31 May 2010

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Father in heaven, by whose grace the Virgin Mother of thy incarnate Son was blessed in bearing him, but still more blessed in keeping thy word: Grant us who honour the exaltation of her lowliness to follow the example of her devotion to thy will; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me; and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him throughout all generations.
He hath showed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble and meek;.
He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel; as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed, for ever.

30 May 2010

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.

29 May 2010

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Almighty and everlasting God, who hast given unto us thy servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity: We beseech thee that thou wouldest keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see thee in thy one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Quicunque vult.

Whosoever will be saved: before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholick Faith.
Which Faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled: without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
And the Catholick Faith is this:

That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;
Neither confounding the Persons: nor dividing the substance.
For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son: and another of the Holy Ghost.
But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one: the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal.
Such as the Father is, such is the Son: and such is the Holy Ghost.
The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate: and the Holy Ghost uncreate.
The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible: and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible.
The Father eternal, the Son eternal: and the Holy Ghost eternal.
And yet they are not three eternals: but one eternal.
As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated: but one uncreated, and one incomprehensible.
So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty: and the Holy Ghost Almighty.
And yet they are not three Almighties: but one Almighty.
So the Father is God, the Son is God: and the Holy Ghost is God.
And yet they are not three Gods: but one God.
So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord: and the Holy Ghost Lord.
And yet not three Lords: but one Lord.
For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity: to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord;
So are we forbidden by the Catholick religion: to say there be three Gods, or three Lords.

The Father is made of none: neither created nor begotten.
The Son is of the Father alone: not made nor created, but begotten.
The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son: neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts.
And in the Trinity none is afore, or after another: none is greater, or less than another;
But the whole three persons are co-eternal together: and co-equal.
So that in all things, as is aforesaid: the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.
He therefore that will be saved: must thus think of the Trinity.

Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation: that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For the right Faith is that we believe and confess: that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man;
God, of the Substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds: and Man, of the Substance of his Mother, born in the world.
Perfect God, and Perfect Man: of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting;
Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead: and inferior to the Father, as touching his Manhood.
Who although he be God and Man: yet he is not two, but one Christ.
One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh: but by the taking of the Manhood into God.
One altogether, not by confusion of Substance: but by unity of Person.
For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man: so God and Man is one Christ.

Who suffered for our salvation: descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead.
He ascended into heaven, he sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty: from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies: and shall give account for their own works.
And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting: and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.

This is the Catholick Faith: which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son: and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen.

27 May 2010

The Crusader Times - May 27th

Here's the latest Crusader Times, an official publication of The Atonement Academy.

26 May 2010

Bishop Oscar Cantú named Apostolic Administrator

The following statement was released by the Archdiocese of San Antonio:

Pope Benedict XVI, through the Vatican’s Congregation of Bishops, has named Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Cantú Apostolic Administrator for the Archdiocese of San Antonio. The appointment is effective today as Archbishop José Gomez vacates his seat as Archbishop of San Antonio and assumes his position as coadjutor archbishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, CA. The announcement was made by Apostolic Nuncio, Pietro Sambi, the Vatican’s ambassador and its liaison to the Catholic Church in the United States. While there are limitations placed on the apostolic administrator by church law, Bishop Cantú will generally have the same authority and responsibilities as an archbishop. Cantú will hold this office on an interim basis, until the new archbishop is named by the Pope, which could take six to twelve months.

Upon learning of his appointment, Bishop Cantú said, “I thank the Congregation for Bishops for the confidence they have placed in me to serve as caretaker of the ministry and mission of the Church of the Archdiocese of San Antonio. I pledge to ensure that the services to our parishes and the ministry of the Church will continue uninterrupted and that I will carry on the good work of Archbishops Gomez and Flores. I ask that you join me in prayer that a new archbishop will be named soon.”

Bishop Cantú was ordained auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of San Antonio on June 2, 2008 at St. Mark the Evangelist Church, San Antonio by Archbishop Gomez. He has overseen the Office of Catholic Schools and the Office of Youth Ministry, and The Office of Education and Adult Formation, while working closely with pastors and parishes in a variety of roles, and assisting Archbishop Gomez in carrying out his many official and pastoral duties. He also served as pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in San Antonio.

Bishop Cantú, a Houston native, was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Houston‐Galveston in May of 1994. He served in a number of parishes in the Houston Metropolitan area. He also taught at the University of St. Thomas School of Theology and the University of St. Thomas at St. Mary’s Seminary.

Apostle to the English people...

O Lord our God, who by thy Son Jesus Christ didst call thine apostles and send them forth to preach the Gospel to the nations: We bless thy holy Name for thy servant St. Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, whose labours in propagating thy Church among the English people we commemorate today; and we pray that all whom thou dost call and send may do thy will, and bide thy time, and see thy glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

In the year 596, some 40 monks set out from Rome to evangelize the Anglo-Saxons in England. Leading the group was Augustine, the prior of their monastery in Rome. Hardly had he and his men reached Gaul (France) when they heard stories of the ferocity of the Anglo-Saxons and of the treacherous waters of the English Channel. Augustine returned to Rome and to the pope who had sent them—St. Gregory the Great (September3 )—only to be assured by him that their fears were groundless.

Augustine again set out and this time the group crossed the English Channel and landed in the territory of Kent, ruled by King Ethelbert, a pagan married to a Christian. Ethelbert received them kindly, set up a residence for them in Canterbury and within the year, on Pentecost Sunday, 597, was himself baptized. After being consecrated a bishop in France, Augustine returned to Canterbury, where he founded his see. He constructed a church and monastery near where the present cathedral, begun in 1070, now stands. As the faith spread, additional sees were established at London and Rochester.

Work was sometimes slow and Augustine did not always meet with success. Attempts to reconcile the Anglo-Saxon Christians with the original Briton Christians (who had been driven into western England by Anglo-Saxon invaders) ended in dismal failure. Augustine failed to convince the Britons to give up certain Celtic customs at variance with Rome and to forget their bitterness, helping him evangelize their Anglo-Saxon conquerors.

Laboring patiently, Augustine wisely heeded the missionary principles—quite enlightened for the times—suggested by Pope Gregory the Great: purify rather than destroy pagan temples and customs; let pagan rites and festivals be transformed into Christian feasts; retain local customs as far as possible. The limited success Augustine achieved in England before his death in 605, a short eight years after he arrived in England, would eventually bear fruit long after in the conversion of England. Truly Augustine of Canterbury can be called the “Apostle of England.”
- Leonard Foley, O.F.M.

25 May 2010

Baking a tasty treat...

Have a hankering to send some oatmeal cookies to our troops?  How about a few brownies?  It's not as easy as you might think.

Here's a TWENTY-SIX PAGE document, outlining the requirements.  Recipe included.

Archbishop's welcome in Los Angeles...

On Wednesday, May 26, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will welcome Coadjutor Archbishop José Gomez at a Mass of Reception at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, California. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles will be providing a live Internet feed of the Mass so that people in San Antonio will be able to watch the webcast on the archdiocesan website, http://www.archsa.org/. Live-streaming will begin at about 3:30 p.m. (CDT), and the Mass is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.

Prayer for a new archbishop...

As Archbishop Jose Gomez is being welcomed into his new archdiocese of Los Angeles, we will continue to keep him in our prayers.  Also, we pray for the speedy appointment of a new archbishop for San Antonio.

Almighty God, the giver of all good gifts: Guide, we beseech thee, with thy heavenly wisdom the Holy Father as he chooses a faithful pastor for this archdiocese; that we may receive one who will speak thy word and serve thy people according to thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Heavenly Father, who didst call thy servant St. Bede, while still a child, to devote his life to thy service in the disciplines of religion and scholarship; Grant that as he laboured in the Spirit to bring the riches of thy truth to his generation, so we, in our various vocations, may strive to make thee known in all the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Bede is one of the few saints honored as such even during his lifetime. His writings were filled with such faith and learning that even while he was still alive, a Church council ordered them to be read publicly in the churches.

At an early age Bede was entrusted to the care of the abbot of the Monastery of St. Paul, Jarrow. The happy combination of genius and the instruction of scholarly, saintly monks produced a saint and an extraordinary scholar, perhaps the most outstanding one of his day. He was deeply versed in all the sciences of his times: natural philosophy, the philosophical principles of Aristotle, astronomy, arithmetic, grammar, ecclesiastical history, the lives of the saints and, especially, Holy Scripture. From the time of his ordination to the priesthood at 30 (he had been ordained deacon at 19) till his death, he was ever occupied with learning, writing and teaching. Besides the many books that he copied, he composed 45 of his own, including 30 commentaries on books of the Bible.

Although eagerly sought by kings and other notables, even Pope Sergius, Bede managed to remain in his own monastery till his death. Only once did he leave for a few months in order to teach in the school of the archbishop of York. Bede died in 735 praying his favorite prayer: “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As in the beginning, so now, and forever.”

His Ecclesiastical History of the English People is commonly regarded as of decisive importance in the art and science of writing history. A golden age was coming to an end at the time of Bede’s death: It had fulfilled its purpose of preparing Western Christianity to assimilate the non-Roman barbarian North. Bede recognized the opening to a new day in the life of the Church even as it was happening.

- Leonard Foley, O.F.M.

24 May 2010

Whit Monday

I've always thought it was a pity that with the Vatican's reform of the calendar, the Octave was removed from the Solemnity of Pentecost (Whitsunday).  The remnants of the Octave were found in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, with special propers for the Monday and Tuesday of Whitsun Week.  This is what we would have heard today from the Prayer Book:

The Collect.

SEND, we beseech thee, Almighty God, thy Holy Spirit into our hearts, that he may direct and rule us according to thy will, comfort us in all our afflictions, defend us from all error, and lead us into all truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the same Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end. Amen.

For the Epistle. Acts x. 34.

THEN Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) that word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

The Gospel. St. John iii. 16.

GOD so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

22 May 2010

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.

21 May 2010

C'mon, Knights. You're CATHOLICS, right?

Here are a couple of items of interest, and they're self-explanatory.  I belong to the Knights of Columbus myself, and am pleased to be a member of the fraternity -  as it's supposed to be.  I've always been very bothered by the presence of pro-abortion, anti-family politicians within the membership.  Their presence isn't because they have any intention of standing up for Catholic truth; rather, I think it's because of the political gain they think it gives them.

Have a look - first, an item from CatholicCulture.org:

of Knights and bishops... and getting rooked

By Phil Lawler
May 20, 2010 6:18 PM

When I think of knights, I think of lances and armor, jousting and swordplay. I think of heroic quests, and yes, even of crusades.

Or else I think of the Knights of Columbus. That's a different matter altogether, unfortunately.

Knights are--or should be--men oriented toward a mission, and there is no mission more noble than the defense of innocent people who cannot defend themselves. In contemporary American society the defense of human life--the protection of the unborn--is a quest tailor-made for men with strong sense of Christian mission and chivalry.

The Knights of Columbus are, and always have been, strongly supportive of the right to life in their public statements. So it has long been a mystery to me why the K of C allows some politicians to continue their membership even while those politicians promote legalized abortion: in flagrant defiance of the teachings of their Church and the public statements of their fraternity.

Is it possible to be a Catholic "knight" who favors not the protection, but the extermination of the helpless unborn? Evidently, yes.

The national directive from K of C leadership, warning local councils that they cannot suspend the membership of abortion supporters, is couched in neutral language, suggesting that any such move to oust a member must be approved at the very top levels of the fraternal order. But are the top leaders of the K of C ready to take action? To the best of my knowledge they have never yet ousted a member because of his support for abortion. If the local councils are forbidden to act, and the national leadership is unwilling to act, then the disgrace will continue: prominent men who support the killing of the unborn will be allowed to parade around in the guise of Catholic knighthood.

In his attempt to justify this policy of inaction, Supreme Advocate John Marrella writes: "If the public figure's bishop has not excommunicated him for his public positions on issues relating to matters of faith and morals, it would be highly inappropriate for the Knights of Columbus to do so."

Well, yes. It would be "highly inappropriate" for the Knights of Columbus to excommunicate a member. It would also be impossible.

The Knights do not have the authority to deprive their members of the sacraments, nor is anyone suggesting that they should do so. What some K of C members do suggest is that pro-abortion politicians should be deprived of the privileges of membership in a private fraternal organization.

The Knights should look to their bishops for leadership on questions of faith and morals. But on questions of practical politics--the realm of the laity--the Knights should set their own course. Let the bishops decide whether an individual Catholic has separated himself from the Church. But the Knights can decide for themselves whether a man has separated himself from their fraternity.

The Knights set their own standards for membership. Some members have been removed from the rolls for failure to pay their dues; some have been ejected because they engaged in public attacks on the order. Are these more serious offenses than support for abortion?

If the Knights of Columbus are engaged in mounting a serious crusade--not merely in putting together a congenial social network or a successful insurance business--they must adopt some serious internal discipline. It's impossible to fight a crusade effectively as long as enemies are welcome within your own ranks.

From time to time a friend asks me why I've never expressed interest in joining the K of C. Now you know why. Let me know when they get serious.

And then this item from RealCatholicTV.com:

This program is from RealCatholicTV.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 - faithful Catholics who would not have their faith ripped away from them.  Most Catholics resisted peacefully, but there also were some who (tragically) felt they had no choice but 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 Pope 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.

20 May 2010

Future Liturgy of the Ordinariates

The New Liturgical Movement is including a series of articles discussing the possible future liturgy (or liturgies) for the Ordinariates when they are established.  I've written one entitled, "The Future Liturgy of an Anglican Ordinariate: Bearing the Image of the Book of Common Prayer."  You can read it by going to this link.

19 May 2010

Ss. Dunstan, Ethelwold and Oswald

These three 10th century bishops revived Benedictine monastic life in Britain, and so set the course of the Church in that country for centuries.
We beseech thee, O Lord, graciously to hear the prayers which we offer unto thee on this feast of thy bishops Ss. Dunstan, Ethelwold and Oswald: that like as they were found worthy to do thee faithful service in reforming and administering thy church; so, by their example, we too may have a singular zeal for upholding thy household; 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.

17 May 2010

A wonderful few days...

These past few days at the parish have been quite extraordinary, with the visit of Dr. Gerre Hancock and Dr. Judith Hancock, both acknowledged leaders in the field of sacred music, after some thirty years spent at St. Thomas, 5th Avenue, and now at UT Austin.  They began working with our students last Thursday, to prepare for the celebration of Solemn Evensong and Benediction which took place yesterday afternoon.

While they were here, a Spring Concert was presented by the students in third, fourth and fifth grades.  A highlight of the evening was when Dr. Gerre Hancock directed the students in singing "The Choristers' Prayer." 

It was especially gratifying to hear their professional opinion about the choral music program we have at the academy, which they described as being "one of the finest in the country."  This was high praise indeed, coming from experts who have a finger on the pulse of sacred music throughout the nation. 

The program on Sunday afternoon was breath-taking.  The recital given by the Hancocks was just remarkable, and the service which followed was tremendously moving.  With Gerre directing the students, and Judith at the organ, it was a loving act of worship, and it certainly gave glory to God.

We're particularly blessed to have Edmund and Chalon Murray as our musicians here in the parish.  Their work, especially with the students, is nothing short of astonishing.

16 May 2010

Solemn Evensong and Benediction

A celebration of Solemn Evensong and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament will be live-streamed on Sunday afternoon, May 16th, from Our Lady of the Atonement Church in San Antonio, Texas. Because this is taking place immediately following a concert of organ music presented by Dr. Gerre Hancock and Dr. Judith Hancock, the time will be approximate, but the processional hymn should begin at approximately 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time (4:00 p.m. Central Time), or perhaps just after. It can be viewed at this web address, and it will be archived there, so if you are unable to view it live, you will be able to access it later.

15 May 2010

St. Isidore the Farmer

Having grown up in a farming family myself, St. Isidore has become one of my favorite saints -- a humble man with a simple faith.

When he was barely old enough to wield a hoe, Isidore entered the service of John de Vergas, a wealthy landowner from Madrid, and worked faithfully on his estate outside the city for the rest of his life. He married a young woman as simple and upright as himself who also became a saint, St. Maria de la Cabeza. They had one son, who died as a child.

Isidore had deep religious instincts. He rose early in the morning to go to church and spent many a holiday devoutly visiting the churches of Madrid and surrounding areas. All day long, as he walked behind the plow, he communed with God. His devotion, one might say, became a problem, for his fellow workers sometimes complained that he often showed up late because of lingering in church too long.

He was known for his love of the poor, and there are accounts of Isidore's supplying them miraculously with food. He had a great concern for the proper treatment of animals.

He died May 15, 1130, and was declared a saint in 1622 with Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Teresa of Avila and Philip Neri. Together, the group is known in Spain as "the five saints."

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. Isidore the Farmer, may persevere in running the race that is set before us, until at length, through thy mercy, we may with him 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.

14 May 2010

St. Matthias, Apostle and Martyr

O Almighty God, who into the place of Judas didst choose thy faithful servant Matthias to be of the number of the Twelve: Grant that thy Church, being delivered from false apostles, may always be ordered and guided by faithful and true pastors; 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.

13 May 2010

Ups and downs...

Depending on where you live, today is either the celebration of the Solemnity of the Ascension of our Lord into Heaven, or it's the memorial of Our Lady appearing near the little village of Fatima. 

The Novena to the Holy Ghost should begin tomorrow (although it's confusing when we're not keeping the Solemnity of the Ascension, to which the Novena is tied - but, oh well...)

Anyway, here are the two collects for your devotion:

Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God; that like as we do believe thy only-begotten Son our Lord, Jesus Christ to have ascended into the heavens, so we may also in heart and mind thither ascend, and with him continually dwell; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

O God, who in the blessed Virgin Mary didst consecrate a dwelling place meet for thy Son: We humbly pray that we, observing the appearing of the same blessed Virgin, may obtain thy healing both in body and soul; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

12 May 2010

Bored with traditional liturgy?

...here's an alternative for you.

A tongue-in-cheek look at what goes into producing what passes as contemporary worship...

"Sunday's Coming" Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.

And for the more liturgically minded...

"...this sublime vocation..."

As one of his important acts during his visit to Fatima, Pope Benedict XVI entrusted all priests throughout the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Here's the prayer he said:

Immaculate Mother,

in this place of grace,
called together by the love of your Son Jesus
the Eternal High Priest, we,
sons in the Son and his priests,
consecrate ourselves to your maternal Heart,
in order to carry out faithfully the Father’s Will.

We are mindful that, without Jesus,
we can do nothing good (cf. Jn 15:5)
and that only through him, with him and in him,
will we be instruments of salvation
for the world.

Bride of the Holy Spirit,
obtain for us the inestimable gift
of transformation in Christ.
Through the same power of the Spirit that
overshadowed you,
making you the Mother of the Saviour,
help us to bring Christ your Son
to birth in ourselves too.
May the Church
be thus renewed by priests who are holy,
priests transfigured by the grace of him
who makes all things new...
(Read the whole prayer here.)

The latest Academy newsletter...

Click here to read the latest edition of The Crusader Times.

Catch up on all the doings at the school, and have a look at Catholic education in action.  We have concerts coming up, lots of "end of year" activities, and loads of recognition for our students.  Next year promises to be a record year in terms of enrollment, so if you're thinking of sending your child to the Academy, and haven't yet registered, it's time!

11 May 2010

Guadalupe Radio KJMA 89.7 FM

Just a reminder to those in the San Antonio/South Texas area, the Spring Radiothon is going on now.  I'll be on the air during the 4 o'clock hour this afternoon.  Call in during that time and support Catholic radio with your pledges, and help prop up my reputation as one of their all-time highest fundraisers for a given hour!  Tune in, and the call-in number will be announced.  Continually.  In fact, it seems like it never stops...

UPDATE: The hour's goal was set at $4,000.  We raised in excess of $6,000.  Thanks, all of you, who called in and made a gift to keep Catholic radio going strong!

10 May 2010

Sirius Radio. Seriously.

When it comes to some things, I’ll admit I’m a bit of a rustic. I’ve heard of Sirius Radio, and have seen it advertised, but I don’t know a thing about it. At any rate, for those of you who know about such things, I’ll be interviewed on Sirius XM Radio this Wednesday morning, May 12th, at 9:40 a.m. (Eastern Time). It’ll be on The Catholic Channel, during a program called “Seize the Day,” and is sponsored by the Archdiocese of New York.  They want to talk about my conversion to the Catholic faith, and I imagine something about Anglicanorum coetibus will come into the conversation.  Anyway, it should be interesting.

08 May 2010

Mark your calendar! Sunday, May 16th

The Church of Our Lady of the Atonement

invites you to attend a
Duo Organ Recital

followed by

Solemn Evensong and Benediction


Gerre and Judith Hancock
Faculty – Butler School of Music
University of Texas at Austin

assisted by students from
The Atonement Academy

Sunday, May 16, 2010
3:30 o’clock in the afternoon

Reception to follow in the Pope John Paul II Library
A free-will offering will be received
for the support of the parish Music Series

For more information, visit the parish website:


Overture to “Elijah” - Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (Transcribed by Best and Hancock)

A Fancy for Two to Play - Thomas Tomkins

Piece d'Orgue - J.S.Bach
Tres vitement

Scherzo Eugène - Gigout

Toccata and Fugue in D, Opus 59 - Max Reger


Music for Evensong to include:

Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in G Major - Herbert Sumsion
Preces and Responses - George Guest
Psalm 150 - Sir David Willcocks

07 May 2010

Thanks, Mom. Happy Mothers' Day!

For those of us whose mothers are still living, we've already taken care of getting Mom something for "her day," and plans are made for families to get together to honor the woman who is the heart of the family.  If we live a distance away, a telephone call will be made - it's thought to be the busiest calling day of the year.

The roots of Mothers' Day go deep into our Judeo-Christian heritage, and as we might guess, the foundational underpinning is found in our Catholic faith, with other traditions building upon it.  Here's an interesting article by Jonathan Aitken from The American Spectator, outlining the history of the day:

Millions of American families will be celebrating Mother's Day this month with carnations, chocolates, greeting cards, and all the usual paraphernalia of a well-established national holiday.

The date of this annual festivity -- the second Sunday in May -- was set by an act of Congress in 1914 followed by a proclamation issued by President Woodrow Wilson declaring the first national Mother's Day that year. Politicians have been getting in on the act ever since. As recently as 2008 the U.S. House of Representatives voted twice for a resolution "celebrating the role of mothers in the United States and supporting the goals and ideals of Mother's Day." The first vote was unanimous so that all congressmen would be on record for supporting motherhood. In that sort of legislative mood it was surprising that the House did not also vote unanimously for apple pie!

Given the secular background of this political schmaltz, it may seem rather unpromising to explore the question, what are the religious roots of Mother's Day? But there are spiritual answers that can be traced back to such sources as the book of the prophet Isaiah; the 19th chapter of St. John's Gospel; the medieval traditions of Catholic Europe; and a Protestant church in Grafton, West Virginia. It's a complicated story that predates Woodrow Wilson by many centuries.

Let's work backward from St. Andrew's Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, and a member of its congregation, Anna Marie Jarvis, who is often described as the founder of Mother's Day in the United States. After much prayer she organized a small service on May 12, 1907, to honor her recently deceased mother, who had taught in the church Sunday school. Anna Marie Jarvis later began campaigning for the day to be recognized as a public holiday, to celebrate the lives of all mothers. This was officially commemorated by the state of West Virginia in 1910, by many other states in the next four years, and turned into a national holiday by the U.S. Congress in 1914.

The only spiritual thread that ran through these events was that they had been started by prayers on a Sunday. There was also a vague connection with the traditions of Mothering Sunday celebrations in other parts of the world, whose origins can be traced back to the foot of the Cross on the first Good Friday.

One of the most moving moments of the Crucifixion story is related in John's gospel, when Jesus looks down from the Cross at his mother:

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing there he said to his mother, "Woman, here is your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Here is your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home. (John 19: 26-27)
The scene is perhaps the most poignant illustration in Scripture of maternal love, mingling with filial love, blessed by God's love at a time of pain and suffering.

Watching her son die in agony on the Cross must have been a heartbreaking moment for Mary. Jesus could not bear it either. For put in blunt contemporary language the request he was making to his disciple John was "Please get her out of here." And that was what John did, taking Mary into his own home from that hour and looking after her as if she were his own mother.

The words from the Cross "Here is your mother" were interpreted by early Christians to establish Mary as the Mother of the Church, a title formally confirmed by Pope Paul VI. The church itself was frequently spoken of as a mother who nourishes and guides her children, hence the term Mother Church, which is thought to derive from a famous passage in the book of Isaiah when the prophet compares ancient Jerusalem to a mother comforting her children (Isaiah 66: 11-13)...  Read the whole article.

It's a bumpy road...

Truly, I give thanks to God that my conscience moved me to become Catholic nearly thirty years ago.  I'm praying for those who are making the move now, and especially we should pray for these Anglican bishops in the following news story from the Church Times:

Bishop walks fine line
as traditionalists test parishes’ mood
over Ordinariate

THREE Church of England bishops went to Rome last week to meet Vatican officials. One of them, the Bishop of Richborough, the Rt Revd Keith Newton, is said to have been asking Anglican priests to join him in an Ordinariate in the RC Church.

The Bishop of Fulham, the Rt Revd John Broadhurst, and two Provincial Episcopal Visitors, the Bishop of Richborough, the Rt Revd Keith Newton, and the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Rt Revd Andrew Burnham, met members of the Con­gregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome last week.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that the Bishops had told senior Vatican officals that they were “keen to defect to Rome”. Bishop Newton said on Tuesday that the visit had been a “fact-finding” mission to “ex­plore issues”, and that it had been “over-hyped” in the press.

He offered “No comment” when he was asked whether Dr Williams had warned him that he would have to resign if he sought to “actively recruit”. On Wednesday, Lambeth Palace had not responded to a request to confirm or deny whether this warning had been given.

The Bishop said that he had been “going around talking to people and asking them to let me know” their attitudes to the Ordinariate. He would not say how many had ex­pressed an interest “until after Synod”, which meets in July...  Read the whole article.

04 May 2010

A Few Words About “The Journey Home”

It was a late night last night (at least by my usual standards), as I got back from Birmingham a little after 11:00 p.m. Although I was in bed by midnight, I tossed and turned. I didn’t get to sleep much before 1:00 a.m., and then I got up at my usual time of 5:00 a.m. So it’s been a full day, and I’m feeling a little groggy, but I wanted to write down just a few thoughts about my time on “The Journey Home” with Marcus Grodi.

It seemed to me that he had a better grasp of things this time, compared to the last program when he dealt with Anglicanorum coetibus. Actually, we had a bit of time before the program started, and he’s a delightful man to talk with. In fact, I think the pre-show conversation helped him to formulate some of his questions in – what shall I say? – a “more felicitous form.”

Christian Campbell has given a very good synopsis of the general topics covered and the various points made, so I won’t repeat that. But I do want to say that I’ve found there’s great interest in the whole matter of the Ordinariates, and the good people at EWTN were no exception. When I’ve been there in the past, it’s been almost painful to have to try and explain the Pastoral Provision and the Anglican Use – and that’s even after having one of our own parish girls enter the monastery there. Usually there would be a vague recollection that they’d “heard of it,” but not much more. Now, with Anglicanorum coetibus having been published, it’s very different indeed. People might not know how to pronounce it, but they certainly seem to know what it’s intended to do. I guess there’s a lesson in that someplace; namely, if you want people to pay attention to something, all you’ve got to do is get the Holy Father to write an Apostolic Constitution about it. Simple!

I hold my breath (figuratively, of course) when there are call-in questions from viewers. I’ve been on enough programs using that format to know there’s usually reason to be more than a little apprehensive. But the questions last night were pretty good. Some were quite thoughtful, and – of course – there’s always a softball question about the Blessed Mother. That’s de rigueur for any Catholic call-in show. (I sometimes wonder what they think I’m going to say – that I don’t like her very much?!). Actually, I always enjoy answering that question. There’s usually a bit of surprise when they find out that many Anglicans do have a devotion to the Blessed Virgin. You can almost feel the wheels turning – “Hey, he’s one of us!”

I have no doubt at all that a program like last night’s is helpful to the Catholics who were listening. They need to get to know us, and having time on a network like EWTN gets our story into hundreds of thousands of Catholic homes. But I know there were many Anglicans listening, too. And I hope it was helpful for at least some of them. It probably was for those who have already decided in favor of being part of an Ordinariate; it’s a confirmation that they’re making the right decision and the Church really is serious about this.

For the Anglicans who aren’t sure what they’re going to do, I tried to speak in a way that was gentle and clear. How successful that was, I don’t know. I spend quite a bit of time thinking about them, talking with them when they’re willing to talk, and praying for them. I keep wondering what more we can do to help them understand what peace they would find, if they would just come home. I mentioned last night the importance of communication (yes, I know that’s cliché). But it’s true. Very often when we talk about these things in a calm and open way, clarity comes, and it can result in a person who was hesitant about entering into communion with the Holy Father, then being able to do so whole-heartedly. I wish there could be a way for these conversations not to turn into debates that have to be won, but just talks between friends. Oh well… I can hope, can’t I?

Here's the program on YouTube...

I didn't realize these programs make their way to YouTube.  That being the case, here's the recent program I did with Marcus Grodi, if you'd like to see it.

03 May 2010

Safely back...

Just got home from Birmingham, where I was the guest on "The Journey Home" with Marcus Grodi.  It's late -- way past my bedtime -- but you'll find a synopsis of the program on The Anglo-Catholic blog.  I'll write a few reflections sometime tomorrow.

"The Journey Home"

I'm in Birmingham later today at the studios of EWTN, to take part in "The Journey Home" with Marcus Grodi.  It'll be broadcast live at 8 p.m. Eastern Time, 7:00 p.m. Central Time.

01 May 2010

English Bishops meet with the CDF

This is good news for those in England who want to be part of an Ordinariate.  One of the bishops, John Broadhurst, was at the meeting I attended in Orlando, and I had the opportunity to speak with him at some length.  He's a faithful man, and I'm delighted to learn that he was part of this delegation.

The original article is at this link.

Anglican bishops in secret Vatican summit

In a move likely to raise tensions between the two Churches, a group of Church of England bishops met last week with advisers of Pope Benedict XVI to set in motion steps that would allow priests to convert to Catholicism en masse.

They are set to resign their orders in opposition to the introduction of women bishops and to lead an exodus of Anglican clerics to the Catholic Church despite Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, urging them not to leave.

It would be the first time for nearly 20 years that large numbers of priests have crossed from the Church of England to Rome, and comes only weeks ahead of a crucial General Synod debate on making women bishops.

The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that bishops travelled to the Holy See last week to hold face to face discussions with senior members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the most powerful of the Vatican’s departments.

The Rt Rev John Broadhurst, the Rt Rev Keith Newton and the Rt Rev Andrew Burnham, the bishops of Fulham, Richborough and Ebbsfleet respectively, are understood to have informed senior Catholic officials that Church of England clergy are keen to defect to Rome.

It is the first significant response to the Papal offer made last year, which opened the doors for Anglicans to convert while retaining key elements of their tradition.

The Most Rev Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, was unaware of the summit, which is likely to prove embarrassing to the Catholic Church ahead of the Pope’s visit to Britain later this year as it will rekindle fears that it is trying to poach Anglican clergy.

One source close to last week’s discussions said that the Anglican bishops raised concerns with the Vatican officials that there is opposition to them defecting from Catholic bishops in England.

Nevertheless, they made clear they have become so disillusioned with the Church’s liberal direction that they are keen to accept the Pope’s offer if they can finalise plans to implement it.

The Vatican summit will raise the stakes at the General Synod in July when the Church of England’s parliament will vote on how to treat traditionalist clergy opposed to the introduction of women bishops.

Although the number of priests who have openly said that they plan to defect has been small so far, the group is likely to grow if they are not given adequate provisions.

A leading Anglican cleric said: “This will seriously embarrass the Pope.

“It’s a plot within the Vatican that they are desperate to keep quiet until they are ready to go public.

“Many will see this as proof that the Catholic Church is intent on poaching clergy from the Church of England despite its reassurances to the contrary.”
Why the "leading Anglican cleric" thinks this is some sort of embarrassment for the Holy Father, I cannot imagine.  And as far as the Catholic Church "poaching" Anglican clergy... it doesn't look like these bishops were kidnapped and whisked away to Rome against their will.