Friday, June 29, 2007

Life With Karol

After a very long wait and a futile attempt on my part to learn Italian well enough to read the Italian version, I figured learning Polish would be impossible, I will finally be able to read Cardinal Dziwisz's book, Life With Karol, in English. Yay! Unfortunately, the book will not be released until March 11, 2008.

For those who are interested, the publisher will be Doubleday, the same company as Pope Benedict used for Jesus of Nazareth.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Motu Watch

It's official! The Motu is coming! The Motu is coming!

From this morning's Bollettino!

Si è svolta ieri pomeriggio in Vaticano una riunione, presieduta dal Cardinale Segretario di Stato, in cui è stato illustrato ai rappresentanti di diverse conferenze episcopali il contenuto e lo spirito dell’annunciato "Motu proprio" del Santo Padre sull’uso del Messale promulgato da Giovanni XXIII nel 1962. Il Santo Padre si è recato a salutare i presenti e si è intrattenuto con loro in un’approfondita conversazione per circa un’ora. La pubblicazione del documento – che sarà accompagnato da un’ampia lettera personale del Santo Padre ai singoli Vescovi - è prevista entro alcuni giorni, quando il documento stesso sarà stato inviato a tutti i Vescovi con la indicazione della sua successiva entrata in vigore.

I don't have time to translate this, but you know what it is about. I will have the official English announcement as soon as it hits my inbox. Also, one technical note. The Motu Proprio will release the Missal which was promulgated in 1962 by Pope John XXIII, not the missal which was used before 1962.

Update: Here is the official English announcement.

Given below is the text of a communique released today by the Holy See Press Office concerning Benedict XVI's forthcoming "Motu Proprio" on the use of the Missal promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962.

"Yesterday afternoon in the Vatican, a meeting was held under the presidency of the Cardinal Secretary of State in which the content and spirit of the Holy Father's forthcoming 'Motu Proprio' on the use of the Missal promulgated by John XXIII in 1962 was explained to representatives from various episcopal conferences. The Holy Father also arrived to greet those present, spending nearly an hour in deep conversation with them.

"The publication of the document - which will be accompanied by an extensive personal letter from the Holy Father to individual bishops - is expected within a few days, once the document itself has been sent to all the bishops with an indication of when it will come into effect."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Where Are My Readers From

I thought it would be fun to go through and post where my most recent readers are from. Here is the list.

Denver, Colorado
Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada)
Auburn, Alabama
Pawtucket, RI
Devils Lake, North Dakota
Atlanta, Georgia
Carrolton, Georgia
Schaumburg, Illinois
Lombardia, Milano (Italy)
Lakewood, Colorado
North York, Ontario (Canada)
San Diego, California
Greenville, South Carolina
Stevenage, England (United Kingdom)
Melbourne, Victoria (Australia)
Ljubljana (Slovenia)
Sydney, New South Wales (Australia)
Fort Worth, Texas
London, England (United Kindgom)
Lewiston, Maine
Boca Raton, Florida
Holy See (Vatican City)
Toronto, Ontario (Canada)
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Graz, Steiermark (Austria)
Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada)
Ranco Cucamonga, California
St. Louis, Missouri
Plano, Texas
Lexington, Kentucky
Delhi (India)
Omaha, Nebraska
Brooklyn, New York
Bangkok (Thailand)
Flansburg (Germany)
Torino (Italy)
Rome (Italy)
Barrington, Rhode Island
Las Vegas, Nevada
Paris (France)
Tel Aviv (Israel)
Fall River, Massachusetts
Antwerp (Belgium)

Moto Proprio

Not the one on restoring the traditional Mass, but the one restoring the traditional conclave.

Made public today was a "Motu Proprio," written in Latin, with which the Holy Father Benedict XVI restores the traditional norm concerning the majority required for the election of the Supreme Pontiff. According to this norm, in order for the election of a new Pope to be considered valid it is always necessary to reach a majority of two thirds of the cardinals present.

With this document, Benedict XVI substitutes the norm established by John Paul II who, in his 1996 Apostolic Constitution "Universi Dominici gregis," laid down that the valid quorum for electing a new Pope was initially two thirds but that, after three days of voting without an election, there would be a day dedicated to reflection and prayer, without voting. Thereafter, voting would resume for seven additional ballots, another pause for reflection, another seven ballots, another pause and yet another seven ballots. After which an absolute majority was to decide how to proceed, either for a vote by absolute majority or with balloting between two candidates. This was to happen only in the event that the cardinals arrived at the 33rd or 34th ballot without a positive result.


However, all you Moto Proprio watchers, don't lose hope. Rumors abound. Gerald has translated an article from which says the Moto Proprio for the Tridentine Mass was handed to the bishops today and will be released on July 7th.

Fr. Z has more here and here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What Is She Thinking?

Or more she thinking?
My professor mentioned this article in class this morning. The good father is in disbelief that anyone could use this sort of thought process. My thoughts are in red. My professor equated this with hinotheism, but I don't think that defines it well enough.

From the Seattle Times:

Shortly after noon on Fridays, the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding ties on a black headscarf, preparing to pray with her Muslim group on First Hill.

On Sunday mornings, Redding puts on the white collar of an Episcopal priest.
She does both, she says, because she's Christian and Muslim. Sure she is. I hate to break it to her, but she is neither Christian nor Muslim.

Redding, who until recently was director of faith formation at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, has been a priest for more than 20 years. Now she's ready to tell people that, for the last 15 months, she's also been a Muslim — drawn to the faith after an introduction to Islamic prayers left her profoundly moved.

Her announcement has provoked surprise and bewilderment in many, raising an obvious question: How can someone be both a Christian and a Muslim?


"There are tenets of the faiths that are very, very different," said Kurt Fredrickson, director of the doctor of ministry program at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif. "The most basic would be: What do you do with Jesus?" Right on!

Christianity has historically regarded Jesus as the son of God and God incarnate, both fully human and fully divine. Muslims, though they regard Jesus as a great prophet, do not see him as divine and do not consider him the son of God.

"I don't think it's possible" to be both, Fredrickson said, just like "you can't be a Republican and a Democrat."

Redding, who will begin teaching the New Testament as a visiting assistant professor at Seattle University this fall, has a different analogy: "I am both Muslim and Christian, just like I'm both an American of African descent and a woman. I'm 100 percent both." You can keep telling yourself that, but it doesn't make it true. The difference is it that your race and your gender do not contradict one another.


"It wasn't about intellect," she said. "All I know is the calling of my heart to Islam was very much something about my identity and who I am supposed to be.
"I could not not be a Muslim." And you are still not Muslim. You aren't Christian either.


As much as she loves her church, she has always challenged it. She calls Christianity the "world religion of privilege." She has never believed in original sin. And for years she struggled with the nature of Jesus' divinity. So you have always been a heretic. Maybe you are more Muslim than Christian, because you definately aren't Christian if you don't believe in the divinity of Jesus.


Ironically, it was at St. Mark's that she first became drawn to Islam.
In fall 2005, a local Muslim leader gave a talk at the cathedral, then prayed before those attending. Redding was moved. As he dropped to his knees and stretched forward against the floor, it seemed to her that his whole body was involved in surrendering to God.

Then in the spring, at a St. Mark's interfaith class, another Muslim leader taught a chanted prayer and led a meditation on opening one's heart. The chanting appealed to the singer in Redding; the meditation spoke to her heart. She began saying the prayer daily. One more reason why churches shouldn't introduce practices of other yoga and reiki.


She believes the Trinity is an idea about God and cannot be taken literally.
She does not believe Jesus and God are the same, but rather that God is more than Jesus. HERESY!

She believes Jesus is the son of God insofar as all humans are the children of God, and that Jesus is divine, just as all humans are divine — because God dwells in all humans. More Heresy! And you calls yourself Christian!

What makes Jesus unique, she believes, is that out of all humans, he most embodied being filled with God and identifying completely with God's will.

She does believe that Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected, and acknowledges those beliefs conflict with the teachings of the Quran. "That's something I'll find a challenge the rest of my life," she said. Not only do Christians consider her a heretic, but Muslims do too! Let me guess, she is going to start her own religion. She can call it Muslims for Jesus.

She considers Jesus her savior. But the redeemer must have equity with God. If Jesus isn't God he can't be the Savior. At times of despair, because she knows Jesus suffered and overcame suffering, "he has connected me with God," she said.
That's not to say she couldn't develop as deep a relationship with Mohammed. "I'm still getting to know him," she said.


Redding knows there are many Christians and Muslims who will not accept her as both. No kidding!

"I don't care," she says. "They can't take away my baptism." And as she understands it, once she's made her profession of faith to become a Muslim, no one can say she isn't that, either. Nope, no one can take away her baptism, but she has already rejected it. She was baptized in the name of the Trinity...something she doesn't believe in.

While she doesn't rule out that one day she may choose one or the other, it's more likely "that I'm going to be 100 percent Christian and 100 percent Muslim when I die." That is a stretch because right now she is 0 percent of both.


"For me, that symbolizes who I am," Redding said. "I look through Jesus and I see Allah." Oh my! No comment.

Read the complete article here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Rector Says Seminary is in Danger

h/t to Rob.

From the Boston Globe:

The Rev. John A. Farren, a conservative and occasionally controversial Dominican friar, warned in the letters last month that the "doctrinal integrity" of St. John's is at risk because of increased proximity to two Jesuit-run Catholic institutions, Boston College and Weston Jesuit School of Theology, which are expected to move into buildings currently held by the seminary.

Farren did not cite specific issues, saying only that Weston Jesuit employs "self-professed gays or lesbians" as faculty members and that several faculty members there have been questioned by the Vatican.


Farren wrote that at Weston Jesuit "opinions of every kind are propagated without adequate identification of the binding articles of faith."

"A sign of this is found in the fact that several professors of WJST are currently under investigation by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith," he wrote, referring to the Vatican agency that investigates theologians accused of doctrinal error. "Several professors at WJST are self- professed gays or lesbians. Collaboration at such an institution is not good policy for St. John's Seminary."

Burglars strike Bishop's Residence

A second American bishop has been robbed, this time a lot closer to home.

From the Republican:

The Most Rev. Timothy A. McDonnell, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Greater Springfield, reported to police yesterday that a burglar apparently broke into his Elliott Street residence during the night and stole some jewelry and a large crucifix that signifies his rank in the church, officials said.

McDonnell was uninjured, and did not notice the objects missing until he woke up yesterday morning, said Mark E. Dupont, spokesman for the Springfield diocese.

According to police reports, McDonnell noticed the theft when he went to get dressed to go to work yesterday morning.

He had put the items away the night before when he went to bed, said Springfield police spokeswoman Marcia Brown.

McDonnell was awakened at about 3 a.m. when the burglary alarm at the bishop's residence sounded, she said. Police arrived and checked out the house and found everything in order, she said.

Dupont said police responded immediately when the alarm sounded without being called. The system is programmed to automatically trigger an alert at police headquarters, roughly two blocks away, he said.

Police found no signs of a break-in, and the bishop returned to sleep, not realizing he had been burglarized until about four hours later, Dupont said.

Taken were two watches, a ring and a pectoral cross, a type of crucifix suspended on a long chain that the bishop wears around his neck during formal ceremonies. It signifies his rank within the church.

Some cash was also taken, Dupont said. The police Criminal Investigations Bureau is investigating, Brown said.

Dupont said the monetary value of the items is probably not very high. The sentimental value, however, is very high.

One of the watches was given to McDonnell by his parents, and the pectoral cross was fashioned out of a crucifix that he was first given when he was anointed as a priest, Dupont said.

Dupont said the bishop is not angry, saying the church "is all about forgiveness."
He added the if the items were returned or somehow made their way back to McDonnell "the bishop would be eternally grateful."

The Bishop is asking for the items to be returned. I, for one, will be looking out for pectoral crosses and episcopal rings.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield issued an appeal today to the thief or thieves who robbed Bishop Timothy M. McDonnell of a large gold cross and other personal items in a break-in this week.

McDonnell wants the items back, as they have sentimental value, according to diocesan spokesman Mark E. Dupont.

"Obviously, there's an expense involved, but it's a sentimental loss more than anything," Dupont said.

"It would bring the bishop such joy if these items could find their way back to him," Dupont said.

Police, meanwhile, continue to investigate the theft, which occurred at the bishop's Elliot Street residence sometime through the night Monday or early Tuesday morning.

Police believe the break-in may have occurred at 3 a.m. Tuesday, when the burglary alarm sounded. A search of the house at that time, however, turned up nothing missing, and McDonnell went back to sleep.

It was only on waking for the day on Tuesday that McDonnell noticed the items missing.

Taken were two watches, a ring and a pectoral cross, a type of crucifix suspended on a long chain the bishop wears during formal ceremonies. It signifies his rank in the church, and McDonnell has had it since he was ordained a priest on June 1, 1963.

Dupont said the back of the cross is inscribed with his initials and that date. He had it hung on a chain when he was ordained a bishop on Dec. 12, 2001.

"It's not just a symbol of his office, but a reminder of his ordination," Dupont said.

One of the watches was a gift from his parents, both now dead.

"These are items that could be replaced, but you could never replace the sentimental value he has for them," Dupont said.

Police Capt. Robert A. Cheetham said detectives are working on the case today.

The thief or thieves may have a difficult time selling the cross, as it is distinctive and has been widely publicized as belonging to McDonnell since the break-in.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Finding Yourself?

How many times have you heard someone, especially a person between 16 and 30 years old talk about finding themselves? If you are like me, you hear it in one of it's many forms at least once a day. It is on TV, people talk about it, it's in music. Basically it's everywhere.

So...what is finding oneself? Are we other than what we are? Can we be other than what we are? Of we pretend to be other than what we are doesn't that mean we are us pretending to be someone else? Ok, I am going on a metaphysical tangent, but I think you can get my point. I am me, I am not anyone else. Even if I try to be like someone else, I am still myself I am only doing what I do not believe in. In essence, it would mean I was a fraud.

I believe that when most people talk about finding themselves, they means finding out what they believe and finding one's vocation? If that is the case, they shouldn't be looking for themselves, they should be looking for God. He has the answers they are looking for.

The next time you are looking for what you are meant to do with your life, don't go looking for yourself...look for God. You don't have to go backpacking through Europe or quit your job. Go to Mass, pray, listen to God. He will guide you.

Catholic Carnival 123

This weeks Catholic Carnival is up. I didn't submit a post this week, but there are plenty of posts worth reading. Check it out here.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Corpus Christi

Today we celebrate the solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Ok, for the liturgical purists, Corpus Christi was actually last Thursday, but here in the United States, as well as in most of the world, the feast is transferred to the Sunday. In places, such as Vatican City, where it is a Holy Day of Obligation the feast is celebrated on the Thursday after the Feast of the Holy Trinity.

After getting a short rest after two Masses and a meeting, I attended Vespers and Benediction at St. Anthony Parish in New Bedford. The church is truly one of the most beautiful in the United States. I must rank it only a little below the churches in Rome.

Back to Vespers: The liturgy was celebrated by Msgr. Gerard O'Connor, who has returned to the diocese following 10 years working in the Congregation for the Clergy in Vatican City. This was the first time I ever attended a service conducted primarily in Latin and I must say that I was very impressed by the beauty of the service. In fact, it was one of the most beautiful services I have ever attended.

Outside the church, there was a street festival for Day of Portugal and the sounds of the revelry seeped into the church. However, the sacred music in the church drowned out the profane music outside. It reminded me that when we fill our hearts, minds and lives with God, the secular world will not seep in.

While the street outside was filled with hundreds of people, there were only about 20 people in the church. We were definitely in the minority, but once we entered the church, it was as though we were in a different world. Between the exquisite music, the spectacular church, and the Eucharist in the monstrance on the altar it was the closest to liturgical perfection I have ever experienced.

You can watch a slideshow of pictures of this beautiful church on the St. Anthony's website.

If the pastor in the slideshow looks familiar to some of you, there is good reason. Fr. Roger Landry is the priest behind the excellent homily website called Catholic Preaching.

Now that I have rambled on long enough, I want to say that before today I was very apprehensive about the issuance of the much awaited Moto Proprio allowing the Tridentine Mass. I am still apprehensive about it, but my fears are much relieved. After I left the church today, I was filled with a sense of peace that I haven't felt in a very long time. One of these days I will attend a Tridentine Mass and I am sure I will love it too.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Pope and the President

Pope Benedict and President Bush met this morning in Vatican City. The Vatican has released the following statement regarding the meeting:

This morning, Saturday June 9 2007, President George W. Bush of the United States of America was received in audience by His Holiness Benedict XVI. The president subsequently went on to meet Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

In the course of the cordial discussions, the main themes of the international political situation were considered. On the question of the Middle East, particular attention was given to the Israeli-Palestinian question, to Lebanon, to the worrying situation in Iraq, and to the critical conditions being experienced by the Christian communities. On the part of the Holy See, hope was once again expressed in a "regional" and "negotiated" solution to the conflicts and crises afflicting the region. Discussions also turned to the question of Africa and its development, also with reference to Darfur, and there was an exchange of opinions on Latin America.

Finally contemporary moral and religious issues were examined, among them those concerning human rights and religious freedom, the defense and promotion of life, marriage and the family, the education of the young and sustainable development.


Catholic News Service has the best article on the meeting that I have come across so far. Here are some excerpts:

The pope and president looked relaxed as they greeted each other and spoke briefly before reporters before their 35-minute private encounter June 9. Bush later held a separate 40-minute meeting with the Vatican’s top foreign policy officials.


Before the president’s visit, the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, went out of his way to praise Bush for his position on abortion and for “positive initiatives in favor of the defense of life from conception.”

Bush arrived at the Vatican under very heavy security. His motorcade entered St. Peter’s Square from a side street instead of along Via della Conciliazione, the wide avenue leading to the Vatican, which had been cleared of cars and was lined with curious onlookers.

In the sunny St. Damasus Courtyard, the president was greeted by U.S. Archbishop James Harvey, one of the pope’s private secretaries, who escorted him past a picket of Swiss Guards and up an elevator to the fourth floor of the Apostolic Palace for the papal audience.

The pope smiled broadly as he greeted Bush just outside his private library. The two men shook hands, and the pope ushered the president to a large desk. Reporters and photographers were allowed to stay for the first minute of the encounter.

“It’s good to be with you sir,” Bush said as he sat down opposite the pope, crossing his legs and leaning back in a white chair.

“You come from the conference in Heiligendamm?” the pope said, referring to the G8 meeting in Germany.

“I did, your old country. And it was successful,” the president replied.

“Successful? You had some decisions? It’s not so easy,” the pope said. He said it was important for humanity that conferences like this produce decisions.

“It was, you know, a lot of different opinions. But it was good. It was good,” Bush said.

Read the complete article here.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Remembering Fr. Ganni

Zenit has recieved and translated a beautiful letter from a friend of Fr. Ragheed Aziz Ganni which was written after his death. This friend is a professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University.

Here are a few excerpts:

You were one of the first people I met when I arrived to Rome. We met in the halls of the Angelicum and we would drink our cappuccino in the university's cafeteria. You impressed me with your innocence, joy, your pure and tender smile that never left you.

I always picture you smiling, joyful and full of zest for life. Ragheed is to me innocence personified; a wise innocence that carries in its heart the sorrows of his unhappy people. I remember the time, in the university's dining room, when Iraq was under embargo and you told me that the price of a single cappuccino would have satisfied the needs of an Iraqi family for a whole day.


O God, we don't ask you for revenge or retaliation. We ask you for victory, a victory of justice over falsehood, life over death, innocence over treachery, blood over the sword. … Your blood will not have been shed in vain, dear Ragheed, because with it you have blessed the soil of your country. And from heaven, your tender smile will continue to light the darkness of our nights and announce to us a better tomorrow.


Brother, your blood hasn't been shed in vain, and your church's altar wasn't a masquerade. … You assumed your role with deep seriousness until the end, with a smile that would never be extinguished … ever.

Read the complete letter here.

OCP Expands

The hymnal publisher, OCP, has purchased the bulletin publisher, Liturgical Publications, and formed a new company called Pastoral Solutions.

H/T to Dom. Read the article here.

Catholic Carnival 122

This weeks Catholic Carnival is up and running. My submission is the post on the parish festival.

Check it out and all the other great posts.

It's That Season Again

Ordinations...Retirements...and Clergy Transfers. The season is upon us.

In my diocese, four retirements were announced last week. Six clergy transfers were officially announced today as well as the closing of two parishes and the creation of a new parish to replace the two that closed. There are no presbyteral ordinations but two seminarians are becoming transitional deacons tomorrow.

All of this requires a bit of change on the part of the clergy and the laity. One of the priests in my diocese, Fr. Tim Goldrick is blogging about the transition of moving from one parish to another. I think he captured it very well.

Unlike some dioceses, priests in my diocese do not serve terms. Although they can appeal the decision, they can be transferred at the will of the bishop. While this can cause some unhappy priests and parishioners, it allow the bishop to assign priests where they are most needed. I believe this allows the Church to be served best.

On a related note:

Shouts has posted an excellent vocations ad from the Diocese of St. Augustine.

The text at the bottom of the ad reads:
It takes a community to raise a priest; from families who talk about vocations, to parishioners who pray for and champion religious life, to priests themselves, who through their lives of compassion and sacrifice, reveal Christ's abundant love. If you know someone who would make a good priest, tell him. And ask him to call our Vocations Office. Your encouragement could make all the difference.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Soccer Star Supports Virginity

So Gisele thought she was making a great point... well, here is another opinion from a star who can make sense when he speaks.

The Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen is receiving widespread media coverage after an outburst in which she criticized the Catholic Church for its teachings on premarital sex, abortion and contraceptives.

Bundchen’s remarks follow closely on the heel’s of Pope Benedict’s visit to the Catholic country, during which visit he repeatedly restated the Church’s teachings on social issues, exhorting Brazilians to live up to the ideals that their faith professes.
Bundchen, however, called the Church’s teachings “ridiculous” in an interview with a Brazilian newspaper. At one point she made the unsubstantiated claim that in the modern world no one ever waits until marriage before having sex, even apparently calling into question the possibility that a man or woman can remain chaste until marriage.

"Today no one is a virgin when they get married ... show me someone who's a virgin!" she said. She went on, criticizing the Catholic Church’s moral teachings saying, "How is it possible to not want people to use condoms and also not have abortions? It's impossible, I'm sorry." However, in an interview with the Italian edition of “Vanity Fair” that appeared just after the supermodel made her remarks, the Brazilian soccer superstar known as Kaka has said that both he and his wife, Caroline, were virgins when they got married. Kaka, one of Brazil’s most successful soccer players, has long been known for both his outspoken Christian faith and his remarkable good looks.

“The Bible teaches that true love waits until marriage," Kaka told “Vanity Fair”, saying about his marriage, “If our life today is so beautiful, I think it is because we waited."

The time prior to his and his wife’s marriage, during which they conducted a chaste relationships, says Kaka "was important, as it tested our love." The soccer star admitted that it was not easy to stay a virgin until his wedding night, and that even still there are difficulties in living faithfully, saying that “there are always temptations,” but also says that the sacrifices that he and his wife made for each other have been more than worth it.

Gisele Bundchen, who is one of the most popular supermodels in the world, not only called into question the possibility of living chastely and defended the use of contraceptives and abortion, but in a bizarre twist actually indicated that the use of condoms should be “compulsory.”

"It's ridiculous to ban contraceptives,” she said. “You only have to think of the diseases that are transmitted without them. I think it should be compulsory to use a contraceptive."

See the Vanity Fair article (in Italian) at:

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

More Violence Against Christians in Irag

From Asia News:
Another Chaldean priest was abducted in Baghdad today. Fr Hani Abdel Ahad, in his early 30s, was taken in a north-eastern section of the capital called Suleikh along with five boys who were going with him to visit the city’s minor seminar.

The incident has plunged the Christian community in a state of gloom. Some faithful have reacted to terrible news saying that they have “the impression that they are all alone, like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, when he felt abandoned by the Father.”

Unconfirmed rumours have raised the possibility that Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly might have already received a ransom note.

The head of the Chaldean Church is currently in Al-Qosh, a town in the northern part of the country, where he is participating in the last day of the patriarchal synod.

Father Hani’s abduction comes only three days after the assassination of a Chaldean priest, Fr Ragheed Ganni, and three subdeacons in Mosul.

A Martyr's Funeral

h/t to Amy:

There is a beautiful video with images of Fr Ragheed's funeral here:

The soundtrack is Fr Ganni singing a Marian hymn along with the choir of the Chaldean community in Sweden.

May we never forget his dedication to his flock, and the bravery of his sub-deacons who travelled with him to protect him from dangers that proved all too real.

Catholic News Service is reporting:
Chaldean Catholic Bishop Paulos Faraj Rahho of Mosul was forced to pause during the funeral of an Iraqi priest and three subdeacons due to the weeping of so many in the congregation.

Father Ragheed Aziz Ganni and subdeacons Basman Yousef Daoud, Wadid Hanna and Ghasan Bida Wid were buried after the June 4 funeral in Father Ganni's hometown of Karamless, said a June 5 press statement from the British branch of Aid to the Church in Need.

The four men were killed in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul June 3 while leaving the Church of the Holy Spirit after having celebrated Sunday Mass.

Father Habib Al Nafali, a Chaldean Catholic priest based in London, told Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic organization funding religious projects in 145 countries, that "people were crying during the funeral service, and for awhile the bishop could not continue speaking."

The priest said many clergy and friends of Father Ganni already are calling him a "martyr of the church."

Iraqi Father Saad Syrop Hanna, 35, who was ordained in Rome in October 2001 alongside Father Ganni, said: "The Christians really are paying a great price. Is there any end for what is happening in Iraq?"

He added that Father Ganni's "death is a great loss for our church in Iraq. I pray that the Lord Jesus Christ will transform the blood of these martyrs into new life for the church in Iraq."

Read the rest of the article here.

I am much more saddened by these deaths than I thought I would be. I have never met any of these three men and I do not know anyone who knows them. Despite that, we are all members of the same family...the Church. Our brothers and sisters in the Middle East need our support and prayers. The persecution continues and I am afraid that it will only escalate.

A Great Transformation

When I first visited St. Ignatius Loyola Cathedral in Palm Beach Gardens, my first thought was "ewwww, this is ugly". That was followed by "are they sure this is a church?" That was immediately followed by, "If it is a church are they sure it's Catholic?" Well all that has changed.

Before: Complete with risen Christ and mood lighting

Those blocks on the wall are the speakers for the organ


And check out Bishop Barbarito's vestments. Ok, I don't like the miter one bit, but the chasuble is interesting. Not quite my taste, but nicer than a lot of stuff I have seen.

See more pictures here.

Rudy! Listen up!

From LifeSite News:

In what is being perceived as an eerie instance of coincidence, a series of lightning hits caused audio disruption at the exact moments when pro-abortion presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani attempted to defend his support for abortion despite his supposed Roman Catholic faith. The lightning storm occured during a New Hampshire debate.

The first bolt hit just as the former New York mayor took the mic to answer a question about the sharp criticism his position on abortion garnered him from Rhode Island Catholic Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, who publicly condemned Giuliani for his abortion stance earlier this week.

Bishop Tobin compared Giuliani's refusal to oppose abortion to Pontius Pilate's role in the crucifixion of Christ.

"I can just hear Pilate saying, 'You know, I'm personally opposed to crucifixion but I don't want to impose my belief on others," Bishop Tobin wrote in a column for the Providence Catholic news.

As Giuliani began to brush aside Bishops Tobin's view, a crack of lightning caused the sound system to give out and cut off his mic. Wolf Blitzer of CNN, who was moderating the debate, pointed out the electronic disturbance was caused by lightning.

The audience burst into laughter, evidently recognizing the possible interpretations of such the eerie event.

Giuliani said, laughing, as his debate opponents backed away from him in jest, "For someone who went to parochial schools all his life, this is a very frightening thing." However, a second bolt crashed moments later, just as Giuliani opened his mouth to answer the question again, cutting him off as he attempted to say he "respected" the views of Catholic and religious leaders.

He finally completed his answer audibly, despite two more lightning strikes, reiterating his position that while he believes abortion to be wrong, he does not believe it should be illegal. Giuliani's insistence of remaining on the fence over the issue was condemned by Bishop Tobin as "preposterous", saying he had "defected from the Catholic faith" on the issue.

"Rudy's preposterous position is compounded by the fact that he professes to be a Catholic," Bishop Tobin wrote. "As Catholics, we are called, indeed required to be pro-life, to cherish and protect human life as a precious gift of God from the moment of conception until the time of natural death. As a leader, as a public official, Rudy Giuliani has a special obligation in that regard."

Read Bishop Tobin's Column here.

When Idiots Attack the Church

Gisele Bundchen is apparently calling for the extinction of the human race.

From Reuters:
The words in red are my commentary.

Supermodel Gisele Bundchen stepped into the debate over birth control and sexual behavior in Brazil on Tuesday, saying Church opposition to condom use was ridiculous and women should have the right to choose on abortion. Oh my, now she is a credible expert if I have ever seen one. Yep, let's all follow the woman who makes a living by looking pretty. @@

Gisele is idolized by many young women in Brazil, the world's largest Roman Catholic country, where debate over sexual issues has intensified around a visit by
Pope Benedict last month. Poor deluded young women.

The Pope stressed the Church's firm opposition to abortion and contraception and railed against sex outside of marriage. Hmmm...follow 2,000 years of Church teaching and the Pope who is the vicar of Christ and has spent the last 60 years studying theology and moral issues or follow the supermodel who has spent her life looking pretty. I can't decide.

The Brazilian beauty, one of the world's top models, told Folha de S.Paulo newspaper in an interview that when the Church made its laws centuries ago, women were expected to be virgins. Ummm, and they are still supposed to be virgins.

"Today no one is a virgin when they get married ... show me someone who's a virgin!" she said. Raises hand! I was a virgin and I know plenty of virgins.

Asked about abortion, she said a woman should have the right to choose what is best for her.

"If she thinks she doesn't have the money or the emotional condition to raise a child, why should she give birth?" Because we cannot kill people because of our own circumstances.

Gisele, who had just arrived from New York to take part in Rio de Janeiro's Fashion Week, also defended condom use.

"It's ridiculous to ban contraceptives -- you only have to think of the diseases that are transmitted without them. I think it should be compulsory to use a contraceptive." Wow, Compulsory! You are really showing your intellegence now. Stop talking and go back to looking pretty. Right now you are looking pretty stupid. If contraceptives were compulsory you wouldn't be alive. Not to mention that contraceptives prevent pregnancy, not disease...unless one considers pregnancy to be a disease. Ohhhh...I get it now.

The Brazilian government has clashed with the church over anti-
AIDS programs in which it distributes millions of free condoms and Health Minister Jose Temporao has called for a national referendum on abortion.

Other Brazilian celebrities have fallen foul of the Vatican over sex issues. Singer Daniela Mercury was banned from performing at a Vatican Christmas concert in 2005 because she took part in a campaign promoting condom use to prevent AIDS.

She denied rumors she was pregnant. How can she be pregnant? She believes contraceptives should be compulsory!

"Of course I want to have a family in the future. But not at this moment." That would require not using contraceptives and that would be illegal if they were compulsory. Please go back to looking pretty and keeping quiet because you aren't making sense. Oh and put some clothes on.

The Real News of the Audience

Despite the excitement over the "attack" on Pope Benedict, the audience went on as usual and the real story of today's audience is the homily he taught on St. Cyprian.

St. Cyprian, "the first African bishop to achieve the crown of martyrdom," was the subject of Benedict XVI's catechesis during his general audience, held this morning in St. Peter's Square in the presence of 40,000 people.

Cyprian, said the Pope, "was born in Carthage to a rich pagan family" and "converted to Christianity at the age of 35. ... He became a priest and later a bishop. In the brief period of his episcopate, he had to face the first two persecutions authorized by imperial edict, that of Decius (250) and that of Valerian (257-258)," following which many faithful "renounced their faith, or at least failed to comport themselves correctly when under trial. These were the so-called 'lapsi,' that is, the 'lapsed'."

Cyprian was "severe but not inflexible towards the 'lapsi,' giving them the chance of forgiveness after an exemplary penance." The saint also "showed great humanity and was pervaded by the most authentic evangelical spirit in exhorting Christians to offer fraternal help to pagans during the plague." But he was "irremovable in combating the corruption and sins that devastated the moral life, especially that of avarice."

"Cyprian wrote many treatises and letters, all of them associated with his pastoral ministry. Little given to theological speculations, he wrote above all for the edification of the community and to encourage the faithful to good behavior."

In the saint's works, the Holy Father explained, "the Church is by far the topic most dear to him. He distinguishes between the visible hierarchical Church and the invisible mystical Church, at the same time forcefully affirming that the Church is one, founded upon Peter. He never tires of repeating that 'whoever abandons the chair of Peter, upon which the Church is founded, deludes himself if he believes he remains in the Church'."

Hence, "the indispensable characteristic of the Church is unity, as symbolized by the seamless robe of Christ; a unity that finds its foundation in Peter and its perfect realization in the Eucharist," said the Holy Father. He then referred to Cyprian's teaching on prayer "which highlights how in the Our Father Christians are shown the correct way to pray." That prayer refers to "us" and "our" rather than to "me" and "mine," said the Pope, "so that he who prays does not pray only for himself. Ours is a public and community prayer. ... The Christian does not say 'my Father,' but 'our Father,' even when praying in the privacy of a closed room, because he knows that everywhere and in all circumstances, he is a member of the one Body."

"Cyprian, then, lies at the origins of that fruitful theological-spiritual tradition that sees the heart as the privileged place of prayer. ... It is there that God meets and talks to man, ... and man listens to God."

"Let us make our own that 'understanding heart' about which the Bible and the Fathers speak," the Pope concluded. "We have such great need of it."


The Holy Father also spoke about the G-8 summit, which began today.

At the end of today's general audience, celebrated in St. Peter's Square, the Pope made an appeal to heads of State and government of the G8 countries - the seven most industrialized countries in the world plus the Russian Federation - who are holding their annual summit meeting in Heiligendamm, Germany from June 6 to 8.
The Pope recalled how on December 16, 2006 he had written to Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany, at the beginning of the German presidency of the European Union, "thanking her, in the name of the Catholic Church, for the decision to keep the theme of world poverty on the agenda of the G8, with specific reference to Africa. Chancellor Merkel kindly replied to me on 2 February last, assuring me of the G8's commitment to attaining the Millennium Development Goals.

"Now," he added, "I should like to make a further appeal to the leaders meeting at Heiligendamm, not to retreat from their promises to make a substantial increase in development aid in favor of the most needy populations, especially those of the African continent.

"In this regard, the second Millennium Goal merits special attention: 'to achieve universal primary education - to ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling by 2015.' This is an integral part of the attainment of all the other Millennium Goals: it is a guarantee of the consolidation of goals already reached; it is the starting-point for autonomous and sustainable processes of development.

"It must not be forgotten that the Catholic Church has always been at the forefront in the field of education, reaching places, particularly in the poorest countries, that State structures often fail to reach. Other Christian Churches, religious groups and organizations of civil society share this educational commitment. According to the principle of subsidiarity, this reality should be recognized, valued and supported by governments and international organizations, among other things by the allocation of sufficient funding, so that greater efficacy may be guaranteed in the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. Let us hope," he concluded, "that serious efforts be made to reach these objectives."


Dominican Ordination

Three Dominicans from the Dominican House of Studies were ordained by Archbishop Donald Weurl on May 18, 2007. Here is some video from the ordination.


I have a large number of great videos to post so please bear with me. Here is an awesome video of Tenebrae at the Dominican House of Studies. It's only three minutes long. It isn't of the entire service, but fr those who have never attended Tenebrae, it will give an idea of what the service is like. If nothing else, it is worth watching simply for the Gregorian chant however, I am dissapointed that the strepitus was not included in the video.

Hear Pope Leo XIII

I came across this video featuring audio of Pope Leo XIII praying the Hail Mary along with a slideshow of photos.

Breaking News

Breaking News!

I just got a report that someone tried to get into the popemobile at today's papal audience. I will update when I have more information.

Update: 6:50 am: The man attempted the climb in the open vehicle, but was wrestled to the ground by Swiss guards and Vatican police. Reports say that the Holy Father didn't even seem aware of the disturbance.

Update 6:53: I am watching the video on CNN right now and the pan climbed the barricade and lept into the back of the open Popemobile as Pope Benedict was going through the crowds at the beginning of the audience. The man was tackled immediately and Pope Benedict was completely unaware of the event because it was behind him.
Way to go Swiss Guards and Vatican Police! This could have been a very bad situation. I wrote a report early this year on the Swiss Guard and I was shocked by the number of threats that are made on the Pope's life. For guys in "clown suits" they really are a well trained and formidable security force. I would trust them to guard my life anyday.

Update 10:14 am: The man is identified as being a 27 year old German whose goal was to attract attention to himself and not to harm the Holy Father. He was questioned by Vatican police and brought to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

The AP report states:

The man was a 27-year-old German who showed signs of "mental imbalance," said the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman.

"His aim was not an attempt on the pope's life but to attract attention to himself," Lombardi told reporters.

The man, whom Lombardi declined to identify, was interrogated by Vatican police and then taken to a hospital for psyciatric treatment, he said.

The man wore a pink T-shirt and dark shorts, a beige baseball cap and sunglasses. He vaulted up and over the barricade from the second or third row back. He got as far as the back of the jeep, holding onto it for a few seconds, before being wrestled to the ground.

The jeep kept moving, and the German-born Benedict kept waving, then proceeded with the audience as if nothing had happened.

Read the complete article here.

Here is a link to the video.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Accepting Jesus Like a Little Child

My 2 year old son...ummm, he just corrected 2 1/2 year old son (He's actually 2 and 9 months) has an attraction for all things Catholic. I don't know where it comes from, but I have a good idea that it might come from me and my husband.

Now, let me make it clear that we are not one of those families where the kids play with Jesus dolls and learn to count by counting rosaries and marian statues. I think we are incredibly normal. Probably more normal than we should be. However, because of my job and our faith, ecclesial matters are common topics for conversation, when the TV is on, it is usually tuned to EWTN, and my son falls asleep to Gregorian Chant while riding in the car. Ok, so we aren't as normal as I think we are.

Today, while in the car driving to a Chinese restaurant to pick up take-out, we passed the bishop's residence. My son immediately shouted out, "Is that the Chinese food place?" I said, "No, that is the Bishop's house". My son said, "Oh, someday I eat in there". Now, that might not seem funny, but to me it was hilarious because of the other comments my son has made.

When he was about 1 1/2 I took him to the Cathedral for a prayer service for vocations. At the end of the service he became enthralled with Cardinal O'Malley's old episcopal coat of arms, which is located in one of the stairways in the back of the cathedral. A priest asked him if he wanted one. My son exclaimed, "Yes!" The priest told him that he would have to be a bishop in order to get one. My son said, "Ok! Bishop has hat!".

For the longest time after that my son told everyone that he wanted to be a bishop. He has since downgraded his aspirations and now declares that he wants to be a priest.

Last weekend, at the procession, my son decided that watching the procession wasn't good enough for him. He wanted to walk in it with the priests. Unfortunately for him, they don't make cassocks in his size.

The day that filled me with the most joy was a few weeks ago. He is in a new bedroom and the crucifix that usually hangs in his bedroom wasn't hung yet because we wanted to get him a new one. As he laid in bed he said, "Mommy, I don't have a Jesus on the cross. I need a Jesus on the cross for my wall". I said, "Ok, we will get you one tomorrow". He said, "Ok, I need a picture of Mary and Jesus wearing red for my wall too". I assured him that he could have a picture for his wall too. The next day, we went to LaSallette Shrine and he picked out a crucifix. Then we set out to find the picture he was looking for. He looked and looked and didn't find anything he liked. Then, he saw a picture of the Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart and said, "That's it! Jesus and Mary wearing red!" So, we got the picture for him too. He hung it on his wall and that night told me that he had to pray to Jesus. All by himself, he knelt in front of his crucifix and asked me to help him pray. Now, he does it all by himself and recites the simple prayers I taught him.

I don't know if all this means something or if he is just picking up on our faith, but it makes me so happy. I hope this love which is burning within him never dies.

Monday, June 04, 2007

An Apt Reflection

Since I posted about the murder of Fr. Ragheed and his three subdeacons, I have been unable to get them out of my mind and my prayers. In particular the image of them remaining in the street because everyone was too afraid to remove the bodies.

I attended the noon Mass at the Cathedral and the first reading seemed so appropriate:

Tb 1:3; 2:1a-8

I, Tobit, have walked all the days of my life
on the paths of truth and righteousness.
I performed many charitable works for my kinsmen and my people
who had been deported with me to Nineveh, in Assyria.

On our festival of Pentecost, the feast of Weeks,
a fine dinner was prepared for me, and I reclined to eat.
The table was set for me,
and when many different dishes were placed before me,
I said to my son Tobiah: “My son,
go out and try to find a poor man
from among our kinsmen exiled here in Nineveh.
If he is a sincere worshiper of God, bring him back with you,
so that he can share this meal with me.
Indeed, son, I shall wait for you to come back.”

Tobiah went out to look for some poor kinsman of ours.
When he returned he exclaimed, “Father!”
I said to him, “What is it, son?”
He answered, “Father, one of our people has been murdered!
His body lies in the market place where he was just strangled!”
I sprang to my feet, leaving the dinner untouched;
and I carried the dead man from the street
and put him in one of the rooms,
so that I might bury him after sunset.
Returning to my own quarters, I washed myself
and ate my food in sorrow.
I was reminded of the oracle
pronounced by the prophet Amos against Bethel:

“All your festivals shall be turned into mourning,
and all your songs into lamentation.”

And I wept.
Then at sunset I went out, dug a grave, and buried him.

The neighbors mocked me, saying to one another:
“He is still not afraid!
Once before he was hunted down for execution
because of this very thing;
yet now that he has scarcely escaped,
here he is again burying the dead!”

While I am sure Biblical scholars more skilled than I will tell the actual meaning of this passage, I want to reflect on it in this light. May the Christians of Iraq follow the example of Tobit and continue in their faith despite the repercussions they may face.

Sandro Magister has a great post on the plight of Iraqi Christians. Read it here.

Chaldean Priest and Three Deacons Killed in Mosul

From Asia News:

An armed group gunned down and killed Fr Ragheed Ganni and three of his aides. The murder took place right after Sunday mass in front of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Mosul where Father Ragheed was parish priest. Sources told AsiaNews that hours later the bodies were still lying in the street because no one dared retrieve them. Given the situation tensions in the area remain high.

For some time since the fall of Saddam Hussein Christians have become victims of what amounts to an open campaign of persecution often denounced by Chaldean and Orthodox bishops.

Father Ragheed himself had been targeted several times in previous attacks. The Church of the Holy Spirit has also been repeatedly attacked and bombed in the last few years, the last time occurred but a few months ago.

This morning Cardinal Bertone released the following statement on befalf of the Holy Father:




Asia News also published the following article in memory of Fr. Ragheed, who worked closely with the news agency while he was a student in Rome.

Without Sunday, without the Eucharist the Christians in Iraq cannot survive”: that was how Fr Ragheed spoke of his community’s hope, a community that was used to facing death on a daily basis, that same death that yesterday afternoon faced him, on his way home from saying mass. After having fed his faithful with the Body and Blood of Christ, he gave his own blood, his own life for Iraq, for the future of his Church. This young priest had willingly, knowingly chosen to remain by the side of his parishioners from Holy Spirit parish in Mosul, judged the most dangerous, after Baghdad. His reasoning was simple: without him, without its pastor, his flock would have been lost. In the barbarity of suicide attacks and bombings, one thing at least was clear, and gave him the strength to resist: “Christ – Ragheed would say – challenger evil with his infinite love, he keeps us united and through the Eucharist he gifts us life, which the terrorists are trying to take away”.

He died yesterday, massacred by blind violence. Killed on his way home from Church, where his people, despite their decreasing numbers, bowed by fear and desperation, continued to come: “the young people – Ragheed told us just days ago – organized surveillance after the recent attacks against the parish, the kidnappings, the threats to religious; priests celebrate mass amidst the bombed out ruins; mothers worry as they see their children challenge danger to attend catechism with enthusiasm; the elderly come to entrust their fleeing families to God’s protection, they alone remain in their country where they have their roots and built their homes, refusing to flee. Exile for them is unimaginable”. Ragheed was one of them, a strong father figure who wanted to protect his children: “It is our duty not to give in to despair: God will listen to our prayers for peace in Iraq”:

In 2003 on finishing his studies in Rome, he decided to return to his country “that is where I belong, that is my place”. He also returned to help in the rebuilding of his nation, the rebuilding of a “free society”. He spoke of an Iraq full of hope with a captivating smile: “Saddam has fallen, we have elected a government, we have voted for a Constitution!” He organized theology courses for the lay faithful of Mosul; he worked with the young; he consoled disadvantaged families; this month he was in the grips of helping a small child with serious eye problems undergo surgery in Rome.

His testimony is of an enthusiastic faith. The target of a series of threats stretching back to 2004, he witnessed the pain of relatives and the loss of friends, and yet he carried on to the very end remembering that there was a sense to be found in that suffering, that carnage, that anarchy of violence: it was to be offered up. After an attack on his parish, on Palm Sunday last April 1st he said: “We empathise with Christ who entered Jerusalem in full knowledge that the consequence of His love for mankind was the cross. Thus while bullets smashed our Church windows, we offered up our sufferance as a sign of love for Christ”. “Each day we wait for the decisive attack – he said just weeks ago – but we will not stop celebrating mass; we will do it underground, where we are safer. I am encouraged in this decision by the strength of my parishioners. This is war, real war, but we hope to carry our cross to the very end with the help of Divine Grace”. And in the midst of the daily difficulties he himself marvelled at a growing awareness of “the great value of Sunday, the day we met the Risen Lord, the day of unity and of love between his community, of support and help”.

Then the bombings multiplied; the kidnappings of priests in Baghdad and Mosul became more frequent; Sunnis began to demand taxes from Christians to remain in their homes, or face their requisition by militants. Water and electricity grow scarce, telephones and communicating becomes difficult. Ragheed begins to grow tired, his enthusiasm weakens, to the point where in his last e-mail to AsiaNews, May 28 last, he admits: “We are on the verge of collapse”- And he tells of a bomb exploding in the Holy Spirit Church, on the feast of Pentecost May 27; of the “war” which broke out a week before, 7 car bombings, 10 explosions in swift succession, the three day curfew, “prisoners in our own home”, of not being able to celebrate the feast of the Ascension (May 20).

He pondered the path his country had taken: “In a sectarian and confessional Iraq, will there be any space for Christians? We have no support, no group who fights for our cause; we are abandoned in the midst of this disaster. Iraq has already been divided; it will never be the same. What is the future of our Church? Today it can barely be traced”.

But then the strength of his faith endures, a tired but solid faith: “I may be wrong, but I am certain about one thing, one single fact that is always true: that the Holy Spirit will enlighten people so that they may work for the good of humanity, in this world so full of evil”.

Dearest Ragheed, with a heart which cries in pain, you leave us your hope and your certainty. By taking you they aimed to wipe out the hope of Iraq’s Christians. Instead your martyrdom nourishes and gives new life to your community, to the Iraqi Church and the Church throughout the world. Thank you, grazie Ragheed.

It is too easy to forget the plight of the Christians of Iraq. They are greatly oppressed by the muslim controlled government. I pray for all the Christians in Iraq: may God give them the strength they need to endure the horrors which surround them and may they find comfort in their faith.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

A Visit to Boston?

Sean Cardinal O'Malley has invited Pope Benedict to visit Boston for the Bicentennial of the Archdiocese.

Cardinal O' Malley told the Boston Globe:
"Given everything Boston has been through, having the Holy Father come, I think, would be a great joy and a sense of affirmation to us as we celebrate the 200th anniversary of our church,"

I am not surprised that he was invited and I hope that he accepts the invitation. Since he has accepted the invitation to visit New York, Pope Benedict has been invited to visit many dioceses in the United States.

Read the Boston Globe article here.

Friday, June 01, 2007

To the Pope and to the World

USA Today has taken notice of a priest many of us have been aware of for a long time. Fr. Raneiro Cantalamessa, who has been preacher to the Papal household for 27 years, was in the United States last weekend for the commencement of Notre Dame University. In addition to preaching retreats, the papal preacher also delivers the homily at the Good Friday liturgy in St. Peter's Basilica.

You can read the complete article here.
The most faithful of priests might be brought to their knees by the idea of preaching to the pope.

Imagine being assigned to give Caruso some tips on how to carry a tune or Babe Ruth some pointers on hitting homers.

But the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, 72, a Capuchin friar, seems unfazed by his task. Since 1980, he has served as "preacher to the papal household." He offers weekly sermons to the pope and his top aides during the religious seasons of Advent and Lent.

Asked if he feels pressure to produce words of brilliance or a message of unprecedented insight, Cantalamessa smiles.

"No, no, not really," he says. "It is a grace. It is a blessing. I am not promoting a message of mine. It is the message of Jesus."

There is a notable mistake in the article where Fr. Cantalamessa is called the pope's liturgist. That is a title which still belongs to Archbishop Piero Marini.

Pope Benedict XVI, who would sit in the front row for Cantalamessa's sermons when he was still Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, chose to retain him as his personal liturgist.

One great resource is Fr. Cantalamessa's website where his homilies are archived.

New Funeral Policy in Providence

Brian has it:

Effective July 1, 2007, that will change. Per order Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, the new policy will be that the undertaker cuts one check to the parish for everything, including music, and the parish cuts the check for the musician.

I agree with Brian that the small inconvience of waiting until payday, is worth it for the benefits which will come from this.

Read the complete post and discover the benefits here.