Sunday, January 31, 2016


Of course, you know well that yours truly would have and did offer it after all our Sunday Masses to include our 12:10 PM EF High Mass for Sexagesima! Do you notice anything interesting about how we bless throats here?  Here's proof of our blessing of throats from our 9:30 AM Mass this morning:


I found this brilliant description of what Ite Missa Est actually means on the internet:

The exact origin of this phrase puzzled even medieval liturgists. Some argued that there is a word missing, which would explain the awkward sentence structure (perhaps “Hostia” or “ecclesia,” as John O’Brien suggests in A History of the Mass and its Ceremonies in the Eastern and Western Church [New York: The Catholic Publication Society, 1881], 388). The Catholic Encyclopedia notes:

It has been thought that a word is omitted: Ite, missa est finita; or est is taken absolutely, as meaning “exists,” is now an accomplished fact. The real explanation seems to lie rather in interpreting correctly the word missa. Before it became the technical name of the holy Liturgy in the Roman Rite, it meant simply “dismissal”. The form missa for missio is like that of collecta (for collectio), ascensa (ascensio), etc. So Ite missa est should be translated “Go it is the dismissal.” (See Florus the Deacon, “De expositione Missæ”, P.L., CIX, 72.)

This has allowed for a wide range of interpretations concerning this phrase. St. Thomas Aquinas said it meant the offering of the Mass had been sent to God.

And from this the mass derives its name [missa]; because the priest sends [mittit] his prayers up to God through the angel, as the people do through the priest. Or else because Christ is the victim sent [missa] to us: accordingly the deacon on festival days “dismisses” the people at the end of the mass, by saying: “Ite, missa est,” that is, the victim has been sent [missa est] to God through the angel, so that it may be accepted by God. (Summa Theologica, III. Q. 83, a. 4, reply to Obj. 9)

In his beautiful reflection of the seven last words of Christ, which he connects to seven parts of the Mass, Venerable Fulton J. Sheen compares the “Ite, missa est” with Christ’s words, “It is finished.”

In his Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, Pope Benedict XVI discussed the development of missa from meaning “dismissed” to meaning one’s “mission.” “In antiquity,” the Holy Father writes, “missa simply meant ‘dismissal.’ However in Christian usage it gradually took on a deeper meaning. The word ‘dismissal’ has come to imply a ‘mission.’ These few words succinctly express the missionary nature of the Church (Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis, 51).

None of this really gets at the origin of the word. I asked a former professor of mine at Christendom College, and he suggested it might refer to an ancient practice in Rome, where a deacon carried some of the Blessed Sacrament from the papal Mass to other parishes in Rome, to show unity between these other churches and the pope (See Fr. Grosch’s historical summary of this ritual. The declaration “Ite, missa est” would be the sign for the congregation to leave, because the Eucharist had been sent forth from the Church, and thus so should the people.

And now Pope Francis' remarks to the conclusion of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress in the Philippines: 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I greet all of you gathered in Cebu for the Fifty-first International Eucharistic Congress. I thank Cardinal Bo, who is my representative among you, and I offer a special greeting to Cardinal Vidal, Archbishop Palma and the bishops, priests and faithful in Cebu. I also greet Cardinal Tagle and all the Catholics of the Philippines. I am particularly happy that this Congress has brought together so many people from the vast continent of Asia and from throughout the world.

Just one year ago, I visited the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Yolanda. I was able to witness at first hand the deep faith and resilience of its people. Under the protection of Santo Niño, the Filipino people received the Gospel of Jesus Christ some five hundred years ago. Ever since, they have given the world an example of fidelity and deep devotion to the Lord and his Church. They have also been a people of missionaries, speading the light of the Gospel in Asia and to the ends of the earth.

The theme of the Eucharistic Congress – Christ in You, Our Hope of Glory – is very timely. It reminds us that the risen Jesus is always alive and present in his Church, above all in the Eucharist, the sacrament of his Body and Blood. Christ’s presence among us is not only a consolation, but also a promise and a summons. It is a promise that everlasting joy and peace will one day be ours in the fullness of his Kingdom. But it is also a summons to go forth, as missionaries, to bring the message of the Father’s tenderness, forgiveness and mercy to every man, woman and child.

How much our world needs this message! When we think of the conflicts, the injustices and the urgent humanitarian crises which mark our time, we realize how important it is for every Christian to be a true missionary disciple, bringing the good news of Christ’s redemptive love to a world in such need of reconciliation, justice and peace.

So it is fitting that this Congress has been celebrated in the Year of Mercy, in which the whole Church is invited to concentrate on the heart of the Gospel: Mercy. We are called to bring the balm of God’s merciful love to the whole human family, binding up wounds, bringing hope where despair so often seems to have the upper hand.

As you now prepare to “go forth” at the end of this Eucharistic Congress, there are two gestures of Jesus at the Last Supper which I would ask you to reflect on. Both have to do with the missionary dimension of the Eucharist. They are table fellowship and the washing of feet.

We know how important it was for Jesus to share meals with his disciples, but also, and especially, with sinners and the outcast. Sitting at table, Jesus was able to listen to others, to hear their stories, to appreciate their hopes and aspirations, and to speak to them of the Father’s love. At each Eucharist, the table of the Lord’s Supper, we should be inspired to follow his example, by reaching out to others, in a spirit of respect and openness, in order to share with them the gift we ourselves have received.

In Asia, where the Church is committed to respectful dialogue with the followers of other religions, this prophetic witness most often takes place, as we know, through the dialogue of life. Through the testimony of lives transformed by God’s love, we best proclaim the Kingdom’s promise of reconciliation, justice and unity for the human family. Our example can open hearts to the grace of the Holy Spirit, who leads them to Christ the Savior.

The other image which the Lord offers us at the Last Supper is the washing of feet. On the eve of his passion, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples as a sign of humble service, of the unconditional love with which he gave his life on the Cross for the salvation of the world. The Eucharist is a school of humble service. It teaches us readiness to be there for others. This too is at the heart of missionary discipleship.

Here I think of the aftermath of the typhoon. It brought immense devastation to the Philippines, yet it also brought in its wake an immense outpouring of solidarity, generosity and goodness. People set about rebuilding not just homes, but lives. The Eucharist speaks to us of that power, which flows from the Cross and constantly brings new life. It changes hearts. It enables us to be caring, to protect the poor and the vulnerable, and to be sensitive to the cry of our brothers and sisters in need. It teaches us to act with integrity and to reject the injustice and corruption which poison the roots of society.

Dear friends, may this Eucharistic Congress strengthen you in your love of Christ present in the Eucharist. May it enable you, as missionary disciples, to bring this great experience of ecclesial communion and missionary outreach to your families, your parishes and communities, and your local Churches. May it be a leaven of reconciliation and peace for the entire world.

Now, at the end of the Congress, I am happy to announce that the next International Eucharistic Congress will take place in 2020 in Budapest, Hungary. I ask all of you to join me in praying for its spiritual fruitfulness and for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all engaged in its preparation. As you return to your homes renewed in faith, I gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing to you and your families as a pledge of abiding joy and peace in the Lord.

God Bless you: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

My comment: It could be the English translation of this speech but it is common mistake so many make. The Eucharist is referred to as "it." The Eucharist shows forth our Lord and thus is not an "it" but a Person, a Divine Person with two natures, human and divine.

When we objectify the Eucharist and point to "it" we become idolators. Rather the Eucharist points to the Crucified and Risen Lord in His Glorified Body than can taken on the characteristics of Bread to be palatable to the senses when receiving our Glorified Lord's Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

Christ makes us a part of His Glorified Body, now seen visibly as the Church, Head and Members. As Food and Drink, this is unique and a miracle of God as normally and by nature, food and drink become a part of us not we a part of it!

Thus as a part of Christ's Body, we are missioned to do what He teaches us to do in the world when we are dismissed from Mass. 


Recently I had a conversation with a Greek Orthodox parishioner in town who told me that the Greek Orthodox Church is experiencing many of the negative things that Catholics experienced in the Liturgy about 40 years ago. I found that comment interesting. I wonder what this new Council in more than 1000 years will do for the Orthodox. I suspect it will update that Church which is badly in need of updating. Perhaps they will embrace the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption and pave the way to full communion with the Church which they broke in 1024? Or perhaps they will update their Liturgy stuck in the year 1000 AD? Who knows. I hope they embrace inculturation and simplicity of liturgy and vesture. But who knows? I wonder what noble simplicity would mean for the Divine Liturgy??????

This in fact is a Greek Orthodox Church with the altar not hidden behind the iconostasis and allows for the Divine Liturgy to be celebrated facing the congregation. Cool, no? I am sure this will spread like wildfire in the Orthodox Churches as soon as their new Council is over if not before!

This is from the Italian blogger, Sandro Magister at his Chiesa blog:

The pan-Orthodox council will take place. The heads of the autocephalous Orthodox Churches have finally decided on it, at a recent meeting in Chambésy, Switzerland, on Lake Geneva (see photo), to overcome the last obstacles to the celebration of this event, not convened for more than a thousand years.

It will be held from June 16-27 of this year on the island of Crete, a few miles from the coastal city of Chania, in the accommodations of the modern and welcoming Orthodox Academy built in the 1960’s with the spiritual patronage of the patriarchate of Constantinople and with money from the Evangelical Church of Germany:

> Orthodox Academy of Crete

On Sunday, June 19, the feast of Pentecost on the Eastern calendar, the liturgy will be celebrated in Heraklion at the cathedral of Saint Minas.

Previously, the setting anticipated for the council was the cathedral of Constantinople, the church of Saint Irene in Istanbul, but the crisis that erupted between Moscow and Ankara after the downing of the Russian jet on the border with Syria forced a change of venue.

And the patriarchate of Moscow willingly accepted the move to Crete. The rivalry between the powerful Russian Church, which encompasses two thirds of the world’s Orthodox population, and the ecumenical patriarchate of Constantinople, which numbers less than three thousand faithful in Istanbul but boasts a primacy of honor over all of Orthodoxy, has in fact been for years one of the most serious conflicts within the Christian East, with important repercussions for relations with the Church of Rome:

> The Russian Veto Against Francis and Bartholomew (8.1.2014)

This is one of the reasons behind the great importance of the speeches given in Chambésy on January 22 by the religious leaders of the “Second Rome” and of the “Third Rome,” delivered in Greek and Russian respectively but conveniently made available in English.

That of the patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew:

> Keynote Address by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew…

And that of the patriarch of Moscow and all Rus’, Kirill:

> Patriarch Kirill Addresses the Sinaxis…

The first of the two speeches is especially helpful in reconstructing the genesis and agenda of the upcoming assembly.

But it is also important to read the final account of the assembly, published in English by the patriarchate of Moscow:

> Synaxis of Primates of Local Orthodox Church completes its work in Geneva

in Chambésy an agreement “in extremis” was reached on the procedural rules of the next pan-Orthodox council, without which it could not have gone forward. The rules have been condensed into sixteen articles and concern the convocation of the council, its structure, the powers of the presidency and secretariat, the organization of the work, the approval of texts, the presence of observers of the non-Orthodox Churches.

The text of the rules is available in English on the website of the patriarchate of Moscow:

> Organization and Working Procedure…

It must be noted, however, that the patriarchate of Antioch has not signed on to the rules endorsed by all the other delegates, in practice holding in reserve the threat of withdrawing from the council and therefore invalidating it without the prior resolution of its dispute with the patriarchate of Jerusalem over its appointment of a metropolitan in Qatar, an appointment judged as illegitimate by Antioch.

But as for the matters to be discussed in the council, a full agreement has been reached on four of the eight preparatory documents.

The documents approved concern:

- the autonomy of the Churches and the manner of proclaiming it;
- the importance of fasting and its observance today;
- relations of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Christian world;
- the mission of the Orthodox Church in the contemporary world in terms of peace, freedom, and fraternity among peoples.

(With regard to this last point, in Chambésy the patriarchate of Moscow secured the approval of the other Orthodox Churches for its conduct in the crisis in Ukraine).

A fifth document has been approved by everyone except for the patriarchate of Antioch. And it concerns “the sacrament of marriage and its impediments.”

The texts of these five documents are also available in French on the website of the patriarchate of Moscow:


The texts not approved instead concern:

- the autocephaly of the national Churches and a process for implementing it;
- the “diptychs,” meaning the hierarchical organization among the Churches and its recognition in liturgical celebrations;
- the establishment of a common calendar among the Orthodox Churches and prospectively among all the Christian Churches, in particular on the date of Easter.

This last point is one that Moscow patriarch Kirill has said he is particularly opposed to discussing.

The duration of the pan-Orthodox council will be brief, just twelve days. But broad-based interest has emerged in holding more of them, at intervals of five or ten years.

Invitations will be issued - but only for the opening and closing sessions - to representatives of other Christian Churches, following the example of the non-Catholic observers at Vatican Council II. For the Catholic Church, the first invitation will likely go to Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the pontifical council for Christian unity.

What happens at the pan-Orthodox council will show what kind of new equilibrium will emerge between the two most significant leaders of all Orthodoxy, Kirill and Bartholomew.


I saw this at the former Deacon's Bench:

“Social networks can facilitate relationships and promote the good of society, but they can also lead to further polarization and division. … The digital world is a public square, a meeting place where we can either encourage or demean one another, engage in a meaningful discussion or unfair attacks. … Access to digital networks entails a responsibility for our neighbor whom we do not see but who is nonetheless real and has a dignity which must be respected.”

Believers can stand firm in defending the faith, he said, but “even in those cases where they must firmly condemn evil” it’s essential that they not resort to using words and arguments that “try to rupture relationships.”

Alas, there’s the rub, especially when “trolls” stir havoc in online communities. Psychology Today, in the article titled “Internet Trolls are Narcissists, Psychopaths and Sadists,” defined the term this way: “An Internet troll is someone who comes into a discussion and posts comments designed to upset or disrupt the conversation. … Trolls will lie, exaggerate and offend to get a response.”

At the heart of the pope’s argument is a call to focus on the humanity of those encountered online, even if they behave as trolls, noted writer Elizabeth Scalia, known as “The Anchoress” during her 12 years in the Catholic blogosphere. She is editor of the English edition of, a global Catholic website.

“I think that trolls are miserable and they want the world to be miserable with them. They aren’t even trying to make a coherent argument anymore,” she said. “That’s why I try to resist the temptation to punch down. … It’s one thing to be involved in a real debate. It’s something else to deal with people who are not even arguing in good faith.”

The problem, especially in debates about faith, worship and doctrine, is that it’s easy to focus so hard on winning that you “lose sight of the humanity of the person on the other side,” Scalia said. That’s crucial when the goal — especially during the Year of Mercy — is to “admonish” sinners who the church believes are in need of mercy.

Striving to “correct” errors, she said, doesn’t mean “getting out your hammer and hitting people with it.”


Then papal Master of Ceremonies for Pope Saint John Paul II (to the right of the pope) now Archbishop Piero Marini at a Mass of inculturation at St. Peter's Basilica: 

There was great fear that Pope Francis would name Archbishop Piero Marini the Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship. And for good reason. He is on the progressive side of liturgical reform with the last great frontier only partially attained, that of inculturation. 

Archbishop Piero Marini not to be confused with his antithesis, the good Monsignor Guido Marini, Papal Master of Ceremonies who succeeded him,  is firmly rooted in the Bugnini school of liturgy not the Pope Benedict school, which we had hoped and prayed would replace it and I think will eventually win the day, but not without spiritual warfare!

There is a cosmic liturgical battle taking place between these two schools and for the time being, Pope Francis seems to have sided with the Benedictine School in naming Cardinal Robert Sarah the prefect for the CDW. It was unexpected and everyone breathed a sigh of relief when he was named and not Archbishop Piero Marini. But things could always change overnight as we have seen in the last three years.

Marini on liturgy: ‘Inculturate it or lose it’

CBCP Monitor (My comments in red)

 Adapting the liturgy to local cultural practices, or “inculturation,” is the key to drawing more people to the Mass, said Archbishop Piero Marini, president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses. (I would have thought that the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in His Sacrifice and in His Glorious Eternal Banquet would have been a better reason to draw more people to Mass, but of course I'm not an Archbishop so what do I know?)
How to make the Mass more relatable and interesting has been one of the hot topics of discussion in the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC), and Marini is very knowledgeable on it having been master of liturgical ceremonies for two popes – St. John Paul II and the now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
Archbishop Piero Marini, president of the Pontifical Committee on International Eucharistic Congresses (photo by Dominic Barrios)
Archbishop Piero Marini, president of the Pontifical Committee on International Eucharistic Congresses (photo by Dominic Barrios)

Marini, 74, also served as secretary to Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, one of the Church figures who had worked to reform the liturgy after the Second Vatican Council, the result of which is the New Order of the Mass now heard in local languages instead of the old Latin. At the 51st IEC Theological Symposium last week, he recalled the history of the new Mass.

Marini wants to go further. “The word used in the Second Vatican Council is ‘active participation.’ To participate in the liturgy is to adapt the liturgy in particular circumstances,” he said in Italian during the press conference on Jan. 25, the second day of the 51st IEC. (This is where the liturgical battle lines are drawn and it comes from men my age and older. I'm 62 and Marini is 74. Thus the last gasp of a generation dying trying to make their ideologies into dogma, unchangeable dogma!)

The Mass is a simple celebration of rubrics, he pointed out, referring to set instructions and rules on how to celebrate the liturgy. “The liturgies that are not inculturated are lost, just as what happened in North Africa,” he warned.

The current Roman liturgy itself was the product of inculturation, originating from the fifth century, he claimed. There was also the the Byzantine, Alexandrian and Coptic rites. “There is a need to return to varieties,” he said. (Is he open to the glorious return of the Extraordinary Form as it is now called or to the gloriously new Ordinariate's "Divine Worship, the Missal". I suspect not which shows a great hypocrisy within the ranks of so-called progressives of the Bugnini school of rupture.)
‘Slow process’

Inculturation was pushed after Vatican II, Marini said, but the process of approving the liturgies for Zaire, India and the Philippines was “slow.” (Who pushed inculturation, the type that is of rupture????)

Moreover, inculturation needs information. “It is necessary but it is difficult. You have to be prepared. It’s not so easy,” he told CBCP News.

What about the abuses pointed out by critics of liturgical innovation, such as the heavy use of acoustic instruments during youth masses? Marini replied: “The problem is what are the abuse[s]? How is the so-called youth mass? This is the problem. To inculturate, it is necessary to know.”
Christmas itself is an inculturated celebration, the Vatican official argued. (I don't even know what Marini is saying here. Does he acknowledge abuse or celebrate it?)

“It was a pagan feast for the light. The light was coming, the victory of the sun. So they celebrated this victor, the pagan people, and then they translated it in our, the Roman Rite. So we celebrate on 24 and 25 of December, not because Christ was born on 25 or 24, but because it was an inculturated feast,” Archbishop Marini said. – (CBCP News)

My Final comment:  I am not completely opposed to inculturation. But for the most part, what has been called inculturation since the 1960's and is of the Bugnini school of thought that Archbishop Marini continues to push, is fad and pop culture. 

There is room for the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church with its purity, meaning style of worship, language, form of chants and art of celebrating. Its vesture and culture inherited over centuries. 

Inculturation wants fragmentation.  It wants new rites that are rooted in fads and the worst of cultural expression. 

Apart from denigrating inculturation altogether. In what ways would inculturation be good? Can we have an intelligent discussion on that?


Let's look at the Philippine's Church of this year with the 61st Eucharistic Congress. A Catholic country can pull this off and they did so in a wonderful way. Catholic Processions capture the imagination of people just as parades do. I believe this happened a couple of nights ago. There were more than 2 million Catholics involved:

Then last night (Saturday night) I watched the first half of "The Nun's Story" with Audry Hepburn on Turner Classic Movies. Oddly enough, or humorously enough, Sally Fields of "The Flying Nun" fame introduced the movie and spoke highly of it in the sense of allowing people to see what a group of woman who sacrificed much do, something that most people never had seen.

The hosts doubted that a movie like this could be made today. Certainly there are cloistered religious orders of women who have maintained many of the liturgical traditions captured in a stunningly marvelous way in this movie, but few have. The movie also captures the rigidity of religious life of this period and how the individual self was denied. It was done so not in a mocking or castigating way but simply to show the beauty of this way of life, this way of sacrifice, this way of humility closely related to humiliation, kissing it but not crossing the line.

I thought to myself as I watched the harsh discipline of religious life of that period as depicted in the movie which was based upon fact but elevated by the steroids of drama, how much this way of life is needed to counter balance the licentiousness of life today with its haughtiness and self-fulfilling aspects to the detriment of the common good. The idea of the pursuit of spiritual perfection would be scoffed at today.

But the liturgical scenes depicting the various aspects of a woman becoming a nun were magnificent. The interior shots of the movie were done in a movie studio in Rome, Cinemacitta. Thus even the church were the liturgical professions were filmed was but a set. The movie was nominated for many academy awards and certainly the set designer must have won a few. It looks like  a Gothic chapel, simple but magnificent with its pre-Vatican II altar and sanctuary. This movie catapulted Audry Hepburn to stardom as a serious, dramatic actress. She is wonderful and believable in the movie.

Saturday, January 30, 2016


This priest's liturgical dance is in the right venue, a television studio and filmed for entertainment. That's the only place it belongs, certainly not during Mass!



Rome hosts large rally against same-sex unions and gay adoption

By Isla Binnie and Crispian Balmer, Reuters 


(I had to delete some of my posts which I posted with my iPhone while on my winter vacation. Somehow my pasting this, that and the other did some strange things to my blog's look. I hope things are back to normal now and easier to read once again!)

This Sunday, January 31st, we will celebrate our last Sunday of the month EF High Mass at our normal 12:10 PM Mass time. Unfortunately, that congregation gets to experience the Season of Septuagesima only once and its Sexagesima Sunday. Next Sunday they will return to the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time with green vestments. If the Ordinariate can have Septuagesima restored, why can't the rest of us. SEPTUAGESIMA SUBITO!!!!!

Traditional Propers for Sexagesima Sunday
Vestments:  Violet, Gloria is omitted.
Psalm 43: 23-26

Arise, why sleepest Thou, O Lord? arise, and cast us not off to the end. Why turnest Thou Thy face away, and forgettest our trouble? our belly hath cleaved to the earth: arise, O Lord, help us and deliver us. -- (Ps. 43. 2). We have heard, O God, with our ears: our fathers have declared to us. V.: Glory be to the Father , and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
COLLECT -O God, who seest that we put not our trust in any thing that we do: mercifully grant that by the protection of the Doctor of the Gentiles we may be defended against all adversities. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
2 Corinthians 11: 19-33; 12: 1-9

Brethren, You gladly suffer the foolish: whereas yourselves are wise. For you suffer if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take from you, if a man be lifted up, if a man strike you on the face. I speak according to dishonor, as if we had been weak in the past. Wherein if any man dare (I speak foolishly), I dare also. They are Hebrews, so am I. They are Israelites, so am I. They are the seed of Abraham, so am I. They are the ministers of Christ (I speak as one less wise), I am more: in many more labors, in prisons more frequently, in stripes above measure, in deaths often. Of the Jews five times did I receive forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once I was stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I was in the depth of the sea: in journeying often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils from my own nation, in perils from the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils from false brethren: in labor and painfulness, in much watching, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness; besides those things which are without, my daily instance, the solicitude for all the Churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is scandalized, and I am not on fire? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things that concern my infirmity. The God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed for ever, knoweth that I lie not. At Damascus the governor of the nation under Aretas the king, guarded the city of the Damascenes, to apprehend me: and through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and so escaped his hands. If I must glory (it is not expedient indeed) but I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, whether in the body I know not, or out of the body, I know not, God knoweth, such a one caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man, whether in the body or out of the body, I know not, God knoweth: that he was caught up unto paradise, and heard secret words which it is not granted to man to utter. For such a one I will glory: but for myself I will glory nothing but in my infirmities. For though I should have a mind to glory, I shall not be foolish: for I will say the truth: but I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth in me, or anything he heareth from me. And lest the greatness of the revelations should exalt me, there was given me a sting of my flesh, and angel of Satan, to buffet me. For which thing, thrice I besought the Lord that it might depart from me. And He said to me: my grace is sufficient for thee: for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

Psalm 82: 19, 14

Let the Gentiles know that God is Thy Name: Thou alone art the Most High over all the earth. V.: O my God, make them like a wheel, and as stubble before the wind.

Psalm 59: 4, 6

Thou hast moved the earth, O Lord, and hast troubled it. V.: Heal Thou the breaches thereof, for it has been moved. V.: That they may flee from before the bow: that Thine elect may be delivered.

GOSPEL Luke 8: 4 - 15
At that time, when a very great multitude was gathered together and hastened out of the cities unto Jesus, He spoke by a similitude: The sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the wayside, and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And other some fell upon a rock: and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And other some fell among thorns, and the thorns growing up with it choked it. And other some fell upon good ground: and being sprung up yielded fruit a hundredfold. Saying these things, He cried out: He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And His disciples asked Him what this parable might be. To whom He said: To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God, but to the rest in parables: that seeing they may not see, and hearing may not understand. Now the parable is this. The seed is the word of God. And they by the wayside are they that hear: then the devil cometh and taketh the word out of their heart, lest believing they should be saved. Now they upon the rock are they who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no roots: for they believe for a while, and in time of temptation they fall away. And that which fell away among thorns are they who have heard and, going their way, are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and yield no fruit. But on the good ground are they who in a good and perfect heart, hearing the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit in patience.
Psalm 16: 5 - 7

Perfect Thou my goings in Thy paths, that my footsteps be not moved: incline Thine ear, and hear my works: show forth Thy wonderful mercies, Thou who savest them that trust in Thee, O Lord.
SECRET - May the Sacrifice offered to Thee, O Lord, ever quicken us and protect us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .
PREFACE (Preface of the Most Holy Trinity) - It it truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God; Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, art one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe by Thy revelation of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying:
Psalms 42: 4
I will go in to the altar of God, to God who giveth joy to my youth.
POST COMMUNION - We humbly beseech Thee, almighty God, to grant that they whom Thou dost refresh with Thy Sacraments, may worthily serve Thee by lives well-pleasing to Thee. Through our Lord Jesus Christ . . .


1980's wreck-o-vation not that bad by some standards, but note how old high altar and reredos are dismantled, and new sanctuary thrust into the nave so seating can be on three sides. After my comments below, a secular newspaper in Brooklyn, New York covers the restoration that is on-going now.
What in the world possessed so many priests led renovating committees of the 1970's and 80's to destroy works of art in churches around the world?

I will tell you as I was imbued with this fad too but only for a short time until I realized that this was no panacea of renewal for the Church but rather the path to hell paved with good intentions.

1. Tabernacles had to be removed from the altar area so that the poor, stupid laity wouldn't be confused by the two "real presences" of the Lord, one in the tabernacle even before the Mass began and the real presence "confected" at the altar during the Holy Meal, what many use to call the Holy Sacrifice. (At least this presumed that everyone believed in one or the other).

2. Then there was a desire to bring the altar (and thus our Lord) closer to the people. Thus old high altars and reredos where dismantled and junked and new table like altars for the Holy Meal were trust into the nave of the church and usually one or two steps up with ambo, priest's chair and pews crowded around it in a fan or semi-circular shape. At least, the idea was to get our Lord closer to the people. Unfortunately, only the first couple of rows of pews or flexible seating could even see the altar and priest and whoever did whatever in a full church. In reality, this bright idea of bringing the altar closer to the people actually backfired and no one could see anything beyond the first two rows.

This happened in my first assignment where we did a "Rambusch" renovation. The altar was brought forward and lowered from five steps ups to only two. Following the dedication I had numerous people tell me they couldn't see the altar anymore from where they sat.

With all the renovations to the liturgy and the churches that celebrate the Holy Meal, we've gone from about 90% of Catholics attending Mass each Sunday to about 12 percent in the more liberal parts of our country to about 30% in the south and other places that are more conservative and thus more open to the Faith and publicly living it.

But here's a heartwarming story that tells you so much about what silly, insensitive, but well meaning priests did to churches back in the 70's and 80's:
Courier Life’s

Second coming! Church’s rescued relic restored

It’s the resurrection!

An important piece of a Bath Beach church’s century-old altar has returned from the grave thanks to a pious parishioner whose de-shrine intervention saved it 30 years ago, his pastor said.

“The high altar is right in the center of the church, and the piece Bill saved is an important piece of it,” said the Rev. Michael Louis Gelfant.

Bill Coppa rescued the face of St. Finbar Church’s tabernacle — where Catholics store what they believe is the body of Jesus Christ — from a garbage pile during a 1984 renovation. A previous pastor didn’t give a frock about the gilded marble masterpiece, but Coppa thought trashing it was a sin, so he put it in his den, he said.

“I ran back in and I said ‘Father! There’s this beautiful piece there, and it’s thrown in the trash,’ and I asked if I could take it,” Coppa said. “He didn’t mind, so I grabbed it, and I’ve had it in my home office for 32 years.”

The congregation is in the midst of a larger renovation, and Coppa jumped at the chance to return the relic, he said.

Gelfant discovered two other pieces of the altar in a forgotten storeroom shortly after inheriting the flock in 2010, and the revelation inspired him to return the church to its former glory, he said.

“Those two great finds sparked the possibility we could restore it to the way it was,” Gelfant said.

Parishioners raised nearly a million dollars for the renovations, which started in October 2015. The church is tearing up 30-year-old tile to reveal the main sanctuary’s original terrazzo floor, sprucing up pews, and rehabbing the building’s exterior.

Gelfant expects they’ll resurrect the sanctuary, including the altar, in time for Easter, and anticipates the rest done in the following months.

The project has many long-time parishioners excited, and some handy churchgoers even volunteered their talent, Gelfant said.

“The people are so proud they’re getting their church back, and some have donated their labor — it’s been a real community effort,” he said. “People were never really happy with the 1984 renovations, a lot of them called it a ‘wreck-o-vation.’

My father’s keeper: Bill and Jean Coppa saved a piece of Saint Finbar Church’s tabernacle during a renovation 30 years ago, and the piece will finally return to its rightful place as part of a new restoration to bring the house of worship back to its original form.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Bishop John Doerfler of the diocese of Marquette, Michigan, building on the work of his liturgically traditionalist predecessor Alexander Sample, has mandated far-reaching music reforms for every parish in his diocese. If every parish in the world would do these simple rules, just imagine the higher quality of the Church's music tradition actually following Vatican II!

  • every parish will sing the English missal chants for part of the year;
  • every parish will sing the Latin Mass parts for part of the year;
  • every parish will sing Communion antiphons every Sunday to a simple tone;
  • other hymnals will eventually be eliminated and a new diocesan
Here’s the document:
Download (PDF, 64KB)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


CEBU, Philippines (CNS) — Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron said popular culture’s message of individuals being “infinitely right” is “repugnant to (Catholics’) Eucharistic faith.” But he also said Christianity is “running on fumes” as it tries to counter the trend of people leaving the church or staying away from the Eucharist.
“To stretch out like someone dying of hunger is the right attitude toward the Eucharist,” Bishop Barron said at the 51st International Eucharistic Congress. “What’s sad today is so many in the Catholic world have become blase about the Eucharist.”
The bishop said only 30 percent of Catholics in the United States actually receive Communion, calling this a “disaster.”
At a news briefing after his presentation at the congress, he said that, unlike the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s ideology of self-invention, Catholic faithful “did not invent (their) own story, we belong to a story” and that is “God’s drama.”
Bishop Barron — author of numerous books and a longtime faculty member, then president of Mundelein Seminary, major seminary of the Archdiocese of Chicago — said the call of the church today is to retain Catholics and attract new ones.
“If the church can’t find a way to tell that story in a theo-dramatic way, people will drift away to this easy self-invention philosophy,” he said. “So it is a real challenge to the church. … We’ve got to be bold. We’ve got to be confident. We’ve got to be smart.”
Patrician Brother Peter John Hayes of Ballyfin, Ireland, was in the crowd of about 12,000 who listened, took notes and clicked cameras as the bishop drove home the message of the Eucharist as a meal, a sacrifice and “the real presence” of Christ.
Brother Hayes told Catholic News Service the problem of dwindling numbers of those taking the Eucharist has been on his mind.
“When you wonder, ‘What do we have to do? What can we do? What can I do? … At an event like this … we get it that some of us are on the same road, anyway,” said Brother Hayes.
The bishop used a reading from the Gospel of St. Luke as an example of the two disciples who did not realize that the risen Lord was right next to them on Easter.
Bishop Barron said they were “walking the wrong way,” turning away from God as everyone does, since people are all sinners. And that made it hard to recognize Jesus in their midst. But once they heard his words and were compelled by the power of his life, then begged him to stay, he shared a meal with them and gave the same command he had given the night before he died, “Do this in memory of me.”
People ignore Jesus’ commands all the time, said Bishop Barron, but “over the centuries that one dominical command has been massively obeyed.” That revelation of the pattern of Jesus’ life in the breaking of the bread is the moment the faithful “get it” and are no longer walking the wrong way, he added.
The bishop highlighted the Eucharist as a sacrifice, a theme that he said was the least-known and least-developed.
Bishop Barron emphasized that God does not need the sacrifices of the faithful because he “doesn’t need anything,” but by returning something to God, they “are united to him.”
“The little we bring, if offered to God in the right spirit, breaks against the rock of the divine self-sufficiency and comes back elevated and multiplied for our benefit,” he said.
Julius Maquiling, a eucharistic minister of 25 years from the Cagayan de Oro Archdiocese in the southern Philippines, said he was struck by this concept of sacrifice.
He also told CNS he was touched to be reminded “that the bread is the true bread, Jesus Christ.”
In the talk, Bishop Barron said, “Wealth, pleasure, honor, power … we sinners, we go lusting after them all time, but they won’t satisfy us. Look for eternal things, eternal bread.”
When Jesus says his body and blood are given up for everyone, the bishop said: “If he’s the word of God, what he says is. What he says reaches into the very roots of something and changes it. Really, truly and substantially present, yes.”

Saturday, January 23, 2016


What do you think?
Writing in L’Osservatore Romano, the secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments commented on the Congregation’s new decree concerning the rite of the washing of the feet, which was issued at Pope Francis’s request. Archbishop Arthur Roche traced the history of the foot-washing rite from the seventh century, when a liturgical ordo called upon a bishop to wash the feet of the clerics who lived in his home. In the 12th  century, the Roman Pontifical assigned the rite of foot washing to after Vespers on Holy Thursday, with the feet of 12 subdeacons being washed from the thirteenth century in Rome.

The Roman Missal of 1570, Archbishop Roche continued, mentioned that clerics’ feet should be washed but did not specify the number 12; it directed that the hymn Ubi Caritas be chanted during the rite, which concluded with the Lord’s Prayer.

The Ceremonial of Bishops of 1600 stated that after Vespers or at lunch, the bishop was to wash and kiss the feet of 13 poor persons after feeding them. Later, only clerics’ feet were washed, apart from local customs in which the feet of the poor-- or in Paris, of children-- were washed.

With Pope Pius XII’s reform of 1955, the Holy Thursday Mass was celebrated during the evening, and for pastoral reasons, it was permitted for a priest publicly to wash and dry the feet of 12 men (kissing their feet was not mentioned). This was “an imitative sign, like a sacred representation” of Jesus’ actions at Holy Thursday, Archbishop Roche commented.

The Roman Missal of 1970 further changed the rite: the number 12 was omitted, the Ubi Caritas was moved to the procession of the gifts, and the Lord’s Prayer no longer concluded the rite, as its use originated in the days when the rite was celebrated outside Mass. The rubric that viri (men) were to be selected, said Archbishop Roche, had “mimetic (imitative) value.”

The “current change” to the foot-washing rite, which allows for the washing of the feet of selected members from the entire People of God, has changed the significance of the rite, Archbishop Roche continued. “The value now relates not so much to the exterior imitation of what Jesus has done,” and more to as his “gift of self ‘to the end’ for the salvation of mankind, his charity which embraces all” and offers an example.