29 May 2008

Heading east...

For the next few days I'll be in Greenville, S.C., where I'll be giving the commencement address at St. Joseph's Catholic School. The Chaplain, Fr. Dwight Longenecker, was kind enough to invite me, and I'm looking forward to visiting this outstanding school

I'll be returning on Saturday afternoon, and then next week we'll have our own graduation exercises. Our first class of Seniors will be graduating, and we'll mark the event with a Mass and Banquet on Thursday evening, followed by Solemn Evensong and Commencement on Friday evening. Our Eighth Grade graduation will be on Saturday, with a Mass followed by Commencement.

We're very happy that our new auxiliary bishop, the Most Reverend Oscar Cantu, will be with us for the Mass and Banquet on Thursday.

26 May 2008

Memorial Day

At Mass this morning we prayed for the repose of the souls of all those who have died in military service to our country. When you have a bit of quiet time, have a look at this.

Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

25 May 2008

Corpus Christi

Here are some pictures of our celebration of Corpus Christi. Immediately following the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament was placed in the monstrance for adoration and the outdoor procession.

The picture below shows us on our way to the newly-constructed outdoor altar, which marks the place where the first Mass was celebrated on the property.

In the following picture, we are kneeling before our Lord, just before Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, after which we returned to the High Altar, where Benediction was given again, in Latin.

For more pictures, go to the parish website.

24 May 2008

Kneeling before the Lord...

O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.
For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.

- from Psalm 95

It was a beautiful thing to see the pictures of the Holy Father's Mass on Corpus Christi, with the Faithful kneeling to receive Holy Communion, and the Blessed Sacrament administered on their tongues. It was a real reminder of our humility before the Lord. And the response of so many was overwhelmingly positive. In fact, there seemed to be a sense of yearning: "Why can't we have this all the time?" Now of course, not everyone felt that way. But in comment after comment on the blogs and in response to the news articles, that was what was expressed.

It was a reminder of how blessed we are, those of us worshipping in parishes where receiving our Lord in this way is a normal practice. There is great spiritual comfort in kneeling down in humility, and it says that this isn't ordinary food we're receiving.

It seems to me that the experience of receiving Holy Communion should be vastly different from shuffling up to the counter of a fast-food restaurant to get your order thrust at you. Kneeling and allowing oneself to be fed as a child is, I think, a good reminder and an important symbol.

20 May 2008

The Holy Name

St. Bernardine of Siena, pray for us!
Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus:

V. Lord, have mercy on us.
R. Christ, have mercy on us.
V. Lord, have mercy on us. Jesus, hear us.
R. Jesus, graciously hear us.
V. God the Father of Heaven
R. Have mercy on us.
V. God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
R. Have mercy on us.
V. God the Holy Spirit,
R. Have mercy on us.
V. Holy Trinity, one God,
R. Have mercy on us.
V. Jesus, Son of the living God, R. Have mercy on us.
Jesus, splendor of the Father, [etc.]
Jesus, brightness of eternal light.
Jesus, King of glory.
Jesus, sun of justice.
Jesus, Son of the Virgin Mary.
Jesus, most amiable.
Jesus, most admirable.
Jesus, the mighty God.
Jesus, Father of the world to come.
Jesus, angel of great counsel.
Jesus, most powerful.
Jesus, most patient.
Jesus, most obedient.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart.
Jesus, lover of chastity.
Jesus, lover of us.
Jesus, God of peace.
Jesus, author of life.
Jesus, example of virtues.
Jesus, zealous lover of souls.
Jesus, our God.
Jesus, our refuge.
Jesus, father of the poor.
Jesus, treasure of the faithful.
Jesus, good Shepherd.
Jesus, true light.
Jesus, eternal wisdom.
Jesus, infinite goodness.
Jesus, our way and our life.
Jesus, joy of Angels.
Jesus, King of the Patriarchs.
Jesus, Master of the Apostles.
Jesus, teacher of the Evangelists.
Jesus, strength of Martyrs.
Jesus, light of Confessors.
Jesus, purity of Virgins.
Jesus, crown of Saints.

V. Be merciful, R. spare us, O Jesus.
V. Be merciful, R. graciously hear us, O Jesus.

V. From all evil, R. deliver us, O Jesus.
From all sin, deliver us, O Jesus.
From Your wrath, [etc.]
From the snares of the devil.
From the spirit of fornication.
From everlasting death.
From the neglect of Your inspirations.
By the mystery of Your holy Incarnation.
By Your Nativity.
By Your Infancy.
By Your most divine Life.
By Your labors.
By Your agony and passion.
By Your cross and dereliction.
By Your sufferings.
By Your death and burial.
By Your Resurrection.
By Your Ascension.
By Your institution of the most Holy Eucharist.
By Your joys.
By Your glory.

V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. spare us, O Jesus.
V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. graciously hear us, O Jesus.
V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. have mercy on us, O Jesus.

V. Jesus, hear us.
R. Jesus, graciously hear us.

Let us pray.

O Lord Jesus Christ, You have said, "Ask and you shall receive, seek, and you shall find, knock, and it shall be opened to you." Grant, we beg of You, to us who ask it, the gift of Your most divine love, that we may ever love You with our whole heart, in word and deed, and never cease praising You.

Give us, O Lord, as much a lasting fear as a lasting love of Your Holy Name, for You, who live and are King for ever and ever, never fail to govern those whom You have solidly established in Your love. R. Amen.

17 May 2008

The Holy Trinity

George Herbert, the 17th century Anglican priest, is amongst my favorite poets. This poem, short though it is, is packed with the symbolic number “three.” Read it, and you’ll see what I mean.

Trinitie Sunday.

Lord, who hast form’d me out of mud,
And hast redeem’d me through thy bloud,
And sanctifi’d me to do good;

Purge all my sinnes done heretofore:
For I confesse my heavie score,
And I will strive to sinne no more.

Enrich my heart, mouth, hands in me,
With faith, with hope, with charitie;
That I may runne, rise, rest with thee.

First of all, notice that each stanza is three lines long, and each is in triple rhyme. The first stanza is a type of invocation, with the first line referring to the Father, the second line to the Son, and the third line to the Holy Spirit.

The second stanza is a confession. The first line refers to sins committed in the past, the second line to the present act of confessing, and the third line to the firm intention not to sin in the future.

The third stanza is an expression of expectation, and each line refers to three things. Line one speaks of heart, mouth and hands being enriched. The second line outlines that which will do the enriching; faith, hope and charity. The third line expresses a desire to run, rise and rest with God.

This is a marvelous little poem, and it gives a wonderful glimpse into our Trinitarian faith.

Photo: from the reredos of the Lady Chapel in St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Providence, Rhode Island.

14 May 2008

And now, presenting...

...our Inaugural Senior Class!

The Atonement Academy was founded in 1994, and we began with Kindergarten through 3rd grade. We continued to add a grade each year, and it was just four years ago that we decided to continue on through high school. This is the year in which we graduate our first seniors.

Some of the students have been with us for many years. Some came from other schools. Each one of them will always be a special part of the history of our parish school.

It's getting to be that time...

In a few weeks we'll be having graduation exercises here at The Atonement Academy. This picture shows our eighth grade graduating class, and we'll also be graduating our first senior class from the Upper School. I'm excited for the students, but I hate to see them leaving...

12 May 2008

A beautiful Pentecost celebration

Our celebration of Pentecost was…well… Spirit-filled! The prayers, the readings, the music – all of it was beautiful. The men’s schola outdid itself at the Latin Mass. They sang a Kyrie by Antonio Lotti, and all of the minor propers (including the sequence) really did conjure the image of the Holy Spirit descending. The English Masses in the morning had equally beautiful music. Of course, the old barn-burners like “Come Holy Ghost” are always sung with gusto, and at the time of the offertory we sang one of my absolute favorites, “Come Down, O Love Divine” to the incomparable tune, “Down Ampney.” The text is such a thing of beauty:

Come down, O love divine, seek Thou this soul of mine,
And visit it with Thine own ardor glowing.
O Comforter, draw near, within my heart appear,
And kindle it, Thy holy flame bestowing.

O let it freely burn, til earthly passions turn
To dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
And let Thy glorious light shine ever on my sight,
And clothe me round, the while my path illuming.

Let holy charity mine outward vesture be,
And lowliness become mine inner clothing;
True lowliness of heart, which takes the humbler part,
And o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

And so the yearning strong, with which the soul will long,
Shall far outpass the power of human telling;
For none can guess its grace, till he become the place
Wherein the Holy Spirit makes His dwelling.

The final hymn we sang was a text by Timothy Rees:

Holy Spirit, ever living
as the Church's very life;
Holy Spirit, ever striving
through her in a ceaseless strife:
Holy Spirit, ever forming
in the church the mind of Christ;
thee we praise with endless worship
for thy fruits and gifts unpriced.

Holy Spirit, ever working
through the Church's ministry;
quick'ning, strength'ning, and absolving,
setting captive sinners free;
Holy Spirit, ever binding
age to age, and soul to soul,
in a fellowship unending

thee we worship and extol.

The tune to which this text was sung is a joy to sing, “Abbot's Leigh” by Cyril V. Taylor. Canon Taylor was the Precentor of Salisbury Cathedral during the time I was student at the Theological College there, and he used to take some of us under his wing to teach us how to chant. I was privileged to get to know him, and he was one of the kindest and most gentle men I have ever known. I remember talking to him one day about this hymn tune, and he told me that the second part of it was a bit different when he was composing it. He wasn’t pleased with it, however, and he showed me how he developed it from what it was, into the gorgeous hymn tune it ended up being. It was a delightful conversation, and I remember him with great fondness every time we sing it.

10 May 2008

A poem for Pentecost

George Herbert’s “Whitsunday.”

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.

05 May 2008

Holy Father, Anglican Archbishop meet

This latest news from the Reuters news service:

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict and the Archbishop of Canterbury discussed Christian-Muslim relations on Monday in their first meeting since the Anglican leader caused a storm in Britain with comments on Sharia law.

A Vatican spokesman said Rowan Williams and the pope spoke privately for about 20 minutes and discussed Christian-Muslim relations, inter-faith dialogue and the pope's impression of his visit to the United States last month.

He described the visit, the second official meeting between the Pope and the spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans, as "warm and friendly".

In March Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the Vatican's top man for relations with Islam, criticized Williams as mistaken and "naive" for suggesting that it was unavoidable that some aspects of Sharia, Islamic law, would be adopted in Britain.

Williams's remarks, in a speech in February, sparked a storm in Britain and beyond and became part of a broader debate on how to integrate Britain's 1.8 million Muslims.

He is in Rome for the 7th Building Bridges Seminar, an annual meeting of leading Christian and Muslim scholars for intensive study of Biblical and Koranic texts.

The theme for this year's seminar, organized together with Georgetown University in Washington D.C., is "Communicating the Word: Revelation, Translation and Interpretation in Christianity and Islam".

Relations between the Catholic and Anglican Churches have been strained over the past decade over the issue of women priests and homosexual bishops in the Anglican Church, which both leaders have acknowledged as obstacles to unity.

Sounds like it was respectful, but little more than "isn't the Muslim situation vexing, and would you like to see the pictures from my recent trip to America..." But then again, they really don't have much else to talk about.

02 May 2008

May Crowning

This picture isn't good at all (I took it with my phone camera), but it shows the Lady Chapel filled with flowers from the school children, with the statue of Our Lady of the Atonement crowned. And yes, we sang the old standby:

Bring flow'rs of the fairest,
Bring flow'rs of the rarest,
From garden and woodland
And hillside and vale;
Our full hearts are swelling,
Our glad voices telling
The praise of the loveliest
Rose of the vale.

O Mary! we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May,
O Mary! we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May.

01 May 2008

Non-ascension Day

Today should have been Ascension Day, but alas, it's on hold until Sunday. No disrespect intended, but I think this is a stupid decision. It messes up the calendar, it wrecks the Novena leading to Pentecost, and it insults the Faithful by implying they're too lazy to attend Mass today.

Reverend Fathers in God, could we please have Ascension Day back?

(A small consolation: we did get to celebrate the memorial of St. Joseph the Worker today, but I'm sure our Lord's foster father would have been quite willing to step aside for occasion.)