In the Sacred Heart Chapel
beginning at 7:30 a.m. each Friday,
continuing until 7:15 a.m. on Sunday.
[Jesus] looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury; and he saw a poor widow put in two copper coins. And he said, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all the living that she had."We know exactly where Jesus was when he said this. In the Temple there were the various Courts – the Court of the Gentiles, the Court of the Women, the Court of the Israelites, the Court of the Priests, all gathered around the Holy of Holies. A person would go through these various Courts to get to the next one, as far as he was allowed. In this particular passage, Jesus was speaking in the Court of the Women. Men could be there, but women could go no further. Located there were thirteen collecting boxes known as the Trumpets. They were shaped like trumpets with the narrow part at the top and the wider part at the foot. Each one was assigned to offerings for a different purpose - for the wood that was used to burn the sacrifice, for the incense that was burned on the altar, for the upkeep of the golden vessels, and so on. It was near these Trumpets that Jesus was sitting.
-St. Luke 21:1-4
Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in thy well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
O God, by whose providence the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church: Grant that we who remember before thee St. Andrew Dung-Lac and his Companions, the Holy Martyrs of Vietnam, may, like them, be steadfast in our faith in Jesus Christ, to whom they gave obedience even unto death, and by their sacrifice brought forth a plentiful harvest; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Almighty and gracious Father, we give thee thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we beseech thee, faithful stewards of thy great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
I grew up on a farm in Connecticut. It wasn’t like one of those high-class places in the movies. No pristine white rail fences, just plain old barbed wire to keep the livestock off the road. The house had sections which pre-dated the American Revolution, but it couldn’t have passed as elegant. It was just comfortable, as well-used farm houses are comfortable.
We shared it with my grandparents. Families used to do that sort of thing. They lived in one part, and we had ours. Visiting them was as easy as walking through a door from our front room into their kitchen, and it was a route I knew well as a child.
In my grandparents' part of the house there was what was known as the back room, which had been a bedroom when my father was growing up. The reason for its demotion from bedroom to back room was evident: its location in the northeast corner of the house gave it little protection from howling winter winds, and since insulation was nearly unknown when the house was built, it was pretty darned cold in there. Certainly no place someone would want for a bedroom, if it could be helped.
Its changed status meant that it became a repository for everything that had no other place to be put. It became my treasure-trove. Old pictures, Nana’s unwanted knick-knacks, boxes with forgotten contents, all of it found its final resting place in there.
There were two things in the back room that I came close to coveting. One was an oval-shaped bas-relief carving of the Descent of Christ from the Cross. How such a thing found its way into the possession of a protestant family, I’ll never know. But I loved it, and when I asked my grandmother if I could have it, for some reason she told me that if I was ever ordained I could claim it. I was, and I did, and it hangs in my rectory to this day. The second thing was a book, a very particular book which had belonged to my English great-grandmother, who had been staunchly Anglican. It was a combined Book of Common Prayer (1662 edition) and the Holy Bible (King James Version), and although my family subsequently wandered off into Methodism, they had kept this book because it had been Nana’s. Its leather binding was cracked, but not badly. There was an ornate brass cross attached to its front cover. I wanted it very much, and it was given to me. So began my love affair with the formality of Anglican prayers and with the Holy Scriptures.
It seems odd that a ten year old boy would be able to find something of God within cracked leather and yellowed pages, but I did. It was as close as I had to a Real Presence, and my inability to understand all the words emphasized the Mystery I was seeking. There would seem to be little use for “A Table to Find Easter-Day; From the Present Time till the Year 2199 Inclusive,” or for “Forms of Prayer for the Anniversary of the day of the Accession of the Reigning Sovereign,” or even for “A Table of Kindred and Affinity,” although it was fascinating to learn that one’s mother's father's wife may not marry her mother's mother's husband. But for the rest of it, these were my first faltering steps towards Catholic beauty, Catholic order, Catholic truth.
The prayers did it for me. And the words of the Scriptures. I would speak them sotto voce in my room, just because the words sounded so beautiful, even to my ignorant ears. I suppose, by most external points of reference, it was an odd thing for a child to do. Certainly, I had plenty of friends, activities at school, involvement in the local church, duties at home. But my soul had a hungry corner that would not stop its demands until it was satisfied. I had never heard Augustine’s words about the restless heart, but I surely knew what he meant.
One of the wonders of the Catholic faith is that it reaches into such unexpected places and in such extraordinary ways to draw the unsuspecting to itself. Indeed, this is its catholicity. It feeds both farm boy and pope.
Almighty God, by whose grace thy servant St. Elizabeth of Hungary recognized and honoured Jesus in the poor of this world: Grant that we, following her example, may with love and gladness serve those in any need or trouble, in the Name and for the sake of Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they can nevertheless proclaim Christ’s doctrine infallibly. This is so, even when they are dispersed around the world, provided that while maintaining the bond of unity among themselves and with Peter’s successor, and while teaching authentically on a matter of faith or morals, they concur in a single viewpoint as the one which must be held conclusively. This authority is even more clearly verified when, gathered together in an ecumenical council, they are teachers and judges of faith and morals for the universal Church. Their definitions must then be adhered to with the submission of faith.
Therefore, faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith, to the glory of God our savior, for the exaltation of the Catholic religion and for the salvation of the Christian people, with the approval of the Sacred Council, we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman Pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable.
And this infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed His Church to be endowed in defining doctrine of faith and morals, extends as far as the deposit of Revelation extends, which must be religiously guarded and faithfully expounded. And this is the infallibility which the Roman Pontiff, the head of the college of bishops, enjoys in virtue of his office, when, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith, by a definitive act he proclaims a doctrine of faith or morals. And therefore his definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly styled irreformable, since they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, promised to him in blessed Peter, and therefore they need no approval of others, nor do they allow an appeal to any other judgment. For then the Roman Pontiff is not pronouncing judgment as a private person, but as the supreme teacher of the universal Church, in whom the charism of infallibility of the Church itself is individually present, he is expounding or defending a doctrine of Catholic faith.
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.
O Almighty God, who hast compassed us about with so great a cloud of witnesses: Grant that we, encouraged by the good example of thy servant St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, may persevere in running the race that is set before us, until at length, through thy mercy, we may with her attain to thine eternal joy; through Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Raise up, O Lord, we pray thee, in thy Church the Spirit whereby Saint Josaphat thy martyr and bishop laid down his life for the sheep: That by his intercession, we, being moved and strengthened by the same, may not fear to lay down our lives for our brethren; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the same Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Leo I, Pope and Doctor of the Church, ruled from 440 to 461. He is surnamed "the Great" and ranks among the most illustrious sovereigns that ever sat on the throne of St. Peter. Of his life, we know little; with him the man seems to disappear before the Pope. He saw most clearly that one of his greatest tasks was to vindicate the primacy of the Roman bishop, St. Peter's successor, and to raise the prestige of the Holy See before the entire world. Hardly any Pope in history has occupied a like position in the ecclesiastical and political world.
As a writer, too, his name is famous. His sermons, which occur frequently in the Divine Office, belong to the finest and most profound in patristic literature. The Council of Chalcedon was held under his direction (451). The Breviary tells us: Leo I, an Etruscan, ruled the Church at the time when Attila, King of the Huns, who was called the Scourge of God, invaded Italy. After a siege of three years, he took, sacked and burned Aquileia, and then hurried on toward Rome. Inflamed with anger, his troops were already preparing to cross the Po, at the point where it is joined by the Mincio.
Here Attila was stopped by Leo (452). With God-given eloquence, the Pope persuaded him to turn back, and when the Hun was asked by his servants why, contrary to custom, he had so meekly yielded to the entreaties of a Roman bishop, he answered that he had been alarmed by a figure dressed like a priest that stood at Leo's side; this individual was holding a drawn sword and acted as if he would kill him if he advanced farther. As a result Attila retreated to Pannonia.
Meanwhile, Leo returned to Rome, and was received with universal rejoicing. Some time later, the Vandal Genseric entered the city, and again Leo, by the power of his eloquence and the authority of his holy life, persuaded him to desist from atrocity and slaughter (455).
O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich: Deliver us, we pray thee, from an inordinate love of this world, that, inspired by the devotion of thy servant St. Martin de Porres, we may serve thee with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
¶ The Minister is ordered, from time to time, to advise the People, whilst they are in health, to make Wills arranging for the disposal of their temporal goods, and, when of ability, to leave Bequests for religious and charitable uses.Consider yourself advised!
O God, the Maker and Redeemer of all believers: Grant to the faithful departed the unsearchable benefits of the passion of thy Son; that on the day of his appearing they may be manifested as thy children; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.