31 August 2011

Another edition of the Crusader Bulletin

Go to the Crusader Bulletin for the latest news on the Rome pilgrimage, the Upper School Tea, Crusader football, the upcoming Gala, and lots of other things of interest.

27 August 2011

Letting the light shine...

What does it mean to “live our faith”?

Our Catholic faith is not simply an abstract system of beliefs, teaching us only to believe certain doctrines of the Church. No, on our faith rests a whole way of life. If we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, then we are obliged to carry this truth over into life. If we believe that baptism makes us children of God, and that the Holy Spirit dwells in us, then we must live as children of God and allow our souls to be fit dwelling places for the Holy Spirit. Our faith demands that we live according to the precept of love: love for God and love for others, fulfilling the duties of our state in life, having patience in suffering, and seeking to be conformed to God's will for us.

Christ imparted this to us in his words, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven.”

24 August 2011

Back in the swing of things...

I just came from teaching the sophomore scripture class, and it’s good to be back in the classroom after the summer break.  This is the third year that I’ve taught a course here at the Academy on the Book of the Acts of the Apostles.  It’s great to see so many eager faces, Bibles at the ready, and fresh notebooks open to receive whatever it is that the students think is important enough to write down.

It's great to have the Academy in session!

19 August 2011

Latest Crusader Bulletin

To read the latest issue of the Crusader Bulletin, a publication of The Atonement Academy, please go here.  Get the latest news on upcoming sports games, the Rome pilgrimage, spiritual events, and other items of interest.

15 August 2011

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin

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

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

...28 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;

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

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

...5 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.

13 August 2011

St. Maximilian Kolbe

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast called us to faith in thee, and hast compassed us about with so great a cloud of witnesses; Grant that we, encouraged by the good example of thy holy martyr St. Maximilian Kolbe, and aided by his intercession, may persevere in running the race that is set before us, until at length, through thy mercy, we with him attain to thine eternal joy; through him who is the author and finisher of our faith, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Bible in fifty words...

I don't know the origins of this, but it's true... and pretty clever, too!

God made,
Adam bit,
Noah arked,
Abraham split,
Joseph ruled,
Jacob fooled,
bush talked,
Moses balked,
Pharaoh plagued,
people walked,
sea divided,
tablets guided,
promise landed,
Saul freaked,
David peeked,
prophets warned,
Jesus born,
God walked,
love talked,
anger crucified,
hope died,
Love rose,
Spirit flamed,
Word spread,
God remained.

12 August 2011

Some words to encourage...

The Shrine of Blessed John Henry Newman, in the baptistry of Our Lady of the Atonement Parish.

Waiting for the establishment of the Ordinariate in the United States is pretty tough on the Anglicans who are preparing to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. Trying to hold together their small communities takes a toll on emotions -- to say nothing of their financial situations, which are often times very precarious. We're getting close, however, and I ask you to pray for them all.  I wrote these words on The Anglo-Catholic blog to give some encouragement:

To Those Preparing

Things have been pretty quiet on the blog of late. It’s not because nothing is happening. In fact, quite the opposite – at least here in the United States, where it appears that an Ordinariate will be established next.

Things are fairly calm because everything seems to be falling in place. Cardinal Wuerl has delivered his final report to the Bishops’ Conference. The priestly formation program is ready to go. The dossiers are being examined. The Curial officials will be returning soon from their summer break. Liturgical considerations are in hand. Things are stirring.

We might consider this time to be rather like those hushed moments before the dawn.

I know we’re at the stage when every day seems like a month. It was like that a generation ago, when we were waiting for the implementation of the Pastoral Provision in this country. The very same pattern prevailed: daily calls to someone – anyone – who might have information; scanning the newspapers (those were pre-internet days) for any word. And then… a period of quiet and calm, just before we realized that it was actually happening.

We continue to rejoice with those in the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, as they build upon the foundation of what has been accomplished there. At this moment, I have no further word about developments in Canada, Australia, or anyplace else where Ordinariates might be formed. But here, in the United States, we’re getting close.

So… courage, brethren! Enjoy the stillness of the moment, and know that unseen work is being done. Continue to deepen your knowledge of the faith. Persist in prayer, for that is a great source of strength for you. I know you’re growing impatient with being told to be patient, but… be patient, too. The wait is getting shorter. There will be lots of work to do when the Ordinariate is up and running, and now’s the time to get yourself in shape spiritually for the demanding time ahead of us.

Every morning when I unlock the church, I stop by our shrine to Blessed John Henry Newman, where I pray for all who are preparing to enter the Ordinariate. May the Light he knew and loved – and even now in which he rejoices – lead you on.

11 August 2011

St. Clare's Day

Today is the opening Mass for the new academic year at the Academy, and it 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.

Basilica of St. Clare in Assisi.

07 August 2011

Time to pray...

Have you ever said, “If only I had more time to pray...”? And yet, why is it that those who are doing the most for the growth of God’s kingdom seem to be able to spend plenty of time in prayer? The answer is pretty simple: it has to be made part of a daily routine.

We rarely hear ourselves say, “If only I had more time to eat...” or “if only I had more time to watch television...” We find the time to do those things that either we must do, or that we want to do. They become part of our routine, and we plan our day around those “constant” factors. Prayer should be one of those unchangeable elements of daily life around which all other things are arranged. We might be amazed at the effect it would have!

05 August 2011


They say getting there is half the fun. Unless, of course, you're talking about the top of Mt. Tabor, the site of our Lord's transfiguration. I'm sure the taxi drivers have great fun at the pilgrims' expense, and no matter how many times I make the trip, taking hair-pin turns at break-neck speed is nerve-wracking. When you finally get to the top, the terra is reassuringly firma, and the walk to the basilica is a joy. The only dark cloud is remembering that what goes up must come down... that pesky return trip! No wonder St. Peter wanted to build three booths and stay there.

This basilica, built in 1924 over the ruins of more ancient churches, marks the traditional site of the transfiguration of Christ in the presence of Peter, James and John, along with the appearance of Moses and Elijah. There are depressions in the shape of two footprints in the rock. I'm not sure if this was the work of Jesus, or of some over-eager monks in an earlier age.

But Mt. Tabor is the spot. It's been attested to from the earliest days of the Church. It's an inspiring place to visit and a most peaceful place to pray.

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


Here are some stunning aerial views of Jerusalem and other parts of the Holy Land. This brief (about 7 min.) clip is a preview of a documentary which will be released at a later time.

Jerusalem | Filmed in Imax 3D from JerusalemGiantScreen on Vimeo.
Thanks to Sue Piner for sending the link.

04 August 2011

Basilica Sanctae Mariae Maioris

From the Anglican Breviary...

"THIS feast is in commemoration of the first church to be dedicated in Rome under the invocation of our Lady, and the third of those Christian temples in the City known as Patriarchal Basilicas. The origin of this building, according to an old story, popular in ancient times, was as followeth. In the middle of the fourth century, during the pontificate of Pope Liberius, there lived at Rome a certain nobleman named John, and a noble lady his wife, who had no children to whom to leave their substance, and who vowed that they would make the holy Virgin Mother of God their heiress. And earnestly they besought her in some way to make known to them upon what godly work she would have their money spent. And thereupon (so saith the story) the blessed Virgin graciously listened to the heart-felt earnestness of their prayers, and by a wondrous sign assured them of her will.

"ON the fifth day of August, which is the time when the heat of summer waxeth greatest in Rome, a part of the Esquiline Hill was covered at night with snow. And some scholars think that such a strange and unseasonable fall of snow did take place, and so gave rise to the old tale, which goeth on to say on this same night the Mother of God appeared in a dream to John and his wife separately, and told them that on that spot, which in the morning they could see clad in snow, they should build a church, to be dedicated under the name of the Virgin Mary, for that this was the way in which she chose that they should make her their heiress. Then John went and told it to Pope Liberius, who declared that he also had been visited by a like dream.

"THEREFORE Pope Liberius went in a solemn procession of clergy and people to the snow-clad hill, and traced upon that spot the plan of the church, which same was afterwards built with the money of John and his wife. And later it was rebuilt by Saint Pope Sixtus III. At the beginning it was called by divers names, sometimes the Liberian Basilica, sometimes the Church of Saint Mary-at-the-Manger (because of the presence there of a relick revered as the Manger in which our infant Lord lay), and so on. Howbeit, since there are in Rome many churches called after the holy Virgin Mary, and this church, both in age and dignity, doth excel them all, it is commonly called St. Mary Major. And the memory of the dedication there of is kept every year by this feast-day that taketh name from the strange fall of snow which is said to have taken place on this day."

Cure d'Ars

This small statue and a relic of the Cure d'Ars is in our Chapel of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. The early morning weekday Masses are celebrated here, and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament begins after the Friday morning Mass, continuing until just before the first Mass on Sunday morning.


O God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth,
Have mercy upon us.
O God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy upon us.
O God the Holy Ghost, Sanctifier of the faithful,
Have mercy upon us.
O holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity, one God,
Have mercy upon us.

That our Holy Father, our bishops and our priests may have the strength of Thy grace, the love of Thy Heart, and the sacrificial spirit of Thine own divine life,
We beseech thee to hear us, O Lord.

That they may be firm in faith, holy in conduct, and faithful in Thy service,
We beseech thee to hear us, O Lord.

That they may be filled with the zeal of the Apostles,
the courage of the martyrs, and the spirit of the confessors,
We beseech thee to hear us, O Lord.

That they may work to convert sinners, correct the erring, and teach the ignorant,
We beseech thee to hear us, O Lord.

That they may be strengthened with joy in their labors,
with patience in their sufferings, and with endurance in their struggles,
We beseech thee to hear us, O Lord.

That they may have Christian love for little children,
zeal for the education of youth, and loyalty to people and country,
We beseech thee to hear us, O Lord.

That they may be blessed in their preaching,
faithful in the confessional, and a comfort to the sick,
We beseech thee to hear us, O Lord.

That they may be preserved from the temptations of the wicked enemy,
from the hostile plots of unscrupulous men, and from all occasions of sin,
We beseech thee to hear us, O Lord.

That they may be united with the saints in one faith,
loyal in their service to the Church, and holy at the last,
We beseech thee to hear us, O Lord.

Almighty and everlasting God, from whom cometh every good and perfect gift: Send down upon Benedict our Pope, all bishops and other clergy, and upon the congregations committed to their charge, the healthful Spirit of Thy grace; and, that they may truly please Thee, pour upon them the continual dew of Thy blessing; Grant this, O Lord, for the honor of our Advocate and Mediator, Jesus Christ. Amen.

02 August 2011

So it's come to this...

by Phil Lawler

No sensible American should have been surprised by the announcement that Obamacare will require subsidies for contraception in every health-care insurance program. From the moment he was sworn in to office-- in fact, even before-- President Barack Obama has made it clear that he will promote the Planned Parenthood agenda at all costs.

So this week the point has been underscored again. While lawmakers on Capitol Hill try to summon up the political will to question runaway entitlement programs, the Obama administration adds one more: Young women are entitled to their birth-control pills.

The new policy includes just the shadow of a “conscience clause,” in an obvious bid to pre-empt criticism from religious institutions that oppose contraception—in other words, to state matters simply, from the Catholic Church. But the religious exemption is defined so narrowly that it would apply only to an institution that was run by Catholics, for Catholics, for the purpose of fostering Catholicism—that is, a Catholic institution that had no impact on the outside world.

This “religious exemption” would not apply to Catholic hospitals, which employ non-Catholic doctors, nurses, and staff. It would not apply to Catholics schools with non-Catholic students and teachers. It would not apply to Catholic charitable agencies that serve the poor whether or not they are Catholic. In an admirably strong statement protesting the policy on behalf of the US bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo asked:

Could the federal government possibly intend to pressure Catholic institutions to cease providing health care, education and charitable services to the general public?
The question is disturbing in itself. But to sharpen the point, let me add another:
What if the answer is Yes?
The US bishops’ conference will now flex its lobbying muscles in a bid to amend the Obamacare policy, to provide a more realistic “conscience clause.” If it is successful—a big “if”—this effort might ensure that Church-run schools, hospitals, and charitable agencies are not forced to support a grave moral wrong. But even if the bishops’ conference were to win that political battle, could we really classify it as a victory?

Remember that the Obamacare policy applies not only to Catholic institutions, but also to Catholic individuals. Every Catholic who works for a secular institution in the health-care field would be bound by this new mandate. Every Catholic who pays monthly premiums for health-care insurance would be forced to subsidize contraception. For that matter, non-Catholics who recognize the moral argument against contraception would be under the same legal obligation. Even if the policy could somehow by amended to exempt all Catholics, it would still be wrong. “Those who sponsor, purchase and issue health plans should not be forced to violate their deeply held moral and religious convictions,” Cardinal DiNardo argued. The point cannot be rebutted by anyone who respects the conscience of the individual.

Unfortunately, with each passing year our society shows less and less tolerance for the individual conscience. An overweening government requires Christians to accept the prevailing moral norms even when they violate the principles of Christian morality, and powerful private institutions only add to the pressure.

Consider the restrictions that a Catholic—and especially a young Catholic—now faces on the job market. (I write from the perspective of a Catholic. But the same problems apply, with more or less equal force, to others who share the Catholic perspective on these moral issues.)

  • A Catholic who cannot in good conscience sign the “marriage” certificate of two homosexual lovers may be unable to serve as town clerk in states like that recognize same-sex marriage.
  • A Catholic pharmacist who refuses to dispense abortifacient pills may not be allowed to continue his practice, where law requires him to provide customers with the “morning-after” pill (not to mention ordinary contraceptive pills, which have abortifacient properties).
  • A Catholic innkeeper who declines to play host to the celebration of homosexual unions may be stripped of his license to take paying guests.
  • A Catholic medical student who objects to involvement in abortion or sterilization may find that only a few hospitals will consider him as an applicant for residency or internship.
  • A Catholic social worker who recognizes the injustice of placing foster children in homosexual households will be unable to find work in a state-funded adoption agency.
  • A Catholic police officer can lose his job if he hesitates to arrest someone seeking to dissuade a young woman from entering an abortion clinic.
  • A Catholic psychiatrist who clings to the age-old understanding that homosexuality is a disorder may be blackballed by his colleagues, ridiculed by the media, and possibly deprived of his professional accreditation.
  • And now a Catholic clerk who objects to cutting checks for birth-control pills will be unable to work at any American health-insurance company.

All of the above might be classified as forms of job discrimination: Catholics Need Not Apply. But the pressure is mounting, and Catholics are being discouraged from entry into more and more jobs—especially in the fields where the Church has been most active, the fields of health, education, and welfare. It is vitally important for American Catholics to recognize the trend and reverse it, before the word “discrimination” is too mild to describe the government’s hostility.