Friday, April 27, 2007

The Pope is Coming! The Pope is Coming!

Don't know when, but Pope Benedict XVI has accepted an invitation to come to New York City to visit the U.N. Headquarters.
I'll be following this closely!

The Vatican released the following report:
Yesterday afternoon, Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. announced that Benedict XVI has accepted the invitation presented recently by Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the United Nations, to visit the headquarters of that organization in New York.

"The Pope," said Fr. Lombardi, "has accepted the invitation in general terms, and has expressed his willingness to visit the U.N. headquarters, although as yet there is no date or program for the trip."

Servant of God John Paul II visited the U.N. headquarters in 1979, and again in 1995 for the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of the organization.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Forced Abortions

Asia News is reporting that 61 Chinese women were forced to abort their children. Some were even 9 months pregnant. This is absolutely disgusting and heartbreaking.

From Asia News:

The Chinese governments cruel abortion campaign continues: on April 17th last in the southern province of Guangxi, police forced 41 women to abort their children, dragging them into the local hospital to carry out the termination. The following day the same fate awaited a further 20 women.

China Aid Association (Caa), a United States based non governmental organisation which fights for religious freedom and human rights in China reported the cases.

Eyewitnesses reported to CAA that provincial police transported the women to Youjiang District People’s Hospital; they were injected forcefully with an abortive drug. The agents were led by Family Planning officials. In less than 24 hours 61 foetuses were dead.

At Bed number 37, He Caigan was 9 months pregnant. Officials injected her baby's head and after 20 minutes of pain and suffering, her baby stopped moving and died.

About 6am on April 18, Pastor James Liang's wife Wei Linrong gave birth to a boy, but he was dead because of the injection. She received three doses of injection-one is to induce the birth and the other two to kill the baby in the womb.

After China Aid reported the forced abortion, police were seen surrounding the section of the hospital where these abortions take place. In fact for some time now the Chinese population has been protesting against Beijing, which allows rich and famous couplet to ignore the family law on one child, which is instead applied with force on the less well off.

The politics of family planning, the bastion of the communist government, affects 90 million Chinese families. This provokes social problems such as the imbalance of sexes and the aging population.

Since 1978 only one child has been permitted to urban residents, two to rural couples. The average family has dropped from the 5.83 children per household of the 1970’s to 2.1 in the ‘90’s and the current 1.8. The government aims to contain the population within 1.37 billion by 2010. These policies have led to a massive campaign of forced abortions and infanticide of female babies, in order to have a male heir to maintain the family name.

Friday, April 20, 2007

How Lazy Can One Be?

Ok, this has nothing to do with my normal topics, but I can't not post this. If anyone is really this busy, they need to make some serious lifestyle changes.

From the Times-Online:
A caffeinated bar of soap has been invented for people who are short of time.
Every time a person lathers their body with the soap it produces two coffee cups’ worth of caffeine. The effects are said to be absorbed within five minutes and last for up to four hours. The soap, called Shower Shock, is intended for people who are too busy to make a cup of coffee in the morning. Shower Shock soap is on sale through the US-based internet company Think Geek and costs £3.50.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ad Multos Annos

Pope Benedict XVI

Happy Anniversary!
May you reign for many more years.
Viva il Papa!
We love you!

If anyone feels like reliving the moment, here it is.

New Blogroll

You may have noticed a new blogroll on the sidebar. It is for the Catholic Mother's Online Blogroll. Look for the picture of the woman and child holding hands.

Please check out some of the great blogs on the list. Some of them focus on parenting and issues related to childrearing, while others, like my blog, focus on other issues.

This blogroll consists of Catholic women who are faithful to the Magisterium and are either mothers, godmothers, or praying for a child.

I am sure you will find many blogs worth reading.

Inflatable What?

H/T to the Ironic Catholic.
I thought this was a joke when I first heard about it, but it's for real.

Can you imagine this ad? (Note this is not a real ad for this product)

Is your local parish being unaccommodating? Are they preventing you from having the wedding of your dreams? Are you upst that they are requiring that you are follow church rules and Catholic doctrine? Just don't want to be bothered going to church?

Well, I have found the church for you. You can rent or buy the inflatable church where the theology and morality is as soft as the blown up vinyl non-structure. Even better, this church comes to you. You can worship in the comfort of your own backyard. Complete with plastic "stained glass" windows, airbrush artwork, inflatable organ, altar, pulpit, pews, candles and a gold cross. Even the doors are flanked by air-filled angels. The manufacturer claims this church can be built in 2 hours and dis-assembled in less than one.

After your magical non-religious wedding, you can have your reception at the inflatable pub.

Finally the church of me has found a home.

Someone Knows Me

Well, I do belong in Rome, but not necessarily for the reasons stated below. Nonetheless, I do miss the cappucinno is Rome.

You Belong in Rome

You're a big city soul with a small town heart
Which is why you're attracted to the romance of Rome
Strolling down picture perfect streets, cappuccino in hand
And gorgeous Italian people - could life get any better?

US Supreme Court Supports Partial Birth Abortion Ban

From Lifesite News:

In a 5-4 majority decision penned by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the federal partial birth abortion ban which was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2003.

The law bans "partial-birth abortion," a legal term of art, defined in the law itself as any abortion in which the baby is delivered feet-first "past the [baby's] navel . . . outside the body of the mother," or "in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother," before being killed.

Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, who have previously voted on the court against the gruesome late-term abortion procedure, voted with the majority. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito who were appointed by President Bush also voted with the majority.

"This will be President Bush's pro-life legacy," said Jim Hughes, Vice President of the International Right to Life Committee. Hughes, also the President of Campaign Life Coalition Canada added: "Thank God for him because what he's doing there is going to affect us greatly here north of the 49th parallel."

Referring to Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups which argued against the ban, Justice Kennedy wrote that they "have not demonstrated that the Act would be unconstitutional in a large fraction of relevant cases."

Kennedy maintained that the current ruling upheld the Roe v. Wade 1973 abortion decision. He said that since other abortion options are available, "it does not construct a substantial obstacle to the abortion right."

A short adjoining opinion written by Justice Thomas and joined by Justice Scalia, said "that the Court's abortion jurisprudence...has no basis in the Constitution." Of note, neither Justice Alito nor Chief Justice Roberts joined that opinion.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Archbishop Marini Writes New Book

Archbishop Piero Marini has written a new book which is being published by Liturgical Press. The book, which is scheduled to be released in November 2007, is in titled A Challenging Reform: Realizing the Vision of the Liturgical Renewal.

Here is the publisher's decription:

In these pages Archbishop Piero Marini reveals the vision, courage, and faith of the pastors and scholars who struggled to implement the Second Vatican Council’s teachings on the liturgy. While in some circles it is fashionable to propose “a reform of the liturgical reform,” any such revision needs to take into account the history of the consilium—the organism established by the Holy See to carry out the initial liturgical changes. This story of the work of the consilium offers a fascinating glimpse into the struggles and tensions that accompanied the realization of the council's dream to promote the "full, conscious and active participation" of the faithful in Roman Catholic worship

Whaddya think?

Also, there is another book which he released last year titled,
SERVING THE PEOPLE OF GOD: Remembering Sacrosanctum Concilium. This book was published by Novalis who describes the book as follows:

Recommended reading for pastors and everyone involved in the liturgical life of the church.

As the Master of the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, Archbishop Piero Marini has a unique insight into the meaning and purpose of liturgy. He has been at the right hand first of Pope John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI during all the major liturgical celebrations at the Vatican and at important observances around the world.

In Serving the People of God, Archbishop Marini offers an insightful perspective on the nature of liturgical celebrations and their role in the glorification of God and the sanctification of the faithful.

This book is for priests and anyone involved in the liturgical life of the Catholic Church. Archbishop Marini examines the development of liturgy in the light of one of the key documents of the Second Vatican Council: Sacrosanctum Concilium, promulgated in 1963.

My last bit of Archbishop Marini news is Rocco's speculation that the archbishop will become the Archpriest of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. It would be interesting if it happened.

Jesus of Nazareth Released

"Jesus of Nazareth," a book written by Benedict XVI will be on sale in Italian, German, and Polish bookshops from Monday, April 16, which is also the Pope's 80th birthday. The volume, 448 pages long, is to be translated into 20 languages.

The Italian publishing house, Rizzoli, entrusted by the Vatican Publishing House with the sale of the rights of the book throughout the world, today released a press communique stating that "'Jesus of Nazareth' is the first part of a two-volume work examining Jesus' public life from His Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration."

"On the one hand," the communique continues, "this is a pastoral narrative ... offering an introduction to the principles of Christianity. ... On the other, the text is an essay that maintains the strict academic discipline that distinguish the writings and talks of the theologian Joseph Ratzinger.

"The pastoral concerns of the Pope," it adds, "and his exceptional theological doctrine, come together to focus on the central theme of the work: the conviction that, in order to understand the figure of Jesus Christ, it is necessary to start from His union with the Father.

"A historical-critical methodology is indispensable for serious exegesis." Such a methodology "has granted access to a great quantity of material and knowledge that enable us to reconstruct the figure of Jesus with a profundity unimaginable a few decades ago. Nonetheless, only faith can lead to the understanding that Jesus is God; and if in the light of this conviction the sacred texts are read with the instruments of modern historical-critical methodology, ... they reveal ... a figure worthy of faith.

"For Joseph Ratzinger, faith and critical research are complementary, not antagonistic, and the Jesus of the Gospels is the historical Jesus," the communique concludes.

A synopsis of the new volume, entitled "the Pope's path towards Jesus," makes it clear that this book "reflects the personal search by Joseph Ratzinger for the 'face of Jesus,' and is not a document of the Magisterium."

"For Benedict XVI, the biblical text contains all the elements to affirm that the historical figure of Jesus Christ is also in fact the Son of God, Who came to earth to save humankind."

"Based on the intimate unity between the Old and New Testament, and employing Christological hermeneutics which see in Jesus Christ to the key to the entire Bible, Joseph Ratzinger presents the Jesus of the Gospels as the 'new Moses' Who fulfills the ancient expectations of Israel. This new and true Moses must lead the people of God to real and definitive freedom. He does so through successive steps which, nonetheless, always allow God's plan to be seen in its entirety."

In this light, "the immersion of Jesus in the waters of the Jordan is the symbol of His death and descent into hell, a reality that accompanied Him throughout His life. In order to save humanity, ... He had to overcome the principal temptations that in different forms threaten mankind of all times and, transforming them into obedience, reopen the way towards God, towards the Promised Land which is the Kingdom of God."

"The theme of the 'Kingdom of God' which runs throughout Jesus' announcement is given deeper consideration in the Pope's reflection on the Sermon on the Mount, ... in which the Beatitudes constitute the main points of the new Law and, at the same time, represent a self-portrait of Jesus." The Sermon "shows that this Law is not just, as in Moses' case, the result of a 'face to face' meeting with God, but carries in itself the fullness that arises from Jesus' intimate union with the Father."

Hence, a "fundamental element" of man's life is "talking and listening to God. And for this reason Benedict XVI has dedicated an entire chapter to prayer, explaining the Our Father that Jesus Himself taught us."

The synopsis continues: "The profound contact of men and women with God the Father through Jesus in the Holy Spirit brings them together in the 'us' of a new family which, with the choosing of the Twelve, recalls the origins of Israel. ... Even in its highly varied composition, the new family of Jesus, the Church of all times, finds in Him the unifying center and the guidance to live the universal nature of His Gospel.

"In order to make the content of His message more accessible and to turn it into a form of practical guidance, Jesus used parables. ... However, there is also a purely theological explanation of the meaning of the parables, and Joseph Ratzinger highlights this in a singularly profound analysis."

The Holy Father's book then goes on to consider "the metaphors used by Jesus to explain His mystery." These are "the great images of St. John," but "before analyzing them the Pope presents a very interesting summary of the various results of academic research into who John the Evangelist was," and "opens new horizons for readers, revealing Jesus ever more clearly as the 'Word of God'."

"This point of view is broadened further in the last two chapters of the book ... where the true mission of the Messiah of God and the destiny of those who follow Him is definitively established." Finally "an in-depth analysis of the titles which, according to the Gospels, Jesus used for Himself, concludes the Pontiff's book."

"Alongside the man of faith, ... alongside the highly sophisticated theologian, ... what also emerges from this book is the pastor who truly manages to 'encourage in readers the growth of a living relationship' with Jesus Christ. ... In this light," the synopsis concludes, "the Pontiff is not afraid to tell the world that, by excluding God and clinging only to visible and material reality, we risk self destruction in the selfish search for a purely material wellbeing," while renouncing the possibility "of achieving true freedom in the 'Promised Land,' the 'Kingdom of God'."

Unfortunately, the English edition will not be released until May 15th. My order has already been placed.

The book is listed as #1 on the German Amazon website and #62 on the American site.

Now That's A Birthday Cake

Which Early Church Father are you?

I am St. Justin Martyr. I think I mentioned a few weeks ago that he is one of my favorites.
H/T to the Ironic Catholic

You’re St. Justin Martyr!

You have a positive and hopeful attitude toward the world. You think that nature, history, and even the pagan philosophers were often guided by God in preparation for the Advent of the Christ. You find “seeds of the Word” in unexpected places. You’re patient and willing to explain the faith to unbelievers.

Find out which Church Father you are at The Way of the Fathers!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Shamless Self Promotion

Update: 4/14 - Get over there and vote! Right now the winning blog isn't even religious!

Ok, here is goes. Head over to the Bloggers Choice Awards and vote for your favorite Catholic blog. Up until a yesterday an athiest blog was winning in the best religion blog category. Now, the athiest blog is down to #4 and Gerald, Amy, and Jimmy are in the top three.

Head over there and vote. You need to register with as valid e-mail address. You can vote for as many blogs as you wish. You can also nominate a blog.

Now, the shameless part. I nominated myself...but I also nominated those guys over at Christus Vincit. I guess I forgot to check off the no adult content box because they got the explicit tag. Sorry guys!

Just head over and vote.


Happy Birthday to you

No, not you and not me.
Pope Benedict will turn 8o years old on Monday, April 16th.

On that day, there will be a special Mass in St. Peter's Square. In addition Vatican employees will get the day off and an extra 500 euros in their paycheck.

If you want to wish Pope Benedict a happy birthday, the Vatican website has set up a way to send your birthday greetings to him.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Pope Gets Tired?

I read this paragraph in an Associated Press article on the Pope's Easter Vigil Mass.

Benedict, who turns 80 later this month, appeared to tire by the end of Mass, which lasted more than two hours and capped a busy Holy Week. On Good Friday, Benedict presided over long back-to-back public ceremonies _ an afternoon service and a late-night Way of the Cross procession at the Colosseum to mark Jesus' suffering and death.

Once again the media is looking for a sensational article. They can't focus on what is done at the Easter Vigil or all of Holy Week. They can't even write an article based on the facts without trying to turn it into a sensational article. I imagine the writer's desired headline read, "Elderly Pope Showing His Age" or something similar. I am sure the bland title "Pope Presides Over Easter Vigil Mass" dissapointed her.

Now that I have said that, what is missing? Well, of course Pope Benedict was tired and age doesn't have anything to do with it. By the end of my Easter Vigil Mass, I was tired. It didn't have anything to do with my age, it had to do with working very hard and getting little sleep. Add to that the fact that the Easter Vigil in St. Peter's Square ended after midnight. The lights in the Papal Apartment go off at 10 p.m. Midnight is well after our dear Holy Father's bedtime.

A Note for Next Year

At the Easter Vigil Mass, the candles of the congregation should be lit from the Paschal candle, NOT from cigarette lighters.

There will be more on that once I get some sleep and can form coherent sentences.

Happy Easter everyone!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Happy Easter

Rejoice, heavenly powers!
Sing choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God's throne!
Jesus Christ, our King is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!
Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor, radiant in the brightness of your King!

Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!
Rejoice, O Mother Church!
Exult in glory!

The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God's people!

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is truly right that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father,
and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam's sin to our eternal Father!

This is our passover feast,
When Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

This is the night,
when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their slav'ry,
and led them dry-shod through the sea.

This is the night,
when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin.

This is night,
when Christians ev'rywhere,
washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.

This is the night,
when Jesus broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.

What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?
Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.

O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!
Most blessed of all nights,
chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!

Of this night scripture says: "The night will be as clear as day:
it will become my light, my joy."

The power of this holy night dispels all evil,
washes guilt away, restores lost innocence,
brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace,
and humbles earthly pride.

Night truly blessed,
when heaven is wedded to earth
and we are reconciled to God!

Therefore, heavenly Father, in the joy of this night,
receive our evening sacrifice of praise, your Church's solemn offering.

Accept this Easter candle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.
Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning
to dispel the darkness of this night!

May the Morning Star which never sets
find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star,
who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light on all mankind,
your Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

The exsultet of the Easter Vigil Mass

Friday, April 06, 2007

Ordination of Avery Dulles

A brief break from the Lenten/Triduum postings.

H/T to Amy for the wonderful newsreel video of the ordination of Avery Cardinal Dulles.

A Pilgrimage of Faith

The Romeiros are one of the more unique Good Friday traditions here in Fall River. Romeiro is a Portugese word which means pilgrim. The tradition began in the Azores on the island of São Miguel. In 1522, Vila Franca do Campo, the capital at the time, was nearly destroyed by an earthquake and subsequent volcanic eruption. 4,000 of the town's 4,500 residents were killed. 40 years later, the volcano erupted again.

The earliest records of the Good Friday Romeiros date back to those events. The original romeiros were men who travel by foot around the island praying and visiting various churches. They prayed for an end to the disasters and for God to help them and their families deal with the great tragedies.

The tradition still exists as these men spend Holy Week on this pilgrimage. They are offered shelter and food in private homes and churches.

Here in the United States, the pilgrimage has been modified. Rather than lasting 8 days, the pilgrimage takes place early in the morning on Good Friday. Wearing the tratidional attire of blankets and colorful scarves, and carrying long metal tipped walking sticks, they walk through the city praying the rosary and visiting the many Catholic Churches in the city. The pilgrimage is also no long restricted to men. Many women and children take part now. While in the past the women had followed behind the men, women are now also joining the men.

The rosary and all the prayers are chanted with the mestre (leader) leading the litanies and prayers and the rest of the romeiros called irmãos (brothers) responding. Their chant is hauntingly beautiful and has changed little over the last hundred years.

In my city, the romeiros begin their procession at 7 a.m. They walk from church to church and stop at the Cathedral, where they are met by the bishop, around noon. The bishop gives a brief address and blessing to all the pilgrims.

They return to the church where they began their pilgrimage in time for the 7 p.m. Good Friday Liturgy. The Liturgy ends with the procession and burial of Christ. A statue of the dead Christ is placed in an crib-like "casket" and is carried through the streets with everyone from the church following. Two women from the parish are selected to portray the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdelene. Another woman portrays Veronica. At three points along the way, the clacker which was used at the consecration of the Mass on Holy Thursday is sounded. The procession stops as "Veronica" sings from the front porch of one of the homes. She raises the veil with the image of Jesus' face and sings, "Look! Look at the face of Jesus. Look, Look at what they have done to Him!..."

Many women and even men are brought to tears during this procession.

When the procession returns to the church, the statue of Christ is placed in the tomb.

These are the traditions which I was raised with. I was lucky enough to grow up at the parish which is homebase for the romeiros. I have walked with them on their amazing pilgrimage and I was shocked that it wasn't as grueling to complete as I expected. Of course, after it was over I was in pain. I hope these rich traditions are kept alive by the younger generations.

Here is a slideshow with some great pictures from today's pilgrimage.

Why Good Friday

Today we celebrate Good Friday. One question which I am asked nearly every year at this time is, "Why is it 'Good' Friday?" The technical answer to that question is, "It isn't". I am sure right now you are saying, "what do you mean, I've been calling it Good Friday all these years. Of course it is Good Friday." Yes, we call it Good Friday, but a true translation of the Latin is Holy Friday. That is what people in countries such as Italy, Spain and Portugal call it.

Ok, I know that doesn't answer the question of why we call it Good Friday. Despite the poor translation, Good Friday is an appropriate title for today. Good Friday is a term which reminds us that the Christian view is different from that of the rest of the world. I am reminded of St. Paul words in 1 Cor. 1:18-25.
The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the learning of the learned I will set aside." Where is the wise one? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish? For since in the wisdom of God the world did not come to know God through wisdom, it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation to save those who have faith. For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
Those who cannot see what it good about Good Friday are missing the complete story. During the crucifixion, I am sure the apostles could not imagine that they day would be called Good Friday. I am sure they couldn't see anything good about it. They watched Our Lord suffer and die in such a horrific manner. But, just like today's Liturgy, the story didn't end on Good Friday. On Easter Sunday Jesus conquered death and rose from the grave. Unlike the apostles during the crucifixion, we know the rest of the story. Therefore, while we mourn because Jesus suffered to save us from our sins, we also rejoice as we look forward to Easter.

This day is known by several titles, Good Friday, Holy Friday, Mourning Friday in Germany, and Great Friday by the Orthodox and Eastern Rite Churches. Each of these titles focuses on a different part of the mystery.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Chrism Mass

As I mentioned in my previous post, the Chrism Mass was celebrated in my diocese on Tuesday.

The sanctuary of the cathedral

The Chrism Mass may only be celebrated by a bishop since while any priest can bless the Oil of the Sick and Oil of Catechumens, only a bishop can consecrate Sacred Chrism.

Nearly all the priests from the diocese and a large number of deacons attended the Mass. The cathedral was nearly filled to capacity.

Bishop Coleman delivers his homily

Bishop Coleman's homily was based on Pope Benedict's comments that the Eucharist must always remain central in the lives of priests.

Following the homily, the priests renewed their priestly commitment:

Bishop: My brothers, today we celebrate the memory of that first Eucharist at which our Lord Jesus Christ shared with His apostles and with us His call to the priestly service of His Church. Now, in the presence of your bishop and God's holy people, are you ready to renew your own dedication to Christ as priests of His new covenant?

Priests: I am.

Bishop: At your ordination you accepted the responsibilites of the priesthood out of love for the Lord Jesus and His Church. Are you resolved to unite yourselves more closely to Christ and try to become more like Him by joyfully sacrificing your own pleasure and ambition to being His peace and love to your brothers and sisters?

Priests: I am.

Bishop: Are you resolved to be faithful ministers of the mysteries of God, to celebrate the Eucharist and other liturgical services with sincere devotion? Are you resolved to imitate Jesus Christ, the head and shepherd of the Church, by teaching the Christian faith without thinking of your own profit, solely for the well-being of the people you were sent to serve.

Priests: I am.

The bishop now addresses the people:

Bishop: My brothers and sisters, pray for your priests. Ask the Lord to bless them with the fullness of His Love, to help them be faithful ministers of Christ, the high priest, so that they will be able to lead you to Him, the fountain of your salvation.

People: Lord, Jesus Christ, hear us and answer our prayer.

Bishop: Pray also for me, that despite my own unworthiness, I may faithfully fulfill the office of apostle which Jesus Christ has entrusted to me. Pray that I may become more like our High Priest and Good Shepherd. the Teacher and Servant of all, and so become a genuile sign of Christ's loving presence among you.

People: Lord, Jesus Christ, hear us and answer our prayer.

This renewal of commitment is a beautiful ceremony which reminds us to the importance, and fragility of the priesthood. The priestly commitment is not a one time commitment, it must be renewed each day and in each moment. Likewise, we must commit to support our priests through prayer and temporal support.

The three vessels of oil before being blessed.
Purple = Sick
White = Chrism
Green = Catechumens
The balsam is in the glass cruet on the right.

The Oil of the Sick is blessed during the Eucharistic Prayer, just before the Doxology.

The bishop says: God of all consolation, you chose and sent your Son to heal the world. Graciously listen to our prayer of faith: send the power of your Holy Spirit, the Consoler, into this precious oil, this soothing ointment, this rich gift, this fruit of the earth. Bless + this oil and sanctify it for our use. Make this oil a remedy for all who are anointed with it; heal them in body, in soul, and in spirit, and deliver them from every affliction. We ask this through Jesus Christ, you Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Blessing the Oil of Catechumens

After Communion, the bishop blesses the Oil of Catechumens saying:

Lord, protector of all who believe in you bless + this oil and give wisdom and strength to all who are anointed with it in preparation for their baptism. Bring them to a deeper understanding of the gospel, help them to accept the challenge of Christian living, and lead them to the joy of new birth in the family of your Church. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Then the olive oil which will become Chrism is uncovered. The Bishop pours balsam into the oil.

Adding balsam to the olive oil

Then he says:

Let us pray that God, our almighty Father, will bless this oil so that all who are anointed with it may be inwardly transformed and come to share in eternal salvation.

Bishop Coleman breathes into the vessel of Chrism

The Bishop breathes over the open vessel of Chrism.

He continues:

God, our maker, source of all growth in holiness accept the joyful thanks and praise we offer in the name of your Church. In the beginning, at your command, the earth produced fruit-bearing trees. From the fruit of the olive tree you have provided up with oil for holy chrism. The prophet David sang of the life and joy that the oil would bring us in the sacraments of your love. After the avenging flood, the dove, returning to Noah with an olive branch, announced your gift of peace. This was a sign of a greater giift to come. Now in the waters of baptism wash away the sins of men and by the anointing with oil make us radiant with your joy. At your command, Aaron was washed with water, and your servant Moses, his brother, anointed him priest. This, too, foreshadowed greater things to come. After your Son, Jesus Christ of Lord, asked John for baptism in the waters of Jordan, you sent the Spirit upon him in the form of a dove and by the witness of your own voice you declared him to be your only, well-beloved Son. In this you clearly fulfilled the prophecy of David, that Christ would be anointed with the oil of gladness beyond his fellow men.

All concelebrants extend their right hands toward the chrism in silence until the end of the prayer.

And so, Father, we ask you to bless + this oil you have created. Fill it with the power of your Holy Spirit through Christ your Son. It is from him that chrism takes its name and with chrism that you have anointed for yourself priests and kings, prophets and martyrs. Make this chrism a sign of life and salvation for those who are to be born again in the waters of baptism. Wash away the evil they have inherited from sinful Adam, and when they are anointed with this holy oil make them temples of your glory, radiant with the goodness of life that has its source in you. Through this sign of chrism grant them royal, priestly, and prophetic honor, and clothe them with incorruption. Let this be indeed the chrism of salvation for those who will be born again of water and the Holy Spirit. May they come to share eternal life in the glory of your kingdom. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Holy Thursday

Today, we celebrate Holy Thursday. The Sacred Triduum begins at sundown with the celebration of the Mass of the Lord's Supper. It is the only Mass celebrated today, with the exception of the Chrism Mass.

In my diocese, as in many others, the Chrism Mass was celebrated earlier in the week, in order to make it more accessable for the clergy.

Today is the day we remember, in a special way, the events which took place at the Last Supper. We re-enact the washing of the feet, read the scriptures where Jesus instituted the Eucharist, and the clergy.

You will notice that today's Mass doesn't really end. The Eucharist is brought to the chapel of repose and the people just disperse. There is no recessional hymn or sign of the cross. Likewise, the Good Friday Liturgy begins and ends in silence and without the sign of the cross. In the same way, the Easter Vigil Mass also begins without a processional hymn and without the sign of the cross. However, it does end with the sign of the cross and a recessional hymn. If one pays attention to these details it becomes obvious that these three Liturgies are really one celebration which are spread out over three days.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Good Friday Collection

Every year on Good Friday parishes throughout the world take up a collection for the Church in the Holy Land. Please consider giving generously and watch this video.

Happy Spy Wednesday

Today is the Wednesday of Holy Week, also known as "Spy Wednesday" because today is the day Judas would have conspired to have Jesus arrested. Tenebrae is traditionally celebrated today.

In today's general audience, held in St. Peter's Square, the Pope spoke on the Easter Triduum which begins tomorrow.

"What we are celebrating over the coming days," he said, "is the supreme confrontation between Light and Darkness, between Life and Death. We too must place ourselves in this context - aware of our own night, our own sins, our own responsibilities - if we wish to gain spiritual benefit from reliving the Paschal Mystery, which is the heart of our faith."

The Holy Father recalled how on Holy Thursday, during the Chrism Mass, diocesan bishops and priests "renew the promises they made on the day of their priestly ordination," and "the oils used for catechumens, to anoint the sick and for confirmation" are blessed. During Mass "in Cena Domini" the Christian community relives "the events of the Last Supper. In the Cencacle, the Redeemer wished, in the Sacrament of the bread and wine transformed into His Body and Blood, to anticipate the sacrifice of His life, His definitive gift of self to humanity."

Following Mass "in Cena Domini" the faithful are invited "to adore the Blessed Sacrament, reliving Jesus' agony in Gethsemane. ... Thus they can better understand the mystery of Holy Thursday, which incorporates the supreme triple gift of priestly ministry, the Eucharist and the new Commandment of love."

Holy Friday, Pope Benedict continued, "is a day of penance, of fasting and of prayer, of participation in the death of the Lord. ... The community adores the Cross and takes the Eucharist, consuming the sacred species conserved from the Mass 'in Cena Domini' of the preceding day." On Holy Friday, Christian tradition also includes "the Way of the Cross, which offers us the chance ... to imprint the mystery of the Cross ever more deeply in our hearts."

On Holy Saturday, the Pope proceeded, "Christians are called to interior meditation, ... something often difficult to cultivate in our own times, in order to prepare for the Easter vigil" in which "the veil of sadness shrouding the Church for the death and burial of the Lord will be shattered by the cry of victory: Christ is risen and has overcome death forever!"

"The Paschal Mystery we relive in the Easter Triduum is not just a memory but a current reality. Even today, Christ overcomes sin and death with His love. Evil in all its forms does not have the last word. The final triumph is of Christ, truth, love! If we are prepared to suffer and die with Him, as St. Paul reminds us in the Easter vigil, His life become out life. It is upon this certainty," the Pope concluded, "that our Christian lives are built."

At the end of today's general audience, the Holy Father greeted participants in the UNIV international congress, being promoted by the personal prelature of Opus Dei, which has as its theme this year: "Being, appearance, communication: trends and social models in cinema and television."

"Dear friends," the Pope told them, "may these days in Rome be for you all an opportunity for a profound ecclesial experience, that you may return to your homes animated by the desire to serve Christ and your fellows more generously. 'How I like that word: service,' wrote St. Josemaria Escriva, 'I really wish we Christians knew how to serve, for only by serving can we know and love Christ and make Him known and loved'."


Monday, April 02, 2007

Have You Thanked A Priest Lately

On Holy Thursday we celebrate the institution of the Eucharist and also the institution of the priesthood. With that in mind, I would like to ask each of my readers to take some time out to thank their priests this week.

Priests are often taken for granted. They are often not given a second thought, until something happens and we call on them to celebrate the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick or a Funeral Mass. Many priests give from themselves until they have nothing left to give, often to their own physical, spiritual, and psychological detriment.

In my years of ministry, both in parishes and in other means, I have worked with hundreds of priests. I have seen priests go without sleep for several days because they were at fire scenes comforting families who had lost their homes, and staying up all night with the dying. The next day, they had a full schedule of Masses, appointments, and other obligations to fulfill. All on no sleep.

These are things that parishioners are usually unaware of. Many priests also have obligations and duties outside of parish ministry. They may serve as directors of diocesan offices, or as pastor of more than one parish. In addition, to these responsibilities, they have familial obligations as well. Many priests have elderly parents who they are at least partially responsible for caring for. Parishioners are also usually unaware of these personal responsibilities. Priests are also responsible for their own personal health and well being. This requires time off for rest, exercise, spiritual care, and personal friendships. I have lost count of the number of times I have been out with a priest and heard people make rude comments to him such as, "Shouldn't you be praying for people, or something".

In my former job, we used to joke that we were the priests counseling service because so many priests would stop by just to sit and chat. They would laugh, joke, vent, and even cry with us. In that job, we were able to see the priest in a way that people often do not realize. We could see him as human.

This morning I was talking with some young people about the priesthood and one boy couldn't understand that priests had parents. I mean, he was completely confused by the idea. He seriously thought that priests we just placed on earth by God just as we see them. While I think all adults know that priests did not come about that way, it is often easy to forget that they are not a subspecies of human.

As Catholics, we expect the priest to minister to us. Take some time out this week, to minister to them. Do something nice for you priest. Remind him how much he is loved and appreciated.

John Paul II, We Still Love You

H/T to Dom who made the video.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Fr. Richard Beaulieu 1946-2007

There have been many priests who have helped me become the person I am today. Each of these priests holds a special place in my heart. One of these priests was Fr. Richard Beaulieu. Fr. Beaulieu was one of those priests who would go out of his way for his parishioners and even for those who were not his parishioners.

Although I was never a parishioner at a parish where he served, Fr. Beaulieu and I spent many hours talking about Church, vocations, other ecclesial topics, and just being friends. While his life was far from problem free, he always did his best to serve his parish and the universal Church.

Please remember him, as well as his family and friends in your prayers.

Rev. Richard W. Beaulieu, 60, of Bourne, died Tuesday, March 27, 2007, unexpectedly, while on vacation. He was the son of Florence (Goulet) Beaulieu of Acushnet and the late Octave Beaulieu.
He was born in Acushnet and was living on Cape Cod. He graduated from St. Anthony High School and attended Providence College, St. Thomas Seminary and St. John Seminary and obtained his Master's Degree from Boston College.
He was ordained at St. Mary's Cathedral, Fall River on May 22, 1971, by Bishop Daniel A. Cronin. His assignments were 1971-1977 as Parochial Vicar at St. Jacques Parish, Taunton and Chaplain of Coyle-Cassidy High School, Taunton; 1977-1981 he was Principal of Coyle-Cassidy High School; 1982-1985 he was Parochial Vicar at St. Louis de France Parish, Swansea; 1985-1996 he was Diocesan Director of Education; 1990-2001 he was Pastor of St. Patrick Parish, Fall River; Notre Dame Parish, Fall River; and St. Francis Xavier Parish, Acushnet. Father Beaulieu also served as an Advocate, Notary and Judge of the Diocesan Tribunal. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to St. Mary Education Fund, PO Box 1470, Fall River, MA 02722.
Survivors include his mother; three sisters, Susan Y. Garman and her husband, Gary of New Bedford; Diane C. Sweet and her husband, Mark of Acushnet; Anne M. Giammalvo and her husband, Larry of Wareham; nine nieces and nephews; seven great nieces and nephews; many aunts, uncles and cousins. He was the brother of the late Vivian Johns.
Fr. Beaulieu will lie in state at St. Francis Xavier Church, Acushnet on Monday from 2-4 and 6-8 PM with a Wake Service at 7:30 PM. His Funeral Mass will be on Tuesday at 11 AM followed by interment at Sacred Heart Cemetery.
Arrangements by Rock Funeral Home.