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Expanding on the Bishop’s sermon at the Ordination Mass July 18, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, Eucharist, foolishness, General Catholic, Interior Life, North Deanery, sadness, scandals.
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As I related earlier, Bishop Farrell gave what I thought was a very strong sermon at the Ordination Mass on Saturday.  In it, Bishop Farrell tried to give the newly ordained a bit of what they might expect in their apostolate, but he also stressed, in depth, the three essential roles of the priest.  After reminding thd ordinands that they will be extremely busy as priests, that they will have little if any time of their own, and that they will have constant demands put on them by people, he then said that while administrative and other functions are important, there are really three key roles every priest must perform as his highest duties (after prayer and Adoration, which must form the bedrock for everything):

  1. Proclaim the Gospel
  2. Offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
  3. Hear Confessions

Bishop Farrell commendably went into some depth on each of these three items.  I fully endorse everything he said with regard to all three.  Obviously, proclaiming the good news and offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass are two absolutely vital roles.  I think our younger priests will do both with great zeal.  Certainly, the Mass is the Source and Summit of our Faith, it is the font of the Truth the Church proclaims and is the primary vehicle of Grace in the daily lives of Catholics.  And we all must know the Truth Christ has revealed through His Church.  Since most Catholics don’t spend a great deal of time in reading Sacred Scripture or other good books, or even thinking about the Faith, outside of Mass, they get most of their formation from priests.  It is therefore critical that priests try to cover as much ground as they can, as thoroughly as they can, in their sermons.  Reverent celebration of Mass is simply a given – it must be done, with the focus on the vertical and the four ends of the Mass.

Given all the above, I wanted to discuss the Bishop’s third important role for priests – Confession.  If there is an area that perhaps gets short shrift in that list of the priest’s highest duties, it is Confession.  Some laudable exceptions aside, I continue to be amazed and disappointed at the lack of Confession time in the parishes of the Diocese.  Many parishes have only 1/2 to 1 hour of Confession of week.  And these parishes generally have thousands of families as members!  Even if a priest could hear a confession every 3 minutes, that would mean only 10 to 20 confessions a week.  Simply put, the vast, vast majority of people at these parishes never receive the great benefit of Sacramental Confession.

And this is a great shame.  I know of no better way to grow in virtue and overcome vice than regular confession.  Regular may mean different things to different people, but, generally, it means more than once a year, or once a never.  Few if any of us can go for very long without committing a serious sin.  I know I can’t.  Shockingly, that means that many Catholics are likely receiving the Blessed Sacrament unworthily, like those who know contraceptive use is wrong but keep on doing it.  Unfortunately, few priests stress the need for Confession either in their words (sermon) or their actions (generous times for Confession).  This is a glaring omission at many parishes, and one, that, given the Bishop’s words, seems to be counter to what he desires to see in this Diocese. 

I have seen in the past that Confession is something that will grow if tended by our priests.  It’s sort of a ‘if you build it, they will come’ scenario – if priests will stress Confession by making more time available, more people will tend to come.  In fact, at parishes with more generous Confession times, I frequently see dozens lined up.  The converse is also true – parishes that have 1/2 hour a week are unlikely to see much demand, because it obviously isn’t very important if Fr. Many Ministries can only clear 1/2 hour a week in his schedule for it.  And the souls of the faithful are much poorer in that case.

Bishop Farrell mentioned how priests will have people pulling them in every direction, and I took the allusion to refer especially to parish staff.   The Bishop made it seem that many of our priests are so busy attending to the ‘business’ of running a parish and overseeing a school and all the other administrative tasks that they may often be tempted to skip prayer, forego Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and skimp on sacramental duties like Confession.   Judging from the evidence available in most parish bulletins, it sadly appears that many priests have fallen into this trap.  As Blessed Mother Teresa once said regarding Adoration……”Father, if you’re too busy for Confession, you’re too busy.”

I have a sort of screwball vision for Catholic parishes.  My vision does not contain umpteen ministries and a huge number of staff.  My vision consists in priests being available to the people throughout the day, in and around the actual church (not the office – the nave and sanctuary), hearing confessions, offering spiritual direction, praying the Divine Office publicly, publicly adoring the Lord whether in the tabernacle or monstrance, and celebrating Mass.  Perhaps my vision is naive or old fashioned, I don’t know, but I don’t think the original intent of the priesthood was to serve largely as business administrators with a sort of side role as “sacramental administrators” (a term, apparently, in vogue in some of the more ‘progressive’ dioceses).  Anyway, I pray to this end alot.  St. John Vianney, St. John Bosco, St. Joseph Cafasso, St. Padre Pio – these men were not known for their great administrative skills, or ability to play the church political game.  They were known for their great holiness, their love for all the Sacraments almost to the point of the exclusion of other activities.  We need many many more such men today.  I pray these newly ordained priests will heed Bishop Farrell’s words carefully and prayerfully, and hold the Bishop to them.  If they do, they, too, could be remembered by generations of Catholics.

Start Novena to St. Anne, Mother of Mary, Mother of God, today July 18, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Saints.
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Novena to St. Anne, the mother of The Virgin Mary   

Start Monday, July 18 

Feast is Tuesday, July 26

 

 

 

First, recite this prayer for everyday of the novena:

Glorious St. Anne,
filled with compassion for those who invoke you,
with love for those who suffer,
heavily laden with the weight of my troubles,
I knee at your feet and humbly beg you
to take my present need under your special protection…

(State your intention here.)

Vouchsafe to recommend it to your daughter,
the Blessed Virgin Mary,
and lay it before the throne of Jesus.
Cease not to intercede for me until my request is granted.
Above all, obtain for me the grace to one day meet God face to face,
and with you and Mary and all the angels
and saints praising Him through all eternity. Amen

Next, recite the prayer that relates to the day that you are at.

DAY ONE

Great Saint Anne,
engrave indelibly on my heart
and in my mind the words that have reclaimed
and sanctified so many sinners:
“What shall it profit a man to gain the whole world
if he lose his own soul?”
May this be the principle fruit of these prayers
by which I will strive to honor you during this novena.
At your feet renew my resolution to invoke you daily,
not only for the success of my temporal affairs
and to be preserved from sickness and suffering,
but above all, that I may be preserved from all sin,
that I may succeed in working out my eternal salvation
and that I will receive the special grace of…

(State your intention here.)

O most powerful Saint Anne,
do not let me lose my soul,
but obtain for me the grace of winning my way to heaven,
there with you, you blessed spouse,
and your glorious daughter,
to sing the praise of the most holy
and adorable Trinity forever and ever. Amen.

Recite the…

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be to the Father…

Pray for us, Saint Anne!
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ
.

 

DAY TWO

Glorious Saint Anne,
how can you be otherwise than overflowing
with tenderness toward sinners like myself,
since you are the grandmother of Him who shed His blood for them,
and the mother of her whom the saints call advocate of sinners?
To you, therefore, I address my prayers with confidence.
Vouchsafe to commend me to Jesus and Mary so that,
at your request, I may be granted remission of my sins,
perseverance, the love of God, charity for all mankind,
and the special grace of…

(State your intention here.)

which I stand in need at the present time.
O most powerful protectress,
let me not lose my soul,
but obtain for me that through the merits of Jesus Christ
and the intercession of Mary,
I may have happiness of seeing them,
of loving and praising them with your through all eternity. Amen.

Recite the…

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be to the Father…

Pray for us, Saint Anne!
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

DAY THREE

Beloved of Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
mother of the Queen of Heaven,
take us and all who are dear to us under your special care.
Obtain for us the virtues you instilled in the heart of her
who was destined to become Mother of God,
and the graces with which you were endowed.
Sublime model of Christian womanhood,
pray that we may imitate your example in our homes and families,
listen to our petitions,
(State your intention here.)

Guardian of the infancy
and childhood of the most Blessed Virgin Mary,
obtain the graces necessary for all who enter the marriage state,
that imitating your virtues they may sanctify their homes
and lead the souls entrusted to their care to eternal glory. Amen.

Recite the…

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be to the Father…

Pray for us, Saint Anne!
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

DAY FOUR

Glorious Saint Anne,
I kneel in confidence at your feet,
for you also have tasted the bitterness and sorrow of life.
My necessities, the cause of my tears, are…

(State your intention here.)

Good Saint Anne,
you who did suffer much during the twenty years
that preceded your glorious maternity,
I beseech you, by all your sufferings and humiliations,
to grant my prayer.
I pray to you,
through you love for your glorious spouse Saint Joachim,
through your love for your immaculate child,
through the joy you did feel at the moment of her happy birth,
not to refuse me.
Bless me, bless my family and all who are dear to me,
so that some day we may all be with you in the glory of heaven,
for all eternity. Amen.

Recite the…

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be to the Father…

Pray for us, Saint Anne!
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

DAY FIVE

Great Saint Anne,
how far I am from resembling you.
I so easily give way to impatience and discouragement;
and so easily give up praying
when God does not at once answer my request.
Prayer is the key to all heavenly treasures and I cannot pray,
because my weak faith and lack of confidence
fail me at the slightest delay of divine mercy.
O my powerful protectress,
come to my aid,
listen to my petition…

(State your intention here.)

make my confidence and fervor,
supported by the promise of Jesus Christ,
redouble in proportion as the trial
to which God in His goodness subjects me is prolonged,
that I may obtain like you more than I can venture to ask for.
In the future I will remember
that I am made for heaven and not for earth;
for eternity and not for time;
that consequently I must ask, above all,
the salvation of my soul
which is assured to all who pray properly
and who persevere in Pray. Amen.

Recite the…

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be to the Father…

Pray for us, Saint Anne!
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

DAY SIX

Glorious Saint Anne,
mother of the Mother of God,
I beg you to obtain through your powerful intercession
the pardon of my sins and the assistance I need in my troubles…

(State your intention here.)

What can I not hope for
if you deign to take me under your protection?
The Most High has been please to grant the prayers of sinners,
whenever you have been charitable enough to be their advocate.

Kneeling at your feet,
I beg you to help me in all spiritual and temporal dangers;
to guide me in the true path of Christian perfection,
and finally to obtain for me
the grace of ending my life with the death of the just,
so that I may contemplate face to face your beloved Jesus
and daughter Mary in your loving companionship throughout eternity. Amen.

Recite the…

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be to the Father…

Pray for us, Saint Anne!
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

DAY SEVEN

O Good Saint Anne,
so justly called the mother of the infirm,
the cure for those who suffer from disease,
look kindly upon the sick for whom I pray;
alleviate their sufferings;
cause them to sanctify their sufferings by patience
and complete submission to the divine will;
finally deign to obtain health for them
and with it the firm resolution to honor Jesus, Mary,
and yourself by the faithful performance of duties.
But, merciful Saint Anne,
I ask you above all for the salvation of my soul,
rather than bodily health,
for I am convinced that this fleeting life is given us
solely to assure us a better one.
Now, we cannot obtain that better life
without the help of God’s graces.
I earnestly beg them of you for the sick and for myself,
especially the petition for which I am making in this novena…

(State your intention here.)

through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ,
through the intercession of His Immaculate Mother,
and through the efficacious and powerful mediation.
O glorious Saint Anne, Amen.

Recite the…

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be to the Father…

Pray for us, Saint Anne!
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

DAY EIGHT

Remember, O Saint Anne,
you whose name signifies grace and mercy,
that never was it known
that anyone who fled to your protection,
implored your help,
and sought your intercession was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence,
I fly unto you, good, and kind mother;
I take refuge at your feet,
burdened with the weight of my sins.
O holy mother of the Immaculate Virgin Mary,
despise not my petition…

(State your intention here.)

but hear me and grant my prayer. Amen.

Recite the…

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be to the Father…

Pray for us, Saint Anne!
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

DAY NINE

Most holy mother of the Virgin Mary,
glorious Saint Anne, I, a miserable sinner,
confiding in your kindness,
choose you today as my special advocate.
I offer and consecrate my person
and all my interests to your care and maternal solicitude.
I hope To serve you and honor you all my life
for the love of your most holy daughter
and to do all in my power to spread devotion to you.

O my very good mother and advocate,
deign to accept me as your servant,
and to adopt me as you child.
O glorious Saint Anne, I beg you,
by the passion of my most loving Jesus,
the Son of Mary, your most holy daughter,
to assist me in all the necessities
both of my body and my soul.
Venerable Mother,
I beg you to obtain for me the favor I seek in this novena…

(State your intention here.)

and the grace of leading a life perfectly conformable
in all things to the divine will.
I place my soul in your hands
and in those of your kind daughter.
I confide it to you,
above all at the moment
when it will be to separate itself from my body in order that,
appearing under your patronage before the Supreme Judge,
He may find it worthy of enjoying His Divine Presence
in your holy companionship in Heaven. Amen.

Recite the…

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be to the Father…

Pray for us, Saint Anne!
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Dominican Lecture at UD – Catholic Laity and the New Evangelization July 18, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Papa.
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Fr. Phillip Neri Powell is a Dominican friar and PhD I read regularly.  He spends many summers at UD as a guest lecturer, and also hosts an annual ‘Dominican conference’ at UD.  The conference is open to all. It will be held on Saturday, August 6 from 10 to 3:30p in the Gorman Lecture Center at the University of Dallas.  The cost of the conference is FREE, but you are recommended to either bring a sack lunch or to bring some money for lunch (the UD cafeteria will be open).  The topic is the Catholic Latiy and the New Evangelization, the latter being the program Pope Benedict XVI is enacting in order to bring the Faith to Catholics and all people through new media.  Hmmm…….sounds right up my alley.  The conference agenda is below:

10:00 – 10:15    Meet and greet, then begin 1st Decade of the Rosary
10:15 – 11:00     First Conference
11:00 – 12:30     Individual reflection time / Optional Mass / Lunch
12:30 –   1:15      2nd Decade of the Rosary, and Second Conference
  1:15 –    1:45      Individual reflection time
  1:45 –   2:30      3rd Decade of the Rosary, and Third Conference
  2:30 –   2:45     4th Decade of the Rosary/ Break
  2:45 –   3:15     Questions and Answer period/ wrap up
  3:15 –    3:30     Fifth Decade of the Rosary and Blessing

Fr. Powell is an active blogger, teaches in Catholic universities, and serves in parishes regularly, so he should have many insights for the new evangelization.  He’s a good, solid, orthodox priest, in my estimation.  I highly recommend attending.

Cardinal Rigali “resigns”? – BREAKING – Chaput to replace? July 18, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, disaster, episcopate, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, Latin Mass, sadness, scandals, sickness, Society.
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Did Justin Cardinal Rigali resign, or was he told to vacate his archbishopric?  We’ll likely never know – he was above the age for retirement, but as a Cardinal, likely could have stayed on in absence of scandal, of which there appears to be quite a bit.  The word is that he did not want to resign, but was asked/told to do so, I suppose by the Vatican.  In this latest priest abuse scandal, Rigali at first claimed no priests were in ministry who had committed abuse, but then suspended 21 priests – for abuse.  From the perspective of the Church’s role as a trusted societal institution, the denial, then the suspensions, were a disaster.  Charges of coverup have been legion.

So, Rigali is out.  It appears Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver will take over one of the premier Sees in the United States.  I have been praying for Archbishop Chaput, 66, for some time – now I will pray more.  He will likely be made Cardinal in the next few years, as Philadelphia is a See normally in the charge of a prince of the Church.  Chaput will inherit a mess, but this larger platform will also, I pray, encourage his continued forthright presentations of the Faith and increase his influence.   It is possible this bad situation could yield much good fruit, if Chaput is successful in his new role.

If the Vatican is asking, I have some suggestions for the now vacant See in Denver.  How about an FSSP bishop?!

My one gripe from the weekend Masses July 18, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, foolishness, General Catholic, sadness, sickness, silliness.
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I said I had one gripe from the weekend ordinations, see below.  I have more happy happy fun thoughts, though, I’ll get to those later!  The one thing that annoyed me was the repeated rounds of applause that broke out at both the Ordination and the first Mass for Fr. Yamauchi. 

STOP CLAPPING!  I know it’s a very happy and meritorious occasion, and I have the greatest respect and love for our priests, for whom I pray every day and throughout the day, but as our Holy Father has said, clapping within Mass is indicative of a problematic view of the Mass itself:

An important liturgical message from Cardinal Ratzinger – now Pope Benedict XVI

“Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. ” (Spirit of the Liturgy p. 198)

The ‘essence of liturgy’ to which the Holy Father refers is the vertical dimension, the fact that the Mass is first and foremost an offering of Sacrifice to God for the four ends of the Mass – Adoration (we love God!), Contrition (we’re sorry we keep sinning!), Thanksgiving (God is Great!), and Supplication (please, God, help me to do better).  Over the past several decades, predating Vatican II, there has been an inordinate focus on the ‘horizontal’ dimension of the Mass, the community gathering together for a meal aspect.  Both are valid, but the first end of the Mass is to offer the only Sacrifice acceptable to Him, the once for all time Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, made once on earth and always ongoing in Heaven.  When we focus so much on the horizontal that episodes of applause break out over some human achievement, even one so noble as elevation to God’s Holy Priesthood, the vertical dimension tends to get missed (or, it has in practice).  And, there is a certain unseemly aspect to applause at church.  I would rather it never happens. 

This does not mean I’m not ecstatic for the men elevated to the priesthood.  I think they should get applause, back-slaps, fireworks, a lazer show, etc. – AFTER MASS.  Please, let us remember the one High Priest from whom all the subliminity of the Mass flows. 

Don’t make me break out Sally Field again

 

Well!……..that was quite a weekend! July 18, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, Eucharist, General Catholic, Interior Life, North Deanery, Our Lady.
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We got absolutely nothing productive done, in a worldly sense, but perhaps God’s Grace will do our souls some good, and when I say perhaps, I refer only to me.  Because I’m increasingly aware of what a rotten sinner I am.  But, enough about me!  How about that weekend?

It started Saturday morning with the Ordination Mass for Fr.’s Unachukwu, McDonald, and Yamauchi.  Our family has known the Yamauchi’s for over 10 years, so that was the main reason for our assisting at this Mass, but it was great to see all three men ordained.  What can I say?  It was beautiful.  The music at Mass at the Cathedral has improved markedly since Bishop Farrell arrived, and it was all very reverent and focuses on the mystical, holy, mysterious of the Ordination Mass itself, for we were participating in something far beyond human faculties.  Graces were being conferred in such abundance and power that no human explanation can ever really suffice.  There was one discomfiting part that I’ll cover in a separate post, something that has become depressingly endemic to so many Mass sacrifices today, but aside from that, it was really impressive.  I plan to comment on the sermon which Bishop Farrell gave later, it was powerful and stressed some very important points.  Oh, I guess one other odd thing is that there wasn’t the plethora of bishops, active or retired, from other dioceses as I have seen in the past.  That’s normally a part of every Ordination, sort of establishing the unbroken line of Apostolic Succession, but I did not miss it.  I was actually glad former Bishop Grahmann was not there. 

So, we arrived 2 hours before the Mass and the Mass itself was over 2 hours long, but the kids did great.  It was hot in the Cathedral, but, such sacrifices properly accepted are sources of Grace.  After Mass we went out to lunch with a great couple and their kids. Later in the afternoon we had Benedict’s birthday party.  It was a full day.  But we were just getting started.

Sunday we went to Mass at Mater Dei as usual.  Then we drove up to The Colony for a baptism party (the baptism had already taken place) at the Ukranian Catholic Chuch there.  I’d never been to a Ukranian Catholic Church before (fully in union with the Holy See), and was very impressed with the Iconostasis.  I should have liked to have seen the Liturgy, although I would have understood none of it (it’s in Ukranian!).  The party was fun.  The kids were starting to get run down, though.  We went home and they had naps.  I’ll try to post pictures of the Iconostasis later.  This is a very ornate screen that separates the Sanctuary from the Nave.  The Consecration occurs behind the Iconostasis. 

Then, last night, we went to Fr. Yamauchi’s first public Mass at St. Mark.  It was crowded and hot again, but, again, a beautiful Liturgy.  I dare say, it was the most beautiful I’ve ever seen at St. Mark.  I was impressed by the Deacons at both Fr. Yamuachi’s Mass and the Ordination – one is Ruben Chen, but I forget the name of the other young man (who was only at the Ordination).  I will say that the standard of the chasubles and other vestments used by the Diocese seems improved, but perhaps its my imagination.  In my narrow minded opinion, finer “vestments” accentuate the glorified nature of the Mass, as a Sacrifice being offered to God for the ends of Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.  I know simpler ‘pilgrim Church’ vestments were vogue for some time, but I am glad to see the more beautiful and uplifting chasubles, etc., return.

Now, for the turtleback and maniple.  Yay me!

It was an awesome, though tiring, weekend.  I would do it again in a second.  I had brief transports at the Ordination Mass!  I hate it when they end (due, no doubt, to my unworthiness).