Thursday, December 31, 2015


The liturgy at the conclusion of the civil year included the singing of the Te Deum, the Church’s solemn hymn of praise and thanksgiving.
“The Church on so many occasions feels the joy and the duty of lifting up her song to God with these words of praise,” the Pope said in his homily. In particular, the final words of the hymn – “Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, for we have hoped in Thee” – have a special resonance during this Jubilee Year of Mercy.
The Te Deum, he continued, also helps us see the works of God in history and in our own lives, and gives us hope for the new year that lies before us.
Today, Pope Francis said, “our eyes need to focus on the particular signs God has given us, to see His merciful love first-hand.” The Holy Father recalled scenes of violence and death that marked the previous year, the untold suffering of many innocent people, the plight of refugees forced to leave their homes, of the homeless, and the hungry. But he also noted the many acts of kindness, love, and solidarity that often go unnoticed, but which should not be obscured by “the arrogance of evil.” “The good always wins,” the Pope said, “even if at times it can appear weak and hidden.”
Pope Francis concluded his homily with a few words for the people of the local church of Rome, inviting Romans to “go beyond the difficulties of the present moment,” and never miss the opportunity to be “privileged interpreters of faith, welcome, fraternity, and peace.”


A Blessed Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and a blessed New Year of 2016 AD!

Some images of the Theotokos:

Of course the Holy Mother of God is actually of Italian ancestry:


This article captures my sentiments completely and also captures the "Know nothing" attitude of some who comment here whose names will go unmentioned to protect the guilty. It is the year of mercy after all!

Another “Oops” Moment For Liturgical Press
published 30 December 2015 by Jeff Ostrowski
EARCHING GOOGLE, I stumbled across a book published by the Collegeville Liturgical Press. According to the author, “the purpose of the book is to show the excellence and superiority of the reformed liturgy over the previous one … the ordinary form over the extraordinary one.”
Like so many Collegeville books, this book is riddled with false statements, such as:
893 Patrick Regan Extraordinary Form Ordinary

False! When the subdeacon chants the Epistle in the Extraordinary Form, the priest does notread it in a quiet voice. Likewise, when the deacon chants the Gospel according to the 1962 Missal, the priest does not read it in a low voice.
Msgr. Kevin W. Irwin of CUA says this book “reflects the best of liturgical scholarship and wisdom gleaned from the liturgy.” Julia Upton of St. John’s in New York says, “For those of us who were shaped by the 1962 Missal, this analysis enables us to see how richer our lives and spirituality are following the Vatican II reforms.” The book’s author, Fr. Patrick Regan, claims it was proofread by Fr. Jeremy Driscoll.
Are all these people comfortable with blatant errors such as the one cited above? The author references Catholics attached to the EF, who are “unaware of the deficiencies of the 1962 Missal.” Yet, shouldn’t Fr. Regan have taken the time to become familiar with the EF before writing his book? 1 Moreover, shouldn’t someone at Liturgical Press have proofread the book before publication?

COLLEGEVILLE LITURGICAL PRESS seems “unhinged” since the publication of Summorum Pontificum. One of their blogs recently published an article by Paul Inwood claiming that excessive dynamic equivalence was more “accurate” than formal equivalence. Yet, that same author admitted elsewhere that the 1970s version (“dynamic equivalence”) CONCEALED the true meaning of the prayers. Here are Inwood’s exact words:
Seventh-century theology, spirituality, and culture are very far from where most of the Church is now. The 1973 translation concealed this fact from us. If we had known what the prayers really said, we would not have wanted to pray them any longer. Now we are faced with that question 40 years later, and it is not any easier.
Not long before that, a Liturgical Press blog published an article attacking the “ad populum conversus” rubric—even claiming this phrase never occurs in postconciliar legislation—but we published screen shots proving this assertion to be false.
Those who write about the “deficiencies” (Fr. Regan’s word) of the Extraordinary Form have an obligation to learn something about it first. My pet peeve is haughty liturgical “experts” telling everyone how horrible the 1962 Missal was, and I’ll never forget reading a comment by the man who ran the Bishops’ Liturgy Committee during the 1990s. This person is an outspoken critic of the old liturgy, yet doesn’t realize the Prayers of the Foot of the Altar were not sung!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Is it possible that anything approaching this could happen at a Traditional Order Mass? 

As you know I am a child of Vatican II. I knew the Church prior to the Council and I knew the upheavals in the 1960's and 70's because of a misinterpretation of the Council and the thumb of Church authority relaxed for the "me generation" who weren't satisfied with a partial liberation from authority but had a fever for something much more radical, something like the anti-Christ.

Prior to Vatican II, I was instilled with a deep sense of mystery, awe, wonder and reverence for the Mass, the elevations at Mass and receiving Holy Communion in a state of grace kneeling at the altar railing. The sense of reverence was heightened by the fact that only the priest could touch the Sacred Host and the Chalice containing the Precious Blood. I did not see this as clericalism but a fact of grace honor for the priest and his ordination where his hands were anointed to touch the sacred.

The tabernacle was front and center and everyone knew how to genuflect properly and knew when Exposition was being held, one went down on both knees and bow ones head in addition.

These are the things that challenged my sense of reverence as a post Vatican II teenager and led me to simply be resigned to "oh well" that's the way it is and I'll be obedient, but I preferred it the way it was as it helped me to feel closer to Christ not further away, because it a assisted my faith in the Resurrected Jesus whom I could not see but whom I truly wanted to believe exists and is God.

The first Sunday when our tabernacle was placed on a side altar under the statue of the Virgin Mary, and the priest's chair now occupied the splendidly exalted central position of the tabernacle, I actually got sick to my stomach.  Priests up until that time always took a humble seat during Mass and one seldom saw his face save for the homily. Now there he was not humbly but haughtily placed front, center, haughtily exalted and staring at us. YUCK!

Then we were told we could touch the Sacred Host if we wanted to receive in the hand and how dumb it was that we had been told we couldn't. That didn't help my sense of revere one iota.

Then we had lay ministers of Holy Communion and some of the ones I knew, I knew were not the most exemplary Catholics. It created a clerical caste among the laity that some had the privileged of distributing Holy Communion and others didn't.

None of this helped with reverence and then the music that was more like rock and roll nailed the coffin shut on traditional piety and reverence as did the casualness of the priest, his folksiness, and the casualness of the congregation.

And what about popular devotions? I have never particularly liked the devotion to the Infant of Prague. I don't like dolling up the baby Jesus to look like a girl with different dresses. That's my hangup.

I don't have a devotion to the infant Jesus or to the child Jesus or to the Historical Jesus or just to the Suffering Jesus or the dead Jesus. All these aspects of our Lord inform my faith and piety, but my relationship is with Christ, the Son of God, the Son of Mary, now reigning in Glory with His Glorified Body, although it has scars to inform me of what it took for Jesus to save us--to become human, to be a baby, to be a child, to be a prophet to be rejected, placed on trial, executed on a cross after hours of suffering that were cosmic hours of suffering not known to any mere mortal is what is at the basis of my Catholic Spirituality and piety.

But the glorified and Risen Christ reigning from above but present in the Holy Spirit and made tangible as through a veil in the Sacraments, that is were my piety and devotion reside as though in a "black hole."

So while I like much of Pope Francis' pre-Vatican II popular devotions and piety, they also make me uncomfortable. I agree with Vatican II that all popular devotions must be situated within the context of the Risen and Glorified Christ reigning as KING in heaven and pointing us in the direction of his Monarchy and Kingdom. 

I'm puzzled by this kind of dripping piety coming from a pope. It's sweet but can lead to tooth decay as being just to sweet:
"Devotion to the Child Jesus can teach us much about our faith.  Although the Gospels tell us little about our Lord’s childhood, we know from experience the message which all newborn babies bring.  By contemplating the Infant Jesus, we come to understand more fully the meaning of his coming among us.  Like every baby, the Infant Jesus cries out for our attention; he asks us to care for and protect him.  Like every baby, he wants us to smile at him, as a sign of our delight in him and our sharing in the mystery of his love.  Finally, he wants us to play with him, to enter into his world and to become like a child ourselves, in order to please him.  In these days of Christmas, let us not only gaze upon the Child Jesus, but also take him into our arms and allow him to give us the joy and freedom born of the Father’s merciful love." --Pope Francis, General Audience, Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Pope Francis said the following at this morning's Wednesday audience about humility:

The humility of Our Divine Lord in the manger, and its stark contrast with our own often grandiose self-appraisal was a particular motif of the catechetical reflection the Holy Father offered to the pilgrims and visitors gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the event.

“This is a great mystery,” said Pope Francis, departing from his prepared text in Italian, “God is humble.” He went on to say, “We, who are proud, full of vanity, and who think ourselves great stuff – we are nothing. He is the great one: He is humble, and He makes Himself a child.”

My thoughts:

The Traditional Order of the Mass, in my most humble opinion, produces in those who participate in it, be they clergy or laity, a humility and self-abasement that forms Catholics to be humble and self-deferential to the Holy, the Sacred, to the Lord.

Think of the postures the laity take during High Mass in the Traditional Order of the Mass:

1. They Kneel for the Introit and PATFOTA and Kyrie and only stand for the Gloria and Collect.

2. They genuflect at the Incarnatus Est of the Credo and kneel from the Sanctus to the Pater Noster.

3. They kneel for the Agnus Dei and hear the priest recite the "Domine Non Sum Dignos" three time and then they recite it three times also after the "Ecce Agnus Dei," striking their breast for it as well as for the Agnus Dei. 

4. They humbly approach the altar railing and knee to receive Holy Communion and return to their place and kneel with head buried in their hands to contemplate so great a Mystery that God deigned they should receive. 

5. They stand for the Prayer After Holy Communion, Kneel for the Final Blessing and depart in silence after making a prayer of thanksgiving. 

Compare the above to the postures of the laity during any Mass in the New Order of the Mass:

1. The congregation stands and remains standing from the Processional hymn through the Kyrie, Gloria and Collect.

2. The congregation stands and should bow (most don't) at the "Incarnatus Est" of the Creed.

3. The Congregation stands from the "Orate Fratres" through the Sanctus. They kneel for the Eucharistic Prayer.

4. They stand from the Pater Noster through the Agnus Dei and do not strike their breast at the Agnus Dei tropes. 

5. They recite with the priest the "Lord I am not worthy" but one time without a strike of the breast.

6. They cue up for Holy Communion, receive standing and moving on the hand as they pop the Host in their mouth and try to sing and return to their pew for more singing either standing, sitting or kneeling depending on local custom. 

7. They stand for the Prayer after Holy Communion as well as the final blessing. 

The law of prayer is the law of belief.

In my humble opinion, the Traditional Order of the Mass produces more humble Catholics whereas the New Order of the Mass seems to produce haughty Catholics. Just my opinion and certainly not across the board for all Catholics are their malformed haughty Catholics. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Yesterday I posted THIS about the Hover Board priest hover boarding throughout his Christmas Eve Mass. You can read it again by pressing these two sentences.

But this is the most important thing I wrote and which makes me wonder if the good bishop read my blog on this which I posted Sunday or was informed of it as I have many in the Philippines reading my most humble blog:

If you want to know what is wrong with the Church today, it is this (and in no way can we say this priest is following the General Instruction of the Roman Missal in the Ordinary Form or its rubrics) then look to the bishop of this priest, the priest himself and his congregation that puts up with this abuse and enjoys it. This is a desecration of the Mass and I think a mortal sin reserved to the Holy See! But the local bishop has to suspend the priest who creates the desecration in order that a public statement of horror can circulate and inform the laity that this is wrong, wrong, wrong. It is irreverent! This priest wants to be in show business and uses the Mass and its congregation to fulfill his narcissistic desires. But apart from this sad, sad priest is the sad congregation that puts up with it and enjoys it and applauds it! Could this happen in the EF Mass? NO! NO! NO!

I copy this from Deacon Greg Kandra's blog:

Diocese Suspends Priest Who Used Hoverboard During Mass

December 29, 2015

You probably remember the story (you can see the video here). Now, a response from the priest’s diocese in the Philippines:
The Diocese of San Pablo on Tuesday, December 29, criticized one of its priests for using a hoverboard in a Christmas Eve Mass as seen in a video that has gone viral.
“That was wrong,” the Diocese of San Pablo, Laguna, said in a statement Tuesday.
“The Eucharist demands utmost respect and reverence. It is the Memorial of the Lord’s Sacrifice. It is the source and summit of Christian life,” the Diocese of San Pablo said.
Referring to the Mass, the diocese continued: “It is the Church’s highest form of worship. Consequently, it is not a personal celebration where one can capriciously introduce something to get the attention of the people.”
The Diocese of San Pablo said the incident happened on Thursday, December 24.
The diocese said that “before the final blessing of the Christmas Eve Mass, as a way of greeting his parishioners, the priest sang a Christmas song, while going around the nave standing on a hoverboard.”
The diocese did not identify the priest in its statement.
…The Diocese of San Pablo added, “The priest said that it was a wake up call for him; he acknowledged that his action was not right and promised that it will not happen again.”
“He will be out of the parish and will spend some time to reflect on this past event. He would like to apologize for what happened,” the diocese said.



This is the ideology of dance imposed upon the liturgy but it isn't liturgical dance, it is entertainment and not integral to the Mass at all, it is dance at Mass, it could be the Twist for that matter! But in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, the Mass itself is the dance! Nothing imposed upon it as though it was an Argentinian Tango!

One commenter on another post denigrated the pre-Vatican II's Ordinary Form of the Mass for its choreography especially of the seminarians during the processions. He was referring to the marvelous 1962 Christmas Midnight Mass in England at a seminary chapel (now closed for lack of vocations).

In fact if you participate in the EF's Solemn Sung Mass with deacon and subdeacon you will see that the Mass is actually a dance, a minuet, if you will, with its strict choreography of processions and the movements of the celebrant, deacon and sub deacon as well as acolytes. 

Unlike the liturgical dance, an ideology imposed on the OF Mass by modern liturgists and parish amateurs, in other words, dancing at the Ordinary Form of the Mass, in the EF Mass, the Mass itself, is the dance, especially in its most solemn expression.

The same thing happened with singing at the Ordinary Form of the Mass, music and aimless hymn singing was imposed upon the Mass but the Mass itself was spoken by the celebrant, lectors and the congregation. Hymns technically are not a part of the Latin Rite Mass in either of its primary forms. The Mass is the music of the Mass, its texts, all of them to include all the priest's parts as well as the laity's parts. This includes the Sacred Scriptures, all of them, not just the Responsorial Psalm and Alleluia! How many Catholics today have ever heard the Scriptures chanted at Mass?

How many priests sing their parts, starting with the "Sign of the Cross" and throughout the Mass? I'm speaking of priests perfectly capable of chanting their parts.

How many laity are forced to sing a hymn of some kind imposed on the Mass at the procession and at the offertory and Communion but never, ever hear the actual Introit chanted or invited to join in chanting at least the refrain of the official Introit, not to mention the Offertory and Communion antiphons prescribed for each Catholic Mass?

How many are forced to suffer through hymns at the collection of the offerings and at Communion but never, ever chant the Credo either in Latin or English or the Our Father?

And now for the ideology of the imposition of the priests' personality on the Mass--when did it begin and by whom?

One of the things that helped to destroy strong religious orders of nuns/sisters/monks/brothers in the 1960's was pop psychology imposed upon the communitarian aspects of religious life up until that point. The ideology of the "me" generation (narcissism) as well as self-actualization and emotional development turned traditional religious orders into a community of bachelors and bachelorettes. Convents which had numerous sisters opted to allow sisters to live alone in apartments or to live as couples in homes or smaller houses. The habit went from traditional, to modified to purely secular and of the most frumpy look possible. There was nothing attractive about the new ways whatsoever and no reason really to join these groups as we would soon discover and have discovered today. Mass or liturgies that were invented by various convents and monasteries and in no way resembling the traditional Mass replaced the official Mass with its strict rubrics. Creativity ruled the day and destroyed religious life as it is destroying the Church even to this day!

Father Eugene Walsh SS, the most famous  Sulpician liturgists espousing the ideology of a dumbed-down liturgy which had priests and lay ministers imposing their personality on the Mass, was not alone in promoting this but was at the forefront and inspired a generation or two of seminarians to do as he said and he was a bit authoritarian about it. I am a product of Sulpician priests and seminary training! Thank you very much!

He wanted the priest to use big gestures, smile a lot and show some personality. Ad orientem would have be anathema to his ideology! He wanted lay ministers galore, readers, communion ministers, greeters, and the like using their extroverted personalities to draw people into the church, Church and Mass. Lectors were to smile, create eye-contact, use dramatic gestures and voice inflections and lift high the lectionary when proclaiming "This is the Word of the Lord" with the emphasis on "IS." He also asked lectors and other proclaimers to hold the book rather than letting rest on ambo.

Priests were to establish eye contact with the congregation and proclaim the prayers in a bold voice. The Eucharistic Prayer was to be a proclamation to the laity and gestures, big gestures especially at the "take this all of you" for both bread and wine, were to be directed to the congregation as though they were literally at the Last Supper. But no elevations, simply show and no more than chest level. Incongruous to say the least!

Watch this pre-Vatican II celebration of the then Ordinary Form of the Mass in a very modern Benedictine Arch abbey chapel in Saint Louis in 1964.  One must keep in mind the the liturgical movement of the 20th century is what inspired Sacrosanctum Concilium and Pope Paul VI's Consilium that fabricated the new Mass. But experiments in architecture and Mass facing the congregation took place in the 1950's prior to Vatican II:

The Mass begins at about minute 18, with a marvelous commentary and explanation of the now called EF Mass by a Benedictine priest, however, the first 16 minutes gives a marvelously sober introduction to the new theology that would soon deform the Mass (in just a few months of the filming of this Mass in 1964) but the Mass isn't deformed yet. Please note the modern, spaceship look of the chapel in the round. The altar is in the center, but there is still an altar railing. But please note that even though the Mass is partially facing the congregation, it is clear that the prayers are directed toward God and not in any way proclaimed to the congregation. The silent canon or low voice canon beginning at minute 42:50 makes it clear that this sacred prayer is directed to God in hushed tones, not in a haughty voice as though it is directed to the people in the abbey church! And the celebrant says the Sanctus but the choir sings it as the celebrant continues with the canon (thus all kneel at the Sanctus). The grand silence of the Canon is marvelous when properly understood and creates a sense of the sacred and holy reverence so sorely missing in the proclaimed canon with its banalities in the Ordinary Form today!

Please note the Kiss of Peace at about minute 53 and how it is carried out--the priest to the deacon, the deacon to the subdeacon, the subdeacon to the other clergy in choir dress. If only this were maintained in the Ordinary Form's Solemn Sung Mass and exclusively for it and not lesser solemn forms of the OF Mass with the addition of the altar servers, quietly bring the Kiss of Peace to the Congregation (which happened in some places with the new Mass)!

Then please note how marvelous is the sea of humanity in an unregimented flow approach the altar railing at random beginning at minute 56. Listen to the Benedictine priest's marvelous commentary on the significance of coming to the altar railing and the actual Communion Procession which is that of the Our Lord carried by his servant the priest who processes to each communicant reverently kneeling awaiting the Lord to come to them! This is the best theology of the Holy Communion Procession which the modern OF Form has obfuscated, as destroyed!

Please note too, that although the priest is facing the congregation as he at any of the major basilicas in Rome, his personality is not at all evident--he decreases so that the Lord may increase!!!!!!!

It appears, thanks be to God, that the Saint Louis Benedictine Abby has maintained the Traditional Liturgy and altar railing in their spaceship! They have maintained the Sacred Liturgy too!

You can visit their website HERE!!!!

This is the abbey Church today!



Sunday, December 27, 2015


The New Liturgical Movement post:

Video of Midnight Mass, Christmas 1962 from Ushaw College, Durham, England

The actual Mass begins around minute 5:10, although the announcer gives a marvelous brief history of English Catholicism and its travails under Anglicanism and Protestantism in the first five minutes. The first few moments are mute but it recovers. My comments below video except for this first comment of mine:

In this marvelous form of the Mass that creates such awe, wonder, reverence and piety, you would not have seen and will not see the celebrant riding a hover board to give his homily or an any other place during the Mass insert his personality and personal preferences into this form of the Mass. It simply didn't, doesn't and won't happen! Why does it happen in the revision of this Mass which never intended to destroy the reverence, wonder, awe and piety of the Catholic Mass? Why or why? 

1. Please note the wonderful processional hymn which is a Latin Hymn, but not the Introit. Please note also the choreography of the seminarians as they enter the pews. Marvelous. 

2. Please note too, the beautiful Gothic (not Roman) chasuble of the celebrant. I do not recall Roman vestments in any of my childhood parishes prior to Vatican II. All of them were like this or similar.

3. What needed to be addressed as a reform is the fact that the choir/schola's chanting and singing is an independent reality. The priest, deacon and subdeacon recite the Mass parts despite the fact the choir is singing these. The two are not integrated and the choir seems to be adding only solemnity and music. One of the needed reforms of this form of the Mass was to integrate the priest with the choir and allow him to join in singing the Kyrie and Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei rather than saying these (and sitting down for the choir to complete the Gloria and Credo). 

It also seems to me that if the choir is independent of the priest and he's doing all the parts in Latin in a spoken voice, that there is no reason why the choir can't chant the parts of the Mass in the vernacular since what they are singing is on a separate track. 

4. Please note that the elevations are not drawn out at all.

5. The priest's actual reception of the Body and Blood of Christ which completes the Holy Sacrifice seems to be ignored by the congregation as you hear footsteps of people coming forward during the priest's communion and prior to their "Domini Non Sum Dignus."  As I recall, people would already be kneeling at the altar railing and would be standing in the aisle for Holy Communion as the priest turned to them for the "Ecce Agnus Dei" and those standing would drop to their knees on the hard floor of the center aisle. 

6. Please note that while the movements and rubrics are carefully followed, the priest, deacon and subdeacon are not robotic but natural.


Even with limited resources, a normal Ordinary Form parish can have liturgies like this! Not an abuse in sight in this Traditional Mass:

Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis
Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
27 December 2015

The biblical readings which we just heard presented us with the image of two families on pilgrimage to the house of God.  Elkanah and Hannah bring their son Samuel to the Temple of Shiloh and consecrate him to the Lord (cf. 1 Sam 1:20-22, 24-28).  In the same way, Joseph and Mary, in the company of Jesus, go as pilgrims to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover (cf. Lk 2:41-52).

We often see pilgrims journeying to shrines and places dear to popular piety.  These days, many of them are making their way to the Holy Door opened in all the cathedrals of the world and in many shrines.  But the most beautiful thing which emerges from the word of God today is that the whole family goes on pilgrimage.  Fathers, mothers and children together go to the house of the Lord, in order to sanctify the holy day with prayer.  It is an important teaching, which is meant for our own families as well. Indeed, we could say that family life is a series of pilgrimages, both small and big.
For example, how comforting it is for us to reflect on Mary and Joseph teaching Jesus how to pray! 

This is a sort of pilgrimage, the pilgrimage of education in prayer. And it is comforting also to know that throughout the day they would pray together, and then go each Sabbath to the synagogue to listen to readings from the Law and the Prophets, and to praise the Lord with the assembly.  Certainly, during their pilgrimage to Jerusalem, they prayed by singing the Psalm: “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’  Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem (122:1-2).

How important it is for our families to journey together towards a single goal!  We know that we have a road to travel together; a road along which we encounter difficulties but also enjoy moments of joy and consolation.  And on this pilgrimage of life we also share in moments of prayer.  What can be more beautiful than for a father and mother to bless their children at the beginning and end of each day, to trace on their forehead the sign of the cross, as they did on the day of their baptism?  Is this not the simplest prayer which parents can offer for their children?  To bless them, that is, to entrust them to the Lord, just like Elkanah and Anna, Joseph and Mary, so that he can be their protection and support throughout the day.  In the same way, it is important for families to join in a brief prayer before meals, in order to thank the Lord for these gifts and to learn how to share what we have received with those in greater need.   These are all little gestures, yet they point to the great formative role played by the family in the pilgrimage of everyday life.

At the end of that pilgrimage, Jesus returned to Nazareth and was obedient to his parents (cf. Lk 2:51).  This image also contains a beautiful teaching about our families.  A pilgrimage does not end when we arrive at our destination, but when we return home and resume our everyday lives, putting into practice the spiritual fruits of our experience.  We know what Jesus did on that occasion.  Instead of returning home with his family, he stayed in Jerusalem, in the Temple, causing great distress to Mary and Joseph who were unable to find him.  For this little “escapade”, Jesus probably had to beg forgiveness of his parents.  The Gospel doesn’t say this, but I believe that we can presume it.  Mary’s question, moreover, contains a certain reproach, revealing the concern and anguish which she and Joseph felt.  Returning home, Jesus surely remained close to them, as a sign of his complete affection and obedience.  Moments like these become part of the pilgrimage of each family; the Lord transforms the moments into opportunities to grow, to ask for and to receive forgiveness, to show love and obedience.

In the Year of Mercy, every Christian family can become a privileged place on this pilgrimage for experiencing the joy of forgiveness.  Forgiveness is the essence of the love which can understand mistakes and mend them.  How miserable we would be if God did not forgive us! Within the family we learn how to forgive, because we are certain that we are understood and supported, whatever the mistakes we make.

Let us not lose confidence in the family!  It is beautiful when we can always open our hearts to one another, and hide nothing.  Where there is love, there is also understanding and forgiveness.  To all of you, dear families, I entrust this most important mission - the domestic pilgrimage of daily family life - which the world and the Church need, now more than ever.


Can you imagine this nonsense taking place in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. The Traditional Order of the Mass with its strict rubrics, language and solemn spirituality and pious attitudes simply would not allow for this sort of nonsense that happens over and over and over again and in a variety of ways too numerous to list, in the Ordinary Form or non traditional Order of the Mass, with its banal vernaculars, gestures and creativity!

The Ordinary Form of the Mass has come to symbolize a lack of spirituality, piety and reverence, most of all reverence! The sad thing is that the laity enjoy this nonsense and because they enjoy it bishops do not condemn it or suspend the priest who encourages it. But if this priest distributed Holy Communion by way of intinction and the Mass ad orientem and in Latin, there would be repercussions!

If you want to know what is wrong with the Church today, it is this (and in no way can we say this priest is following the General Instruction of the Roman Missal in the Ordinary Form or its rubrics) then look to the bishop of this priest, the priest himself and his congregation that puts up with this abuse and enjoys it. This is a desecration of the Mass and I think a mortal sin reserved to the Holy See! But the local bishop has to suspend the priest who creates the desecration in order that a public statement of horror can circulate and inform the laity that this is wrong, wrong, wrong. It is irreverent! This priest wants to be in show business and uses the Mass and its congregation to fulfill his narcissistic desires. But apart from this sad, sad priest is the sad congregation that puts up with it and enjoys it and applauds it! Could this happen in the EF Mass? NO! NO! NO!

I would state emphatically that Mass facing the congregation has turned many priests into entertainers. I think Mass facing the congregation for over 50 years now, is at the root of the majority of the liturgical abuses in the Ordinary Form. It also accounts for the loss of laity to our churches. In the early 1960's almost 90% of Catholics attended Mass every Sunday in the USA; today some places get less than 12% of Catholics attending Mass. The other 88% who don't attend Mass don't take Mass seriously as they have been exposed to all kinds of banal abuses that has denigrated the importance of the Mass for their salvation in their minds and hearts. 


Traditional Order Latin Rite Mass:
New Order Latin Rite Mass celebrated ad populo:
New Order Latin Rite Mass celebrated ad Deum or ad orientem:

Personal Ordinariate Divine Worship, the Missal Mass:
Byzantine Eastern Rite Divine Liturgy:
There are so many expressions of the Divine Worship of the Catholic Church both in the East and the West under the authority of the Successor of Saint Peter, the Holy Roman Pontiff, that it is an inane proposition to promote one rite of the Mass over the other or to denigrate one rite over another or to call one Traditional and the other not or less so!

Every Catholic Mass in whatever Rite, when celebrated by a validly ordained Catholic priest who offers the Mass with the mind of the Church and follows scrupulously the liturgical directives of the various missals, contains the Tradition of the Church, which means doctrine and dogma: The Word of God is proclaimed and the one Sacrifice of Christ on the cross is renewed in an unbloody way and the Eucharistic banquet seals the Sacrament when the priest completes the sacrifice by consuming the Holocaust, the Body and Blood of our Savior.

The Catechism lists seven rites: Latin, Byzantine, Alexandrian, Syriac, Armenian, Maronite, and Chaldean, are actually families of liturgical expression. These rites are the descendants of the liturgical practices that originated in centers of Rome, Antioch, and Alexandria.

As the Patriarch of the West (meaning west of Jerusalem) the Pope is vicar of these other liturgical rites that date from before the Council of Trent. These rites include the Mozarabic rite from Spain, the Ambrosian rite from Milan, Italy, named after St. Ambrose (340-397), the Bragan rite from Portugal, and the order liturgies of the Dominican, Carmelite, and Carthusian orders.

Most Latin Rite priests (some who comment here) as well as laity are ethnocentric  when it comes to the Mass, especially those who were schooled to believe that the reform of the Mass after Vatican II is dogmatic thus supplanting the older traditional order of the Mass. These priests and laity have tunnel vision and refuse the rightful place in the life of the Church of the older traditional order of the Mass.

Those who are myopic about the Rites of the Catholic Church, and elitist as well, believe that the little "t" traditions of the Mass discarded by a non-dogmatic reordering of the Traditional Mass should be denigrated in order to make the non dogmatic reordering of the Traditional Mass acceptable to the majority of Catholics on whom the revised Mass was foisted in the most authoritarian pre-Vatican II sort of way. Fortunately Pope Benedict reversed this pre-Vatican II authoritarianism as it concerns the traditional order of the Mass and its language and released it from the dungeon to which it was sent by the initial reformers of the new order of the Mass. This was quite a liberation!

But let's get myopic for a bit and set aside the other rites in the Latin Rite and Eastern rites.

Today there are now three expressions of the one Latin Rite (apart from the traditional diversity of Latin rites). There is the Extraordinary Form also called the Ancient Use or the Traditional Mass. There is the Ordinary Form of the Mass revised by Pope Paul VI and authorized by His Holiness. It is also called the New Order (not Traditional Order) because it is new, novel.  And now we have the Personal Ordinariate Mass, Divine Worship, which incorporates in a marvelous way the Traditional Order of the Mass as experienced in the EF Mass, with elements of the New Order of the Mass and the patrimony of the Anglican/Episcopal Liturgy as it developed in an organic way (Catholic way) after King Henry VIII. 

In the EF Mass there are three forms, Low, Sung and Solemn Sung. The Low Mass strips the little "t" traditions of the Solemn Sung Mass by eliminating the deacon and subdeacon as well as much of the choreography surrounding these ministries. The Low Mass also strips the Mass of sung chants, perhaps the oldest tradition of the Mass.

When comparing the New Order of the Mass to the Traditional Order of the Mass, we find a similar sort of stripping of little "t" traditions in a steroidal sort of way.

But new traditions evolve but not without pain as a woman in childbirth. The use of lay readers, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion and the inclusion of females in serving the altar, reading and assisting in the distribution of Holy Communion.

Some traditions are banal and others are illicit and properly should be condemned such as individual priests taking liberty with the vernacular translations of the Mass and inserting their own haughty additions or eliminations. This is not traditional or Traditional in any way to abuse the Order of the Mass or its various languages in the New Order of the Mass.

But with that said, we must respect all official liturgies of the Church of whatever rite and degree of solemnity and the official books of the various liturgies. That is the Traditional attitude. Any other attitude is novel and should be declared anathema.

Saturday, December 26, 2015


Last weekend in my bulletin letter as well as the announcements I warned people that our 4:30 PM Vigil Mass for Christmas would be the most crowded and that they should not reserve seats.

I mentioned our 6:30 PM Mass which features the Christmas Pageant by children as a prelude to Mass would be very full too.

Then I said the Midnight Mass would be packed but not standing room.

I finally said that our two Christmas Day Masses at 8 and 10:00 AM would be quite comfortable and peaceful and people could reserved as many pews as they wanted .

Then I lamented the proliferation of Christmas Eve Masses since the 1970's and how this has led to Christmas Day Masses being reduced in number with only a handful attending Mass.  I reminded our parishioners that before 1970 the earliest Christmas Mass began at the strike of Midnight. So the majority of Catholics, especially young families came to Christmas Day Masses of which there were many and all the way up to about noon.

Well, Christmas Eve saw a major Tornado warning, heavy rain, thunder, lightening, wind, hail and treacherous roads and accidents galore on the highways.

Our 4:30 Mass had one or two vacant pews, no one had to stand as in years past.

Our 6:30 Mass had more than a few pews vacant.

Our Midnight Mass was full but not packed and plenty of available seats for latecomers.

Our 8 AM Christmas Day Mass was quite full and our 10 AM Mass was packed. We've not seen this many people at Christmas Day Masses since the 1980's!

Maybe a new tradition is beginning by an act of God!

Friday, December 25, 2015


From 1903 until about 1972, the tabernacle at St. Joseph Church was in the high altar, dead center:
Then in 1972 until 2006, the tabernacle was placed in Our Lady's Chapel to the right of the sanctuary:

Then from 2006 until 2009 the tabernacle was placed in the Sacred Heart Chapel to the left of the Sanctuary:
Then from 2009 until the present age it was returned to its original location in the high altar or reredos. This altar has the Crucifixion scene above the tabernacle and the Last Supper scene below the tabernacle on the facade of the altar table itself:

After Vatican II at the demand of liturgists (not Vatican II, not the pope, but liturgists, mind you) tabernacles in many Catholic Churches were moved to side altars or separate chapels. Beautiful, ornate altars with magnificent tabernacles were dismantled and/or destroyed for cheap, wooden, ironing board wooden tables/altars.

My parish saw their tabernacle removed from its magnificent central focus in the historic high altar in the early 1970's. It was placed in Our Lady's Chapel, which fortunately is quite beautiful too. About 8 years ago, I place it back in its original position in our historic high altar.

I should be clear that the placement of the tabernacle in the center of the sanctuary is derived from a  popular devotional theology. Prior to tabernacles around the world being placed in symbolically second class places, all Catholics understand the purpose of the tabernacle and the appropriate signs of respect to be shown our Eucharistic Lord.  There was to be respectful silence, the genuflection of the knee when passing in front of our Lord in the tabernacle and it made the Church clearly a place of private prayer and devotion.

When tabernacles are removed from churches and placed in separate chapels, only a small minority of Catholics maintained the tradition of praying before the tabernacle and a majority of catholic are now clueless about the tabernacle's importance as they never visit these separate chapels ever.

Let's be clear, though, the tabernacle is not necessary for the celebration of Holy Mass and certainly the Mass is meant to make present through Sacrifice and Banquet the real Eucharistic Presence of our Lord. It is easy to understand that it is desirable that the tabernacle and the Reserved Most Blessed Sacrament not be the object of one's devotion during the actual celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

But with that said, it is a very good and holy thing that tabernacles are being restored to the rightful place of honor in the sanctuaries of our churches:


From the Wisconsin State Journal: 

At area Catholic churches, the tabernacle, 'Christ's dwelling place,' moves to center stage

ASHTON — Like centuries of Catholic priests before him, the Rev. Tait Schroeder consecrated the communion bread at a midday Mass last week, turning it into what the denomination’s faithful believe is the actual body of Jesus Christ.

After offering the sacramental bread — referred to as the Eucharistic host — to parishioners, Schroeder walked the unused portion to an ornate, safe-like box behind him at the front of the sanctuary.

In this secure shrine, called a tabernacle, the host would dwell until needed for the next Mass, available all the while for the faithful to pray before it or for Schroeder to take it to home-bound parishioners.

As Christians around the world mark the birth of Christ in Bethlehem this Christmas season, many Madison-area Catholics are learning more about the profound role of the tabernacle in their parishes. Madison Catholic Bishop Robert Morlino has directed priests to move the tabernacle to a prominent spot at the center of the sanctuary at all diocesan churches.

The directive was announced at an annual gathering of priests in September and could affect about half of the 134 worship sites in the diocese, although no exact count is available, said Patrick 
Gorman, director of the diocesan office of worship, which coordinates liturgical matters for the bishop and will be leading the effort. At these churches, the tabernacle may be off to one side of the sanctuary or in a separate side chapel altogether.

Because church law requires that a tabernacle be immovable and made of solid material, the directive will require some cost and effort at some parishes, Gorman said. The bishop is giving priests three years to accomplish the goal, until October 2018.

Gorman said the bishop’s intent is to place more emphasis and reverence on the Lord’s presence at the Eucharist, the term used by Roman Catholics for communion.

“This isn’t just another piece of furniture in the sanctuary,” Gorman said. “It is housing the living God.”

Morlino had been moving in this direction for a decade or more, encouraging priests in general to relocate tabernacles and requiring it during parish renovation projects, Gorman said.
St. Peter Catholic Church, where Schroeder is priest, is an example of what Morlino considers an ideal placement of a tabernacle, according to the diocese. The neo-gothic church, constructed in 1901, is in Ashton, an unincorporated Dane County community northwest of Middleton.

The tabernacle is at the central axis of the church, right behind the communion table and part of a soaring, decorative high altar that includes an array of statues and religious iconography.

“It really is the focal point,” Schroeder said of the tabernacle. “It draws our hearts and minds to Christ and to our belief that he is really present with us.”
Schroeder said the tabernacle at St. Peter had moved around some over the decades, residing for a time off to the side of the sanctuary. His predecessor moved it back to its current, original spot.

Following the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, there was a movement toward placing tabernacles to the sides of sanctuaries or to locate them in smaller chapels within the larger church buildings, Gorman said. One thought behind this was that the host could be more respectfully worshipped in a separate, quieter space, away from such events as wedding rehearsals, or, as is often the case with large cathedrals, tourist groups, he said.

While the motivation may have been sound, “in reality, the tabernacle ended up just being bypassed by people,” Gorman said. “It didn’t accomplish what it set out to do. I think most priests would agree with that.”

The tabernacle at the Ashton church is built into an elaborate wooden structure, but this does not need to be the case in every church, Gorman said. Some tabernacles are on pedestals that can be unbolted and moved to a more central spot with relatively little effort, he said.

“I think, in most places, there will be a solution that will not be very costly,” he said.
St. Bernard Catholic Church on Madison’s East Side is in the process of moving its tabernacle from a side of the sanctuary to the front as part of a much larger $240,000 restoration project that includes new carpeting and upgrades to electrical and sound systems, said the Rev. Michael Radowicz.

“I was aware of the bishop’s desire to have the tabernacle front and center, and that did play an important part in the project,” he said. “It wasn’t, however, the sole reason for beginning the project.”
Some parishioners are very happy about moving the tabernacle, while others are taking some time to warm to the idea, he said.

“It’s the nature of the beast,” Radowicz said of the varied opinions. “I will point out, though, that I needed to go to the parishioners to ask for financial support so we could do the project. I received the support, so it’s my feeling that there are more in support than not. I also feel that once the parishioners see the project completed, they’ll be pleased with what we’ve been able to accomplish.”

The Rev. Brian Wilk is pastor of a Catholic church in Middleton that also is named St. Bernard. When the church, built in 1959, was remodeled in the late 1980s, the tabernacle was moved to a chapel off the sanctuary, he said. During Mass, Wilk or a deacon must go to the side chapel to retrieve the host.
Wilk said he’s just begun talking to the parish council about the need to move the tabernacle to the center of the sanctuary. There are no definitive plans yet, but he said he hopes the project can be undertaken in 2016, perhaps as part of other improvements.

“I like the idea,” he said of making the tabernacle more prominent. “There’s the practicality of having the host close at hand when celebrating Mass. And then there’s what it represents. I think it can lead to a more reverent nature in the church building itself.”


Thursday, December 24, 2015


Tornado warning has passed, but not wind, rain, thunder and lightening.

It's Christmas now at Saint Peter's as His Holiness celebrates Christmas Mass at night beginning at 10:30 PM their time, 3:30 PM here. Our first Mass is at 4:30 PM.

The Mass is in Latin and stunningly beautiful and the music splendid.

Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis

Christmas Midnight Mass
24 December 2015

Tonight “a great light” shines forth (Is 9:1); the light of Jesus’ birth shines all about us. How true and timely are the words of the prophet Isaiah which we have just heard: “You have brought abundant joy and great rejoicing” (9:2)! Our heart was already joyful in awaiting this moment; now that joy abounds and overflows, for the promise has been at last fulfilled. Joy and gladness are a sure sign that the message contained in the mystery of this night is truly from God. There is no room for doubt; let us leave that to the sceptics who, by looking to reason alone, never find the truth. There is no room for the indifference which reigns in the hearts of those unable to love for fear of losing something. All sadness has been banished, for the Child Jesus brings true comfort to every heart.

Today, the Son of God is born, and everything changes. The Saviour of the world comes to partake of our human nature; no longer are we alone and forsaken. The Virgin offers us her Son as the beginning of a new life. The true light has come to illumine our lives so often beset by the darkness of sin. Today we once more discover who we are! Tonight we have been shown the way to reach the journey’s end.

Now must we put away all fear and dread, for the light shows us the path to Bethlehem. We must not be laggards; we are not permitted to stand idle. We must set out to see our Saviour lying in a manger. This is the reason for our joy and gladness: this Child has been “born to us”; he was “given to us”, as Isaiah proclaims (cf. 9:5). The people who for two thousand years has traversed all the pathways of the world in order to allow every man and woman to share in this joy is now given the mission of making known “the Prince of peace” and becoming his effective servant in the midst of the nations.

So when we hear tell of the birth of Christ, let us be silent and let the Child speak. Let us take his words to heart in rapt contemplation of his face. If we take him in our arms and let ourselves be embraced by him, he will bring us unending peace of heart. This Child teaches us what is truly essential in our lives. He was born into the poverty of this world; there was no room in the inn for him and his family. He found shelter and support in a stable and was laid in a manger for animals. And yet, from this nothingness, the light of God’s glory shines forth. From now on, the way of authentic liberation and perennial redemption is open to every man and woman who is simple of heart. This Child, whose face radiates the goodness, mercy and love of God the Father, trains us, his disciples, as Saint Paul says, “to reject godless ways” and the richness of the world, in order to live “temperately, justly and devoutly” (Tit 2:12).

In a society so often intoxicated by consumerism and hedonism, wealth and extravagance, appearances and narcissism, this Child calls us to act soberly, in other words, in a way that is simple, balanced, consistent, capable of seeing and doing what is essential. In a world which all too often is merciless to the sinner and lenient to the sin, we need to cultivate a strong sense of justice, to discern and to do God’s will. Amid a culture of indifference which not infrequently turns ruthless, our style of life should instead be devout, filled with empathy, compassion and mercy, drawn daily from the wellspring of prayer.

Like the shepherds of Bethlehem, may we too, with eyes full of amazement and wonder, gaze upon the Child Jesus, the Son of God. And in his presence may our hearts burst forth in prayer: “Show us, Lord, your mercy, and grant us your salvation” (Ps 85:8).


Tornado siren blaring in downtown Macon at the moment; our county under tornado warning and one may be on the grown slightly north of us in Forsyth, Georgia where I have parishioners.

On Christmas Eve no less! The question is what this will do to our Christmas Eve Masses at 4:30 and 6:30 PM. I've had the tornado siren go off only once while Mass was in progress. Supposedly we're to take cover when we hear it but there is no where to go in our church other than under the pews.


Someone mentioned to me not too long ago that their priest was not use to the bells being rung at Mass for the Epiclesis and elevations. I know that many parishes throughout the world got rid of bells at Mass right and left.

Why you ask? I am glad you asked. Because now that the altar was turned and planted firmly in the midst of the assembly so that everyone could see what was happening and the Mass was in the vernacular and the canon of the Mass was prayed in an audible voice, no longer did the poor, disenfranchised laity need bells to wake them up or let them know at what point the priest was.

So rather than insult the newly liberated laity with the infantile sounds of bells, bells were removed from the Mass. It was so honorable and condescending of them, no?

But in the 1980's when I went to a liturgical conference (barf), one of the gurus of modern liturgy, what is euphemistically called a liturgist, said that the laity did not and should not have "magic moments" during the Mass which bells helped to facilitate. But he did feel that the laity needed a "black hole" in which to fathom the eternal mysteries of the Eucharist and that the black hole would be the presentation of the offerings, called the gifts back then.

Yes, these humble items of bread and wine, wheat and grapes along with their financial gifts (offerings) would be offered to God, given to God as a gift, but also given to the institutional Church as a gift and then God would give them back to us to multiply His graces by making the bread and wine into the Bread of Life and the Wine of Joy.  Some black hole, no?

When I was in the seminary in the late 1970's bells were banned for all the reasons stated above. And certainly seminarians were too sophisticated for them any way.

And the trend then, which our liturgists simply knew would become the way of the future, like by the middle of the 1980's, would be for no genuflections during Mass, no elevations whatsoever and we'd have just the basics, Prayer, Word, Gifts, Offering, Banquet, dismissal.

In fact one of our liturgists began Mass after the "gathering song" by not even having the "Sign of the Cross" but rather he simply greeted us "The Lord be with you." with our then response and he would go directly to the Collect without delay.

He said that the most important part of the Mass was the Liturgy of the Word (he was also a Scripture Scholar) and that it should come immediately so important it was. Of course he believed in using the historical/critical method of interpreting Scripture and getting to the "real" Jesus of history, so that meant he really didn't believe literally in any of the Scriptures and even the dogmas of the Church could be reinterpreted according to the zenith of interpretive methods not allowed Catholics until after Vatican II. So the Nativity, take a hammer to it! The Virgin Birth, forget about it! The bodily resurrection, it is to laugh! Miracles, didn't happen. Jesus divine--oh my! He even taught that Mary was a prostitute and the virgin conception was made up to promote continuity with the Old Testament.

Oh, don't forget that 1974 was the one year that priests molested more teenagers than any other year and more priests left the priesthood and religious life and seminaries and convents emptied and parish churches weren't too far behind. Yet, the renewal was a success. Those who foisted this kind of renewal on us had to believe it was a renewal otherwise if the truth be told, they'd commit suicide for what they had accomplished.

It all has to do with the loss of bells!

Are bells rung at your Masses?


I found this in our "Diocesan Yearbook" from 1919! This turns upside down the ideology of spirit of Vatican IIers that the post-Vatican II renaming of the Sacrament of Extreme Unction to the Anointing of the Sick was to correct what the pre-Vatican II Church taught about it. Here it is:

A strange and dangerous error prevails with regard to this Sacrament. It was instituted by Christ to give grace to die well and it should not be postponed until the very hour of death. One of its results is, under God's Holy Will, to effect a cure. It is strange, however, that some people, when learning that a sick person has been anointed, expect to hear immediately afterwards that the patient is, of course, dead. The Church teaches us: "It is a grievous sin to defer it until, all hope of recovery now lost, life begins to ebb, and the sick person is fast verging into a state of insensibility. It is obvious that if administered when the mental faculties are yet unimpaired; wile reason still exercises its dominion and the mind is capable of eliciting acts of faith, and of diverting the will to sentiments of piety, the Sacrament must contribute to a more abundant participation of the graces which it imparts." (Catechism of the council of Trent.) Children who have attained the use of reason should receive this Sacrament when ill. 

On the same page we find this little ditty, so clear and concise:

Some Things that all Catholics should know:

--That there is but one God and three Divine Persons in God.
--That God will reward the good and punish the wicked.
--That God became man for love of us, and died upon the Cross that He might redeem us from Sin and Hell.
--That God instituted seven Sacraments, through which the merits of the Redemption are applied to individual souls, and to the worthy reception of which is attached special grace and strength to enable us to overcome the temptations of life and save our immortal souls.
--That these Sacraments are as follows: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders and Matrimony. 
--That God wills the salvation of all mankind, and if any be lost it is in spirte of all that God can do to save them. 
--That frequent Confession and Communion are an infallible means of overcoming the weakness of human nature and advancing in virtue.
--That if one is able to contribute towards the support of the Church and does not, he is guilty of sin in such neglect and should accuse himself of it in Confession.
--That God has made us to know, love and serve Him here upon earth, that we may be happy with Him for all eternity.
--That it will profit a man nothing to gain the whole world if in the end  he lose his soul. that time is given us to prepare for eternity.
--That nothing save God can satisfy the cravings of an immortal soul.
--That if God has blessed us with the gift of true Faith, He has a right to expect that we show our appreciation of His favor by the good example we set our neighbor, through the purity and sanctity of our lives. 

And finally:

Things all Catholics Should Know about Holy Days, etc.

On which every Catholic who has come to the age of reason is obliged to hear Mass and rest from servile work, unless hindered by sickness or other sufficient cause: 

1. All sundays in the year.
2. The Circumcision of Our Lord, or New Year's Day, January 1.
3. The Ascension of Our Lord, forty days after Easter.
4. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin , August 15.
5. All Saints, November 1.
6. The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, December 8.
7. The Nativity of Our Lord, December 25.

A blessed Christmas to all!   

Wednesday, December 23, 2015



'Twas the night before Christmas Eve, when all through the rectory
not a creature was stirring, not even a secretary.
The ministry schedule was hung on the bulletin board with care,
in hopes that those scheduled  soon would be there.

The altar servers were all negligent not daring to care,
while visions of iPads danced in their stares.
And vicar in his biretta, and I in mine,
had just settled our complaints for a long Christmas night.

When out in the parking lot there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
tore open the shutter, and threw up the sash.

The sun on the breast of the old asphalt lot
gave the lustre of doom to objects that park,
when, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but extraordinary ministers dressed in gym gear.

With little old lectors, so dull and boring,
I knew in a moment it must be a rehearsal for liturgical moaning.
More lethargic than slugs, their coursers they came,
and they hemmed and hawed  and called me names:

"Now pastor! Now vicar!
Now, throw backs to pre-Vatican II'ers!
On, preachers! O Judges!
On, useless and vindictives!
To the top of the porch!
To the top of the wall!
Now leave us alone! Go away!
go away all!"

As dry liturgical creativity that before the wild Liturgy fly,
when they meet with  the clericalism of the pastor, they mount a petition to the bishop;
so up to the chancery the coursers they flew,
with the sleigh full of complaints, and a copy of Vatican too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard  the phone ring
and heard the screeching and complaining of the vicar general insane.
As I drew in my breath and was turning around,
down the phone line the reprimand came with a pound.

It was dressed all in fury, from the beginning to the end,
and his voice was all hoarse with epitaphs  and coarse.
A bundle of insults he had flung at my ear,
and he sounded like a Soprano just hoping kill.

His voice--how it screeched! His words, how stern!
His vocabulary was like a sailors, his tenner like a mortal sinner
His droll little diatribe was drawn up like a bow,
and the arrow in his quiver was like a missal that made me shiver.
The stamp of his foot he pounded like an anvil,
and the smoke of his wrath encircled his my head like a mantle.
It had a broad affect and not just a little to worry ,
that shook me to my soul, like a book full of black mold.

He was staunch and mean and not at all a jolly old elf,
and I cried when I heard him, in spite of myself.
A slam of the phone and the shock of a click
made me  blink.

He spoke no more words, but went straight to his work ,
and scribbled an evaluation  which left little to the imagination .
And laying his tongue to envelope,
and giving a nod,  off to the post office it rose.

The postman sprang to the truck, then  gave a whistle,
And away it all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard the bishop exclaim, 'ere the truck drove out of sight,
"happy clappy Masses to all, and to all a good night!"