31 May 2012

Shocking? Yes. Surprising? No.


This really puts the "planned" in Planned Parenthood.  If you're pregnant and the baby isn't the gender you want, PP will show you how to game the system so you can get rid of the "problem."  Most often this gendercide works against unborn girls.  Talk about a War on Women...

The Visitation of the Virgin Mary


This is a day to honour the Blessed Virgin Mary, who bore in her womb the Incarnate Word of God. The Feast of the Visitation shows her as the first missionary and evangelist, as she takes the Word to her cousin Elizabeth. The unborn infant, St. John, was cleansed from original sin as the two expectant mothers embraced. St. Elizabeth addressed her as the "Mother of the Lord," and Mary responded with the great canticle of praise, the Magnificat: "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me, and holy is His name" (Lk. 1:46).

Father in heaven, by whose grace the Virgin Mother of thine incarnate Son was blessed in bearing him, but still more blessed in keeping thy word: Grant that we who honour the exaltation of her lowliness may follow the example of her devotion to thy will; through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

30 May 2012

Pentecost Ember Days


Wednesday, Friday and Saturday after Pentecost are Ember Days, when we pray especially for those called to Holy Orders, and for all people in their various vocations.

Almighty God, the giver of all good gifts, who of thy divine providence hast appointed various orders in thy Church: Give thy grace, we humbly beseech thee, to all who are called to any office and ministry for thy people; and so fill them with the truth of thy doctrine and clothe them with holiness of life, that they may faithfully serve before thee, to the glory of thy great Name and for the benefit of thy holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

O God, who didst lead thy holy apostles to ordain ministers in every place: Grant that thy Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, may choose suitable persons for the ministry of Word and Sacrament, and may uphold them in their work for the extension of thy kingdom; through him who is the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of thy faithful people is governed and sanctified: Receive our supplications and prayers, which we offer before thee for all members of thy holy Church, that in their vocation and ministry they may truly and godly serve thee; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

28 May 2012

"Do this, in memory of me..."


From time to time I like to re-read something written some years ago by Dom Gregory Dix, an Anglican Benedictine who (I am quite certain) would be most perplexed by the state of Anglicanism today. In his own day, Dom Gregory was a liturgist of some repute, and his major work, The Shape of the Liturgy (published in 1945) has been influential, although somewhat controversial. Controversy aside, there is a passage in that work which, if he had never written another thing, would have been enough to have made me remember him. Writing of Christ's command to "do this, in memory of me," he says,
"Was ever a command so obeyed? For century after century, spreading slowly to every continent and country and among every race on earth, this action has been done, in every conceivable circumstance, for every conceivable human need from infancy and before it to extreme old age and after it, from the pinnacles of human greatness to the refuge of fugitives in the caves and dens of the earth. Men have found no better thing than this to do for kings at their crowning and for criminals going to the scaffold; for armies in triumph or for a bride and bridegroom in a little country church; for the proclamation of a dogma or for a good crop of wheat; for the wisdom of the Parliament of a mighty nation or for a sick old woman afraid to die; for a schoolboy sitting an examination or for Columbus setting out to discover America; for the famine of whole provinces or for the soul of a dead lover; in thankfulness because my father did not die of pneumonia; for a village headman much tempted to return to fetich because the yams had failed; because the Turk was at the gates of Vienna; for the repentance of Margaret; for the settlement of a strike; for a son for a barren woman; for Captain so-and-so, wounded and prisoner-of-war; while the lions roared in the nearby amphitheatre; on the beach at Dunkirk; while the hiss of scythes in the thick June grass came faintly through the windows of the church; tremulously, by an old monk on the fiftieth anniversary of his vows; furtively, by an exiled bishop who had hewn timber all day in a prison camp near Murmansk; gorgeously, for the canonisation of S. Joan of Arc -- one could fill many pages with the reasons why men have done this, and not tell a hundredth part of them. And best of all, week by week and month by month, on a hundred thousand successive Sundays, faithfully, unfailingly, across all the parishes of Christendom, the pastors have done this just to make the plebs sancta Dei -- the holy common people of God."

Memorial Day


ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, in whose hands are the living and the dead; We give thee thanks for all those thy servants who have laid down their lives in the service of our country. Grant to them thy mercy and the light of thy presence, that the good work which thou hast begun in them may be perfected; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord. Amen.

27 May 2012

Solemnity of Pentecost


O GOD, who as at this time didst teach the hearts of thy faithful people, by sending to them the light of thy Holy Spirit; Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

26 May 2012

Chiesa Nuova - St. Philip Neri

Whenever we have a parish pilgrimage to Rome, we always visit the magnificent but charming Church of Santa Maria in Vallicella, better known as the Chiesa Nuova, or New Church. This served as the center of operation for St. Philip Neri, the fun-loving saint who combined humor with holiness, and whose work resulted in the foundation of the Oratorians.





O God, who didst exalt thy blessed Confessor St. Philip Neri to the glory of thy Saints: mercifully grant that we, who rejoice in his festival, may learn to follow rightly the pattern of his godliness; through 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.

25 May 2012

St. Bede the Venerable


A man venerated as an example of holiness even before his death, the name of St. Bede describes his life. From the Old English word bēd, which means prayer, he was devoted to God, to His worship, and to the study of His truth. Living from about the year 672 until 26 May 735, Bede was born on the lands of the Northumbrian monastery in which he died. Brilliant by the standards of any age, he was regarded for his goodness as much as for his scholarship. He died with the words of the Gloria Patri on his lips, and some time before, he had written what is known as his Death Song:

Fore there neidfaerae naenig uuiurthit
thoncsnotturra than him tharf sie
to ymbhycggannae aer his hiniongae
huaet his gastae godaes aeththa yflaes
aefter deothdaege doemid uueorthae.

Before the unavoidable journey there, no one becomes
wiser in thought than him who, by need,
ponders, before his going hence,
what good and evil within his soul,
after his day of death, will be judged.

24 May 2012

George Herbert's "Whitsunday"

Pentecost by Giotto di Bondone, c. 1320


"Whitsunday"
by George Herbert (3 April 1593 – 1 March 1633)

Listen sweet Dove unto my song,
And spread thy golden wings in me;
Hatching my tender heart so long,
Till it get wing, and flie away with thee.

Where is that fire which once descended
On thy Apostles? thou didst then
Keep open house, richly attended,
Feasting all comers by twelve chosen men.

Such glorious gifts thou didst bestow,
That th’ earth did like a heav’n appeare;
The starres were coming down to know
If they might mend their wages, and serve here.

The sunne, which once did shine alone,
Hung down his head, and wisht for night,
When he beheld twelve sunnes for one
Going about the world, and giving light.

But since those pipes of gold, which brought
That cordiall water to our ground,
Were cut and martyr’d by the fault
Of those, who did themselves through their side wound,

Thou shutt’st the doore, and keep’st within;
Scarce a good joy creeps through the chink:
And if the braves of conqu’ring sinne
Did not excite thee, we should wholly sink.

Lord, though we change, thou art the same;
The same sweet God of love and light:
Restore this day, for thy great name,
Unto his ancient and miraculous right.

23 May 2012

"For Greater Glory" - The Cristiada


I attended a screening of "For Greater Glory," which tells of the Cristiada, the war waged against the oppressive Mexican government in the 1920's by the Cristeros. What a magnificent film...absolutely inspiring! Not only should every Catholic see it for its beautiful testament to our Faith, but every American should see it as a reminder of how precious is our right to religious freedom.

The most haunting line to me: when Plutarco Calles arrogantly says, "The people elected ME!" I've heard that someplace before...

When seeing this movie, understand that it concentrates on the the fighting force within the Cristeros, although certainly there are references to those were every bit as much a part of the movement, but who did not take up arms.

The martyrdom of some of the priests is shown and the amazing depiction of the boy-martyr, Jose Luis Sanchez del Rios, is a major thread throughout the movie, as is the growing faith of General Velarde. But this isn't primarily a "lives of the saints" Catholic film viewed through stained-glass. It's a sobering reminder of the evil of secularism, and the sometimes-brutal requirements of the fight for freedom, especially religious freedom.

Due to be in theaters starting June 1st, I encourage you to see this movie.

¡Viva Cristo Rey!

22 May 2012

Subversive?

I'd be curious to know if Catholic bloggers are noticing certain visitors coming to have a look.  I saw on my visitors log today that the Department of Justice stopped in a few times, as did the Department of Homeland Security.  There's not much on this blog to arouse suspicion. 

A sudden interest in things Catholic?

Anybody might think the government is being sued, or something...

St. Rita of Cascia


St. Rita was born into a happy and faithful Catholic family, and from the time of her childhood she had a very deep desire to live a life pleasing to God. In fact, her parents gave her a little room in their home as an oratory, where she spent all her spare moments. At the age of twelve, however, she wanted to consecrate herself to God by joining a religious community. As pious as her parents were, they pleaded with Rita not to do that, and instead they arranged for her to be married, at the age of eighteen, to an impulsive, disagreeable young man, who was a great trial to young Rita. They had two sons who had both inherited their father's quarrelsome nature. Throughout that time, however, Rita continued in her devotional life, and eventually her holiness and prayers won her husband's heart, so that he was not only willing for her to continue her religious practices, but he himself began to turn towards God.

They had been married for eighteen years, when her husband was murdered. No sooner had that happened, than both of her sons died shortly after. Rita's former desire to consecrate herself to God in the religious life came back even more strongly. Three times she tried to join the Augustinian nuns in Cascia, but her request was refused each time, and each time she returned to her home. But God had plans for her. One night as Rita was praying in her home she heard herself called by name, while someone knocked at the door. In a miraculous way she found she was in the nuns’ enclosure, even though it was completely locked. Needless to say, the nuns were astonished at this miracle, and took her in as a member of the monastery.

St. Rita's hidden, simple life in religion was defined by her obedience and charity, and she lived a life filled with penances. One day, after hearing a sermon on the Passion of Christ she returned to her cell. Kneeling before the crucifix, she asked the Lord to let her share in His sufferings. Her prayer was answered. Suddenly one of the thorns detached from the image on the cross, and embedded itself in her forehead so deeply that she couldn’t remove it. The wound became worse, and it became horribly infected. Because of the foul odor coming from the wound, she wasn’t allowed to be near the other sisters, and this went on for fifteen years.

One day the Pope proclaimed a jubilee at Rome. Rita wanted nothing more than to attend. She was given permission, but only if the wound in her forehead had healed. Miraculously, it was healed, but only for as long as the pilgrimage lasted. When she returned to the monastery, the wound reappeared, and remained until her death.

As the time of her death approached, St. Rita asked for a rose from the garden of her old home. Although it wasn’t the season for roses, a rose was found in full bloom and it was brought to her. After St. Rita's death in 1457, her face took on a radiance, and the odor from her wound was as fragrant as that of the roses she loved so much. The smell of roses spread through the convent and into the church, where it has continued ever since. At the time of her death, witnesses saw her cell fill with light, and the bells in the tower rang by themselves. Immediately there were miracles of healing, and the world then knew that a saint had lived in their midst.

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. Rita of Cascia, 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.

21 May 2012

We're growing, and need more help...


We're adding to our music faculty at The Atonement Academy, and we have posted this position in several places, but if you know of a talented Catholic musician who would qualify -- and please note the high level of qualifications necessary -- please pass this along:

Choral Music Instructor

The Atonement Academy, a large, vibrant Catholic school with a comprehensive graded music program seeks a full-time Choral Music Teacher for the 2012-2013 academic year. This represents an opportunity for candidates with exceptional musical and pedagogical skills to exercise their talent in a unique and supportive setting. The Atonement Academy is the parish school of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the founding parish for the Anglican Use of the Roman Rite in the United States. With a mission to strive for excellence in the physical, intellectual and spiritual virtues through a challenging course of classical and Catholic education, the academy builds into every student’s routine daily Mass, rigorous academics, and opportunities for participation in sports as well as a variety of extracurricular activities. Founded in 1994 and a recipient of the National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence Award, The Atonement Academy enrolls approximately 550 students in grades pre-kindergarten through twelve. Every student participates in the comprehensive choral music program that encompasses the disciplines of music theory, sight-singing, ear training and vocal technique. Beginning in the third grade, students are assigned to one of ten choirs which sing in rotation for the daily school Mass. In addition, these students present several concerts each year with select students competing in state-wide TMEA, TPSMEA, and TCDA competitions.

Requirements:
• Minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in Music
• High level of proficiency in vocal pedagogy as it pertains to children’s and young adult voices, choral conducting and organ service playing.
• Training and experience in Kodaly, Ward, Royal School of Church Music or similar method of music education.
• Experience working with children and a desire to instill in them an appreciation for great choral music, particularly music of the Church.
• Knowledge of Gregorian chant, Anglican chant, hymnody and sacred choral repertoire appropriate for treble and mixed voices.
• Ability to work collaboratively with the other members of the academy music faculty to execute the vision as articulated by the Pastor, administrative team and Director of Music.
• Practicing Catholic, faithful to the Magisterium.

Responsibilities of this position include, but are not limited to:
• Teaching age-appropriate concepts of vocal technique and music theory (note-reading, ear training and sight reading) to students at the primary and secondary levels;
• Sharing duties with other music faculty in providing organ music for daily school Masses;
• Preparing student choirs to sing for daily Mass
• Preparing student choirs to sing for annual concerts (Christmas and spring)
• Sharing in accompanying duties for concerts with other music faculty members
• Additional potential to be involved at the parish level -assisting with training parish choirs, accompanying choirs at Sunday Mass. Additional compensation provided.

Salary: Commensurate with experience

Instruments:
3-manual, 50 rank Casavant pipe organ (church)
1 manual, 7 rank Laukuff organ (chapel)
4-octave set of Malmark choir chimes

To apply for the above position, send cover letter and resumé to:

Edmund G. Murray
Director of Music
Our Lady of the Atonement Church
The Atonement Academy
15415 Red Robin Rd.
San Antonio, TX 78255
(210) 695-2240
e-mail: emurray@atonementonline.com

¡Viva Cristo Rey!


That's the cry heard before the executioner's bullet found its mark. With an evil attempt in the 1920's and into the 1930's by Mexico's civil government to eradicate the Catholic Church from the country, the people's response to the persecution was the rising up of the Cristeros - Catholics who would not have their faith ripped away from them. Most Catholics resisted peacefully, but there also were some who felt driven to take up arms against the government troops.

Of the twenty-five martyrs (who were executed at different times and different states throughout Mexico), twenty-two of them were priests, and three were laymen who were gunned down in their efforts to protect their pastor. Many others died; however, these who were canonized are those who refused to take up arms, but who ministered covertly and illegally to the suffering Catholics of their country.

This is a list of the Holy Martyrs of Mexico who were canonized by Blessed John Paul II on 21 May 2000:

St. Cristóbal Magallanes Jara, St. Román Adame Rosales, St. Rodrigo Aguilar Aleman, St. Julio Álvarez Mendoza, St. Luis Batis Sáinz, St. Agustín Caloca Cortés, St. Mateo Correa Magallanes, St. Atilano Cruz Alvarado, St. Miguel De La Mora De La Mora, St. Pedro Esqueda Ramírez, St. Margarito Flores García, St. José Isabel Flores Varela, St. David Galván Bermudes, St. Salvador Lara Puente, St. Pedro de Jesús Maldonado, St. Jesús Méndez Montoya, St. Manuel Morales, St. Justino Orona Madrigal, St. Sabas Reyes Salazar, St. José María Robles Hurtado, St. David Roldán Lara, St. Toribio Romo González, St. Jenaro Sánchez Delgadillo, St. Tranquilino Ubiarco Robles, and St.David Uribe Velasco.

Almighty and Everlasting God, who didst enkindle the flame of thy love in the hearts of St. Christopher Magallanes and the holy martyrs of Mexico: Grant to us, thy humble servants, a like faith and power of love, that we who rejoice in their triumph may profit by their example; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

19 May 2012

Helping Catholic Schools Be Catholic


Here's an article by Charolotte Hays, from the National Catholic Register, describing a program by the Catholic Education Foundation, which assesses the effectiveness of Catholic schools:

How Catholic Is Your Child’s School?
By Charlotte Hays

How Catholic is your child’s school?

There’s a new tool available to help parents answer that question.

The Catholic Identity Assessment program has been developed by the Rochester, N.Y.-based Catholic Education Foundation. Father Peter Stravinskas, executive director of the foundation, said that a school’s Catholic identity is not as assured as it was in an earlier time, when much of the faculty was composed of priests and religious. Father Stravinskas said that a number of individual schools and the Archdiocese of Denver and the Diocese of Gaylord in Michigan have adopted the Catholic Identity Assessment for all diocesan schools.

Charles Taylor, superintendent of Catholic schools in Gaylord, said that what attracted him to the assessment was that it has objective standards. “Somebody had finally sat down and formulated objective criteria for evaluating Catholic identity,” he said. The 2011-2012 school year was the first time schools in Taylor’s diocese used the assessment. They are awaiting the results.

The Catholic Identity Assessment, originally developed for Catholic high schools, is now available for elementary schools.

The process starts with a questionnaire. “It’s designed as a self-assessment instrument, so that every member of the staff, from the principal to the custodial staff, participates in this survey,” said Father Stravinskas. The questions deal with such issues as how frequently the sacrament of reconciliation is offered, whether there are theology classes and the qualifications of those who teach these classes. There are also questions about how justice and charity are promoted.

There are three tiers: self-assessment, collated by the Catholic Education Foundation; self-assessment plus an on-site visit by a CEF team; and a second visit by the team.

One satisfied customer is Father Christopher Phillips, pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church in San Antonio. Father Phillips helped establish The Atonement Academy in 1994. The academy offers classes from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade and promotes, according to its website, “spiritual virtues through a challenging course of classical and Catholic education.”

“As a Catholic school, those of us in the administration found this project to be intriguing,” said Father Phillips. “The idea of describing our program, and then letting it be assessed for its catholicity and effectiveness by a neutral third party — experts in the field — was a challenge we were eager to accept.”

Father Phillips said he would recommend the program.

“There were things we were doing very well, and the assessment helped us see how we could strengthen what we do,” said Father Phillips. “When it comes to assessing a Catholic school, it’s always a good thing to look at every aspect of it, and that’s what the Catholic Identity Assessment did. Our original vision was affirmed, and we received suggestions which have given us guidance in making aspects of our program even better.”

Father Stravinskas, who has taught and served as an administrator in Catholic elementary, secondary and college-level institutions, is a well-known author and holds a number of advanced degrees, including a bachelor of arts degree in classical languages and French from Seton Hall University, a master of arts in school administration from Seton Hall University and a master of arts in biblical theology from Immaculate Conception Seminary (Darlington). He holds a licentiate of sacred theology from the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.

He said that the program will assist Catholic schools in developing a more unified method of teaching — a biology class dealing with genetic structure, for example, might be a proper place to discuss Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical upholding the Church’s teaching on the immorality of artificial contraception. Students must learn to “connect the dots” between various academic fields, Father Stravinskas said.

“The God question is never inappropriate in any class. Whenever the God question naturally surfaces, that is the place it needs to be dealt with, and not confined to a 30-minute religion course,” said Father Stravinskas.
  
A strong academic course of studies is essential, Father Stravinskas said.

“When we talk about Catholic schools,” the priest said, “the noun is school and the adjective is Catholic. It’s got to be a first-rate institution. It’s got to be as strong as any other academic school or we are doing a disservice to the students.”

Not Just Academics

But academics are not the sole consideration. A teacher might be asked, for example, if class is stopped so that students can offer a prayer when they hear the siren of an ambulance passing. The priest said that Catholic educators unfamiliar with the practice often say something like “Gee, that’s beautiful. We’ve got to start doing that.”

Father Stravinskas also said that Catholic schools should promote “a culture of vocations.” Students should find it normal to say to a teacher, “I think Joe may have a vocation to the priesthood.”

Noting that Pope Benedict XVI recently spoke to several U.S. bishops about the importance of Catholic colleges and universities having a strong Catholic identity, Father Stravinskas said that this program tries to do the same thing for high schools and elementary schools.

Father Phillips concurred: “It is an effective tool to help us accomplish what the Church wants us to be doing in the way of educating our young people: giving them an authentically Catholic education, which is to form them spiritually, intellectually and physically, helping them to become virtuous and moral individuals.”

18 May 2012

Novena to the Holy Ghost

The first novena was prayed by the Apostles, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the small company of those who had been with the Lord Jesus. After His ascension, they "devoted themselves to prayer," until the coming of the Holy Ghost. This year the Novena should begin on Friday, May 18th. The prayers of the Novena may be abbreviated by using only the Proper Prayer each day, and the concluding Collect.
NOVENA TO THE HOLY GHOST

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

Each day, the Novena begins with this prayer:

O HOLY SPIRIT, our Lord and our God, we adore thee and humbly acknowledge here in thy sacred presence that we are nothing, and can do nothing, without thy operation within us. Come, great Paraclete, thou Father of the poor, thou Comforter of the blest, fulfill the promise of our Saviour, who would not leave us orphans, and enter our minds and hearts as thou didst descend on the day of Pentecost upon the Holy Mother of Jesus and upon His first disciples. Grant that we may have a part in those gifts which thou didst so graciously bestow upon them.

Take from our hearts all that is not pleasing to thee and make of them a worthy dwelling-place for Jesus. Illumine our minds, that we may see and understand the things that are for our eternal welfare. Inflame our hearts with the pure love of the Father, that, cleansed from attachments to all unworthy objects, our lives may be hidden with Jesus in God. Strengthen our wills, that they may be conformed to the will of our Creator and guided by thy holy inspirations. Aid us to practice the heavenly virtues of humility, poverty, and obedience which are taught to us in the earthly life of Jesus.

Descend upon us, O mighty Spirit, that, inspired and encouraged by thee, we may faithfully fulfill the duties of our various states in life, carry our particular crosses with patience and courage, and accomplish the Father's will for us more perfectly. Make us, day by day, more holy and give to us that heavenly peace which the world cannot give.

O Holy Spirit, thou Giver of every good and perfect gift, grant to us our special intentions of this novena of prayer. May the Father's will be done in us and through us; and mayest thou, O mighty Spirit of the living God, be praised and glorified for ever and ever. Amen.

Here is said or sung the Veni Creator Spiritus:

Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
and lighten with celestial fire,
thou the anointing Spirit art,
who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.

Thy blesséd unction from above,
is comfort, life, and fire of love,
enable with perpetual light
the dullness of our blinded sight.

Anoint and cheer our soiled face
with the abundance of thy grace.
Keep far our foes, give peace at home;
where thou art Guide, no ill can come.

Teach us to know the Father, Son,
and thee, of both, to be but One;
that through the ages all along,
this may be our endless song:

Praise to thy eternal merit,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

OUR FATHER, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy Name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Here is said the Proper Prayer for the Day:

FIRST DAY
Come, O Holy Ghost, the Lord and Lifegiver; take up thy dwelling within our souls, and make of them thy sacred home. Make us live by grace as adopted children of God. Pervade all the energies of our souls, and create in us fountains of living water, springing up unto eternal life.

SECOND DAY
Come, O Spirit of Wisdom, and reveal to our souls the mysteries of heavenly things, their exceeding greatness, and power, and beauty. Teach us to love them above and beyond all the passing joys and satisfactions of earth. Show us the way by which we may be able to attain to them, and possess them, and hold them hereafter, our own forever.

THIRD DAY
Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten our minds, that we may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation, and may merit at last to see the eternal light in thy light; and in the light of glory to have the clear vision of thee and the Father and the Son.

FOURTH DAY
Come, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide us in all our ways, that we may always do thy holy will. Incline our hearts to that which is good, turn them away from all that is evil, and direct us by the path of thy commandments to the goal of eternal life.

FIFTH DAY
Come, O Spirit of Fortitude, and give courage to our souls. Make our hearts strong in all trials and in all distress, pouring forth abundantly into them the gifts of strength, that we may be able to resist the attacks of the devil.

SIXTH DAY
Come, O Spirit of Knowledge, and make us to understand and despise the emptiness and nothingness of the world. Give us grace to use the world only for thy glory and the salvation of thy creatures. May we always be faithful in putting thy rewards before every earthly gift.

SEVENTH DAY
Come, O Spirit of Piety, possess our hearts, and incline them to a true faith in thee, to a holy love of thee, our God. Give us thy grace, that we may seek thee and find thee, our best and our truest joy.

EIGHTH DAY
Come, O Spirit of holy Fear, penetrate our inmost hearts, that we may set thee, our Lord and God, before our faces forever; and shun all things that can offend thee, so that we may be made worthy to appear before the pure eyes of thy divine Majesty in the heaven of heavens.

NINTH DAY
Come, O Holy Comforter, and grant us a desire for holy things. Produce in our souls the fruits of virtue, so that, being filled with all sweetness and joy in the pursuit of good, we may attain unto eternal blessedness.

The following prayer concludes the Novena each day:

O GOD, who as at this time didst teach the hearts of thy faithful people by sending to them the light of thy Holy Spirit: grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgement in all things, and evermore to rejoice in His holy comfort; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth with thee in the unity of the same Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

16 May 2012

Truth


"When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come."
- St. John 16:13

Those are words from the mouth of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, that with the coming of the Spirit -- the Spirit we received at baptism, and with which we were sealed in confirmation -- we will be guided "into all the truth."  To be guided into all the truth is but part of the equation.  We have our part to play, which involves grasping hold of the truth, incorporating it into our lives, and allowing it to guide our thoughts, words, and deeds.

Why is it that even a child understands the law of nature, when he is told that if he walks in front of a speeding car he'll be seriously hurt or even killed, and yet otherwise-intelligent people think they can hear God's commandments and ignore them with no penalty?

15 May 2012

I love this saint...

St. Isidore the Farmer, born into a poor but devotedly Catholic family, wouldn’t have appeared to be destined for much in life. His parents had high hopes for him, so it would seem. They named him after the great bishop of Seville, St. Isidore, but that was about all they could give him. As soon as he was big enough to labor in the fields, he was sent off to work. And there he stayed. The boy became a young man who fell in love with an equally devout young woman, Maria. They married, they had a child. They knew immense sorrow when their child died, but they never waivered in their faith.

Isidore attended Mass daily, always before he went to the fields to work. His devotion sometimes caused him to arrive late for his duties, but he always accomplished as much or more than the other workers. Out of jealousy the others reported his daily lateness to the employer, who decided to keep an eye on Isidore. It became evident that Isidore was toiling faithfully and steadily, and as a sign from God of the goodness and honesty of Isidore, the employer saw the image of an angel working beside him.

I love this saint. As little as he had, he was always generous towards others, always willing to share his meager meal with anyone who had less. His love for God formed the foundation of his work. The manual labor which occupied all his years was dignified by his devotion.

All the saints are interesting, although some of them probably would have been difficult to have been around. But this one… this is a saint I would have liked to have known. Maybe it’s because I grew up working on the family farm, and I know the satisfaction that comes from honest labor on the soil. Maybe it’s my own childhood memories of having a team of oxen as St. Isidore did. Maybe it’s my recollection of feeling an especially close bond to the Divine when working the land. But whatever the cause, I love this saint.

14 May 2012

The Casting of Lots



Here's an article I wrote and posted on The Anglo-Catholic.  It's about St. Matthias, and what seems to be chance, and God's plan...

11 May 2012

Australian Ordinariate

Our Lady of the Southern Cross

The wonderful news of the erection of a Personal Ordinariate for Australia has come in a press release from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference:

Personal Ordinariate to be established in Australia on 15 June

Media Release
11 May, 2012

The President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Denis Hart, announced today that Pope Benedict XVI intends to announce the establishment in Australia of a Personal Ordinariate for Former Anglicans to commence on 15th June 2012.  A Personal Ordinariate is a church structure for particular groups of people who wish to enter into communion with the Catholic Church.

In 2009 Pope Benedict announced special arrangements to cater for groups of Anglicans who wished to join the Catholic Church. This provision allows them to maintain some of the traditions of prayer and worship of Anglicanism.

Personal Ordinariates have already been established in the United Kingdom (2011) and the United States of America (2012).

The Australian Bishops have already put in place procedures to enable clergy and lay church members to join the Catholic Church through the Ordinariate.

Archbishop Hart hopes that there will be a warm welcome to those wishing to enter the Catholic Church through the Ordinariate.

“I am confident that those former Anglicans who have made a journey in faith that has led them to the Catholic Church will find a ready welcome”, he said.

This new community will have the status of a diocese and will be known as the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross under the patronage of St Augustine of Canterbury.

For media enquiries, please contact Fr Brian Lucas on 0419 243 959 or Beth Doherty on 0407 081 256

10 May 2012

St. Damien of Molokai


In the year 1840, Joseph De Veuster was born in Belgium, to a large family who were farmers and merchants.  This was the future Father Damien.  When his oldest brother entered the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts, his father planned that Joseph should take charge of the family business. Joseph, however, decided to become a religious.  When he was nineteen he entered the novitiate in the same house as his brother. It was there that he took the name of Damien.

In 1863, Damien’s brother was supposed to leave for the mission in the Hawaiian Islands, but he became seriously ill. Since preparations for the voyage had already been made, Damien obtained permission from the Superior General to take his brother's place. He arrived in Honolulu on March 19th, 1864, where he was ordained to the priesthood the following May 21st. He immediately devoted himself as a travelling missionary on the island of Hawaii.

At that time, the Hawaiian Government decided on a very harsh measure which they thought would stop the spread of the dreaded disease of leprosy, or Hansen’s disease. It was decided that anyone who contracted this disease would be taken to the neighboring island of Molokai, where they would have to stay for the rest of their lives. The Catholic Church was deeply concerned about these abandoned lepers and the Bishop spoke to the priests about the problem. He didn’t want to send anyone "in the name of obedience," because he knew that whoever went would probably contract the disease. Four of the priests volunteered, and they would take turns visiting and ministering to the lepers. Fr. Damien was the first to leave, and at his own request and that of the lepers, he remained permanently on Molokai.

He brought hope to this place of despair. He became a source of consolation and encouragement for the lepers.  He became their pastor, the doctor of their souls and of their bodies, without any distinction of race or religion. He gave a voice to the voiceless, he built a community where the joy of being together and openness to the love of God gave people new reasons for living.  He saw the beauty and dignity of each person, no matter how deformed and grotesque their outward appearance.

After Father Damien contracted the disease in 1885, he was able to identify completely with them.  He spoke of "we lepers…" Father Damien was, above all, a witness of the love of God for His people. He got his strength from the Eucharist: "It is at the foot of the altar that we find the strength we need in our isolation..." He said that he was It is there that he found for himself and for others the support and the encouragement, the consolation and the hope, he could, with a deep faith, communicate to the lepers. All that made him "the happiest missionary in the world.”

Fr. Damian served for sixteen years among the lepers, and died on April 15th 1889.


O God, by whose grace thy servant St. Damien of Molokai, enkindled with the fire of thy love, became a burning and a shining light in thy Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and may ever walk before thee as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

09 May 2012

Crusader Bulletin


You can read the latest Crusader Bulletin by going to this link.  There are lots of things of interest -- academic achievements, sports, music...you'll want to read it all!

05 May 2012

OLA and the Ordinariate


Here are two letters I sent to parishioners and friends, discussing the decision to withdraw our request for transfer into the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

The first one:


Dear Friends,


Fr. Jeffery Moore (our parochial vicar) and I had a good meeting with Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller and Bishop Oscar Cantu to discuss issues surrounding the Ordinariate and what that might mean for the parish. All of us desired to do what is best for the people of Our Lady of the Atonement Church, and it was in a spirit of cooperation that it became evident to me that for the sake of the continued stability and unity of our parish community, the best course of action at this time is to withdraw our request to enter the Ordinariate and to remain in our present status as a Personal Parish of the Anglican Common Identity, as is stated clearly in the Decree of Erection by which we were founded in 1983.

The archbishop recalled his recent visit to the parish, commenting on how impressed he was with the Academy students, with our facility, and with the sense of the sacred found here. He expressed his respect for the fruitful and particular ministry of our parish, and he looks forward to strengthening our bond of communion, as do we.

What does this mean in practical terms? Our liturgical and devotional life does not change, our patrimony remains intact, and our clergy and people remain together as one parish family.

I’m grateful for the archbishop’s warmth and for the respect he has for our heritage, and we look forward to deepening our relationship with him.

From the time of our founding we have been under the maternal care of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Atonement. She has never failed us, and she did not fail us today. We continue under Our Lady’s patronage, and that of her Divine Son, in union with the Holy Father and with the bishops in communion with him.

Thank you to all who prayed for this important meeting. All of us there felt the presence and power of the Holy Ghost.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Christopher G. Phillips

And the second:



Dear Friends,


It’s difficult to communicate important information by way of email – there’s an understandable tendency for recipients to forward them all over the place, and there is always the strong possibility of someone misinterpreting them. However, I do want to reiterate some of the points I made in yesterday’s email about my meeting with Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller and Bishop Oscar Cantu.


1. The archbishop is NOT preventing the parish from seeking entrance into the Ordinariate at this time, or at some future time. He was clear about that, and is very respectful of our right to make that request any time.


2. It is important to all of us that we preserve the integrity and unity of our parish – church and school, clergy and people, buildings and patrimony – and at the present time the only way we can insure this is by remaining as we are; namely, a Personal Parish of the Pastoral Provision, rather than a parish of the Ordinariate. We all want the parish to be able to continue as it is, with our clergy and people intact, and with our church and school serving those who want to be here. At some point we may be able to have that in the Ordinariate -- but this is not the time.


3. Our way of worship – our liturgy, our devotional life, our music…everything we treasure and maintain – will be able to continue uninterrupted, and the archbishop and his auxiliary bishop have stated their support and admiration for what is done here.


I know the decision to withdraw our parish request to enter the Ordinariate is unexpected, and some of you might be perplexed. As you know, I have been very excited about the prospect of being in the Ordinariate, but I had to weigh every aspect of this, and decide what would be truly best for us. The stability of our parish is something I know you would not want to discard lightly, and this decision provides us with the best and safest way to continue to “preserve, nurture and share” our Anglican patrimony, as we have done for the past twenty-nine years.


As we have opportunities to deepen our communion with our Father-in-God, Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, let’s make the most of them. He was genuinely moved to learn that we will be remaining in his jurisdiction for now, and he looks forward (as do we) to strengthening our ties with the archdiocese which has been our home for so long.


The time may come when we are prepared to enter the Ordinariate, and when the Ordinariate will be in a better position to receive us as we are. We can be grateful that God has used our parish, in some small way, to prepare the ground for the establishment of the Ordinariate in this country. As strange as it seems for us not to be part of it from the very beginning, the time is not yet right.


Let’s all pray for the success of the Ordinariate, and especially for the men who are preparing for ordination over the next few months. No matter what jurisdiction we’re in, we’re all working for the same end – the building up of God’s Kingdom!


Yours in Christ,


Fr. Christopher G. Phillips

04 May 2012

Follow his steps...


O Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know thy Son Jesus Christ to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leadeth to eternal life; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

03 May 2012

St. Philip & St. James


Saint Philip was one of the first chosen disciples of Christ. On the way from Judea to Galilee Our Lord found Philip, and said, “Follow Me.” Philip straightway obeyed; and then in his zeal and charity sought to win Nathaniel also, saying, “We have found Him of whom Moses and the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth.” And when Nathaniel in wonder asked, “Can any good come out of Nazareth?” Philip simply answered, “Come and see,” and brought him to Jesus.

Another saying of this Apostle is preserved for us by Saint John. Christ in His last discourse had spoken of His Father; and Philip exclaimed, in the fervor of his thirst for God, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough!” The tradition of the ancients has established that he died a martyr at Hierapolis in Phrygia. There the remains of a church known to be dedicated to him have been identified, north of the entrance to the great necropolis. His relics were later transported to Rome, to the church of the Holy Apostles.

Saint James the Less (the Younger), author of the canonical Epistle, was the son of Alpheus, the brother of Saint Jude and a cousin of Our Lord, whom he is said to have resembled. Saint Paul tells us that he was favored by a special apparition of Christ after the Resurrection. (I Corinthians 15:7) On the dispersion of the Apostles among the nations, Saint James remained as Bishop of Jerusalem, where the Jews held in such high veneration his purity, mortification, and prayer, that they named him the Just. He governed that church for 30 years before his martyrdom.

Almighty God, who didst give to thine apostles St. Philip and St. James grace and strength to bear witness to the truth: Grant that we, being mindful of their victory of faith, may glorify in life and death the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

02 May 2012

St. Athanasius, Champion of the Faith


St. Athanasius, the great champion of the Catholic Faith was born at Alexandria, about the year 296, of Christian parents. Educated under Alexander, who became the bishop of Alexandria, Athanasius made great progress in learning and virtue, eventually going into the desert to spend some time in retreat with St. Anthony.

In 319, Athanasius became a deacon, and as a young cleric, he was called upon to take an active part against the rising heresy being put forth by Arius, an ambitious priest of the Alexandrian Church who denied the Divinity of Christ. This was to be the life struggle of St. Athanasius.

In 325, he assisted his bishop at the Council of Nicaea, where his influence began to be felt. Five months later Alexander died. On his death bed he recommended St. Athanasius as his successor. In consequence of this, Athanasius was unanimously elected Patriarch in 326.

His refusal to tolerate the Arian heresy was the cause of many trials and persecutions for St. Athanasius. He spent seventeen of the forty-six years of his episcopate in exile. After a life of virtue and suffering, this intrepid champion of the Catholic Faith, the greatest man of his time, died in peace on May 2, 373.

Almighty God and Giver of Truth, uphold thy Church, as thou didst uphold thy servant St. Athanasius, to maintain and proclaim boldly the Catholic faith against all opposition, trusting solely in the grace of thine eternal Word, who took upon himself our humanity that we might share his divinity; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

01 May 2012

Crowning of the Virgin and Child


Immediately after the Mass in honour of St. Joseph the Worker, the students of The Atonement Academy presented flowers to the crowned image of Our Lady of the Atonement.

St. Joseph the Worker


Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ in his earthly life learned from Saint Joseph to share our toil, and thus hallowed our labor: Be present with thy people where they work; make those who carry on the industries and commerce of the world responsive to thy will; and give us all a pride in what we do and a just return for our labor; through the same Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Holy Joseph, Intercessor
Unto thee God’s children sing;
Be our Patron and Protector,
To God’s throne our praises bring.

Faithful Spouse of faithful Virgin,
Lover of God’s purity;
From thy worthy place in heaven,
Pray that we may faithful be.

Guardian of the Word Incarnate,
Silent guide of God’s own Son;
Guard our hearts and lead us onward
To the life that Christ has won.

Humble man in lofty station,
God has shed His grace on thee;
Pray such grace to us be given,
That we live eternally.

Text: Fr. Christopher G. Phillips, 1991
Music: "Stuttgart" adapted by C. F. Witt, 1715