Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Holy Innocents

Mt 2:13-18

When the magi had departed, behold,the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said,
“Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt,and stay there until I tell you.Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod,that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, Out of Egypt I called my son. When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet: A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

Just a quick note to wish all my readers a happy and blessed Christmas season.

Remember, Christmas is more than just one day. The Christmas season continues until the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, on January 9th.

Friday, December 23, 2005

No, it's not a Santa hat


Here is Pope Benedict at his weekly audience last Wednesday. He is wearing a camauro, not a santa hat. A British reporter said on tv that he was wearing a santa hat in preparation for Christmas.

The camauro is the traditional winter hat worn by popes. However, it fell out of use after the papacy of Blessed John XXIII. Blessed Pope John XXIII can be seen wearing a camauro as he lies in state in his glass coffin.

Looking at the hat it isn't hard to figure out where the inspiration for the santa hat came from. After all, St. Nicholas was a bishop.

What is the world coming to?

I haven't been this disgusted in quite some time. Christmas ... yes, Christ's Mass, has become a profane, secular holiday. I believe the only reason it is promoted is because it is good for the economy.

We have dissected Christmas, and turned it into anything but a celebration of Jesus Christ. The last time I checked Christmas was about the birth of Jesus Christ.

I know there are many people who do not celebrate Christmas and that is fine. If someone wished me a happy Chanukah, or happy Kwanzza, I wouldn't be offended.

Why is it seemingly ok to seemingly promote other religions but not Christianty.

In Medford Massachusetts a middle school held a holiday concert. The children were instructed to call the Christmas tree a "Magical Tree". To me the term magical tree seems to refer to Wicca. Why is that ok? At this same concert, a Chanukah song was sung. Why were only the Christmas songs cut from the program? They even went to far as to change the red and green hats to white and green hats.

This whole situation reminds me of how the Communists and Nazis tried to wipe religion out of Europe.

Why Santa doesn't visit my house

People always ask me why I don't play Santa with my son. Here is a short list of my reasons.

1) Christ has been almost totally eliminated from Christmas in favor of Santa Claus. Our country is in a sad state when we have "Holiday Trees", "Seasonal Trees", and the worst of all "Magical Trees" For a country founded on Judeo-Christian values and beliefs, free public expression of Christianity almost seems illegal. However expression of paganism and witchcraft seems to be encouraged by popular culture.

2) How St. Nicholas went from a Catholic bishop who gave money to the poor to a jolly old elf is beyond me.

3) Santa reminds me of a secular god. Think about it. "He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake. He knows if you've been bad or good.." The only one who knows if I've been bad or good is GOD.

There are a whole bunch of other reasons, but I am getting too upset to list anymore here. Maybe I will list some more tomorrow.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Building the Culture of Death

Governor Mitt Romney has caved into pressure and is dropping his fight to make Catholic and private hospitals exempt from the emergency contraception bill, in Massachusetts. I am very disappointed that he was unable to stand by his beliefs.
Planned Parenthood and others argue that the "morning after pill" doesn't result in an abortion. They claim that it only prevents the fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. Hmmm, that is treading on a very fine line for me. When an egg if fertilized and fails to implant, it is called a "chemical pregnancy". Note the word pregnancy. If one believes that life begins at conception, then yes, it is an abortion pill. From the moment that the sperm and egg meet, a new human life is created. Life is not created at the moment of implantation. The morning after pill effectively kills this new life.
My other concern is that they say this pill may be taken up to 5 days after the sexual act is performed. Sperm can survive in the woman's reproductive system for up to 5 days, while the egg is only viable for 24-3 hours. Implantation takes place within 12-48 hours. What happens if the egg has already implanted? No one seems to want to talk about that. I hope to hear the answer soon. Also, what happens if the woman is already in the early stages of pregnancy, 2 weeks past conception, for example. I have many questions, but no one seems to want to give the answers.

Memorial Feast of Saint Juan Diego

I find it very appropriate that we celebrate the memorial feast of Saint Juan Diego today.
Our Lady of Guadelupe is the patroness of the unborn. Through Mary's yes, Jesus the savior was brought into the world. I pray that through our yes, we may bring God's message of life and love to all. I pray for the protection and safetly of all God's people, especially the most vulnerable members of society.

Abandoning Oneself To God Does Not Mean Loss Of Freedom

From the Vatican Information Service

VATICAN CITY, DEC 8, 2005 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica today, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Benedict XVI presided at a Eucharistic concelebration to mark the fortieth anniversary of the closure of Vatican Council II. Forty cardinals and 80 bishops concelebrated with the Holy Father.

At the start of his homily, the Pope recalled how Blessed John XXIII inaugurated the Council on October 11, 1962, which at the time was the Feast of the Divine Maternity of Mary, and how Paul VI closed in on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 1965.

The moment in which Paul VI proclaimed Mary as the Mother of the Church "remains etched in my memory" said Pope Benedict. "The Council Fathers rose spontaneously from their chairs and applauded, paying homage to the Mother of God, to our Mother, to the Mother of the Church."

The Holy Father affirmed that Mary "not only has a special relationship with Christ, the Son of God Who, as man, chose to become her Son; but being totally united to Christ, she also belongs completely to us."

With reference to the designation "Immaculate," Benedict XVI pointed out how "today's liturgy clarifies the meaning of this word using two great images:" the announcement to Mary of the coming of the Messiah, and the struggle between man and the serpent, in other words, "between man and the powers of evil and death. It is, however, foretold that the 'descendant' of woman will one day triumph crushing the serpent's head, underfoot."

It emerges however that "man does not trust God," the Pope continued. "He harbors the suspicion that, in the end, God takes something from his life; that God is a competitor limiting our freedom, and that we will only be fully human when we have definitively put Him aside; that only in this way can we fully realize our freedom."

Man, he went on, "wants to draw from the tree of knowledge the power to create the world, to make himself a god at the same level as Him, and to triumph over darkness and death. He does not want to rely on love, which he sees as undependable, and so he relies solely on his own knowledge as giving him power. Rather than on love, he counts on power with which he seeks to control his own life autonomously," but in doing so "he trusts lies more than truth."

After highlighting the fact that love "is not dependency, but a gift that allows us to live," the Pope said: "Only if we live with one another and for one another can freedom develop. ... If we live contrary to love and contrary to truth - contrary to God - we destroy one another and we destroy the world."

Benedict XVI pointed out that "within each of us is a drop of poison," which we call original sin. "It is precisely on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception that the suspicion arises in us that a person who does not sin at all is, in the end, a little boring, that something is lacking in his or her life: the dramatic dimension of being autonomous."

Yet, he went on, "evil always poisons, it does not raise man but lowers and humiliates him, it does not make him greater, purer and richer, but damages him and makes him smaller. This, rather, is what we should learn on the day of the Immaculate Conception: that the man who abandons himself completely in the hands of God, does not become a puppet of God, ... he does not lose his freedom," but finds it.

"The closer man is to God, the closer he is to rest of mankind," said the Holy Father. "We see this in Mary. The fact that she is completely with God is the reason she is also so close to human beings. It is for this reason that she is able to be the mother of all consolation and all help."

The Virgin, he concluded, addresses us all saying "do not be afraid of Him! ... Commit yourself to God, and you will see that precisely because of this your life will become more extensive and illuminated, not boring, but full of infinite surprises, because God's infinite goodness never runs dry!"
HML/IMMACULATE CONCEPTION:COUNCIL/... VIS 051209 (730)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

A Blessed Holy Day and a Wonderful Anniversary

Today is both the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and the 40th anniversary of the closing of Vatican Council II.

I will begin by writing about the Holy Day. It is a day which, unfortunately, many people are confused by. The Immaculate Conception refers to Mary being conceived without original sin. It is often confused with the Virgin Birth or the Annunciation, both of which are about the birth and conception of Jesus. I think the reason for the confusion is that the readings at Mass tell the story of the Annunciation. The conception of Mary is not recorded in the Bible. That story come to us in the apocryphal Protoevangel or "Infancy Narrative" of James.
While many the Mass obligation has been circumstantially lifted on many Holy Days, the obligation of the Immaculate Conception remains. So, even if the feast falls on a Saturday or Monday it is a day of obligation.

Now, I will turn to the Second Vatican Council. Forty years have passed since the closing Mass of the council. Many Catholics today don't remember a time when the Tridentine Mass was heard and most young Catholics don't realize that there was ever a time when females couldn't be altar servers.
Whether the Church is better off now is debatable. I believe that Vatican II made great improvements in the Church, but the work is still not complete. Some changes were good, others not so good. We still have a lot of work to do. I pray that with the leadership of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, that we will make great strides toward perfection.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

New Teen Magazine

Brandi Lee and Stephanie Murphy had some time on their hands and an idea: creating a magazine for girls that features fashions that won't break their teen budgets and won't reveal most of their young bodies.Their idea will take fruition when True Girl magazine hits mailboxes in early 2006. True Girl is a faith-based publication. Readers won't find photos or advertising about the most revealing fashions, or see photos of the "coolest boys" from around the country.

More information on the magazine is available online at: www.truegirlonline.com.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Common Sense During Cold and Flu Season

While there hasn't been the widespread panic over the flu season that there was last year, I thought it would be wise to mention the guidelines regarding the flu season.

Unfortunately, common sense is often uncommon, especially in a liturgical environment.

Basically that guidelines are as follows:
1) If you have a cold or flu, do not recieve from the chalice. (Yes, it is possible to spread disease through sharing cups. Even when the cup contains the blood of Christ.)

2) If you are a Eucharistic Minister and have a cold or flu, find someone else to serve in your place. It is unsanitary to distribute Communion with hands that have been coughed and sneezed on. (The same should apply to the priest)

3) If you have a cold or the flu, refrain from shaking hands at the sign of people. People won't be offended if you merely wave.

4) Most importantly, if you are ill....... stay home. The Sunday Mass obligation is removed if you are ill. Remember the days when sick people stayed in bed. That wasn't a bad idea. Nowdays, we have so many medications that make you feel better, even though you are spreading your virus everywhere you go.

5) If your priest is ill, and decides to get a Eucharistic Minister to serve in his place, don't give him a hard time about it. The rules say that Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist are to serve at Masses where there are insufficient clergy. They are also there to help the priest when he is unable to (or shouldn't) distribute Communion. Last year, a woman at my parish gave the pastor a tongue lashing because he delegated his station to an EM when he was ill with bronchitis.

Music and the Liturgy - from the Vatican Information Service

REFLECT ON RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SACRED MUSIC AND LITURGY

VATICAN CITY, DEC 5, 2005 (VIS) - For the occasion of a day of study dedicated to sacred music, currently being celebrated in the Vatican under the patronage of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Benedict XVI sent a Message to Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of that congregation.

In his Message, which is dated December 1, the Pope observes that "the meeting aims to correspond to the will expressed by the venerated John Paul II who, in a Chirograph issued for the centenary of the Motu proprio 'Tra le sollecitudini,' called on this dicastery to intensify its efforts in the field of sacred liturgical music. Echoing the call of my beloved predecessor, I would like to encourage those who cultivate sacred music to continue this journey. It is important to stimulate, as this symposium intends to do, reflection on the relationship between music and liturgy, while remaining attentive to practical applications and experimentation, and maintaining constant understanding and collaboration with national episcopal conferences."

The Holy Father concludes his Message by bestowing his apostolic blessing on all participants in the convention.
BXVI-MESS/SACRED MUSIC/ARINZE VIS 051205 (200)

Have a Blessed Advent

In our secular society, which prepares for Christmas before Thanksgiving, or now, even before Halloween, Advent is that beautiful, yet often overlooked season of joyful expectation during which, we prepare for the exultant joy of Christmas season.

It is a time to look forward to the future and to reflect on the past. It is a time to remember that we are called to be a "Voice crying out in the desert" as the scripture says of St. John the Baptist. Is our message good news? It definately should be.

We are called to proclaim good news; to be a light to the world if everything we do.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Holy Father has returned to the Apostolic Palace

Following todays general audience, Pope Benedict XVI returned to his apartment in the Apostolic Palace. The Papal Apartment has been renovated following the death of Pope John Paul the Great.

Welcome home!

Saint of the Day - St. Wenceslaw

Today is the feast day of St. Wenceslaw, just as in Christmas Carol, "Good King Wenceslaus".

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Monday, September 26, 2005

Saint of the Day - Therese Couderc

Maria Vittoria was born on February 1, 1805. Her parents, Claude Michael and Anne Mery were farmers.
At the age of 20, she entered a newly founded religious order called the Sisters of St. Regis. She took the name Therese.
She died on September 26, 1885. On May 10, 1970 Theresa was canonized by Pope Paul VI.

Wedding Nightmare

Wedding season is starting to wind down. I still have two weddings left this year. For some reason, October has become a popular month for wedding. The days of the June brides are fading.

As I was thinking about all the weddings I have been part of, and all the rehearsals I have coordinated, I thought of the many so-called "Bridezillas" I have encountered. Is it inevitable that every bride will become crazy? While I don't think so, it sure seems that way.

Planning a wedding, expecially a large one, is a demanding and exhausting task. Many brides dream of the "perfect" wedding. Usually that is modeled after something they have seen on TV or in a movie. Unfortunately, those weddings aren't reality. To have a wedding like that requires an extreme amount of planning and cost. As time passes, they realize that the wedding of their dreams is impossible and the frustration starts to build.

I wish more brides (and grooms) would put as much time and effort into planning the marriage as they put in planning the wedding.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

A Cardinal Reveals Some Conclave Secrets

An anonymous cardinal revealed the contents of his diary to the Italian newspaper, "Limes". Acknowledging he was violating his oath of secrecy, felt the results of the conclave votes should be part of the historic record.

I hope he is the only Cardinal who felt that way. I am very dissapointed in him. He should be setting a better example.

Unbelievable

I read this on the Vatican Radio website. If I had read it anywhere else, I would have thought it was one of those internet hoaxes.
The thought of people placing the life of an animal above that of a unborn human is horrifying. Human life in ANY stage of development is precious and sacred.
"Meanwhile, the scientist who created Dolly the sheep, Ian Wilmut, argued that human embryonic stem cells should be used, in order to save animals from being used in tests. The Scottish newspaper Herald reported Sept. 8 that Wilmut argued that this research would be "more ethical." "
I don't know what to say other than that I pray he comes to his senses.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

You know the old joke about liturgists?

You are a

Social Moderate
(41% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(31% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Totalitarian




Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid

Silent Prayer in St. Peters...Yes!

Zenit and Vatican Radio are reporting that new Vatican regulations state that all large groups touring St. Peter's Basilica must now use headsets for their tours. The guide speaks into a microphone that transmits to the headsets.

I am delighted that St. Peter's is once again becoming an environment for prayer.

Archbishop Hughes talks about "the challenges of exile."

In his statement, Archbishop Hughes speaks about the challenges of being away from home and the desire to return home.

He asked all New Orleans Catholic to remain in contact with the home diocese through the internet.

Closing with a pledge of prayers for his dispersed flock and requesting prayers for himself, Archbishop Hughes said, "I believe that God calls us to move from being victims to victors in Christ Jesus."

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Last Days of Pope John Paul the Great

The Vatican is now reporting that the last words of Pope John Paul II (the great) were "Let me go to the house of the Father". What a beautiful final message. It is full of faith and trust in the Lord.

Pope John Paul lived a life of love, faith and suffering. He was a strong believer in the redemptive value of suffering. He is a shining example to the world that a person and be failing, suffering, and in the end unable to do much, but still have a trememdous impact on the world and those around him.

I am a grateful member of the JPII generation. His example has had a tremendous impact on my life and my ministry. For that, I will be forever grateful.
John Paul II, we love you.
Santo Subito!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Archbishop O'Malley is hospitalized

Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley has been admitted to Caritas St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Brighton, MA for an inner ear infection. Reports say that he was suffering from dizziness and severe pain.
Archbishop Sean has been a great friend and a wonderful source of guidance and inspiration for me.
I pray that he is feeling better and is back on the job very soon.

A good book to read

I just finished reading Pope Benedict's memoirs, entitled "Milestones". He wrote it several years ago. In his book, he chronicles his life from his birth until 1979.

I found it very interesting, especially the beginning chapters where he talks about life in Germany during World War 2. It gives a rare insight into the life of an average German family living under they tyranny of Hitler.

After reading it this book, I feel I understand him and his theology much better. I am not going to say that I now agree with everything he says, but I understand how he came to those conclusions.

I think I must make a brief mention of my opinions of our new Holy Father. While I do not agree with him on all matters, I do believe that he is a good and holy man. He is fervent in his faith and desire to better the Catholic Church. Doctrinally, he is flawless. However, we differ on implementation and liturgy

Welcome!

So this is my first post. I have no idea why I have decided to start this blog, or even if anyone will bother to read it.
I hope this will be a recording to my theological and liturgical thoughts as well as a commentary on other Catholicism related issues.

Spread the word and keep checking back!