Saturday, December 31, 2011
New Years Indulgences

December 31 Indulgence: A PLENARY INDULGENCE is granted when the Te Deum is recited publicly on the last day of the year. Otherwise a partial indulgence is granted to those who recite the Te Deum in thanksgiving.

January 1 Indulgence: A PLENARY INDULGENCE is granted when the Veni, Creator Spiritus is recited on the first of January or Pentecost.

If you don't know what an indulgence is or how to get one, please view my Indulgences post.

General Notes on Indulgences:

Requirements for obtaining a plenary indulgence:

  •  Do the work while in a state of grace,
  •  Receive Sacramental confession within 20 days of the work (several plenary indulgences may be earned per reception),
  •  Receive Eucharistic communion (one plenary indulgence may be earned per reception),
  •  Pray for the pope’s intentions (Our Father and Hail Mary, or other appropriate prayer, is sufficient),
  •  Have no attachment to sin (even venial) – i.e., it is sufficient that the Christian makes an act of the will to love God and despise sin.
Requirements for a partial indulgence: The work must be done while in a state of grace and with the general intention of earning an indulgence.


  • Only baptized persons in a state of grace who generally intend to do so may earn indulgences.
  • Indulgences cannot be applied to the living, but only to the one doing the work or to the dead.
  • Only one plenary indulgence per day can be earned (except for prayer at the hour of one’s own death).
  • Several partial indulgences can be earned during the same day.
  • If only part of a work with plenary indulgence attached is completed, a partial indulgence still obtains.
  • If the penance assigned in confession has indulgences attached, the one work can satisfy both penance and indulgence.
  • Confessors may commute the work or the conditions if the penitent cannot perform them due to legitimate obstacles.
  • In groups, indulgenced prayer must be recited by at least one member while the others at least mentally follow the prayer.
  • If speech/hearing impairments make recitation impossible, mental expression or reading of the prayer is sufficient.
  • For an indulgence attached to a particular day requiring a church visit, the day begins at noon the day before and ends at midnight.
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Friday, December 30, 2011
Catholic Resolutions 2012

So the year 2011 has come and nearly gone.  This past year I did not specifically compose any "Catholic Resolutions" as I have done in past years, but I would like to take some time to reflect upon some of my achievements this past year.

The year 2011 overall was a year without significant activity but I did have several personal milestones this past year.

In May, I earned my Artium Baccalaureus (Bachelor of Arts) with a major in Business Administration and a minor in Philosophy.  The end of May marked my move to the city of Minneapolis where I lived in a downtown apartment until Thanksgiving.

June 1st marked my entry into a secular career, of which I found great opposition to adherence to Catholicism (e.g. abstaining from work on Sundays and all 1st Class Feast Days, refraining from crude and inappropriate jokes, etc).

The week of Thanksgiving ushered in a new era, as I was permanently laid off, forcing me to at least temporarily relocate back to the far south Chicago suburbs.  While this newfound time again with my family is highly welcoming, I do miss the ability to frequently attend Masses at Immaculate Heart of Mary (SSPX) Chapel in St. Paul.  Now I am driving around 60 miles each way to attend a Traditional Mass or Divine Liturgy.

So with six months of the year in a secular job that considered 40 hour work weeks to be "lazy," my ability to focus on the blog and on my other apostolates declined notably.  Now, with more time to again devote to my online Catholic endeavors and the daily recitation of the Divinum Officium, I can again focus on cultivating a true Catholic life.

Thus, I would like to list my Catholic Resolutions for the upcoming year.

2012 Catholic Resolutions

1) Continue to pray the Rosary daily (at least 5 decades) along with Lauds, Prime, one of the day time offices (Terce, Sext, or None), and Vespers.
2) Increase my network of Catholics who attend the Traditional Sacraments in the greater Northern Illinois area.
3) Purchase many different books and build up my Catholic library further.  I have an Amazon Wishlist for some of these items (along with some of my other interests).  If anyone would like to send me one of these items, please know that you will be remembered in my prayers each day while I recite the Breviary at my home altar.  I would specifically like to obtain a copy of the Liber Usualis, the Liber Hymnarius, a Summa Theologica, the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary (pre Vatican II version), Divine Intimacy by Fr. Gabriel, the Catechism of the Council of Trent (Hardcover), My Catholic Faith by Angelus Press, How Christ Said the First Mass by Meagher, The Holy Mass by Dom Prosper, and the Forty Dreams of St. John Bosco.
4) Continue to discern a vocation with a Traditional Order and try to save up more money so that, if I am called, I may more easily join one
5) Attend a 5-day Ignatian Silent retreat in February 2012 at the SSPX retreat center in Phoenix, Arizona
6) Seek to grow spiritually and avoid all of the sins that I have committed often in the past.  As part of this, my goal is to make a weekly Confession.
7) Increase my proficiency in Latin through private tutoring, individual self study, and/or reciting liturgical prayers in Latin.

Additionally, I intend to post regular updates on this blog on the above goals and continue to provide you with inspiring Catholic content.  As long time readers will notice, my blog does not post sacrilegious liturgies, reports of liturgical abuse, or other depressing stories.  My goal is to continue to provide you with the devotions, prayers, and beliefs necessary to foster a traditional Catholic culture for yourselves and your families.

In addition to the above, I of course have several goals for 2012 for and will be working diligently each day in order to expand our programs, hire more employees, and deliver orthodox Catholic teachings.  To be updated on developments in this area, please sign up for a free account and subscribe to our free newsletter.  2012 should be a very good year for

2012 Catholic Resolutions (updated as of February 13, 2012)

After just returning from the five day Ignatian retreat (#5 mentioned above), I have updated an added to my resolutions:

1) 15 minutes of daily spiritual reading
2) Find a spiritual director
Age of Martyrs Continues: Anno Domini 2011

Taken from Catholic World News
December 30, 2011

Twenty-six pastoral workers--including 18 priests, 4 sisters, and 4 laity--were killed in 2011, according to the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

Seven were killed in Colombia, five in Mexico, three in India, two in Burundi, and one each in Brazil, Paraguay, Nicaragua, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Tunisia, Kenya, the Philippines, and Spain.

The Fides news agency commented:

"The true imitation of Christ is love," said the Holy Father on December 26. And this was certainly the rule of life for Sister Angelina, who was killed in South Sudan by militants of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) while she was bringing medical aid to refugees; and also for Maria Elizabeth Macías Castro, of the Scalabrinian Lay Movement of Nuevo Laredo (Mexico), who worked for a newspaper and was committed to assisting migrants, she was kidnapped and murdered by drug dealers; even for Father Fausto Tentorio, Italian missionary of PIME, priest in Mindanao (Southern Philippines), who devoted his life to the service of literacy and development of indigenous people; or even for the layman Rabindra Parichha, killed in Orissa in eastern India: former itinerant catechist was very involved in the legal field and a promoter of human rights.

Fides’ list does not only include missionaries ad gentes in the strict sense, but all pastoral care workers who died violent deaths. We do not propose to use the term "martyrs," since it is up to the Church to judge their possible merits and also because of the scarcity of available information in most of cases, with regard to their life and even the circumstances of their death.

3 Year Anniversary of Grandfather's Death

Today marks the three-year anniversary of the death of my grandfather, John J.  Your prayers this day for the repose of his soul are most appreciated.  I will be reciting the Office for the Dead this day at Lauds and at Vespers.

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

In paradisum deducant te Angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem. Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Validity of SSPX Confessions & Marriages in light of Canon Law

Drawing upon the first two paragraph's of Father Paul L. Kramer's "The Suicide of Altering the Faith in the Liturgy," Chapter II, Part II.  The book is a work of outstanding scholarship and many of the following sentences and throughout the book are footnoted extensively.  This book is highly recommended.
The faithful have the right to receive sacraments that are certainly valid.  The Canon Law Society Commentary elaborates, "This right is rooted in baptism; it is not a privilege granted by Church authorities but a claim rooted in the action of Christ."  The Church may not impose new rites on the faithful, because Catholics have the "right to worship God according to the prescriptions of their own right."  This right establishes on the part of the faithful an inviolable moral faculty according to which they can and must demand to be provided the goods and services of the Church according to their own custom and rite.

Since the Divine Law establishes the right and duty which constitutes an inviolable claim on the part of the faithful to receive the sacraments according to their own custom and rite, that claim may not be legitimately denied.  It is in virtue of this inviolable claim, and that if the faithful are unlawfully denied their traditional rites, then, in accord with the principle of equity, they may not be punished for availing themselves of services of priests and bishops whose adherence to Tradition has earned for them the withdrawal or deprivation of their priestly faculties.  Such withdrawal of faculties is unlawful, while the penal deprivation of faculties under such circumstances is certainly invalid, since such priests are guilty of nothing other than exercising  their divinely commissioned ministry.


Image Source: SSPX.ORG
Nativitate Domini (Christmas)

The following Mass Propers are from the First Mass at Midnight.  For all priests saying more than three Masses on Christmas, since priests are permitted to say three Masses on this day, they should be familiar with the rules for celebrating Mass more than once the same day. See The Celebration of Mass - A Study of the Rubrics of the Roman Missal by Rev. O'Connell pages 371 - 373 for more information specific to Christmas. Also, while the time in which Mass may traditionally be said is specified in the 1917 Code of Canon Law as no earlier than one hour before dawn, Canon 821 §2 provides the specific exception for the time of midnight Mass.

Epistle (Titus 2: 11-15) - Dearly beloved, The grace of God our Savior hath appeared to all men, instructing us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly desires, we should live soberly and justly and godly in this world, looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ: Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and might cleanse to Himself a people acceptable, a pursuer of good works. These things speak and exhort: in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Secret - May our offering on this day's feast be acceptable to Thee, O Lord, we beseech Thee: that by Thy bounteous grace, though this sacred intercourse, we may be found like unto Him, in whom our nature is united to Thee. Who with Thee liveth and reigneth...

Special Form of Communicantes - Communicating, and keeping this most holy night, in which the spotless virginity of blessed Mary brought forth a Savior to this world; and also reverencing the memory first of the same glorious Mary, ever Virgin, Mother of the same our God and Lord Jesus Christ: as also . . .

Post Communion - Grant to us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that we, who rejoice in celebrating by these Mysteries, the Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ, may by worthy lives, deserve to attain unto fellowship with Him. Who with Thee liveth and reigneth in the unity . . .

For the full Mass propers for Christmas Day for all three Masses, please click here.
SSPX Appoints Fr. Petrucci as New Superior of Italian District

Father Pierpaolo Maria Petrucci has been named by the General House as the new Superior of the Italian District of the Society of St. Pius X. Father Petrucci was born in 1962 on the Adriatic coast in Rimni.

In 1981 he graduated from High School and enter the Priestly Seminary of Econe. Six years later he was ordained a a Catholic priest by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. At first he was active for five years as an educator at the Boys Gymnasium "Etoile du Matin" in Bitche (Lothringen). Then he was a Director of Spiritual Excercises in Italy from 1993 as pastor in various priories in France (Priory "St. Regis" in Unieux near Lyon, then Prior of St Louis in Nantes in der Vendée). In 2005 he was the Prior of the Priory of Nantes, the largest operation in the Society after Paris, and Dean of the Society for northwest France. In 2008 he returned back to Italy and took over the priory of "Our Dear Lady of Loretto" in Rimni at the request of the District Superior. 

Source: Eponymous Flower
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Feast of the Synaxis

On the second day of the Nativity, the Christian Church gives glory and thanksgiving to the Most-holy Theotokos, who gave birth to our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. This feast is called 'the Synaxis' because on this day all of the faithful gather to glorify her, the Most-holy Theotokos, and to solemnly and universally celebrate a feast in her honor.

In 431, after the Council of Ephesus, the Byzantine Church established a special feast of the Maternity of Mary on Dec. 26.


He who before the birth of the Morning Star was born of the Father, without a mother, became incarnate on earth of you, O mother of God, without a father. Wherefore a star annouces to wise men that you have given birth without human seed, and the angels and shepherds glorify you, O Woman full of grace!
Blessing of Children (Rituale Romanum)

P: Our help is in the name of the Lord.

All: Who made heaven and earth.

P: The Lord be with you.

All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray.

We implore you, almighty God, to bless + these children, and we ask that you keep them in your love. Strengthen their hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit, sanctify their lives, foster their innocence. Keep their minds intent on good, help them to prosper, give them peace, health, and charity. By your might and protection shield them always from every temptation of men or demons. And in your mercy may they finally attain the happiness and rest of Paradise; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

Let us pray.

Lord Jesus Christ, who embraced the little children when they came or were brought to you (here the priest extends his hands over them), and laying your hands on them blessed them and said: "Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them. The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these; and their angels ever see the face of my Father;" we beg you to look with favor on the devotion of these boys and girls here present, and let your blessing come on them in fullest measure. Let them ever advance in your grace and goodness, the better to know you, love you, fear you, and serve you, and happily reach their blessed destiny. We ask this of you, Savior of the world, who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.

All: Amen.

May the blessing of almighty God, Father, Son, + and Holy Spirit, come upon you, keep and direct you, and remain with you forever.

All: Amen.

They are sprinkled with holy water.

Images: From the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest Shrine in Chicago, Illinois from the Blessing of Children according to the Rituale Romanum in Latin (1962) following the 10 AM Solemn High Mass of Christmas Day.  The children and then the remaining faithful then came forward to venerate a relic of the Crib of Bethlehem (pictured in the third image in the reliquary).
Saturday, December 24, 2011
The Vigil of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ

Office of Prime on the Vigil of the Nativity presided by His Eminence, Cardinal Burke, at our Seminary in Gricigliano. Taken in 2019. 

Privileged Vigil (1955 Calendar): December 24

Christmas Eve Is A Distinct Liturgical Day Separate From Christmas.

This is the final day of Advent.  This is a day of fasting and abstinence. It is also the day when Italian generally have as their meatless meal the "Feast of Seven Fishes."

The following is quoted from Dom Gueranger:

“At length,” says St. Peter Damian in his sermon for this holy eve, “we have come from the stormy sea into the tranquil port; hitherto it was the promise, now it is the prize; hitherto labor, now rest; hitherto despair, now hope; hitherto the way, now our home. The heralds of the divine promise came to us; but they gave us nothing but rich promises. Hence our psalmist himself grew wearied and slept, and, with a seemingly reproachful tone, thus sings his lamentation to God: ‘But thou hast rejected and despised us; Thou hast deferred the coming of Thy Christ’ (Ps. 138).

At another time he assumes a tone of command and thus prays: ‘O Thou that sittest upon the Cherubim, show Thyself!” (Ps. 129) Seated on Thy high throne, with myriads of adoring angels around Thee, look down upon the children of men, who are victims of that sin, which was committed indeed by Adam, but permitted by Thy justice. Remember what my substance is (Ps. 138); Thou didst make it to the likeness of Thine own; for though every living man is vanity, yet inasmuch as he is made to Thy image, he is not a passing vanity (Ps. 38). Rend Thy heavens and come down, and turn the eyes of Thy mercy upon us Thy miserable supplicants, and forget us not unto the end!

This holy eve is, indeed, a day of grace and hope, and we ought to spend it in spiritual joy. The Church, contrary to Her general practice, prescribes that if Christmas Eve fall on a Sunday, the Office and the Mass of the Vigil should take precedence over the Office and Mass of the 4th Sunday of Advent. How solemn, then, in the eyes of the Church, are these few hours, which separate us from the great Feast! On all other Feasts, no matter how great they may be, the solemnity begins no earlier then First Vespers, and until then the Church restrains Her joy, and celebrates the Divine Office and Mass of most vigils according to the Lenten rite. Christmas, on the contrary, seems to begin with the Vigil; and one would suppose that this morning’s Lauds were the opening of the Feast; for the solemn intonation of this portion of the Office is that of a Double, and the antiphons are sung before and after each psalm or canticle. The violet vestments are used at the Mass, but the rubrics are less somber than on the Advent ferias.

Let us enter into the spirit of the Church, and prepare ourselves, in all the joy of our hearts, to meet the Savior Who is coming to us. Let us observe with strictness the fast which is prescribed; it will enable our bodies to aid the promptness of our spirit. Let us delight in the thought that, before we again lie down to rest, we shall have seen Him born, in the solemn midnight, Who comes to give light to every creature. For surely it is the duty of every faithful child of the Catholic Church to celebrate with Her this happy night, when, in spite of all the coldness of devotion, the whole universe keeps up its watch for the arrival of its Savior. It is one of the last vestiges of the piety of ancient days, and God forbid it should ever be effaced!

Let us, in a spirit of prayer, look at the principal portions of the Office of this beautiful Vigil. First then, the Church makes a mysterious announcement to Her children. It serves as the Invitatory of Matins, and as the Introit and Gradual of the Mass. They are the words which Moses addressed to the people of God when he told them of the heavenly manna, which they would receive on the morrow. We too are expecting our Manna, our Jesus, the Bread of Life, Who is to be born in Bethlehem, which translated means the "House of Bread":

This day you shall know that the Lord will come, and in the morning you shall see His glory.

The Responsories are full of sublimity and sweetness. Nothing can be more affecting than their lyric melody, sung to us by our Mother the Church, on the very night which precedes the night of Jesus’ Birth:

R. Sanctify yourselves this day, and be ready: for on the morrow you shall see * the Majesty of God amongst you. V. This day you shall know that the Lord will come, and in the morning you shall see * the Majesty of God amongst you.

R. Be constant; you shall see the help of the Lord upon you: fear not, Judea and Jerusalem: * Tomorrow you shall go forth, and the Lord shall be with you: V. Sanctify yourselves, children of Israel, and be ready. * Tomorrow you shall go forth, and the Lord shall be with you.

R. Sanctify yourselves, children of Israel, saith the Lord: for on the morrow, the Lord shall come down: * And He shall take from you all that is languid. V. Tomorrow the iniquity of the earth shall be cancelled, and over us shall reign the Savior of the world. * And He shall take from you all that is languid.

Monks in solemn prostration at the announcement of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ

At the Office of Prime, in cathedral chapters and monasteries, the announcement of tomorrow’s Feast is made with unusual solemnity. The lector, who frequently is one of the dignitaries of the choir, sings with a magnificent chant the following lesson from the Martyrology. All the assistants remain standing during it, until the lector comes to the word Bethlehem, at which all genuflect, and continue with bended knee until all the glad tidings are told:

The Eighth of the Calends of January. The year from the creation of the world, when in the beginning God created Heaven and earth, five thousand one hundred and ninety-nine: from the deluge, the year two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seven: from the birth of Abraham, the year two thousand and fifteen: from Moses and the going out of the people of Israel from Egypt, the year one thousand five hundred and ten: from David’s being anointed king, the year one thousand and thirty-two: in the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel: in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad: from the building of the city of Rome, the year seven hundred and fifty-two: in the forty-second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus: the whole world being in peace: in the sixth age of the world: Jesus Christ, the eternal God, and Son of the eternal Father, wishing to consecrate this world by His most merciful coming, being conceived of the Holy Ghost, and nine months since His conception having passed, in Bethelehem of Juda, is born of the Virgin Mary, being made Man: The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to the Flesh!

Thus have passed before us, in succession, all the generations of the world. (It should be noted that on this one day alone, and on this single occasion, does the Church adopt the Septuagint chronology, according to which the Birth of our Savior took place five thousand years after the Creation; whereas the Vulgate version, and the Hebrew text, place only four thousand years between the two events. This shows us the liberty which the Church allows us on this question.) Each generation is asked if it may have seen Him Whom we are expecting, and each is silent; until the Name of Mary is pronounced, and then is proclaimed the Nativity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God made Man. St. Bernard, speaking of this announcement, says: “The voice of joy has gone forth in our land, the voice of rejoicing and of salvation is in the tabernacles of the just. There has been heard a good word, a word that gives consolation, a word that is full of gladsomeness, a word worthy of all acceptance. Resound with praise, ye mountains, and all ye trees of the forests clap your hands before the face of the Lord, for He is coming. Hearken, O ye heavens, and give ear, O earth! Be astounded and give praise, O all ye creatures! But thou, O man, more than all they! Jesus Christ the Son of God, is born in Bethlehem of Juda! O brief word of the Word abridged (Rom. 9: 28), and yet how full of heavenly beauty! The heart, charmed with the honeyed sweetness of the expression, would fain diffuse it and spread it out into more words; but no, it must be given just as it is, or you spoil it: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is born in Bethlehem of Juda!” (Second Sermon for Christmas Eve)
The Gospel of today’s Mass is the passage which relates the trouble of St. Joseph and the visit he received from the Angel. This incident, which forms one of the preludes to the Birth of our Savior, could not be omitted from the Liturgy for Advent; and so far, there was no suitable occasion for its insertion. The Vigil of Christmas was the right day for the Gospel, for another reason: the Angel, in speaking to St. Joseph, tells him that the Name to be given to the Child of Mary is Jesus, which signifies that He will save His people from their sins.
Friday, December 23, 2011
Christmas Eve: Fasting and Abstinence

It has been a long-standing custom up until Vatican II to observe fasting & abstinence from meat on Christmas Eve.  It is a custom I still observe and encourage you to do so as well.  The feasts and celebration of the Lord's Nativity should wait until the Nativity begins.

This day is known as the Feast of Seven Fishes for many Italians who will customarily have a dinner of seven fishes in honor of the seven Sacraments and seven days of Creation.

The 1917 Code stated for all Latin Rite Catholics in Canon 1252:
§ 1. The law of abstinence alone is to be observed on all Fridays.
§ 2. The law of abstinence and fast together is to be observed on Ash Wednesday, the Fridays and Saturdays of Lent, the Ember days [all day], and on the Vigils of Pentecost, the Assumption, All Saints, and the Nativity.
§ 3. The law of fast alone is to be observed on the other days of Lent.
§ 4. On Sundays and days of obligation the law ceases except on a feast of obligation during Lent; and the vigils are not anticipated; likewise the law ceases on Holy Saturday at noon.
This Tradition of Fasting is still observed in the Byzantine Tradition.  I quote:
The Christmas Fast, in preparation for the feast of the Nativity on December 25, is one of the minor fasts of the Church. This fast of forty days was introduced in the 12th century. Counting back 40 days from the feast of the Nativity, the fast begins on the evening of November 14 - the feast of the holy apostle Phillip. As a result, it is traditionally called Phillip's Fast or the Phillipian Fast (in Slavonic, Filipovka).

This fast is not penitential, but is rather a fast of preparation, like the pre-Communion fast. By abstaining from certain foods, we are opening up a "space" in our lives through asceticism and obedience, into which God may enter.

One final day of strict fasting awaits us. Normally, this would be the Vigil (in Greek, Paramony) of the Nativity, December 24. But Saturday and Sunday are never days of strict fasting in the Byzantine Rite (with the single exception of Great and Holy Saturday). So when December 24 falls on one of these two days, the day of strict fast is anticipated on Friday. 
On this day, a special service called the Royal Hours is celebrated. This service consists of the daytime services of the First Hour, Third Hour, Sixth Hour, Ninth Hour, and Typika, celebrated with special psalms and readings for the Nativity. (This service is called royal because, at one time, the Emperor himself always attended the service.) Each part of the service has an Old Testament prophecy, an Epistle reading, and a reading from the Holy Gospel.

The Vigil of the Nativity

Finally, we have come to the very eve of the Nativity - the Paramony or Vigil of Christmas (December 24). If it is a weekday, it is a day of strict fasting, with the Royal Hours celebrated during the day, and Vespers and the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil in the evening. 

If December 24 is a Saturday or Sunday, the Divine Liturgy may be celebrated in the morning, and we sing the troparion of the Vigil:
At that time, Mary registered in Bethlehem with the elder Joseph, who was of the house of David. She had conceived without seed and was with child; and her time to give birth had come. They found no room in the inn, but the cave became a pleasant palace for the Queen. Christ is born to raise up the likeness that had fallen.
The fast is not quite over; if there is a meal or Holy Supper in the evening of December 24, after Vespers, it is a meatless one. But we have arrived at the feast of the Nativity of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ.
Source: Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburg
O Antiphon: December 23

The O Antiphons are a series of antiphons to the Magnificant, which are prayed as part of Vespers (evening prayer) from December 17th - 23th inclusive. Each of the titles of the O Antiphons addresses Jesus with a special title given to the Messiah and refers to a prophecy from the Prophet Isaiah. It is unknown when the O Antiphons started, however, there is mention of them as far back as the 400's AD. They are often called the Great Antiphons too.

If one were to start with the last title and takes the first letter of each one—Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia—the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, "Tomorrow, I will come". Thus, the "O Antiphons" not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
O Antiphon: December 22

The O Antiphons are a series of antiphons to the Magnificant, which are prayed as part of Vespers (evening prayer) from December 17th - 23th inclusive. Each of the titles of the O Antiphons addresses Jesus with a special title given to the Messiah and refers to a prophecy from the Prophet Isaiah. It is unknown when the O Antiphons started, however, there is mention of them as far back as the 400's AD. They are often called the Great Antiphons too.

If one were to start with the last title and takes the first letter of each one—Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia—the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, "Tomorrow, I will come". Thus, the "O Antiphons" not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Angelus Press' "The Catechism in Pictures"

Last week I received in the mail a copy of Angelus Press' The Catechism in Pictures.  What I received was even beyond the quality and detail that I have come to value and expect in the publishing done by Angelus Press.

The Catechism in Pictures came in a very large book.  On the left hand side of each page is a beautiful, authentically Catholic explanation of the Faith.  It takes the core tenets of Catholicism, explaining them in detail and with examples but doing so without being too theologically involved for the average reader.  In fact, this book is a must-have for parents seeking to teach the Faith to their children.

This holy images can move your hearts to sentiments of adoration and respect and can show to children in pictures what they can't yet understand in words.  The Church has rightfully used visual artwork to teach the faith for millennia and this book is a prime example of why it is so effective. 

This book, because it is oversized, makes a great addition to coffee tables or end tables or even on one side of your home altar.
Large Hardcover Book 13" x 10 1/4"; 125 pages; 69 full-color pictures; gold gilled page ends; and attached Ribbon Page Marker. Originally published in 1909. Reprinted in 2009. A unique pictorial catechism of 66 chapters, each covering a different topic of the Creed, the Sacraments, the Ten Commandments, the Commandents of the Church, Prayer, the Last Things, Sin, Virtue, and the Works of Mercy. All of the basic truths of Faith and Morality are covered. The Faith is presented via 69 huge (12" x 8.5") full-color classic pictures. The text facing the picture explains the Church's teaching on the matter and then explains the applicable symbolism of the picture. An excellent way to pass the Faith on to your children who will find the pictures very engaging. Children can look at the picture as you point out how the lesson is pictorially presented. Includes an index to the pictures and a topical index.
O Antiphon: December 21

The O Antiphons are a series of antiphons to the Magnificant, which are prayed as part of Vespers (evening prayer) from December 17th - 23th inclusive. Each of the titles of the O Antiphons addresses Jesus with a special title given to the Messiah and refers to a prophecy from the Prophet Isaiah. It is unknown when the O Antiphons started, however, there is mention of them as far back as the 400's AD. They are often called the Great Antiphons too.

If one were to start with the last title and takes the first letter of each one—Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia—the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, "Tomorrow, I will come". Thus, the "O Antiphons" not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Music Review: A Blessed Day Has Dawned by the St. Vincent Camerata Scholars

Out of all of the wonderful musical CDs that I have reviewed for Jade Music, my recent review of "A Blessed Day Has Dawned: Sacred Choral Music: Palestrina, Laude, Gregorian Chant" is probably my favorite CD so far.

A Blessed Day Has Dawned is the inaugural recording by the The Saint Vincent Camerata Scholars under the direction of Fr. Stephen Concordia, OSB. The choir is associated with Saint Vincent Archabbey, which was founded in 1846 and is the oldest Benedictine monastery in the United States.

The musical program on this album revolves around the Mass setting of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina entitled "Missa: Dies Sanctificatus," one of Palestrina's most popular works. It includes the various parts of the Mass: Kyrie, Gloria, Creed, Sanctus, Agnus Dei. The album also includes Gregorian Chant as sung during the Renaissance. 


The CD features the above tracks. I highly recommend this CD to all Catholics.  You may listen to samples of the chants by clicking here.
O Antiphon: December 20

The O Antiphons are a series of antiphons to the Magnificant, which are prayed as part of Vespers (evening prayer) from December 17th - 23th inclusive. Each of the titles of the O Antiphons addresses Jesus with a special title given to the Messiah and refers to a prophecy from the Prophet Isaiah. It is unknown when the O Antiphons started, however, there is mention of them as far back as the 400's AD. They are often called the Great Antiphons too.

If one were to start with the last title and takes the first letter of each one—Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia—the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, "Tomorrow, I will come". Thus, the "O Antiphons" not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion.
Monday, December 19, 2011
O Antiphon: December 19

The O Antiphons are a series of antiphons to the Magnificant, which are prayed as part of Vespers (evening prayer) from December 17th - 23th inclusive. Each of the titles of the O Antiphons addresses Jesus with a special title given to the Messiah and refers to a prophecy from the Prophet Isaiah. It is unknown when the O Antiphons started, however, there is mention of them as far back as the 400's AD. They are often called the Great Antiphons too.

If one were to start with the last title and takes the first letter of each one—Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia—the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, "Tomorrow, I will come". Thus, the "O Antiphons" not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Prayer Before and After the Divine Office

As long-time readers will recall, I strive to say the Divine Office (Divinum Officium) daily.  While I typically will not say any of the nocturns of Matins, I will say the office of Lauds & Vespers.  I will also almost always say Sext and None.  Terce is typically difficult to fit in since I usually say Lauds at 8 AM and I miss 9 AM Terce.  But, on a given week, I'll say Terce 3 times.  Compline I will say occasionally but sometimes omit it from my daily prayers and add in devotions instead.

Over time, as I become more fluent and proficient in understanding and navigating the Office, I have seen that the beautiful prayers before and after the Divine Office have fallen into disuse among the vast majority of the Faithful, even when such prayers are graced by blessings and indulgences.

This post is an exhortation to rekindle devotion to these prayers by adding them to your Daily Office, no matter if you pray the 1911, 1955, 1962, or later versions of the Office.

To those who devoutly say, kneeling, the Prayer after the Divine Office, Pope Leo X granted the remission of the defects and faults in its recital arising from human frailty. The prayer must always be said kneeling, even in private recitation, unless illness or grave impediment prevents one from kneeling down.

Prayer Before The Divine Office

Open, O Lord, my mouth to bless thy holy Name; cleanse also my heart from all vain, evil, and wandering thoughts; enlighten my understanding and kindle my affections; that I may worthily, attentively, and devoutly recite this Hour [or these Hours], and so be meet to be heard before the presence of thy divine Majesty. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Lord, in union with that divine intention wherewith thou, whilst here on earth, didst render praises unto God, I desire to offer this my Office of prayer unto thee.

Latin Version: Aperi, Dómine, os meum ad benedicéndum nomen sanctum tuum: munda quoque cor meum ab ómnibus vanis, pervérsis et aliénis cogitatiónibus; intelléctum illúmina, afféctum inflámma, ut digne, atténte ac devóte hoc Offícium recitáre váleam, et exaudíri mérear ante conspéctum divínæ Majestátis tuæ. Per Christum Dóminum nostrum. Amen. Dómine, in unióne illíus divínæ intentiónis, qua ipse in terris laudes Deo persolvísti, has tibi Horas [vel hanc tibi Horam] persólvo.

Prayer After The Divine Office

To the Most Holy and undivided Trinity, to the Manhood of our Lord Jesus Christ Crucified, to the fruitful Virginity of the most blessed and most glorious Mary, always a Virgin, and to the holiness of all the Saints be ascribed everlasting praise, honour, and glory, by all creatures, and to us be granted the forgiveness of all our sins, world without end.
R. Amen.

V. Blessed be the womb of the Virgin Mary which bore the Son of the Eternal Father.
R. And blessed be the paps which gave suck to Christ our Lord.

Then is said secretly an Our Father and a Hail Mary.

Latin Version: Sacrosánctæ et indivíduæ Trinitáti, crucifíxi Dómini nostri Jesu Christi humanitáti, beatíssimæ et gloriosíssimæ sempérque Vírginis Maríæ fœcúndæ integritáti, et ómnium Sanctórum universitáti sit sempitérna laus, honor, virtus et glória ab omni creatúra, nobísque remíssio ómnium peccatórum, per inifiníta sæcula sæculórum.
R. Amen.

V. Beáta víscera Maríæ Vírginis, quæ portavérunt ætérni Patris Fílium.
R. Et beáta úbera, quæ lactavérunt Christum Dóminum.

Et dicitur secreto Pater noster et Ave María. 
O Antiphon: December 18

The O Antiphons are a series of antiphons to the Magnificant, which are prayed as part of Vespers (evening prayer) from December 17th - 23th inclusive. Each of the titles of the O Antiphons addresses Jesus with a special title given to the Messiah and refers to a prophecy from the Prophet Isaiah. It is unknown when the O Antiphons started, however, there is mention of them as far back as the 400's AD. They are often called the Great Antiphons too.

If one were to start with the last title and takes the first letter of each one—Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia—the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, "Tomorrow, I will come". Thus, the "O Antiphons" not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
O Antiphon: December 17

The O Antiphons are a series of antiphons to the Magnificant, which are prayed as part of Vespers (evening prayer) from December 17th - 23th inclusive. Each of the titles of the O Antiphons addresses Jesus with a special title given to the Messiah and refers to a prophecy from the Prophet Isaiah. It is unknown when the O Antiphons started, however, there is mention of them as far back as the 400's AD. They are often called the Great Antiphons too.

If one were to start with the last title and takes the first letter of each one—Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia—the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, "Tomorrow, I will come". Thus, the "O Antiphons" not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion.
Saturday of Advent Ember Days

Recall that today, being the Saturday of the Advent Ember Days, is a day of fasting and abstinence. Medieval lore says that during Embertides, the souls in Purgatory are allowed to appear visibly to those on earth who pray for them.

Ember Days are days favored for priestly ordinations, prayer for priests, first Communions, almsgiving and other penitential and charitable acts, and prayer for the souls in Purgatory.  Because of the days' focus on nature, they are also traditional times for women to pray for children and safe deliveries. 

Please click here for a special PDF Ember Day Manual, including reflections for the Advent Ember Days.

To Autolycus Book I, Chapters V and VI
By Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch, ca. A.D. 160

For as the soul in man is not seen, being invisible to men, but is perceived through the motion of the body, so God cannot indeed be seen by human eyes, but is beheld and perceived through His providence and works. For, in like manner, as any person, when he sees a ship on the sea rigged and in sail, and making for the harbour, will no doubt infer that there is a pilot in her who is steering her; so we must perceive that God is the governor [pilot] of the whole universe, though He be not visible to the eyes of the flesh, since He is incomprehensible. For if a man cannot look upon the sun, though it be a very small heavenly body, on account of its exceeding heat and power, how shall not a mortal man be much more unable to face the glory of God, which is unutterable? For as the pomegranate, with the rind containing it, has within it many cells and compartments which are separated by tissues, and has also many seeds dwelling in it, so the whole creation is contained by the spirit of God, and the containing spirit is along with the creation contained by the hand of God. As, therefore, the seed of the pomegranate, dwelling inside, cannot see what is outside the rind, itself being within; so neither can man, who along with the whole creation is enclosed by the hand of God, behold God. Then again, an earthly king is believed to exist, even though he be not seen by all; for he is recognised by his laws and ordinances, and authorities, and forces, and statues; and are you unwilling that God should be recognised by His works and mighty deeds?

Consider, O man, His works -- the timely rotation of the seasons, and the changes of temperature; the regular march of the stars; the well-ordered course of days and nights, and months, and years; the various beauty of seeds, and plants, and fruits; and the divers species of quadrupeds, and birds, and reptiles, and fishes, both of the rivers and of the sea; or consider the instinct implanted in these animals to beget and rear offspring, not for their own profit, but for the use of man; and the providence with which God provides nourishment for all flesh, or the subjection in which He has ordained that all things subserve mankind. Consider, too, the flowing of sweet fountains and never-failing rivers, and the seasonable supply of dews, and showers, and rains; the manifold movement of the heavenly bodies, the morning star rising and heralding the approach of the perfect luminary; and the constellation of Pleiades, and Orion, and Arcturus, and the orbit of the other stars that circle through the heavens, all of which the manifold wisdom of God has called by names of their own. He is God alone who made light out of darkness, and brought forth light from His treasures, and formed the chambers of the south wind, and the treasure-houses of the deep, and the bounds of the seas, and the treasuries of snows and hail-storms, collecting the waters in the storehouses of the deep, and the darkness in His treasures, and bringing forth the sweet, and desirable, and pleasant light out of His treasures; "who causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth: He maketh lightnings for the rain;" who sends forth His thunder to terrify, and foretells by the lightning the peal of the thunder, that no soul may faint with the sudden shock; and who so moderates the violence of the lightning as it flashes out of heaven, that it does not consume the earth; for, if the lightning were allowed all its power, it would burn up the earth; and were the thunder allowed all its power, it would overthrow all the works that are therein.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Vatican II: A Historic Turning Point by David Martin

David Martin, whose pieces have appeared previously on A Catholic Life, is pleased to announce the release of his newest book Vatican II: A Historic Turning Point.
The story of what happened at Vatican II is essential in understanding the post-conciliar debacle, and has been told in great depth by the most qualified witnesses. This book simply rakes it in a little pile and highlights some of the key elements of the Council that set the Bark of Peter on a new and dangerous course.
The purpose of the book is to place Holy Church in a good light and to erase some of this deep-seeded prejudice against the Faith that was engendered by the post-conciliar reform. Benedict XVI expresses it nicely in his document of April 30, 2011: "What was sacred for prior generations remains sacred and great for us as well." (Universae Ecclesia)   
Blessed Cardinal Schuster on the Wednesday of the Advent Ember Days (Feria Quarta Quatuor Temporum Adventus)

The Introit is from Isaias xiv, 8, in which the meek and peaceful character of this first coming of the Word of God upon earth is wonderfully expressed in two brilliant figures of speech -- namely, the heavens distilling refreshing dew upon Gedeon's fleece, and the earth producing the little flower of the fields upon the mystic stem of Jesse...

Originally, on the days of the stational processions, when the great Litany was sung on the way, the Introit was omitted, and the Pope, on reaching the church, recited the Collect after the last Kyrie. The deacon first invited the faithful to prostrate themselves so that they might pray for awhile in secret -- Flectamus genua; then after a few moments spent in prayer, he gave the signal to get up again, and the Pontiff summed up the petitions of the assembly in a brief formula -- collecta -- and presented them to God...

The Mass for today still keeps the rite of the threefold scriptural lesson which in early times usually preceded the Offertory; the first lesson was as a rule from the Old Testament, the second from the New Testament, and the third from the Gospel.
Source:  The Sacramentary by Blessed Cardinal Schuster
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Advent Ember Days - Starting Tomorrow

Ember Days: December 14, 16, and 17.

If you are in good health, please at least fast during these three days and pray additional prayers. Remember the words from the Gospel: "Unless you do penance, you shall likewise perish" (Luke 13:5).  Ember Days are days of fasting and partial abstinence. Please click here for a special PDF Ember Day Manual, including reflections for the Advent Ember Days.

From Angelus Press Daily Missal:

At the beginning of the four seasons of the Ecclesiastical Year, the Ember Days have been instituted by the Church to thank God for blessings obtained during the past year and to implore further graces for the new season. Their importance in the Church was formerly very great. They are fixed on the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday: after the First Sunday of Lent for spring, after Pentecost Sunday for summer, after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (14th September) for autumn, and after the Third Sunday of Advent for winter. They are intended, too, to consecrate to God the various seasons in nature, and to prepare by penance those who are about to be ordained. Ordinations generally take place on the Ember Days. The faithful ought to pray on these days for good priests. The Ember Days were until c. 1960 fastdays of obligation.

To-day the Church begins the fast of Quatuor Tempora, or, as we call it, of Ember days: it includes also the Friday and Saturday of this same week. This observance is not peculiar to the Advent liturgy; it is one which has been fixed for each of the four seasons of the ecclesiastical year. We may consider it as one of those practices which the Church took from the Synagogue; for the prophet Zacharias speaks of the fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh, and tenth months.[1] Its introduction into the Christian Church would seem to have been made in the apostolic times; such, at least, is the opinion of St. Leo, of St. Isidore of Seville, of Rabanus Maurus, and of several other ancient Christian writers. It is remarkable, on the other hand, that the orientals do not observe this fast.

From the first ages the Quatuor Tempora were kept, in the Roman Church, at the same time of the year as at present. As to the expression, which is not unfrequently used in the early writers, of the three times and not the four, we must remember that in the spring, these days always come in the first week of Lent, a period already consecrated to the most rigorous fasting and abstinence, and that consequently they could add nothing to the penitential exercises of that portion of the year.

The intentions, which the Church has in the fast of the Ember days, are the same as those of the Synagogue; namely, to consecrate to God by penance the four seasons of the year. The Ember days of Advent are known, in ecclesiastical antiquity, as the fast of the tenth month; and St. Leo, in one of his sermons on this fast, of which the Church has inserted a passage in the second nocturn of the third Sunday of Advent, tells us that a special fast was fixed for this time of the year, because the fruits of the earth had then all been gathered in, and that it behoved Christians to testify their gratitude to God by a sacrifice of abstinence, thus rendering themselves more worthy to approach to God, the more they were detached from the love of created things. 'For fasting,’ adds the holy doctor, 'has ever been the nourishment of virtue. Abstinence is the source of chaste thoughts, of wise resolutions, and of salutary counsel. By voluntary mortifications, the flesh dies to its concupiscences, and the spirit is renewed in virtue. But since fasting alone is not sufficient whereby to secure the soul’s salvation, let us add to it works of mercy towards the poor. Let us make that which we retrench from indulgence, serve unto the exercise of virtue. Let the abstinence of him that fasts, become the meal of the poor man.’

Let us, the children of the Church, practise what is in our power of these admonitions; and since the actual discipline of Advent is so very mild, let us be so much the more fervent in fulfilling the precept of the fast of the Ember days. By these few exercises which are now required of us, let us keep up within ourselves the zeal of our forefathers for this holy season of Advent. We must never forget that although the interior preparation is what is absolutely essential for our profiting by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, yet this preparation could scarcely be real unless it manifested itself by the exterior practices of religion and penance.

The fast of the Ember days has another object besides that of consecrating the four seasons of the year to God by an act of penance: it has also in view the ordination of the ministers of the Church, which takes place on the Saturday, and of which notice was formerly given to the people during the Mass of the Wednesday. In the Roman Church, the ordination held in the month of December was, for a long time, the most solemn of all; and it would appear, from the ancient chronicles of the Popes, that, excepting very extraordinary cases, the tenth month was, for several ages, the only time for conferring Holy Orders in Rome. The faithful should unite with the Church in this her intention, and offer to God their fasting and abstinence for the purpose of obtaining worthy ministers of the word and of the Sacraments, and true pastors of the people.

From New Advent:

Ember days (corruption from Lat. Quatuor Tempora, four times) are the days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence. They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) for the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after 13 December (S. Lucia), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday, and after 14 September (Exaltation of the Cross). 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, 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.

From Catholic Culture:

Since man is both a spiritual and physical being, the Church provides for the needs of man in his everyday life. The Church's liturgy and feasts in many areas reflect the four seasons of the year (spring, summer, fall and winter). The months of August, September, October and November are part of the harvest season, and as Christians we recall God's constant protection over his people and give thanksgiving for the year's harvest.

The September Ember Days were particularly focused on the end of the harvest season and thanksgiving to God for the season. Ember Days were three days (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) set aside by the Church for prayer, fasting and almsgiving at the beginning of each of the four seasons of the year. The ember days fell after December 13, the feast of St. Lucy (winter), after the First Sunday of Lent (spring), after Pentecost Sunday (summer), and after September 14 , the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (fall). These weeks are known as the quattor tempora, the "four seasons."

Since the late 5th century, the Ember Days were also the preferred dates for ordination of priests. So during these times the Church had a threefold focus: (1) sanctifying each new season by turning to God through prayer, fasting and almsgiving; (2) giving thanks to God for the various harvests of each season; and (3) praying for the newly ordained and for future vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Seeking Input for an Upcoming Sacred Music Interview

In anticipation for my review of the soon-to-be-released CD "A Blessed Day Has Dawned: Sacred Choral Music: Palestrina, Laude, Gregorian Chant," I will be interviewing Fr. Stephen Concordia.

A Blessed Day Has Dawned is the inaugural recording by the The Saint Vincent Camerata Scholars under the direction of Fr. Stephen Concordia, OSB. The choir is associated with Saint Vincent Archabbey, which was founded in 1846 and is the oldest Benedictine monastery in the United States.

Please submit your questions on Sacred Music, on Vocations, or on this CD to me via the comments section.  I will choose from the questions submitted a handful to ask Fr. Concordia.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Vigil of the Immaculate Conception

 The Immaculate Conception by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

Besides being the feastday of St. Ambrose, today is the Vigil of the Immaculate Conception.  And, consequently, today is traditionally a day of fasting and partial abstinence from meat.

For today, we as traditional Catholics are called upon to fast and to refrain from eating any flesh meat, except with the one principal meal allowed on a day of fasting.  Meat is considered to be the flesh and organs of mammals and fowl. Also forbidden are soups or gravies made from them. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and shellfish are permitted.  On this day one, normal-sized meal and two smaller meals that do not equal the normal meal are allowed. Eating between meals, however, is prohibited although fruit juices and milk are allowed. The two smaller meals can not contain flesh meat.

The Immaculate Conception is a dogma of the faith stating that Mary was conceived sinless in the womb of her mother, St. Anne. The Blessed Virgin Mary remained without sin throughout her entire life. Remember, Mary is not just an average woman but the Mother of God; she is extraordinary (Luke 1:42). She is, by no means, divine in anyway, but she certainly is the greatest of all saints. She is the perfect model of charity. Let us try and imitate Mary by wearing her Brown Scapular and praying the Rosary. To imitate Mary, is to grow closer to Jesus Christ, Our Savior.

Ad Diem Illum Laetissimum:

An interval of a few months will again bring round that most happy day on which, fifty years ago, Our Predecessor Pius IX., Pontiff of holy memory, surrounded by a noble crown of Cardinals and Bishops, pronounced and promulgated with the authority of the infallible magisterium as a truth revealed by God that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary in the first instant of her conception was free from all stain of original sin. All the world knows the feelings with which the faithful of all the nations of the earth received this proclamation and the manifestations of public satisfaction and joy which greeted it, for truly there has not been in the memory of man any more universal or more harmonious expression of sentiment shown towards the august Mother of God or the Vicar of Jesus Christ.
Mary, Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, pray for us who have recourse to thee!
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Bishop Williamson on Liberalism as a Disease

His Excellency Bishop Williamson again writes a powerful & bluntly truthful article on the evils of liberalism in our modern world, highlighting the contradictions rampant in it. No further commentary is needed for this excellent column.

Liberalism is a frightful disease, consigning to eternal Hell millions upon millions of souls. It “liberates” the mind from objective truth and the heart (will and affections) from objective good. The subject reigns supreme. It is man in the place of God, with man allowing to God only as much importance as man chooses to allow him, and that is normally not much. Almighty God is put on a leash, so to speak, like an obedient little puppy dog ! In fact the “God” of the liberals is a mockery of the true God. But “God is not mocked” (Gal.VI, 7). Liberals are punished in this life by becoming false crusaders, true tyrants, and effeminate men.

A classic example of the false crusader is provided by the revolutionary priests in Latin America, according to Archbishop Lefebvre. He used to say that priests losing the Faith under the influence of the modernizing movement in the Church made the most terrible of revolutionaries, because to the false crusade of Communism they would bring all the force of the true crusade for the salvation of souls, for which they had been trained, but which they no longer believed in.

The true crusade being for God, for Jesus Christ, for eternal salvation, then when it is no longer believed in, it leaves a correspondingly huge gap in people’s lives, which they attempt to fill by crusading for anything and everything : for a ban on tobacco (but freedom for marihuana and heroin); for a ban on capital punishment (but freedom to execute efficacious right-wingers); for a ban on tyrants (but freedom to bomb any country into “democracy”); for the sacredness of man ( but freedom to abort the human baby in the womb) – the list can go on and on. The contradictions just highlighted are perfectly consistent in the liberals’ crusade for a total new world order to replace the Christian world order. They pretend they are not fighting Christ, but the pretence is wearing thin.

Liberals also become, logically, true tyrants. Since they have “liberated” themselves from any God or Truth or Law above them, then there remains only the authority of their own minds and wills to impose on their fellow human beings whatever it may be. For example, having lost all sense of any Tradition limiting his authority, Paul VI forced upon the Catholic Church in 1969 his New Order of Mass, to fit the New World Order, regardless of the fact that only two years before a significant number of bishops had rejected a substantially similar experimental rite of Mass. What did he care for the opinions of anyone beneath him, unless they were liberals like himself ? They did not know what was good for them. He did.

Logically again, liberals become effeminate, because they cannot help taking everything personally. Yet any sane opposition to their authoritarianism is based on that Truth or Law above all human beings which the liberals are flouting. That is how Archbishop Lefebvre resisted the liberalism of Paul VI, but Paul VI could only think that the Archbishop wanted to take his place as Pope. He was incapable of understanding that there was a far higher Authority than his own, on which the Archbishop in all tranquillity was leaning. Who needs to worry that the Lord God will ever fail ?

Sacred Heart of Jesus, grant us to deserve the good leaders who can come only from you

Kyrie eleison.

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