31 August 2010

Power Incarnate...

The synagogue at Capernaum.

And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the sabbath; and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word was with authority. And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon; and he cried out with a loud voice, "Ah! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God." But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. And they were all amazed and said to one another, "What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out." And reports of him went out into every place in the surrounding region.
- St. Luke 4:31-37
The people at Capernaum were astonished at Jesus' power, and no wonder. They were well-accustomed to people who claimed they could exorcise demons, and they'd use all kinds of incantations, arm-waving, and objects, calling on various powers and personages to try and gain control over the evil presence.

But Jesus' authority was something quite new. When the rabbis taught they supported every statement with quotations. They always said, "There is a saying that . . ." "Rabbi so and so said that . . ." They always appealed to authority. When the prophets spoke, they said, "Thus saith the Lord." Theirs was a delegated authority. When Jesus spoke, he said, "I say to you." He needed no outside authority.  His wasn't a delegated authority.  Jesus Himself was authority, because He is God Incarnate.

29 August 2010

Our two deacons...

It's the thirteenth anniversary of the ordination of our two deacons, Dn. Michael D'Agostino and Dn. James Orr.  We give thanks to God for their ministry!

ALMIGHTY God, who by thy divine providence hast appointed divers Orders of Ministers in thy Church, and didst inspire thine Apostles to choose into the Order of Deacons the first Martyr Saint Stephen, with others; Mercifully behold these thy servants called to the like Office and Administration: so replenish them with the truth of thy Doctrine, and adorn them with innocency of life, that, both by word and good example, they may faithfully serve thee in this Office, to the glory of thy Name, and the edification of thy Church; through the merits of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and for ever. Amen.

25 August 2010

We're pleased to announce...

...the formation of a new Schola, under the direction of Dr. Robert M. Finster.  Musica Sacra San Antonio will be in residence at Our Lady of the Atonement, and will provide the finest music of the Church's patrimony in the context of Solemn Evensong.  This will take place on several Sunday afternoons throughout the year.  A full schedule will be announced, but the Inaugural Solemn Evensong will take place on Sunday, October 3rd, at 4:00 p.m.  See the details below.




Musica Sacra San Antonio is a new select choral ensemble dedicated to the study and preparation of fine arts liturgical music which will be offered at Sunday Solemn Evensong (Vespers) at Our Lady of the Atonement Church in northwest San Antonio. The Schola’s repertoire will be from Anglican, Latin, and Russian Orthodox musical sources.

Our Lady of the Atonement Church is the founding parish for the Anglican Use Liturgy within the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church, one of several parishes in the United States which was established under the terms of the Pastoral Provision granted by Pope John Paul II in 1980.

Dr. Robert Finster is a specialist in music from the Orthodox, Catholic, and Anglican church traditions, and is widely known to San Antonio choral music audiences as the founder and artistic director of Texas Bach Choir from 1976-1990 and as parish musician at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Alamo Heights and at Our Lady of the Atonement Church. For eighteen years he was then active in the Chicago area as organist and choirmaster for St. Mark’s Church in Evanston and as a principal conductor for Ars Musica Chicago, an early music ensemble. He was director of music and taught liturgical music at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston and was an adjunct music faculty member at Northwestern and DePaul Universities and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.


SUNDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2010, 4:00 PM

Musical Program


Reception Following

Fr. Christopher G. Phillips, Pastor
Edmund G. Murray, Organist and Choirmaster

15415 Red Robin Road, San Antonio, Texas 78255
Exit Loop 1604 West at Babcock Dr., Stay on access road half mile, right on Red Robin Rd.


23 August 2010

22 August 2010

A word from our Choirmaster...

Edmund Murray is the Director of Music for both Our Lady of the Atonement Church and The Atonement Academy.  He and the other three members of the music faculty have developed a total of fourteen choirs within the parish -- nine choirs within the school, and five choirs within the church. 

Now that the summer schedule is over, we are resuming our regular activities.  Rehearsals are commencing again for the church choirs, and Mr. Murray placed the following announcement in the Sunday bulletin:

As one of several “personal parishes” erected for Anglican Use Liturgy in the United States, Our Lady of the Atonement has the great privilege of drawing upon the rich treasury of sacred music of both the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches. Throughout the centuries, music in worship has been an important vehicle in carrying out the Church’s mission to “restore all things in Christ”. Indeed, sacred music is an effective means of assisting the faithful in experiencing a deeper encounter with Christ in the sacred liturgy.

There are many opportunities for involvement in the choral music program at Our Lady of the Atonement Church. The children’s and youth choir programs continue to grow. Our parish has recently become an affiliate member of the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) and will be implementing their training method. The RSCM has a proven success rate in churches and schools throughout the world. This system provides the opportunity for teamwork as well as individual progress in musical literacy, voice training, Christian fellowship and growth in faith. It is designed to build a musically competent group, which can play a major role in the life and service of the Church and its liturgy. In addition to musical growth, RSCM participants develop self-discipline, confidence and motivation.

Please take a few moments to read through the descriptions of our choirs and consider whether you or a family member might be interested in joining one of theses ensembles. For more information regarding participation in any of the choirs, please contact Edmund Murray, Organist and Choirmaster via e-mail at music@atonementonline.com.
The Choirs of Our Lady of the Atonement Church

Saint Nicholas Children’s Choir
- For girls and boys in grades 3-5
- Sings for the 9:00 AM Mass on Sundays as scheduled
- Rehearses on Thursday afternoons from 3:30- 4:10 PM

Saint Cecilia Youth Choir
- For girls and boys (unchanged voices) in grades 6-high school
- Sings for the 9:00 AM Mass on Sundays as scheduled
- Rehearses on Thursday afternoons from 4:15-5:00 PM

Our Lady of the Atonement Adult Choir
- For those of high school age (10th grade) and older
- Sings for 11:00 AM Mass each Sunday as well as for Holydays, and special liturgies throughout the year.
- Rehearses on Thursday evenings from 7:00-9:00 PM
- Ability to read music helpful, but not required.

Saint Gregory Schola Cantorum
- For men of high school age and older (by audition)
- Sings for the Sunday 6:00 PM Latin Mass
- Rehearses each Sunday at 5:00 PM and on select Sundays for one half-hour following Mass.

Our Lady of the Atonement Festival Choir
- Designed for those who cannot make a year-round commitment to weekly rehearsals, but who have a desire to be involved in the parish music program.
- Sings for special services throughout the year (in combination with the Adult Choir) including Nine Lessons and Carols, the liturgies of Holy Week and seasonal Evensong services.
- Rehearses on select Thursday evenings preceding scheduled events.
“The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as sacred song united to the words, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy.“
- Sacrosantum Concillium, Chapter VI

21 August 2010

This week's collect...

Grant, we beseech thee, merciful God, that thy Church, being gathered together in unity by thy Holy Spirit, may manifest thy power among all peoples, to the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

Pope St. Pius X

The relic of Pope St. Pius X (Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto) was exposed for veneration on this, the day of his commemoration.  It was during the pontificate of St. Pius X that the Society of the Atonement entered the Catholic Church, bringing with them our beloved title of Our Lady of the Atonement.  The relic we have (pictured above) belonged originally to the Atonement Friars in Graymoor, and was a gift to us after our parish was established as a Catholic parish.

O heavenly Father, Shepherd of thy people, we give thee thanks for thy servant Pope St. Pius X, who was faithful in the care and nurture of thy flock; and we pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life, we may by thy grace grow into the stature of the fullness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

20 August 2010

St. Bernard of Clairvaux

O God, by whose grace thy servant St. Bernard of Clairvaux, 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.

16 August 2010

A new article on "The Anglo-Catholic"

I've posted an article titled It's Déjà Vu All Over Again at The Anglo-Catholic.  You might enjoy reading it.

The Latest "Crusader Times"

The August 16th edition of The Crusader Times is packed full of information about the goings-on at the Academy.  Click here to read it.

A man who knew how to be king...

What a man!  St. Stephen, King of Hungary, took his responsibilities seriously, starting with the idea of even being a king.  He understood that genuine royalty had to be a reflection of the Kingship of Christ, and so he petitioned the Pope, who crowned him king of Hungary.  St. Stephen was defined by his love for God and his people.  He provided churches, using his own money, and he visted the poor regularly to bring them food and clothing, showing his humility by washing their feet.

What a king!  Some of the faux-royalty we have among our leaders today could take a lesson or two.

O God, who didst call thy servant St. Stephen of Hungary to an earthly throne that he might advance thy heavenly kingdom, and didst give him zeal for thy Church and love for thy people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate him this day may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious crown of thy saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

14 August 2010

O sing unto the Lord a new song...

On the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven...

...27 years ago, I was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood;

...27 years ago, the Parish of Our Lady of the Atonement was canonically erected, and with it, the Anglican Use was established in the Catholic Church;

...23 years ago, our Altar was solemnly dedicated, and the church building was blessed;

...16 years ago, The Atonement Academy was founded, with its first day of classes;

...4 years ago, Archbishop Gomez blessed our expanded church building.

All by the grace of God, and through the prayers of Our Lady of the Atonement. 

O God, who hast taken to thyself the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of thine Incarnate Son: Grant that we, who have been redeemed by his blood, may share with her the glory of thine eternal kingdom; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Friday night football!

The Atonement Crusaders six-man football team is up and running.  And I do mean running!  I've been watching them practice, and these boys are excited.  Last night we had our first event -- a scrimmage with the boys from Lutheran High School, our near neighbor.  It took place on our new athletic field, which by general consensus from everyone who visits, is one of the best fields around.  Our kids were fantastic!  We even had a for-real "Hail Mary pass" which caused the crowd to roar with approval.  As I said at the time, "We've got the Hail Mary... what can the Lutherans do?"

A close-up of our team's helmet...

Texas and football... it doesn't get much better than that!

Fun on the playground...

Over the summer we made lots of improvements at the Academy, including additional playground equipment for our younger students.  Having a school for all ages -- preK through 12th grade -- means there's always more to do, more to build, more to add!

The playground is dedicated to the Grandmother of Our Lord.  The statue of St. Anne and the Child Mary is a constant reminder to the children that they are under her protection, especially while they play.

12 August 2010

Ss. Pontian & Hippolytus

St. Pontian.

A man named Maximinus became the emperor of Rome in 235. Almost immediately, he began a persecution of the Christians. One of the frequent punishments of bishops and priests was to be sent into exile to the dangerous and unhealthy mine fields in Sardinia, Italy. It was this very persecution that joined the two martyrs.

St. Pontian became pope after the death of Urban I in the year 230. When Maximinus became emperor, Pontian served the Church with his sufferings in the mines of Sardinia.

The other saint on today's calendar is St. Hippolytus. He was a priest and a scholar in the church of Rome. He wrote many excellent works of theology and was a great teacher. Hippolytus had become frustrated with Pope St. Zephyrinus, who had been martyred in the year 217. Hippolytus felt that the pope had not been quick enough to stop people who were teaching errors. St. Zephyrinus' successor had been St. Callistus I. Hippolytus had not been pleased with the choice of the new pope. Hippolytus himself had a large following, and he gave in to their suggestion that he be appointed pope. So he agreed. He broke ties with the Church and became a false pope. When the persecution began, he was arrested and sent to Sardinia. There in that sad environment, while the enemies of Christianity laughed, a miracle of healing took place.

Pope Pontian and Hippolytus met in exile. The priest was touched by the humility of the pope. He asked to return to the Church and felt the anger lifted from his heart. Pope Pontian understood the priest and loved him. He realized their need to help and encourage each other in their love for Jesus. Both became martyrs and remain for all time witnesses of forgiveness and Christian hope.

O Almighty God, who didst give to thy servants St. Pontian and St. Hippolytus boldness to confess the Name of our Saviour Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith: Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us, and to suffer gladly for the sake of the same our Lord Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

St. Hippolytus.

10 August 2010

St. Clare, pray for us!

I'm glad our first school Mass this year falls on the feast of St. Clare.  When we take students on pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi, we always visit the basilica dedicated to her, and pray before her tomb.  She's one of our "special saints," and even more so, now that we have the community of Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration as part of our Atonement family.

O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich: Deliver us, we pray thee, from an inordinate love of this world, that, inspired by the devotion of thy servant St. Clare, we may serve thee with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come; 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.

Here they come!

My Yankee friends in the north are always amazed when I tell them the start-date for our school.  All our students return on August 11th this year, and it's not a day too soon, as far as I'm concerned. 

I love being the pastor of a parish with a school.  This is the sixteenth year for the Academy, and every year is better than the last.  We've been having open house evenings, with another one tonight, and it's wonderful to be in the hallways as families are finding their children's classrooms, signing up for sports, getting lunches ordered, seeing old friends and meeting new ones. 

They'll all be here tomorrow -- 545 students at the moment, with more waiting to be admitted -- and our new academic year will begin.  It will be my pleasure and privilege to celebrate daily Mass with all the students, faculty and staff, and we'll begin the schedule for students' confessions, too. 

Last year's graduates are heading off to their various colleges in a few weeks, and we'll have lots of new faces here.  The cycle continues!

07 August 2010

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

Grant to us, Lord, we beseech thee, the spirit to think and do always such things as are right, that we, who cannot exist without thee, may by thee be enabled to live 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.

Jesus said to his disciples, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the marriage feast, so that they may open to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes; truly, I say to you, he will gird himself and have them sit at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those servants! But know this, that if the householder had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would have been awake and would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?” And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. Truly I tell you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will punish him, and put him with the unfaithful. And that servant who knew his master’s will, but did not make ready or act according to his will, shall receive a severe beating. But he who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, shall receive a light beating. Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more.”
- St. Luke 12:32-48

05 August 2010


Behold our Lord transfigured,
In Sacrament Divine;
His glory deeply hidden,
'Neath forms of Bread and Wine.
Our eyes of faith behold Him,
Salvation is outpoured;
The Saviour dwells among us,
by ev'ry heart adored.

No longer on the mountain
With Peter, James and John,
Our precious Saviour bids us
To walk where saints have gone.
He has no lasting dwelling,
Save in the hearts of men;
He feeds us with His Body,
To make us whole again.

With Moses and Elijah,
We worship Christ our King;
Lord, make our souls transfigured,
Let us with angels sing.
Lead us in paths of glory,
Give tongues to sing thy praise;
Lord Jesus, keep us faithful,
Now and for all our days.

Text: Fr. Christopher G. Phillips, 1990
Music: "Ewing" by Alexander C. Ewing, 1853

01 August 2010

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

O Lord, we beseech thee, let thy continual pity cleanse and defend thy Church, and, because it cannot continue in safety without thy succor, preserve it evermore by thy help and goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.