Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I TEND TO AGREE WITH HENRY ON THIS ONE

Anonymous  
Henry said...
"While it is true that 'liberals' claim 'good Pope John' as one of their own (despite the evidence) and regarded JP II as a reactionary,"

Which is truly ironic. As shown clearly by the recent of NLM articles by Peter Kwasniewski on the writings of John XXIII, he was utterly traditional with regard to liturgy, ecclesiology, doctrine, and spirituality. Arguably considerably more than John Paul II. In particular, he was in particular a passionate over of the traditional Mass and its spiritual ethos.

Not only did the liberals hijack Vatican II, they committed highway robbery in fencing John XXIII as one of their own. For his intent in convening Vatican II was to send the triumphant Church of the 1950s out to conquer the world--in a true new pentecost, rather than the collapse at the hands of liberals that followed Paul VI's council--armed with the glories of traditional faith and liturgy.


MY COMMENTS:

I think, though, we would need some accurate sociological data concerning the Church in Europe in the post-war years and the accelerated secularism occurring there especially in light of the atrocities that Hitler had committed with the assistance of religious people. 

The USA has had a similar accelerated secularism with the scandals of religion, whether that be radical  Islamic terrorism, the various scandals of high profile television evangelists or the sex abuse crisis and scandal in the Catholic Church that has led to an ambivalence and disregard for religion in general and Catholicism and evangelicalism in particular. 

The 1950's Church in the USA was at the apex of the Church's golden years in the 20th century only to have that success hijacked by liberals in the Church throughout the world, but particularly here in the USA. Religious life was strong, priesthood was strong and so were vocations and strong Catholic families centered on parish life, schools and other social services usually organized by women religious such as hospitals, soup kitchens and other assistance to the poor, especially immigrants to this country.

The Liturgy was not criticized by rank and file clergy and laity well until after tinkering with it was allowed.

Religious life was respected as was the priesthood and Catholic families had no problem encouraging there sons and daughters to enter this kind of service to the Church.

What could have really accelerated the success of 1950's Catholicism was what Vatican II actually tried to accomplish before it was modified by liberals in the most dastardly way after Vatican II. These would have been:

1. A conservative approach to modifying the liturgy to include some vernacular, a wider use of Scripture in the Lectionary and clearly encouraging Catholics toward actual participation both internally and externally without denigrating their popular and private devotions.

2. Slight modification to religious life to make their lives a bit more comfortable concerning habits and discipline in the convent and monasteries, but without sacrificing either habits or discipline within the context of communal living, and a common apostolate that members are called and sent to serve apart from them choosing this, that or the other.

3. Better understanding of Protestantism and other religions not to mention those with no religion or no beliefs. But the purpose of this to invite all to the true Church and its fulness without sacrificing the cultural and visible characteristics of the Roman Rite.

4. The appropriate ecclesiology that does not undermine the Magisterium of the Church or Dioceses and parishes on the local level

5. Addressing clericalism in the clergy and making sure the laity are not clericalized but that their primary ministry is to take to their faith to the world and public square

What we will never know until we get to heaven is what the Church in 2014 would be like if we had properly implemented what Vatican II actually taught or if there had been no Vatican II. I can't wait to find out once I get to heaven!

THE WANDERER HITS ONE OUT OF THE BALLPARK: CALLS IT AS IT IS!


Now if The Wanderer is writing this, you know it has to be true! The Wanderer is far from a liberal, progressive rag, but has always been seen as the mirror image of the National Chismatic Reporter (NCR).

Haven't I been saying this about neo-traditionalists (really neo-Protestants calling themselves catholic) all along?

The Canonization Of John Paul ll And John XXIII And “Traditionalist” Pusillanimity

April 28, 2014
By JOHN M. DEJAK

On this Quasimodo (Dominica in albis, Low, and Divine Mercy) Sunday, I am shocked at the pusillanimity of some of the so-called traditionalists in the Church. A great gift has been given to the whole of the Church with Saints John XXIII and John Paul II and yet, some traditionalists foment an attitude of ”hunkering down” and the “enduring” the authentic joy of the Church on this day. Likewise, other traditionalist types ask why Blessed Pius IX or Ven. Pius XII has not been canonized.

It is one thing to ask questions such as the latter which are legitimate; it is also legitimate to question whether politics or political correctness play a role in the canonization process, for they shouldn’t. But the means and manner in which one asks these things or expresses them — especially as directed toward the Church’s Supreme Authority — is also an important matter to consider, especially in this post-Christian age. I wonder if it ever occurs to these people that they are furthering the inauthentic imposed division between a so-called pre-Vatican II Church and a post-Vatican II Church.

Instead of thinking with the one Church or employing a hermeneutic of continuity, they perpetrate a divide that was crafted largely by liberals — and by liberals, I mean those genuine modernists infected with a fascination for novelty and largely driven by a desire to overturn traditional Catholic thinking, discipline, and  morality. Ultimately, along with the liberals, the — what I will call — “jihadi-traditionalists,” in their rhetorical expressions and lack of docility toward the Supreme Pastor, perpetuate a division in the Church and weaken the Church Militant.

These jihadi-traditionalist types seek an absolute spotless reality, a utopia that has never existed in the Church’s life throughout all the centuries. I suspect that they sometimes forget that we live in a vale of tears and imagine — somehow — that there was a time when Catholic discipline and belief were uniform with such military precision that the peasant and the prince never broke a fast, fell asleep at Mass, or slept with his neighbor. Au contraire. The Church has always been at war — even within her members. The Devil knows Scripture and Catholic doctrine better than we do and he seeks to undercut it by exaggeration or diminution by whatever means possible.

The jihadi-traditionalists give the impression of military discipline, yet they routinely disobey orders from the Supreme Commander. Instead of following the model of great heroes such as Cardinal Siri, Cardinal Mindszenty, Cardinal Oddi, Fr. Hardon, and countless other priests and laity in their obedience and fidelity to the Roman Church’s Supreme Pastor, they make themselves de facto judges of his decisions — an attitude St. Pius X condemned.

Theirs is a way of living in which they are never satisfied. In pursuing such a modus operandi the legitimate questions they ask are obscured by their tactics and their perpetual bombast. And, dare I say it, the latter are the breeding ground for a loss of faith in Christ and the forming of an anti-papal Christianity, which — in their case — becomes some bizarre sort of Catholic-looking Protestantism.

On the flip side, people who know me will verify that I am a curmudgeon of the first degree and that “rah rah Catholicism” is one of the things of the modern age that I find detestable. The proliferation of “hipster Catholicism” reduces the profundity of the message of Christ and the Church to an exercise in banality or flippancy. Modern popularizers of Catholic teachings who have the veneer of orthodoxy but tend toward being tremendous capitalists with cottage industries promoting their own personalities and making money off the Church are distasteful. Slick presentations of the faith count for far less than down-to-earth, getting one’s hands dirty with the job of day-to-day living and day-to-day devotion. In a way, their approach is similar to the jihadi-traditionalist. There seems to be a constant pusillanimity: pointing to oneself or a particular idea instead of pointing to the Lord and the constant teaching of the Church.

Indeed, saints are those who point to the Lord. The witness of John XXIII and John Paul II attest to this humble pointing to the Lord and the living out of the faith. Jihadi-traditionalists and hipster Catholics both trivialize the heroic sanctity of these wonderful men of the Church. The former tend to be armchair theologians who will sift any and every single word or breath of the former Pontiffs in order to trip them up, not satisfied with the duly appointed historical and theological experts of the Church (or even the judgment of Pope Benedict XVI); the latter, while praising the Popes, restrict themselves to the ephemeral.

Anyone who reads the diaries of John XXIII or the profundity of the defense of Catholic doctrine and morals by John Paul II must admit that these were two sinners who, by the grace of God, were elected to the Chair of Peter, and to the best of their abilities guided the Church amidst turbulent times. Likewise in their personal living, they strove for holiness and achieved it to a heroic degree under sometimes the direst of circumstances.

Now the Supreme Authority of the Church has declared that it has been proved to its satisfaction that their sanctity is worthy of the name saint and the veneration of the Catholic world.

People need not have to have devotion to these individuals, but they do need to have faith in Christ and the promise He made to His Church and be docile to an act of the Magisterium that is to be definitively held: that Pope St. John XXIII and Pope St. John Paul II are to be inserted alongside Pope St. Pius X and Pope St. Pius V in the catalogue of Pope-saints.

Saints John and John Paul, pray for us.
(And may Blessed Pius IX join their number soon!)
+    +    +
(Editor’s Note: John M. DeJak, an attorney, is the founding headmaster of Holy Spirit Academy in Monticello, Minn. He and his wife, Ann, are the proud parents of eight children.)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

THE SACRED PASCHAL TRIDUUM AT SAINT JOSEPH CHURCH, MACON, GEORGIA

Thanks to Dr. Buck Melton for these photos!

THE LIVING QUARTERS OF PRIESTS, BISHOPS, CARDINALS AND POPES


What is it with all the recent controversies of clergy with big houses and the media stirring up opposition and division in the Church.

The latest in a string of these reportings focused on Cardinal Bertone the former Vatican Secretary of State. He is remodeling a Vatican apartment described by the press as opulant and having angered Pope Francis. Really?

Much is said about Pope Francis living in the Vatican Motel 6. He stated that the reason he lives there has nothing to do with his vow of poverty but purely psychiatric reason for his mental health. He wants to be around normal people everyday.

He still works at the Papal Palace where his office is. Technically for him to live and sleep there too would have a greater sign value in terms of poverty, rather than taking up space elsewhere. 

The bigger question is the right of priests and bishops who are not under the obligation of the vow of poverty to do as they wish with their hard-earned money. Even though the Church is paying us, we work for our pay and earn it and once it is given to us it is ours.

Do we not have a right to invest that money, save it, prepare for retirement and buy material things? Can we have a summer home or a retirement home? Yes we can! There is no Church law preventing it.

As far as those places where we live which the Church owns, others in the parish or the diocese, such as pastoral councils and finance councils should have some oversight and input into what is spent for renovations, purchases and the like if these are purchased with parish funds, not the personal funds of any particular priest.

This is what the National Catholic Register is reporting on this:

04/29/2014 
Alan Holdren/CNA
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone at his apartment in the Apostolic Palace, March 7, 2014.
– Alan Holdren/CNA

VATICAN CITY — In an open letter, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone has addressed accusations that he had angered Pope Francis with his “luxurious” new residence, saying he and the Pope are on good terms.

“I am personally grateful to Pope Francis for having called me April 23 to express his solidarity and his disappointment for the media attacks about the apartment, of which he had been informed as soon as the article was published,” the emeritus Secretary of State wrote in an open letter published in the magazines of the archdioceses of Vercelli and Genoa, both of which he led for a time.

Italian daily La Repubblica published an article April 20 claiming that the cardinal was moving into a lavish 6,500-square foot apartment in the Vatican’s San Carlo Palace, while Pope Francis has been urging clerics to adopt a modest lifestyle.

According to La Repubblica, the Pope himself had been angered by the luxury of Cardinal Bertone’s new apartment.

The paper claimed that the restructure combines two apartments, one formerly the home of the head of the gendarmerie, and another once home to a Vatican monsignor.

Three nuns who worked with him while he was Secretary of State will live with him in his new residence.
San Carlo Palace is a few steps from Domus Sanctae Marthae, the Vatican guesthouse where Pope Francis resides.

Media Frenzy
La Repubblica’s article caused a certain media frenzy in Italy.

Cardinal Bertone did not make any official statement, but in the end decided to send a letter to the weekly magazines of the two dioceses where he had been ordinary, in order “to thank the friends” from the dioceses who showed him support for the media reports and also for “those who may have been surprised by the news.”

Cardinal Bertone stressed that the source of the article “doubled the size” of the apartment he is going to live in, and complained that “it was even said that the Pope angered with me for living in so much luxury.”
He explained that the apartment “is temporarily given to me” and that “after me, someone else will be living in it.”

He added that the apartment is a typical size for the Vatican palaces, and that he renovated it “at my own expense.”

“As Pope Saint John XXIII used to say, ‘I do not stop to collect the stones launched against me,’” Cardinal Bertone wrote, concluding his letter.
Filed under

Monday, April 28, 2014

A BOMBSHELL THAT FIZZLED: WHAT POPE FRANCIS ALLEGEDLY SAID AND ACTUALLY SAID


A few days ago I posted a "BOMBSHELL" on Pope Francis speech to African bishops concerning marriage. In this speech Pope Francis upheld the Church's traditional teaching on marriage, linked his own teaching to that of the corpus of teachings of Saint Pope John Paul II and was the most explicit teaching on marriage from the current pontiff.

The reason I called it a bombshell was for the fact that the previous two days there had been a media firestorm in both the Catholic and secular press concerning a "cold-call" of Pope Francis, one of many to various people throughout the world, where the husband of the one called posted his interpretation of what the pope had told his "wife."

Basically, and this has not been confirmed, the Holy Father indicated that the woman who is in an illicit marriage not recognized by the Church due to either her own or her husband's previous marriage (or both have previous marriages) that she could go to Holy Communion nonetheless.

There was plenty of coverage on the hearsay of what the pope said which was not helped by the Vatican Press Office's response to it.

But I did not see any coverage of what the pope explicitly said in a higher level of teaching, an official level, to the African bishops which was a very traditional teaching on marriage and an explicit call to uphold the indissolubility of marriage.  He also stated marriage is obviously between one man and one woman.

Why no coverage on this by the Catholic media, Catholic bloggers and the secular media. Is what the Holy Father tells Africans not important? Do people read what the Pope says to Africans?

What is more important about the African speech is that it was on the heels of what was being reported that the pope said to an Argentinian woman which could not and was not corroborated. I do not think it is an accident that the African speech included strong words about the Church's traditional teaching on marriage.

Then on top of that, Pope Francis at Sunday's canonization emphasizes the corpus of teachings on marriage and the family in his homily and makes explicit mention to the Synod of Bishops who would be meeting in October. He stated that Saint John Paul II's teachings would guide the synod. I would call that a bombshell also. The only report of this is from Fr. Z's Blog. Where is everyone else?

This is Fr. Z's brief analysis of the Pope canonization homily:

So, if the sermon really wasn’t about these Popes, what was it about?  Rather, what was it also about?

Next, it seems to me that there was carefully woven into this sermon a subtle message about changes that will be proposed at the upcoming Synod which could be a “scandal” to many.   On the one hand, many would be tested when the Synod recommends to uphold what we have taught and done for so many centuries. 

 The reaffirmation of the Church’s teaching in clear terms would be hard and a stumbling block for those who have caved into what the world presses us to do in our weakness.   On the other hand, were the Synod Fathers to make a recommendation clearly against what the Lord and Church has taught… well… scandal doesn’t begin to paint the picture of what would result.

Francis’ talk about forgiveness underscores my view.

MY FINAL COMMENTS: So what are we to make of Pope Francis' "cold call" to an Argentinian woman and what he said to the African bishops a day later and what he said about Saint Pope John Paul II's teachings on marriage and family to guide the upcoming synod to them and at the canonization Mass?

I am a pastor and I have encountered many divorced and remarried Catholics who are making the best of their illicit situation in terms of being good people, believers, and taking care of their family and other obligations. Some of these Catholics have been in illicit situations for most of their adult lives. Some of them are aging or have life-threatening diseases where the sacraments of the Church are truly desired to assist them.

Often they are unable to obtain annulments, not because there are not legitimate grounds for one, but because there are not enough witnesses who will cooperate or give testimony, or the witnesses are dead. Sometimes a vindictive former spouse will not cooperate or will actively stand in the way of the annulment procedure.

Now this is where it can get messy. If the external, public canonical trial forum for an annulment is tried and fails and it is the determination of the pastor in consultation with the Catholics seeking the annulment that only technicalities are keeping them from receiving the annulment, then a pastoral solution is reached within the context of the Sacrament of Penance, which is under the secret of the confessional and thus called the "internal forum." A priest cannot divulge the contents of what has transpired in this forum and I would go as far as to say neither should the penitent.

Again if an internal forum solution is reached within the context of the Sacrament of Penance,(and can only be done so after the external forum dead ends due to technicalities, not any actual decree upholding the bond of the marriage that ended in divorce) the priest can in no way "validate" the illicit marriage or even offer a blessing of any type. The priest may tell the couple that if they choose to return to Holy Communion, it would be best in a parish where they are not known so as not to give scandal to anyone who might know of their illicit marriage. In other words the onus is on the couple in the illicit marriage, they must place their lives together into the hands of God and should be aware of a negative judgement God could render them at their personal judgement at the moment of death. The priest can't give permission for someone in an illicit marriage to receive Holy Communion apart from informing them of the truth I just enunciated, otherwise the priest would be held accountable at his own personal judgment at the hour of death!

This sounds a bit like the advice the Holy Father gave to the Argentinian woman. I agree that the Holy Father shouldn't place himself in a situation where is private words go viral. Given his high office in the Church, His Holiness must be more prudent and not micro manage the pastoral life of dioceses where he is not the Bishop. I would have hoped that he called the local bishops first before calling this woman! Where is the collegiality and subsidiarity in this?

But the great service the Synod of Bishops on the Family can give to bishops and pastors is a more explicit canonical teaching on the "internal forum" and to make that teaching clear and public.

This is what I think the synod will tackle but at the same time uphold what Saint Pope John Paul II taught about marriage and family.

The internal forum as it is now is more theoretical that explicitly taught and is misused by many bishops, priests and laity.

Finally, Pope Francis seems to be concerned with bringing both the orthodox and heterodox in the Church together and his outreach to the heterodox is causing apoplexy amongst conservative, orthodox, traditional Catholics--making them as shrill and ugly as the heterodox were toward Pope Benedict.

The heterodox thought that Pope Paul VI, who soon will be beatified according to some reports, was on their side when it came to marriage and sexuality. They thought for sure that Pope Paul VI would change the Church's teaching on natural law as it concerned sexual acts in marriage and the use of artificial contraception. They became apoplectic when Pope Paul VI issued Humanae Vitae. Will the current modern day heterodox do the same to Pope Francis and his synod when they uphold the teachings of the Church as enunciated by Saint John Paul II?  Are the 1960's going to happen again in 2014?

Humanae Vitae is the most important teaching of the Catholic Church in centuries for it safeguarded the Deposit of Faith as it concerns the three legs of the basis of Catholic moral teachings: Scripture, Tradition and natural law. If he had excluded natural law in Humanae Vitae rather than to emphasize it, the Catholic Church today would be one with the worldwide Anglican Communion in allowing artificial contraception, endorsing divorce and remarriage, allowing for women in the Sacrament of Holy Orders and allowing same sex marriage.

Humanae Vitae has prevented this and will prevent it in the future. It is an infallible teaching! No pope has the power or authority to change infallible teachings, if they do, they become heretical and could be name an anti-pope.

As far as Pope Paul's other weaknesses in allowing a radical departure from the traditional Mass in term of some of the reforms he endorsed, the fact that he issued Humanae Vitae which has far reaching consequences for the Church, especially today given the secular and religious pressures on the true Church, justifies his canonization! Make him a saint soon too!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

ACTUALLY SAINT JOHN PAUL II WAS CANONIZED AT HIS FUNERAL BY JOSEPH CARDINAL RATZINGER AND THE THRONGS OF PEOPLE AT THE FUNERAL

I saw this video as Whispers in the Loggia. I had forgotten what great a homily Cardinal Ratzinger gave at Saint John Paul II's funeral, days before Cardinal Ratzinger himself would be elected his successor.

The end of the homily is stunning as is the congregations final response, but many responses given throughout the homily.

Please note how much nicer the set-up is for an outdoor Mass in Saint Peter's Square today at Saint John XXIII and Saint Pope John Paul II's technical canonizations compared to the time nine years ago when Saint John Paul II was given his final farewell and canonized by all present. Please note the First Marini's altar set-up, compared to the Second Marini's better taste and sense of tradition that Pope Francis has kept!

WOW! THE CHURCH MILITANT!

These images are from Poland today in honor of Saint John Paul II's canonization!
 Other images from Poland today:


THE PRESENCE OF FOUR POPES, TWO LIVING! POPE FRANCIS, POPE BENEDICT, SAINT POPE JOHN XXIII, SAINT POPE JOHN PAUL II!

Before Mass:
After Mass:

The only thing that would have made this better would have been for Saint Peter, the first pope, to have his relics present as he was present at the Mass I concelebrated with Pope Francis for the Closing of the Year of Faith, when His Holiness held the cask containing the bones of Saint Peter during the chanting of the Creed! It made chills go up my spine.

 Go to minute 5:30 when Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is escorted to his chair prior to the beginning of Mass wearing chasuble and miter!


And from Rorate Caeli, concerning the canonization ceremony in which Pope Benedict is present:

A reminder about today's canonization ceremony

The canonization ceremony of October 21, 2012 saw the introduction of a revised rite that was very similar to the one used prior to Pius XII. Rorate noted this reform on that very same day. This rite will be used today, although the Te Deum will be replaced with a shorter hymn (Iubilate Deo, Cantate Domino).
This reform attracted little attention; the ephemeral restoration of the fanon got far more media space. This does not change the fact that the new rite of canonization may well go down as one of Pope Benedict XVI's more far-reaching reforms, not least because it includes the following petition (the third one), addressed to the Pope just before he proclaims the actual formula of canonization:
Most Holy Father, Holy Church, trusting in the Lord's promise to send upon her the Spirit of Truth, who in every age keeps the Supreme Magisterium free from error, most earnestly beseeches Your Holiness to enroll these, her elect, among the saints.
Prior to the third petition, in his response to the second petition, the Pope says:

Let us, then, invoke the Holy Spirit, the Giver of life, that he may enlighten our minds and that Christ the Lord may not permit his Church to err in a matter of such importance

(Emphases ours).

These two formulae, or any formula more or less explicitly saying the same things, were present neither in the post-1969 rite of canonization, nor (to our knowledge) in the rites of canonization prior to the main liturgical reforms of the 1960's. Anyone can see the significance of these little formulae to the continuing question of the infallibility of canonizations -- the act of canonization is now explicitly included in the immunity of the Supreme Magisterium from error. 
Some will protest that these words do not amount to an Apostolic Constitution, or a dogmatic tome, or an infallible decree spoken by the mouth of the Holy Father himself. Fair enough; but they are part of the liturgy of canonization, these words "puts into context", so to speak, the formula of canonization that the Pope is about to pronounce. One can even say that these remind him of the extent of his authority just before he exercises it. These two formulae therefore cannot be lightly dismissed, and any future critique of the canonizations of John XXIII and John Paul II will have to take these into account.
HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS
CANONIZATION OF SAINTS JOHN XXIII AND JOHN PAUL II
SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER (OF DIVINE MERCY)
ST PETER'S SQUARE
27 APRIL 2014
At the heart of this Sunday, which concludes the Octave of Easter and which John Paul II wished to dedicate to Divine Mercy, are the glorious wounds of the risen Jesus.

He had already shown those wounds when he first appeared to the Apostles on the very evening of that day following the Sabbath, the day of the resurrection. But, as we heard, Thomas was not there that evening, and when the others told him that they had seen the Lord, he replied that unless he himself saw and touched those wounds, he would not believe. A week later, Jesus appeared once more to the disciples gathered in the Upper Room, and Thomas was present; Jesus turned to him and told him to touch his wounds. Whereupon that man, so straightforward and accustomed to testing everything personally, knelt before Jesus with the words: “My Lord and my God!” (Jn 20:28).

The wounds of Jesus are a scandal, a stumbling block for faith, yet they are also the test of faith. That is why on the body of the risen Christ the wounds never pass away: they remain, for those wounds are the enduring sign of God’s love for us. They are essential for believing in God. Not for believing that God exists, but for believing that God is love, mercy and faithfulness. Saint Peter, quoting Isaiah, writes to Christians: “by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Pet 2:24, cf. Is 53:5).

Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II were not afraid to look upon the wounds of Jesus, to touch his torn hands and his pierced side. They were not ashamed of the flesh of Christ, they were not scandalized by him, by his cross; they did not despise the flesh of their brother (cf. Is 58:7), because they saw Jesus in every person who suffers and struggles. These were two men of courage, filled with the parrhesia of the Holy Spirit, and they bore witness before the Church and the world to God’s goodness and mercy.

They were priests, bishops and popes of the twentieth century. They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them. For them, God was more powerful; faith was more powerful – faith in Jesus Christ the Redeemer of man and the Lord of history; the mercy of God, shown by those five wounds, was more powerful; and more powerful too was the closeness of Mary our Mother.

In these two men, who looked upon the wounds of Christ and bore witness to his mercy, there dwelt a living hope and an indescribable and glorious joy (1 Pet 1:3,8). The hope and the joy which the risen Christ bestows on his disciples, the hope and the joy which nothing and no one can take from them. The hope and joy of Easter, forged in the crucible of self-denial, self-emptying, utter identification with sinners, even to the point of disgust at the bitterness of that chalice. Such were the hope and the joy which these two holy popes had received as a gift from the risen Lord and which they in turn bestowed in abundance upon the People of God, meriting our eternal gratitude.

This hope and this joy were palpable in the earliest community of believers, in Jerusalem, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles (cf. 2:42-47), as we heard in the second reading. It was a community which lived the heart of the Gospel, love and mercy, in simplicity and fraternity.

This is also the image of the Church which the Second Vatican Council set before us. John XXIII and John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the Church in keeping with her pristine features, those features which the saints have given her throughout the centuries. Let us not forget that it is the saints who give direction and growth to the Church. In convening the Council, John XXIII showed an exquisite openness to the Holy Spirit. He let himself be led and he was for the Church a pastor, a servant-leader, led by the Spirit. This was his great service to the Church; he was the pope of openness to the Spirit.

In his own service to the People of God, John Paul II was the pope of the family. He himself once said that he wanted to be remembered as the pope of the family. I am particularly happy to point this out as we are in the process of journeying with families towards the Synod on the family. It is surely a journey which, from his place in heaven, he guides and sustains.

May these two new saints and shepherds of God’s people intercede for the Church, so that during this two-year journey toward the Synod she may be open to the Holy Spirit in pastoral service to the family. May both of them teach us not to be scandalized by the wounds of Christ and to enter ever more deeply into the mystery of divine mercy, which always hopes and always forgives, because it always loves.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

UNPRECEDENTED CHURCH HISTORY IN THE MAKING

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI attending Canonization Mass



(Vatican Radio) The Holy See has confirmed that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has accepted the invitation and communicated to Pope Francis that he will attend the Mass of Canonization of John Paul II and John XXIII. The Pope Emeritus will concelebrate. This does not mean that he will be at the Altar; rather he will be together with the Cardinals and Bishops on the left side of the Sanctuary.




DOES YOUR PARISH CELEBRATE DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY, APART FROM MASS?

Last year's Divine Mercy Sunday with about 250 in attendance:


Each Divine Mercy Sunday, since the late 1990's at my former parish of the Church of the Most Holy Trinity and here at my current parish, St. Joseph, Divine Mercy Sunday has been celebrated with Solemn Exposition and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament around 1:30 pm to 2:00 pm. Confessions are heard and the Divine Mercy Devotions are prayed at 3:00 PM followed by Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament and veneration of the image or icon of Divine Mercy.

It will happen again this Divine Mercy here at St. Joseph Church with Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament beginning after the Prayer after Holy Communion (and announcements)at our 12:10 PM Mass, confessions heard and then the Divine Mercy Chaplet, Benediction and veneration of the icon of Divine Mercy.

Both Saint Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis was/is very keen on reviving popular devotions in the Church and there is none better than the Divine Mercy devotions!

Has your parish gotten with the revival of popular devotions program of Pope Francis or not?

Friday, April 25, 2014

ALTAR RAILING PROGRESS, DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY AND CANONIZATION OF TWO POPES

Here are some photos I just took of the progress of the altar railing restoration at St.Joseph Church, the image of Divine Mercy and the canonization of two popes.

The altar railing marble for the railing and the floors will be installed in several weeks from now, but the floor is ready for it. The hand railings you see, quite ugly, will be removed as well.