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Please Come to the Archdiocesan Rosary on Sunday, October 7th at 5:30 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul

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Dear Friends,

Greetings in the Lord!

The Archdiocesan Rosary will take place on Sunday, October 7, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica.  Please help to spread the word as widely as possible.  Thank you so very much for your generous assistance.

Blessings and peace,

Father Dennis Gill


Reverend Gerald Dennis Gill

Director, Office for Divine Worship

Archdiocese of Philadelphia

222 North Seventeenth Street

Philadelphia, PA 19103


September 28, 2018   No Comments

St. Francis of Assisi: Eucharistic Mystic and Reformer, by Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

From The New Liturgical Movement, by Gregory DiPippo

Although we are still a little ways out from the better-known of the two feasts of St. Francis, namely, the one that falls on October 4 (the day after he died), I would like to continue reflecting on the saint of Assisi in connection with last week’s article about his stigmatization in 1224.

My fellow NLM contributor, Fr. Augustine Thompson, O.P., is well known for Francis of Assisi: A New Biography, which a broad spectrum of people (including those who assign books to Franciscans in formation) now consider the definitive biography of the saint in all of his personal complexity, zeal, idealism, and contradictions, set within the fraught context of his age.

One of the most striking elements of this biography is the author’s insistence that the dominant theme in Francis’ spirituality is not poverty or service to the poor, but devotion to the Mass and to the Body of Christ. One of Francis’ few writings is a letter to priests rebuking them for using dirty or unworthy items in the Mass, and his mature letters on the spiritual life also rotate around the Eucharist and the Mass.

For those who have not yet had a chance to read the biography, I will quote the passages that demonstrate this point well, gathering them in one convenient place.

Within a year of his return to Assisi, Francis composed his first extant letter. Something had triggered his decision to go to France, where the Eucharist was venerated properly, and now he was unable to go. Instead, he dispatched this letter, the first of his two “Letters to the Clergy.” Its language is heated, pained, and almost frantic in tone. In it he includes himself among the clergy, a good indication that he had already been ordained to the deaconate. What motivates him is the same passion that sent him on the road to France: his love of the Eucharist. He is outraged at the “great sin and ignorance some have toward the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and his most holy names and words that consecrate his Body.” How that sin expressed itself, and its remedy, he made clear: “Let all those who administer such most holy mysteries, especially those who administer them illicitly, consider how very dirty are the chalices, corporals, and altar linens, on which his Body and Blood are sacrificed. It is placed in many dirty places, carried about unbecomingly, and ministered to others without care. Even his written names and words are at times left to be trampled under foot.” Francis directs that the Host be kept in a “precious place” and locked up, and that scraps of parchment with the words of scripture or the name of God be collected and put in suitable places. Those receiving his letter are to clean their altar linen and polish their chalices without delay.
This theme reappeared regularly in Francis’s writing, but seldom with such passion and anger. Francis returned to the theme of reverence for the Eucharist in other writings about this time. His “First Admonition,” even if influenced by the mystical understanding of the Mass found in Cistercian writers as some suggest, is authentically Francis’s own. For him, the change of the elements from bread and wine to Christ’s Body and Blood was like the Incarnation. Christ gives himself to those viewing the Host or receiving communion as literally as he allowed himself to be seen and touched by the apostles. By this giving, he is with believers until the end of the age. The locus of Francis’s “mysticism,” his belief that he could have direct contact with God, was in the Mass, not in nature or even in service to the poor. 
Thus his harsh words for those who ignored the Eucharistic presence are unique: he never used such language about peace breakers or those who oppressed the downtrodden, deeply as those sins pained him. Francis always preferred to speak by actions and gestures rather than words: he expressed his reverence for churches by sweeping and cleaning them. In response to clerical failure to keep the Host in honorable containers, Francis once tried to have his friars bring precious pyxes to all the regions where they were active. He asked that these be used to reserve the Host when other decent containers were lacking. One can imagine the effect of Francis’s poor followers, with their miserable habits, presenting silver pyxes to parish clergy for the reservation of the Sacrament. (Kindle ed., pp. 60–61)


In his “Letter to the Clergy,” Francis spoke warmly of reverence for priests as well as for the Blessed Sacrament. He demonstrated his devotion by kissing the hands of any priest he met: consecrated with sacred chrism, they handled the Host. For the Host itself Francis practiced acts of reverence that, although not uncommon in France, were just becoming popular in Italy. He begged the brothers who met a priest on horseback, especially one carrying the Blessed Sacrament, to kiss the horse’s hooves rather than wait for the priest to dismount.  (p. 62)


Beyond its rubrical concerns, Francis’s first letter gives a window into his developing spirituality. His earlier piety had focused on praying before the Crucifix, repairing or cleaning churches, and reverence for priests. All involved symbolic or mystical manifestations of the Crucified Lord: churches as the place where God chose to dwell, and priests because they have the power to draw Christ down from heaven during Mass.
Francis’s piety has now focused on God’s most tangible manifestation in the world: the Host itself. Francis was developing an ever greater sense that God is present to Christians in the Sacrament, and that it was to be reverenced above all other presences. In both the Host and Christ’s words, the work of Calvary is delivered to the believer. The Host is Christ’s real Body, the same one that suffered and died for us. The sacred words that especially concerned Francis are those used in the canon of the Mass and found in the Last Supper narratives of the New Testament. These record his action of offering himself to his disciples “on the night before he suffered.”
Modern observers find Francis’s growing concern about the writing on scraps of parchment somewhat embarrassing or perplexing. Even pious Christians today have lost this sense of the concrete divine presence. In the thirteenth century, however, this attitude was not some oddity that Francis had picked up from Jewish or Muslim practice. For Christians of his age, the words of scripture were not merely didactic reminders of past events or moral norms. As divine words, they were a locus of power. Merely pronouncing them, as when the bishop read the beginning of the four Gospels toward the city gates facing the four points of the compass during springtime Rogation processions, put demonic powers to flight. When used by Brother Silvester over the city of Arezzo, the divine words could, by their very power, end civil strife.
Now, when Francis began to chant from the book of Gospels as a deacon, he himself proclaimed and enacted the words of power. A perplexed brother once asked Francis about his practice of collecting such scraps of parchment, and he replied: “Son, I do this because they have the letters that compose the glorious name of the Lord God, and the good that is found there does not belong to the pagans nor to any human being, but to God alone, to whom every good thing belongs.” This identification between names and the realities they signify was not only a commonplace in medieval sensibility; it spoke to Francis’s profound sense of God’s presence in the concrete here and now, and in the most commonplace of things and events.
For a layman like Francis, only marginally able to write, letters themselves were mysterious and somehow sacred: friars knew well that when Francis made a mistake in writing, he let it stand, rather than “killing the letter” by crossing it out. Before, as a simple cleric singing the Office, he had chanted the psalms of David; now, as a deacon, he read the very words of Christ. At Solemn Mass, he did so facing north—the direction of darkness and, for medieval minds, paganism, and thus putting both to flight. That certain clerics treated these powerful and holy texts with disrespect outraged Francis’s acute spiritual sense. To leave sacred books on the floor or in dishonorable places was, in its own way, as sacrilegious as the desecration of the Host.
Ever more intensely, Francis associated his own experience before the Cross, his transforming encounter with the lepers, and the divine commission to live the Gospel perfectly with the immediate, unmediated presence of Christ given to each Christian in Word and Sacrament. (pp. 62–63)


Not satisfied with writing to priests, Francis also wrote a circular letter to the local superiors in his order, the custodians. In it he made them directly responsible for ensuring that Franciscan communities properly reverenced the Eucharist and had worthy vessels and appointments for Mass. Typical of his unwillingness to place himself (or his brothers) in a position superior to priests, he instructed the custodians, who would often be lay brothers, to “humbly beg the clergy to revere above all else the most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 
In addition, he returned to a theme first mentioned in the letter to priests from before his departure for the East. He begged recipients to pick up and keep in a place of reverence any piece of parchment on which was written one of the holy names of God (Lord, Jesus, Holy Spirit, etc.) or the words of institution (“This is my Body”; “This is the chalice of my Blood”) used in the consecration at Mass. Here cooperation of the clergy was not needed; any friar could show reverence to the holy words.
Writing as much to nonordained brothers as to priests, Francis expressed in this letter his own spiritual preferences, without concern for clerical tradition. Instead of Pope Honorius III’s bow, Francis insisted: “In every sermon you give, remind people about penance and that no one can be saved unless he receives the most holy Body and Blood of the Lord. When it is sacrificed on the altar by a priest and carried anywhere, let all peoples praise, glorify and honor on bended knee the Lord God, living and true.” This instruction on sermons, whether by ordained or unordained brothers, shows his determination to encourage the more dramatic and humbling act of kneeling before the Sacrament in place of the older bow. 
Francis was himself a leader in this new lay style of prayer and reverence. He considered this message so important that within the year he wrote again to the custodians, reminding them of the instructions in his first letter and again reminding them to preach reverence for the Sacrament, whether this was in the piazza before people or in sermons before “podestas, consuls, or other rulers.” That he wrote twice on this topic to those in the best position to make his will known is a window into the founder’s frame of mind at this time.
We have from Francis one other message written in 1220, an appeal to the very rulers to whom his friars were to preach repentance and devotion to the Eucharist. Addressed “to the podestas, consuls, and other rulers” of cities, the letter is short and stern, a reminder of death and judgment: Reflect and see that the day of death is approaching. With all possible respect, therefore, I beg you not to forget the Lord because of the world’s cares and preoccupations and not to turn away from his commandments, for those who leave him in oblivion and turn away from his commandments are cursed and will be left in oblivion by him. When the day of death does come, everything they have will be taken from them. The wiser and more powerful they were in the world, the greater will be the punishment they will endure in Hell. He then turned to his favorite topic in this period, the Eucharist, writing that “therefore” they should receive communion with fervor and foster honor to the Lord among those they rule. “If you do not do this, know that, on the day of judgment, you must render an account before the Lord your God, Jesus Christ.”  (pp. 83–84)


He writes: “We must be Catholics. We ought to visit churches frequently and venerate clerics, and revere them, not so much for their own sake, for they may be sinners, but on account of their office and administration of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, which they sacrifice on the altar and receive and minister to others.” The logic, or better poetic associations, in Francis’s thought have taken us full circle. The subordination of the Christian to the Church makes sense only because Christ has chosen to use its clergy, sinners as they are, to make his own self-emptying present to the world through the Mass. To participate worthily in this is, for Francis, what it means “to love God above all things.” (p. 87)


His retreat and return are the background to the “Letter to the Entire Order,” which was, in a way, Francis’s public farewell address. The Latin is carefully crafted, although colloquial enough to suggest it is Francis’s own work, not much revised by his secretaries.
After a formal greeting in which he kisses the feet of the brothers, Francis arrives at his issues and concerns. The first concern would be familiar to anyone who has read his other letters. All possible reverence is to be had for the Body and Blood of the Lord, and priests who celebrate Mass are to do so with the utmost care. In treating the celebration of Mass, Francis’s tone is urgent, indeed harsh and peremptory. Like the priests of the Old Law who violated the laws of temple sacrifice, priests of the New Covenant who celebrate unworthily are damned and cursed. He elaborates on the priestly office in a long section, extolling its dignity and the exalted nature of the priestly calling. Although not a major theme in early letters, Francis’s well-known reverence for the clergy is reflected in his words. In his final words to his followers, the issue he found most pressing was not poverty, not obedience, but proper reverence for the Eucharist. (pp. 119–20)

The issue he found most pressing was not poverty, not obedience, but proper reverence for the Eucharist. Not immigration, starvation, dehydration, disease, global warming, ecology, or endangered species (unless it be the endangered species of bread and wine unworthily treated); not faux obedience to apostolic exhortations, brain-fever fervorinos, or councils of cardinals; but proper reverence for the Lord in His true Body and Blood, expressed through the careful and devout offering of the Mass, the most worthy vessels and vestments one can supply, signs of adoring love, and an unyielding insistence on penance and renunciation of sin prior to communion. This is what St. Francis believed in; this is what he stood for; this is what his order was meant to believe, say, and do.

So, the next time someone tries to invoke Pope Francis on you to downplay the importance of liturgy, you might want to tell them about the real Francis who apparently inspired the pope with his choice of name. The saint was radically different from the modern sentimentalized and romanticized proto-hippie and peacenik. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that this poor deacon who started the single greatest popular religious movement in the history of the Church would not recognize many of his twentieth-century followers as having anything to do with him, his religion, or his priorities—and the same might be said of others who have taken his name upon themselves, but for the wrong reasons.

Hippie Francis… step aside.
Even hipper Francis… definitely step aside.

September 24, 2018   No Comments

Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost

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Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine’s
The Church’s Year

At the Introit of the Mass the Church prays for the peace which God has promised by His prophets:

INTROIT Give peace, O Lord, to them that patiently wait for thee, that thy prophets may be found faithful: hear the prayers of thy servant, and of thy people Israel. (Ecclus. XXXVI. 18.) I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: we shall go into the house of the Lord. (Ps. CXXI. 1.) Glory etc.

COLLECT O Lord, inasmuch as without Thee we are not able to please Thee, let Thy merciful pity rule and direct our hearts, we beseech Thee. Thro’.

EPISTLE (I Cor. I. 4-8.) Brethren, I give thanks to my God always for you, for the grace of God that is given you in Christ Jesus, that in all things you are made rich in him, in all utterance and in all knowledge: as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that nothing is wanting to you in any grace, waiting for the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ who also will confirm you into the end without crime, in the day of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

EXPLANATION St. Paul shows in this epistle that he possesses true love for his neighbor, because he rejoices and thanks God that he enriched the Corinthians with different graces and gifts, thus confirming the testimony of Christ in them, so that they could without fear expect His arrival for judgment. – Do thou also rejoice, with St. Paul, for the graces given to thy neighbor, for this is a mark of true charity.

GOSPEL (Matt. IX. 1-8.) At that time, Jesus entering into a boat, passed over the water, and came into his own city. And behold, they brought to him one sick of the palsy lying in a bed. And Jesus seeing their faith, said to the man sick of the palsy: Be of good heart, son; thy sins are forgiven thee. And behold, some of the Scribes said within themselves: He blasphemeth. And Jesus seeing their thoughts, said: Why do you think evil in your hearts? whether it is easier to say, Thy sins are forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that you may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins (then said he to the man sick of the palsy): Arise, take up thy bed, and go into thy house. And he arose, and went into his house. And the multitude seeing it feared, and glorified God who had given such power to men.


I. Those who brought this sick man to Christ, give us a touching example of how we should take care of the sick and help them according to our ability. Christ was so well pleased with their faith and charity, that He cured the man sick of the palsy, and forgave him his sins. Hence we learn how we might assist many who are diseased in their soul, if we would lead them to God by confiding prayer, by urgent admonitions, or by good example.

II. Christ did not heal the man sick of the palsy until He had forgiven him his sins, by this He wished to teach us, that sins are often the cause of sicknesses and other evils, by which we are visited, and which God would remove from us if we were truly repentant. This doctrine Jesus confirmed, when He said to the man, who had been sick for thirty-eight years: Sin no more, lest some worse thing happen to thee. (John V. 14.) Would that this were considered by those who so often impetuously demand of God to be freed from their evils, but do not intend to free themselves from their sins, which are the cause of these evils, by a sincere repentance.

III. “He blasphemeth.” Thus thought the Jews, in their perverted hearts, of Christ, because they believed that He in remitting the sins of the sick man, usurped the rights of God and thus did Him a great injury; for it is blasphemy to think, say, or do any thing insulting to God or His saints. But these Jews did not consider that they by their rash judgment calumniated God, since they blasphemed Christ who by healing the sick man, and by numerous other works had clearly proved His God-head. If Christ so severely reprimanded the Jews, who would not recognize Him as God, for a blasphemous thought against Him, what will He do with those Christians who, though they wish to be adorers of God and His Son, nevertheless, utter blasphemies, curses, and profanations of the holy Sacraments?

IV. When Jesus saw their thoughts, He said: Why do you think evil in your hearts? This may be taken to heart by those who think that thoughts are free from scrutiny, and who never think to confess their evil and shameful thoughts. God; the most Holy and most just, will, nevertheless, not leave a voluntary unchaste, proud, angry, revengeful, envious thought unpunished, any more than an idle word. (Matt, XII. 36.) The best remedy against evil thoughts would be the recollection that God who searches the heart sees them, and will punish them.

PRAYER How great, O Jesus! is Thy love and mercy towards poor sinners, since Thou not only forgavest the sins of the man sick of palsy, but calling him son, didst console and heal him! This Thy love encourages me to beg of Thee the grace, that we may rise from our bed of sins by true penance, amend our life, and through the ways of Thy commandments enter the house of eternal happiness.


Be of good heart, son, thy sins are forgiven thee. (Matt. IX. 2.)

The same that Christ says to the man sick of the palsy, the priest says to every contrite sinner in the confessional, and thus remits the crime or the guilt of his sins, and the eternal punishment, by virtue of the authority given him by God. But since sins not only bring with them guilt and eternal punishment, but also temporal1 and indeed spiritual or supernatural punishment, such as, painful conditions of the soul, as well in this world as in purgatory, and natural ones, as: poverty, disease, all sorts of adversities and accidents, we should endeavor to liberate ourselves from them by means of indulgences.

What is an indulgence?

It is a total or partial remission of the temporal punishment which man would have to suffer either in this or the next life, after the sins have been remitted.

How do we know that after the remission of the sins there still remains temporal punishment?

From holy Scripture; for our first parents after the forgiveness of their sin, were still afflicted with temporal punishment. (Gen. III.) God likewise forgave the sins of the children of Israel, who murmured so often against Him in the desert, but not their punishment, for He excluded them from the Promised Land, and caused them to die in the desert. (Num. XIV.) Moses and Aaron experienced the same, on account of a slight want of confidence in God. (Num. XX. 12., Deut. XXXII. 51. 52.) David, indeed, received pardon from God through the Prophet Nathan for adultery and murder, (II Kings XII.) still he had to endure heavy temporal punishment. Finally, faith teaches us, that we are tortured in purgatory for our sins, until we have paid the last farthing. (Matt. V. 26.)

Did the Church always agree with this doctrine of Scripture?

Yes; for she always taught, that by the Sacrament of Penance the guilt and eternal punishment, due to sin, are indeed forgiven for the sake of the infinite merits of Jesus, but that temporal punishment still remains, for which the sinner must do penance. Even in the earliest ages she imposed great penances upon sinners for their sins which were already forgiven. For instance, murder or adultery was punished by a penance of twenty years; perjury, eleven; fornication, denial of faith or fortune-telling, by seven years of severe penance with fasting, etc. During this time it was not allowed to travel, except on foot, to be present at the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, or to receive the holy Eucharist. If the penitents showed a great zeal for penance and sincere amendment, or if distinguished members of the Church, particularly martyrs, interceded for them, the bishops granted them an indulgence, that is, they remitted the remaining punishment either totally or partially. In our days, on account of the weakness of the faithful, the Church is lenient. Besides the ecclesiastical, the spiritual punishments which would have to be suffered either here or in purgatory for the taking away of sins, are shortened and mitigated by indulgences through he treasure of the communion of saints.

Has the Church the power to remit temporal punishments, or to grant indulgences?

The Council of Trent expressly states, that the Church has power to grant indulgences, (Sess. 25.) and this statement it supports by the words of Christ. For as Christ protests: Amen, I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven; so He also promised, that whatever the Church looses upon earth, is ratified and loosed in heaven. Whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven. (Matt. XVIII. 18.) Even an apostle granted an indulgence. In the person and by the power of Christ, that his spirit might be saved in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, (II Cor. II. 10.; I Cor. V. 4. 5.) St. Paul forgave the incestuous Corinthian, upon whom he had imposed a heavy punishment.

What is meant by saying, indulgences are granted out of the treasury of the saints or of the Church?

By this is meant that God, by the Church, remits the temporal punishment due to sin for the sake of the merits of Christ and the saints, and supplies, as it were, by these merits what is still wanting in our satisfaction.

What kinds of indulgences are there?

Two; plenary and partial indulgences. A plenary indulgence, if rightly gained, remits all ecclesiastical and temporal punishment, which we would otherwise have to expiate by penance. A partial indulgence, however, remits only so many days or years of the temporal punishment, as, according to the penitential code of the primitive ages of the Church; the sinner would have been obliged to spend in severe penance. Hence the name forty day’s indulgence, etc.

What is a Jubilee?

It is a plenary indulgence, which the pope grants to the faithful of the entire world, whereby all the temporal punishments of sin, even in cases reserved to the pope or the bishops, are remitted, and forgiven in the name of God, if the sinner confesses contritely and receives the holy Eucharist and has a firm purpose of doing penance.

What is required to gain an indulgence?

First, that we should be in the state of grace, and have already obtained, by true repentance, forgiveness of those sins, the temporal punishment of which is to be remitted by the indulgence; and secondly, that we should exactly perform the good works prescribed for the gaining of the indulgence.

Do indulgences free us from performing works of penance?

By no means: for there are few in the proper state to receive a plenary indulgence in its fulness, since not only purity of soul is necessary but also the inclination to sin must be rooted out, it therefore cannot be the intention of the Church to free us from all works of penance by granting us indulgences. She cannot act contrary to the word of Jesus: Unless you do penance, you shall all likewise perish. Luke XIII. 3.) She rather wishes to assist our weakness, to supply our inability to do the required penance, and to contribute what is wanting in our penance, by applying the satisfaction of Christ and the saints to us by indulgences. If we, therefore, do not wish to do penance for our own sins, we shall have no part in the merits of others by indulgences.

Can indulgences be gained for the souls of the faithful departed?

Yes, by way of suffrage, so far as we comply with the required conditions, and thus beg of God, for the merits of His Son and the saints, to release the souls in purgatory. Whether God receive this petition or not, remains with Him, He will act only according to the condition of the deceased. We must, therefore, not depend upon the indulgences and good works which may be performed for us after death, but rather endeavor, during our life-time, to secure our salvation by leading a pious life; by our own good works and by the gaining of indulgences.

What follows from the doctrine of the Church concerning indulgences?

That an indulgence is no grant or license to commit sin, as the enemies of the Church falsely assert; that an indulgence grants no forgiveness of sins past or future, much less is permission given to commit sin; that no Catholic can believe that by gaming indulgences he is released from penance, or other good works, free from the fight with his evil inclinations, passions and habits, from compensating for injuries, repairing scandals, from retrieving neglected good, and glorifying God by works and sufferings; but that indulgences give nothing else than partial or total remission of temporal punishment; that they remind us of our weakness and lukewarmness which is great when compared with the zeal and fervor of the early Christians; that they impel us to satisfy the justice of God according to our ability. Finally, they remind us to thank God continually that He gave the Church a means in the inexhaustible treasure of the merits of Christ and His saints, to help our weakness and to supply what is wanting in our penance.

1. See Instruction on Satisfaction on the fourth Sunday in Advent.

2. The word jubilee signifies deliverance, remittance. With the Jews every fiftieth year was so called, and all the prisoners and slaves were to be set free in this year, according to the command of God, the inheritances which had been sold, restored to their masters, the debts cancelled, and the earth left untilled. This was a year of grace and rest for the Jews. This Jubilee of the Jews is a figure of the Catholic jubilee, in which the captives of sin and Satan are liberated, the debt of sin remitted, and the inheritance of heaven, which the sinner had sold to Satan, is restored to him.

September 22, 2018   No Comments


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History of the Ember Days

/ Sep 19, 2018 09:23 am / Posted by Angelus Press /

Ember Days – An Opportunity for Additional Sacrifice and Spiritual Growth

Though ignored by many in the Roman Church today, this week is traditionally set aside in the year for honoring the Ember Days.

Starting Wednesday, September 19, and continuing on Friday (September 21) and Saturday (September 22), the Roman Church celebrates the Ember Days. Though the contemporary Church no longer honors these days, traditionally they were designated as days of fasting and abstinence. Thankfully, many traditional Catholics, including those who attend chapels ministered by the priests of the Society of Saint Pius X, continue to honor these days.

History of the Ember Days

The Ember Days, which were historically kept four times during the liturgical year, have a venerable history. Here is the explanation from the 1917 Catholic Encyclopedia.

The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy. The immediate occasion was the practice of the heathens of Rome. The Romans were originally given to agriculture, and their native gods belonged to the same class. At the beginning of the time for seeding and harvesting religious ceremonies were performed to implore the help of their deities: in June for a bountiful harvest, in September for a rich vintage (grapes/wine), and in December for the seeding; hence their feriae sementivae, feriae messis, and feri vindimiales. The Church, when converting heathen nations, has always tried to sanctify any practices which could be utilized for a good purpose. At first the Church in Rome had fasts in June, September, and December; the exact days were not fixed but were announced by the priests. The “Liber Pontificalis” ascribes to Pope Callistus (217-222) a law ordering the fast, but probably it is older. Leo the Great (440-461) considers it an Apostolic institution. When the fourth season was added cannot be ascertained, but Gelasius (492-496) speaks of all four. This pope also permitted the conferring of priesthood and deaconship on the Saturdays of ember week–these were formerly given only at Easter. Before Gelasius the ember days were known only in Rome, but after his time their observance spread. They were brought into England by St. Augustine; into Gaul and Germany by the Carlovingians. Spain adopted them with the Roman Liturgy in the eleventh century. They were introduced by St. Charles Borromeo into Milan. The Eastern Church does not know them. The present Roman Missal, in the formulary for the Ember days, retains in part the old practice of lessons from Scripture in addition to the ordinary two: for the Wednesdays three, for the Saturdays six, and seven for the Saturday in December. Some of these lessons contain promises of a bountiful harvest for those that serve God.

Keeping with Tradition

Catholics who have access to the traditional liturgy outside of Sundays should make a special point to assist at Mass on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of this week. In addition to keeping the fasting and abstinence prescriptions on these days, the faithful should be attentive to the special collects and readings that are assigned on these days. Here, for instance, are the Collects from Wednesday, which properly capture the spirit of these days.

May our frailty, we beseech Thee, O Lord, find support in the help of Thy mercy; so that what is marred by its own nature may be restored by Thy grace.

O Lord, we beseech Thee, grant to Thy praying household that, as they fast from bodily food, they may also abstain mentally from sin.

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September 20, 2018   No Comments

For Those Who Remember the 40 Years in the Liturgical Desert

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Editor’s Note: From New Liturgical Movement, Gregory Di Pippo reposts Jeffrey Tucker’s short summary of those terrible years before Summorum Pontificum. Unless one is old enough to have lived all the way through them, it is impossible to understand the deep suffering, spiritual abandonment, and hopelessness with which we had to live. It is no wonder that so many Catholics just walked away thinking, : “They took away our Mass, the Rock upon which we laid the foundation of our spiritual lives and vocations.” A time when millions of Souls were lost because the church flippantly dismissed them and turned away from them, as the article explains. If it were not for one Bishop in the world, a French Bishop who refused to adopt the new mass, there would have never been a Summorum Pontificum and a return of the Mass of the Ages. Yet, our Mass is still not fully and conveniently available to us. We are still treated like “exceptions” and “a very small insignificant minority” who have to travel many miles to go to Mass. It is very sad that after all these years there is still not a Traditional Latin Mass in Center City Philadelphia, the hub of activity, the largest concentration of Catholics in the Archdiocese, and where the Mass of the Ages would flourish the most.

From the Archives – “Summorum Pontificum: An Act of Extraordinary Humility”, by Jeffrey Tucker

On September 14, 2007, the day that the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum became legally active, Jeffrey Tucker, a long-time contributor to NLM and my predecessor as editor, published this brief essay. I make bold to suggest that it is worth a second read, and holds up quite well after the period of more than a decade that has subsequently passed.

At the beginning of the new millennium, Pope John Paul II prayed a prayer that sought forgiveness for many errors of the past, times when leaders and members of the Church have not lived up to Christian ideals. “We humbly ask for forgiveness for the part that each of us with his or her behaviors has played in such evils, thus contributing to disrupting the face of the Church. At the same time, as we confess our sins, let us forgive the faults committed by others towards us.”

In some ways, Summorum Pontificum extends this model of humility to address what will surely go down in history as one of the most imprudent and ill-conceived actions to follow any Church Council: the suppression of the traditional Roman Missal and the imposition of a new Missal that, in many respects, had not developed from the old, but rather, in crucial ways, represented a new creation entirely. This was most striking in its externals: Latin to the vernacular, strict rubrics to only vague guidelines, required prayers to more options than most people can keep up with. It was imposed without the proper preparations concerning music, rubrics, and other matters.

It came at a time of incredible cultural upheaval, so the dramatic change flung open the doors of sacred space to admit a blizzard of profane actions, words, and music. It was not entirely the fault of the new form, but the conditions under which it came about led millions of Catholics the world over to believe that the Faith had somehow undergone a kind of extreme makeover, and so every old doctrine and moral teaching came into question, unleashing a kind of chaos that persisted for decades. Orders of priests and nuns collapsed. Publishers went bankrupt. Mass attendance plummeted. Confessions fell. Traditional and beautiful churches were gutted to make way for the new. Treasures were thrown out. New forms of architectural outrages were given free reign.

And what of those who long for the Mass of old? In the new sociological environment following the Council, they were made to believe that they were inferior members of the Church, not with the times, rebellious to authority, and hopelessly outdated. They were ridiculed and caricatured, psychologically tormented merely for believing what they had been taught to believe. They were told that there was only one choice: conform to the new or leave. Many left, demoralized and confused. Those who persisted in saying and attending the old Mass occupied a confusing status within the law of the Church, most famously the order of St Pius X. There developed an atmosphere resembling a witch hunt for “traditionalists,” who were told that they must learn to loathe the old and praise the new. Pastors and bishops treated regular Catholics who asked for the old usage as unworthy of serious consideration.

This environment, so clearly untenable and unsustainable in retrospect, lasted nearly forty years, if you date its beginning to the promulgation of the new Mass. Finally this year, Pope Benedict XVI intervened with the only real answer to the problem: not half measures, or vague permissions, but the complete liberalization of the old usage. He gave all priests in the Roman Rite permission to use the old Missal in public and private, with very few qualifiers, and went a step further to clarify that that the ordinary form of the Mass should not be regarded as something wholly new, but part of the same Roman Rite of the ages. The decision concerning the form resides at the parish level, consistent with the idea of subsidiarity. This action ended, in one fell swoop, the wholly misconceived error of the suppression of old forms. It was an act of extraordinary humility for a Pope, an admission of error in judgment. In many ways, then, this Pope has picked up on a theme from the last Pope; for this he deserves our deepest gratitude. It is a model we should all follow in our lives.

September 17, 2018   No Comments

Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost

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Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine’s
The Church’s Year

At the Introit of the Mass the justice and mercy of God are praised:

INTROIT Thou art just, O Lord, and thy judgment is right; deal with thy servant according to thy mercy. Blessed are the undefiled in the way; who walk in the law of the Lord. (Ps. CXVIII.) Glory etc.

COLLECT Grant to Thy people, we beseech Thee, O Lord, to avoid the defilements of the devil, and with a pure mind to follow Thee, the only God. Thro’.

EPISTLE (Ephes. IV. 1- 6.) Brethren, I, a prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation in which you are called. With all humility and mildness, with patience, supporting one another in charity, careful to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. One body and one spirit, as you are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism. One God, and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all. Who is blessed for ever and ever. Amen.

ADMONITION Implore God continually for grace to accomplish and make certain your vocation by practicing these virtues, recommended by St. Paul.


One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. (Ephes. IV. 5. 6.)

These words of the great Apostle of the Gentiles show clearly, that it is not a matter of indifference, what faith or religion we profess. Yet in our times so poor in faith, we often hear the assertion from so-called enlightened men: “It is all the same to what religion we belong, we can be saved in any, if we only believe in God and live uprightly.” This assertion is impious! Consider, ..my dear Christian, there is but one God, and this one God has sent only one Redeemer; and this one Redeemer has preached but one doctrine, and has established but one Church. Had God wished that there should be more than one Church, then Christ would have founded them, nay, He would not have preached a new doctrine, established a new, Christian Church; for the Jews also believed in one God. But Jesus cast aside Paganism and Judaism, promulgated a new religion, and founded a new Church. Nowhere does He speak of Churches, but always of one Church. He says that we must hear this Church, and does not add, that if we will not hear this Church, we may hear some other. He speaks of only one shepherd, one flock, and one fold, into which all men are to be brought. In the same manner He speaks always of one kingdom upon earth, just as there is only one kingdom in heaven; of only one master of the house and one family, of one field and one vineyard, whereby He referred to His Church; of one rock, upon which He would build His Church. On the day before His death, He prayed fervently to His Heavenly Father, that all who believe in Him, might be and remain one, as He and the Father are one, and He gave His disciples the express command to preach His gospel to all nations, and to teach them all things, whatsoever He had commanded them. This command the apostles carried out exactly. Everywhere they preached one and the same doctrine, establishing in all places Christian communities, which were all united by the bond of the same faith. Their principal care was to prevent schisms in faith, they warned the faithful against heresy, commanded all originators of such to be avoided, and anathematized those who preached a gospel different from theirs. As the apostles, so did their successors. All the holy Fathers speak with burning love of the necessary unity of faith, and deny those all claim to salvation who remain knowingly in schism and separation from the true Church of Christ.

Learn hence, dear Christian, that there can be but one true Church; if there is but one true Church, it naturally follows that in her alone salvation can be obtained, and the assertion that we can be saved by professing any creed, is false and impious. Jesus who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life , speaks of but one Church , which we must hear, if we wish to be saved. He who does not hear the Church, He says, should be considered as a heathen and publican. He speaks furthermore of one fold, and He promises eternal life only to those sheep who belong to this fold, obey the voice of the shepherd and feed in His pasture. The apostles were also convinced that only the one, true Church could guide us to salvation. Without faith it is impossible to please God, writes St. Paul to the Hebrews, (XI. 6.) and this faith is only one, he teaches the Ephesians. (IV. 5.) If the apostles had believed that we could be saved in any religion, they would certainly not have contended so strenuously for unity, they would not have declared so solemnly, that we should not belong to any other than to Christ alone, and that we must receive and obey His doctrine. As the apostles taught so did their successors and all the Fathers agree that there is no salvation outside of the true Church. St. Cyprian writes: “If any one outside Noah’s ark could find safety, then also will one outside the Church find salvation.” (De unit. eccl. c. 7.) From all this it follows, that there is only one true Church which insures salvation, out of which no one can be saved.

But which is this Church? The Roman Catholic, Apostolic Church, for she alone was founded, by Christ, she alone was watered with the blood of the apostles and of thousands of holy martyrs, she alone has the marks of the true Church of Christ, [see the Instruction for the first Sunday after Easter] against which He has promised that the powers of hell shall not prevail. Those who fell away from the Church three hundred years ago do, indeed contend that the Church fell into error and no longer possessed the true, pure gospel of Jesus. Were they right, Jesus might be blamed, for He established this Church, promising to remain with her and guide her through the Holy Ghost until the end of the world. He would, therefore, have broken His word, or He was not powerful enough to keep it. But who dare say this? On the contrary, she has existed for eighteen hundred years, whilst the greatest and most powerful kingdoms have been overthrown, and the firmest thrones crumbled away. If she were not the only true and saving Church, founded by Christ, how could she have existed so long, since Jesus Himself said: Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. (Matt. XV. 13.) If she were not the Church of Christ, she would have been destroyed long ago, but she still stands today, whilst her enemies’ who battled against her have disappeared, and will continue to disappear; for the gates of hell shall not prevail against her, says our Lord. He has kept His promise and will keep it, notwithstanding all the oppositions and calumnies of her implacable enemies.

You see, therefore, my dear Christian, that the Catholic Church is the only true, the only saving Church; be not deceived by those who are neither cold nor warm, and who say: “We can be saved in any religion, if we only believe in God and live uprightly,” and who wish to rob you of your holy faith, and precipitate you into the sea of doubt, error, and falsehood. Outside of the Catholic Church there is no salvation; hold this firmly, for it is the teaching of Jesus, His apostles, and all the Fathers; for this doctrine the apostles and a countless host .of ‘the faithful have shed their blood. Obey the teaching of this Church, follow her laws, make use of her help and assistance, and often raise your hands and heart to heaven to thank God for the priceless grace of belonging to this one, true Church; forget not to pray for your erring brethren, who are still outside of the Church that the Lord may lead them into her, that His promise may be fulfilled: There will be one fold, and one shepherd.

GOSPEL (Matt XXII. 35-46.) At that time, The Pharisees came to Jesus, and one of them, a doctor of the law, asked him, tempting him: Master, which is the great commandment of the law? Jesus said to him: Thou shaft love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.

This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets. And the Pharisees being gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying: What think you of Christ; whose son is he? They say to him: David’s. He saith to them: How then doth David in spirit call him Lord; saying: The Lord said to my Lord, Sit on my right hand, until I make thy enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? And no man was able to answer him a word: neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

What is meant by loving God?

It means to find one’s pleasure, happiness and joy in God, because He is he highest and most perfect Good; to rejoice in His infinite majesty and glory; to direct one’s thoughts, words, and actions towards Him as our only end: to do His will in all things, an be prepared always rather to lose everything, even life itself, than His friendship.

What is meant by loving God with our whole heart, our whole soul, etc. ?

These different expressions all properly mean the same thing, namely, that we should cling to God with a true, sincere and heartfelt love, but by our heart our will may be understood, that power by which we wish God all glory, and desire nothing more than that He be known, loved, and honored by all men. The soul signifies the intellect by means of which we should endeavor to arrive at the knowledge and love of God, praise and glorify Him above all things. The mind may signify our memory, with Which we continually remember God and the innumerable benefits bestowed on us by Him, praise Him for them, thank Him, and always walk irreproachably before Him. Finally, we love God with all our strength, if we employ all the powers and faculties of our body in His service, and direct all our actions to Him as to our last end.

Is it true love, if we love God only because He is good to us?

This is grateful love, which is good and praiseworthy, but it is not perfect love, because the motive is self-love and self-interest.

What, therefore, is perfect love?

When we love God only because He is in Himself the highest Good, and most worthy of all love. In this manner we should endeavor to love Him; not through self-interest not through hope of reward, not through fear of punishment, but only because He, as the greatest Good, contains all goodness and, therefore, deserves to be loved only on account of Himself. Such love had St. Francis Xavier, which he very beautifully expressed in the following canticle, composed by himself:

O God, I give my love to Thee,
Not for the heaven Thou’st made for me,
Nor yet because who love not Thee
Will burn in hell eternally.
In dying throes on Calvary,
My Jesus, Thou didst think of me,
Didst bear the lance, the nails, the tree,
Rude scoffs, contempt and infamy,
And pangs untold, all lovingly, –
The scourge, the sweat the agony,
And death itself, -all, all for me,
A sinner and Thy enemy.
Why therefore, should not I love Thee,
O Jesus, dead for love of me?
Not that I may in heaven be,
Not that from hell I may be free;
Not urged by dread of endless pain,
Not lured by prize of endless gain,
But as Thou, Lord, didst first love me,
So do I love and will love Thee.
To Thee, my King, I give my heart,
For this alone t hat God Thou art.

Can fear exist with love?

Servile fear cannot, but filial fear may. Servile fear is rather a fear of punishment than a fear of offending God. Where such fear exists, love cannot dwell; for in love, writes St. Augustine, (in Joann. Tr. 9.) there is no fear, for perfect love casteth out fear. ( I John IV. 18.) Filial fear, on the contrary, is the fear of offending God. This fear leads to love and is also an effect of love; it is the beginning of wisdom. (Eccles. I. 16.) Let us cherish this fear, for it will drive away sin, as sentinels expel thieves; (Ecclus. I 16.) it will replenish us with joy, and gladness, and obtain for us in our last moments divine blessings and a holy death. (Ecclus.. I. 27.)

How may we obtain a perfect love of God?

By meditating on His infinite, divine perfections, such as His almighty power, His wisdom, His splendor, His beauty, etc.; by contemplating His boundless love for us, in the incarnation, sufferings, and death of His only-begotten Son; by frequently practicing this virtue; by fervent prayer; and by making acts of love, such as are found in good prayer-books.

When should we practice the virtue of love of Gods?

As soon as we have arrived at the age of reason; when the world, the devil and the flesh, endeavor to withdraw us from God, by their apparent goods and pleasures; when we have separated ourselves from God by mortal sin; when we receive the holy Sacraments, particularly holy Communion; when we receive a particular grace from God; when we use food and drink and other lawful enjoyments; when we contemplate God’s creatures; often during the day.; and especially in the hour of death.

[Concerning the love of our neighbor , see the twelfth Sunday after Pentecost].

Why is the commandment to’ love God and our neighbor’ called the greatest commandment?

Because in it are contained all the other commandments, for Christ says, in it consists the whole law. He who loves God with his whole heart, does not separate himself from God by infidelity, does not practice public or private superstition and idolatry; he does not murmur against God, does not desecrate the name of God by cursing and swearing; he does not profane the Sabbath, because he knows that all this is displeasing to God. On the contrary, he hopes in God, keeps Sundays and days of obligation holy, and observes all the commandments of the Church, because God wishes that we hear the Church; he honors his parents, inflicts no evil upon his neighbor; does not commit adultery, doe’s not steal, calumniates no one, does not bear false witness, does not judge rashly, is not envious, malicious or cruel, but rather practices the corporal and spiritual works of mercy; and all this, because he loves God and his neighbor.

What is the meaning of the question What think you of Christ?

Christ asked the Pharisees this question in order to convince them, from their own answer, that He was not only the Son of David, but that He as the only-begotten Son of God was the Lord of David and of all men from eternity. (Fs. II. 7.) , Unhappily, even today there are men who like the Pharisees deny the divinity of Christ, the Son of the living God, consider Him merely a very wise and virtuous man, and do not receive His doctrine, confirmed by so many miracles. Beware, my dear Christian, of these men who rob you of the peace of the soul, and the consoling hope of a future resurrection and eternal life, together with faith in Christ, the divine Redeemer. But if you believe Christ to be the Son of God and our Lord, Law­giver, Instructor, and Redeemer, follow His teaching, and do not contradict indeed what you profess with your lips.

PRAYER O most amiable Jesus! who hast admonished us so affectionately to love God an& our neighbor, pour the fire of Thy love into our hearts, that all our deeds and actions, x,11 our thoughts and words may begin and end with Thy love. Grant, that we may love Thee with all the powers of our body and. soul, ,and thereby be so united to Thee, that, like St. Paul, no temptation, no tribulation, no danger, not even death, may be able to separate us from Thee. Grant us also, that we may love our neighbors, friends, and enemies as ourselves for Thy sake, and thus be made worthy to possess Thee as our Redeemer and merciful judge.

September 15, 2018   No Comments

She’s got a crozier, and she’s not afraid to use it.


Pictured: Mother Cecilia, the newly consecrated Abbess of the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles. Photo via Fr. Z.

September 14, 2018   No Comments

New FSSP Apostolate Begins in Philadelphia

Our thanks to Mrs Alison Girone for providing us with these photos, and to Mr John Boyden for the write-up.

A new apostolate of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter, at St Mary’s Parish in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, a few miles northwest of Philadelphia, began with Solemn Mass on Sunday, September 9. The church was founded in 1905 to serve the Polish community, with its current building constructed in 1950, but was merged with a neighboring parish in 2014. On April 8 of this year, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput approved the establishment of a quasi-parish at the site for those attached to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, and invited the priests of the FSSP to minister there. Daily Mass is now being offered at St Mary’s at 7:15 am Monday through Thursday and Saturday mornings. On Friday evenings, Mass is at 6:30. Sunday Masses are Low Mass at 8:30 am and High Mass at 11 am. The church is located at the corner of West Elm and Oak Streets.

An impressive crowd of more than 500 showed up on the rainy morning to attend the inaugural Mass, which was celebrated by the new pastor, Fr Carl Gismondi, FSSP, assisted by his confreres Frs Gregory Eichman and Scott Allen. The ordinary of the Mass was Missa IX by Giovanni Battista Casali (1715-92), sung by a choir of 12 voices, while a Gregorian chant schola of ten assisted with the proper chants of the day.

September 13, 2018   No Comments

Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa


Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one was a pharisee, and the other a publican. The pharisee standing, prayed thus with himself: O God, I give Thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers; as also is this publican. I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I possess.

And the publican standing afar off would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven, but struck his breast saying: O God, be merciful to me a sinner.

I say to you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: because every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled: and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (Luke 18: 10-14)

The Humility of the Publican

I was blessed this weekend during Mass with a very brief, but beautiful, moment. A spiritual consolation.

It came during the Gospel reading. To preface, my family and I attend a parish which offers the Mass in both the Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms. Most weekends we choose to attend the Extraordinary Form, or Traditional Latin Mass. This past Sunday was the 10th Sunday after Pentecost on the old Liturgical Calendar. The reading was the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican.

As Father read the Gospel in Latin I followed along in my Missal. When we read about the humility of the publican and his prayer “O God, be merciful to me a sinner”, I found myself choking up; moved by the scripture. It was a brief moment, gone in an instant.

For some reason the absolute humility and heartfelt contrition of this despised publican touched me. Saint Alphonsus Ligouri once wrote that “spiritual consolations are gifts which are much more precious than all the riches and honors of the world.”

I thought about how much I wished I was the publican and not the pharisee in this parable. Truth be told, I am far more often the pharisee. My fallen human nature has often manifested itself in that most foundational of sins: Pride.

At times I am too comfortable with my own sense of piety, much like the pharisee. The profound humility expressed in this simple aspiration of the publican can serve as an entire treatise on prayer for those like myself who are afflicted with pride.

Confiteor Deo omnipotenti

In such shame and regret for his sinful ways, the publican “would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven, but struck his breast”. True contrition. Within the liturgy we find the same need to confess and to ask for God’s mercy in the Confiteor.

The Confiteor (which simply means “I confess” in Latin) has wisely been placed by the Church early in the Mass. In the Traditional Latin Mass it is the Priest and Ministers who recite this ancient form of confession which has been a part of the liturgy since at least the 11th Century. In The Holy Mass, Dom Prosper Gueranger reminds us that the Priest, desiring to express that he has sinned and has done so through his own free will utters the following:

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa: through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. And, that he may, like the publican of the Gospel, outwardly testify his inward repentance, he thrice strikes his breast, whilst saying those words.” (The Holy Mass, pg.7)

Our Holy Mother the Church grants us such means to be forgiven of our sins: first, for mortal sins, the Sacrament of Reconciliation (or Penance); additionally, for venial sins, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Mercy will be shown to us if we simply approach our Lord with the sincere humility and true contrition demonstrated by the publican.

For those times, Lord, when pride prevailed in my heart and humility was lacking:

I confess to Almighty God, to blessed Mary ever Virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, to all the Saints, and to you, brethren, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word and deed: through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.

Therefore I beseech blessed Mary ever Virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, all the Saints, and you, brethren, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

September 10, 2018   No Comments

Bishop Caggiano Brings St. Michael Prayer Back in Bridgeport

The following guest post was written by frequent contributor Fr. Donald Kloster, parochial vicar at St. Mary’s in the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

This week His Excellency Frank Caggiano, Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, announced that effective September 15, 2018 all 82 parishes will be expected to recite the St. Michael’s prayer after each Holy Mass.

This initiative is in response to the recent sexual scandals with minors that have rocked the Church (most involving homosexual acts). The Leonine Prayers that were promulgated in 1884 by Pope Leo XIII included the St. Michael prayer. These prayers were said after every low Mass for at least 80 years. That they were ever stopped, giving a great entry to Satan and his minions, was a tragedy for the Church. Hopefully the Church will once again benefit mightily from that stalwart prayer of fortitude.

St. Michael is the Archangel in charge of the spiritual forces of the Church. He leads the charge against the Devil and his never ending attacks on the faithful. Many exorcists have warned that recently demonic activity is spiking and we need all of the spiritual assistance we can marshal. The dark forces are no longer as hidden as they were and there are many agents of the Evil One who now more openly operate.

It is very important to remember that a Catholic in a state of grace has many protections and is well fortified in the resistance. However, we should all afford ourselves of every additional means of shielding our souls. The angels are at our disposal and we should remember to invoke their spiritual care.

The Way to heaven is not a wide path and not all will choose to enter its gates. There are many obstacles in our journey and we must stay focused on our salvation and helping others along the Way as well.

For me, the gates of Heaven mean we will see St. Peter, The Ever Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, St. John the Baptist, and St. Michael. These are our principle patrons and those who will be among the first to greet us if we are judged worthy to enter.

Keep your eyes up and look to the East. Nothing below us or behind us will help us as they are distractions. Follow the ancient Way trodden by the chosen and the eternally confirmed!

September 10, 2018   No Comments