Monday, May 29, 2006

Speculation in High Gear on Changes at the Curia

Sandro Magister discusses happenings in the curia on his site, He writes mainly on religion and Catholicism - in particular on Vatican happenings, in the Italian weekly, "L'espresso". He has some very interesting articles on his website and I frequent it a few times monthly. It is not updated often.

I also heard Joan Lewis talking on EWTN Radio that speculation is pretty high that something will be happening the first week or so of June. She's got some nice coverage of Pope Benedict's papal visit to Poland at her EWTN blog too.

Assumption Grotto Statue - Our Lady of Lourdes

I'm trying one more in spite of blogger headaches.

I took this picture last Sunday while the grotto was empty. Usually that horizontal pole is in the way of most shots, but I went up close to get a clean picture of this beautiful statue. I'll do a post on the other statues some time, with the artist profiles.

Here is a closeup of Our Lady!

Memorial Day 2006 at Assumption Grotto - Post 2

I'm attempting to upload more photos, hoping the ever-tempermental server doesn't go on self-desruct again. Maybe the beauty of Grotto is just too much for it to handle!!! I am going to attempt uploading at the medium setting so if you want to get a closer view of the pic, just click on it.

These are from the outdoor Mass. It was already about 85F and in the sun, hotter yet. Fr. Perrone - the celebrant, urged people to move their chairs into the shade at any point during the Mass. This first shot was taken just as Mass began, from behind the Grotto (I was praying I would not become the center attraction by slipping off of the rocks I climbed onto).

I would estimate about 200+ were in attendance. People scattered into the coolness of the trees. In contrast, the feast of the Assumption must pack in 700-800 in the evening outdoor Mass, but for not being a holy day of obligation and considering some already went to the 7:30am Mass, this was a really good turnout.

The Elevation of the Body of Christ, followed by the Blood of Christ in a wider view. What more needs to be said?

Blogger is getting uncooperative again, so I'll try more again later or tomorrow. I was also taking pictures of other things within Grotto following the 7:30am Mass. For the first time, some stained-glass window shots actually came out and I'll be showing them soon.

Positive review for Assumption Grotto from a Visitor

We know we get visitors all the time, and most of them walk away wondering what just happened - including me when I walked through the doors for the first time on Pentecost 2005. It was May 15, and I still recall the way I felt, and how greatful I am to have learned of this liturgical oasis - now, my own parish - in my backyard.

Here is part of what Scott writes in his blog, "Trinitas In Unitate"

I’ve Seen the Future and It Looks Like the Past!
Liturgia Authentica

While visiting relatives in Michigan this past week, I had the opportunity to take my family to Mass for the feast of the Ascension at the Assumption Grotto. Folks, the “Reform of the Reform” is alive and well at this wonderful parish in a rundown section of Detroit, Michigan.

Where do I even begin?

“Novus Ordo” Mass celebrated in Latin.
The Readings and the Prayers of the Faithful were in English…everything else was in Latin. They had a side-by-side Latin-English guide to follow the Mass parts in Latin (with their own English translations of what was being said…much better than the ICEL junk). For the Propers (parts of the Mass that change from week to week) they printed up a neat little piece of paper specifically for that week.

Ad Orientem
The Mass was celebrated facing the high altar, though not for the prayers at the beginning of Mass. Those were done from the priest’s chair off to the side.

Gregorian Chant
Beautiful, beautiful chant music filled the church during the entire Mass. Most of it was easy enough to follow along with (made me realize how much I got out of the “An Idiot’s Guide to Square Notes” article I read in Crisis Magazine last month). My only complaint was that the Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei were pretty much choir only pieces. Not sure how I feel about that (though compared to “On Eagle’s Wings”, I’ll take it any day. I just wonder if there is a better way…

17 Altar Boys
Yep, 17 of ‘em! You may ask what they were all used for…to be honest, they didn’t all have things to do, but it certainly added a level of beauty and solemness to the occasion. They all wore what looked like white cassocks or hoodless albs with yellow shoulder capes (not sure what they’re called).

Great Homily
Good strong homily about the meaning of the Ascension and the necessity of Christ’s leaving us so that the Holy Spirit could be sent.

Greeting of Peace
Or lack thereof. The priest used the perfectly legitimate option
[continue reading in Scott's blog]

He's got a nice blog - bookmark it and pay it a visit now and then.

Scott, we'd like to invite you to come back for one of our Orchestra Masses.

Pentecost - 9:30am

Corpus Christi - Noon (outdoor procession to several altars, weather permitting). Plan on staying for a few hours past Mass if you can.

This is could be the only opportunity until Christmas-time.

Memorial Day 2006 at Assumption Grotto

Our good friends at St. Cyril & Methodius will appreciate this first picture.

"As the rising sun set the stained-glass windows before us aglow, the priest led us into the Eucharistic Prayer...."

Perhaps this picture illustrates what was on my mind when I wrote that statement in my testimonial on the Mass at Grotto in the article, "Unconditional Worship in the God-Centered Mass" in the April 2006 issue of Homiletic and Pastoral Review.

The Day started with the usual 7:30am Mass, celebrated ad orientem at the low, center altar, as it is always done on weekdays and Saturday mornings. The Associate Pastor, Fr. John is celebrating.

We had a flag-raising, with bugler, followed by a procession to the outdoor Grotto.

I have more pictures to share, but blogger is having server problems. Over the next few days I'll be sharing more, but tomorrow I may not have time.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

More evidence of spring?

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL, May 24, 2006 ( - Graduates and their families got an unexpected earful of Catholic doctrine at the graduation ceremonies of St. Thomas University this weekend. Ben Kessler, a well-known student recently honoured by peers and faculty as Tommie of the Year, spoke of the "selfishness" of birth control and extra-marital sex.

An audible roar of protest erupted when Kessler asked, "What in society is selfish? I would point to the common practice of birth control…Birth control is selfish." On a videotape of the speech obscene comments can be heard as well as shouts of "Way to go Matt!" whistles and cheers. The tape shows numerous students and parents leaving the ceremony. Kessler was interrupted several times by his audience but carried on.

continue reading....

You'll find a video there too, but I would urge caution if you have dialup.

This guy will make a fine priest some day.

Here is another article at the site: No Room for Conception

By Ruben Obregon

This past weekend graduates of Saint Thomas University were treated to a surprising speech by 21-year-old graduating student Ben Kessler. Some graduates walked out, many jeered, and others spewed profanities in response to his speech.

Just what did he speak of which caused such an outcry? The War in Iraq? Border control? NSA spying? None of the above.

So, what exactly did Mr. Kessler do wrong? He touched society's third rail: contraception. Mr. Kessler had the audacity to call the use of birth control "an act of selfishness."

The rest of the story...

In the "old days" of the 60's, it was popular to speak out against undiscussible issues - like, free love. Well, it may be unpopular right now for people to go against the free-love grain, but in years to come this will change. In an era when there is more sympathy (rights and protections) for a developing turtle in an egg, it is refreshing to hear anyone speak out for the rights of the developing humans aborted through contraception. I only learned this past year myself while watching Fr. Frank Pavone discuss it on EWTN - that "the pill" doesn't prevent contraception. Rather, it is an abortifacient!

Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life explains in this link. Click the pic for Fr. Pavone's bio.

Kneeling at St. Mary's by the Sea - Diocese of Orange

Some of you may or may not know about the ongoing saga that St. Mary's by the Sea has been going through for some time now.

Diogenes at Catholic World News ( Gerald Augustinus at his blog, The Cafeteria is Closed have been following the story, along with other sources.

Here is a direct link to the LA Times article.

From the Adaptions of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM)

This adaptation will be inserted at number 43, paragraph 3:

In the dioceses of the United States of America, they should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer, except when prevented on occasion by reasons of health, lack of space, the large number of people present, or some other good reason. Those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the priest genuflects after the consecration. The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.

Obedience and Pastoral Charity

While the diocesan bishop certainly has the right to determine if people should kneel in adoration when Our Lord is presented, one has to wonder if forcing people to act against their heart's desire is pastoral in the first place. Sure we should obey pastoral directives - this is virtuous. We may wish to give Our Lord one thing, and may have to do another out of obedience, as exemplified by St. Faustina. But, I pray that all of our bishops will come to grasp that battles must be chosen wisely.

These parishioners have been kneeling for many years. First, the Tridentine - their way of worship for 15 years under the former pastor, was eliminated with his retirement. This had to be traumatic for these people to have such a sudden loss, especially during a time when the late Pope John Paul II asked that the Indult be made generously available. It's my understanding that at least one holy order offered to continue the Indult there, but got a "no thanks". Then, the local bishop makes a move to end a pious practice - kneeling during the "Ecce Angus Dei", and during reception of holy Communion - to the point of calling the actions of these people a "mortal sin" because they disobeyed his orders to stand. If people are kneeling to make a point - they are wrongly motivated. If they are kneeling in good conscience out of pure reverence for Our Lord, that is a different story and only the individual knows the truth.

What is the worst thing that could have happened if the people were allowed to at least continue kneeling?

They should stand to be common with other parishes in Orange?

It brings about "unity" how?

This is nothing more than surface unity because true unity subsists in truth, aligned with solid Catholic teaching - not in whether one stands or kneels. People are truly united with each other and the Church when they are in communion with teachings of Christ.

Disproportional Attention Given to the Wrong Things

With current abortion rates, TV programs and ads with sexual agendas ad nauseum, and low mass attendance, it's obvious we are in the height of war. It's ok for the captain to fuss over the wrinkle in a soldier's shirt in boot camp or in peace time, but in the midst of battle, it makes one wonder if he is fixing to lose the war.

In this era, we need bishops talking about the sin of extra- and pre-marital sex, or the sin of abortion and infanticide that takes place daily - which many Catholics support, if only indirectly. We need bishops who are willing to combat the heterodoxy that is plainly visible in some circles. Certainly the bishops know about the high numbers of Catholics whom are completely missing from the pews each week, many of whom don't even know it is sinful to skip Mass to go to the mall, or to sleep in, or to head off to a sporting event. They need to get into the mainstream headlines talking about these issues. The Catholic who really needs to hear from the bishop is the one reading the paper who doesn't come to Mass. So, what does this C & E Catholic read in his paper? Answer: It's not right to kneel when the bishop says to stand.

Of all the things to focus attention on and grab headlines - kneeling parishioners who most likely go to Mass weekly? There certainly may be some virtue issues tied into some of what is going on at St. Mary's by the Sea, but mortal sin for not obeying? As is likely the case in most dioceses in the US, there are probably a high percentage of Catholics in Orange whom haven't used the Sacrament of Penance in many years, but are in the communion line each week. How many Catholics hear this sacrament promoted with the same level of vigor as they are hearing about the need to obey a command to stand? As people "eat and drink their own condemnation", parishioners kneeling in adoration during Mass are lectured on their lack of morality? If only this much attention would be given to Catholics who support organizations like Planned Parenthood and other such groups which lead people to commit murder.

The bottom line is that we need our bishops to urge us vigorously to obey the commandments given to us by Almighty God, and then we will learn how obey preferential-based commands they give us. When they are heard addressing sins against the Ten Commandments on a regular basis - with simple forthright clarity, it will be much easier to follow them on pastoral isues. This doesn't advocate unvirtuous disobedience, but is it any wonder why Catholics are having a hard time obeying a command to stand these days?

What do we do?

It's time for all of us to get on our knees in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament to do reparation for all of the sins committed, not being addressed from so many pulpits today. And while we are at it, we need to spend time in adoration for all of our priests and bishops - that the Lord guides them to focus on the matters that are actually causing souls to drop into hell.

Perhaps if more Catholics spent time kneeling, there would be fewer Catholics supporting abortion, engaging in illicit sex, and realizing that we go to holy Mass to give God his due, not for our own gratification.

If you want to pray for a seminarian, priest or bishop, the sisters at Opus Angelorum would be glad to take your name and assign you one of your choice, or give you a priest from the many on their list. This is not just thinking about them once a day, it is about spending time each day praying for them. You will be provided with some guidance via mail and the website and the sisters are always there to answer questions through email. Keep in mind, that those who somehow offend us the most, need our prayers the most. Each cleric affected by our sacrifices and prayers affects thousands of people with whom they have contact.

EDIT: Amy Welborn has a good post on this issue, with lots of interesting comments from others too. I liked this one, in particular by Colleen on May 28:

It flashed in my mind (and I am not a Traditionalist by any means) that this case is a good case to bring back 'ad orientem' --- that way the priest would not be distracted by the posture of the people, as this priest obviously is.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

New Domain Name Purchased:

You may notice that my posting on this blog has slowed. Here is why:

I've purchased a new domain name and I am plunging head first into full blown website development. An idea has been on my mind for many, many months and this website incorporates that idea, along with several others into what will become my life's work.

I designed the logo over the last few weeks and settled on what is above. The website will be about many things, but the name should be a clue that it will be aimed at an audience of Catholics who favor the more solemn, reverent, and traditional form of the Novus Ordo. The Latin expression, "Ad Orientem" means, "to the east" and it is often used in reference to the posture the priest uses when facing liturgical east, such as is seen in the photo to the left. I don't refer to it as "having his back to the people" because that puts a negative view on something very positive. Contrary to popular belief, this posture was not abrogated during Vatican 2.

I've never built a website before and know very little about html. I've purchased FrontPage 2003, and two books, one of which I'll recommend in a later post. This last one has been extremely helpful for someone like me with little or no experience in website building.

I won't say much about the website and will let it's full scope be comprehended when launched. This could be a few months away as I fumble through development. Of course, if I had more time I could probably launch it in a month, but I only have an hour here and there to work on it.

I made the good Lord and the Blessed Mother a few promises when asking for assistance:

  • I won't let this project interfere with the secular Carmelite prayer obligations I have. I am currently in formation to be a secular Carmelite - something I've explored for the past year. Anyone joining a secular order knows that life is never the same once you enter. Prayer must have a place of priority in daily life and for me this includes Lauds, Vespers, 30 minutes of mental prayer, daily rosary, and daily holy Mass when I can, among other things. as my "apostolate" is meaningless if I as the website owner do not have my work and my life firmly rooted in prayer.

  • The site will be solid and unambiguously Catholic. I pledge the utmost loyalty to Magisterium and to "Peter on earth", Pope Benedict. To ensure fidelity, all content will be subject to scrutiny by a team of solid Catholic priests, primarily through my own parish.

  • Charity will rule. While I share the same pains and hurt over the words and actions of dissident and heretical Catholics, many of whom say what they do because of bad catechesis and seminary training, this site will not dishonor Our Lord by taking jabs at these people, as opposed to hitting their positions with solid Catholic truth.


Dissent and heresy are sinful cancers in our Church, no doubt. Cancer is not cured by poking fun at those affected, but by hitting the cancer itself with powerful treatments. Our Lord never had fun at anyone's expense, even the worst of sinners. If such a thing can be found anyplace in Sacred Scipture, please give me the passage in the comment box below. We are called to imitate Christ and will work to imitate Him in all regards.

All too often in the past year, in wanting to take the spiritual high road, I find people thinking that I am not equally disapproving of what these wayward Catholics say and do. One does not need to attack individuals in order to defend the faith. However, I believe it is also uncharitable to leave the truth buried in banality and fluff. Many people today are "led astray by all kinds of strange teachings". But, Christ didn't command anyone to laugh at the lost lamb - he commanded us to love one another, especially those who do harm against us. He exemplified this as he was beaten, crowned with thorns, and hung on the cross. "Loving" is not synonomous with "approval" of sinful words and actions, but it governs how we address these issues in the public forum and in our prayer life.

After sharing some of the "humorous" content found on blogs by well-intended Catholics with one of the Fathers of the Holy Cross at my parish, he said to me (paraphrased), "We can do more good by spending time in Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament in reparation for offenses committed against the Church than if we spend time laughing and poking fun at those who offend God". He also asked me to consider how many Divine Mercy Chaplets could be completed, for those who offend God, in the time it takes to make or view some of this content. This says nothing of the unseen damage done to those who are not as solid in their understanding of the faith who are then turned away by the off-color humor. Their view of more traditional-orthodox minded Catholics ends up repelling them, rather than drawing them. The last piece of advice given to me by Father in that brief conversation was that we all must consider the time we spend on the internet and weigh it against the time we spend in prayer, which goes back to his first comment.


I will provide more information in the future, but for the most part, much of the content will remain hidden until the site is actually launched. I'll put up a one pager within the next couple of weeks, God willing.

God Bless you all and I will try to put up a few posts per week in this blog, but need to focus as much of my time into as I have available, which isn't much. Prayers that the site follows the will of God are most welcome. If He wants this, it will come about smoothly and thus far, all is going well.

For news, I highly recommend using those sources in my upper sidebar. There are other great sources, but these are a few of my favorites, especially Zenit and Catholic World News.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Where Vocations Are: Post 2

The Carmelites of the Sacred Heart in Los Angeles are holding a discernment retreat this weekend. Like with the pictures in a previous post on vocations, note the youthful faces.

These photos are taken from a PDF brochure they had on the website for the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious for the discernment weekend.

Click through this Carmelite Order's formation page for more photos.

Vocations: Post 1

Holy Spirit Novena: Day 1

FIRST DAY (Friday after Ascension or Friday of 6th Week of Easter)

Holy Spirit! Lord of Light! From Your clear celestial height, Your pure beaming radiance give!
The Holy Spirit

Only one thing is important -- eternal salvation. Only one thing, therefore, is to be feared--sin· Sin is the result of ignorance, weakness, and indifference The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Light, of Strength, and of Love. With His sevenfold gifts He enlightens the mind, strengthens the will, and inflames the heart with love of God. To ensure our salvation we ought to invoke the Divine Spirit daily, for "The Spirit helpeth our infirmity. We know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit Himself asketh for us."

Almighty and eternal God, Who hast vouchsafed to regenerate us by water and the Holy Spirit, and hast given us forgiveness all sins, vouchsafe to send forth from heaven upon us your sevenfold Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and fortitude, the Spirit of Knowledge and Piety, and fill us with the Spirit of Holy Fear. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES

Act of Consecration and Prayer for the 7 Gifts

Original Post on this Novena

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Archbishop Flynn Denies Request to Restore Fr. Altier's Homilies Online

From the Desert Voice website:

Archbishop Flynn Responds to Our Letter

Archbishop Flynn has responded to our letter in which we asked his permission to restore Father Altier's homilies to the Desert Voice website. In a negative 3-page response dated May 16, 2006, the Archbishop forbids us to publish his letter on this website or to make its contents known in any way.

Below is the letter we sent to him on April 26, 2006.

April 26, 2006

The Most Reverend Harry J. Flynn
Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
226 Summit Avenue
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102

Your Excellency:

Praised be Jesus Christ!

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. We operate the DesertVoice website which has published Father Altier’s homilies for the past five years. As Secular Discalced Carmelites, we are called to pray especially for priests and have devoted ourselves to serving the Church through this website apostolate.

In recent weeks, we have received letters from faithful Catholics around the world telling us how much the website has benefited them in their spiritual life. We have enclosed a few excerpts of these for you to read yourself; they are very touching. People continue to ask for a complete restoration of the website and some wonder if it is at least possible for the material which was published prior to March 1, 2006, to once again be posted, as it had already been on the Internet these past five years.

Perhaps it would help in making your decision to know that we ourselves have tended to every aspect of the website, including the recording, transcription, programming, etc. When you made your request to Father Altier, we promptly complied and wanted to show our respect for you by being obedient to your wishes. If you were not pleased with any particular material which appeared on our website, we would be willing to remove it should you indicate that to us.

The organization Catholic Culture reviewed our site and gave it the
Fidelity Green Light Award for excellence in fidelity to Catholic Church teaching. This site review is also enclosed, as well as statistics on the number of visitors we regularly receive. We can feel confident that the material which has been presented on our website is in conformity with Church teaching and has helped thousands of Catholics all over the world to better understand their faith and grow closer to Our Lord, as they themselves say in their many kind letters.

It would be such a joy for us to continue our apostolate in obedience to you and in service of the Catholic people. We thank you for considering the possibility of allowing us to re-establish the website and once again publish the homilies which appeared on You remain in our prayers, and we humbly ask for your blessing and your prayers.

In Our Lady of Mount Carmel,

Ken and Elizabeth Schwab, OCDS

Enclosures: Excerpts, Site Review, and Statistics


Hmmmmmm......would it be disobedient to share the negative 3 page letter with the Holy See?

Fr. Altier Recordings Available at

If you are looking for some of Fr. Altier's teachings, you can find them on, but all are in audio. You can listen on your computer, or download to an MP3 player. If at the library, you can take a set of headphones in with you or ask a librarian if they have any to use.

This site has lots of audio by Fr. Altier covering various topics:

  • Fundamentals of Catechism
  • True Devotion to Jesus Through Mary (DeMontfort)
  • Marriage Preparation
  • Apologetics (aimed at teens)

Silencing the Wrong Priests on the Wrong Topics

These audios give you an idea of the kind of priest that has been silenced in the media.

I can see Archbishop Flynn silencing this priest on a given topic, such as Virtus (even though I agree with Fr. Altier), which is likely what prompted this debacle. However, how can an Archbishop forbid sound Catholic teaching from being aired? Perhaps this is a point that should be raised to the Holy See.

I'll bet that 95% or more of what Desert Voice was wanting to make available to the public had nothing to do with Virtus, and was catechetical in nature. This was honest, forthright catechesis - something very rare in an era when priests were taught to not hurt anyone's self-esteem. Today, more people hear - almost exlusively - about God's love and mercy, which are important, but to the neglect of His justice. And, there is little talk of how we are to love God back by obeying his commandments. Fr. Altier was one of those rare priests who gave the details in a straightforward manner - something that made him very popular among young and old alike.

It's one thing for a bishop to reassign a priest which is fully within his rights. It is also within a bishop's right to direct a priest to not speak on a given controversial subject. But Archbishop Flynn has basically forbid the people from hearing solid Catholic teaching from a priest they trusted to deliver it!

Fr. Altier and the Double Standard in Minneapolis

The May 25, 2006 issue of the Wanderer covers the Fr. Robert Altier Saga....

Critics Say . . .Fr. Altier’s Reassignment Shows Double Standard By Archbishop Flynn


Here’s a tale of two priests. It’s a sort of “Groundhog Day” scenario that has played itself over and over again over the past 40 years, a bishop taking punitive action against a solid priest for upholding the teachings of the Church, especially the rights of parents and families, while rewarding another priest who promotes schism, heresy, and apostasy.Earlier this month, Fr. Robert Altier, associate pastor of the world-renowned St. Agnes Church in St. Paul for 14 years, was named assistant chaplain at a small, remote nursing home by Archbishop Harry Flynn. This was apparently for Altier’s speaking up against the “child-safety” or “safe environment” programs the archbishop mandated for use in the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis as a response to the long-running scandal of clerical sex abuse.

As Elizabeth Schwab wrote for Spero News: “This is a priest who generously spends long hours in the confessional bringing souls back to God, who has been responsible for guiding numerous young people to offer their lives in religious vocations, who for years has painstakingly given instruction through his Fundamentals of Catholicism course to over 150 people each year and brought hundreds of converts into the Catholic Church, who is renowned for his skills in spiritual direction, who acts as board member and adviser to several orthodox Catholic organizations, and who up until recently had been preaching to a worldwide audience via the desertvoice web site and Relevant Radio broadcasting....

Continue reading....

More of Fr. Altier in the News...

“Talking About Touching” Objector Removed from Thriving Parish Ministry (LifeSite - May 16, 2006)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Assumption Day 2005: Calling all Angels....

This is another photograph from the 9:30am Latin Novus Ordo Mass on Assumption Day 2005 at Assumption Grotto. This photo was taken just ahead of the Sanctus. If only the holy Angels who were gathering could be seen in the picture, we would grasp the miracle that takes place at each and every holy Mass.

For more pictures of Assumption Day:

Sursum Corda

My Lord and My God!

More pictures from Assumption Day 2005

Time to Prepare for Pentecost: Novena to the Holy Spirit!

From the EWTN devotional section:

The novena in honor of the Holy Spirit is the oldest of all novenas since it was first made at the direction of Our Lord Himself when He sent His apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost. It is still the only novena officially prescribed by the Church. Addressed to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, it is a powerful plea for the light and strength and love so sorely needed by every Christian.

This Novena begins on the 6th Friday of Easter, or the Friday following Ascension Thursday. In the Diocese of the United States, Ascension has been moved to Sunday, but the Novena still begins this coming Friday.

These kind of devotions, which have been around for centuries, and in some cases since the early days of the Church have be downplayed for the last 40 years. One has to wonder how many Catholic saints engaged in prayers of this kind. If you are born after Vatican II like me, and have never had exposure to this kind of devotion, consider giving God just 15 minutes per day for the 9 days between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost. If you were born before Vatican II and stopped doing devotions like these, it's time to bring some into your day. If you already do them no more convincing is necessary.

If you don't think you have time, take a close look at how much time you give the TV, the computer, a hobby, sports, or just hanging out and compare that to how much time you give God.

Link to the Novena of the Holy Spirit

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Assumption Grotto Pastor Strikes Out at DaVinci Code - Admonishes Catholics Not to View it

Fr. Eduard Perrone, Pastor of Assumption Grotto Parish in Detroit, Michigan would not even utter the name of the movie in his May 21 Sunday sermon. But everyone knew long before he uttered the initials. Unfortunately, I have had to carry the name in my title line so the post can be found by those searching for articles on the movie and book.

What struck me when listening to the sermon this Sunday, is that he touched on the virtue issues, or lack thereof, tied into wanting to see this movie - some serious things for Christians to think about.

Here is Fr. Perrone's take on it, in full. I'll work on getting an audio uploaded if it turned out alright. I have not yet listened to the recording I made.

(Begin Sermon for May 21, 2006) I’m not accustomed to devoting the Sunday homily to topics that are in the current news. This is by choice. The reason for this is that the sermon is supposed to expound matters of faith and morals for the upbuilding of the life of the people. By contrast, when I drive by denominational churches and read their billboards pre-announcing the Sunday sermon, I find catchy titles that address the very issues of current interest that I generally avoid. Another reason why I do not speak so much about news items is because when one is in the thick of things, one does not have the necessary perspective to make accurate judgments about them. I might risk writing about them in the church paper rather than spoil the sermon which–I am ever reminded–is being delivered in the Presence of His Sovereign Majesty, the Lord.

Having said that, I am not going to propose an exception to this general rule; but there is a matter of contemporary interest that cannot escape comment, at least in an indirect way, since it concerns a most serious matter detrimental to the faith. I am speaking here of The Movie that has just been released. I will not deign to mention its name, but I’ll give you its initials: D-V-C. I’m one least qualified to speak about this film or the book upon which it is based for many reasons: I haven’t read the book nor even the books that debunk its claims; ditto for the movie; and I don’t read the newspapers, don’t watch TV and don’t listen to radio news or talk shows. I lead a deliberately sheltered life. But this issue concerns me greatly, not because its blasphemies are new (in fact, they’re old hat, as I will soon explain), but because it seems that many believers are giving the thing such unwarranted attention.

Somebody is making an awful lot of money by disseminating foul blasphemies about our beloved Lord and the Savior of the human race, the ever Blessed Jesus Christ, only-begotten Son of the Most High God become man. Moreover, I gather, from what I’ve heard, this effort is a veiled attack on the Catholic Church. What should our reaction be?

Now, we ought to get an idea of how Catholics would have responded in former times, in order to see how far we have departed from the way of sanity and sanctity. At one time, Catholics were shielded from reading or viewing anything that would be an occasion of sin through the publishing of the Index of Forbidden Books and the rating system for films. These could be consulted by devout believers not in order to hide their heads in the sand, but to be spared falling into mortal sin and heresy. That, I would aver, was evidence of real pastoral concern for the spiritual welfare of the Catholic people: shepherds guarding the flock by keeping the wolves at bay. We now have the circumstance that among those reading and, I suppose, watching what amounts to an affront to faith and good morals, are Catholics (who ought to stand apart) who are joining in and exposing themselves to grave spiritual dangers. I therefore make this public admonition to you: stay away from this and do not be seduced by a morbid curiosity to want to find out what all the controversy’s about. That alone–idle curiosity–is sinful (it’s among the capital sins). I will tell you however some things you should know about this book and this film.

First, you need to know something–precious little, however–about the occult. Occult means what is hidden or secret. Now, there’s a reason why some things are kept secret. In the case of evil things, it’s to keep under cover what is too shameful to expose to the light. People commit sin in secret in order not to be seen: lying, stealing, impurity, gossip, etc. There’s a whole occult literature (inspired by the devil from the first centuries of the Church) that attempted an alternative account of the life of our Lord from the one found in the Gospels. These occult writings, these forgeries, were long ago refuted by theologians and doctors of the time. Much of this occult material was destroyed because it was recognized as evil, and a lie, and a snare. (By the way, the religion of Islam, which we must confront yet today, developed its heretical opinion about Jesus not from the New Testament but from those very heresies that were found in some of these occult writings that were still circulating at the time of Mohammed. So you can see what long-term damage falsehood can have, even unto the present conflict in the world). Unfortunately not every trace of occult writing was successfully destroyed. Some copies survived. In fact, it has always been available in print, although formerly only by the weird and seedy world of the occult. Now, regrettably, this has become open and popular in a series of occult books and films that are warping minds and rotting souls of many, including Catholics. The present craze is only the latest manifestation of these ancient evils. This is not new stuff, just discovered, truth that the Catholic Church has been hiding from you; rather it’s a new dress for tired occult doctrines which the Church refuted and renounced centuries ago for the protection of souls. Many do not realize this and so their guard is off by the alleged newness of this material. It needs to be said clearly that we are never permitted to delve into occult things; these are sins, mortal sins and can cause very serious harm to souls, even unto their eternal loss.

Next point: anything which smacks of blasphemy about the sacred Person of our Lord should instantly be shunned with righteous indignation and should be met by making acts of reparation for the insults given to our Lord. There ought to be outrage, offense taken, a firm resistance to the propagation of this evil and a turning to the Lord to beg His pardon for these affronts to His Divine Majesty and to His Bride, Holy Church.

Third point: there’s another danger. Surely this present subject matter is a sin against the faith and therefore gravely sinful. But, as you should know, there are other consequences for violating one’s conscience. What I mean is that whenever one gives himself over to serious sin, besides the eternal punishment that it merits, there’s an added temporal punishment for acting against right reason. The reason for this added punishment is that sin is not just doing whatever forbidden thing one might like to do; it’s also a violation of right reason. Thus, one might say, that when one sins, one does an insane thing. He chooses irrationality over truth: the definition of insanity. Thus we have the saying: "sin blinds the intellect." While this form of damage done due to sin is not necessarily evident, by turning to the sins of the occult, blasphemy, sacrilege and the demonic, the results–like those resulting to the brain from the use of narcotic drugs–are often of far-reaching damage. When one turns from the light of Christian truth to embrace the cursed darkness of the demonic and the occult, one violates his rational nature in a very perverse way. The results of this have long-term effects on a soul. I would liken that effect to the loss of innocence; one cannot retrieve it after it’s gone. Even though there are people who, after a gruesome episode with these evils come back repentantly to the Catholic faith, they retain a moral scar and a memory which they will have to bear for a lifetime. It’s not that God does not pardon the sincere return of a sinner, or that He’s cruel in His punishments, but that sin has its natural consequences, not only those in eternity, but those in the present life as well. (This should be obvious in how sin has often ruined marriages, scarred the lives of children, or ruined one’s life’s work–just to give a few examples of sin’s aftereffects).

I have to bring this subject to a close now but I want to do my duty as a pastor and forewarn you about going down a road fraught with spiritual dangers and terrible consequences. Stay away from these evil things and turn to our Lord and offer Him the comfort of your fidelity and love. We’re fast becoming proficient in impiety and ever so negligent in making amends to our affronted Lord.

As Catholics you have devoted your lives to a sacred Person: the Son of God. Come to His defense and be the soldier of Christ that you are! (End Sermon)

If you liked this homily, please visit the Assumption Grotto website and click through what is available. See the upper right sidebar for links.

How did a bunch of Christian Teens Respond to Ban on Commencement Prayer?

Talk about divine justice for the ACLU!!! In time, there just won't be enough liberals left to fund their oppressive activities.

Judge Blocks Prayer at High School Graduation

Ky. (AP) - The senior class at a southern Kentucky high
school gave their response Friday night to a federal judge's
order banning prayer at commencement.

About 200 seniors stood during the principal's
opening remarks and began reciting the Lord's Prayer,
prompting a standing ovation from a standing-room only
crowd at the Russell County High School gymnasium.

The thunderous applause drowned out the last part of the

For the rest of the story, click here.

Pope Benedict: Religious Communities Threatened by Modern Culture

By Cindy WoodenCatholic News ServiceVATICAN CITY (CNS) --Reforms undertaken by religious orders aimed at ensuring deeper fidelity to the Gospel, to the church and to the poor are threatened by too many adaptations to a modern, materialistic culture, Pope Benedict XVI said.The pope met May 22 with some 1,500 superiors of women's and men's religious orders representing hundreds of thousands of priests, nuns, brothers and consecrated virgins around the world.

"To belong to the Lord: This is the mission of the men and women who have chosen to follow the chaste, poor and obedient Christ so that the world would believe and be saved," the pope told the superiors.Consecrated men and women, he said, are called to be a "credible and shining sign of the Gospel and its paradoxes," which encourage humility, self-giving and the renunciation of earthly goods for the sake of spiritual goods. The Lord wants men and women who are free, not bound, able to abandon everything to follow him and who find everything only in him," the pope said.Following the Second Vatican Council, he said, religious orders revised their constitutions and their way of life with a "more evangelical, more ecclesial and more apostolic spirit."

"But we cannot ignore that some concrete choices did not offer the world the authentic and life-giving face of Christ," the pope said.A desire to modernize and to be able to speak to contemporary men and women sometimes allowed a "secularized culture" to penetrate the minds and hearts of some religious, he said."The consequence is that, alongside an undoubtedly generous commitment capable of witnessing and of total giving, consecrated life today experiences the danger of mediocrity, adopting bourgeois values and a consumeristic mentality," Pope Benedict said.

Continue reading the rest of the story!

Bishop Robert W. Finn on a Roll - New Benedictine Community

Bishop Robert W. Finn of the Kansas City - St. Joseph Missouri Diocese isn't talking about a vocations problem. He has just welcomed a new community of Benedictine Nuns - a growing trend from all that I've been seeing in the past year.

Out = Non-habited contemporary orders, especially with new age slants
In = Habited, traditional orders, including cloisters.

Here are a few examples from some newer women's communities. As the Dominican Order of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist tells us on mail I receive from them, "We have a different kind of vocation problem". Upon opening the envelope I read that candidates coming for a discernment weekend had to sleep on the floor because there were so many, there weren't enough beds for them all. The first picture is of the postulants, the second are novices.

There are others I had been following and have lost the links to them. Many of these orders have lots of young faces. And, there seems to be a stream of newer orders which are traditional-community based.

Of course there is the Poor Clare Nuns of Perpetual Adoration - the order of Mother Angelica. From their website, they tell prospective candidates:

We don't have any more rooms available in our cloister for women at this time. However, if you feel called to an enclosed life of adoration of Jesus in a spirit of thanksgiving there is still hope. We have other houses that you can contact. Below you can find some links to their websites.

When a cloister reaches a certain size, a group of nuns from that cloister will set out to begin a new cloister. This has happened with the nuns at the Our Lady of the Angels Monastery on May 1, 2005 when 5 nuns left Hanceville and were received in Phoenix, Arizona by Bishop Olmstead. Their journey can be followed on

On their first anniversary, they added a new member to their family.

NOTE: All photographs were taken from the websites of the respective community.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Photos of Fr. Pablo Straub in Metro-Detroit, Michigan

It's not too late to attend another three days of the Parish Mission with Fr. Pablo Straub taking place at St. Edmund Parish in Warren, Michigan. Fr. Straub appears frequently on EWTN.

The parish is on Twelve Mile Rd, just east of Schoenherr. Doors open at 6:00pm on Tuesday for confession and the mission talk begins at 7:00 and runs until 8:00. This evening's talk ended with Benediction, followed by confession.

The parish has opened its doors to anyone wanting to attend. Fr. Straub had asked each person to invite at least 3 other people. I'm inviting anyone within the metro-Detroit area to attend this mission.

Here are a few photos!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Commentaries rolling in on the Cdl Arinze letter to Skylstad on translation

I'll try to fish some commentaries cropping up on this translation letter (click for full letter in my original post). Unfortunately, a quick search of this kind on google reveals absolutely nothing in the "news" section. No doubt that blogdom has the edge on real news, real fast. It may take time for it to make it to more mainstream catholic sources, if it makes some of them at all *sigh*.

The average Catholic without this kind of access will probably never know that Cardinal Arinze even spoke on the issue. It should be at Catholic News Service and when the weekend is over, hopefully, it crops up in their front panel. However, all disrespect aside, I won't hold my breath. Catholic World News is often more reliable, but actual Catholic news sometimes lags even there and it is helpful to read "Off the Record". The Wanderer will have this covered in another week, and it may take another 2 or 3 weeks just to get the issue through snail mail. Bookmark the link I just provided and you will find articles slipping out long before you ever get your print edition. No doubt they will cover this, probably with some solid commentary.

Here is some background from the blog Weight of Glory

It was just about a month ago that Cardinal Arinze discouraged

"The Mass is the most solemn action of the
sacred liturgy, which is itself
the public worship of the Church," the cardinal
said. Quoting John Paul II, he said liturgy is
not a "private property" and that priests and
lay faithfuls are "not free to add or subtract
any details" from the official liturgy. He said
communities that are faithful to the Church's
liturgical norms demonstrate their
love for the Church.

"A do-it-yourself mentality, an attitude
of nobody-will-tell-me-what-to-do, or a defiant sting of
is not only against sound theology and ecclesiology,
but also offends against common sense," the
Cardinal said.

"Unfortunately, sometimes common sense is not very
common, when we see a priest ignoring liturgical rules
and installing creativity, in his case personal idiosyncrasy,
as the guide to the celebration of Holy Mass."

You gotta like this Cardinal for his frankness. Some would call it uncharitable. However, sometimes charity comes in the form of straightforward correction and His Emminence certainly doesn't leave any room for ambiguity.

Just to gauge how this is coming along in blogworld, check out a basic search on Arinze. It's pretty obvious that the faithful who are talking in the blogs about this aren't the same ones that some US Bishops think would be harmed by a sudden purification of translations which reflect the original Latin.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Arinze to Skylstad: not acceptable to maintain that people have become accustomed to a certain translation

The Holy Spirit apparently wanted this dear Nigerian in the top spot at the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments (CDW). He continues to do a very fine job.

In very clear terms, the Cardinal has made it known that it is "not acceptable to maintain that people have become accustomed to a certain translation for thirty or fourty years."

Well Cardinal Arinze, all I can say is: "And with your Spirit!!!!"

Diogenes at Off the Record in the Catholic World News ( website covers the story in full:

Arinze to Skylstad: sorry, not buying it.
...or, to respond in ICEL-ese, "And also with you, pal." A letter from Cardinal Arinze shows that, while the liturgy wars continue, the old tactics just aren't doing it. In the latest round of the Roman Missal translation battle, the U.S. bishops dug into their playbook and tried to run Pastoral Hardship Left in order to out-flank Liturgiam authenticam (they explained to Rome, you see, that we faithful are so besottedly in love with the 1974 ICEL Sacramentary that it would be cruel for the Holy See to make us change it for a translation closer to the Latin). Arinze wasn't having any:

2 May 2006

The Most Reverend William Skylstad
Bishop of Spokane
President, United States Conference of
Catholic Bishops
Prot. n. 499/06/L

Your Excellency,

With reference to the conversation between yourself,
the Vice President and General Secretary of the
Conference of Bishops of which you are President,
together with me and other Superiors and Officials
when you kindly visited our Congregation on 27 April
2006, I wish to recall the following:

The Instruction Liturgiam Authenticam is the latest
document of the Holy See which guides translations
from the original-language liturgical texts into the
various modern languages in the Latin Church. Both
this Congregation and the Bishops’ Conferences are
bound to follow its directives. This Congregation
for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the
Sacraments is therefore not competent to grant the
recognitio for translations that do not conform to
the directives of Liturgiam authenticam.
If, however,
there are difficulties regarding the translation of a
particular part of a text, then this Congregation
is always open to dialogue in view of some mutually
agreeable solution, still keeping in mind, however,
that Liturgiam authenticam remains the guiding norm.

The attention of your Bishops’ Conference was
also recalled to the fact that Liturgiam
Authenticam was issued at the directive of the
Holy Father at the time, Pope
John Paul II, to guide new
translations as well as the revision of all
translations done in the last forty
years, to bring them into greater
fidelity to the original-language official
liturgical texts. For this reason it
is not acceptable to maintain that people have
become accustomed to a certain translation for
the past thirty or forty years, and therefore
that it is pastorally advisable to make no changes.
Where there are good and strong
reasons for a change, as has been determined by
this Dicastery in regard to the entire translation
of the Missale Romanum as well as other important
texts, then the revised text should make the needed
changes. The attitudes of Bishops and Priests will
certainly influence the acceptance of the texts by
the lay faithful as well.

Requesting Your Excellency to share these reflections
with the Bishops of your Conference I assure you of
the continued collaboration of this Congregation and
express my religious esteem,

Devotedly yours in Christ,

+Francis Card. Arinze

Prefect, Sacred
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline
of the Sacraments


Loss of eight. Fourth and twenty-two. And the punting unit, led by John Huels, is coming onto the field.

I hope Cardinal Arinze lives a very long time. God Bless his Emminence!

Note: Photo above taken from the Detroit News online.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Palm Sunday 2006 at Assumption Grotto in Detroit

This picture of the Latin Novus Ordo at Assumption Grotto in Detroit was taken on Palm Sunday of 2006. The pastor is celebrating ad orientem.

The next time someone tells you that this (using the high altar) is a thing of the past, feel free to send them a link to a post of your choice in this blog. Pictures will be added periodically throughout the year as events happen. I only take my camera to church on certain occasions and in bewteen, I'll be just.....blogging.

Herea are a few other posts with good shots of the Novus Ordo celebrated ad orientem for anyone visiting for the first time.

Assumption Day Collection

A Mass tied into 40 Hour Devotion

Archbishop Burke celebrating at Assumption Grotto

Easter Day 2006 Noon Mass

Easter Vigil Mass 2006

Lumen Christi - An Glowing Procession

Good Friday 2006

Holy Thursday 2006 - "Fiddleback" Roman Vestment in a Novus Ordo

Additional posts made later:

Memorial Day 2006 - Post 1 and Post 2

Spirit of the Liturgy in Detroit - Post 3

I meant to post this right after the 2nd post and forgot. I have several more from this event I'll try to bring to you in the next several days.

Here are two photos I took from the Grotto balcony during the April 1, 2006 Spirit of the Liturgy Seminar/Retreat with Fr. Joseph Fessio. For those wondering, what you see in the foreground is the Assumption Grotto Knights of Columbus colorguard.

This was the Saturday Vigil Mass at 4:00pm and, as you can see, the low altar is being used. However, as with all Novus Ordo Masses at Grotto - they are celebrated ad orientem. While the vigil is usually in English, it was celebrated in Latin, with Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony.

More from Spirit of the Liturgy, with explanations:

Post 2
Post 1

Should Pastors be Frequently Moved?

As a good spin-off to the post below, is this piece from the April 2006 issue of Homiletic and Pastoral Review (HPR)entitled, "Pastors and Stability of Office" by Mark Pilon. It examines the practice of moving pastors every "x" number of years and discusses related subjects, such as "careerism" in the priesthood.

Not all things written in the printed form are available online, but they do supply some very good sample articles, in full. I recommend bookmarking the site and spending some time reading what they have. If you can afford it, subscribe to this monthly. It is a dignified periodical which has been around a very long time - and, it is very solid! It is now published by Ignatius Press.

Another interesting article, which is available in the May 2006 issue (pictured at left as a link to the homepage), is The Meaning of Dogma by Fr. James V. Schall.

More about HPR...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

St. Agnes and Fr. Altier - More words of Wisdom from Fr. Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Zuhlsdorf comments once again in his blog on the saga involving Fr. Altier and St. Agnes. She has a new pastor and co-pastor and they are solidly Catholic so St. Agnes is in good hands. Fr. Z brings up some good points to consider - things that all of us need to think about: Priests don't last forever, especially in a given parish.

One of the Fathers of the Holy Cross at Grotto recently said (paraphrased) that his job is to lead people to Christ, not to himself - a very simple, yet profound statement. He aims to bring people to God, then steps back quietly so as not to overshadow the One who matters most. It then becomes our job to allow him to fade, taking the lessons and principles he teaches us in order to discover that intimate bond with Our Lord. Pilots-in-training know that someday they will need to fly solo, but for those who believe, God is the ever present Co-Pilot.

When we manage to find a solid priest who knows just the right way to reach us - driving us to want to avoid sin and build virtue, it is difficult to let go. Perhaps this is the very reason why God gave us priests and it is why we call them "Father". It's not easy to let someone "in there" in the first place - to tinker with our ways and behaviors. When we finally find the humility to let them influence us, something happens - they are reassigned, they retire, or die right in the saddle.

I've had to ponder this because of the many fine priests we have working in, or through, Assumption Grotto. I pray for them all daily, along with the religious, and I thank God for their presence in our community. Along with asking God to give them strength and wisdom so they can move us closer to God is one that asks Him to protect them. It then becomes my job to trust that God knows what he is doing, even if externally, it seems like a bad thing. I also pray that the Lord helps me to remember that they are all instruments of God, to be played as He wants, not as we wish. The developmental needs of the priest, or the developmental needs of some other group of people who stand to be influenced by our beloved priests, are only known fully to God. Who are we to question His judgment, no matter how it looks? In the end it all serves God's plans in ways we may never understand.

Spinning off on what the Holy Cross Father said, we all need to reflect on whether we are so attached to any one priest that we take our eyes off the ball and forget Whom we truly seek when dealing with them. Our relationship with the priests should be aimed solely at discovering God and getting closer to Him.

Like many of the priests of Assumption Grotto, Fr. Altier has taught the faith, from the pulpit and the airwaves, in fullness and without sugar-coating. That is what we all loved about his talks and it will be missed while he is away. But, I'm with Fr. Zuhlsdorf in this regard - Fr. Altier has no control over the matter. It is truly in the hands of God. I'm convinced that someday, Fr. Altier will emerge from his work at the nursing home and will have so much more to teach others - be it in another parish, or back on the radio. In fact, he is teaching us right now by not putting up a protest and humbly accepting what God has sent him.

How about we do the same?

In a July 17, 2004 post at the blog, "The Inn at the End of the World" the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne have something to teach us in this regard. Their death was surely a bad thing, but as we look back at history, they did not lose their heads in vain.

"Yet there must have been a growing public unease not evident in this letter.
Something in the sight of the nuns being executed seems to have affected even
the hardened Parisian crowd, accustomed to cheering loudly each fall of the
guillotine blade. Within ten days, by July 27, 1794, Robespierre and the
provisional revolutionary government were finished."

Feedback or biteback is welcome! There is no need to be a registered member of blogger and you can comment anonymously - just check the box and don't sign a name. Or, better yet, give a pseudoname.

Liturgical Express - Bringing Reverence to your "Worship" Space

Oh boy, this was cute.

Follow the link for a nicely spoofed ad at Musings of a Catholic Bookstore Blog

GIRM 275 - Bowing during Holy Mass

May 15 marked one year from the day I first discovered Assumption Grotto in Detroit. It was Pentecost and it was an Orchestra Mass. Having left my former irreverent Catholic lifestyle - you know, the kind that comes late, leaves early, sits on the pew like its a parkbench, and trips over the many other parishioners also leaving early to get to the local diner - I can reflect back on several changes in attitude with regards to the Mass that began abruptly from the moment I first walked into this fine parish.

I immediately picked up on the fact that the Grotto culture was highly reverent, which made me feel out of place. I recall telling God a few days later that I needed to find my sense of reverence and He responded by letting me know (in my heart, of course) that I never had any. It would have been easy to judge a culture with so much visible reverence. Some proclaim it to be a "holier than thou" atmosphere and I wasn't sure what to think because it was so......... different. But something kept gnawing at me to suspend judgment, just hang loose, observe, learn and reflect on it. It took a little time - a few days, maybe a couple weeks, but very quickly I came to realize this was the real deal, and it was the way people should behave in Church - very reverent ......... whatever that means. Reverent is, as reverent does, but if you haven't been taught how to be reverent, you can't possibly know. I decided that being reverent in my heart alone was no longer adequate before Jesus in the tabernacle, and in the Mass. Being reverent extends to life outside of Mass, but that's for another blog entry.

God is in the tabernacle, not some wafer. I recalled how Moses took his sandles off before the same God when He was in the form of a burning bush. Suddenly, I noticed the way I was standing (sloppy), the fact that my knees had grown so weak from doing only the Sunday slide - a half courtsey like motion where one barely genuflects as they smoothly slide into the pew - I couldn't genuflect properly. In some parishes I attended, genuflection is pretty much absent, even among those that still have the tabernacle - and God - central in the Church. I should know - I missed my own genuflection many times. I thought to myself, "this has to be fixed."

Among the topics I will explore in this blog are those related to reverence. Below, I want to call attention to something in the Creed. Those who first stumble naively into Assumption Grotto after a life time of attending Mass at more contemporary, "loose on reverence" parishes, may suddenly find themselves standing alone - that is, while everyone else is bowing during the segment of the Creed when we say,

Et incarnatus est (by the power of the Holy Spirit . . . made man)

Obviously, the first time I experienced it, I thought, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" and down I went wondering when we were going to rise. My first cue was that everyone in the Sanctuary - the priest, altar boys, lector - all turned towards the tabernacle in unison, then bowed profoundly from the waist just as you see in the picture at the top. I vaguely remember priests informing us several years ago (I use to float to different parishes for Mass each Sunday), that we would need to bow during the Creed, and we did do this as a congregation..........for a few months. Then, most people, myself included, completely forgot about the pronouncement of this norm and lapsed back into ignorning it.

Reflecting back on this lapse, I now see the mindset that must be involved. Bowing in reverence is not some kind of mechanical thing we do to look pretty. First and foremost, it begins interiorly, with a profound bow of the heart. It is then that we find ourselves prompted to make an exterior sign. If done in this manner - one does not forget or lapse over time, unless we forget or lapse in our grasp of what is happening in Church and in the Mass.

When the people went down in a profound bow during the Creed at Grotto, I recall thinking, "oh, yeah - I'm suppose to bow in here somehwere".


Thanks to Assumption Grotto priests and parishioners, and their level of reverence, the whole thing had peaked my interest last year. So, I went digging into the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) - one place we can refer to if we want to know the norms (setting aside translation issues). I found this:

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.

2. A bow of the body, that is to say a profound bow, is made to the altar; during the prayers Munda cor meum (Almighty God, cleanse my heart) and In spiritu humilitatis (Lord God, we ask you to receive); in the Creed at the words Et incarnatus est (by the power of the Holy Spirit . . . made man); in the Roman Canon at the words Supplices te rogamus (Almighty God, we pray that your angel). The same kind of bow is made by the deacon when he asks for a blessing before the proclamation of the Gospel. In addition, the priest bows slightly as he speaks the words of the Lord at the consecration.

We'll talk more about these two things later ...... I'm off to work!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Springtime in France? More like springtime in Europe!

In a Very Secular France, Nicolas Sarkozy Is Breaking a Taboo

by Sandro Magister, at his site, www.chiesa

This is interesting news and probably comes as no surprise to those of us in parishes like Assumption Grotto in Detroit and Sts. Cyril & Methodius (Sterling Hgts). One excerpt caught my eye and I can't wait to read the rest of it later when I have time. I think we will continue to live with much persecution, but in time, the old guard at the ACLU which tickles its fancy by attacking all things religious, will find itself replaced with a new generation of folks who will defend the very things the ACLU should be protecting.

One example of this renewed interest in Christianity in Sweden is the success of the information website “Katolsk Observatör.” The site describes itself as “traditional and aligned with Rome” and publishes news and analyses of substantial quality, with sections in English and French. One of its assiduous contributors is the Catholic bishop of Stockholm, Anders Arborelius, a member of the Carmelite order and the author of powerful homilies.

* * *

In Germany also – and not only in Catholic Bavaria, the birthplace of pope Joseph Ratzinger – there would seem to be signs of a religious revival. In mid-April, the German newspaper “Handesblatt” published a survey on this very phenomenon. In the view of the newspaper, the presence of a German pope on the chair of Peter makes an important contribution to this rebirth. Having visited Cologne in August of 2005, Benedict XVI will return to Germany next September, from the 9th to the 14th. “Handesblatt” writes that the pope “was able to speak about love to the youth he met in Cologne in a way that was new in comparison with that used in the past by many pastors of the German Catholic Church.”

Click the title link to read the entire story. It gives much hope for the future of our Church. Springtime is, indeed, in the air.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Archbishop Donald Wuerl Succeeds Cardinal McCarrick

New archbishop for US capital

May. 16 ( - Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick as Archbishop of Washington, DC, and named Bishop Donald Wuerl, currently head of the Pittsburgh diocese, to replace him.

To continue reading...

Grotto May Crowning and 1st Communion - Post 1

Fellow Assumption Grotto parishioner, Jeff Williams brings us some photos from the May 14, 2006 noon Mass. I'll be making several posts in the coming days with some from his collection starting with the May Crowning which took place prior to Mass.

We don't use flash during Mass so as not to pull people's attention from what is most important - God, who should always be at the center of our Mass.

Vatican-based blog system - MyWorshipSpace?

Curt Jester has something very interesting on his blog about a Vatican version of, called, MyWorshipSpace. Now if you aren't familiar with the Curt Jester blog, please know that it is a blog of Punditry, Parity, Polemics, Politics and Puns from a Papist Perspective (say that really fast 5 times) when you click on the MyWorshipSpace link.

Prayer Before Connecting to the Internet

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf has this prayer at his website - one that can be prayed before connecting to the internet. And, he has it in Latin, German and English. Click that link to read the history of this prayer. If you choose to post it, be sure to link back to Fr. Z's website and give it proper attribution. Blogging doesn't eliminate the need for protocol when referencing material developed or brought to us by others.

Let's do it this way.

Here it is in German for the Fathers of the Holy Cross who help out at our parish so well.

Ein Gebet vor dem Gang ins Internet:
Allmächtiger und ewiger Gott
der Du uns geschaffen hast nach deinem Bilde
und uns geboten hast zu suchen nach allem, was da gut, wahr und schön istbesonders in der göttlichen Person
deines eingeborenen Sohnes, unseres Herren Jesus ChristusErhöre unser Flehen
durch die Fürsprache von Sankt Isidor, Bischof und Doktor
daß während unserer Reisen durch das Internet
wir unsere Hände und Augen
nur auf Dinge richten mögen, die Dich erfreuen
und all jene Seelen, die uns begegnen
behandeln mit Geduld und Barmherzigkeit
durch Christus unseren Herren. Amen.

Here it is in English for the rest of us. Considering that the prayer was originally written in Latin, by Fr. Zuhlsdorf who writes, What Does the Prayer Really Say, in The Wanderer, the English translation is one that we won't have to second guess.

A prayer before logging onto the internet:
Almighty and eternal God,
who created us in Thy image
and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful,
especially in the divine person of Thy Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,grant, we beseech Thee,
that, through the intercession of Saint Isidore, Bishop and Doctor,during our journeys through the internet
we will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Thee
and treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

And, for Fr. Perrone.....hmmm - Latin, French or Italian? *scratches chin* Well, I'll just play it safe and stick with Latin. Here it is in Grotto-green.

Orátio ante colligatiónem in interrete:
Omnípotens aetérne Deus,
qui secúndum imáginem Tuam nos plasmásti
et omnia bona, vera, et pulchra,
praesértim in divína persóna Unigéniti Fílii Tui
Dómini nostri Iesu Chrísti, quaérere iussísti,
praesta, quaésumus,
ut, per intercessiónem Sancti Isidóri, Epíscopi et Doctóris,
in peregrinatiónibus per interrete,
et manus oculósque ad quae Tibi sunt plácita intendámus
et omnes quos convenímus cum caritáte ac patiéntia accipiámus.
Per Christum Dóminum nostrum. Amen.

It is available in that original link (top) in a host of other languages, as well.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Note about special on Freemasons tonite on National Geographic Channel

Just a quick note to those who have the National Geographic Channel....

Assumption Grotto Parishioner, Patty Palmer of Grotto Press, informed me recently that one of the books the publisher offers will be featured in a program which first airs tonight. Here is the schedule.

Monday, May 15, 2006, at 9P

Secrets of the Freemasons [TV-G]

Also airs:
Tuesday, May 16, 12A
Saturday, May 20, 10P

The book to be featured, Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism is available online, or at the Assumption Grotto Giftshop and Cafe which is open after all weekday morning Masses, and after the Sunday 9:30 and Noon Masses.

As always, feel free to comment!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

An Angelic Chasuble

This is a Father of the Holy Cross during the 9:30am Mass on May 14, 2006. The back of the chasuble reads: Soli Deo, or to God alone. The front reads, "Sanctus + Sanctus + Sanctus+", which is the prayer of the holy Angels we sing at holy Mass.

I was at the 9:30 Mass after already taking in the 4:00pm Vigil on Saturday because I was going to take pictures aftwards of the May Crowning. I decided, however, to use the rare opportunity I was not singing with the choir, to take pictures of the Mass from a closer pew. I was pleasantly surprised to see this most beautiful chasuble and my picture doesn't do it justice. Unfortunately, my camera has been malfunctioning and did so in a big way just as Mass ended. I think its days are numbered. These photos should not be so grainy either.

Seeing this chasuble today, I can't help but think of the apostolate, "Opus Sanctorum Angelorum" or "Work of the Holy Angels. While it is a juridically separate entity from the Order of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross, the apostolate is entrusted to the "Canons". It is not uncommon for priests from this order to draw our attention to the holy angels in homilies and talks using scripture to point out the reality of their existence, and how they are there to help us. I never really thought about the angels and find myself amazed at just how much they are referred to in scripture.

The website for the apostolate is one of the finest "watering holes" for spiritual reading that I have run across on the web, and it is why I have placed it in my sidebar. Click through what is on this page just to see what is available and bookmark it for future reference. I found even the Youth Circulars interesting. And, it is where I first read about Devotion to the Sacred Heart after the Novena at Assumption Grotto peaked my interest last year. My dad was in to this devotion, but it was never covered in my catechism or in parishes to which I frequented. Let's just say, the write-up won my heart and I found it very spiritually moving. The Feast of the Sacred Heart is coming soon so it is a good time to read this circular.

I'm going to be profiling more about this apostolate, including their emphasis on praying for priests, which is something we should all be doing. Each priest, seminarian or bishop we help through our prayers and sacrifices, ultimately helps many, many people.