Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Michael Barber continues to discuss the "finding of Jesus' bones"

Michael Barber is only just beginning and today he posts 7 Reasons why Cameron's Theory is Sinking.

I'll start you out here, and then you can follow through to Michael's blog, where he has additional links:

Yesterday and today I taught classes where I was asked to address this "Jesus Tomb" story. In fact, a lot of news outlets are already reporting on the massive problems made with the claims being made. Well, here I want to list seven reasons why this story sinking.

1. Cameron found no bones of Jesus. Everyone looks over that--in fact, when I first posted on this I was even under the impression that Cameron was talking about finding "bones" of Jesus. Even if this was the tomb of the founder of Christianity, there is still no body in it. Of course, it isn't Jesus' tomb anyway as we will explain, I just thought I ought to point that out.

2. There is no way to know whether or not the "Yeshua" in question here is the "Yeshua" who founded Christianity. As I explained in the last post, Yeshua was the sixth most common name of Jewish males in Jesus' day. Joseph was the second. Miriamne (=Mary) was the most popular name for Jewish girls--in fact, 21% of all Jewish females were named Miriamne. So even if this Yeshua was married to a woman named Miriamne.........continue reading at Singing in the Reign

More posts on this subject by Michael Barber:

Titanic Claim: Jesus' Body Found?

This is only the beginning. Mr. Cameron invited scholars to look at the find, and there is no doubt that this whole issue will find itself buried at sea along with the Titanic.

Lenten Series by Fr. Zuhlsdorf

Father John Zuhlsdorf - aka, "Fr. Z" at his blog, "What does the prayer really say?", is in the midst of a Lenten series which examines the prayers of Holy Mass a little closer. Visit the WDTPRS Homepage each day to read his latest translation, and lenten reflection.

Here is an excerpt from the First Wednesday in Lent:

Sometimes it helps for us to identify ourselves with the gifts placed on the altar for consecration. Moments before the Super Oblata prayer, we are invited by the priest to unite our sacrifices to those he offers in his manner of offering. We all have both burdens and reasons to rejoice. These we can consciously place into the chalice as the priest prepares it for their own change and elevation and "completion". In a way, the water can be like our own human and earthly portion being joined, absorbed and changed into the wine (the divine), even before they are stupendously raised as the Eucharist.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Online Video of Local News Segment on Mary Mother of the Eucharist Dominicans

Click the pic to go to the Mary, Mother of the Eucharist website

I first notified readers a couple days ago here of the upcoming video segment that Detroit's local ABC affiliate - Channel 7, WXYZ-TV would be doing on the Mary Mother of the Eucharist Dominicans. They are a very young community (in more ways than one) which began with just four sisters ten years ago. Now they are 70 with an average age somewhere in their 20's.

The segment aired last night and that video is now online. I don't know how long WXYZ-TV will keep it there. If the video is taken down, you may want to email them and ask if they can archive it somewhere online for future reference, or get permission to upload it to YouTube, if that is possible.

Here is a direct link to where the online video of that news segment by Ray Sayah on the Mary Mother of the Eucharist Dominicans.

The introduction is as follows:

By Ray Sayah
February 27, 2007

Today more young women are saying no thanks to married life and high-powered jobs. Instead they’re pursuing a higher calling

Some young women in their 20’s and 30’s have already gone after money, careers and material possessions, but it didn’t make them happy. They say they’ve found what’s missing in a lifestyle that’s making a comeback.

If you're reading sisters - all I can say is....

.....for your example, your prayers and sacrifices, and for saying, "Yes" when He called.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Fr. Zuhlsdorf on the Ad Orientem Posture....and Confession too.

Fr. Perrone celebrates the liturgy ad orientem at the 7:00pm outdoor evening Mass on August 15, 2005

Fr. Zuhlsdorf has a commentary up on one of our favorite topics here: Ad Orientem!

Fr. Z also reminds us that Lent is a good time to be considering confession and puts his Examination of Conscience up on his blog.

Michael Barber takes on James Cameron

You've probably heard by now, that the director of Titanic, James Cameron is claiming to have found a box of bones belonging to Jesus.

Radio Show Host and Professor of Theology, Scripture and Catholic Thought at John Paul the Great Univeristy in San Diego, CA - Michael Barber - takes a few shots at Cameron's claims.

No pun intended, but Cameron's ship is going to sink. But, how many souls will be taken in by the media hype?

Local News station will discuss why young women are flocking to this Convent

If you are within the metro Detroit viewing area for ABC - Channel 7 in Detroit, tune in at 11:00 or tape the broadcast. Ray Sayah has done a story that will air about the vocation "problem" they are having at Mary Mother of the Eucharist (at least, so it appeared by their habits). The problem is that the young women are "coming in droves".

Catholic Culture has an article archived from 1997 in which covers the origins and beginnings of this local Dominican order in Ann Arbor. It is an offshoot from the Dominicans of popular notoriety in Tennessee. As I've mentioned before, good orders grow by sending out small groups of sisters to begin new communities. This one will have to do something soon (and it would be nice to see some sent out to the east side of Metro Detroit to run a Catholic school).

Yes Virginia, it is springtime for traditional convents, holy orders, and dioceses!

If you don't live in the viewing area, skim the Channel 7 Action News website at 11:00, or even tomorrow for anything they may have online. It's not likely to be online for very long.

Another Pastoral Letter on Pornography - This time from Bishop Robert W. Finn

Bishop Loverde of the Arlington Diocese released a pastoral letter on pornography not that long ago, and now Bishop Finn of Kansas City - St. Joseph Diocese has done the same.

Hat tip to the Bishop Finn Fan Club and Kansas City Catholic.

I'll start you out here and let you follow the link to the diocesan website for the full document.

Bishop Robert W. Finn
Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph

Blessed Are The Pure In Heart
A Pastoral Letter on the Dignity of the Human Person
and the Dangers of Pornography
Kansas City, Missouri ~ February 21, 2007

To the clergy, religious, lay faithful of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and to all people of good will:

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8): A way of discipleship

In the Beatitudes Christ offers us a perfect model for true Christian living. Even more than the Ten Commandments themselves, they are a charter for the high moral calling Christ sets for His disciples.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. This one line from the Beatitudes offers a most sublime beginning point to our reflection. It tells us about God, ourselves and our ultimate goal. A pure heart is “blessed” or “happy.” Seeing God and being with Him forever in heaven is God’s plan for our eternal well-being. The Old Testament teaches that this purity is required if we are to approach God. “Who shall ascend the mountain of the Lord? And who shall stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false” (Psalm 24, 3-4).

To be pure in heart implies that our love is wholly directed toward the good of the other person. We are “single-hearted,” and not divided in our love. Israel ’s first and most important commandment is to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength (Deut 6: 4-5). Jesus added definitively that we must also love our neighbor as our self (Mk 12: 29 -31). This pure love – as demanding as it may be – is the high destiny to which we are called as children of the Father. Is it possible to fulfill such a love? Yes. It is possible because God has first loved us (1 Jn 4:10 ). As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to the happiness that comes from a clean and undivided heart.

Pornography: Epidemic Attacking Human Dignity

Daily there are challenges to this pure Christian love. For some months, representatives of our Catholic Diocese have been working with leaders of other faith traditions to address the serious dangers represented by the steady increase of pornography in our culture. Pornography is not new, but it has become a kind of plague in our society, reaching epidemic proportions. It is being propagated more widely than ever. Well beyond magazines, it is widespread on the internet, television, movies and videos, and now on cell phones and other handheld devices, many of which are marketed to children and youth. Pornography has become the secret entertainment of many people of all ages, walks of life, and economic backgrounds. Use of internet pornography is perhaps the fastest growing addiction in the world.

Continue reading Bishop Finn's Pastoral Letter......

This kind of document has been sorely needed. It's a sad state of reality that many Catholics today - especially young people, do not see the sinfulness of pornography. Hollywood makes television programs aimed at youth which sell sex when the TV characters are still in high school - as if it is a normal part of the curriculum. They grow up thinking it is part of high school life. Some go to church each week, oblivious to how saddened God is with the offenses against his Commandments.

This kind of letter is exactly the leadership we so badly need. There is no doubt that we need bishops to speak up on helping the poor, and on matters of justice. However, there has been relative silence for decades on issues of morality with respect to issues such as pornography.

This is also an excellent follow up to the Pope Benedict's Encyclical, Deus Caritas Est. We need more priests and bishops to continue contrasting the difference between true love and false love.

Please pray for our priests and bishops!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Justin Cardinal Rigali - on YouTube!

First came the Cardinal Arinze Podcast. Then came Cardinal Sean's Blog. Now, it's Justin Cardinal Rigali on YouTube with a Lenten Message. Click the Video to watch.

This is great to see our shepherds using media to do their work. Pope John Paul II would be proud!


While I am linking to lenten messages here, I'd like to point out two from Pope Benedict, via Zenit.

Find God's Love in Christ Crucified

On Contemplating Christ Crucified

Adoramus Te Christe

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Saturday morning with EWTN Kids

Sometimes when I'm working around the house I'll just put on EWTN TV or Ave Maria Radio (on my computer when I'm upstairs), and listen as I work. In these past two years since I started taking my faith more seriously, I've learned alot about the Catholic faith doing this. Other times, it is good to simply work in silence - something I've been working at even moreso now, than in the past.

This morning, as I prepared a large pot of chicken soup to share with my brother and his son - both of whom have suffered with the flu the last couple of days - I turned EWTN on. As soon as I saw the cartoons, I nearly changed the channel, but something prompted me to watch for a time. I'm glad I did. It was a real contrast to my "butterfly-and-me" catechism of my youth. If I had young kids, I would seriously consider getting the videos or taping the Saturday lineup of kids programs to watch with them.

The hour worth of programming that I had on, while different shows, all carried a common theme: Reconciliation. When I first tuned in, Image of God - a new program - was on. The teacher held a dialogue with the children and it focused on laws and why we follow them. She spoke about following all lawful authority - parents, teachers, even aunts and uncles, as a way that is pleasing to God. She then explained how parents, out of love, often ask children to do things they may not understand and God expects us to follow their wishes. In a like manner, so it is with God. We may not understand all of his Commandments, or Doctrines of the Church, but we must follow them. Actually, this is the highest form of faith - to accept and follow a Commandment or teaching without understanding it, out of pure love of God and trust in Him.

Between programs, instead of commercials, they played these short 5-minute clips of cartoon stories from the Gospel. Included was the story of the Prodigal Son. Another was aimed at prayer and how we must be like children. There were other short clips built into EWTN's Faith Factory. In "Hey Brother Leo", the children got a very short, but effective lesson on the Trinity using a simple lightbulb and its elements. As is always good in teaching, Brother Leo Mary, kept repeating - "three unique persons in one God". He also explained how we ought not get caught up in common heresies involving the Trinity. His visual was actually quite interesting, even though we all know that there is no single analogy that can fully help us to understand the Trinity. I also got a glimpse - for the second time - of a short clip by Fr. Antoine Thomas who spoke on the subject of sin very briefly, but effectly. I've seen something previously on children's adoration which impressed me. Click here to see a list of videos available from Children of Hope.

There was a 20 minute cartoon involving two young boys who were best buddies that was excellent. It used common sins committed by children to teach about forgiveness and confession. One kid - Philip - was a whiz at learning. He hid his report card from his parents because he cheated on one question and got caught - causing a failing grade. He wanted to be perfect and couldn't approach his parents. He spoke to a priest who explained the sin of pride, but the boy was still afraid to approach his parents who eventually confronted him and forgave him. At the same time, his best friend had stolen a brand new basketball from him - intercepting it at the post office as the other was waiting for it through the mail. It was a birthday gift and the ball was from a reputable team. This boy - Manuel - found himself unable to sleep and eventually went to talk to an old monk at a nearby monastery. The monk explained why he couldn't sleep and why he felt so miserable. Then he told him he needed to return the ball to his friend and apologize, while explaining the need to also seek forgiveness from God in Confession. The boy asked why he couldn't just confess to God on his own and the monk explained to him the gospel story of when Jesus gave to the apostles the power to forgive sins (John 20:19-23).

As I came up stairs, the sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist - based out of nearby Ann Arbor, Michigan, were about to have their children's program begin - Truth in the Heart.

You can buy these videos from the EWTN Catalogue

Faith Factory's Image of God

Other multimedia selections can be found here

Now, if you don't have cable television, but have access to the internet, you can watch any EWTN program live on the internet. I do this all the time when upstairs because I do not have a cable box there. Granted, it is a small window, but streaming video works fine - unless you are on dialup. Just go to the EWTN site and put your cursor over "Television" and pick from the options.

Friday, February 23, 2007

A pro-life sidewalk counselor - and her blog

I would like to point your attention to a new post made on the Helpers of God's Precious Infants website which leads to a sidewalk counselor's blog.

If you want to know both the challenge and the rewards of sidewalk counseling, go to the HGPI-Michigan blog for the link. It will soon be adding it to my sidebar here when I have time.

The HGPI-Michigan blog is updated only periodically, but do check in weekly for upcoming events as weather begins to turn for the better.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

CWN: Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist is "imminent" long have we waited for this one? Hopefully, "imminent" means something sooner than another year.

I don't know about anyone else, but I am very excited at the prospect of reading this when it finally appears.

Go read the CWNews article about the "imminent" release of the document which is the result of the 2005 Synod on the Eucharist.

If you are unfamiliar with what this is about, here is the Instrumentum Laboris, or working document that was used for the synod discussions.

A Reader Discerns the Priesthood

Fr. Perrone during outdoor Benediction on August 15, 2006
Photo by Jeff Williams

A reader of this blog, "Kimo", has requested prayers as he discerns a calling to the priesthood. He writes:

"I wanted to request your prayers and those of your readers for my own vocational discernment. I've felt called to the holy priesthood/religious life since I was very young. I never felt that I was ever interiorly prepared enough for so great a vocation and thus far have not answered the call but I pray that through the intercession of Our Lady of Sorrows, St. Joseph, St. Aloysius Gonzaga that I will be shown where it is Our Lord wishes me to be in in what capacity He wishes me to serve Him."

This is a good reminder to not only keep in our prayers - priests, bishops and seminarians, but also discerning men and women.

If there are other readers who are discerning a call to the priesthood or religious life, please add your name (real or pseudoname) into the comment box. If you want to address those who are discerning, you may also do so in the comment box.

My Recommendations to those Discerning

I recommend to Kimo, and to all who are discerning a vocation to the priesthood or religious life to spend time each week before the Blessed Sacrament. Make a holy hour. If there is a chapel that has adoration all the better. Don't hesitate to stop in during off-hours to see if the church is accessible, especially if you are in a parish where people have not yet learned to maintain silence. Don't be frustrated with them, but pray for them, asking God to forgive them for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34). One of my old parishes, which I always thought was closed, is open through a back door from the administrative offices. I found I can go in any time the parish offices are open (usually until 8:00pm). I can kneel before the tabernacle in total isolation from any other human (no doubt the angels and saints are there adoring Him too). If in doubt, ask. If you just can't make it to a church, Fr. Perrone once told me to simply think about the closest church where there is the Eucharist and adore Our Lord in my heart.

All who are discerning really need to consider consecrating themselves to the Blessed Mother using the 33-Day Preparation by St. Louis de Montfort for the Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary Priests at my parish heavily encourage this for discerning men and women, as well as lay people. It begins 33 days before any major Marian feast day, such as the Annunication, Assumption, and Immaculate Conception. There is one that just began a few days ago leading up to the Annunciation on March 25, but I highly recommend starting fresh and gearing up to it rather than jumping in late. This preparation needs a strong committment. It starts out rather easy, but as the days go on, the time required to complete the prayers and readings get longer. Included soon after you begin is the Rosary daily. One word of caution: The Blessed Mother's first action is to clean house so be prepared for the preparation. You can find solace in this thread I started at Catholic Online as I was doing the Total Consecration Prep . Access to a good confessor is a great help. Those discerning should be making frequent confessions anyway. In many dioceses, even those that are seemingly progressive, somewhere in a nook or cranny is a quiet priest who values confession. He may be young, or he may be very old. It has nothing to do with age - it's a state of mind! Find him!!!

Those who struggle with the Rosary should read this post I made on the Rosary Confraternity's website.

This is also a good time to remind people within driving distance of Assumption Grotto that we have monthly holy hours for vocations on the first Sunday of the month after the noon Mass. We also have an adoration chapel. Those interested in visiting the chapel for the first time may want to call the sisters who maintain it to get instructions for entry. Convent: 313- 527-1739. They are always looking for more adorers.

A final reminder about praying for those discerning concerns the apostolate Opus Angelorum. At their website, they have an article about the need to pray for our priests. There is a whole list of prayers for priests listed at the bottom of that short article, including the beautiful Litany of our Lord Jesus Christ Priest and Victim. The sisters also handle spiritual adoption of priests, bishops, seminarians and discerning young men.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Heading out of town....

I'm heading out of town for a couple of days so I will have comment moderation on. This means you can comment, but won't see it until I get back and have a chance to view them. I don't screen anything out except for advertisements and lewd comments.

I had a bad experience with a lewd advertisement a couple months after I started this and that is why you have to type in those strange characters when leaving a post. It was obvious that what I received underneath a photo of a priest kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament was "spammed" in somehow through a robot. I've not had such a bad experience since turning on that character recognition, but I'd like to play it safe by taking it up one more notch while I'm away.

Therefore, to protect the delicate eyes of my readers, I will sift through any comments first before letting them flow through.

Lent is coming up fast with Ash Wednesday.

Blogging Cardinal: Sean O'Malley

I don't know how many of noticed that the Blog of Cardinal Sean O'Malley had been added to my sidebar not long after it came online. He got his feet wet while traveling to Rome.

Here is his introductory blogpost from September of 2006.

One of my favorites in his collection on this trip, was when he celebrated Mass at the St. Philip (Neri) Chapel at the Chiesa Nuova, posted on September 24. He celebrated ad orientem at an altar under which lies this great saint. He explains that the chapel was completed in 1602 with St. Philip lying in a crystal casket beneath the altar he is using. In the photo, is Cardinal O'Malley lifting a chalice high in front of a painting of the saint. In a word: Breathtaking!

More recently, on January 26th, Cardinal O'Malley shared photos and experiences from the March for Life in Washington DC.

In his latest post, February 16th, he brings Peru into our homes with reflections and photos.

Pay the good Cardinal's site a visit on a regular basis and enjoy all that it has to offer. I'm greatful he takes the time out of his day to write a blogpost for his local flock, and for the rest of us. Hopefully, more Cardinals and Bishops will see the value of even just weekly blogposting, which is about how frequent Cardinal O'Malley is currently posting.

TIP: Click through the months, and then click through the days of the calendar in the upper right hand corner. If you merely click on the months in the archives, you will only get his last post of the month.

Go to the homepage of the Blog of Cardinal Sean O'Malley.

He even allows comments!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Rev. Stanley G. Morrow: The Danger of Criticizing Priests and Bishops

The lastest issue of Homiletic and Pastoral Review is out and, as always, HPR has chosen one of its articles in the issue to be featured at its online site.

This is an excellent article and deserves some attention and reflection. But, I want to give you a lead-in to this article. In particular, I believe Catholic bloggers may want to ponder the admonishment of Fr. Morrow, who shares examples in history of where criticism, while seemingy just, can lead down a deadly path.

Catholic blogging in the internet age makes it easy to engage in criticisms of priests and bishops. Reading the article by Fr. Morrow we get a picture of what many priests and bishops were like in the 13th century. As I read it, my thoughts turned to St. Francis: How did he deal with these priests and bishops? That is where Fr. Morrow takes readers next. He compares and contrasts the acts and behavior of St. Francis in dealing with the same kinds of unvirtuous and even sinful priests and bishops, as those who lived Gospel poverty at the same time, but were openly critical (and eventually excommunicated). It's the difference between a humble, prayerful and even charitable response, and one that is prideful. Both groups cared about the Church enough to want to do something, but Francis took the high road and his efforts left others an opportunity to see their errors (not that they necessarily did).

What can we learn from this?

As a blogger, I admit that in my early writings, I had a focus on the latest, most outrageous, thing happening out there in the liturgy and in the Church. I felt the need to protect Holy Mother Church from such outrages and wanted to vent. The internet made it easy to share photos and video of what was going on. I felt myself angry inside much of the time.

One day, a young priest with whom I was close, showed disapproval for my having posted such things. This priest challenged me gently, but persistently, saying that it would be far more productive if I spent an hour in adoration in reparation for offenses that were visible to me, than to be exploiting them and being openly critical. It took some time (weeks and months) for it to sink in and now that it has, I am at peace. Gone is the constant anger and sense of outrage - neither of which are fruits of the Holy Spirit. That is why you won't find "scandal stories" in my posts of late and why I choose to focus more on leading readers to things that are spiritually beneficial. I don't even read the scandal stories on Catholic blogs any longer because they counter the Christian values which continue to evolve through the help of my confessors and spiritual directors. Furthermore, I don't want to encourage people in these kinds of posts by contributing to high hit counts.

Some of what I have read in the past, and even passed along, borders on detraction, but only God knows what is in a person's heart. I would like to think that we would not even want to come close to that line out of fear that we would offend Our Lord. Much "news" these days is actually gossip and just because it comes from a supposedly reliable source, does not make it right to pass on publicly (emphasis mine).

CCC: 2477
Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury.278 He becomes guilty:

  • of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;

  • of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another's faults and failings to persons who did not know them;279

  • of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.

Fr. Morrow's article surrounds this whole issue well and I encourage all bloggers and readers of blogs to spend some time chewing on it. Consider what you are writing, and what you are reading. Consider that each time you click a "scandal" story on a Catholic blog - even if it is about the outrageous liturgical act of the week - you encourage the writer to give more of the same by virtue of the hits.

Hit counters should never drive content. Original Sin has left us wanting juicy tidbits. It becomes easy to by-pass 10 minutes of pure spiritual reading on a blog for 20, 30 or even 120 minutes of those juicy tidbit stories - almost to the exlusion of anything truly spiritual. I should know - I'm guilty of having done this. After a while, hopefully we begin to question what attracts us to such things over the spiritual, if not our fallen nature?

If you happen to stumble across something which exposes "the sins of others" you have a choice: You can continue reading it and post on it, or you can offer a Rosary, an hour of adoration, or some other meaningful sacrifice - silently - in reparation for the offense, and for the conversion of those involved. There are proper channels for reporting things which merit reporting - first at the local level, then the Vatican. Don't post your abuse videos and photos online, send them to the bishop with a straightforward letter, written with facts, in charity, and free of emotion. If you get no response in 3 months time or get an unsatisfactory response, send the package to the proper office at the Vatican. That is good protocol; publicly "reporting" such things on the web is not.

If you want an example, look to Pope Benedict XVI. You won't hear him publicly bashing anyone. Rather, it is handled with utmost charity, even when "counsel" is given. How would the Pope feel about some of the criticisms, and tone, on Catholic blogs? Even if anger is justified, is publicly airing such dirty laundry justified? Would he be disappointed with what we write? When he "spanks" it's with a soft hand because hitting any harder would seemingly "force" people into submission when we are suppose to respond with an act of free will. Some will choose correctly with gentle prodding, some will refuse and that is the keyword - it is their choice and one that God gives to them.

Don't get me wrong. I am as upset by abuses visible via the internet as anyone. I'm just choosing to deal with it a different way these days and I'm grateful to have had a confessor who cared enough to say something.

Persecution and abuse - even from within - has been with the Catholic Church from the beginning. Jesus chose Judas, and Judas had a free will. Jesus knew what Judas would do, but he teaches us that even within the clergy there are sinners who will make bad decisions. We must leave the judgment to God and pray for the conversion of these souls and make reparation for their deeds.

Go read: The Danger of Criticizing Priests and Bishops by Rev. Thomas G. Morrow

NOTE: If at any point the link does not work, please email me. I believe the URL will change as soon as a new edition comes out and I will edit the link if someone lets me know it is not working correctly.

I would love to hear the thoughts of other bloggers or blog readers on this subject. Feel free to post comments, but if you choose to do so anonymously, at least choose a pseudo-name to make it easier to distinguish one anon from another.

Please don't comment until you have read the article by Fr. Morrow.

For other great articles, go to HPR Online. Published by Ignatius Press, it is aimed at priests, but great lay-reading. Look at some of the titles in this month's issue on the right. They also have "sample articles" which remain online (on the left). These are lead articles from previous issues.

Better yet, just subscribe - it's one of the best Catholic periodicals out there.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Pope Benedict's 2007 Lenten Message is Released


“They shall look on Him
whom they have pierced”
(Jn 19:37)

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

They shall look on Him whom they have pierced” (Jn 19:37). This is the biblical theme that this year guides our Lenten reflection. Lent is a favourable time to learn to stay with Mary and John, the beloved disciple, close to Him who on the Cross, consummated for all mankind the sacrifice of His life (cf. Jn 19:25). With a more fervent participation let us direct our gaze, therefore, in this time of penance and prayer, at Christ crucified who, dying on Calvary, revealed fully for us the love of God. In the Encyclical Deus caritas est, I dwelt upon this theme of love, highlighting its two fundamental forms: agape and eros.

God’s love: agape and eros

The term agape, which appears many times in the New Testament, indicates the self-giving love of one who looks exclusively for the good of the other. The word eros, on the other hand, denotes the love of one who desires to possess what he or she lacks and yearns for union with the beloved. The love with which God surrounds us is undoubtedly agape. Indeed, can man give to God some good that He does not already possess? All that the human creature is and has is divine gift. It is the creature then, who is in need of God in everything. But God’s love is also eros. In the Old Testament, the Creator of the universe manifests toward the people whom He has chosen as His own a predilection that transcends every human motivation. The prophet Hosea expresses this divine passion with daring images such as the love of a man for an adulterous woman (cf. 3:1-3). For his part, Ezekiel, speaking of God’s relationship with the people of Israel, is not afraid to use strong and passionate language (cf. 16:1-22). These biblical texts indicate that eros is part of God’s very heart: the Almighty awaits the “yes” of His creatures as a young bridegroom that of his bride. Unfortunately, from its very origins, mankind, seduced by the lies of the Evil One, rejected God’s love in the illusion of a self-sufficiency that is impossible (cf. Gn 3:1-7). Turning in on himself, Adam withdrew from that source of life who is God Himself, and became the first of “those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage” (Heb 2:15). God, however, did not give up. On the contrary, man’s “no” was the decisive impulse that moved Him to manifest His love in all of its redeeming strength.

The Cross reveals the fullness of God’s love

It is in the mystery of the Cross that the overwhelming power of the heavenly Father’s mercy is revealed in all of its fullness. In order to win back the love of His creature, He accepted to pay a very high price: the blood of His only begotten Son. Death, which for the first Adam was an extreme sign of loneliness and powerlessness, was thus transformed in the supreme act of love and freedom of the new Adam. One could very well assert, therefore, together with Saint Maximus the Confessor, that Christ “died, if one could say so, divinely, because He died freely” (Ambigua, 91, 1956). On the Cross, God’s eros for us is made manifest. Eros is indeed – as Pseudo-Dionysius expresses it – that force “that does not allow the lover to remain in himself but moves him to become one with the beloved” (De divinis nominibus, IV, 13: PG 3, 712). Is there more “mad eros” (N. Cabasilas, Vita in Cristo, 648) than that which led the Son of God to make Himself one with us even to the point of suffering as His own the consequences of our offences?

“Him whom they have pierced”

Dear brothers and sisters, let us look at Christ pierced in the Cross! He is the unsurpassing revelation of God’s love, a love in which eros and agape, far from being opposed, enlighten each other. On the Cross, it is God Himself who begs the love of His creature: He is thirsty for the love of every one of us. The Apostle Thomas recognized Jesus as “Lord and God” when he put his hand into the wound of His side........ (continue reading at the Vatican's website)

Hat Tip to Fr Z for this news, and for his commentary. Do go there and read it.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Call to Holiness April 28 - Reserve your ticket today!

The Call to Holiness poster and ticket info is available online.

This year, Call to Holiness will be at two locations on the same day, with speakers commuting bewteen the sites to enable all to hear them at the closest location.

Follow this link to the Call to Holiness website for a PDF file of the poster
, which has ticket info (give it a moment to load).

Speakers this year include:

- Robert Fastiggi, PhD (Sacred Heart Major Seminary)
- Marcus Grodi (EWTN - Journey Home)
- Alice von Hildebrand, PhD
- Fr. Neil Roy, S.T.L., PhD

Keynote Speaker: Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, NE

New Auxiliary Bishop, Daniel Flores, will celebrate Mass at 8:00am at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Wyandotte. Auxiliary Bishop John Quinn will celebrate Mass at 4:00pm at St. Rene Goupil on the East side.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Web-cam live from Lourdes

St. Bernadette (d. April 16, 1879) today - one of the "incorruptibles"

February 11th marks the anniversary of the first apparition at Lourdes, France by St. Bernadette. One of the things I wish I had thought to do was to direct your attention to the many webcams at the Official Website of Lourdes-France, which is in my sidebar (scroll down on the main blog page).

There are webcams right now, as of this posting, showing people processing in the streets of Lourdes, and at the Grotto with candlelight.

Access them through this page

More on the Lourdes Apparitions:


Great book on Saint Bernadette, written in 1958

Saint Bernadette Soubirous by Abbe Francois Trochu

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Abp. Wuerl and his pastoral letter on Sacramental Confession

A photo of a well-used confessional at Assumption Grotto on a Sunday morning as Mass gets underway. Assumption Grotto Confession Schedule: Saturday, Eve of Holy Day, Thursday before First Friday: 2:30-3:30 & 7:30-8:00 p.m.Sunday: 45 min. before the 9:30 a.m. and Noon Mass until the Gospel starts and any time in between if you just ask!

The Archbishop of Washington DC., Donald Wuerl, has written a most powerful pastoral letter on Sacramental Confession.

This is long overdo and I am very greatful to see it, even though I've not yet read it. Hat-tip to CWNews where I picked it up. Unfortunately, today it is by subscription only that you can read their article on it.

However, here is the actual document:

God's Mercy and the Sacrament of Penance - A pastoral letter to clergy, religious and the laity.

I hope to be reading it over the next few days.

I will post thoughts on the content then.

Deo Gratias!

Sacred Signs by Romano Guardini: Standing

Grotto altar boys and the faithful stand as they venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary on the Feast of the Assumption


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

THE respect we owe to the infinite God requires of us a bearing suited to such a presence. The sense that we have of the greatness of His being, and, in His eyes, of the slightness of our own, is shown outwardly by our kneeling down to make ourselves small. But reverence has another way of expressing itself. When you are sitting down to rest or chat, and someone to whom you owe respect comes in and turns to speak to you, at once you stand up and remain standing so long as he is speaking and you are answering him. Why do we do this?

In the first place to stand up means that we are in possession of ourselves. Instead of sitting relaxed and at ease we take hold of ourselves; we stand, as it were, at attention, geared and ready for action. A man on his feet can come or go at once. He can take an order on the instant, or carry out an assignment the moment he is shown what is wanted.

Standing is the other side of reverence toward God. Kneeling is the side of worship in rest and quietness; standing is the side of vigilance and action. It is the respect of the servant in attendance, of the soldier on duty.

When the good news of the gospel is proclaimed, we stand up. Godparents stand when in the child's place they make the solemn profession of faith; children when they renew these promises at their first communion. Bridegroom and bride stand when they bind themselves at the altar to be faithful to their marriage vow. On these and the like occasions we stand up.

Even when we are praying alone, to pray standing may more forcibly express our inward state. The early Christians stood by preference. The "Orante," in the familiar catacomb representation, stands in her long flowing robes of a woman of rank and prays with outstretched hands, in perfect freedom, perfect obedience, quietly attending to the word, and in readiness to perform it with joy.

We may feel at times a sort of constraint in kneeling. One feels freer standing up, and in that case standing is the right position. But stand up straight: not leaning, both feet on the ground, the knees firm, not slackly bent, upright, in control. Prayer made thus is both free and obedient, both reverent and serviceable.


Note that Romano Guardini isn't suggesting that standing replace kneeling. He differentiates between appropriate times to kneel and appropriate times to stand. One must read both of his meditations - kneeling and standing - to get full context.

There are times for standing, even in prayer. Within the Liturgy of the hours that we stand, such as when we pray the Magnificat during Vespers.

One comment I would like to make is that about how we should stand when praying. It is something I learned fairly quick after discovering Assumption Grotto. I noticed that people stood straight - not slumped. They did not lean on one leg or the other. Just as Romano Guardini suggests - for the most part, all stand upright with feet planted firmly on the floor evenly.

I recognized this because I wanted to do as I had done all of my life in Church: lean on one leg or the other, hands in pockets, etc. But, I felt out of place doing this and it wasn't that anyone was glaring at me. It just seemed irreverent to stand in that manner after witnessing an entire congregation in a comfortable, reverent stance. It took a few months for me to not lean on one leg or the other.

Attention to such small details for me, ended up being a grace - which acted upon, enabled me to experience the Mass much better. Working on distractions is a lifetime effort.

Consider yourself on a job interview and standing in front of a potential boss. Body language says alot. Therefore, we should consider our body language before Our Lord and Creator.

Reverent is, as reverent does!

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Fr. Z on St. Josephine Bakhita

Today is the memorial of St. Josephine Bakhita. I only became aware of this saint a couple of weeks ago and was amazed with her, even with what little I had to go on. I'm glad to see Fr. Zuhlsdorf has a full post on her, well worth reading.

This statement she made is something we all need to meditate on: Accepting God's will for us. It's been said that God can turn any and all bad things into something good and for his glory. Here we see her acknowledging his work. The slave trade was indeed a bad and wicked thing. But the graces of God worked within this soul who in life learned to give him glory, and in afterlife gives him glory.

"If I were to meet the slave-traders who kidnapped me and even those who tortured me, I would kneel and kiss their hands, for if that did not happen, I would not be a Christian and Religious today…" has a good write-up on her, as well.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

More News on "Pro Multis"....

The Tablet (UK) is carrying an article written by Bishop Donald Trautman (head of the USCCB's committee on liturgy - BCL) in which he criticizes the Vatican's decision to translate "pro multis" to "for many" - a change from the "for all" to which we have grown accustomed to hearing.

Fr. Zuhlsdorf responds. Go to Fr. Z's blog for his response and Bishop Trautman's original speech, including a link to The Tablet article.

I'm rather disappointed, but not surprised, to see a US Bishop publicly criticizing the Holy See on a matter which has been spelled out in writing in Prot. n. 467/05/L by His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Arinze. It's very unfortuante that the opportunity to speak publicly was not used for catechesis as the Prefect points out in bullet "d" within that document:

3. There are, however, many arguments in favour of a more precise rendering of the traditional formula pro multis:

a. The Synoptic Gospels (Mt 26,28; Mk 14,24) make specific reference to "many" (pollvn) for whom the Lord is offering the Sacrifice, and this wording has been emphasized by some biblical scholars in connection with the words of the prophet Isaiah (53, 11-12). It would have been entirely possible in the Gospel texts to have said "for all" (for example, cf. Luke 12,41); instead, the formula given in the institution narrative is "for many", and the words have been faithfully translated thus in most modern biblical versions.

b. The Roman Rite in Latin has always said pro multis and never pro omnibus in the consecration of the chalice.

c. The anaphoras of the various Oriental Rites, whether in Greek, Syriac, Armenian, the Slavic languages, etc., contain the verbal equivalent of the Latin pro multis in their respective languages.

d. "For many" is a faithful translation of pro multis, whereas "for all" is rather an explanation of the sort that belongs properly to catechesis.

Related posts:

The Great News: It's pro multis!
Vatican speaks: Pro multis = for many
More on Vatican's decision regarding pro multis

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Vocations: Religious Family of the Incarnate Word

I like to profile traditional religious orders that are Eucharistic, Marian, and in communion with the Holy See - for those searching for such communities. Communities which lean towards more new age, or a strictly social focus, imho, tend to be doctrinally challenged. All it takes is to challenge one Church teaching and the community is out of focus. Mother Teresa proved to the world that one can be devout, Marian and Eucharistic while serving the poor. In fact, without those things, she would be the first to say that had she worked around the clock, she would never have accomplished what the grace of God aided her with by her devotion.

Reader Javier in Argentina has sent me several links on the Religious Family of the Incarnate Word. While it originated in Argentina, they have provinces in other countries, including the US and Canada, among others. In the US, the Province of the Immaculate Conception has a website that is available in English and in Spanish.

Like other emerging traditional orders, this was recently founded - appropriately, on March 25, 1984. Like the other communities I've been profiling, the only apparent vocation "crisis" is that they are booming with young people. Their founder is the Rev Carlos Buena, who is the Superior General of the clerical branch. Pictured at left is the founder with Pope John Paul II.

There are three branches as outlined in the above link:
Institute of the Incarnate Word - the clerical branch of priests. This branch also includes brothers, and there is a contemplative arm of priests and brothers, as well. There are three houses of formation here in the US: The Bishop Sheen Residence (you gotta like that name) in Chillum, MD; St. Isaac Jogues Novitiate, Mount Rainier, MD; and, the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, OH. I had difficulty linking so go to the home page and click on "Houses of Formation")

Servants of the Lord and of the Virgin of Matara (SSVM) is made up of active and contemplative nuns. Here you see sisters gathered from the numerous countries from which they come. They too have a province in the US of the same name. Click around this website for a real treat.

Here you see their habit and you can read more on these sisters in their "about" page.

The apostolic sisters are visiting the contemplative sisters of the "Edith Stein Community" in Brooklyn, NY.

Finally, the Family of the Incarnate Word has is a Third Order.


The Third Order of our Religious Family of the Incarnate Word is an Association of the Faithful whose Members, living in the world, desire to participate in our spirit. For this reason, this Secular Association commits itself to form with the Members of this Religious Family, a unique family united by the same faith, goals, charism, and spirit. The Third Order is an essential part of our Religious Family because it is a prolongation of our works in their own environment.

Something else that may be of interest to all is that they have a retreat center, and make available the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. They don't have their 2007 calendar up yet, but keep checking or contact them should you desire to to go.

If you are in the Secular branch or are familiar with these priests and sisters, feel free to discuss your experiences in the comment box.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes: February 2 - 11

Statue of Our Lady of Lourdes at Assumption Grotto

I just wanted to slip this in here after stumbling across it at the Assumption Grotto website. They will be doing the Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes after all Masses from today through the 11th.

You can pray it even if you can't make it to Mass. There are several versions of it online.

I'll supply you with two versions of the novena:
The Confraternity has a wonderful Rosary site if you have not yet visited. I have previously profiled it here.

Here are a few more pics from Assumption Grotto taken on August 15, 2006. For those unfamiliar with this parish, there is a cemetary behind the Church and in the cemetary was built a Grotto in the late 1800's after the pastor at that time (can't quote exact year), had visited Lourdes and was impressed to build this center for devotion here in Southeast, Michigan. We have a parish historian and I hope to bring you some of the fine work she has done, along with photos of the parish taken long ago. This is our 175th and I would like honor it first by sharing the story of how my parish ended up with a Grotto in honor of the Blessed Mother at Lourdes, France.

There is also a statue of Bernadette, and an Angel fountain in front of the Grotto. These were also taken at the conclusion of the August 15, 2006 evening Mass outdoors.

Click here to see 23 stunning photo posts from August 15, 2006

Click here to visit the Lourdes website.

Church approved cures attributed to the Blessed Mother at Lourdes

Thursday, February 1, 2007

March for Life: San Francisco - in Video

I received this video from reader, Andrew, along with his introduction:

The weekend before last, I and 20 others from Washington state, travelled to San Francisco for the 3rd annual Walk for Life. It was a very meaningful experience for many. I have just recently put together a video, which features Fr. Frank Pavone to start, and carries into a rather powerful message. I thought I would share it with you. You can see it here:

Thank you Andrew for sending this in. I was going to ask if anyone had photos of either event - in San Francisco or Washington DC so I could post a few. If anyone does send me some, be sure to let me know how you want photo credit to be given.

I'm still stuck in engineering releases and working very long hours. I have many more posts I want to make, but they must wait as they are more time intensive. In particular, I have received some good information from reader Javier about a religious order based in Argentina with ties here in the US and will soon be doing a profile.

I also want to continue with our series on Sacred Signs by Romano Guardini.

Hopefully, the rush on releases will soon end and things can get back to normal.