31 January 2009

More from the Academy...

Archbishop Gomez commended The Atonement Academy for its recent selection as one of America's "Top 50 Catholic High Schools."

Additionally, the Archbishop presented senior Brittany Weems with a certificate for her achievement as a National Merit Semifinalist, an award given to the top 2% of high school seniors across the country. Another senior, Daniel Cruser, also received a certificate for his achievement as a National Merit Commended Scholar.

The presentations took place at a press conference at the Archdiocesan pastoral center on January 26, commemorating the annual Catholic Schools Week.

Pictured with the Archbishop are, L-R, Daniel Cruser, Gabriella Garcia, Katherine Wright, and Brittany Weems.

Back from the Holy Land...

We're back from a most wonderful pilgrimage. Thirty-nine of us spent several days praying at those places made holy by the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. When I have pictures from some of the other pilgrims, I'll share more of our experiences -- especially the tragedy of the suffering Christians in the Holy Land. What is known simply as "the wall" is like an ugly scar running through places like Bethlehem, the Mount of Olives, Bethany...

Meanwhile, here are a few of the places in which we celebrated our Masses.
Our first Mass was at the Grotto of the Annunciation in Nazareth... a wonderful place to begin our pilgrimage.


The basilica on the Mount of the Beatitudes...

We felt like Peter, James and John as we celebrated Mass on Mt. Tabor, where Christ was transfigured...



The Church of the Agony, and in front of the altar, the stone where Christ knelt and sweat drops of blood...


And at the very center of it all -- the Holy Sepulchre, the tomb in which Christ rose from the dead. I offered the Mass inside the tomb, on the very spot where Christ's lifeless Body was placed on Good Friday...

18 January 2009

Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity

Today we begin the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, when Christians throughout the world pray for that unity which was willed by the Lord Jesus Christ. At our parish, we continue to use the traditional “Octave Prayers” as compiled by Fr. Paul of Graymoor, with the intention that all Christians may be one, under the headship of the Successor of St. Peter.

ANTIPHON: That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in me and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.

V. I say unto thee, thou art Peter;
R. And upon this rock I will build my Church.

[Here is brought to mind the intention for the day's prayer.]

January 18: For the return of the "other sheep" to the One Fold of our Lord Jesus Christ.
January 19: For the return of the Eastern Orthodox Christians to communion with the Apostolic See.
January 20: For the return of the Anglicans to the authority of the Vicar of Christ.
January 21: For the return of all Protestants throughout the world to the unity of the Catholic Church.
January 22: That Christians in America may be one, in union with the Chair of Saint Peter.
January 23: That lapsed Catholics will return to the Sacraments of the Church.
January 24: That the Jewish people will be converted to the Catholic Faith.
January 25: That missionary zeal will conquer the world for Christ.

Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst unto Thine Apostles: Peace I leave you, My peace I give to you; regard not our sins, but the faith of Thy Church, and grant unto her that peace and unity which are agreeable to Thy Will; Who livest and reignest ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

17 January 2009

Excuses, excuses...

I apologize for the complete lack of posting over this past week. I was, for a few days, at the archdiocesan priests' retreat, and am also preparing to lead a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. There have been lots of things to get done before we leave on Tuesday, but I'll try to post a few things before I go.

08 January 2009

These people must be nuts!

This is astonishing! My stomach is still in my throat.

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, 1936-2009

From Commentary Magazine:

"Richard John Neuhaus, perhaps the most important and influential religious intellectual in the United States since the passing of Reinhold Niebuhr, died last night. A Canadian by birth, he was a Lutheran pastor who came to the United States and served as the minister of a congregation in a poor Brooklyn neighborhood. A liberal in the model of Niebuhr, Neuhaus found himself migrating rightward once the Supreme Court inaugurated the age of abortion on demand with the Roe v. Wade decision in 1972. In 1984, he wrote the book for which he will be remembered, The Naked Public Square -- a concise masterpiece about the role of religion in a democracy and the danger posed to a democratic society in the notion that public life should be effectively atheistic." (Read the whole article here.)

03 January 2009

Let there be Light...

"Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you,” Isaiah wrote thousands of years ago, and so the prophet foretold the dawn of God's light on each one of us as we come to a fuller knowledge His Son.

By the rising of Jesus Christ upon us, we are able to rise from weakness and to shine with the reflected glory of God. When we do right in the Name of Christ, we shine with His light, and we know that the darkness has no claim on us at all. We know that His light will take away even the shadows in our lives, so that we can call God not only our Creator, but also our Father. More even than this – because we belong to the Light of the World – every single day of our lives is a new opportunity to grow in His light, so that we can become more and more like Him.

Our lives are given to reflect God's glory, and this is the noblest and most blessed purpose of all. We are, in a mystical way, to be an “epiphany” of Christ, so that the whole world can see His glory in our lives.

02 January 2009

The Most Holy Name of Jesus

From a Sermon by St. Barnardine of Siena:

"The name of Jesus is the glory of preachers, because the shining splendor of that name causes his word to be proclaimed and heard. And how do you think such an immense, sudden and dazzling light of faith came into the world, if not because Jesus was preached? Was it not through the brilliance and sweet savor of this name that God called us into his marvelous light? When we have been enlightened, and in that same light behold the light of heaven, rightly may the apostle Paul say to us: Once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light."

"So this name must be proclaimed, that it may shine out and never be suppressed. But it must not be preached by someone with sullied mind or unclean lips, but stored up and poured out from a chosen vessel. That is why our Lord said of Saint Paul: He is a chosen instrument of mine, the vessel of my choice, to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel. In this chosen vessel there was to be a drink more pleasing than earth ever knew, offered to all mankind for a price they could pay, so that they would be drawn to taste of it. Poured into other chosen vessels, it would grow and radiate splendor. For our Lord said: He is to carry my name."

Aeterne Pater, qui Filio tuo incarnato sanctum nomen Iesum dedisti signum esse salutis nostrae: Infunde, quaesumus, in omne cor caritatem illius qui mundi Salvator est, Domini nostri Iesu Christi; qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Eternal Father, who didst give to thine incarnate Son the holy name of Jesus to be the sign of our salvation: Plant in every heart, we beseech thee, the love of him who is the Savior of the world, even our Lord Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.