Fr. Perrone and Assumption Grotto know this kind of thing would never happen.

At Assumption Grotto on August 15th - our feast day - the priests, lots of them, offer sacramental Confession before the Anointing of the Sick. It is announced over the PA by Fr. Perrone - the conditions for receiving this sacrament, one of which is to be in the state of grace. One cannot use the Sacrament in lieu of confession, if one is capable of confessing. It's different for someone who is comatose and dying. The person cannot confess.

Fr. Perrone listed several other conditions. Bottom line is that because you have an annoying hang-nail, you don't need to have the Sacrament of the Sick. But, if you are very elderly and frail, then you could meet criteria.

Bloggers, by all means, embed this video and give it exposure if you are so compelled after viewing it. The (updated) embed code for your html page can be found here. For those emailing, please send a direct link to this blogpost rather than the homepage. It can be found by clicking on the time-stamp at the bottom of the post and copying the URL.

Feedback in my combox, or at YouTube is welcome. Both are on moderation.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Fr. Perrone: Tridentine Mass at Grotto starting on Feast of Holy Cross

Grotto's pastor, Fr. Eduard Perrone gave parishioners some indication of what will happen with regards to the motu proprio on the old form of the Latin Mass, in this week's bulletin.

I had said that I would be writing a little each week about the TRIDENTINE MASS. Here I would like to remind you and to inform for the first time our more recent parishioners, that our parish had twice in recent years signed petitions to Cardinal Maida requesting permission for the Tridentine Mass to be celebrated here. And twice the permission was refused. No doubt his Eminence had reasons of his own for this and I do not question his judgment. He has the grace of office and must direct the affairs of the archdiocese according to his own counsel.

Now, however, that the Holy Father has manifested his will that the Tridentine form of the Roman Rite be granted greater availability, we will avail ourselves of his graciousness and begin to celebrate the older form of the Latin Mass here regularly. My plan is to offer the fullest expression of the splendor of the old Mass, the ‘Solemn High Mass,’ on the very first day of its permitted return, September 14, the Feast of the Holy Cross, for the 7:00 p.m. Mass. Thereafter our Sunday 9:30 Mass will ordinarily be a Tridentine High Mass. This practice will be evaluated in the weeks following and your comments–surely ever charitable–will be thoughtfully received. It will take some time, however, for us to get used to this manner of celebration, although I dare say that for Grotto parishioners it will be an easy transition.

In talking with Fr. Perrone at the conclusion of Assumption Day, I can say that he is geared up to train the altar boys, who are now in the process of memorizing some things. This will be a learning process and will take the entire crew of people involved, time to learn very well. Practice makes perfect.

Just today I was thinking that with so many boys in our program, there will also be other things to work out with scheduling since there can only be one such Mass on Sundays, and a limit on servers. Father may need to train a crack-crew before others can join in and I pray that all will be patient and flexible in this regard.

I plan on assisting at this Mass and have asked Father for permission to take photos, and perhaps video. I have only experienced the old form of the Latin Mass once, and from own perspective, I felt that it was a contemplative's Mass. The language in the 62 Missal along with prayers (through translations) that I've never heard before, were so beautiful and so worthy of the God I was there to worship that I became quite excited over the motu proprio.

I know many at the parish who are bursting with excitement at the opportunity to experience it in our home. I also have met some who don't particularly care for it and for them, I am glad that the other Masses will be unaffected. The Novus Ordo at Grotto will always be reverent and majestic. Our Lord will be as joyful at those who lift their hearts in worship at both forms of the Mass in our parish.


I have been reflecting so much on this of late, digging back all the way to my early teen years.

I am 45 now. But I actually purchased a Latin Grammar book when I was 16 and attempted to teach myself Latin. I truly loved the language that I had only heard in Christmas songs, like Adeste Fidelis, and yearned to know it. That yearning is still there. But, now it comes with a desire to read The Confessions of St. Augustine in Latin.

As a young child I recall the disappointment that the "good old songs" were being replaced by contemporary songs. I yearned for those hymns that I now sing regularly at Grotto. I yearned for chant and was always intrigued by it, and sacred polyphony. I was a closet-choir fan all of my life, but actually caved in and played instruments at folk masses. I would have jumped at the chance to be in the choir all those years - the choir that was shown the door by the newer "music ministers" I now call "choir-killers".

I actually have recollections of the Lefebvre break and later, Ecclesia Dei. I was so far removed from it, yet what little I knew, i recall wondering secretely if I could ever experience the old Mass. I remember the disappointment at the realization that only few would get that opportunity because traveling great distances was not possible for me on Sundays.

I have longed for a sense of the sacred, while allowing myself to become like a wild animal just subsisting on what would come my way. Worship was as casual of a thing as going to the mall, as was evidenced by my irreverence, my coming late and leaving early, and by being nothing more than a body in the pew.

I yearned terribly for hard-hitting homilies that would jar me from my complacency and sinfulness, yet week after week, year after year, the homilies were becoming more banal. I yearned to know the faith deeply, but could never find what the Church truly taught - or at least, could not get past the confusion of vocal theologians. All I had was "My Butterfly and Me" catechism.

My wild-side resisted the sacredness of Assumption Grotto's Latin Novus Ordo at first, but in such a short time, those old yearnings found their way to the surface where I was able to truly worship God fully.

Now, the Latin Novus Ordo at Grotto had many of these things. But it now seems to have been a stepping stone to the old Mass.

I have no doubts from Whom those yearnings were prompted. How else does someone born in 1962 have them throughout a lifetime after never having been exposed to these things?

Summorum Pontificum, in my view, is an affirmation to me, that the Holy Spirit was front-and-center in all that I yearned. Now, it feels it is about to be complete. Someday, I hope to cap it off by learning Latin once and for all.

Deo Gratias!

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

May our prayers rise to God like the sweet smell of incense

This sequence of photos was captured during the 9:30am Latin Novus Ordo on August 15, 2007. I had not intended it to work out the way it did. I was originally intending to get one nice shot out of the lot not realizing it was perfect for a slow motion "movie".

I have worked this into the slideshow video that is nearly complete now. I have more work to do on it before I can put it out there and there are some people I need to speak with. Once I have this done, I would like to upload it for viewing. Then after the second half is done - the evening Mass & procession - I'll upload that and make a combination DVD of the two halves for those who want them. I am looking at having a viewing in the parish lounge following the 9:30 and Noon masses one Sunday because of the many who don't have or use computers. It also gives me an opportunity to hear from a broader audience which includes those who are not regular visitors to the blog.


One thing I am wrestling with is the audio. The first 4 minutes of the now 6 minute video slideshow is the same tune looping. I would like to try to work something else in there to break up the cycle.

The work on the video slideshow has been labor intensive, primarily because of the learning curve involved with the Studio Pinnacle software I'm using.

One question I am still struggling with is whether I made a mistake when I chose lower resolution upon importing the pics into Studio. Will this be clear enough for the web. When I enlarge it on screen, it is fuzzy. I had hoped to produce something you could watch on full screen. Does anyone know if I can change this after the fact? You can comment here or email me at

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Coach needed to help me build slideshow video

UPDATE 2: Success! I've been working for 14 hours straight and finally have 3/4 of a production made on the first part of the day. I want to separate the evening Mass and put it into it's own video slideshow. That is when pics taken in the evening will be shown.

Right now I'm struggling with audio, but have one part of it locked in quite well through the Anointing of the Sick and Benediction. All I can say is that my Guardian Angel must be making things fall into place. I popped the soundtrack into the segment I wanted, not knowing if it was the right length or how the pics would fall with the changing tones and BAM - it just kind of happened with only a little tweaking needed. I have no idea what I'm doing, but it's going together. I think I'll go to bed now *yawn*.

UPDATE: Well, it's approaching 5 hours now since I began to install Studio Pinnacle and it appears I may be on my way. Apparently, what appeared to be a botched installation was actually successful. But, I may find otherwise at some point in the process.

Thanks to all who responded so quickly.


Some have been asking where the pictures are from Assumption Day at Assumption Grotto, recognizing that by this time I would have posted more.

Truth of the matter is that it is very labor intensive and time-consuming to make 23 photo posts as I did last year, and that method takes up server space here or at another location I store them. I want to make a video slide-show and set it to music. I hope to then post it on a place like, which is a Christian website spinoff of YouTube.

I have Studio Pinnacle 11.0 Ultimate which can do this, but I'm having installation problems and losing my vacation day (planned for this purpose) to technical difficulties.

Are there other options out there?

I basically want to set it to music AND be able to transition the timing of the slides to match the music. Is there anything free that I can use which will do this?

If I get Studio Pinnacle up and running I may want someone to consult with on that if any of my readers know how to use it, specifically version 11. I bought it to work with video I've been capturing, but also know it can be used for creating slideshows.

Email me at if you are willing to help me via email. I need a coach or two.

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Assumption Day 2007: Photo Post 2

Yesterday I showed the beautiful chasuble in use on Assumption Day. Today, you get a gimpse of the matching altar dressing in use, as well. It still takes my breath away to see it in person each time it comes out. It conveys the majesty of the day.

More talk on vocation boom in traditional women's orders

Gerald over at the Cafeteria is Closed has an excellent post up on a topic I spoke about here some time ago. There are two councils of women's religious orders. Those affiliated with the CMSWR - Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious are in growth mode with a young average age, and those affiliated with the Leadership Council of Women Religious have stalled and are dying out with a much older average age.

Click here for Gerald's first blogpost on this topic

My original blogpost on this topic

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Photo Post 1: A Glorious Assumption Day at Assumption Grotto

Myself and Jeff Williams each have much work to do in preparing photos we took for use, but I can provide you with a glimpse of early-day pics I took at Assumption Grotto from yesterday. I have not even looked at the evening Mass pics because those are in a league of their own. As always, clicking on a pick normally results in a much larger view.

The old, majestic Assumption chasuble, reserved for use primarily on Assumption Day, awaits the priest who will wear it at the 9:30am Mass. It was used at all four Masses by the main celebrant of the 6:30am, 9:30am, Noon, and 7:00pm Mass

A priest of Opus Angelorum during Elevation at the 9:30am Latin Novus Ordo.

Another priest of Opus Angelorum, wearing the Assumption chasuble, waits with altar boys at the opening to the grotto cemetery for the Noon Mass to begin. Standing next to him is Fr. Perrone. Petitions people brought with them, to be included in the evening Mass, were dropped into the box to the right of the priest.

One of our Assumption Grotto Knights of Columbus, Lenny, holds the microphone for a little girl during the Living Rosary in the early afternoon. It took place during adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, seen in the background within the grotto sanctuary. This style of Living Rosary is where people volunteer one-by-one (rotating) to recite the first half of each Hail Mary while those in attendance pray the other half.

Fr. Perrone heads back to the grotto sanctuary following the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.

Grotto's pastor, Fr. Eduard Perrone, during Benediction following Anointing of the Sick in the afternoon. The look of absolute serenity on his face as he holds Our Lord in the monstrance gives witness to the Real Presence.

I must get to work now so that I can bring you more.

Deo Gratias!

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Corks were exploding off of champagne bottles yesterday at EWTN.

Bishop Rober Baker of Charleston has been named the new bishop of Birmingham, Alabama - the home of EWTN.

This is going to be good folks! This is a bishop who invited nuns to his diocese from the Mary, Mother of the Eucharist Dominican order here in nearby Ann Arbor.

American Papist has some links

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Solemnity: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

It is the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - a holy day of obligation for Catholics. Please, go to Mass today and if you are local, come to Assumption Grotto.

Details are here.

Shuttle service is from St. Veronica's this year.

Catholic Answers Article: How to Argue for Mary's Assumption

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Priest at 90 talks on 90th Anniversary of 4th Apparition of Fatima

Fr. Val Rykowski and Grotto's pastor, Fr. Eduard Perrone

August 13th marked the 90th anniversary of the 4th apparition of Fatima. It just so happens that a local, 90 year old priest would be there to share the day with us.


Those were the words repeated often by Fr. Val during his visit to Assumption Grotto last night. But, when this priest says God loves you, it is not only a message of mercy, but one in which he gently admonishes us to love God back.

I have already been aware of Fr. Val Rykowski's popularity among Grotto people, parishioners of nearby Sts Cyril & Methodius in Sterling Heights where he is in residence, and Catholics from other parishes in southeast Michigan. However, I have something else to gauge it by: Requests for photos and video of the day. Unfortunately, there are few photos, but I am hoping some others who took pictures can supply me with a few to share with you. I should also be able to get some pics from the video itself, but the quality may not be there.

I only got a few shots off because I was busy doing something else: Shooting video of the day for Grotto archives. Seeing the video camera rolling throughout the evening - with Father's permission - brought a number of requests for a copy of the video. Knowing how well-loved Fr. Val is, I will do my best to work out a way for those interested to get a copy of the DVD at Grotto and Sts. Cyril & Methodius. It will take me some time to get it transferred and edited - something I am still learning how to do. There are many amateur mistakes, but I know that everyone is less interested in the clamshell than the pearl within the clam. I also want the final version approved by Grotto's pastor, and Fr. Val.

I had many people asking if I would be there for the August 13, 2007 Fatima Devotions to photograph because, "Fr. Val is coming". Father has had plenty of time for people to become attached to him. He is 90 years young. Let me tell you that this gentle priest did the whole nine yards last night.

He arrived around 6:15, accompanied by Fr. Marek - the new, young Associate Pastor of Sts. Cyril & Methodius. In a move classic to Fr. Val, after he partially vested for Mass and did his pre-Mass devotions, he heard confessions.


I just have to empahsize some of my own text in bold here because it is a most important topic.

Father was the main celebrant for last evening's Mass, which he celebrated using the posture all too familiar to Grotto-goers: ad orientem at the wall altar. We were graced with a sermon, as well. For those who have never assisted at Mass celebrated by Fr. Val, all I can say is do it at least once. I have never been able to not cry when he celebrates, and last night was no exception even though I could not see his face, which is so often flowing with tears of pure love during Consecration. The love this priest has for the Eucharist just radiates in such a way as to give witness to the reality of the Sacrifice taking place during the Mass. In the past, I have encouraged seminarians and priests to experience his celebration of the Mass and I urge this again while there is time to witness it.

All I can say is that if you must celebrate the Mass facing the people, you want to learn from Fr. Val how Vatican II intended for it to be done. In my humble opinion, a video of him during the Consecration would be most beneficial from a training perspective. In contrast to what "expert liturgists" have been teaching priests-in-formation for decades, Fr. Val does not look at the people during Consecration. He looks at the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, thus teaching us it is where our focus should be. His speech is slow and with a depth that conveys the passion with which he celebrates. This is a priest who does not follow some kind of presentation-skill guidelines during the Mass to keep our attention. He is too busy celebrating the Sacrifice of the Mass to be bothered with it. This is also a trait I have noticed among many more liturigcally traditional and doctrinally orthodox priests. Those who have experienced it know that Fr. Val is in another dimension altogether when he celebrates.


Teresa Tomeo once referred to Fr. Val as the Archdiocese of Detroit's version of the Energizer Bunny. I would say he was exceptionally energized for this event. Then again, all that is needed to get Father fired up is an opportunity to spread devotion to the Holy Eucharist, the Holy Trinity, and the Blessed Mother - in particular, Our Lady of Fatima.

Fr. Perrone leading the Rosary

Fr. Val prays along in front of the grotto as others are seen in the background with more banners used in the procession. The children put on a skit right behind where Father is standing, in the sanctuary.

Following Mass, Fr. Val joined in the procession to the grotto out behind the church - not a short walk. We later learned his sister had come also and she too came out to the grotto as we prayed the Rosary, led by Fr. Perrone. Then, children put on a skit in the grotto area to teach us the message given to the children of Fatima 90 years ago on August 13th, 1917. Unfortunately, none of the pics I took of the children came out. I had the video camera on the tripod and it was getting too dark to get a clear shot without flash and without having it mounted.

As if all of this wasn't enough, Fr. Val joyfully exited the Grotto around 8:30, then came over to the school gym for refreshments, then gave about a 25-30 minute talk. All I can say is that the talk was......classic Fr. Val.

Below you see a couple of pics taken during Father's talk. I always recognize when Fr. Val is present at any liturgical event in metro Detroit by the most beautiful stole that he wears, seen here as he points to Our Lady. Click on the pics to enlarge.

September 13, 2007 speaker: Fr. Eduard Perrone. Please join us with your children so that they may learn about Fatima.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Via Crucis: A must-watch video

Please, please watch this movie by Eric Forrest on the persecution of Catholics in China. It is a dramatization that so powerful it will have you reflecting on all that we take for granted in the free world, especially the freedom to get up, walk out the door and go to Mass, or to be absolved of our sins, or to get baptized.

We need more of these kinds of short clips with solid acting, simple production, and a powerful message. God bless all those involved in the production of this video.

Please pray for Catholics and Christians who suffer for their faith in China and other nations where there is no freedom of religion. H/T to Fr. Tim Finigan

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Altar boys bowing during a segment of the Creed during Assumption Day Mass last year

This is very important for those of you who ordinarily take the shuttle to Grotto due to logistics and lack of parking. Don't go to De LaSalle this year because there are no shuttles there. You can pick them up at St. Veronica's.

Shuttle Bus Schedule

More on Assumption Day at Assumption Grotto

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

And, what are you doing on Assumption Day?

Candles are laid out all day long by pilgrims visiting Assumption Grotto on Assumption Day starting early in the morning up until the 7:00pm Mass. They will burn until the Queenship of Mary

Another teaser to entice those within driving distance to come to Assumption Grotto on Assumption Day. The highlight of the day is the 7:00pm Mass so even if you work during the day, perhaps you can take in Mass with us.

Here's the scoop though...

You either want to get there around 4:30/5:00 to park at Grotto or, you should park at St. Veronica just off of Gratiot, and north of 8 mile and take the shuttle.

Candle holders with the words to one of the most well-known Marian songs, used during the evening candlelight procession

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Incredible: Michigan Bishop Mandates English Only

This one gets the, "I've got my head in the pile of banana peels" award.

Perhaps Incredulous may be more fitting of an expression.

Bishop Patrick Cooney of Gaylord, Michigan is mandating that Masses be in English only.

This came out prior to Summorum Pontificum, so it is not Bishop Cooney's response to that document. Ummmmm......then again, it did come out just prior to it as the hype ensued.

But, even if he were referring to a Latin Novus Ordo, for example, I question whether his statement would hold up at the Congregation for Divine Worship on appeal. I'm sure Cardinal Arinze would back any priest using Latin in the Liturgy (click here to read what he thinks of Latin in the liturgy). A priest can't be disobedient in the use of Latin in the Liturgy any more than a communicant can be considered disobedient for receiving Communion on the tongue, imho.

Similarly, I don't believe a bishop can arbitrarily restrict the Eucharistic Prayers in use to only Eucharistic Prayer #2 within his diocese because this would be in conflict with the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) which allows for four Eucharistic Prayers (setting aside anything special).

Since Latin was never abbrogated, I don't see how a bishop can do so on his own.

Now, my take on this is that it is not aimed at restricting a Mass in Polish or Spanish, for example. Fr. Rob Johansen who initiated this blog story, seems to think along the same lines. In his words,

My first reaction on reading this was incredulity. Does anyone imagine, given the timing of this policy, that it is directed at restricting, say, Masses in Spanish? I don't think so. Should this be seen as a pre-emptive move against Latin liturgies? It sure looks like it. But surely the bishop must know that the Mass of the Roman Rite (Novus Ordo) is the Latin typical edition? As such, the bishop cannot forbid its use. It is simply beyond his competence. And it seems to me that, after September 14, when "Summorum Pontificum" takes effect, this instruction cannot apply to the Extraordinary Form.

But this directive certainly sends a signal, doesn't it? It telegraphs to every priest "Latin Is NOT Welcome in the Diocese of Gaylord". Given this directive, how many priests would be likely to request "permission" to celebrate Mass in the language of the Church? If any priest is inclined to do so, he is now placed on notice that he risks offending the Powers That Be.

The timing is indeed impeccable. The statement was released just ahead of the expected motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, which provided priests and laity with the right to celebrate & assist at the old form of the Latin Mass, according to the 1962 Missal.

If I were in the diocese of Gaylord, I would already be penning my letter to Cardinal Arinze. I hope that dicastry is flooded with mail, with copies going to the Ecclesia Dei commission.

But, keep in mind, it's not just the old form of the Roman rite we are talking about here, but anyone wanting to use Latin in the Novus Ordo.

I don't know about anyone else, but I expect to see more of this younger generation of priests introducing Latin into the Novus Ordo as a way to bring about the reform of the reform. The hippy generation tried to suppress it, but in the end the Holy Spirit wins out as a new generation fully embraces it. How else can such a wide interest in Latin and all things traditional be explained? It just so happens that along with that desire for Latin and the traditional, comes fidelity to the Magisterium.

We don't challenge the Church's teachings, we follow them!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Shhhhh........The Secret to Quiet and Still Children at Mass

I found Grotto's young children to be among the most well-behaved at Mass
What is the secret?
Photo taken during Assumption Day 7:00pm Mass by Jeff Williams (2006)

Ok, don't let the little ones know about this......Shhhhhh

Perhaps when you have visited a more traditional Catholic parish, you notice that there are big families with well-behaved kids (and parents hardly break a sweat). Then, you reflect on what you see in the majority of Catholic parishes - some families can't seem to keep one child in control without toys, food, and lots of chasing (and lots of sweating). By the time Mass ends, mom and dad need a nap. What gives?

I couldn't help but feel for a young mom - Jennifer - who admits to bringing the Cheerio's to Mass (at the advice of priests among others) in order to help keep the child quiet. As I read her comment and the response others had to it, I realized that many moms (and dads) today, don't know the secret - a secret I learned through the grace of God by observation soon after discovering Assumption Grotto in 2005.

There are exceptions to what I am about to share with you and I will admit that the Noon Mass at Grotto has a little more kid-noise than the 9:30 and perhaps it is because there are more families with kids at the later Mass. My observations came from the 9:30am Latin Novus ordo.

Here is what I wrote in the comment box in a blogpost by Fr. Z.


It’s unfortunate that there have not been good examples to learn from, and solid advice passed on as to how to handle small children in church.

Perhaps this may help you and others, but I concede it must begin from infancy. I learned it by observing some families in my parish where there are many large families (6+ kids and many with 8-10+). I marveled at how still and quiet the small ones were during Mass (there are exceptions, but there is a trick I discovered).

One day at the 9:30am Mass a young woman was holding a baby (6-8 months old) in her arms during the prayers of the faithful. She had her head down and the baby was getting a little active, touching the face of the woman. My eyes caught the action because it was in front of me. After several times of trying to get attention, the baby stopped and seemed to be content just to sit there and look around. I suddenly realized that I was witnessing something very significant: Many families at Assumption Grotto send a clear message to their children from a very young age: This is God’s time, not yours sweet one. It’s a gentle message, but one that works when used early.

If you give a baby attention in any way during Mass, barring something very serious needing your attention, the baby will demand more and not be able to sit still.

I then looked around the church and saw in the back several parents walking with their babies. None of them were paying attention to the babies. They were either focused on the altar, or had their heads down in prayer. I kept looking around a few more times and noticed the pattern.

The following week, I was right behind another family of four with two children around 3.5 and 5. The little one kept standing on the kneeler and turning around at me. The father very gently turned the little girl and pointed to the altar. This was repeated 3 more times before the little girl seemed to give up. At no time did dad show anger or impatience. I think he would have done it 100 more times if need be.

By the time these children reach 5, 6, 7, they have no problem getting through a 1.5 hour Latin Novus Ordo without cheerios, PS2’s, iPods, trucks, dolls or other such things.

Once again, there are exceptions at Assumption Grotto. IMHO, those who do as described here were the experts. No one will convince me that a mom and dad of 10 quiet kids in a pew is wrong about not giving them attention during Mass. If the parents do so, they have taken their attention off of God who should be at the center of Mass, while enabling their kids to do the same.

Don’t feel bad though – no one has talked about this or taught it so how could you know? Hopefully, it catches on. It’s the same principle used by the TV nannies in getting the kids to go to bed on time without hastle.

Bottom line: The more attention you give them, the more they will want. The more I think about how I handled my own nieces and nephews at such times, I must admit that the cheerios and toys were simply ways to lessen my work. Look at the example of the patient father with the 3.5 year old. It took work - far more work - and patience - than simply handing the child a toy or something to eat.

I should add that I don't think it is impossible to teach a toddler these things that should begin in infancy. Feed the child well before Mass. During Mass, sit somewhere that the child can see follow the examples given here. If a loud temper tantrum ensues, don't give up - perhaps whisper in his or her ear that Jesus really needs someone to love Him at the moment and he is lonely for us to give Him our attention. Lead by example because if you are distracted during Mass, then so will the child.

If you have a newborn or are expecting, do try to do this from very young.

Another thing I noticed is that grandparents and family members can be terribly bad influences because they like to smile and make goo-goo faces throughout the Mass. I know, I use to do it to everyone else's children. Whatever you do, don't go to a parish like Assumption Grotto or other more traditional parishes where the secret is in execution and make goo-goo faces at someone else's child. You may break the very good thing those parents are trying to teach: This is not your time, it is God's time. Parents: don't hesitate to talk to family members and let them in on the strategy to not give the children attention during Mass, even with a glance.

It's a trick we've all used at one time in our life: The restroom trick. God help us if parents fall for this, unless the child has medical problems that are known. Ensure your kids go to the restroom before Mass and tell them that they need to give God the full hour. It is my understanding that at Grotto the altar boys must be able to "hold it" through Mass, barring illness of course. If they aren't capable of holding it, they won't be serving. If in doubt, watch your child at play and see how long he or she goes without a restroom break. I've witnessed children play for hours after drinking a half-pitcher of coolaid until their eyes and ears are watering. Of course, it also helps to not allow such a child to drink a bottle of Coke 30 minutes before Mass.

I hope this works for someone. Give us some feedback with how it works if you are going to try it or are already an expert at it. What works, what doesn't work?

BTW - thanks to Deacon Greg Kandra for starting this discussion with his post on "Bulletin announcements I would like to see...." You can always get to the Deacon's blog via my sidebar section for Blogging Priests, Religious, & Deacons.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Spoof on Confession

Ohhh goodness, I was laughing quite hard. But, as Fr. Tim Finigan asks, how many excommunications would be incurred if this were real.

If you follow that link to the site of Fr. Finigan you will see the debate as to whether this is mocking confession or mocking our overuse of technology. I say it is more about overuse of technology AND the fear we all have that we will be overheard that makes this spoof so funny. What say you?

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East Anglia Seminarians

This is a rough week at work, getting in earlier and staying later. I'm too tired to blog when I get home, but just came across something I want to pass along.

New blog to check out with a h/t to Fr. John Boyle - South Ashford Priest.

I will add the East Anglia Seminarians to my sidebar under Blogging Priests, Religious & Deacons. They have some interesting posts up, including one on Cambodia and the now government-banned missionary work.

Imagine how sad it would be if you were Catholic or considering Catholicism or Christianity, and had no priests at all. Imagine being a priest or religious missionary and the risks of a more clandestine ministry.

This also highlights the need for us to all be grateful for every priest we have. It is something we should never take for granted.

Please pray for all of these people.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Imagine: A Church so Silent Before Mass it is Deafening

"The silence before Mass at Assumption Grotto Church is deafening!"

That is what I told reporter Bob Delaney of the Michigan Catholic who wrote a nice piece about Assumption Grotto's 175th Anniversary, and our upcoming Assumption Day feast.

The article is in this past weekend's Michigan Catholic, and it can be read online. Bob also talks about the Te Deum blog in the article. If the link to the article becomes broken, email me at and I will fix it.


In the half hour before Mass, and after, it is not uncommon in this era for a church to have decibels rivaling what you can encounter at any mall on Saturday afternoon. Well, perhaps the "after" may only last about 5 minutes because half the church likely emptied out mid-Communion as people tripped over each other to get out the door and to the local diner, the store, back home to a sporting event on TV or other such things. I should know, I was one of those people not long ago and I'm guilty of having left early for every one of those things, and more before I found Grotto. This is one parish where time seems to stand still and if one is in the right disposition, worldly thoughts fade in the background and the desire to rush out is replaced with a desire for the Mass to never end.

This phenomena gives new meaning to "Mass exodus." I've seen many a priest attempt to change it all the way back to the 70's. However, it just seems to fall on deaf ears right along with the message to not to come to Mass in shorts or half-exposed in such a way as to not lead others into temptation. The tops some people of my gender wear would likely challenge a saint to not fall into lustful thoughts while trying to worship!

Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do. Such is the attitude we should take because it is amazing how many people truly don't "see" how their dress or behavior affects others. I spent serious time being angry about these things without thinking that it took me 40 years to learn the value of saving shorts for workouts and saving conversation for the church hall after Mass.


Bob chuckled at the oxymoron. It does sound funny and I laughed too. How can silence be deafening? I had to think about that for a time and came to this conclusion.

Maintaining silence while in church is deafening in that we learn to deaden the senses - those things that are constantly self-seeking and craving attention. Talking in church is defended by some as being charitable to neighbor. What is missing is charity toward's God in what little time is spent in church. If our neighbor is slighted because we are not speaking to them in God's house, then perhaps the problem is with the neighbor's desire for attention while in the presence of our Eucharistic Lord. By engaging in "charitable discussion" with them, we enable them in their lack of virtue in this regard. The more charitable path is to encourage them to spend time conversing with God in his own language - the language of silence.

Hence, when we enter church before Mass we are hopefully getting there early to spend time with God. The priests at Grotto are always reminding us that we should spend 10-15 minutes following Mass in thanksgiving, as well. Here too, those who cannot stay, should exit the church silently and speak outside so that those who remain in prayer are not distracted.

Fr. William Wagner, ORC writes this in the article, "The Practice of Silence and Solitutde". While it is in the context of a religious community, it is very much applicable to a parish community before and after Mass in the church.

Silence, therefore, has always been highly regarded by the saints and holy people. Once Mother Teresa was asked, "Mother what do you consider the most important thing in the training of your sisters?" And she answered, "Silence. Interior and exterior silence. Silence is essential in a religious house. The silence of humility, of charity, the silence of the eyes, of the ears, of the tongue. There is no life of prayer without silence." And then at another time she expanded on her philosophy of silence. She explained that "we need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. See how nature, the trees, the flowers and the grass grow in perfect silence." Finally, she added that without doubt "God is the friend of silence. His language is silence. And he requires us to be silent to discover him. We need, therefore, silence to be alone with God, to speak to him, to listen to him and to ponder his words deep in our hearts. We need to be alone with God in silence to be renewed and to be transformed. For silence can give us a new outlook on life. In it we are filled with the grace of God, which makes us do all things with joy."

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Monday, August 6, 2007

Leonardo DeFilippis returns to southeast Michigan as St. Augustine!

Those of you who remember the stage performance of Leondardo DeFilippis in Maximillian Kolbe last year will probably want to know he is coming back. This time, he comes as St. Augustine. I did an extensive photo post on his visit to Grotto, and on St. Luke Productions.

Book Leonardo at your parish!

Leonardo Defilippis performed Maximilian: Saint of Auschwitz to enthusiastic crowds in Michigan in 2006. The actor, director of the movie Therese, and founder of St. Luke Productions ( will return to Michigan this fall with his original one man drama of The Confessions of Saint Augustine. We are looking for a few more locations to fill in the schedule. If interested, please call Suzanne Fisher at 248-217-0844 or Debbie Bloomfield at 734-283-9753.

Sat. Sept. 29 Drama Workshop for teens and young adults, Ann Arbor
Sat. Sept. 29 (evening) Joy Road Spiritus Sanctus Academy , Ann Arbor
Sun. Sept. 30 (matinee) Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit

Mon. Oct. 1 (evening reserved)
Tues. Oct. 2
Wed. Oct. 3 St. Thomas the Apostle, Ann Arbor
Thur. Oct. 4
Fri. Oct. 5 (evening) Assumption Church , Windsor , Ontario (don't confuse with Assumption Grotto in Detroit).

The Confessions of Saint Augustine

Sat. Oct. 6

Sun. Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. St. Gerald, Farmington
Mon. Oct. 8
Tues. Oct. 9
Wed. Oct. 10 (evening) Shrine of the Little Flower, Royal Oak
Thur. Oct. 11
Fri. Oct. 12 7:30 p.m. Southgate/Downriver Vicariate

Here is a post series I did last year when Leonardo visited Assumption Grotto as Maximillian Kolbe in a fantastic performance.

More pictures from other stops in metro Detroit.

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