30 December 2010

"...the darkness comprehended it not."


“While all things were in quiet silence, and the night was in the midst of her swift course, thine almighty Word, O Lord, leaped down from heaven out of thy royal throne.”
- Wisdom 18


Frequently, throughout the mysterious unfolding of the dramatic events of the redemption of mankind, God has used the gentleness of the night as the setting of His great and mighty acts. It’s as though God, in His kindness and love for us, doesn’t want to startle us with the intensity of His glory, and so He covers His activity with the night.

When the children of Israel were released from bondage in Egypt, the angel of death passed over them during the night; while they were on their journey to the Promised Land, the Lord sent life-giving manna during the night; Jesus instituted the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and imparted the priesthood after the sun had set and the shadows of evening had come upon Him and His apostles; the Crucifixion itself, even though it took place in the midst of the day, brought a cover of darkness at its moment of climax; the resurrection of the Lord, breaking the bonds of Satan, took place while it was yet dark. And the momentous event of this holy season, when Almighty God was born as Man of the Virgin Mary, took place, not in the glare of sunshine, but in the midst of the silence of night.

How different these events would have been if we could have planned them. We would think they call for parades, for loud announcements, for a blazing sun and for great activity! In a world which has been shrunk by the media, where the desire is to be noticed, where the very idea of self-effacement brings discomfort, God comes among us in a way which seems strange—a way which is difficult for many to accept. We’ve grown accustomed to thinking that humility must have ulterior motives, and that silence is simply an absence of sound. But how like God it is, to enter the world when so few were looking, to send His Word down from heaven when so few had ears to hear. He works this way today, too, for He touches us when we least expect it, giving hope and comfort and love when those things seem not to be within reach.

Perhaps it’s not so strange, after all, that God should come in darkness, for it tells us most eloquently that God is Light—the Light that drives darkness from our path. In the midst of the darkness of this world, our Holy Mother the Church takes us by the hand and leads us towards the Light which was born in Bethlehem, towards the Light which could not be forever extinguished on Calvary, towards the Light which burst forth from the tomb on the third day. It is darkness which makes us see the glow of a candle, just as it is our own realization of the darkness of our sinfulness that makes us reach out towards the Light which is Christ.

Could it be that the confusion which we see around us, whether it is confusion in the world or confusion within our own household of faith, is to serve the same purpose? Perhaps, in the midst of it all, God is urging us on by His own example, to quietly, but faithfully, bring the Light of His word to illuminate the darkness. Rather than turning on the glare of indignation and self-righteousness, which only makes the shadows more harsh, perhaps God would have us hold up the simple light of His truth, as it is manifested in our blessed Lord Jesus.

When God was born in Bethlehem, He made a poor stable to be His glorious tabernacle. As He carried out His earthly ministry, the world was hallowed anew as His dwelling-place, and as He lives within each of us, so we are His temples. Just as a candle burns before the tabernacle in every Catholic Church, indicating that Jesus the Light is truly there, so our faith, which we express by words and deeds, serves as a spiritual candle burning before the eyes of the world, proclaiming to all that Jesus our Lord is here! He is the God who came at night to drive the darkness away forever. May we, by faithfully reflecting the Light of Christ, banish darkness from our own lives, and from the night which surrounds us.

29 December 2010

New/Old Window; UPDATED


We're adding to our stained glass windows by re-working some old glass we obtained from closed churches in the Diocese of Cleveland.  This window depicts the Flight into Egypt, and was installed today in the nave of the church.  Even as I write this, another window is being installed, depicting the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  I'll post a picture of that as soon as they're finished.

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UPDATE: Here's a picture of the second window installed today, depicting the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem.





O Magnum Mysterium

Quite simply, one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written, to carry some of the most profound words ever spoken...




O magnum mysterium,
et admirabile sacramentum,
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum,
jacentem in praesepio!
Beata Virgo, cujus viscera
meruerunt portare
Dominum Christum.
Alleluia.

O great mystery,
and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the new-born Lord,
lying in a manger!
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb
was worthy to bear
Christ the Lord.
Alleluia!

27 December 2010

What a great story!


Here's a wonderful story for you which I read on Catholic Culture, and I just couldn't resist sharing:

Edna Costello was one of those irreplaceable women who seem to appear in every healthy parish. She was the most active member of the altar guild, the Rosary circle, the parish council, the Bible study, marriage preparation classes, the pro-life league, and the ladies' sodality. You could find her in church every morning, a half-hour before the early Mass. She would still be there for another hour after the Mass was over: making her thanksgiving, tidying up the pews, saying her Rosary, arranging flowers, making the Stations of the Cross.

During the day Edna did good deeds. If anyone in the parish was seriously ill, she would know within a matter of hours, and send flowers or visit the hospital room. She would bring meals to shut-ins and place phone calls to lonely widows. On a few occasions she even tactfully asked some of the wealthier members of the parish whether they could spare a few dollars for a family that that fallen behind on the mortgage payments.

Then in the evenings, more often than not she would be back at church--in the basement, this time--for a meeting of one of the many parish organizations that she dominated.

Now if this description makes you think that Edna was a saint, you should realize that many--even most--of the parishioners found her insufferable. And she certainly did have her faults. She could be a bit of a busybody. She was better at talking than listening. She was definitely pushy. But no one would ever deny that Edna Costello tried her best to be a good Catholic. And because she was such a serious, active Catholic, many people followed her lead.

Take little Tommy Brown, for example. The Brown family lived just a few doors down from the little house where Edna lived after her husband's death. When he was just 12 years old, Tommy became intrigued by the sight of the little woman who marched past his front window every morning at 6:15, in rain or shine. "If she can go to Mass every day," he asked himself, "why can't I?" Soon he too was a fixture at the morning Mass. And Tommy was not alone. For every jaded neighbor who laughed up his sleeve when Edna began passing out holy cards, there was another more sensitive soul who would take the card, and begin to develop a habit of prayer.

Years passed, age took its toll, and Edna moved to a smaller home in another town. Within a matter of months she had become the backbone of a different parish. For years she carried out all the same functions in a new location.

Then at last, just before she reached the age of 90, Edna was diagnosed with cancer. She learned of the illness during Holy Week, and thought that was appropriate. She continued her usual activities for as long as she could, doing her best to ignore the mounting fatigue and pain. But on the day after Christmas she collapsed in church, and was rushed to the hospital.

The doctors were able to revive her, and for two days her condition steadily improved. But on the third morning she took a sudden turn for the worse, and the doctors realized that she had only a matter of hours to live. At Edna's insistence, the nurses began to look for a priest.

But there was a complication. A huge blizzard had hit the town that morning, and traffic was paralyzed. The local pastor had rushed out early in the morning, hoping to get a few last-minute errands down before the snow arrived; he had miscalculated, and was now stuck in a snowbank several miles away, unlikely to return before nightfall. No other priest lived close enough to the hospital to make it through the snow on time.

Edna was drifting in an out of consciousness, but when she was awake she was lucid. She was hounding the staff: "Have you found a priest for me yet?"

Fortunately, someone remembered hearing that a young priest was spending his vacation at his sister's home just a few blocks from the hospital. The nurses tracked him down, and the young priest quickly agreed to come bring the sacraments to a dying woman.

When he entered the room, the priest saw a wizened little grey-haired woman asleep in her bed. He thought he would awaken her gently by whispering her name. But when he saw the name listed on the chart on the foot of her bed, he blurted it out aloud: "Edna Costello!"

Edna opened her eyes. "Oh, Father," she wheezed, "thank God you're here!"

"Thank God you're here," said Father Tom Brown. "You're the reason I'm a priest!"

25 December 2010

The Incarnation


ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin; Grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

24 December 2010

A Visit to the Christmas Crib


In the Name + of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

OUR FATHER.    HAIL, MARY.    GLORY BE.

V. The Word was made Flesh. R. And dwelt among us.

O Divine Redeemer Jesus Christ, kneeling before thy crib, I believe that thou art the God of infinite majesty, even though I see thee here as a helpless babe. Humbly I adore and thank thee for having so humbled thyself for my salvation as to will to be born in a stable. I thank thee for all thou didst wish to suffer for me in Bethlehem, for thy poverty and humility, for thy nakedness, tears, cold and sufferings.

Would that I could show thee that tenderness which thy Virgin Mother had toward thee, and love thee as she loved thee. Would that I could praise thee with the joy of the angels; that I could kneel before thee with the faith of Saint Joseph; the simplicity of the shepherds. Uniting myself with these first worshippers at the crib, I offer thee the homage of my heart, and I beg that thou wouldest be born spiritually in my soul. Give me, I pray thee, the virtues of thy blessed Nativity.

Fill me with that spirit of renuniciation, of poverty, of humility, which prompted thee to assume the weakness of our nature, and to be born amid destitution and suffering. Grant that from this day forward I may in all things seek thy greater glory, and may enjoy that peace promised to men of good will.

Sweet Babe of Bethlehem, I praise thee, I bless thee, I thank thee. I love thee with all my heart. I desire to worship thee, and to be like thee in all thy holy and blessed ways.

O Holy Mary, as I here adore thy Divine Son, pray for all little children, that they may be protected from all harm and danger, and that they may grow in grace and in favour with God and man.

We pray thee, O Father, that the holy joy of Christmas may fill our minds with thoughts of peace, and our hearts with a sense of thy great love: hasten the time when war being done away, we may love as brethren, and bring in the reign of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In the Name + of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Relic of the Manger

St. Francis and the Creche

Chapel of the Crib at Greccio

It was in a grotto at Greccio, on Christmas Eve in 1223, that St. Francis created a crèche depicting the birth of our Savior. It was a simple affair, but as word spread throughout the area the people began to arrive with torches and candles. There they heard the Poor Man of Assisi read the Gospel telling of Christ's birth in Bethlehem, and he preached about Jesus taking poverty upon Himself, so that we might become rich in our love for God.

Since that time, the scene has been recreated in our homes and in our churches, in places public and private, allowing us to "go to Bethlehem, to see this great thing which has come to pass..."

This is the contemporary account written by St. Thomas of Celano, a follower of St. Francis:

Francis’ highest intention, his chief desire, his uppermost purpose was to observe the holy Gospel in all things and through all things and, with perfect vigilance, with all zeal, with all the longing of his mind and all the fervor of his heart, "to follow the teaching and the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ." He would recall Christ’s word through persistent meditation and bring to mind his deeds through the most penetrating consideration. The humility of the incarnation and the charity of the passion occupied his memory particularly, to the extent that he wanted to think of hardly anything else.

What he did on the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ near the little town called Greccio in the third year before his glorious death should especially be noted and recalled with reverent memory. In that place there was a certain man by the name of John, of good reputation and an even better life, whom blessed Francis loved with a special love, for in the place where he lived he held a noble and honorable position in as much as he had trampled upon the nobility of his birth and pursued nobility of soul.

Blessed Francis sent for this man, as he often did, about fifteen days before the birth of the Lord, and he said to him: "If you want us to celebrate the present fast of our Lord at Greccio, go with haste and diligently prepare what I tell you. For I wish to do something that will recall to memory the little Child who was born in Bethlehem and set before our bodily eyes in some way the inconveniences of his infant needs, how he lay in a manger, how, with an ox and an ass standing by, he lay upon the hay where he had been placed.” When the good and faithful man heard these things, he ran with haste and prepared in that place all the things the saint had told him.

But the day of joy drew near, the time of great rejoicing came. The brothers were called from their various places. Men and women of that neighborhood prepared with glad hearts, according to their means, candles and torches to light up that night that has lighted up all the days and years with its gleaming star. At length the saint of God came, and finding all things prepared, he saw it and was glad. the manger was prepared, the hay had been brought, the ox and ass were led in. There simplicity was honored, poverty was exalted, humility was commended, and Greccio was made, as it were, a new Bethlehem. The night was lighted up like the day, and it delighted men and beasts. The people came and were filled with new joy over the new mystery. The woods rang with the voices of the crowd and the rocks made answer to their jubilation. The brothers sang, paying their debt of praise to the Lord, and the whole night resounded with their rejoicing. The saint of God stood before the manger, uttering sighs, overcome with love, and filled with a wonderful happiness. The solemnities of the Mass were celebrated over the manger and the priest experienced a new consolation.

The saint of God was clothed with the vestments of the deacon, for he was a deacon, and he sang the holy Gospel in a sonorous voice. And his voice was a strong voice, a sweet voice, a clear voice, a sonorous voice, inviting all to the highest rewards. Then he preached to the people standing about, and he spoke charming words concerning the nativity of the poor king and the little town of Bethlehem. Frequently too, when he wished to call Christ Jesus, he would call him simply the Child of Bethlehem, aglow with overflowing love for him; and speaking the word Bethlehem, his voice was more like the bleating of a sheep. His mouth was filled more with sweet affection than with words. Besides, when he spoke the name Child of Bethlehem or Jesus, his tongue licked his lips, as it were, relishing and savoring with pleased palate the sweetness of the word. The gifts of the Almighty were multiplied there, and a wonderful vision was seen by a certain virtuous man. For he saw a little child lying in the manger lifeless, and he saw the holy man of God go up to it and rouse the child as from a deep sleep. This vision was not unfitting, for the Child Jesus had been forgotten in the hearts of many; but, by the working of his grace, he was brought to life again through his servant St. Francis and stamped upon their fervent memory. At length the solemn night celebration was brought to a close, and each one returned to his home with holy joy.

The hay that had been placed in the manger was kept, so that the Lord might save the beasts of burden and other animals through it as he multiplied his holy mercy. And in truth it so happened that many animals throughout the surrounding region that had various illnesses were freed from their illnesses after eating of this hay. Indeed, even women laboring for a long time in a difficult birth, were delivered safely when some of this hay was placed upon them; and a large number of persons of both sexes of that place, suffering from various illnesses, obtained the health they sought. later, the place on which the manger had stood was made sacred by a temple of the Lord, and an altar was built in honour of the most blessed father Francis over the manger and a church was built, so that where once the animals had eaten the hay, there in the future men would eat unto health of soul and body the flesh of the Lamb without blemish and without spot, our Lord Jesus Christ, who in highest and ineffable love gave himself to us, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, God, eternally glorious, forever and ever. Amen. Alleluia, Alleluia.
The most important section of the sanctuary at Greccio is the Chapel of the Crib, which was built in the present form in 1228. A rock under the altar indicates the place where Francis arranged the manger. The cave wall is surrounded by a fresco from the school of Giotto. It shows Francis wearing the dalmatic of a deacon and taking into his arms the infant Jesus.

22 December 2010

Towards Unity


"When all things were in quiet silence and night was in the midst of her swift course, thine Almighty Word, O Lord, leaped down from heaven out of thy royal throne…" and that Word took flesh untainted by sin from the Virgin chosen from the beginning of time. It was done for the healing of that tragic rift between God and Man.

God created all things to be in perfect unity. He made the universe as a reflection of His own divine order. He created Man in His own image, to be in perfect communion with Him. But through the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, disorder entered into the world, and perfect communion was broken. And ever since that time, there has been a tendency in the natural order of things for there to be disintegration, the breakdown of things, a crumbling. Sadly, what should be unnatural has become all too normal in the world around us, and within us, and even within the Church.

Christ founded the Church to be One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic – and so it is. But our sin has caused division, and that’s a clear contradiction to the Divine Will of our Lord. While there may well be an invisible spiritual communion deeper than we know, especially through the bonds of baptism, nonetheless there is to be a visible communion, too, because that’s the Will of Christ, and the constant invitation from God is that we work and pray to build up both the spiritual and visible unity of Christ’s Body.

It’s this purpose – the building up of unity – which is outlined at the very beginning of Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum coetibus. In fact, this stated purpose is sometimes glossed over in our search for the particulars of the Personal Ordinariates. We tend to look at the details of how they’ll be established, and of who can belong, and of what the liturgy will be like, and of who can be ordained – indeed, any number of other details.

But all that neglects the reason for the Holy Father’s great generosity: and that is, to help bring about the prayer of Christ “that they all may be one.” It’s not accidental that the first three paragraphs of the Apostolic Constitution speak of the Church as “a people gathered into the unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” and that the Church was instituted by Christ as “a sacrament…of communion with God and of unity among all people,” and that this Church is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him. Then, recognizing that there are “many elements of sanctification and of truth [which] are found outside her visible confines,” he says that these “are forces impelling towards Catholic unity.”

What had been broken, the Holy Father is inviting us to repair. The communion that has been impaired, he asks us to restore. The fellowship which has been strained, he asks us to strengthen.

God’s Incarnate Love came into this world by Our Lady’s “yes,” and it would gladden her heart for her children to be one again. She, who stood beside the Cross and saw her Son in agony, would be comforted by us taking away this pain of separation. There are few things that touch a mother’s heart more, than to see her whole family together at one table. This is why the Holy Father has given us the Apostolic Constitution: so that we can put division behind us, and join together with one voice and one heart in “that most holy cause, the preaching of the Gospel” to the whole world.

“Lord Jesus, make us one, as you and the Father are one.” Amen.

20 December 2010

Getting ready...


Preparations have begun to get the church ready for the Christmas celebrations.  Slowly, the subdued feeling of Advent is giving way to the joy of the Holy Nativity, as the transformation of the sanctuary and nave takes place.  It gives a real sense of transition from one season to another, as we remain in the purple vestments of Advent, while being surrounded by the first outward signs of Christmas.

The schedule for Christmas is as follows:

Christmas Eve
Sung Mass at 5:00 p.m.
Choral Music at 11:00 p.m.
Solemn Mass and Procession of the Christ Child at 11:30 p.m.

Christmas Day
Sung Mass at 10:00 a.m.

Feast of the Holy Family (Sunday, 26th December)
Low Mass at 7:30 a.m.
Sung Masses at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
Latin Mass (O.F) at 6:00 p.m.

19 December 2010

Just do it, already!


Yet another article from Fr. Z about a priest celebrating Mass ad orientem.

My standard response written a few years ago.

Honestly, just do it!

18 December 2010

Fourth Sunday of Advent

The Dream of St. Joseph by Georges La Tour

We beseech thee, Almighty God, to purify our consciences by thy daily visitation, that when thy Son our Lord cometh he may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

17 December 2010

Newman shrine getting closer...




Yesterday the completed painting of Blessed John Henry Newman arrived, and it will soon be installed in the shrine which is presently being constructed.  Although it's not yet framed and just leaning against the wall in my office, I couldn't resist taking a picture.  The painting is five feet tall, and depicts Cardinal Newman standing in his study at Littlemore.  When the shrine is completed I'll have more (and better) pictures.

Late Advent


Today is the first day of Late Advent, and we begin the great “O Antiphons,” which lead up to the Vigil of the Nativity. Each antiphon highlights a title for the Messiah: O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Lord), O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Rising Sun), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), and O Emmanuel, and they are taken from the prophecy of Isaiah concerning the coming of the Messiah.

The order of the antiphons isn't accidental. If we work backwards, beginning with the last title and take the first letter of each antiphon -- Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia -- the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, “Tomorrow, I will come.” The Lord Jesus, whose coming we have prepared for in Advent and to whom we refer in these seven Messianic titles, tells us: “Tomorrow, I will come.”

14 December 2010

In Washington, D.C.


I've been in Washington, D.C. for the past few days.  The members of The Papal Foundation are marvellous -- a dedicated group of Catholic laity who take the responsibility of their personal resources very seriously, by giving generous financial support to the work of the Holy Father, and they're equally serious in their personal spiritual lives.  Mass yesterday morning was at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, where I concelebrated with Cardinal McCarrick in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, after which I joined several other priests in hearing confessions.

I was invited to speak about the coming Ordinariate, and there was great interest and support for what the Holy Father is preparing to do through Anglicanorum coetibus.  The talk opened up lots of opportunities for private conversations about the movement of Anglicans into full communion with the Catholic Church, and what seemed strange to people when we began nearly thirty years ago, now is more fully understood and appreciated.  All in all, this opportunity to speak to the Foundation has helped tremendously in getting the word out concerning the coming Ordinariates.  Most people had read about it, but to hear from a "real live person" about it makes a big difference.

This morning we went to the office of the Archdiocese for Military Services, where I concelebrated Mass with Archbishop Timothy Broglio, who is a delightful and dedicated bishop.  It was a great opportunity to learn more about the Church's ministry to our men and women in military service, and it was especially meaningful to me, with so many in the parish who are in this service to our nation.

Later this afternoon we'll be going to the Papal Nunciature, where we'll attend a reception and dinner hosted by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America.  That occasion will end with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, and then... back to San Antonio!

I've been traveling a lot lately, and I'm looking forward to getting back.  Of course, in a little over a month several of us will be making another pilgrimage to the Holy Land... then the "Becoming One" gathering in Kansas City in February...  hmmm... I guess I'd better keep my suitcase where I can reach it easily.

12 December 2010

In the air again...


No, I'm not like St. Joseph Cupertino or St. Pio of Pietrelcina, enabled by God to levitate.  I'm taking the normal mode of transportation to Washington, D.C., where I'll be speaking at the Winter Meeting of The Papal Foundation, telling the members about Anglicanorum coetibus, and explaining a bit about the Ordinariate which will be established.  I'll be returning to San Antonio on Tuesday evening, and I'd be grateful for your prayers for safe travel.

08 December 2010

Consecration to the Immaculate Heart


Our parish consecrated itself to Mary's Immaculate Heart during the first year of its establishment, and we renew the consecration every year on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

O Mary, Virgin most powerful and Mother of mercy, Queen of Heaven and Refuge of sinners; we consecrate ourselves to thy Immaculate Heart. We consecrate to thee our very being and our whole life: all that we have, all that we love, all that we are. To thee we give our bodies, our hearts, and our souls; to thee we give our homes, our families, and our country. We desire that all that is in us and around us may belong to thee, and may share in the benefits of thy motherly blessing. And that this act of consecration may be truly fruitful and lasting, we renew this day at thy feet the promises of our Baptism and our First Holy Communion.

We pledge ourselves to profess courageously and at all times the truths of our holy Faith, and to live as befits Catholics, who are submissive to all directions of the Pope and the Bishops in communion with him. We pledge ourselves to keep the commandments of God and of His Church, in particular to keep holy the Lord’s Day. We pledge ourselves to make the consoling practices of the Christian religion, and above all, Holy Communion, an important part of our lives, in so far as we are able to do.

Finally, we promise thee, O glorious Mother of God and loving Mother of men, to devote ourselves wholeheartedly to the spreading of devotion to thy Immaculate Heart, in order to hasten and assure, through thy queenly rule, the coming of the Kingdom of the Sacred Heart of thine adorable Son Jesus Christ, in our own country, and in all the world; as in Heaven, so on earth. Amen.

A Different Christmas Poem

I know we're not even half-way through Advent, so it's a little early for Christmas poems, but someone sent me this link, and I can't help but share it.  Warning: it may cause a tear or two...

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception


O God, who in the foreknowledge of thy Son’s most precious death didst consecrate for him a dwelling-place by the spotless Conception of the Blessed Virgin: mercifully grant that she who was preserved from all defilement; may evermore pray for us until we attain unto thee in purity of heart; through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Low Mass at 7:00 a.m.
Sung Masses at 9:15 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.

07 December 2010

Sessions at St. Mary's

If you'd like to hear the talks from the Ordinariate information day at St. Mary of the Angels in Los Angeles, go here.

The recording of the first session is rather muffled for the first 33 minutes, but the quality then improves dramatically for the rest of the recordings.

Sixty-nine years ago...

06 December 2010

St. Nicholas of Myra


Relic of St. Nicholas, in the Lady Chapel.


Almighty God, who in thy love didst give to thy servant St. Nicholas of Myra a perpetual name for deeds of kindness both on land and sea: Grant, we pray thee, that thy Church may never cease to work for the happiness of children, the safety of sailors, the relief of the poor, and the help of those tossed by tempests of doubt or grief; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

29 November 2010

"Reflections on Becoming One"


Fr. William "Doc" Holiday posted a terrific article titled "Reflections on Becoming One" over on The Anglo-Catholic blog.  You can read it here.

28 November 2010

Advent


Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

27 November 2010

Pray for the Unborn

Monstrance in the Sacred Heart Chapel, with the Host

The Holy Father has asked all Catholics to pray, especially today on the Vigil of the beginning of Advent, for all infants in the womb.  He refers to "nascent life," indicating that even at the moment of conception, there is a new human life -- a child of God -- who is to be protected and prayed for.

Offer your rosary prayers today for this intention, and in union with the Pope.  It's especially effective to pray before the Blessed Sacrament.  There are many Adoration Chapels, including our own Sacred Heart Chapel, where the Lord Jesus Christ is waiting for us to come for adoration and prayer.

25 November 2010

Thanksgiving Day


On this day when our nation has paused to give thanks to our gracious God, we should hear the words of President Abraham Lincoln which he spoke in 1863, in his now-famous Thanksgiving Proclamation, the proclamation which made this a national day of thanksgiving. His words about the suffering caused by war, and the terrible cost of war, are as immediate to us as they were then; his call for national unity are as necessary for us today as they were then; his call for us to remember God and the blessings we receive from him are more appropriate than ever:

“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”
Those are the words of one of our greatest presidents. May we, on this day, be thankful – but not just “generally thankful.” Let’s be thankful to Almighty God, who has given us the benefit of His love, and His grace, and may his blessing be with you and with your families.

24 November 2010

"Becoming One" Report from Canada


The following report was sent by Canon Richard Harris, an Anglican (TAC) priest in Canada, describing his experience at the recent "Becoming One" gathering in San Antonio. Perhaps his enthusiasm is contagious, and we'll hear of other such gatherings being organized in other places…?

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“Becoming One”
Our Lady of the Atonement Parish
San Antonio, Texas
November 16-18, 2010

I have to begin by saying that if someone had told me what I was to encounter at Our Lady of the Atonement it could not have prepared me for what I actually experienced. Yes, it is the most robust parish of the US Pastoral Provision parishes, but. . .! This parish that began in 1983 with eighteen parishioners, one priest and no building is now a thriving institution with four Masses on a Sunday, daily Masses, an incredible campus, and a top-rated day school of 550 students in pre-K to grade 12. The school (Atonement Academy) deserves a write-up of its own.

This conference was billed as an opportunity for those in the US who are interested to learn more about what Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Constitution has to offer to those in the various Anglican bodies there. Everyone was welcomed, whether in the Traditional Anglican Communion, another of the Continuing Anglican bodies, The Episcopal Church, or the US Pastoral Provision Parishes. When Bishop Botterill and I (Canon Richard Harris) decided to attend we knew that, as Canadians, we’d be the odd ducks there. But we were welcomed with open arms even though we were not the specific target of the conference.

There were three basic aspects of the conference: worship, presentations by some of the Pastoral Provision clergy and Fr. Scott Hurd, the official representative of Cardinal Wuerl, who is in turn the CDF’s designated liaison in the US, and fellowship. On “the way forward” we heard how the C.D.F., with input from those raised in the Anglican tradition, are putting the final touches on the “crash courses” that will be offered to the Anglican laity and clergy who wish to join the Ordinariates when they are established. As announced by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales the English Ordinariate will be established in a few short months and we will benefit from their experience as they break new ground. The formation programme for laity will involve study at the parish level of some aspects of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that Anglicans may not have been exposed to, and the “intensive” study programme being prepared for the clergy will ensure that they are ready for ordination as Catholic priests in a matter of weeks rather than years. Follow up reading programmes for the Ordinariate clergy will complete their academic formation.

Worship at Our Lady of the Atonement was in every way as Anglican as you could ask for. While the building that houses OLA is of recent vintage, it is what any Anglo-Catholic parish would hope for. There are pictures and all sorts of information on their web site. The liturgy was in every respect appropriate and executed in a way that caught one up into the presence of the heavenly kingdom. The schedule included everything: Low Mass, the Offices, a Mass for those of us who are yet to be one with the wider Catholic Church, a High Mass in Latin, with music provided by the very large, award-winning school choir. All was done in decency and order. The High Mass is a daily event for the Academy, but because of the large contingent from the conference not all of the students who are ordinarily present could attend. A special service was laid on for the others in one of the chapels in the extensive buildings. The students took our presence in stride, with almost unbelievable order, silence and reverence. We were very much their guests, in their space, for their service!

The presentations were enthusiastic and encouraging. They came from priests who were former Episcopalians who had made the transition to the Pastoral Provision. The exceptions were Bishop Moyer of our TAC and of course Fr. Hurd, who also began his ministry as an Episcopal Church priest. It was Fr. Hurd who provided most of the information we needed to hear, most importantly a time line for the implementation of the Ordinariates. He was able also to clarify some of the confusion as to who is in charge and what the responsibilities of the various players actually are. Without going into endless detail, suffice it to say that those who spoke left me with the sense that things are indeed happening and that the end product will be very much what we have hoped for. Bishop Botterill was even given the opportunity to address the gathered throng at our last dinner together. One comment from our host, Fr.Christopher Phillips, was very encouraging to me. He reported that for the students and anybody else who has been worshipping at OLA for any length of time, our beloved Prayer of Humble Access is considered simply a part of the Catholic Mass. “We pray that prayer. Doesn’t everyone?” That prayer aside, not everything in the Pastoral Provision rite was as felicitously worded as our Book of Common Prayer, but there was little if anything to find serious fault with. For anyone who has worried that Anglicans may lose their “identity” as part of the much larger Catholic Church, spending time with Fr. Phillips, who has now spent thirty years as one of a small handful of Anglican priests who joined the Anglican Use of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, that worry quickly disappears. He and his parish are much more “Anglican” in their charism and identity than any of the Forward in Faith parishes in the Church of England.

Fellowship was part and parcel of the whole event. From the drivers who ferried us from airport to motel or from the motel to OLA and back again, from the other participants, from the students, from the Academy staff, from some who were there for no apparent reason, there was always a warm and welcome interchange. I had the privilege of conversing with Jeff, the first van driver, a remarried widower with (now) seventeen children, also with an unmarried US Army officer, as well as the headmaster and staff of the Academy, two honour students who were there to pass out and collect the various service booklets, a Vietnamese priest from San Diego whose parish had just voted to leave the Episcopal church and join the TAC, the lovely priest and his family from Indianapolis who had driven two days to be in San Antonio, the other Canadians (from Calgary and Toronto) who were present, other TAC bishops whose names I’ve often heard mentioned, including Archbishop Falk, five nuns of Mother Anglica’s order (the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration) who have started a new work in San Antonio, and finally many other clergy and lay folks there. It was fellowship in worship, learning and common cause through and through!

One last observation: I don’t think I’ve ever attended an event where everything went so smoothly. If it was announced that someone would meet us or drive us or feed us or speak to us, that person was always there on time and ready to accommodate.

Do check out the OLA web site, both church and school. They’ve left me eager to get on with the implementation of Anglicanorum Coetibus without delay! If the purpose of the Conference was to fire up interest in the Ordinariate, they succeeded.

23 November 2010

Welcome, Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller


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The Archbishop preaching at his Mass of Installation

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ALMIGHTY God, and most merciful Father, who, of thine infinite goodness, hast given thy only and dearly beloved Son Jesus Christ, to be our Redeemer, and the Author of everlasting life; who, after that he had made perfect our redemption by his death, and was ascended into heaven, poured down his gifts abundantly upon men, making some Apostles, some Prophets, some Evangelists, some Pastors and Doctors, to the edifying and making perfect his Church; Grant, we beseech thee, to thy servant Gustavo, such grace, that he may evermore be ready to spread abroad thy Gospel, the glad tidings of reconciliation with thee; and use the authority given him, not to destruction, but to salvation; not to hurt, but to help: so that, as a wise and faithful servant, giving to thy family their portion in due season, he may at last be received into everlasting joy; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who, with thee and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end. Amen.

21 November 2010

Another article on "Becoming One"

This article appeared on VirtueOnline:

SAN ANTONIO, TX: Ordinariate-bound Anglicans meet in Texas
Mary Ann Mueller in San Antonio
Special Correspondent
http://www.virtueonline.org/
November 20, 2010

A year ago Pope Benedict XVI unveiled Anglicanorum Coetibus opening wide the doors of the Catholic Church to allow Anglicans, world wide, to freely enter and embrace the fullness of their Catholicity while maintaining cherished elements of their own Anglican heritage and spirituality in unique Anglican ordinariates scattered around the world.

Little by little, isolated pockets of Anglicans started to communicate with the Vatican. They became headline news as they sought come into full communion with Rome. When Anglicanorum Coetibus was promulgated, the Anglican Use parishes were the first to line up seeking entry into the Pope's promised Anglican Ordinariate. They were followed by the bishops of the Anglican Church in America –the US branch of the Traditional Anglican Communion. Religious communities, such as the Episcopal All Saints Sisters of the Poor, and individual Anglo-Catholic congregations, such as Mount Calvary in Baltimore, and St. Barnabas in Omaha also inched their way toward Rome and the Ordinariate.

Seeing all these various Episcopal and Anglican groups being identified, the Rev. Christopher Phillips, the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Anglican Use Catholic Church in San Antonio, wondered if he invited everyone who was eventually headed into the US Anglican Ordinariate to a special gathering ... would anyone come? He thought perhaps 20 to 25 and maybe even 30.

So an invitation was issued to all groups and individuals to come to Texas and get to know each other because, eventually, they would become one Roman Catholic family with Benedict XVI as their Holy Father.

And they came ... bishops, priests, deacons, seminarians, abbots, monks, nuns, hermits, vestry members and the faithful. Inside their breasts beats an Anglican heart, but for their soul's sake they find themselves swimming the Tiber to live out their catholicity within the Bark of Peter.

And they came ... from Texas, California, Florida, Wisconsin, Indiana, Virginia, Nevada, Kentucky, Arkansas, the Carolinas, Tennessee, New Jersey, Washington, Illinois, Arizona, and Nova Scotia.

They came to pray and to have fellowship, to break bread together, to listen and to learn, to ask questions and be encouraged, to hear words of wisdom from the trailblazers, to find like-mindedness and a commonality in faith and practice, to come together as one in Christ and to begin to become one spiritual family within the Roman Catholic Church.

More than 125 responded to Fr. Phillips' invitation to come to the "Becoming One" gathering.

Nearly 100 clergy - deacons, priests and bishops - filled the various rooms at Atonement Academy and spilled into the halls. Most priests were wearing their black clerical suits: some priests were comfortable in their cassocks, which is Fr. Phillips' normal attire. He made his commanding presence known as he mingled among his honored guests and visitors, many of whom he had never met before.

Telltale flashes of purple identified the bishops in the group. All deacons, priests and bishops were male. The women in ministry were represented by fully-habited Poor Claire nuns, other Religious Sisters, and veiled hermitesses. Several male Religious, also in their long flowing habits, were part of the Becoming One gathering.

Unified prayer was ultimately the central focus of the three-day event. Several times throughout each day the Opus Dei - the work of God - called all to prayer. Simultaneous services of Holy Communion were held in the church and chapel to accommodate the students and guests, whose numbers were greater than could be seated at one time in the main sanctuary. Morning Prayer, Evensong and Compline were also prayerfully celebrated as a unified corporate voice was lifted in joint prayer and praise to God.

They found hope when they realized theirs is not a unique story and that they are not alone in their struggle to remain committed to the uncompromising faith once delivered unto the Saints. They found that as their prayer was unified, their struggle to remain faithful was also unified.

---Mary Ann Mueller is a journalist living in Texas. She is a regular contributor to VirtueOnline
 You can read the original here.

Christ the King


The Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe, was dragged before a minor earthly ruler, Pilate, and was asked the question, “Are you a king, then?”  Such a simple question it was, and yet so fertile; as a seed bursting with the beginning of life when it falls into good soil is able to produce a harvest beyond imagining, so Christ’s answer to Pilate's question (if it had been met with some glimmer of grace, some hint of human charity) might have lifted the life of that petty potentate into the upper reaches of God’s glory, for our Lord told him “My kingdom is not of this world...”  But that, Pilate could not grasp, and so instead has been immortalized with the phrase, “...suffered under Pontius Pilate...” which describes the death of the King he could never understand.  We, however, have been given to know that kingdom “not of this world,” and so have been spared the blindness which afflicted Pilate.  In the cross we see a throne; in the thorns we see a crown; in the wounded side we see a gateway to Christ’s kingdom, which is eternal.

20 November 2010

More on "Becoming One"


This link will take you to The Anglo-Catholic blog, and there are more links within the article, along with more pictures.

19 November 2010

Can we be far behind?

This wonderful news was published today:

Implementation of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus
The Establishment of a Personal Ordinariate in England and Wales

Much has been achieved over many years as a result of the dialogue and the fruitful ecumenical relations which have developed between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. Obedient to the prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ to His Heavenly Father, the unity of the Church remains a constant desire in the vision and life of Anglicans and Catholics. The prayer for Christian Unity is the prayer for the gift of full communion with each other. We must never tire of praying and working for this goal.

During his visit to the United Kingdom in September, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI was therefore keen to stress that the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus: "…should be seen as a prophetic gesture that can contribute positively to the developing relations between Anglicans and Catholics. It helps us to set our sights on the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity: the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all."i

It is now just over one year since the Apostolic Constitution was published. The Pope’s initiative provided for the establishment of personal Ordinariates as one of the ways in which members of the Anglican tradition may seek to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. As the Holy Father stated at that time, he was responding to petitions received "repeatedly and insistently"ii by him from groups of Anglicans wishing "to be received into full communion individually as well as corporately."iii Since then, it has become clear that a number of Anglican clergy and their faithful do indeed wish to bring their desire for full ecclesial communion with the Catholic Church to realisation within an Ordinariate structure.

In collaboration with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in Rome, the Bishops of England and Wales have been preparing for the establishment of an Ordinariate early in January 2011. Although there may be practical difficulties in the months ahead, the Bishops are working to address these at a national and local level.

Five Anglican Bishops who currently intend to enter the Ordinariate have already announced their decision to resign from pastoral ministry in the Church of England with effect from 31 December 2010. They will enter into full communion with the Catholic Church early in January 2011. During the same month, it is expected that the Decree establishing the Ordinariate will be issued and the name of the Ordinary to be appointed announced. Soon afterwards, those non-retired former Anglican Bishops whose petitions to be ordained are accepted by the CDF, will be ordained to the Catholic Diaconate and Priesthood for service in the Ordinariate.

It is expected that the retired former Anglican Bishops whose petitions to be ordained are accepted by the CDF, will be ordained to the Catholic Diaconate and Priesthood prior to Lent. This will enable them, together with the Ordinary and the other former Anglican Bishops, to assist with the preparation and reception of former Anglican clergy and their faithful into full communion with the Catholic Church during Holy Week.

Before the beginning of Lent, those Anglican clergy with groups of faithful who have decided to enter the Ordinariate will then begin a period of intense formation for ordination as Catholic priests.

At the beginning of Lent, the groups of faithful together with their pastors will be enrolled as candidates for the Ordinariate. Then, at a date to be agreed between the Ordinary and the local diocesan Bishop, they will be received into the Catholic Church and confirmed. This will probably take place either during Holy Week, at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday or during the Easter Vigil. The period of formation for the faithful and their pastors will continue to Pentecost. Until then, these communities will be cared for sacramentally by local clergy as arranged by the diocesan Bishop and the Ordinary.

Around Pentecost, those former Anglican priests whose petitions for ordination have been accepted by the CDF will be ordained to the Catholic Priesthood. Ordination to the Diaconate will precede this at some point during Eastertide. Formation in Catholic theology and pastoral practice will continue for an appropriate amount of time after ordination.

In responding generously and offering a warm welcome to those seeking full ecclesial communion with the Catholic Church within the Ordinariate, the Bishops know that the clergy and faithful who are on that journey of faith will bring their own spiritual treasures which will further enrich the spiritual life of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. The Bishops will do all they can to ensure that there is effective and close collaboration with the Ordinariate both at diocesan and parish levels.

Finally, with the blessings and encouragement they have received from Pope Benedict’s recent Visit, the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales are resolved to continue their dialogue with other Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communities on that journey towards the communion in faith and the fullness of unity for which Christ prayed.


Footnotes

i Oscott College, 19 September 2010
ii Apostolic Constitution 'Anglicanorum Coetibus', 4 November 2009
iii ibid

18 November 2010

We had an amazing three days...


We just finished our "Becoming One" gathering, which brought together Anglicans and Catholics from all over the country -- people who are dedicated to being part of the Ordinariate when it's established for this country.

I don't know how to thank, in any adequate way, all those from the parish who worked tirelessly to make this an wonderful experience for everyone.

I posted several pictures over on The Anglo-Catholic blog, and I'm too lazy to post them here right now.  If you'd like to see them, go here.  I have more, and will get them posted when I catch up on all things I haven't done over these past three days.

15 November 2010

What's wrong with this picture?


Call me crazy, but has it come to this?  An airport security guard wearing a hijab, searching a Catholic nun...? 

Albertus Magnus


St. Albertus Magnus, also known as Albert the Great and "the teacher of everything there is to know" can be characterized as a "renaissance man" even before there was such a word. He was a grand thinker, prolific writer and distinguished philosopher during the period of the Middle Ages. One of his pupils was another brilliant mind, St. Thomas Aquinas. The topics that were influenced by him are incredibly diverse and include psychology, logic, metaphysics, meteorology, mineralogy and zoology.

O God, who gavest grace unto blessed Albert, thy bishop and doctor, to become great because of his subjection of this world’s wisdom to a childlike faith in thee: Grant us, we beseech thee; in such wise to follow his doctrine that finally we may enjoy the fullness of thy light in heaven; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

12 November 2010

Interview with Fr. Scott Hurd

Fr. Hurd has been appointed to assist Cardinal-designate Wuerl in preparing for the establishment of an Ordinariate in the United States.  He was interviewed by Raymond Arroyo on The World Over, and you can hear the interview by starting at the 11-minute point.

Next week's gathering...


We're looking forward to our "Becoming One" gathering next week.  Inquiries are still coming in, and the attendance seems to increase each day.  Of course, we're happy to welcome everyone who wants to come, although I want to emphasize that the primary purpose of the gathering is so that those who are committed to entering the Ordinariate can get to know one another better (thus the title "Becoming One").  We're not going to be debating the merits of the Ordinariate, so if anyone is coming for that purpose, don't bother.  You might as well save the plane fare.

Here's the schedule:

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 16

4:00-5:50pm - Hospitality time (snacks & soft drinks)
6:00pm - Evening Prayer
6:30pm - Reception (wine and refreshments)
7:00pm - Buffet supper
8:00pm - Greetings from various participants
9:00pm - Compline

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 17

There will be coffee and light snacks available throughout the morning; however, a Continental breakfast is available at the Comfort Inn for those who are staying there.

7:00am - Low Mass according to the Anglican Use
7:30am - Anglican Liturgy
8:15am - Morning Prayer
9:15am - Sung Mass (with the Academy faculty and students)
10:30am - Coffee and continental breakfast
11:00am - Session I – “The Road Taken: How We Arrived at the Threshold”
Noon - Lunch
1:00pm - Session II – “The Destination in Sight: Knock and It Shall Be Opened”
2:15pm - Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
3:00pm – Break for afternoon refreshments
3:40pm - Session III – “Just Around the Corner: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful”
5:00pm - Solemn Evensong
5:45pm - Reception (wine and refreshments)
6:45pm - Dinner
7:45pm - After dinner talk
8:45pm - Compline

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 18

There will be coffee and light snacks available throughout the morning; however, a Continental breakfast is available at the Comfort Inn for those who are staying there.

7:00am - Low Mass according to the Anglican Use
7:30am - Anglican Liturgy
8:15am - Morning Prayer
9:15am - Sung Mass (with Academy faculty and students)
10:30am - Coffee and continental breakfast
11:00am - Follow-up discussion and farewell

11 November 2010

Back home...

Just got back in San Antonio.

It's been a terrific trip -- a successful time at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Orlando, and several wonderful days with the students in Washington. We celebrated Mass this morning in one of the chapels in the crypt of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, then we spent some time at the National Gallery of Art. All the students decided they wanted to go to the top of the Washington Monument -- Deacon Orr and I decided lunch had a higher priority. We had a few hours left, so we wandered around the Air and Space Museum, the wonderful I. M. Pei building, and all the beauty that's found in Washington in the fall season.

Now it's back to work.  We've got a big meeting here next week...

09 November 2010

A great time with the students...


I'm so glad to be taking some time with our students, sharing the experience of being in Washington, D.C. together, celebrating Mass with them, and getting to know them is a setting so different from our day to day life at the school.

We saw lots of Capitol Hill today.  What an inspiring place, with its sense of history and importance.  Of course, Deacon Orr and I commented to one another that we felt particular relieved and safe since Congress isn't in session, and the President is out of the country!


We celebrated Mass at old St. Patrick's Church, which is the oldest Catholic parish in Washington, founded in the 1790's.

The afternoon was spent in and around Arlington Cemetery -- sobering and very moving.

I'll have access to pictures after I return to San Antonio, and I'll post a selection of them so you can see our terrific students having a great time in our nation's capitol.

08 November 2010

Meeting in Orlando


I'm writing from Washington, D.C. — well, actually from Alexandria, Virginia, where our hotel is — because I'm here with a group of Middle School students from the parish. I came here last night, directly from Orlando, Florida. I'd spent a couple of days with the very fine clergy and delightful people of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (ACA). It was my privilege to preach at their Sunday morning Mass, and then I was given the opportunity to speak at the parish meeting which followed. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss Anglicanorum coetibus, and what it means for the future of their parish. There were lots of good questions, great interest, and some real excitement as they get closer to their vote, which will be taking place in not very many weeks.

I think it was helpful for them to hear about the experiences of those of us in the Anglican Use, as we've been living out our Anglican patrimony in the Catholic Church for nearly thirty years. Of course, there are always a few who are looking for the "downside" of things, but the overwhelming response I heard was positive and thankful.

Please do keep the clergy and people of the Cathedral of the Incarnation in your prayers, as they prepare not only for their parish's vote, but more importantly, for their parish's future.

05 November 2010

On the go...


Tomorrow morning (Saturday, November 6th) I'll be flying to Orlando, where I'll be spending a couple of days with the folks at the Anglican Cathedral of the Incarnation.  I'm scheduled to preach at their morning service, and then speak to those who will be attending a parish meeting which is preparatory to their decision about becoming part of the Ordinariate when it is established. 

Late in the afternoon on Sunday, I'll be flying from Orlando to Washington, D.C., where I'll join several of our students who will have already arrived there.  We'll be visiting the great sites of national importance, of course, but this is also a pilgrimage and we will be spending time in the many places of importance to us as Catholics.

I'll be back home in the parish Thursday night.

01 November 2010

A Prayer for our Country


Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favour and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

All Souls


O God, whose mercies cannot be numbered: Accept our prayers on behalf of thy servants departed, and grant them an entrance into the land of light and joy, in the fellowship of thy saints; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

All Saints

The Pantheon, built originally in 27 B.C. and rebuilt by the Emperor Hadrian c. 126 A.D. to honor pagan Roman gods, was consecrated by Pope Boniface VI and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and All Martyrs ca. 609, thus beginning the commemoration of All Saints.

O Almighty God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord: Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys which thou hast prepared for those who unfeignedly love thee; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, in glory everlasting.   Amen.

30 October 2010

Mark your calendar...


In addition to the Masses on November 2, All Souls Day, at 7 p.m. there will be Solemn Evensong, followed by a presentation of John Rutter's Requiem.  The Festival Choir and the Academy Honors Choir will be accompanied by orchestra and organ for this remarkable work.  Don't miss it!

Pentecost XXIII


Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector, and rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not, on account of the crowd, because he was small of stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today." So he made haste and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it they all murmured, "He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner." And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any one of anything, I restore it fourfold." And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost."


-St. Luke 19:1-10

Almighty and merciful God, of whose only gift it cometh that thy faithful people do unto thee true and laudable service: Grant, we beseech thee, that we may run without stumbling to obtain thy heavenly promises; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.