Liturgy of the Hours

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Blessed Christmas

While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Luke 2: 6-7


Saint Peter's Basilica, Vatican City:

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas is about Christ, not gifts, cardinal reminds Catholics


The Archbishop of Guatemala, Cardinal Rodolfo Quezada Toruno, called on the faithful in that country not to reduce Christmas to the mere “exchanging of gifts” and to keep in mind that “Christ must be the irreplaceable and only focus of our Christmas celebrations.”

In his pastoral exhortation for Advent and Christmas, the archbishop stated, “It is not possible to reduce it to an occasion for extraordinary purchases, to the exchanging of gifts, to a children’s festivity or a simple excuse for profane celebrations.”

He called on Christians to “see the time of Advent as a spiritual journey towards Christmas and to not allow it to be swallowed up by the consumerist atmosphere of the age.”

The cardinal said nativity scenes should be turned into “small domestic altars, places of payer, reflection and great spiritual content.” He also encouraged Guatemalans to be austere in their celebrations for Christmas, in “imitation of Christ, who was born, lived and died in poverty.” “A good Christian must never fall into the claws of a consumerist society.”

“To consider superfluous material things as necessary and to acquire them at any cost is a new form of slavery,” he added.

“May all of us find in this celebration another reason to be consistent with our faith in our personal, family and social lives,” the cardinal stated.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Dignitas Personae (The Dignity of a Person)

An Instruction from the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) on ethical issues arising from biomedical research, provides guidance on how to respect human life and human procreation in our heavily scientific age.

See USCCB page.

"No estoy yo aquí que soy tu Madre?"

Our Lady of Guadalupe,
Mystical Rose,
make intercession for the holy Church,
protect the Sovereign Pontiff,
help all those who invoke thee in their necessities,
and since thou art the ever Virgin Mary
and Mother of the true God,
obtain for us from thy most holy Son
the grace of keeping our faith,
sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of life,
burning charity
and the precious gift of final perseverance.

This prayer was approved and enriched with an indulgence of five hundred days by Pope Pius X at all audience held on August, 1908, and was included in the official edition of approved indulgenced prayers (1950).

Raccolta number 389, 500 days Indulgence, Pope Saint Pius X audience, August 15, 1908.

Am I not here, who am your Mother?
- Our Lady to San Juan Diego

Our Lady of Guadalupe,
Patroness of the Philippines,
Protectress of the Unborn,
pray for us!

Saint Juan Diego,
pray for us!

O Mary conceived without sin. . .

Note: This post is, as usual, late. But it's never to late to honor the Holy Mother in her Immaculate Conception which the entire Church celebrated as a Solemnity five days ago. The Immaculate Conception is the Patroness of the Philippines and December 8 is a Holy Day of Obligation in the entire archipelago.

The Immaculate Conception, Giovanni Battista TIEPOLO;
1767-69; oil on canvas; Museo del Prado, Madrid

The Immaculate Conception; Bartolomeo MURILLO;
1678; oil on canvas; Museo del Prado

Inmaculada Concepción (La Colosal) (Immaculate Conception),
oil on canvas, 436 x 297 cm.

On March 31, 1876 Pius IX authorized the following antiphon, versicle and prayer in honor of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The prayer below is the collect for the feast of the Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8)

Ant. Haec est virga in qua nec nodus originalis, nec cortex actualis culpae fuit. Ant. This is the rod in which there was neither knot of original sin, nor rind of actual guilt.
V. In conceptione tua, O Virgo, immaculata fuisti.
R. Ora pro nobis Patrem, cuius Filium peperisti.
V. In thy conception, O Virgin, thou wast immaculate.
R. Pray for us to the Father, whose Son thou didst bring forth.
DEUS, qui per immaculatam Virginis Conceptionem dignum Filio tuo habitaculum praeparasti, quaesumus, ut qui ex morte eiusdem Filii tui praevisa eam ab omni labe praeservasti, nos quoque mundos, eius intercessione, ad te pervenire concedas. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen. O GOD, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin didst make ready a fitting habitation for Thy Son, we beseech Thee that Thou who didst keep her clean from all stain by the precious death of the same Thy Son, foreseen by Thee, mayest grant unto us in like manner to be made clean through her intercession and so attain to Thee. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

From the Raccolta #410. (S. C. Ind. Dec. 14, 1889; S. P., March 15, 1934).

From the Thesaurus

A Season (not just a Day) to Celebrate

Especially in the Philippines, Christmas is so highly anticipated to the extent that people start singing Christmas melodies and decorating their homes as early as September (the first of the '-ber' months). Sadly, the wonderful season of preparation (Advent) is oftentimes ignored. More than that, after December 25, which is Christmas Day, people start exclaiming "Napakabilis ng Pasko" (Christmas came too fast) or "Napakatagal pinaghandaan, iisang araw lang naman" (We prepared so long for Christmas, but it is just celebrated for one day)

Read the article "On the 18th day of Christmas?" by Patricia Coll Freeman at Catholic Anchor wherein she discusses that Christmas is an entire season, not just a day to celebrate.

Friday, December 5, 2008

With the patience of love

From Fr. Z's blog, WDTPRS:

Liturgy between innovation and tradition

With the patience of love

By [Rev. Fr.] Nicola Bux

A new liturgical movement is rising that looks to the liturgies of Benedict XVI; instructions prepared by experts are not enough, what is needed are exemplary liturgies that allow an encounter with God.

Only intentionally shallow spirits could fail to notice it. It is a new beginning that comes from the core of liturgy just like last century’s liturgical movement that reached its peak with the council.

Liturgy as the place of the encounter with the living God, neither a show to render religion interesting nor a museum of grandiose ritual forms. The people of God celebrates the new rite with respect and solemnity, but remains disoriented by the contradictions of the two extremes. Liturgy gets back to being an ecclesial action, not of specialists and liturgical committees, but of fathers and teachers who – thanks to their knowledge of sources - saw western liturgy as the result of a historical development and eastern liturgy as a reflection of the eternal one. They opposed the falsification of liturgy and through their knowledge of history they showed us the several forms of its itinerary. The Holy Father picks up their legacy and renders it fruitful. He fulfilled their wish that both the ancient and the new form could coexist side by side as is already with the Ambrosian and the Eastern liturgies.

Let’s trust him: he brings patiently the wisdom of Catholic imagination into the life of today’s Church. He understands well how innovation is not hostile to tradition but is part of it as the lymph of the Holy Spirit. He is neither a “conservative” nor an innovator, but a missionary “humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord”. In the book “Jesus of Nazareth” he stresses the “sympathy” for the Israelites Jesus demonstrates – unlike in the other Gospels – in the Gospel of Luke:

“It seems to me particularly meaningful – he observes – the way he concludes the story of the new wine and the old and fresh wine skins. In Mark we read: “no one pours new wine into old wine skins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wine skins." (Mk 2,22). In Matthew, 9,17, the text is similar. Luke hands down the same conversation, but he adds at the end: And) no one who has been drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’"(5,39) – an addition that could perhaps be interpreted as an expression of sympathy for those who wanted to stick with the “old wine” (pp 216-217)”.

Couldn’t this parable be applied to the debate between usus antiquior and usus novus of the Mass that followed the Motu proprio?

Christian liturgy, like the Christian event itself (“avvenimento Cristiano”), is not something we make.. A word like actualization has given birth to the idea that we had the power to replicate it, to create the right conditions for it to happen, to organize it, as if we were the creators of what we affirm to believe. As a matter of fact it is Jesus Christ who makes the sacred liturgy with the Holy Spirit. Our role is to follow, give room to his work. The method within everyone’s reach is to watch what happens – they used to say to “assistere” – that is ad-stare, to stand before his presence; it means to adhere to Something that precedes us, to follow what he does in our midst, always capable of turning upside down the idea that (culto) worship (liturgy) is something we make . Liturgy is sacred because it is one Thing that comes from Heaven.

We would like to help the comprehension and the worthy celebration of the Liturgy as the possibility of the encounter with the reality of God and the source of man’s morality, (to help) understand its degradations as a symptom of spiritual emptiness, to show the path to a restoration of its spirit in the perspective of the unity of the Catholic and Apostolic faith, and to promote a serious debate and an educational itinerary by following the thought and the example of the Pope to allow a restart of the liturgical movement. We need to aim to the spirit of the liturgy as the worshiping of the Father through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit, and as a pedagogy to enter the mystery and be transformed by it in morality and holiness. It’s an invitation to those who do not believe but desire truth, because nobody goes untouched by the doubt that perhaps Someone else exists to dedicate time to! On this “perhaps” – which liturgy does not unveil completely, and that’s why it is necessary to preserve the sense of mystery and sacred – it will be possible to enable the communication between believers and non-believers or differently believing?

From the "Island Envoy"

Pick up the Ball and Run!

by Most Reverend Archbishop Thomas Gullickson

Taking a Stance on the increasing Sentiment in favor of a
Reform of the Liturgical Reform

Recently I happened across what I presume was a sports shoe commercial for television but of a very surreal sort built around a rugby theme. In the video the ball comes crashing through the front window of a restaurant and the next thing you know the men from the restaurant in business suits are joining in the game on the streets of the busy city outside. The video resembles as much urban warfare as it does a sport. I know rugby has become a genuine “thing” for boys and young men, replacing for our day and time the quest for the “red badge of courage” once to be gained in a forgotten type of warfare that was far from all-out for the civilian population but oftentimes mortal for the flower of a nation’s youth. In watching the video, the thought came to me that much of what goes on in the area of vernacular liturgy, its planning and celebration is not without parallels to the sport of rugby and its ethos. The incongruity of this thought is as shocking to me as watching the video “rugby” chase over cars, down alleys and onward through a bustling business district of town. The ethos of Divine Worship should be another.

Since the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum the calls for a genuine reform of that liturgical reform which we have netted over the past forty years have become more insistent but likewise more eloquent and credible as proponents clarify their positions and line up behind the Holy Father. The contrast to the at times rugby-like status quo presented by the Pope’s gentle hand and his balanced words, notably during his recent visit to France, has led me to draw my little parallel between what has been touted as a reform according to the mind of the Second Vatican Council but which many times over the years and even yet today rather seems to resemble rugby rules for picking up the ball and running with it, that is, if you dare. The liturgical renewal which many of us have experienced in many parts of the Western World is unfortunately tinged with an inclination on the part of the priest celebrants to protagonism and no small amount of bravado being shown by others (let’s point our fingers at some of the pop choirs, musicians and dancers, leaving aside people with feminist and other agendas who also occasionally attempt to highjack what we were taught was the work of all God’s people).

I do not believe I am alone in having witnessed attempts by individuals or groups to steal center stage or at least run as far as they can with the “ball” without being tackled. Today’s Catholic youth and a goodly number of folk on the brink of or even immersed in middle age have known only this situation where what was cautiously and wisely decreed by Sacrosanctum Concilium has been bowled over by the “cavalry charge” initiated by enthusiasts who saw their chance to take the high ground. The fundamental appreciation which the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council had for the need to set forth the liturgical reforms begun by Pope St. Pius X and Pope Pius XII seems to have been lost in the shuffle or huddle.

The recent announcement of the intention of the Bishop of Tulsa, Oklahoma to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in English but ad Orientem on the First Sunday of Advent and on Christmas is clearly motivated by a commendable desire on the part of the bishop to reestablish the continuity of the reform within the tradition, one of the hallmarks of the reform as intended and decreed by the Second Vatican Council. The publication in an Italian liturgical “blog” recently of a very eloquent page taken from a publication penned in 2001 by our present Holy Father dealing with being Christian in the new millennium has given new urgency to my own sense of obligation to take a stand in this “game”. For some strange reason, not wishing to challenge anyone’s good will, it seems evident that vernacular liturgy as celebrated today is not only too open to abuse, but is seemingly distant from what the Council Fathers intended and what could have been accomplished since then if everyone had held to their words of instruction and direction.

Were we (priests and people) ill-advised by the liturgical experts to stop praying in the same direction and start facing each other across the table? We know now that the nearly absolute banishment of Latin from our musical repertoire was an impoverishment, a form of iconoclasm, not dissimilar to that which whitewashed and stripped once pretty little churches of their countless votive offerings: sometimes leaving behind barren places where formerly one had felt at home with God, the Blessed Virgin and all the Saints. Could we not then also have been ill-advised in accepting something without precedent in our history (remember that the advice came from the same people and who evidently didn’t sufficiently understand the history of divine worship or care enough about what the Council Fathers had prescribed)? The negative consequences of this personalizing of worship (face to face) are patent. They place unreal expectations on the priest celebrant who as often as not instead of leading us in prayer seems obliged to seek engagement or even eye contact with the people before or around him.

Sacrosanctum Concilium N. 23 laid down the following principle among others for renewal: “Finally, there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them, and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing.” Even in the best celebrations of the reformed liturgy today, one would be hard pressed to show any urgency for celebrating across the altar table as “genuinely and certainly” being required for the good of the Church. Organic growth too is hard to plot in what so many people have experienced as rupture.

When N. 33 of the same conciliar decree urges that the sacred liturgy be instructive it does so reminding us that “… the sacred liturgy is principally the worship of the divine majesty…” The above cited page from Cardinal Ratzinger from 2001 rightly emphasizes that it is of the utmost importance that we reacquire respect for the liturgy and once again recognize that it is not open to manipulation; it is not placed at our discretion to be planned and presented as our talents allow. The present Holy Father called in this article for the reestablishment in a clear and organic way of the connections with past history.

I cannot help but think that the multiplication of celebrations according to the usus antiquior since Summorum Pontificum will be of aid in helping us back to the tradition. A full restoration of things as they were before Sacrosanctum Concilium, however, denies the wholesome analysis and the longing of saintly past Popes and an historic ecumenical council. Pope St. Pius X was right to come to the defense of Gregorian Chant and Pope Pius XII gifted us with a renewal of the Sacred Triduum to reflect the sublime mysteries celebrated therein. Both Popes’ interventions brought genuine change to the liturgy in an atmosphere of profound respect for the sacredness of the words and gestures they were modifying. It was undoubtedly the intention of the Second Vatican Council to set forth this same sort of cautious and organic reform. But, as I say, one has the impression that rugby rules were often applied and more than one stalwart decided to pick up the ball and run for it.

The article I read on the decision of the Bishop of Tulsa contains two great quotes from Bishop Slattery: “I hope that this common posture of the Church at prayer will help you to experience the transcendent truth of the Mass in a new and timeless way… “I pray that this restored practice will help us understand that at Mass we participate in the authentic worship which Christ offers to His Father by being ‘obedient unto death’ (Philippians 2:8)”. A modest wish on my part would be that many more chief shepherds would soon be setting a similar example.

The attraction held by the usus antiquior for young people in particular ought to give pause for thought. The explanation for this phenomenon could be as simple as recalling the God experience of the Prophet Elijah on Mount Sinai: he went to the opening of the cave and covered his face with his cloak at the tiny whispering sound of God passing by. God was not to be found in the storm or tempest. Much of what is propagated as youth liturgy today must certainly be judged at odds with Sacrosanctum Concilium N. 34: “The rites should be distinguished by a noble simplicity. They should be short, clear, and free from useless repetitions.” Though my life as a child was much quieter and free of external stimulation than is that of my nieces and nephews, I still found respite even as a preschooler in the big, quiet church of Sunday morning, where if it wasn’t High Mass, the silence might be broken only by an organ prelude, by another subdued organ piece during Communion and by the antiphons sung by a single voice from the choir loft on high. The genius of the past and its attraction for people of today comes from being able to perceive the Mass as gift, as withdrawn from the ambit of my discretion or caprice, as something of God, something sacred. Pope Benedict XVI speaks with urgency of our need to reawaken an interior sense of the sacred.

We have something altogether priceless in the renewed liturgical calendar and in the bounty of the lectionary with its three year cycle for Sundays and Solemnities. The introduction of the vernacular to worship certainly responded to an almost desperate hunger outside of the Latin world at least, if not universally within the Church. I would like to believe that the Bishop of Tulsa is on to something when he very simply and humbly moves to reestablish a single orientation for prayer in his cathedral this Advent and Christmas. May his attempt succeed to rescue the Mass from those who would beat it down with personal inventions or change the rules of the game to those of aggression! There’s a time and a place for rugby and not all of us are hearty enough to play such a game.

Head of Russian Orthodox church dies

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Alexy II, has died at the age of 79. - He died at his residence outside Moscow although here was no immediate word on the cause of death.

Patriarch Alexy II was an establishment figure who restored the authority of the church after decades of Soviet repression.

Born Alexei Ridiger, Alexy II made his ecclesiastical career at a time when the church was controlled by Soviet authorities before forging an alliance with the new Russian state under presidents Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin.

The patriarch was an impressive character with a benign expression and moral authority among millions of Russian believers but his personality was always locked in by the deeply hierarchical nature of his role.

Alexy II took stances on foreign policy issues that often matched the Kremlin line, criticising Nato strikes against Yugoslavia, the US-led war in Iraq and defending the rights of ethnic-Russians in the former Soviet Union.

But his role in the international arena was marked above all by wariness of Catholics, whom he accused of "proselytism," and he refused repeatedly to meet Roman Catholic pope John Paul II and his successor Benedict XVI.

The main reason for the row was a property dispute between the Catholic and Orthodox churches in Ukraine, where the Greek Catholic church, which was banned by Stalin and dispossessed, took back hundreds of parishes from the Orthodox church at the beginning of the 1990s.

The creation of four Catholic dioceses in Russia also created suspicion among Orthodox leaders. Several rounds of negotiations between Catholic and Orthodox officials failed to smooth differences.

He was also, however, a unifying Orthodox figure who helped engineer a union with a branch of the Russian Orthodox church that separated from Moscow-based church authorities after the 1917 Soviet revolution.

Ridiger was born on February 23, 1929 in then independent Estonia, the son of an Orthodox priest. He worked in two cathedrals after Estonia became part of the Soviet Union and entered a religious seminary under Stalin.

He married but then divorced in order to become a monk in 1961 during the anti-religion campaigns launched by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. He was soon promoted to become an Orthodox bishop.

Ridiger had a successful career under Leonid Brezhnev at a time when the Orthodox church was effectively controlled by the KGB and dissident priests were thrown into jail.

The future patriarch conformed and rose rapidly through church ranks, becoming number two in the influential external affairs section of the patriarchate.

Despite his ties with the Communist establishment, he made some efforts to curb Soviet repression, including keeping a famous convent in Estonia open despite the threat of closure.

He became patriarch in 1990, shortly before the fall of the Soviet Union.

At the time, Ridiger was seen as more in touch with the reforms to the Soviet system being undertaken by Mikhail Gorbachev than another candidate, metropolitan Filaret, considered even closer to the Communist regime.

The new patriarch remained prudent after the fall of the Communist system, ruling out investigations against church officials accused of links to the Soviet secret services.

In close collaboration with Yeltsin Putin, Alexy II used his close relations with the authorities to rebuild the influence of the Orthodox church.

Seminaries were restored, churches were rebuilt and church finances were greatly boosted by income from customs duties granted by the Russian government during the 1990s.

The lavish Christ the Saviour cathedral in central Moscow, which was destroyed under Stalin and replaced by an open-air swimming pool, was rebuilt in full splendour during Alexy II's patriarchate.

Religion gained influence in schools, prisons, hospitals and the armed services.

Within the church, Alexy II was never an innovative leader and opposed himself to liberal policies but he also rejected deeply anti-Semitic and nationalistic currents in religious thinking.

The patriarch died at a time when the Russian Orthodox church had not yet determined its preferred status, as an institution closely allied with political authorities or a church more in tune with the Russian people.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Dominican rite aims to shine from the ‘dark ages’

Dominican rite aims to shine from the ‘dark ages’
By Patricia Coll Freeman

.- Beginning December 6, ethereal chant, incense and perhaps even an ostrich-feathered liturgical fan will waft through Holy Family Cathedral in Anchorage, Alaska as the archdiocese prepares for the ancient Dominican rite Mass that will be celebrated in Latin every first Saturday of the month at noon.

The Catholic Anchor reports that the successful emergence of the Dominican rite locally is keeping the tradition alive, and perhaps fueling organic development of the liturgy into the future.

By early 2009, the Anchorage Archdiocese is also hoping to provide regular celebrations of the Tridentine Latin Mass, which was the standard Roman Catholic liturgy before the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).

A question of rites

Within the universal Catholic Church, there are 22 different rites, such as the Roman, Byzantine and Coptic, that incorporate different traditions into the Mass.

When it comes to forms of the Mass, “often we think of the Masses as ‘pre-Vatican II’ and ‘post-Vatican II,’ and it was more complicated than that,” said Father Vincent Kelber — a Dominican priest at Holy Family Cathedral, where he is preparing to celebrate the Dominican rite.

In 1570, the Council of Trent codified the Tridentine Mass as “the Mass for all time,” he explained. It then served as the main form of the Mass for the Latin Church until the Second Vatican Council.

The Council of Trent, however, allowed for the celebration of those rites which, at the time, had been in existence for at least 200 years, Father Kelber said.

That meant the Dominican order and others like the Carthusians, Cistercians and Carmelites could continue celebrating their own rites, alongside the principal Tridentine Mass.

Father Kelber explained that by the 1200s, it was clear that the Dominicans needed a common liturgical expression for the order’s many priests who preached and celebrated Mass in varied communities across Europe. Thus, the Dominican rite was established.

While the Tridentine Mass is sometimes criticized for being antiquated, it is actually pretty new compared to the medieval Dominican rite, noted Father Kelber. The Tridentine is really “the beginning of the modern era,” he said.

At Vatican II, the Tridentine Mass was replaced by the “Novus Ordo” or “new Ordinary of the Mass” as the principal form of the Mass. In that form, which most Catholics are accustomed to today, prayers are said in the local language.

Ancient is new again

Those familiar with the Tridentine Mass will find similarities in the Dominican rite. Both are celebrated in Latin, which for centuries was the sacred liturgical language of the Catholic Church, Father Kelber said.

Additionally, in both the Tridentine and Dominican rites, priests face the same direction as the congregation — toward the altar.

The point is to be “oriented towards the one God,” said Father Kelber. The Eucharist is always central, he added.

Priests also wear special vestments in the Dominican rite, but since the Dominicans “pre-date lace,” explained Father Kelber, they are not as ornate as those in the Tridentine rite.

Catholics may also notice that the Dominican rite contains many signs of reverence, such as bowing, Father Kelber explained.

A penitential prayer, which the priest leads at the start of the Mass, is said before he enters into the sanctuary, “the holy of holies,” Father Kelber said. Also, communicants receive Communion kneeling.

“Every movement in the Mass is purposeful and prayerful; it is embodied worship,” he said.

‘Rite’ for the times

While Vatican II ushered in many needed changes, the continued use of the Dominican rite helped provide stability amid the flux.

“We realize now and Pope Benedict realizes that some of the changes of the Second Vatican Council were good, but some of them were too fast, some weren’t explained, some were poorly implemented and some weren’t according to the documents,” Father Kelber said.

The ancient Masses “helped people to cope,” he added.

As part of the patrimony of the church, the ancient Mass is worth preserving, Father Kelber continued.

“It’s okay to have this kind of diversity,” he said.

Father Kelber said it is especially important to appreciate the “ethos” of a pre-reformation tradition, such as that of the Dominicans.

“There is a lot that the medieval times can offer,” he said. “They weren’t in the dark ages at all. They lived a life that we can see today is something worth emulating in many ways, because it was before the busy-ness of the modern world. They knew what contemplation was, they knew what silence was, and we don’t.”

An ancient rite blooms

In the 1980s interest in the Dominican rite grew among the young friars of the Dominicans’ Western Province, said Father Kelber. Interest “bloomed again in a new way” with friars, such as Father Kelber, who were ordained in the late 1990s and early 21-century.

With no formal training on how to celebrate the ancient Mass, Father Kelber said he read about the Mass and worked with other priests familiar with it.

“Preservation work is personal,” he said. “It has to be handed-down. It can’t be just gotten out of a book.”

Now, given the growing interest in the Dominican rite, the Western and Eastern Provinces of the Dominican order are planning instructive conferences for its friars. The first takes place August 2009 at St. Albert’s priory in Oakland.

Here in Anchorage, with permission from his provincial director and Anchorage Archbishop Roger Schwietz, Father Kelber has been perfecting his practice of the Dominican rite on his days off.

“There are people all over the United States and the world excited about the old rite — excited about Gregorian chant,” he said. “It’s not just one person here saying ‘Well, I miss the old days.’ It’s not just something looking back, but something looking forward and a gift for these crazy times.”

Printed with permission from the Catholic Anchor, newspaper from the Archdiocese of Anchorage, Alaska.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Standing up for the Gospel of Life

Standing up for the Gospel of Life

CBCP Pastoral Statement on Reproductive Health Bill

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative power of God (CCC 2258). The Church carries out the mandate of the Lord to go and proclaim to all the nations the Gospel of Life. The protection and preservation of human life and the preservation of the integrity of the procreative act of parents are important elements of our mission from the Lord. It is our fidelity to the Gospel of Life and our pastoral charity for the poor that leads us your pastors to make this moral stand regarding Reproductive Health Bill 5043 that is the object of deliberation in Congress.

The Bill makes a number of good points. Some of the issues that it includes under reproductive health care, for instance, are the kind of things no humane institution would have any reason to oppose—maternal, infant and child health and nutrition, promotion of breastfeeding, adolescent and youth health, elimination of violence against women, etc.; but the Bill as it stands now contains fatal flaws which if not corrected will make the Bill unacceptable. It is our collective discernment that the Bill in its present form poses a serious threat to life of infants in the womb. It is a source of danger for the stability of the family. It places the dignity of womanhood at great risk.

The Church has always concerned itself with the poor. It has innumerable institutions and programs meant to help the poor. Our objection to this Bill is precisely due to our concern that in the long run this Bill will not uplift the poor. “The increase or decrease of population growth does not by itself spell development or underdevelopment”. (CBCP Statement, July 10, 1990)

Even as we recognize the right of the government to enact laws, we also reiterate that there must be no separation between God and Man. We appeal to our legislators to state in the Bill in clear categorical terms that human life from the moment of conception is sacred. We appeal to our legislators to insure that the Bill recognize, preserve and safeguard freedom of conscience and religion. The Bill must inspire parents not only to be responsible but to be heroic in their God-given and State-recognized duty of parenting. Without these conditions, the Bill if enacted into law will separate our nation from Almighty God.

Sacredness of Life from Conception. The current version of the Bill does not define clearly when the protection of life begins. Although it mentions that abortion is a crime it does not state explicitly that human life is to be protected upon conception as stated in the Constitution. This ambiguity can provide a loophole for contraceptives that prevent the implantation of the fertilized ovum. The prevention of implantation of the fertilized ovum is abortion. We cannot prevent overt abortions by doing hidden abortions. It is a fallacy to think that abortions can be prevented by promoting contraception. Contraception is intrinsically evil (CCC 2370, Humanae Vitae, 14).

Even in the case of doubt as to the precise moment of the beginning of human life, the mere probability that the fertilized ovum is already a human life renders it imperative that it be accorded the rights of a human person, the most basic of which is the right to life (Evangelium Vitae, #60; cfr. Declaration on Procured Abortion, Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, November 18, 1974). When there is doubt whether a human life is involved, it is immoral to kill it. This is not just specifically Catholic Church teaching but simply natural law ethics.

Freedom of Conscience. By mandating only one Reproductive Health Education Curriculum for public and private schools, the Bill could violate the consciences of educators who refuse to teach forms of family planning that violate their religious traditions. This provision also could violate the rights of parents to determine the education of their children if the proposed curriculum would contradict their religious beliefs.

The Bill mandates that employers should ensure the provision of an adequate quantity of reproductive health care services, supplies and devices for their employees. This provision could be a violation of the conscience of employers who do not wish to provide artificial means of contraception to their employees because of religious reasons.

The Bill’s provision that penalizes malicious disinformation against the intention and provisions of the Bill (without defining what malicious disinformation is) could restrict freedom of speech by discouraging legitimate dissent and hinder our mandate to teach morality according to our Catholic faith. The Bill does not mention any consultation with religious groups or churches which could be interpreted to mean that religious and moral beliefs of citizens are not significant factors in the formation of policies and programs involving reproductive health.

Heroic Parenting. Family health goes beyond a demographic target because it is principally about health and human rights. Gender equality and women empowerment are central elements of family health and family development. Since human resource is the principal asset of every country, effective family health care services must be given primacy to ensure the birth and care of healthy children and to promote responsible and heroic parenting. Respect for, protection and fulfillment of family health rights seek to promote not only the rights and welfare of adult individuals and couples but those of adolescents’ and children’s as well.

We admonish those who are promoting the Bill to consider these matters. It is the duty of every Catholic faithful to form and conform their consciences to the moral teaching of the Church. We call for a more widespread dialogue on this Bill.

As your Pastors we speak to you in the name of the Lord: Choose life and preserve it. Stand up for the Gospel of Life!

May Mary, Mother of Life, who carried in her womb Life Himself, guide us to the Truth of Life.

For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines

Archbishop of Jaro
President, CBCP
November 14, 2008

Note: Emphasis mine.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica (November 9)

The Altar above the Confessio

The Pope's Cathedra

The Central Nave

The Facade

Dedication of the Basilica of Saint John Lateran

by Marcellino D'Ambrosio

St John LateranAs a rebellious teenager, I thought the Catholic church should stop wasting its money on expensive churches. We ought to sell them all and buy food for the poor, I argued.

Funny thing. Jesus, who cared much for the poor, did not have this attitude. As an adolescent he yearned to spend time in Herod’s sumptuous Temple (Luke 2). As an adult, he defended its integrity against the moneychangers (John 2). Francis of Assisi, who gave away all his possessions, begged for money to buy materials to restore ruined churches which he rebuilt with his own hands.

Why this high regard for church buildings? Ezekiel 47 gives us one important reason. Because the liturgical worship that goes on inside, most especially the Eucharist, is the “source and summit” of our entire Christian life.

The world is a dusty, tiring place that often beats us down. The Church building is a haven, a quiet refuge, a place to encounter God. Here we drink deeply of the life-giving waters of word and sacrament that revive our drooping spirits (Psalm 23). The grace that flows from the altar bears us back into the world, changed, and able to change others, bringing healing and bearing fruit.

St John Lateran

Saint Paul, in I Corinthians 3, gives us another reason to honor Churches. George Fox, the founder of the Quakers, concluded from this passage that if we Christians are the Church, we should call our places of worship “steeple-houses.” To call buildings “churches” obscures the fact that we are the Church.

The Judeo-Christian Tradition see it differently. The Church building is a mirror that, held up before us, reminds us of who we are. The world tells us that we are consumers, employees and voters, and flashes a constant stream of icons at us every day to remind us of this. The Church building is an icon that reminds us of our deepest identity. As we gather for Sunday worship, we who were scattered by diverse loyalties, professions, and life-styles, are now united as the Body of Christ and dwelling place of the Spirit.

How does a person enter the Church? Through the cleansing waters of baptism. Maybe that’s why there are holy water fonts at the doors of most Catholic churches. Maybe those statues of saints are there to remind us that we are “fellow citizens with the saints and members of the family of God” (Ephesians 2:19f).

So what about all the expensive treasures of architecture, painting, sculpture, and stained glass? Sell them all and use the proceeds to by food for the poor? What then would the poor have?

In Texas, we have a homestead law that seeks to guarantee that no matter what financial misfortunes might befall people, they will not lose their homes. The loss of one’s home is a loss of one’s dignity. Our churches, from the local chapel to St. Peter’s Basilica, belong not to the hierarchy, but to the whole family. They’ve been given to us by the hard work and contributions of our forebears to remind us of our dignity as sons and daughters of the living God.

The Lateran Basilica, whose dedication we celebrate every November, was donated to the Church by Constantine soon after he legalized Christianity in 313AD. Ever since it has been, as the official cathedral of the Pope, the mother church of all Christendom, the cathedral of the world.

It is there that the most powerful pope of the middle ages, Innocent III, had a dream of a magnificent church breaking apart only to be shored up by a poor man in a beggars robe. Soon afterwards, a group of beggars from Assisi arrived, led by a man named Francis, asking for his approval for their lifestyle and work. Prepared by his dream, he recognized the hand of God, and encouraged a movement that renewed the Church.

As we meditate on this feast, let us allow zeal for his house to consume us as it did Jesus and Francis, that we may embrace the task of purification, renewal and rebuilding given us by the Council that met in another great Roman basilica some forty years ago.

Inetresting News

There are some very interesting news articles from Zenit (as always) today. Check this links:


Interview with Maureen Condic of the Westchester Institute

Laud Strength of Faith in Midst of Persecution

Saints' Race Shows Reason to Celebrate

Arizona and Florida Join in Banning Gay Marriage

The Sacred Liturgy: The Neglected Foundation to Building the Culture of Life

From The New Liturgical Movement blog:

The Sacred Liturgy: The Neglected Foundation to Building the Culture of Life

by Deborah Morlani

Many Mass-Going Catholics Support the Culture of Death

A recent survey from October 2008, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and completed by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, found that 79% of Catholics who regularly attend Mass are supportive of abortion to some degree, varying from all cases to at least certain cases; this despite the Catholic teaching that the intentional killing of an unborn child by abortion is always evil and that there are no exceptions to this. What these surveys reveal is a fact that many faithful Catholics are already only too aware: that many of their fellow Catholics do not conform to Church teaching and support the culture of death to some degree, be it through contracepting, sterilization, abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, IVF, or so on. In looking at the results of these polls, not to mention years of personal experience, the question that comes to mind is this: how can Catholics who are going to Mass every week be living and thinking in such contrast to God's moral laws, as taught by the magisterium of the Church? The pro-life message is certainly “out there” and not unknown, so where is the deficiency that allows such a situation to exist and what can we do to address it? To answer these questions we need to consider the root of the problem and the font of Catholic life.

The Liturgy Is the Source and Summit From Which All Else Flows

The Church teaches us that the sacred liturgy is the centre, or font, from which all else flows within the Church; it refers to it as her source and summit. (Sacrosanctum Concilium para. 10) It is this tenet which allowed Pope Benedict XVI, while still a Cardinal, to note that “the Church stands and falls with the liturgy” for when one understands and accepts the central place which the liturgy holds within the life of the Church and her faithful, this clearly follows and should hopefully help us to appreciate the foundational place and importance of the liturgy in a variety of questions.

Returning to the question at hand then, it would not seem a stretch to suggest that an implication of this very centrality is that the culture of life itself also stands and falls with the liturgy. Why, we shall look at momentarily, but given our understanding that the liturgy is the summit from whence all else flows, and given the consideration of the impoverished, or "falling", state of the liturgy in so many parishes, it should perhaps come as little surprise that there would be a coinciding “falling” of the culture of life – to use the image of Ratzinger.

Putting Our Own House In Order: A More Serious Look at the the Liturgy by the Catholic Pro-life Movement

I would propose, particularly to those actively involved within the pro-life movement (of which all Catholics, clergy, laity, and religious, should consider themselves involved to some extent), that the sacred liturgy needs to be looked at much more seriously as a significant foundation and tool for beginning to build the culture of life among fellow Catholics. Pro-life homilies, pro-life prayer intentions and social activism generally are all important let’s be clear, but they don't address the deeper, foundational problem that lay at the root of this issue; namely, the lack of a sense of God that exists not only within our culture, but even within our parishes. Before we can ever hope to bring about a conversion of the culture to a culture of life – and we are speaking, not merely of the changing of laws, but ultimately of the need for conversion -- we must first put our own house in order. If we understand and accept the teaching of the Church as regards the central importance of the liturgy and its relationship to doctrine, then surely we must neither ignore the fact that deficiencies there will lead to deficiencies elsewhere, nor that it is also an important place to begin to assert the solution.

The Necessity of God-Centred Liturgies: Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi (The law of prayer is the law of belief is the law of living.)

In Evangelium Vitae, John Paul II taught that the root cause of the culture of death is a loss of the sense of God and, in the same vein, one will note that Pope Benedict XVI has been working quite intently to bring back the sense of transcendence and God-centredness within our liturgies; in short, to bring back a sense of God. So it is that a consistent theme emerges and also a consistent recognition of a problem within our churches today. The Holy Father knows well that if God is obscured within the sacred liturgy – the very place that is not only the source and summit of the Church, but also the heart, soul and primary point of contact for the faithful -- then it is likely to follow that God will be absent or obscured in the lives of the faithful as well. Consequently, this lack of sense of the Divine can lead to living a humanistic or self-centred existence which further leads to a lost sense of the sacredness of man; without a Creator, man becomes a mere organism in the vast universe of organisms that can be manipulated and used for any kind of fantasy by anyone who is stronger or more powerful.

It is well known that many parishes today have become more centred upon themselves as a community than being clearly centred upon God – what Ratzinger has called the “self-enclosed circle”. Many parishes are not following the authorized liturgical texts and rubrics -- often out of a misguided sense of "pastoral" creativity, or even simply out of ignorance. Nor do they sufficiently consider (let alone express) those elements which lend a sense of transcendence to the worship of God, particularly as expressed through the medium of beauty. To some these might seem rather unimportant surface considerations, but they are not. The sacred liturgy and doctrine are intertwined and the experiential dimension of the liturgy is a profound moment for catechesis and conversion. Accordingly, when there is problematic approach to the liturgy, and when unauthorized innovations are introduced, there can be a deficiency as well as a coinciding distortion of Catholic belief passed on to the faithful, and further a loss in the power of the liturgy to move the human heart and mind towards God.

By contrast, the sacred liturgy, when celebrated well and focused on God, is where the building of the culture of life begins for within the liturgy one experiences and encounters the perfection of the culture of life from the giver of life Himself, God our Creator. It is through this deep encounter with God in the liturgy that we witness and learn a perfect love that is self-giving and self-sacrificing; from that flows the possibility of conversion of heart and the reciprocal love for God in giving of our lives to Him and His Church just as Christ gave His life for us, a sacrificial reality which is perpetuated upon our altars at every Mass. From that love for God and desire to serve Him naturally flows an ability to better move outside of ourselves and love our neighbour, seeing their lives as inherently of value. Therefore, if we are to build a culture of life within our parishes and serve as leaven for our culture, the sacred liturgy must be oriented to God in all things, both interiorly and exteriorly. The liturgy must be celebrated in accord with the authorized texts and rubrics so that we might avoid obscuring Catholic doctrine or falling into a subjectivist mentality. The ceremonies must be reverent and beautiful, speaking to the worship of the Lord and the sacredness of what occurs, moving and focusing us accordingly. Finally, there should be liturgical catechesis for the faithful to help them to understand the greater meaning, focus and sacrificial reality of the Mass, emphasizing its primary end as the worship of God through the sacrifice of the Cross, including through postures and gestures, signs and symbols.

Pope Benedict XVI Leads by Example

The Pope has consistently written of and witnessed to the importance of both interior and exterior dimensions which orient the sacred liturgy toward God. He has led by example in directing how certain exterior forms contribute to a God-centered liturgy, such as through the “Benedictine altar arrangement” with a central Crucifix; his celebration of Mass ad orientem in the Sistine Chapel; the use of beautiful sacred music and vestments within the liturgy; and finally, by re-introducing kneeling for Holy Communion in his own liturgies. Moreover, the Holy Father has emphasized the importance of interiorly directing our minds and hearts toward God through mystagogical catechesis (meaning the teaching of the mysteries of the Faith) so that we can more fully know God through beauty and the sacred mysteries experienced in the liturgy and further be drawn into a more profound encounter with the Divine which can lead to a deeper conversion.

In Conclusion

To conclude, let us recall the teaching of the Church about the centrality of the liturgy and how all flows from it. Let us also follow the example of the Holy Father in addressing any crisis among Catholics first in looking at the liturgy and never neglecting it as a central part of the solution. Indeed, everything that happens within the sacred liturgy matters and all that is done to lead the faithful closer to God will ultimately work toward building the culture of life, which will necessarily come through, not simply legal means, but conversion of heart and mind to God.

Postscript: Addressing Some Common Objections

As a postscript, it would seem important to address a few common objections that arise whenever there is an attempt to assert the central importance of the liturgy in all its forms and aspects.

One objection is summarized by the sentiment that "all that really matters at Mass is that Our Lord is present in the Eucharist. These other matters are ultimately not of significant importance. They are simply nice-to-have’s or just a matter of taste.” This is a common objection that often comes up from many Catholics, and even some priests, when attempting to explain the importance of the sacred liturgy as though validity, sacramentality or Eucharistic piety is all that is of concern. Obviously they are of concern, but this view is not in accord with the Church's teaching and is based on what Ratzinger has called “abstract sacramental theology” and “reductionism”. Everything in the liturgy matters which is why the Church regulates it accordingly. In that regard, our focus cannot merely be upon validity or receiving and adoring the Blessed Sacrament, it must be deeper, and it must take more serious consideration of the Mass in all its aspects and dimensions and the implication of those aspects and dimensions. The teaching of the Church and the teaching of our Holy Father speak contrary to such an assertion.

A second objection is the suggestion that the liturgy really doesn't affect whether or not Catholics follow the Church's teachings on contraception, abortion, and so forth. This also does not follow, for if, as the Church teaches, the sacred liturgy is the source and the summit, the font, from which everything else flows, this clearly has the implication that what flows from the liturgy will also likely be manifest in the Catholic faithful who are present, for good or for ill. How could it have such importance and influence and not have such effects?

Another objection might be the suggestion that doctrinal catechesis through study, preaching and such methods is far more important in the building the culture of life than what goes on in the sacred liturgy, but this fails to consider some basic realities. First, liturgy and doctrine are inseparable; what goes on in the liturgy is catechetical in itself. It is an experiential form of catechesis, and accordingly, very powerful. Second, the liturgy is the first and primary source of catechesis as it is a living experience of the Catholic faith that draws one into an encounter with God. It is there that most Catholics come into the most prolonged and profound contact with their faith and it is through this means that they are most impacted and potentially moved, making them accordingly more disposed to receive more intellectual forms of catechesis. "By its nature, the liturgy can be pedagogically effective in helping the faithful to enter more deeply into the mystery being celebrated. That is why, in the Church's most ancient tradition, the process of Christian formation always had an experiential character."(Sacramentum Caritatis, para. 64)

A final objection might be that good liturgy doesn't guarantee that a Catholic will be pro-life and poor liturgy doesn't mean that a Catholic won't be pro-life. Of course this is true in point of fact, but while it may not be an absolute guarantee, and while exceptions can surely always be found, it does not change the fact of the central importance of the liturgy in Catholic life and faith, nor does it change the teaching of the Church on this matter.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Conversi ad Dominum

This blog is named "Conversi ad Dominum" for nothing. Of course, first and foremost, the reason is my continuing struggle as a Catholic Christian to "turn towards the Lord" every aspect of my life and journey towards Him. Also, this blog posts certain aspects on Catholic culture, Pro-Life alerts, etc. - to show that our daily life should be turned and tuned towards the Lord, if we consider ourselves as his creatures and servants.

Also, as a Catholic who loves the liturgy and sees it as a vital part of Christian life, I support the "reform of the reform" movement in Catholic liturgy. I see the necessity of interpreting the documents and instrcutions of the popes, especially Pope Benedict XVI, happily reigning, the Second Vatican Council and the authentic Magisterium of the Church in the light of the hermeneutics of continuity especially with regards to the liturgy. While, I rejoice with the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum clarifying that the 1962 Missal of Pope John XXIII (or the Traditional Latin Mass) was never abrogated and considering the celebration according to pre-conciliar editions of the Missal (Roman Ritual, etc) as the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, I am convinced, that since the Missal of Pope Paul VI (revised by Pope John Paul II) is the Ordinary Form of the same Roman Rite, the tradition of "lex orandi, lex credendi" (the rule of praying of the rule of beloef) should be better observed by the celebration of Masses faithful to the rubrics laid down by the competent authority and when there are some 'vagueness' in the instructions, the long-standing liturgical tradition of the Church (represented by the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite) is the best guide.

Both the rubrics of the modern Pauline Order of the Mass and the liturgical tradition represented by EF form, 'features' the 'ad orientem' posture wherein, the priest and the assembly of the faithful faces the "east" - the direction of the "Rising Sun", symbol of Jesus and his second coming either by facing the geographical east, or when it is not possible, the "liturgical East" - the apse with the icon of Christ of, as explained by the Pope Benedict XVI while still a cardinal - to the cross, symbol of the Christ Crucified and Risen.

It is my goal, for my personal reading and hopefully for the readers of this blog, if there are any, to link articles from various internet resources that will give us some light in this licit and wonderful liturgical tradition.

All Saints and the Faithful Departed

Note: This post, though late, is in honor of All Saints and as testimony of love and prayers for the all the faithful departed especially those who are dear to us.

Eastern Icons of All Saints

The Litany of Saints

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of heaven,
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Spirit,
Holy Trinity, one God,
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
Holy Mary,
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of virgins,
St. Michael,
St. Gabriel,
St. Raphael,
All you Holy Angels and Archangels,
St. John the Baptist,
St. Joseph,
All you Holy Patriarchs and Prophets,
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
St. Peter,
St. Paul,
St. Andrew,
St. James,
St. John,
St. Thomas,
St. James,
St. Philip,
St. Bartholomew,
St. Matthew,
St. Simon,
St. Jude,
St. Matthias,
St. Barnabas,
St. Luke,
St. Mark,
All you holy Apostles and Evangelists,
All you holy Disciples of the Lord,
All you holy Innocents,
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
St. Stephen,
St. Lawrence,
St. Vincent,
Sts. Fabian and Sebastian,
Sts. John and Paul,
Sts. Cosmos and Damian,
All you holy Martyrs,
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
St. Sylvester,
St. Gregory,
St. Ambrose,
St. Augustine,
St. Jerome,
St. Martin,
St. Nicholas,
All you holy Bishops and Confessors,
All you holy Doctors,
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
St. Anthony,
St. Benedict,
St. Bernard,
St. Dominic,
St. Francis,
All you holy Priests and Levites,
All you holy Monks and Hermits,
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
St. Mary Magdalene,
St. Agatha,
St. Lucy,
St. Agnes,
St. Cecilia,
St. Anastasia,
St. Catherine,
St. Clare,
All you holy Virgins and Widows,
All you holy Saints of God,
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
pray for us.
Lord, be merciful,
From all evil,
From all sin,
From your wrath,
From a sudden and unprovided death,
From the snares of the devil,
From anger, hatred, and all ill-will,
From the spirit of uncleanness,
From lightning and tempest,
From the scourge of earthquake,
From plague, famine, and war,
From everlasting death,
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
By the mystery of your holy Incarnation,
By your Coming,
By your Birth,
By your Baptism and holy fasting,
By your Cross and Passion,
By your Death and Burial,
By your holy Resurrection,
By your wonderful Ascension,
By the coming of the Holy Spirit,
On the day of judgment,
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Lord, save your people.
Be merciful to us sinners, Lord, hear our prayer.
That you will spare us,
That you will pardon us,
That it may please you to bring us to true
Guide and protect your holy Church,
Preserve in holy religion the Pope, and all
those in holy Orders,
Humble the enemies of holy Church,
Give peace and unity to the whole Christian
Bring back to the unity of the Church all
those who are straying, and bring all
unbelievers to the light of the Gospel,
Strengthen and preserve us in your holy
Raise our minds to desire the things of
Reward all our benefactors with eternal
Deliver our souls from eternal damnation,
and the souls of our brethren, relatives,
and benefactors,
Give and preserve the fruits of the earth,
Grant eternal rest to all the faithful departed,
That it may please You to hear and heed
us, Jesus, Son of the Living God,
Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of
the world,
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of
the world,
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of
the world,
Spare us, O Lord!

Graciously hear us, O Lord!

Have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us,
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, graciously hear us
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

This prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours is graced with a partial indulgence for souls in purgatory.

REQUIEM aeternam dona ei (eis), Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei (eis). Requiescat (-ant) in pace. Amen. ETERNAL rest grant unto him/her (them), O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him/her (them). May he/she (they) rest in peace. Amen.

Saint Jude Thaddeus

Note: I know. It is more than a week late after the Feast of Saint Jude Thaddeus (with Saint Simon, both Apostles, October 28). But still, better late than never, so I am posting some pictures of this beloved saint of mine to honor him.

From the Patrons Saints Index:

Who Is St. Jude?

Probably no saint, after the Blessed Mother, has drawn such enthusiastic followers down through the centuries as St. Jude Thaddeus. He was one of the chosen 12 Apostles; his brother was James the Less. Not too much is actually recorded about his life: it seems his big popularity began after his death.

Through history, legend and tradition, however, we can construct some detailsconcerning this powerful intercessor and close friend of the Divine Master. St. Jude comes from the line of David and is a cousin of Jesus Christ. The Jewish people, proud of their lineage, kept exact records of their ancestors, and we see that St. Jude's father, Cleophas, was the brother of St. Joseph. St. Jude's mother, Mary of Cleophas, was a cousin of the Blessed Virgin Mary: their mothers were sisters.

In the Gospel, Mary of Cleophas is identified as the "sister" who has the courage to stand beneath the Cross of Christ along with the Virgin Mary and St. John. In the Hebrew language, the word "sister" was often used to include the cousins.

St. Jude's Epistle

The Fathers of the Church; such men as St. Ambrose, St. Bernard, St. Jerome and others, gave us more insight into this great man's character by their commentaries on the Epistle of St. Jude. St. Jerome in his work, applies the name "zealot" to St. Jude. St. Bernard of Clairvaux tells us that St. Jude was courageous because of his virginal purity and the courage he used to protect it.

St. Jude most probable came from farming people, for the tribe of Juda from which he came was of that occupation. After he became an Apostle, he always manifested an intense interest in the salvation of the Gentiles. So at the Last Supper, when Christ said, "yet a little while and the world no longer sees me. But you shall se me, for I live and you shall live;" (John 14, 19) it was St. Jude who then exclaimed, "Lord, how is it that You are to manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?" St. Jude was asking in effect, how Christ's message was to be made known to the Gentiles.

After the Ascension of Christ, St. Jude headed for his beloved people--the Gentiles. Many stories come down to us: his miraculous cure of King Abagaro, ruler of Edessa, a city in Mesopotamia...while in Persia with St. Simon, he effected an unexpected peace for King Varardach--and won over the king and his entire court to the Catholic faith.

Death of St. Jude

For many more years, St. Jude made missionary journeys, preaching, dispensing the Sacraments throughout Mesopotamia, Armenia, and even southern Russia.

One day an enraged pagan mob fell upon the gentle and good man, and bludgeoned him to death. That is one reason why St. Jude is today pictured holding a club--in memory of his martyrdom. The bodies of St. Jude and St. Simon have laid in St. Peter's in Rome for many centuries. St. Jude was a tireless worker--he tried--he dared to try the impossible; and he was successful. Steadfastly pure in body and soul, Jude gave of himself not only in life but in death as well.

I try my best to at least visit Saint Jude Thaddeus Parish in nearby Trece Martires City during the Feast of their patron saint (titular solemnity in their case). I'm not claiming for any miracle-recognition but my mother was sick before and was not able to sleep in the night without medication for almost forty nights but was healed, thanks to Saint Jude to whom she made a novena. Here is the huge image of the saint in the parish church:

St. Jude, glorious apostle, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the name of the traitor has caused you to be forgotten by many. But the Church honors and invokes you universally as the patron of difficult and desperate cases. Pray for me who am so miserable. Make use, I implore you, of that particular privilege accorded to you to bring visible and speedy help where help was almost despaired of. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations and sufferings, particularly -- (here make your request) -- and that I may praise God with you and all the elect throughout all eternity.

I promise you, 0 blessed JUDE, to be ever mindful of this great favor. I will honor you as my special and powerful patron and encourage devotion to you.

St. Jude, pray for us and for all who honor and invoke your aid.

O glorious apostle, SAINT JUDE THADDEUS, true relative of Jesus and Mary, I salute you through the most Sacred Heart of Jesus! Through this Heart I praise and thank God for all the graces He has bestowed upon you. Humbly prostrate before you, I implore you through this Heart to look down upon me with compassion. Oh, despise not my poor prayer; let not my trust be confounded! To you God has granted the privilege of aiding mankind in the most desperate cases. Oh, come to my aid that I may praise the mercies of God! All my life I will be grateful to you and will be your faithful client until I can thank you in heaven. Amen.