Friday, May 31, 2013
Our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces (Mass in Some Places)

The Feast of Our Lady, Mediatrix of All Graces

According to Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, “Our Holy Mother the Church-approved during the pontificate of Pope Benedict XV the proper Mass and Office of Mary, Mediatrix of all Graces.” The Saint Andrew’s Daily Missal (1945) lists it as May 31.  

The Angelus Press missal says, “May 31 was the usual date for this Mass until the institution of the Feast of Our Lady Queen; since 1956 the day will probably vary with the Diocese.” Fr. Rock, FSSP notes the following due to the Feast of the Queenship of Mary added in 1956: "In the 1962 Roman Missal, the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of All Saints and Mother of Fair Love and the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces are listed under May 8th along with the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Beatae Mariae Virginis D. N. a S. Corde lesu)."

While not yet a dogma of the Faith, Mary has "Mediatrix of All Graces" is widely held by the Church.

Concerning this feastday in the Dominican Rite:
Interestingly, this feast never made its way into the liturgical calendar of the Roman Rite.  It is included in the 1962 Roman Missal as an optional feast, for use in certain places and diocese.  As best as I can tell, it first appeared on the Dominican liturgical calendar in the 1940's, and it moved around a bit until it finally landed on May 8 in the 1961 calendar.  The 1949 Completotori Libellus has the feast on May 31.  The 1955 English translation of the Dominican Martyrology has the feast on May 31.  The 1959 St. Dominic Missal has it on June 7.  [In the Post Vatican II Dominican Calendar], it has been removed from the calendar of the Order, which now celebrates the Patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary on May 8. Source: Brevarium SOP
Christ as the One Meditator 
Concerning the title of Mediatrix, Fr. Reginald Garrigou‑Lagrange, O.P. discusses the office of mediator:
"The office of mediator belongs fully only to Jesus, the Man‑God, Who alone could reconcile us with God by offering Him, on behalf of men, the infinite sacrifice of the Cross, which is perpetuated in Holy Mass. He alone, as Head of mankind, could merit for us in justice the grace of salvation and apply it to those who do not reject His saving action. It is as man that He is mediator, but as a Man in Whom humanity is united hypostatically to the Word and endowed with the fullness of grace, the grace of Headship, which overflows on men. As St. Paul puts it: 'For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus: Who gave Himself for a redemption for all, a testimony in due times' (I Tim. ii, 56). \

"But, St. Thomas adds: 'there is no reason why there should not be, after Christ, other secondary mediators between God and men, who co‑operate in uniting them in a ministerial and dispositive manner.’ Such mediators dispose men for the action of the principal Mediator, or transmit it, but always in dependence on His merits.”

Our Lady as the Mediator with the Mediator

Why, though, is our Lady the Mediatrix of All Graces? Why her specifically? St. Pius X stated why: "By the communion of sorrows and of will between Christ and Mary she merited to become the dispenser of all the benefits which Jesus acquired for us by shedding His Blood" (Ad Diem Illium). This resonates with what Pope Leo XIII had previously affirmed: "It may be affirmed that, according to God's will, nothing comes to us without going through Mary's hands. Just as no one can approach the Almighty Father except through the Son, so no one can approach the Almighty Father except through the Son, so no one can approach Christ except through His Mother" (Octobri Mense)

St. John Vianney's words from a few centuries before these holy pontiffs bear similar testimony: "All the saints have a great devotion to Our Lady: no grace comes from Heaven without passing through her hands. We cannot go into a house without speaking to the doorkeeper. Well, the Holy Virgin is the doorkeeper of Heaven.”

For more information see Is There a Mediator with the "One Mediator Between God and Man"? based on the writings of St. Louis de Montfort

Litany to Our Lady Mediatrix of all Graces

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, Have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us!
Mother of God, and our Mother, pray for us!
True Mother of the living, pray for us!
Mother regenerating men in Christ unto God, pray for us!
Mother of piety and of grace, pray for us!
Mother of pardon and remission, pray for us!
Partner in human redemption, pray for us!
Recoverer of a lost world, pray for us!
Recoverer of the ages, pray for us!
Petitioner of all graces, pray for us!
Suppliant all-powerful, pray for us!
Advocate with thy Son for thy sons, pray for us!
Obtainer of the divine mercy, pray for us!
Dispenser of heavenly treasures, pray for us!
Handmaid of divine blessings, pray for us!
Fullness of grace to overflow upon all, pray for us!
Succor of the Church Militant, pray for us!
Ready helper of those in peril, pray for us!
Devoted consoler of the sorrowful, pray for us!
Conqueress of all error, pray for us!
Protectress of the world, pray for us!
Impregnable protection, pray for us!
Propitiation of the divine wrath, pray for us!
Refuge of all the unhappy, pray for us!
Shelter of orphans, pray for us!
Assured safety of the faithful, pray for us!
Hope of all who despair, pray for us!
Stay of the falling, pray for us!
Uplifter of the fallen, pray for us!
Cheer and comfort of the dying, pray for us!
Peace and joy of mankind, pray for us!
Our life, our sweetness and our hope, pray for us!
Gate of Paradise, pray for us!
Mystical stair of Jacob, pray for us!
Key of the heavenly kingdom, pray for us!
Channel of divine graces, pray for us!
Throne of divine clemency, pray for us!
Fountain of living waters, pray for us!
Fountain sealed by the Holy Spirit, pray for us!
Unfailing stream of mercy, pray for us!
Asylum of the erring, pray for us!
Haven of the shipwrecked, pray for us!
Shining star of the sea, pray for us!
Light of those who sit in darkness, pray for us!
Chamber of spiritual nuptials, pray for us!
Mediatrix of men with God, pray for us!
Mediatrix after the Mediator, pray for us!
Mediatrix reconciling us to the Son, pray for us!
Mediatrix of sinners, staunch and true, pray for us!
Mediatrix of all beneath the sky, pray for us!
Mediatrix ever pleading for us, pray for us!
Mediatrix set between Christ and His Church, pray for us!
Mediatrix who hast found favor with God, pray for us!
Mediatrix to win salvation for the world, pray for us!
Mediatrix of the mysteries of God, pray for us!
Mediatrix of all graces, pray for us!

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
V. Pray for us, our powerful Mediatrix,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ!

Let us Pray.

O Lord Jesus Christ, our Mediator with the Father, Who hast deigned to appoint the Blessed Virgin, Thy Mother, to be our Mother also and our Mediatrix with Thee, graciously grant that whosoever goes to Thee in quest of blessings may be gladdened by obtaining them all through her, Thou Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.

Prayer of Petition
O Ever-Virgin Mother of God and Mediatrix of Grace who art the House of Gold within which dwells thy Son, our Mediator, Jesus Christ, we humbly beseech thee to grant our requests for our salvation and the salvation of the entire world. (Here pause and make your requests) Keep us close to the Vicar of thy Son in the unity of the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church. Hear our prayer and grant the requests we make to thee.

St. Joseph, Intercede for us.
St. Jude Thaddeus, Pray for us.
St. Mary of Cleophas, Pray for us.
St. Philip Neri, Pray for us.
St. Louis Grignion de Montfort, Pray for us.
St. Maximillian Kolbe, Pray for us.
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Christ Acts through the Liturgy: Why the Fight for the Mass Still Matters

Source: Christ Acts through the Liturgy: Why the Fight for the Mass Still Matters by Mark Riddle.

It has been almost six years since Pope Benedict XVI issued the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. Despite deficiencies in the text (two forms of one rite, for example), the point of this motu proprio – that the Traditional Latin Mass had never been abrogated – sent shockwaves through the entire Catholic world.

Traditional Catholics had argued for decades that the traditional Mass had never been abrogated; in return they were met with scorn, ridicule, and accusations of disobedience from the corners of the “conservative” Catholic world, ever eager to be in the right. Thus, despite the noted deficiencies in the text, Summorum Pontificum was, and remains to this day, an incredibly controversial text. This is not because of the juridical questions directly, but because of the clear statement that the ancient liturgical rite of Rome, which had formed countless saints, and which the reformers sought to kill, had never been abrogated.

Fast forward over five years to March 13, 2013. Benedict XVI, having announced his abdication in early February, had renounced the burden of that office, leading to the election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio, who would take the name Francis. In the uncertainty that followed, the question of the liturgy returned increasingly to the fore of Catholic discourse.

Continue Reading...
Corpus Christi Procession: France 1960

In honor of the great Solemnity of Corpus Christi, I present the following video of Corpus Christi (in color) from France in 1960.

Sacris solemniis juncta sint gaudia,
Et ex praecordiis sonent praeconia;
Recedant vetera, nova sint omnia,
Corda, voces et opera.

Great is the festive day, joyful and jubilant,
Let us with loving hearts offer the song of praise;
Freed from the sinful past, may we renew in grace
 All our thoughts and words and deeds.

St. Joan of Arc (Mass in Some Places)

Today, May 30th, the Feast of St. Joan of Arc is celebrated in certain parts of the world.  Recall that today is the Feast of St. Felix I on the Universal Calendar (unless a higher ranking feast from the sanctoral cycle falls on this day).  The Catholic Encyclopedia summarizes the history of this feast: "At last the cause of her beatification was introduced upon the occasion of an appeal addressed to the Holy See, in 1869, by Mgr Dupanloup, Bishop of Orléans, and, after passing through all its stages and being duly confirmed by the necessary miracles, the process ended in the decree being published by Pius X on 11 April 1909. A Mass and Office of St. Joan, taken from the "Commune Virginum," with "proper" prayers, have been approved by the Holy See for use in the Diocese of Orléans.  St. Joan was canonized in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV."

The Traditional Matins Reading for where her feast is celebrated:

Joan of Arc was born in the town of Domrémy (which was once in the diocese of Toul, but belongs now to that of Saint Dié) in the year of our Lord 1412. Her parents were noted for their virtue and piety. When she was but thirteen years old, and knew nothing but house work, field work, and the first elements of religion, she learnt that God had chosen her to deliver France from her enemies and restore the kingdom to its former independence. She enjoyed familiar intercourse with the Archangel Michael and SS Catherine and Margaret, who, during five years, instructed her how to fulfill her mission. Then, desiring to obey the command of God, she addressed herself to the governor of Vaucouleurs, who, after having several times repulsed her, at length gave her an escort to take her to King Charles.

Following in all things the divine commands, she overcame all the difficulties of the long journey, and arrived at Chinon in Touraine, where she furnished the king with proofs that her mission was from God. She proceeded to Orleans, and in a few days inflicted three defeats on the enemy, relieved the town, and raised her banner aloft in triumph. Then, after other military successes in which the assistance of God was clearly manifested, she brought Charles to Rheims, where he was solemnly crowned king. She would not rest even then, but, having learnt from her heavenly voices that God would permit her to fall into the hands of the enemy, she went bravely on to meet what was to befall her.

She was taken prisoner at Compiègne, sold to the English, and sent to Rouen for trial. She had to defend herself against many accusations, but her purity was never impugned. She suffered all things with patience for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. The wicked judges who tried this gentle and innocent virgin condemned her to be burnt. So, fortified by the Holy Eucharist, which she had long desired, and her eyes fixed upon the Cross, while she constantly murmured the name of Jesus, she took her flight to heaven on May 30, in the nineteenth year of her age. The Holy Roman Church which she had always loved, and to which she had often appealed, undertook, under Pope Calixtus III, her rehabilitation, and towards the end of the nineteenth century, Leo XIII gave permission for the introduction of the cause of beatification. Finally, after diligent examination and approbation of fresh miracles Pius X inscribed her among the Blessed, and permitted the dioceses of France to keep the feast with a special Office and Mass.

Collect Prayer:

O God, you have chosen Saint Joan of Arc to defend her country against the invading enemy. Through her intercession, grant that we may work for justice and live in peace. We pray through Jesus Christ, your son, living and reigning with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

Secret Prayer:

O Lord, on this feast of Saint Joan of Arc, accept this pure offering of the victim who is our salvation. Grant that we may love you in all things and more than all things so that we may live for the praise of your glory. We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Post Communion Prayer:

You have strengthened us, O Lord, with bread from heaven from which Saint Joan of Arc so frequently found light and comfort. May this heavenly nourishment sustain us in the service of our brothers and sisters. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi

SemiDouble (1955 Calendar): May 29

Born with the name of Catherine in 1566, St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi received a religious upbringing. She was initially sent to the Monastery of St. John as a boarder at age 14, but was taken back home by her family who opposed her religious vocation and wanted her to marry well. They eventually gave in, and Catherine became a Carmelite of the Ancient Observance at 16, taking the name Sister Mary Magdalen.

St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi was endowed with the gift of prophecy and lived as a mystic.  In 1598 she became the mistress of novices, and she was chosen as subprioress in 1604.  She would hold this position until her death of natural causes on May 25, 1607.  The final three years of her life were filled with intense bodily and mental suffering but the saint prayed to suffer more.  She led a hidden life of prayer and self-denial, praying particularly for the renewal of the Church and encouraging the sisters in holiness. 

She foretold the elevation of Pope Leo XI in a prophecy shortly before her death.

Traditional Reading at Matins:

Mary Magdalen was born at Florence of the illustrious family of the Pazzi. It might be said of her that she entered the way of perfection when a babe. When ten years of age she took a vow of perpetual virginity; and having taken the habit in the Carmelite Monas tery of Our Lady of the Angels, she became a model of every virtue. Such was her purity, that she was entirely ignorant of everything that is opposed to that virtue. She was commanded by God to fast on bread and water for five years, Sundays alone excepted, on which she might partake of Lenten diet. She mortified her body by a hair-shirt, discipline, cold, abstinence, watching, want, and every kind of suffering.

Such was the ardour of divine love that burned within her, that not being able to bear the heat, she was obliged to temper it by applying cold water to her breast. She was frequently in a state of rapture, and the wonderful ecstasies she had were almost daily. In these states, she was permitted to penetrate into heavenly mysteries, and was favoured by God with extraordinary graces. Thus strengthened, she had to endure a long combat with the princes of darkness, as also aridity and desolation of spirit, abandonment by all creatures, and divers temptations: God so willed it, that she might become a model of invincible patience and profound humility.

She was remarkable for her charity towards others. She would frequently sit up the whole night, either doing the work of the sisters, or waiting upon the sick, whose sores she sometimes healed by sucking the wounds. She wept bitterly over the perdition of infidels and sinners, and offered to suffer every sort of torment so that they might be saved. Several years before her death she heroically besought our Lord to take from her the heavenly delights wherewith he favoured her; and was frequently heard saying these words: ‘To suffer; not to die.' At length, worn out by a long and most painful illness, she passed hence to her Spouse, on the twenty-fifth of May, in the year 1607, having completed the forty-first year of her age. Many miracles having been wrought by her merits, both before and after death, she was canonized by Pope Clement the Ninth. Her body is, even to this day, preserved from corruption.


O God, lover of chastity, who didst inflame the blessed Virgin, Mary Magdalen, with love for Thee and didst adorn her with heavenly gifts, grant that as we honor her on this festal day, so may we follow her in purity and love. Through our Lord . . .

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Dom Guéranger: The End of the Movable Liturgical Cycle

by Dom Guéranger, O.S.B.

The series of the mysteries is now complete, and the movable cycle of the liturgy has come to its close. We first passed, during Advent, the four weeks, which represented the four thousand years spent by mankind in entreating the eternal Father to send His Son. Our Emmanuel at length came down; we shared in the joys of His Birth, in the dolours of His Passion, in the glory of His Resurrection, in the triumph of His Ascension. Lastly, we have witnessed the descent of the Holy Ghost upon us, and we know that He is to abide with us to the last. Holy Church has assisted us throughout the whole of this sublime drama, which contains the work of our salvation. Her heavenly canticles, her magnificent ceremonies, have instructed us day by day, enabling us to follow and understand each feast and season. Blessed by this mother for the care wherewith she has placed all these great mysteries before us, thus giving us light and love! Blessed by the sacred liturgy, which has brought us so much consolation and encouragement! We have now to pass through the immovable portion of the cycle: we shall find sublime spiritual episodes, worthy of all our attention. Let us, then, prepare to resume our journey: let us take fresh courage in the thought that the Holy Ghost will direct our steps, and, by the sacred liturgy, of which He is the inspirer, will continue to throw open to us treasures of precept and example.

Please join me in continuing to follow the Traditional Feast Days of the pre-1955 calendar through my continuously updated post on Catholic Feast Days.
Monday, May 27, 2013
St. Bede the Venerable

James Doyle Penrose/Print Collector/Getty Images

Double (1955 Calendar): May 27

Born in the year 672 AD in England, St. Bede was born around the time England was completely Christianized.  He was raised from age seven in the abbey of Saints Peter and Paul at Wearmouth-Jarrow, and lived there for the rest of his life.  Ordained as a Benedictine in 702 by Saint John of Beverley.

St. Bede truly shows forth the illustrious example of learning.  He was far and wide considered the most learned man of his time, having written extensively on history, rhetoric, mathematics, music, astronomy, poetry, grammar, philosophy, hagiography, homiletics, and Bible commentary.  His most authoritative and well known work is "Ecclesiastical History of the English People," a complete history of the English Church up until 731. The central theme of Bede’s Historia Ecclesiastica is of the Church using the power of its spiritual, doctrinal, and cultural unity to stamp out violence and barbarism.

The Saint was employed in translating the Gospel of St. John from the Greek up to the hour of his death, which took place on Ascension Day, 735.  He was declared a Doctor of the Church on  November 13, 1899, by Pope Leo XIII.

Traditional Reading at Matins:

Bede, a priest, was born at Jarrow, on the borders of England and Scotland. At the age of seven he was placed under the care of St Bennet Biscop, Abbot of Wearmouth, to be educated. He became a monk, and so ordered his life that, whilst devoting himself wholly to the pursuit of learning, he did in no way relax the discipline of his Order. There was no branch of learning in which he was not thoroughly versed, but his chief care was the study of the Holy Scriptures, and in order to understand them better, he learnt Greek and Hebrew. At the age of thirty he was ordained priest at the command of his Abbot, and, on the advice of Acca, bishop of Hexham, immediately undertook the work of expounding the Sacred Books. In his interpretations he adhered to the teachings of the holy Fathers so strictly that he advanced nothing which they had not taught, and even made use of their very words. He ever hated sloth, and by habitually passing from reading to prayer and from prayer to reading, he so maintained the fervour of his soul that he was often moved to tears while reading or teaching. He persistently refused the office of Abbot, lest his mind should be distracted by the cares of transitory things.

The name of Bede soon became so famous for learning and piety that Pope St Sergius thought of calling him to Rome so that he might help to solve the difficult questions which had then arisen concerning sacred things. He wrote many books to reform the lives of the faithful, and to defend and propagate the faith. By these he gained such a reputation in all parts that the holy Bishop Boniface, who was later martyred, called him a 'light of the Church.' Lanfranc styled him the 'teacher of the English,' and the Council of Aix-la-Chapeile ‘the admirable Doctor.' But as his writings were publicly read in the churches during his lifetime, and as it was not yet allowable to call him ‘saint,' they named him the ‘Venerable,’ a title which has ever remained peculiarly his. The power of his teaching was the greater because it was confirmed by holiness of life and the observance of religious discipline. Hence his own earnestness and example made his disciples, who were many and distinguished, eminent not only in learning but also in sanctity.

Worn out at length by age and labour, he was seized by a serious illness. Though his sufferings lasted more than seven weeks, he ceased not from his prayers and interpretation of the Scripture, for he was engaged in translating the Gospel of St John into English for the use of his people. But when, on the eve of the Ascension, he perceived that death was near, he asked for the last sacraments of the Church; then after he had embraced his companions and was laid on a piece of sackcloth on the ground, he repeated the words: 'Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost,’ and fell asleep in the Lord. His body, which, as they say, gave forth a very sweet odour, was buried in the monastery of Jarrow, and afterwards translated to Durham with the relics of St Cuthbert. Bede, who was already venerated as a Doctor by the Benedictines and other religious Orders, was declared by Pope Leo XIII, after consultation with the Sacred Congregation of Rites, to be a Doctor of the universal Church, and the Mass and Office of Doctors was ordered to be said by all on his feast.


O God, who dost enlighten Thy Church by the learning of blessed Bede, Thy Confessor and Doctor: mercifully grant to Thy servants ever to be enlightened by his wisdom and helped by his merits. Through…

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
The Glory of the Soldier

On Memorial Day (USA), let us remember to pray not only for the safety of those serving our country but also for their salvation. May holy, traditional priests be sent out to give them the Sacraments of Salvation.

In World War II, there were 3,220 priests ministering to our troops overseas. In today’s Global War against terrorism, there are less than 325 priests. That is 100 less priests than just two years ago. We desperately need vocations to the military to serve as priests. Pray for traditional vocations to the priesthood.

So, please take a brief moment of silence to remember all that gave their lives for our freedom, and please pray for vocations for priests in the military.
A Good Man: Rediscovering My Father by Mark Shriver

I recently received a copy of A Good Man: Rediscovering My Father by Mark Shriver.  For those unfamiliar, Mark's father, Sargent Shriver, was the founder of the Peace Corp under President Kennedy.  The story Mark sets forth though is not a politically charged one but one that shows the wholeness of an authentic, faith-centered family life.

As Mark writes, "Dad was a radical, a hell-raiser who based his revolutionary public service on very orthodox instruction manuals: the Scriptures, his faith's creeds and prayers, and the life of Jesus Christ. . . . Dad lived out applied religion. He applied his faith's ethics every day to everything he did. His paradox--his radical orthodoxy--allowed him to conform to the requirements of a life in public service."  His father attended Mass everyday, even while overseas in the midst of conflict. 

Mark illustrates for us how he found his father again and rediscovered him.  This eulogy is particularly poignant at times and is something many of us can relate to when we have ill parents or grandparents.  I applaud Mark for his work in this book and recommend it.

For Catholics who are convinced that government must foster the common good and should be socially and fiscally responsible, this book is for you.  For Catholics who erroneously believe the Faith isn't timeless and has no place in government, this book is also for you - to help you see the contrary.
Sunday, May 26, 2013
Free from All Attachment to Sin: Requirement for Plenary Indulgences

'To abstain from sinful actions is not sufficient for the fulfillment of God's law. The very desire of what is forbidden is evil." - St. John Baptist de la Salle

As we are aware, one of the key requirements to receiving a plenary indulgence is being "free from all attachment to sin."  What exactly does this mean?  How can we be free from all attachments to sin?  A question has arisen from a reader of this blog that deserves an explanation:
One of the requirements for a plenary indulgence is "free from all attachment to sin." What do you think is meant by this? What if a person considers a certain sin to be appealing, or is easily tempted by it? Would this be an attachment to sin? What if a person has not adequately atoned for his sins? Would this be an attachment to sin? 
I wish to direct you to the following words taken directly from Enchiridion of Indulgences -- Norms and Grants, authorized English Edition, translated by Fr. William T. Barry, C.SS.R., Catholic Book Publishing Co., New York, New York, from the Second Revised Edition of the Enchiridion of Indulgences issued by the Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary, 1968 and originally published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Vatican City, 1968.

The author uses the plenary indulgence associated with the Way of the Cross as an example:

To gain a plenary indulgence, however, several additional factors must also be present. All together, they are the following:
  1. The person must be a Catholic, not excommunicated, and in the state of grace, that is, free from mortal sin that has not been confessed and forgiven in the Sacrament of Penance.
  2. The recipient must go to Confession, receive Holy Communion, and say at least one Our Father and one Hail Mary for the intentions of the Sovereign Pontiff.  These can all be done several days before or after performing the prescribed "work," in this case, making the Way of the Cross. But it is more fitting that the Communion and the prayers for the Pope's intentions be on the same day that the "work" is performed. A single Confession suffices for gaining several plenary indulgences, but sacramental Communion must be received and prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff must be recited for the gaining of each plenary indulgence.
  3. The recipient must be free from all attachment to sin, even venial sin.  Although a person might still sin, as we all do, or even be inclined to habitual sin, such as using God's name in vain, yet so long as the attachment to the sin or the desire to commit it is absent from the person's soul, he or she would be considered "free from attachment to sin."  (If this disposition is in any way less than perfect or if any of the prescribed three conditions are not fulfilled, the indulgence will be only partial.)
  4. Only one plenary indulgence may be gained per day.  But one can obtain the plenary indulgence "for the moment of death;" even if another plenary indulgence had been acquired on the same day.
  5. The person must perform the prescribed work, in this case, make the Way of the Cross -- with at least the general intention of gaining indulgences.  In making the Way of the Cross, the following norms apply:
    1. The pious exercise must be made before stations of the Way of the Cross legitimately erected.
    2. For the erection of the Way of the Cross, fourteen crosses are required, to which it is customary to add fourteen pictures or images, which represent the stations of Jerusalem.
    3. Although according to the more common practice the pious exercise consists of fourteen pious readings to which some vocal prayers are added, yet nothing more is required than a pious meditation on the Passion and Death of the Lord, which need not be a particular consideration of the individual mysteries of the stations.
    4. A movement from one station to the next is required, but if the pious exercise is made publicly and if it is not possible for all taking part to go in an orderly way from station to station, it suffices if at least the one conducting the exercise goes from station to station, the others remaining in their places.
    5. Those who are "impeded" can gain the same indulgence if they spend at least a half hour in pious reading and meditation on the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Cathedral of Seville, Spain. (c) A Catholic Life Blog, 2018.

R. J. Grigaitis in a post on his website shared these sentiments:
Being free from mortal sin is not only a requirement for gaining a plenary indulgence, but also a requirement for gaining a partial indulgence, and a prerequisite to receiving the Eucharist. To free one's self from a state of mortal sin, one must celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. If one commits mortal sin regularly, it is likely that he is attached to this sin, so even after celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation and receiving the Eucharist, he can only gain a partial indulgence.
Remaining free from mortal sin is a normal state for a Christian. The more mature Christian can also achieve the higher state of being free from all attachment to sin. This is usually the deciding factor as to whether an indulgence is plenary or partial. The individual may have the intent of gaining a plenary indulgence, but any attachment to sin will cause the indulgence to be only partial. This should not deter one from seeking a plenary indulgence and a state of being free from all attachment to sin. Once one is truly free from all attachment to sin, it become easier to remain so.

Being free from all attachment to sin is not only a requirement for gaining a plenary indulgence, it should be a goal of every Christian. Consciously renouncing all attachment to sin is required to make a good Confession. It is also required in preparing one's self to receive the Eucharist. After receiving the Eucharist or Absolution, one may fall back into attachment to sin, sometimes almost immediately, but that should not discourage one's efforts. Frequent Communion and Confession are the two most effective aids in becoming free from all attachment to sin.

The ultimate goal of a Christian is to not only be free from all attachment to sin, but to be free of all sin. This is an impossible goal to achieve on Earth, but nonetheless, it is the goal. The goal of achieving freedom from all attachment to sin is achievable on Earth, although it required a great deal of effort. It should be noted that being free from all sin and being free from all attachment to sin are two very different things. One can sin without being attached to that sin.

To be attached to a sin is to be comfortable in that sin; to return to it again and again without much resistance to the temptation to commit it. It is an addiction, where the desire to commit the sin is stronger than the desire to serve God. In essences, it is serving God with reservation and not with total abandonment.

Attachment to sin can be an obvious addiction, such as to alcohol, or to pornography, but it can also be subtle, such as being pridefully pious, saying prayers instead of praying them, or ignoring the promptings of the Holy Spirit. One must be careful though not to fall into scrupulosity, which itself is a sin that one can become attached to.

One can be attached to sin without being conscious of it, making it even harder gain a plenary indulgence. One must delve deep down into his soul and honestly evaluate his sinful nature to discover in what way he habitually resists the will of God.

Ridding yourself from all attachment to sin is necessary in gaining a plenary indulgence, but it is also the only way to grow in your Christian faith. Regularly gaining an indulgence is admirable, but what is more important is to grow in faith, which is a side effect of regularly gaining an indulgence.
And thus we see attachment to sin is likely quite common in our society.  But as affirmed above, we should trust in God and seek out indulgences regardless.  At the least, our indulgence will be partial and for someone attached to sin, partial indulgences will help them atone for sin and increase in virtue.  On a similar note, please see The Hermeneutic of Continuity's post on Plenary Indulgences: Not Impossible.
Saturday, May 25, 2013
St. Gregory VII

Photograph of the Pope Saint Gregory VII stained glass window at Saint Meinrad Abbey, Saint Meinrad, Indiana, USA 

Today the Holy Church remembers the life of St. Gregory VII (1020 - 1085). Born in Tuscany, Italy, Hildebrand became a Benedictine monk in the famous monastery of Cluny in France. At the death of Alexander II, Hildebrand was elected pope and took the name of Gregory VII.

In the eleventh century the bishops were virtually the dependents of secular princes. Gregory, therefore, fought with constancy and courage for the independence of the Church. His fearlessness stands out strikingly in his conflict with Henry IV, Emperor of Germany.

At the time of his ascension, simony and a corrupt clergy threatened to destroy faith in the Church. Gregory took the throne as a reformer, and Emperor Henry IV promised to support him. Gregory suspended all clerics who had purchased their position and ordered the return of all purchased church property. The corrupt clergy rebelled; Henry IV broke his promise and promoted the rebels. Gregory responded by excommunicating anyone involved in lay investiture. He summoned Henry to Rome, but the emperor’s supporters drove Gregory into exile. Henry installed the anti-pope Guibert of Ravenna, who was driven from Rome by Normans who supported Gregory; the Normans were, themselves, so out of control that the people of Rome drove out them and Gregory. The Pope then retreated to Salerno, Italy where he spent the remainder of his papacy. 

As Gregory was dying in 1085, he said, "I have loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore I die in exile."  

Sources: Patron Saints Index


O God, the strength of all who trust in You, it was from You that blessed confessor bishop Gregory drew courage and perseverance in defending the freedom of Your Church. May his example and intercession help us to face all adversity bravely.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Prayer to Mary, our Queen

In honor of the upcoming Feast of the Queenship of Mary:

"O most august and blessed Virgin Mary! Holy Mother of God! Glorious Queen of heaven and earth! Powerful protectress of those who love thee, and unfailing advocate of all who invoke thee! Look down, I beseech thee, from thy throne of glory on thy devoted child; accept the solemn offering I present thee of this month, specially dedicated to thee, and receive my ardent, humble desire, that by my love and fervor I could worthily honor thee, who, next to God, art deserving of all honor. Receive me, O Mother of Mercy, among thy best beloved children; extend to me thy maternal tenderness and solicitude; obtain for me a place in the Heart of Jesus, and a special share in the gifts of His grace. O deign, I beseech thee, to recognize my claims on thy protection, to watch over my spiritual and temporal interests, as well as those of all who are dear to me; to infuse into my soul the spirit of Christ, and to teach me thyself to become meek, humble, charitable, patient, and submissive to the will of God.

May my heart burn with the love of thy Divine Son, and of thee, His blessed Mother, not for a month alone, but for time and eternity; may I thirst for the promotion of His honor and thine, and contribute, as far as I can, to its extension. Receive me, O Mary, the refuge of sinners! Grant me a Mother's blessing and a Mother's care, now, and at the hour of my death. Amen."

~ Prayer to Our Lady to be said in the month of May.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
First Communions at Chapel of St. Jude in Eddystone

On Sunday, May 5th of this year in Eddystone, PA, the SSPX Chapel of St. Jude gave the Most Blessed Sacrament in Holy Communion to four children for the first time.  This chapel is led by the pastor Fr. Jordan Fahnestock.  This particular Sunday was also the May Crowning for the Chapel.

Source: SSPX.ORG
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Octave of Pentecost

During the Octave of Pentecost, the Church celebrates more especially the glories of the grace of the Holy Ghost and His secret work of sanctification in the Mystical Body of Christ.

Originally the feast of Pentecost brought to an end in Rome the fifty days of the Easter celebrations and introduced the fast of the Ember Days of the summer quarter. Afterward, it became customary to continue the festivity for two more days, the Monday and the Tuesday, and, finally, after the time of Pope St. Leo the Great, it was extended like the Octave of Easter through the entire week. For many centuries, Pentecost Monday and Pentecost Tuesday were Holy Days of Obligation.

The fasting and abstinence on the Ember Days of Pentecost is unique in the Church as these are the only Ember Days celebrated without violet vestments. But the Ember Days of Pentecost are meant to be a joyful fast.

In medieval times, families in many parts of Europe would suspend a carved and painted wooden dove over their dining table during this time of Pentecost. Such a custom could be easily revived for the throughout the Octave of the Pentecost -- and imagine that dining room table covered with a white tablecloth, sprinkled with red rose petals.

Dom Guéranger, O.S.B. in The Liturgical Year insightfully writes: "The Christian Pentecost, prefigured by the ancient one of the Jews, is of the number of the feasts that were instituted by the apostles. As we have already remarked, it formerly shared with Easter the honour of the solemn administration of Baptism. Its octave, like that of Easter, and for the same reason, ended with the Saturday following the feast. The catechumens received Baptism on the night between Saturday and Sunday. So that the Pentecost Solemnity began on the vigil, for the Neophytes at once put on their white garments: on the eighth day, the Saturday, they laid them aside."

There is a profound connection of the Scripture readings at Mass during the Octave of Pentecost with each of the Sacraments. And the Stational Churches of the Octave of Pentecost have a unique connection to the stations during the Octave of Easter.

Up until 1955 but after the time of Pope St. Pius X, Octaves were arranged in the following hierarchical order:
  • Privileged Octaves
    • Privileged Octaves of the First Order
      • Octave of Easter
      • Octave of Pentecost (Notice it's rank in the utmost category!)
    • Privileged Octaves of the Second Order
      • Octave of Epiphany
      • Octave of Corpus Christi
    • Privileged Octaves of the Third Order
      • Octave of Christmas
      • Octave of the Ascension
      • Octave of the Sacred Heart
  • Common Octaves
    • Octave of the Immaculate Conception of the BVM
    • Octave of the Solemnity of St. Joseph
    • Octave of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist
    • Octave of Saints Peter and Paul
    • Octave of All Saints
    • Octave of the Assumption of the BVM
  • Simple Octaves
    • Octave of St. Stephen
    • Octave of St. John the Apostle
    • Octave of the Holy Innocents
Sadly, Paul VI abolished the Octave in 1969, although he did not even realize it when he signed the authorization, in one sad example of his lack of oversight. Thankfully, Traditional Catholic priests keep this Octave. And even some priests who say the Novus Ordo Mass choose to celebrate Votive Masses in Honor of the Holy Ghost over this week.
Monday, May 20, 2013
Whit Embertide

Ember Days are set aside to pray and/or offer thanksgiving for a good harvest and God's blessings. If you are in good health, please at least fast during these three days and pray the additional prayers. Remember the words from the Gospel: "Unless you do penance, you shall likewise perish" (Luke 13:5)

Join the Church during these three days by fasting, abstaining from meat, and praying for vocations.

Ember Days this Pentecost: May 21, 24, and 25.

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.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Brigittine Servitores of the Most Holy Savior

One new order worthy of consideration is the Brigittini Servitores Sanctissimi Salvatoris (Brigittine Servitores of the Most Holy Savior) who are located adjacent to the FSSP parish in Tyler, TX. They have a website here.  The group is still very small and new.  They describe themselves thusly:
Essentially contemplatives, they engage in an apostolate of assisting the Holy Father and bishops to implement “Ecclesia Dei Adflicta” and Summorum Pontificum, while living a life centered on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the full Divine Office in the 1962 Rite (sic: Missal).

They promote the public recitation of the Divine Office by helping the Catholic faithful to appreciate and to recite it correctly and to promote its public recitation also promoting Latin literacy through seminars, formal courses of instruction, and correspondence courses. They correspond with priests, religious and laity interested in the traditional Latin liturgy and in the work of the Servitores, also disseminating information regarding churches, parishes, and religious orders using the Traditional Latin liturgy and other pertinent information for the promotion of the same. They also organize days of recollection and conferences for Catholics interested in the traditional Latin liturgy.
 You can contact the Brigittini Servitores as shown below:

Sister Margarita O.S.s.S.
Residentia Geatus Vilmos Apor
PO Box 4025 Tyler TX 75712 USA

You can e-mail Sister Margarita at

The Brigittines were once widespread across northern Europe but many of their monasteries were destroyed during the Protestant uprising several hundred years ago.  Let us pray for an increase in their numbers.
Traditional Mass Propers: Pentecost Sunday (WhitSunday)

Vestments: Red

Sap. 1:7
The Spirit of the Lord has filled the whole world, alleluia! and that which contains all things has knowledge of His voice, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! Ps. 67:2. Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered, and let those who hate Him flee before Him. V. Glory be . . .

COLLECT - O God, who this day instructed the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that through the same Holy Spirit we may always be truly wise and rejoice in His consolation. Through our Lord . . .

Acts 2:1-11
When the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place: And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming: and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues, as it were of fire: and it sat upon every one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost: and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak. Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem, Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. And when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded in mind, because that every man heard them speak in his own tongue. And they were all amazed, and wondered, saying: "Behold, are not all these that speak Galilean? And how have we heard, every man our own tongue wherein we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews also, and proselytes, Cretes, and Arabians: we have heard them speak in our own tongues the wonderful works of God."

Ps. 103:30
Alleluia, alleluia! V. Ps. 103:30. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created, and You shall renew the face of the earth. Alleluia! (Here all kneel.) V. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your love.


All kneel during the first verse

Holy Spirit, come and shine
On our souls with beams divine
Issuing from your radiance bright.
Come, O Father of the poor,
Ever bounteous of your store,
Come, our heart's unfailing light.

Come, Consoler, kindest, best,
Come our bosom's dearest guest,
Sweet refreshment, sweet repose.
Rest in labor, coolness sweet,
Tempering the burning heat,
Truest comfort of our woes.

O divinest light, impart
Unto every faithful heart
Plenteous streams from love's bright flood.
But for your blest Deity,
Nothing pure in man could be;
Nothing harmless, nothing good.

Wash away each sinful stain;
Gently shed your gracious rain
On the dry and fruitless soul.
Heal each wound and bend each will,
Warm our hearts benumbed and chill,
All our wayward steps control.

Unto all your faithful just,
Who in you confide and trust,
Deign the sevenfold gift to send.
Grant us virtue's blest increase,
Grant a death of hope and peace,
Grant the joys that never end.
Amen. Alleluia!

John 14:23-31

At that time, Jesus answered and said to him: "If any one love me, he will keep my word. And my Father will love him and we will come to him and will make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my words. And the word which you have heard is not mine; but the Father's who sent me. "These things have I spoken to you, abiding with you. But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you. Peace I leave with you: my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled: nor let it be afraid. You have heard that I said to you: 'I go away, and I come unto you.' If you loved me you would indeed be glad, because I go to the Father: for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass: that when it shall come to pass, you may believe. I will not now speak many things with you. For the prince of this world: cometh: and in me he hath not any thing. But that the world may know that I love the Father: and as the Father hath given me commandments, so do I. Arise, let us go hence."

Ps. 67:29-30
Make lasting what You have wrought in us, O God; in Your temple in Jerusalem let the kings offer presents to You, alleluia!

SECRET - Bless our offering, O Lord, and cleanse our hearts by the light of the Holy Spirit. Through our Lord . .

Acts 2:2, 4 Suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a violent wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting, alleluia! And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began speaking of the wondrous deeds of God, alleluia, alleluia!

May the coming of the Holy Spirit cleanse our hearts, and, as a heavenly dew, water them to bring forth good fruit. Through our Lord . . .
Saturday, May 18, 2013
58 Confirmed in Kansas City SSPX Ceremonies

I wish to present some images from the Confirmations and the Pontifical Low Mass at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Kansas City, Missouri, from Saturday, May 11, 2013. 58 confirmands (32 young men and 26 ladies) knelt before Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais to receive the Holy Ghost and become Soldiers of Christ.  Please join me in praying for all of them.

Source: SSPX.ORG
Vigil of Pentecost: Fast and Abstinence

Today is the Vigil for Pentecost, and tomorrow we will celebrate the Descent of the Holy Spirit and the foundation of the Church. Pentecost marks the completion of the work of redemption, the fullness of grace for the Church and its children, and the gift of faith for all nations.

Fast and Abstain on the Vigil of Pentecost

Today's preparation should not be underestimated.  Catholics should fast and abstain from meat today in order to better conform themselves to celebrate this High Holy Day of Pentecost. The Vigil of Pentecost has been a day of required fasting and abstinence for centuries and it was kept as such even through the early 1960s.

The days of obligatory fasting as listed in the 1917 Code of Canon Law were the forty days of Lent (including Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday until noon); the Ember Days; and the Vigils of Pentecost, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, All Saints, and Christmas.

On January 28, 1949, the United States bishops issued modified regulations on abstinence in America again after receiving a ruling from the Sacred Congregation of the Council. Partial abstinence replaced complete abstinence for Ember Wednesdays, Ember Saturdays, and the Vigil of Pentecost.

By 1962, the laws of fasting and abstinence were as follows as described in "Moral Theology" by Rev. Heribert Jone and adapted by Rev. Urban Adelman for the "laws and customs of the United States of America" copyright 1961: "Complete abstinence is to be observed on all Fridays of the year, Ash Wednesday, the Vigils of Immaculate Conception and Christmas. Partial abstinence is to be observed on Ember Wednesdays and Saturdays and on the Vigil of Pentecost. Days of fast are all the weekdays of Lent, Ember Days, and the Vigil of Pentecost."

Shortly after the close of the Second Vatican Council, Paul VI issued an apostolic constitution on fasting and abstaining on February 17, 1966, called Paenitemini, whose principles were later incorporated into the 1983 Code of Canon Law. Paenitemini allowed the commutation of the Friday abstinence to an act of penance at the discretion of the local ordinaries and gave authority to the episcopal conferences on how the universal rules would be applied in their region. Abstinence which previously began at age 7 was modified to begin at age 14. Additionally, the obligation of fasting on the Ember Days and on the remaining Vigils was abolished.

Learn more about this forgotten history in the Definitive Guide to Catholic Fasting and Abstinence.

The Vigil Mass of Pentecost   

The Mass for Pentecost was formerly celebrated during the night and has since been anticipated.  It seems that the Vigil was modeled on that of Easter.  As was observed on Holy Saturday, a vigil was kept during the night of Pentecost Sunday to prepare for the Sacrament of Baptism.  The Feast of Whitsun - the term Whitsunday is another name for Pentecost, alluding to the white vestments of the neophytes - is as ancient as that of Easter.  The Saturday following the Octave of Pentecost officially begins the Season After Pentecost. For the special prayers and readings for the pre-1955 Vigil of Pentecost, click here.

While the Novus Ordo calendar unfortunately only has 2 octaves, traditional Catholics will be familiar with the idea of multiple overlapping Octaves.  The practice of celebrating an Octave, while not only traced to the time spent by the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary awaiting the Paraclete also has its origins in the Old Testament eight-day celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:36) and the Dedication of the Temple (2 Chronicles 7:9). Very truly, Christ did not come to abolish the Old Law but to fulfill it.

This is one of the most important celebrations in the Church's liturgical year. I've prepared for this day through the Original Novena. The Feast of Pentecost (i.e., Whitsunday) is one of the principal feasts in the life of the Church.  After tomorrow's Feast (and the subsequent Octave), we will conclude Pascaltide and begin the Season after Pentecost.

Collect for the Vigil of Pentecost from the 1962 Missal:

Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that the splendor of Thy brightness may shine forth upon us, and the light of Thy light may, by the illumination of the Holy Ghost, confirm the hearts of those who have been born again by Thy grace.  Through our the unity of the same Holy Ghost
Friday, May 17, 2013
St. Paschal Baylon

1955 Calendar (Double): May 17

Born on the Feast of Pentecost in 1540, St. Paschal lived a quiet start to his life, just as our Lord did.  His name Paschal refers to "the Pasch (Passover) of the Holy Ghost" which is the Spanish term for Pentecost.  Until the age of 20, Paschal (1540-92) tended flocks on the hills of Aragon. He would carry a book with him and beg passersby to teach him the alphabet and to read, and as he toiled in the fields he would read religious books.

He then became a Franciscan Brother and spent the rest of his years mainly as doorkeeper in various friaries of Spain. St. Paschal chose to work in poverty as he said, "I was born poor and am resolved to die in poverty and penance."  All through his life he was animated with a burning love for the Holy Eucharist, a love so intense that it enabled him to speak triumphantly to heretics about the most obscure mysteries of the Faith. He was a mystic and contemplative, and he had frequent ecstatic visions. He would spend many nights before the altar in prayer. At the same time, he sought to downplay any glory that might come from this piety. He passed from earth to Heaven in 1592. He was beatified by Pope Paul V and canonized by Pope Alexander VIII.

Pope Leo XIII declared him patron of all Eucharistic confraternities and congresses.  Christian art usually depicts him wearing the Franciscan habit and bearing a monstrance, signifying his devotion to the Holy Eucharist. During the Red Terror at the time of the Spanish Civil War his grave was desecrated and his relics burned by anticlerical leftists.


O God, who didst adorn blessed Paschal Thy Confessor with a wonderful love for the holy Mysteries of Thy Body and Blood: mercifully grant that we too may be worthy to receive the rich spiritual graces which he received from this divine banquet; who lives and reigns with God the Father...

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Thursday, May 16, 2013
St. Ubaldus

1955 Calendar (Semidouble): May 16

Today the Holy Church celebrates the life of St. Ubadlus, Bishop of Gubio and Confessor.  Born to noble parents, St. Ubaldus lived a pious childhood.  After his father died while Ubadlus was still quite young, the boy became a canon regular for the local Cathedral.

He felt a vocation to become a monk, and entered to the Monastery of St. Secondo in the same city, where he remained for some years. Recalled by his bishop, he returned to the cathedral monastery, where he was made prior. Having heard that at Vienna Blessed Peter de Honestis some years before had established a very fervent community of canons regular, to whom he had given special statutes which had been approved by Paschal II, Ubald went there, remaining with his brother canons for three months, to learn the details and the practice of their rules, wishing to introduce them among his own canons of Gubbio.

After being consecrated Bishop of Gubio by Pope Honorius II, he returned to his people and became a perfect pattern of all Christian virtues and a powerful protector in all their spiritual and temporal needs.  It is said that St. Ubaldus helped prevent Frederick Barbarossa from sacking Gubio when the bishop went out on the road to plead with Frederick.

He died of natural causes after a long and painful two year illness in 1160.

At the solicitation of Bishop Bentivoglio, Pope Celestine III canonized him in 1192. His power, as we read in the Office for his feast, is chiefly manifested over the evil spirits, and the faithful are instructed to have recourse to him "contra omnes diabolicas inequities".
The power St. Ubaldus possessed against evil spirits was evident. The Church moves in a spirit world--good angels are all about, while constant vigilance is exercised against Satan and his devils. The liturgy contains a considerable number of exorcisms and adjurations. Then there are a series of sacramentals directed against the power of evil spirits; for example, holy water, palms, candles. Hold these sacramentals in highest esteem. — Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
Similarly, Dom Gueranger writes in the Liturgical Year:
In order to honour her eternal High Priest, the Church presents to him this day the merits of a pontiff who, after his mortal career, was admitted into a happy immortality. Ubaldus, here on earth, was the image of our Lord Jesus Christ. Like his divine Master, he received the holy anointing of priesthood; he was a mediator between God and man; he was the shepherd of a flock; and now he is united with our Risen Jesus, the great Anointed, the Mediator, the Shepherd. In proof of his influence in heaven, Ubaldus has had given to him a special power against the wicked spirits who lay snares for our perdition. It has frequently happened that the simple invocation of his name has sufficed to foil their machinations. The Church has fixed this day as his feast with the view of encouraging the faithful to have recourse to his protection. 

Help us, O Lord, and stretch out Your right hand in compassion to save us from the wickedness of the devil, through the intercession of Your blessed confessor bishop Ubaldus. Through Our Lord . .

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
St. John Baptist de la Salle

1955 Calendar (Double): May 15

Today we celebrate the life of St. John Baptist de la Salle.  Born April 30, 1651, St. John would live until Good Friday, April 7, 1719.  He would be remembered especially as the founder of the Brothers of Christian Charity.  This order, despite its former greatness, has fallen considerably since Vatican II.

La Salle received the tonsure at the young age of eleven and was named canon of Rheims Cathedral when he was fifteen. He was sent to the College des Bons Enfants, where he pursued higher studies and, on July 10, 1669, he took the degree of Master of Arts. When De La Salle had completed his classical, literary, and philosophical courses, he was sent to Paris to enter the Seminary of Saint-Sulpice on October 18, 1670. His mother died on July 19, 1671, and on April 9, 1672, his father died. This circumstance obliged him to leave Saint-Sulpice on April 19, 1672. He was now twenty-one, the head of the family, and as such had the responsibility of educating his four brothers and two sisters. He completed his theological studies and was ordained to the priesthood at the age of 26 on April 9, 1678. Two years later he received a Doctorate in Theology.

De La Salle became involved in education little by little, without ever consciously setting out to do so. He lived in a time when society was characterized by great disparity between the rich and the poor. Jean Baptiste de la Salle believed that education gave hope and opportunity for people to lead better lives of dignity and freedom.

In 1685, he founded what is generally considered the first normal school — that is, a school whose purpose is to train teachers — in Rheims, France.

Although good teaching was important to John Baptist, spiritual formation was more so; and, in the face of a rampant Jansenism, he was advocating frequent and even daily Communion. When his foundation was firmly rooted and oriented, he resigned as superior, living thereafter as the humblest of his subjects. He died two years later, on Good Friday.

He was canonized by Pope Leo XIII on May 24, 1900, and was inserted in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints in 1904. Because of his life and inspirational writings, he was proclaimed as the Patron Saint of Teachers on May 15, 1950, by Pope Pius XII


O God, You inspired the holy confessor John Baptist to teach the poor and to lead the young in the path of truth, and then founded a new congregation in Your Church through him. May his intercession and example fill us with zeal to glorify You by the saving of souls, so that we may also share his reward in Heaven. Through Our Lord . . .

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
May I Trasmit "That Which I Have Also Received": A Testimony Against Activism

The theme of this month's Holy Cross Seminary Newsletter resolves on prayer and the necessity to place prayer first in our lives - even before our apostolic works.  The full newsletter is below but I quote from it now to highlight some noteworthy sections:

Prayer is work and it is the work of God. Man was. created in order to share in the divine occupation of. glorifying God in his life on earth and in heaven. Nonetheless, man may, and must, apply himself to the. vicissitudes of life in a prayerful manner, as is befitting. the talents God has given him.

What a work prayer is! It is a work we do not take on alone. Christ was sent to dwell among us for this reason – to pray for us and to pray with us. Christ is our success. If we refuse to work with Him, our prayer becomes restless, we seek distractions from His loving and piercing gaze, and we avoid prayer for some other good work. This temptation to ignore prayer for good works is the fallacy of activism. Activity becomes a replacement for prayer and may accomplish some good, but for others who will profit from the work – for such an activist is not growing, but is spiritually undeveloped and therefore risks losing his soul. St. Paul illustrates this danger: But I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway (I Corinthians 9:27).

How many misguided souls made spiritual dwarves are caught up in busy-work and not the work of adoring God as He wishes? Such a soul has no recollection and fails to purify his intentions in his activities, which become more and more for the glory of the worker. By contrast, the true apostolate is genuine when the apostle is “pre-occupied” with, and steeped in, the life of prayer.

St. Pius X, in Hærent Animo (his 1908 Encyclical on priestly holiness, §27) says: There are some who think, and even declare openly, that the true measure of the merits of a priest is his dedication to the service of others; consequently, with an almost complete disregard for the cultivation of the virtues which lead to the personal sanctification of the priest (these they describe as passive virtues), they assert that all his energies and fervour should be directed to the development and practice of what they call the active virtues. One can only be astonished by this gravely erroneous and pernicious teaching.

The 1917 Code of Canon Law directs Bishops to ensure that their clergy adhere to a regimen that fosters holiness of life and “success” in the ministry, beginning with frequenting the Sacrament of Penance, daily mental prayer, regular visits to the Blessed Sacrament, the daily Holy Rosary and examination of conscience and the spiritual retreat.
Why did our Lord Ascend into Heaven?

Many of us Catholics may have a difficult time articulating the reason why our Lord ascended into Heaven?  Why did He have to ascend in order to accomplish His divine mission of redemption?  What exactly is the effect of His Ascension?  The reason that we fail to understand the answer is one of the chief reasons why we neglect to adequately celebrate the Ascension and Ascensiontide.

Why Did Our Lord Ascend into Heaven?

The answer to this fundamental question is found in the Preface for the Ascension, a Preface found in the Traditional Roman Rite but abandoned in the Novus Ordo.
It is truly meet and just, right and availing unto salvation that we should at all time and in all places give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty and everlasting God; through Christ or Lord. Who after His resurrection appeared and showed Himself to all His disciples; and while they beheld Him, was lifted up into heaven, so that He might make us partakers of His Godhead. And therefore with angles and archangels, with thrones and dominations, and with all the heavenly hosts, we sing a hymn to Thy glory, saying without ceasing...
The answer to our question is underlined above - "so that He might make us partakers of His Godhead."  Our Lord ascended for us.  He ascended so that we might become divine.

Dom Guéranger, O.S.B. expresses this sublime reason for our Lord's Ascension thusly:
Jesus ascended into heaven. His Divinity had never been absent; but, by Ascension, His Humanity was also enthroned there, and crowned with the brightest diadem of glory. This is another phase of the mystery we are now solemnizing. Besides a triumph, the Ascension gave to the sacred Humanity a place on the very throne of the eternal Word, to whom it was united in unity of Person. From this throne, it is to receive the adoration of men and of angels. At the name of Jesus, Son of Man, and Son of God—of Jesus who is seated at the right hand of the Father almighty—“Every knee shall bend, in heaven, on earth and in hell.”
Dom Gueranger elsewhere reflects as to why the Ascension is always mentioned in the Canon of the Mass. Here he expresses similar noteworthy sentiments:
The feast of the Ascension shows us the work of God in its completion. Hence it is that the Church, in her daily offering of the holy sacrifice, thus addresses the eternal Father: the words occur immediately after the consecration, and contain the motives of her confidence in the divine mercy: ‘Wherefore, O Lord, we Thy servants, as also Thy holy people, calling to mind the blessed Passion of Christ Thy Son our Lord, His Resurrection from the dead, and His admirable Ascension into heaven, offer unto Thy most excellent Majesty a pure, holy, and unspotted Host.’ 
It is not enough for man to hope in the merits of his Redeemer’s Passion, which cleansed him from his sins; it is not enough for him to add to the commemoration of the Passion that of the Resurrection, whereby our Redeemer conquered death; man is not saved, he is not reinstated, except by uniting these two mysteries with a third: the Ascension of the same Jesus who was crucified and rose again.
Heaven was not opened until our Lord's Ascension:

It was fitting that Christ, the conqueror of death, would be the first to open the gates of Heaven. He did so not on the day of His Resurrection but 40 days later when He opened Heaven, led the souls of the just from the Limbo of the Fathers (e.g. Adam, Eve, Moses, Isaiah, et cetera) into Heaven, and He took His seat at the right hand of the Father. For the first time in world history, human flesh had entered Heaven.

As St. Thomas Aquinas stated in the Summa:
"Ascending on high, He led captivity captive," because He took with Him to heaven those who had been held captives by the devil—to heaven, as to a place strange to human nature. captives in deed of a happy taking, since they were acquired by His victory
Reflection from Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen:

"In the Ascension the Savior did not lay aside the garment of flesh with which He had been clothed; for His human nature would be the pattern of the future glory of other human natures, which would become incorporated to Him through a sharing of His life. Intrinsic and deep was the relation between His Incarnation and His Ascension. The Incarnation or the assuming of a human nature made it possible for Him to suffer and redeem. The Ascension exalted into glory that same human nature that was humbled to the death." (Archbishop Fulton Sheen, Life of Christ)

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