17 June 2015

Canonization of blesseds Vincenzo Grossi, Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Louis Martin and Marie-Azelie Guerin

From today's edition of Vatican Information Service:--

Vatican City, 17 June 2015 (VIS) – On Saturday 27 June, in the Consistory Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father will preside at the celebration of Terce and the ordinary public consistory for the canonisation of the blesseds Vincenzo Grossi, Italian diocesan priest and founder of the Institute of Daughters of the Oratory (1845-1917); Mary of the Immaculate Conception (nee Maria Isabel Salvat Romero), Spanish superior general of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Company of the Cross (1926-1998); and the French spouses Louis Martin (1823-1894) and Marie-Azelie Guerin (1831-1877), parents of St. Therese of Lisieux.


17 March 2015

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

By Saint Gregory of Narek, Doctor of the Church


The voice of a sighing heart, its sobs and mournful cries,
I offer up to you, O Seer of Secrets,
placing the fruits of my wavering mind
as a savory sacrifice on the fire of my grieving soul
to be delivered to you in the censer of my will.

Compassionate Lord, breathe in
this offering and look more favorably on it
than upon a more sumptuous sacrifice
offered with rich smoke. Please find
this simple string of words acceptable.
Do not turn in disdain.

May this unsolicited gift reach you,
this sacrifice of words
from the deep mystery-filled chamber
of my feelings, consumed in flames
fueled by whatever grace I may have within me.

As I pray, do not let these
pleas annoy you, Almighty,
like the raised hands of Jacob,
whose irreverence was rebuked
by Isaiah, nor let them seem like the impudence
of Babylon criticized in the 72nd Psalm.

But let these words be acceptable
as were the fragrant offerings
in the tabernacle at Shiloh
raised again by David on his return from captivity
as the resting place for the ark of the covenant,
a symbol for the restoration of my lost soul.


Because your stern judgment
echoes mightily in the valley of retribution,
contradictory impulses in my soul
brace for battle like clashing mobs.
Crowds of thoughts strike each other, sword
against armor, evil against good,
ensnaring me for death, as in other times,
when your grace had not rescued me –
that grace of Christ, which Paul,
chosen among the apostles,
taught was greater than the law of Moses.

For as the Scripture says, “The day
of the Lord is upon us,”
and in the narrow valley of Jehoshaphat
on the banks of the Kidron,
those small battle grounds
foreshadow on earth
victory in the life to come.
Thus, the kingdom of God in a visible form
has come already, charging me
on truthful testimony with wrongs
graver than those of the Edomites,
Philistines and other barbarians –
wrongs that brought down the hand of God.
And whereas their sentences were measured in years,
my transgressions will be punished without term.
As the prophet and the parable-teller warned,
the dungeon and shackles
are already at my threshold to show me
here and now my eternal disgrace.

Only you can work the miracle
to make life possible for a soul
so imperiled by doubt,
O Atoner for all, exalted beyond saying
in your boundless glory on high
forever and ever.

SOURCE: ArmenianHouse.org

06 March 2015

2015 Red Mass of the Holy Spirit -Tallahassee

6 MARCH 2015. All the bishops of Florida's Church gathered this week in Tallahassee to celebrate the 40th annual Red Mass of the Holy Spirit.

In the global Church the Red Mass is an 800-year old tradition, through which the guidance of the Holy Spirit is prayerfully sought to be poured out upon the persons within the government and the legal profession in the carrying out of their duties for the benefit of society. In Florida, the Red Mass has been celebrated now for forty years during the opening weeks of Florida's annual Legislative Session.

Archbishop Wenski, Archbishop of Miami, was the principal celebrant. This year's homilist was Bishop Peter Baldacchino, Auxiliary Bishop of Miami.

Below are a few snipets from Bishop Baldacchino's homily, which spoke candidly and eloquently of the need for humility and sense of service, in following Christ, by all in government and the practice of law:

With Christ there comes about a reversal of values.

Christ Jesus embodies what service really means. [However,] He was not saying that we should never come first.

[But,] [w]hoever wishes to be great among you should be servants.

It is power that gives authority. But, service gives much more.

All human values, particularly those that we Americans can experience in our nation: justice, freedom, liberty, are important instruments that enable us to live in a world that can make of a human person what he or she is meant to be. However, these instruments in themselves can never be sufficient to achieve true human happiness. They are not an end in themselves.
[In seeking] social justice, the end should be the "other," not directed at ourselves.

Our society needs to be renewed. This renewal needs to begin with our conversation in humility [to Christ Jesus].
The full text of the Bishop Baldacchino's homily can be read here.

28 February 2015

et alia

28 FEBRUARY 2015. In these days of winter, time has been short for blogging and otherwise addressing anything beyond what presents itself as the next emergency or "must do" task. I recognize this is the devil at work in the world. He places before us all that we are constantly bombarded with and cajoles us to believe that this is reality, that this is what is most important. Doing so, the evil one prevents us from lifting our eyes to God, worshipping Him, and spending time in prayer.

Running on at the keyboard:

The Church on earth, always eager for new exemplars of the faith, has a new Doctor of the Church: Saint Gregory of Narek. An Armenian monk, poet, mystical philosopher, and theologian. Pope Francis named Saint Gregory as a Doctor of the Church on 21 February 2015. Look for further AS articles on this wonderful exemplar.

Many saints are at work in the world today. Not only are each of the faithful called to holiness and, thus, to be saints for us all, but the Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere are under terrible and constant attack. Not only have the brutal killings of ISIS or ISIL proved to us today the great persecution of the Church, but so many of the faithful are persecuted each day, and suffer white martyrdom, in the face of a Western culture that ignores God for the glorification of self and self-indulgence.

I and my employer have had many difficulties over the past months as we are the object of attack by ignorant people who are focused on attempting to achieve a legal end by political means. They will not and cannot be successful.

The recent legalization of euthanasia in Canada is another sign that Christian faithful and all those of good will need to redouble their efforts to provide protection for all human life, from conception to natural death. Each of us are made in the image and likeness of God, and each of us are possessed of an immortal soul, which shares in God's divinity by its immortal nature and God's plan for each of us to love Him and share in His being for eternity. Pray for life.

The Academy Awards . . . Why does anyone care?

What joy there is in this season of Lent, for each of us to have the opportunity to examine ourselves in preparation for the death and resurrection of Christ at Easter.

How many know that Pope Francis also created a new sui juris Eastern Rite Church, which is in full communion with Rome? On 19 January 2015 Pope Francis created the Eritrean Catholic Church as a metropolitan sui juris Eastern Particular church distinct from the Ethiopian Catholic Church. It uses the Alexandrian Liturgy.

Thinking of the Eastern Rites, on 15 November 2014, Pope Francis approved a document from the Congregation for the Oriental Churches which permits married priests in the Eastern Rites, in a turn from tradition, to serve outside of their geographic and cultural homes. Coming to the United States, now more so with Anglican Use parishes . . . married priests.

The Lay Dominicans del Espiritu Santo, the Tallahassee, Florida group of Lay Dominican faithful, are eagerly awaiting the celebration of Pentecost and the perpetual profession of our Brother into the fullness of Dominican lay life.

Pray to the Dominican Saints for their intercession for all your needs:

St. Dominic, pray for us.
St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us.
St. Martin de Porres, pray for us.
St. Mary Magdalen, pray for us. (Patroness of the Order)
St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
St. Albert the Great, pray for us.
St. Rose of Lima, pray for us.
St. Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.
St. Pius V, pray for us.
All you holy angels and saints, pray for us.
Blessed Virgin Mary, Most Chaste Spouse of the Holy Spirit, pray for us.

Dear readers, please pray for me, and I will pray for you


25 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

25 DECEMBER 2014. Today the Church and all of Christendom celebrate the birth of our Savior, Christ the Lord. He who was in the beginning, has taken flesh upon Himself and been born of the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Sent by the Father to forgive us our sins, let us always praise Him who has loved us with such heavenly generosity beyond our knowing.

Merry Christmas!

24 December 2014

Belief in Nothing is not a Protected Right that Trumps the Right to Express our Faith

24 DECEMBER 2014. In Tallahassee this year, the Department of State, concerned with law suits, has decided to let anything be displayed as a part of the Capitol's annual holiday displays.

Several groups, with the pure intent of mocking faith and the existence of God, have petitioned and been allowed to make displays which are both offensive to our community's sense of appropriateness and pitiful for their sheer display of ignorance.

Above is a picture of the Satanic Temple's holiday display. The Satanic Temple has officially gone on the record to say it does not worship Satan, but rather believes there should be absolutely no expression of religious belief in the public square. The Satanic Temple has no religious belief. The temple's display is not an exercise of religious expression. It is mere retaliation against expressions of faith that has been, now, given the equal footing to expressions of faith.

So, in the name of First Amendment rights, the Satanic Temple, with the assistance of the State of Florida, has somehow garnered to itself the right to mock and retaliate against expressions of religious faith, even offending the community, and in doing so the rights of all others to express religious belief in the public square are demeaned.

Belief in nothing is irrational. St. Thomas Aquinas, who was himself building upon the work of Aristotle who was a Greek pagan, has proven that reason alone leads each person to proof of the existence of God.

Belief in nothing is not a right guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. Expression of belief in the public square is such a right.

10 October 2014

Pray for our Church in the United States and Everywhere

10 OCTOBER 2014. As many have probably been following the information that is coming from the Synod on the Family in Rome, I too have been trying to learn what I can. However, I watched a recent video over at CNS (available here), which puported to display some Americans' "hopes" for the Synod from interviews with American parishoners of Santa Susanna in Rome. Frankly, I was horified.

The video protrays American attitudes toward marriage and the Church as being based more in nostalgia than anything, while at the same time calling for the Church to wake up to contemporary times, contemporary issues, and "come up to speed" with today's culture. One poor soul even articulates that the purpose of the Church is to "increase its flock" and that to do so it really must "give the people what they want." Pray, pray, pray for these poor people. I have to wonder, where is their catechises?

I pray this is not really the sentiment of the majority, or a significant number, of faithful Catholics in the United States. I want a Church that proclaims truth! I want a Church that is faithful and emphasizes that faithfulness to the Body of Christ. I want a Church that strives toward holiness and is focused on bringing all men and women closer to God so that they may be be holy saints, destined for heaven. I want a Church that loves with the tenderness of Christ, forgives sins - as Christ came to do and instituted the Church as his bride - but continues to call all of us sinners to a life that is free from sin. Oh, the folly of seeking the impossible (in the eyes of the world), but oh the joy (for the faithful) of following Christ, though I will certainly at times fail.

Watch the video and let me know if you agree or disagree with these "American" views.

I would also commend a well written, and I think insightful, article by Father Dwight Longenecker, published by Zenit. Father Longenecker takes on the dueling videos (as portrayed by the media and in social media) from Cardinal Walter Kasper and Cardinal Raymond Burke in the days leading up to the start of the Synod. While I would not question the faithfulness of either Cardinal Kasper or Cardinal Burke, Father Longenecker makes some good, if slightly over generalized, points. Points which may go a long way toward explaining a real divergence in attitudes among Catholics, particularly American Catholics.

Here are few snipets:
Catholic New Service issued videos featuring the two cardinals expressing their points of view. Video Kasper could be summed up as, “couples in a second marriage show love and tenderness. We should do the same and forgive.” Video Burke was, “Jesus said if a man divorces his wife and marries another he commits adultery. Any questions?”
 . . .
 Kasperian Catholicism is not only a European phenomenon. It is also the main religion of the American Northeast where, as in Europe, Catholicism is the de facto established religion. In this country, we might call Kasperian Catholicism “Kennedy Catholicism.” This religion regards the moral teachings of the Church as “guidelines.” The traditions of the Church are quaint customs to feel nostalgic about, and the dogmas of Catholicism are medieval notions that should be re-interpreted and understood in fresh ways for the modern world. The fact that both Kasperian and Kennedy Catholicism are found in areas where the Catholic faith is the established religion is no coincidence. It is only when a religion is established as it is in these sub cultures that it can afford the luxury of liberalism.
. . . Rather than being comfortable within the established Church, Burke seems more aware of the growing conflict between the world and the gospel. For Burkeans, Christ and culture are in conflict and the Church is there to challenge the prevailing mores, not condone them. The Burkean Catholic sees the core faith once delivered to the saints as being unchangeable, and adaptation to the prevailing culture only involves a change in emphasis, a tweaking of presentation or a re-packaging of the unchanging truths.
Read the whole article here.

I will pray more fervently for our Church, especially our Church in the United States.

16 September 2014

Dominican Laity in Tallahassee

13 SEPTEMBER 2014. Today the Lay Dominicans del Espiritu Santo celebrate six new temporarily professed members of the Order. All this, from a gathering of two or three more than seven years ago. Praise God!

10 September 2014

Ordained a Priest on the Threshold of Eternity

8 SEPTEMBER 2014. The Church celebrated the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary this day, but her birthday prayers were certainly with a man to be ordained on her day, as he prepared to cross the threshold into eternity with our Lord, her Son.

Read the story here about Father William Carmona, ordained as a Priest of our Lord Jesus Christ on 8 September 2014, who was born into eternal life on 10 September 2014.

Truly, this act of mercy and love, by Bishop Choby and all those who worked to make the ordination possible, shines a glorious and moving light on the value of the human person and the calling that each one of us has to pour out our lives to the God who made us and gives us all.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace. 

May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed,
though the mercy of God, rest in peace.