Saturday, November 30, 2013
Why Should a Catholic Have a Devotion to Christ under the Title "Infant King"?

Since 2007, the Shrine of Christ the King in Chicago has embraced a devotion to the Infant King, including a monthly novena. The devotion is gaining more and more adherents, both locally and nationally. In response to some queries about this devotion, Canons of the Shrine answer questions posed to them by the faithful in an interview format.

The questions generally fall into three separate categories: 1) about the Infant King Statue, 2) about the Infant King devotion in general, and 3) about the practice of the novena at the Shrine, including the Children’s Blessing

Part I - About this particular statue of the Infant King

How did this image come to be chosen as the symbol of, and the object of, devotion at the Shrine of Christ the King? A. The mission of the Institute is to draw people closer to our Lord and to spread the splendors of His Kingdom. The Divine Infant, being adorable and approachable, is an ideal representation of Christ's perfections that everyone can relate to; He is attractive and imitable.

Is there a special history behind this 18th century statue? A. Devotion to the Divine Infant is old. The devotion’s true origin appears already in Sacred Scripture with the example of the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, the Shepherds, and, who could forget the Adoration of the Magi. The popular devotion as we know it has been particularly strong in Spain since the 15th Century. This statue at the Shrine was crafted in Spain, as part of that wave of devotion. It was gifted to the Shrine by a benefactor. Its craftsmanship, construction, and artistic merits suggest its age to be the 18th Century, if not earlier.

When the statute came into the Shrine’s possession, did it need a lot of restoration work? A. It was well-preserved and in very good condition; all it needed was some touching up and a new set of liturgical garments. You’ll notice that He wears a stole as well. This is to remind us that the Infant King is also Sovereign Priest.

Was it important that it be crowned and formally installed at the Shrine of Christ the King in Chicago, IL by Cardinal George? A. "The more you honor Me the more I will bless you" is the promise of the Infant King. The coronation ceremony is a beautiful public display of honor. Having the Ecclesiastical authority do the crowning shows that the Cardinal grants full approval of this devotion and designates the Shrine to be a particular place of honor for the Infant King. This statue is a very special sacramental. Sacramentals are one of the means through which grace is conferred. The blessing and installation of relics and statues in a church, for example, are important because they can inflame our hearts to devotion and open our hearts to grace.

Continue Reading....
Thursday, November 28, 2013
President Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation

In St. Augustine, Florida in 1565 the First Mass in the New World was celebrated and thus the first true Thanksgiving in North America was celebrated
The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of almighty God.
In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and provoke their aggressions, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict; while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.
Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.
No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the most high God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United Stated States to be affixed.
— President Abraham Lincoln, Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, Oct. 3, 1863
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
How the Miraculous Medal Changed My Life by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

Below is from a talk Fr. Hardon has given various times.

One of the most memorable experiences that I ever had was with the Miraculous Medal! It changed my life.

In the fall of 1948, the year after my ordination, I was in what we call the Tertianship. This is a third year of Novitiate before taking final vows.

In October of that year, a Vincentian priest came to speak to us young Jesuit priests. He encouraged us to obtain faculties, as they are called, to enroll people in the Confraternity of the Miraculous Medal. Among other things, he said, "Fathers, the Miraculous Medal works. Miracles have been performed by Our Lady through the Miraculous Medal."

I was not impressed by what the Vincentian priest was telling. I was not the medal-wearing kind of person and I certainly did not have a Miraculous Medal. But I thought to myself, "It does not cost anything." So I put my name down to get a four page leaflet from the Vincentians, with the then-Latin formula for blessing Miraculous Medals and enrolling people in the Confraternity of the Miraculous Medal. About two weeks later, I got the leaflet for blessing and enrolment, put it into my office book and forgot about it.

In February of the next year, I was sent to assist the chaplain of St. Alexis Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. I was to be there helping the regular chaplain for two weeks.

Each morning I received a list of all the patients admitted into the hospital that day. There were so many Catholics admitted that I could not visit them all as soon as they came.

Among the patients admitted was a boy about nine years old. He had been sled-riding down hill, lost control of the sled and ran into a tree head-on. He fractured his skull and X-rays showed he had suffered severe brain damage.

When I finally got to visit his room at the hospital, he had been in a coma for ten days, no speech, no voluntary movements of the body. His condition was such that the only question was whether he would live. There was no question of recovering from what was diagnosed as permanent and inoperable brain damage.

After blessing the boy and consoling his parents, I was about to leave his hospital room. But then a thought came to me. "That Vincentian priest. He said, 'The Miraculous Medal works.' Now this will be a test of its alleged miraculous powers!"

I didn't have a Miraculous Medal of my own. And everyone I asked at the hospital also did not have one. But I persisted, and finally one of the nursing sisters on night duty found a Miraculous Medal.

What I found out was that you don't just bless the medal, you have to put it around a person's neck on a chain or ribbon. So the sister-nurse found a blue ribbon for the medal, which made me feel silly. What was I doing with medals and blue ribbons.

However, I blessed the medal and had the father hold the leaflet for investing a person in the Confraternity of the Miraculous Medal. I proceeded to recite the words of investiture. No sooner did I finish the prayer of enrolling the boy in the Confraternity than he opened his eyes for the first time in two weeks. He saw his mother and said, "Ma, I want some ice cream." He had been given only intravenous feeding.

This Experience Changed My Life

Then he proceeded to talk to his father and mother. After a few minutes of stunned silence, a doctor was called. The doctor examined the boy and told the parents they could give him something to eat.

The next day began a series of tests on the boy's condition. X-rays showed the brain damage was gone.

Then still more tests. After three days, when all examinations showed there was complete restoration to health, the boy was released from the hospital.

This experience so changed my life that I have not been the same since. My faith in God, faith in His power to work miracles, was strengthened beyond description.

Since then, of course, I have been promoting devotion to Our Lady and the use of the Miraculous Medal. The wonders she performs, provided we believe, are extraordinary.

In teaching theology over the years, I have many semesters taught the theology of miracles. And I have an unpublished book manuscript on "The History and Theology of Miracles." My hope is to publish the manuscript in the near future.

Note: More stories about the miracles of the Miraculous Medal including the conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne and the miraculous transformation of Claude Newman, an uneducated African American in prison in the 1940s, may be read here.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Feast of St. Sylvester, Abbot

The Statue of Sylvester Gozzolini at St. Sylvester's College Kandy Sri Lanka (Source)

Double (1954 Calendar): November 26

November 26th is the Feast of St. Sylvester, the saint who founded the Sylvestrine Order, a reform congregation of the Order of St. Benedict, in 1231.  He is not to be confused with Pope St. Sylvester.

Sylvester, of the noble Gozzolini family, was born in Italy in 1177. After making a distinguished record at the universities of Bologna and Padua, he was made a canon at Osimo, his native city. His inclination toward the contemplative life was strengthened by the sight of the dead body of a once handsome relative. "I am what he was," said Sylvester to himself, "and I will also be what he is."

After the funeral services, the words of our Lord kept ringing in his ears, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me" (Matt. 16:24). At the age of 50 he resigned his post and became a hermit. Many disciples came to him, and these he organized under the rule of St. Benedict. After his death the order became known as the Sylvestrines, especially noted for their spirit of poverty. Their founder died at the age of 90.

The members of his Order wear a Benedictine habit, Turkish blue in color. Today there remain seven Sylvestrine monasteries in Italy and several mission houses in Ceylon and in the United States. Dom Gueranger writes on the significance of St. Sylvester: "God often brings the world to those who flee from it, as Sylvester Gozzolini among others experienced. In the thirteenth century, the world, all in admiration at the sanctity and the eloquence of the new Orders, seemed to have forgotten the monks and the desert. God, who never forgets, led his elect silently into solitude, and the wilderness began again to rejoice and flourish like the lily; strength was restored to the weak hands and feeble knees of the sons of the cloister. The austerities of olden days and the fervor of prolonged prayer were revived at Monte Fano, and extended into sixty other monasteries; the new religious family of the Sylvestrians was approved by Innocent IV in 1247. Though originated seven centuries after St. Benedict, and distinguished from the elder families by its blue habit, it claims the Patriarch of Cassino for its legislator and father."

Adapted from The Church's Year of Grace by Fr. Pius Parsch.

Traditional Matins Reading:

Sylvester was born of a noble family at Osimo in the Marches of Ancona, and in his boyhood was remarkable for his love of study and his good conduct. As a youth he was sent by his father to Bologna to study jurisprudence, but was admonished by God to devote himself to sacred learning. This incited his father to anger, which Sylvester patiently endured for ten years. On account of his remarkable virtue, the Canons of Osimo elected him an honorary mem­ber of their chapter, in which position he benefited the people by his prayers, his example, and his sermons.

While assisting at the funeral of a nobleman, his relative, who had been remarkably handsome, he looked into the open coffin, and seeing the corpse all deformed, said to himself: What this man was, I am now; what he is now, I shall be hereafter. As soon as the funeral was over, reading these words of our Lord: If any one will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me, he retired into solitude in order to attain greater perfection; there he gave himself up to watching, prayer and fasting, often eating nothing but raw herbs. The better to conceal himself from men he frequently changed his place of abode ; and at length settled at Monte Fano, which, though near to Fabriano, was at that time a desert. There he built a church in honour of the most holy father Benedict, and founded the Congregation of Sylvestrians, under the rule and habit shown him by St. Benedict in vision.

Satan, roused to envy, strove in many ways to terrify his monks, making assaults by night at the monastery gates. But the man of God repressed the enemy's attack with such vigour, that the monks, recognizing their father's sanctity, were more and more confirmed in their holy purpose. Sylvester was remarkable for the spirit of prophecy and other gifts, which he guarded by deep humility. This so stirred up the devil's envy that he cast the saint headlong down the oratory stairs and well nigh killed him, but the blessed Virgin at once graciously restored him to health. In gratitude for this benefit, Sylvester showed her the tenderest unfailing piety to the end of his life. He died at the age of about ninety years, renowned for sanctity and miracles, on the sixth of the Kalends of December, in the year of salvation 1267. The Sovereign Pontiff Leo XIII. extended his Office and Mass to the universal Church.


O Most merciful God, You gave the holy abbot Sylvester his vocation to be a hermit as he stood before an open grave, contemplating the vanity of this world; and then later made his hidden life brilliant with merit. May we imitate him in despising the pleasures of this life, so that we may enjoy Your presence for all eternity. Through our Lord . . .

Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Save Souls One Book at a Time - Take the Pledge

I’ve recently started an initiative that I would like to share with all of you, my readers. My hope is that you will join me in your own way and together we will serve our Lord Jesus Christ and help to bring about sound doctrine in this world.

There is no doubt that you’ve seen it. Picture yourself in your local Goodwill store, thrift shop, or garage sale. Venture over to the book section and scan through the religious books in the stacks. You’ll undoubtedly find little in Catholic thought. Instead, you’ll find protestant books on the Rapture, protestant books containing all sorts of heresies and false teachings, Protestant Bibles, Jewish prayer books, New Age or Occult manuscripts, and much more.

 Spanish painting from the 1400s by Pedro Berruguete showing the miracle of Fanjeaux. The books of the heretical Albigensian and those of the Catholics were thrown together into the fire before Saint Dominic. The Catholic books were miraculously preserved, being rejected three times by the flames, while the heretical ones burned. 

My heart goes out to the people who search in such places for doctrine. These souls – like everyone – is searching for God. And they will likely not find Him in the midst of protestant heresy and paganism.

I was recently at a Goodwill store and browsing their book section when I decided to take action. I repositioned the Catholic books, which included a book by Scott Hahn, one by St. Alphonsus, and a few prayer books in a way that they were eye level for those browsing the section.

I then placed into my basket a handful of the heretical books which included works by protestant “ministers” on the Rapture as well as protestant Scripture commentaries. I purchased them for $0.86 each and took them home and tossed them into the trash bin. These books are unfit to be produced. They would have led souls into heresy. How many Catholic souls have been lost because of bad books? How many searching souls have been led into false churches and false religions because of these errors?

What are the "bad books"?  To start, I'd encourage you to familiarize yourself with the Index of Forbidden Books that was published by the Holy Church up until Vatican II.  But, I'm sure you'll never be in short supply of these heretical books.  If it's written by a protestant minister, atheist, "New Age" guru, etc then it's not true spirituality. 

I have made it my personal mission – and I ask all of you to do so as well – to purchase second-hand heretical books when I see them in order to destroy them. Rip out the pages and toss them into the recycling bin or toss the book into a bonfire. In so doing, we help win souls for Christ by saving them from the devil one evil book at a time.

So next time you see heretical works, buy them (as long as they are second-hand copies and the proceeds do not go to the publisher), and destroy them.

Monday, November 25, 2013
Book Review: The Celebration of Mass: A Study of the Rubrics of the Roman Missal

I have for many years now had a copy of "The Celebration of Mass: A Study of the Rubrics of the Roman Missal" by John O'Connell on my bookshelf.  The book itself is a beautiful product and it sits next to the Holy Scriptures on my shelf. I have finally gotten around to writing a review on this book.

Who is this book for?  If you consider yourself a Liturgist or you just love the Traditional Latin Mass and want to help parishes start celebrating it then this book is a must-have!  Have you ever had an unusual liturgy question?  With chapters (not just sections) devoted to topics such as "Mass Celebrated in the Presence of a Greater Prelate," "The Low Mass of a Bishop," "Mass without a server," and "Votive Masses," this is the most complete volume on the Liturgy ever produced.

For those of you who wish to have as a resource the rubrics for the 1962 Missal, this is an absolute must have!  I have owned this copy since 2008 and have turned to it on multiple occasions. 
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Traditional Latin Mass: Last Sunday after Pentecost

The Lord saith: I think thoughts of peace, and not of affliction: you shall call upon Me, and I will hear you; and I will bring back your captivity from all places. -- (Ps. 84. 2). Lord, Thou hast blessed Thy land: Thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob. V.: Glory be to the Father . . . -- The Lord saith: I think thoughts of peace . . .

COLLECT - Stir up, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the wills of Thy faithful people, that they more earnestly seeking the fruit of divine service, may receive more abundantly healing gifts from Thy tender mercy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .

Col. 1. 9-14
Brethren, We cease not to pray for you, and to beg that you may be filled with the knowledge of the will of God, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of God, in all things pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might according to the power of His glory, in all patience and long suffering with joy; giving thanks to God the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through the His Blood, the remission of sins.

Thou hast delivered us, O Lord, from them that afflict us: and hast put them to shame that hate us. V.: In God we will glory all the day: and in Thy Name we will give praise for ever.

Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Ps. 129. 1, 2). From the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my prayer. Alleluia.

Matthew 24. 15-35

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: When you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place; (he that readeth, let him understand:) then they that are in Judea, let them flee to the mountains; and he that is on the house-top, let him not come down to take anything out of his house; and he that is in the field, let him not go back to take his coat. And woe to them that are with child and that give suck, in those days. But pray that your flight be not in the winter, or on the sabbath: for there shall be then great tribulation, such as hath not been found from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be: and unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be saved; but for the sake of the elect, those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say to you: Lo, here is Christ, or there; do not believe him; for there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect. Behold I have told it to you beforehand. If therefore they shall say to you: Behold His is in the desert, go ye not out; Behold He is in the closets, believe it not. For as lightning cometh out of the east, and appeareth even in the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. Wheresoever the body shall be, there shall the eagles also be gathered together. And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be moved; an nd then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn; and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with much power and majesty. And He shall send His angels with a trumpet and a loud voice, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest parts of the heavens to the utmost bounds of them. And from the fig tree learn a parable: when the branch thereof is now tender, and the leaves come forth, you know that summer is nigh. So you also, when you shall see all these things, know ye that it is nigh at the doors. Amen I say to you that this generation shall not pass till all these things be done. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.

Ps. 129.1, 2
From the depths I have cried out to Thee, O Lord; Lord, hear my prayer: from the depths I have cried out to Thee, O Lord.

SECRET Be gracious, O Lord, to our humble entreaties; and receiving the offerings and prayers of Thy people, turn the hearts of all of us to Thee: that freed from greed of earthly things, we may pass on to heavenly desires. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost . . .

Mark 11. 24
Amen I say to you, whatsoever you ask when you pray, believe that you shall receive and it shall be done to you.

POST COMMUNION - We have received, O Lord, the gifts of this sacred Mystery, and humbly beseech Thee, that what we do at Thy bidding in memory of Thee, may avail us in our weakness. Who livest and reignest . . . 

Sources: Saint Andrew Daily Missal and the Marian Missal , 1945

Twenty-Fourth Sunday After Pentecost by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger, 1877  

"Then shall appear, the sign of the Son of Man in heaven."--Matt. 24, 30. 

Today is the last Sunday after Pentecost. Today, we are reminded by Christ, in the Gospel, of the signs and warnings which shall herald the day of judgment, that terrible day which will witness at once the resurrection of the dead and the approach of the divine Judge. Of all these signs, I have selected for your consideration today the appearance in the heavens of the sign of the Son of Man, the cross, which will announce the coming of Christ.

What Christ has revealed to us of the signs which shall be sent as warnings of His advent, should cause us to reflect most deeply upon those things which shall come; upon us at the end of the world, when, in the expressive words of the Gospel, “Men shall wither away with fear and expectation of what is to come upon them.”

It should so dispose our hearts that we may be ready to appear before the tribunal of Christ, whenever He shall call us from this earth. There is one circumstance of which our Lord makes mention, and which alone is of sufficient weight to strengthen us in our resolution to live only for the purpose for which He has given us our very existence, and for which He has accomplished in us the great work of redemption. I allude to the appearance of the cross in the heavens on the last day. This cross will show forth all the infinite and adorable perfections of the divine nature.

Mary, mother of God and mirror of His adorable perfections, pray for us that we, upon the terrible day of final reckoning, may be enabled to rejoice with thee when that cross, by which thou didst stand to hear the last sigh of thy dying Son, appears unto the world once more! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, for the greater honor and glory of God!

God would not one day judge the world if He were not just, on account of the angels, as St. Paul assures us. A remarkable expression. The sense of these words of the Apostle may be thus explained: If the ways of God were not all the ways of truth and emanations of His infinite perfections, the angels, whom God created as beings of the highest order, and at the same time pure and holy, would never allow what is wrong to pass as just.

In this world we are not permitted to behold our Lord face to face, nor to know Him as He is in the splendor of His majesty; so it is with His works which are, as it were, concealed by a vail which we dare not, if we could, remove. I will make use of a comparison. The mysterious workings of divine Providence, as time passes on, weave, as it were, a carpet of the various acts and scenes of our lives. Look upon the reverse side, and you will see the threads running hither and thither, without beauty or apparent design. But upon the day of judgment the gorgeous texture will be turned in the presence of all mankind, of the angels, and of all the devils. All will then behold with vision, clear and distinct, how the Lord hath ever worked to lead the souls created by His divine power to eternal happiness, and that what ever came to mar His benignant plans arose from an abuse of that free-will with which every rational being has been endowed. Even Lucifer, with all his fallen angels will pronounce his confiteor, and, with the millions of reprobate souls who chose to array themselves under his standard, will give testimony to the justice of God, impelled to it by the sight of the cross in the heavens.

The cross on the last day will stand forth in bold relief upon the sky, as the symbolical expression of the work of redemption, and also as a mirror in which the divine attributes appear most brilliant and resplendent.

First, it will reflect the splendor of the divine omnipotence by which He called the world into existence; for nothing is impossible with God, as the angel declared to Mary when he announced the great mystery of the incarnation, the most sublime triumph of the Almighty. By naught, save omnipotence, could this wonder of wonders have been effected. Omnipotence alone could unite the divine nature with a human nature by the hypostatic union of the second person of the blessed Trinity with that human nature. O miracle! God might create myriads of worlds, each one more glorious than the other, yet it would not be such a proof of His almighty power as His becoming man. For He did not join Himself to a human person, but assumed the human nature in Christ, and thereby became as truly man, as He was God from all eternity. O wonder of wonders!

The cross will also shine forth brilliantly on the last day, as the glorious reflex of the divine understanding and wisdom, whose triumph comes from the Incarnation of the Son of God. Only a God could have conceived this sublime idea of thus reconciling the fallen human race to God, of changing the curse of sin into a source of happiness, the loss of paradise into eternal beatitude.

The holy cross will also sparkle on the last day in the firmament as the reflected splendor of God’s in finite mercy. How fitting it is that this divine attribute should not only be glorified by the ransom of the fallen human race, as illustrated in the cross, but also be entirely vindicated before all men. If it were possible for one person to take upon himself the burden of the sins of the entire world, and if he had at the same time been guilty himself of the most heinous crimes which the heart can conceive, in the Sacrament of Baptism, at the words “I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,”–supposing true contrition on his part,–all those sins would be remitted, and every stain washed away from his soul; so that if he were to die that moment, he would immediately enter heaven through the merits of Christ. And if a Christian had sullied the whiteness of his baptismal robe, and marred its beauty not only, with some venial faults, but with the most diabolical crimes; after a true contrition and sincere confession on the part of that sinner, at the words of the priest: ” I absolve thee,” united to the petition of Christ: “Father, forgive!” his guilt would be washed away.

Upon the day of final doom the cross will reflect the sanctity and holiness of the Lord of heaven and earth; for upon it the Sacred Heart of Jesus was opened, and from the wound came forth the Holy Church supplied with the means of salvation sufficient to make us, even in this life, pure as the angels in heaven.

On that momentous day, the cross will beam with glorious light,–indeed, the splendor of its radiance will fall with scathing brightness upon those wretched spirits whose doom is everlasting fire, for it will be the reflection of that divine attribute justice.

It will also irradiate the heavens with a lovely light, the reflex of God’s longanimity. As Christ stretched forth His arms upon the cross, so will He continue to do unto the end of time, as a sure refuge for all the children of men.

On that last and terrible day the holy cross will brightly shine to reflect the truth and fidelity of the Lord. For the truths of our divine faith are the Word of God promulgated by the Church, which remains as unchangeable and infallible in its doctrines as when it came forth from the Heart of our Lord on the cross. The work of redemption, consummated by Christ on the cross, was not a work of necessity, but of the infinite love of God.

Happy we, beloved in Christ, if we, as the cross continually exhorts us to do, glorify God in all His attributes by our virtues while on earth; then will we most surely hail its appearance in the heavens with joy and rapture on the resurrection morn! Amen!
Saturday, November 23, 2013
SSPX's Eastern Europe Apostolic Missions

The SSPX's Eastern European Autonomous House has just published a beautiful full-color presentation of its apostolic work in countries such as Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

In addition to detailing the many ongoing missionary efforts in Slavic countries, the newsletter also gives information on you can help the apostolate.
Video: New SSPX Church in Phoenix

In this video, see a glimpse of the Romanesque style Catholic Church that contains elements of Southern Mission style architecture to blend in with its Southern environment.

Seating 750 faithful, with 12,000 square feet on the main and 9,000 square feet filling the basement and crypt, Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church on Baseline Road in Southern Phoenix will be a landmark for centuries to come. Built for the traditional Latin Liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church, this goliath of a Church will the House of God for this generation, and their children's children, sacred place for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, sacraments.

I was at Our Lady of Sorrows in early 2012 when the project was just in its infancy.  The cornerstone was just recently blessed. I'm so glad to see this progress.  Please pray for this project and consider making a donation.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Feast of St. Cecilia

Double (1955 Calendar): November 22

Today is the Feast of St. Cecilia, the illustrious Virgin and martyr who died in Rome. She is the patroness of Church music

Traditional Matins Reading:

Caecilia, a Roman virgin of noble origin, was brought up from her infancy in the Christian faith, and vowed her virginity to God. Against her will, she was given in marriage to Valerian; but on the first night of the nuptials she thus addressed him: Valerian, I am under the care of an Angel, who is the guardian of my virginity; wherefore beware of doing what might kindle God's wrath against thee. Valerian moved by these words respected her wishes, and even said that he would believe in Christ if he could see the Angel. On Caecilia telling him that this could not be unless he received Baptism, he, being very desirous of seeing the Angel, replied that he was willing to be baptized. Taking the virgin's advice, he went to Pope Urban, who on account of the persecution was hiding among the tombs of the Martyrs on the Appian Way, and by him he was baptized.

Then returning to Caeceliia, he found her at prayer, and beside her an Angel shining with divine brightness. He was amazed at the sight; but as soon as he had recovered from his fear, he sought out his brother Tiburtius; who also was instructed by Caecilia in the faith of Christ, and after being baptized by Pope Urban, was favoured like his brother with the sight of the Angel. Both of them shortly afterwards courageously suf­fered martyrdom under the prefect Almachius. This latter next commanded Caacilia to be apprehended, and commenced by asking her what had become of the property of Tiburtius and Valerian.

The virgin answered that it had all been distributed among the poor; at which the prefect was so enraged, that he commanded her to be led back to her own house, and put to death by the heat of the bath. When, after spending a day and a night there, she remain unhurt by the fire, an executioner was sent to dispatch her; who, not being able with three strokes of the axe to cut off her head, left her half dead. Three days later, on the tenth of the Kalends of December, she took her flight to heaven, adorned with the double glory of virginity and martyrdom. It was in the reign of the emperor Alexander. Pope Urban buried her body in the cemetery of Callixtus; and her house was converted into a church and dedicated in her name. Pope Paschal I. translated her body into the city, together with those of Popes Urban and Lucius, and of Tiburtius, Valerian, and Maximus, and placed them all in this church of St. Caecilia.


We are made happy, O God, by the annual feast of Your blessed virgin martyr Cecilia. May we be inspired by the example of Your saint, as we honor her in this Mass. Through Our Lord . . .

Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
St. Elizabeth of Hungary

Double (1955 Calendar): November 19

St. Elizabeth of Hungary was born a princess, the daughter of King Andrew of Hungary.  She would become the great-aunt of Saint Elizabeth of Portugal.

She married Prince Louis of Thuringa at age 13. St. Elizabeth built a hospital at the foot of the mountain on which her castle stood and tended to the sick herself. Her family and courtiers opposed this, but she insisted she could only follow Christ’s teachings, not theirs. Once when she was taking food to the poor and sick, Prince Louis stopped her and looked under her mantle to see what she was carrying, and miraculously the food had been changed to roses.

Upon the death of Louis, St. Elizabeth sold all that she had and worked to support her four children. Her gifts of bread to the poor, and of a large gift of grain to a famine-stricken Germany, led to her patronage of bakers and related fields. Part of the Matins readings for the Feast of St. Elizabeth relate the extraordinary life she lived, despite being born into wealth:
After husband died (on his way to the Holy War, on the eleventh day of September, 1227.) Then Elizabeth, more utterly to be God's only, laid aside all the garments of earthly state, clad herself in mean raiment, and entered the Third Order of St. Francis, wherein she was a burning and shining light of long suffering and lowliness. (Her brother-in-law) stripped her (and her three little children) of all their goods, and turned them out of their own house. She was deserted by all, and assailed with insults, gibes, and calumnies, but she bore it all with patience, yea, even rejoicing that she suffered such things for God's sake. She gave herself to the meanest services toward the poor and sick, and sought for them the needfuls of life, while she lived herself only on potherbs and vegetables.
Remarkably, she died at the young age of 24. At that time she was the mother of three children, a widow, a Third Order Franciscan, and a role model for all of us. If she did so much in her short life despite the allurements of the world, what is stopping us?


O God of mercy, enlighten the hearts of Your faithful and grant us grace through the prayers of the glorious blessed Elizabeth, so that we may scorn the wealth of the world and see heaven as our joy and consolation. Through our Lord . . . 

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Traditional Mass Propers: Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany (transferred to 26th Sunday after Pentecost)

SAID THE LORD: "I think thoughts of peace and not of affliction. You shall call upon Me and I will hear you, and I will bring you back from captivity from all places." Ps. 84:2. Lord, You have blessed Your land; You have restored Jacob from captivity.V. Glory be . . .

COLLECT - ALMIGHTY GOD, let our minds always be fixed on Your truths, so that, in every word and deed, we may do what is pleasing to You. Through Our Lord . . .

I Thess. 1:2-10
Brethren: We give thanks to God always for you all: making a remembrance of you in our prayers without ceasing, being mindful of the work of your faith and labor and charity: and of the enduring of the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ before God and our Father. Knowing, brethren, beloved of God, your election: For our gospel hath not been unto you in word only, but in power also: and in the Holy Ghost and in much fullness, as you know what manner of men we have been among you for your sakes. And you became followers of us and of the Lord: receiving the word in much tribulation, with joy of the Holy Ghost: So that you were made a pattern to all that believe in Macedonia and in Achaia. For from you was spread abroad the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and in Achaia but also in every place: your faith which is towards God, is gone forth, so that we need not to speak any thing. For they themselves relate of us, what manner of entering in we had unto you: and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God. And to wait for his Son from heaven (whom he raised up from the dead), Jesus, who hath delivered us from the wrath to come.

YOU HAVE FREED us from those who afflict us, O Lord, and You have put to shame those who hate us.V. In God we will glory all the day and praise Your name forever.

Alleluia, alleluia! Ps. 129:1-2 V. Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord; Lord, hear my prayer! Alleluia!

Matthew 13:31-35

AT THAT TIME, Jesus spoke this parable unto them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field. Which is the least indeed of all seeds; but when it is grown up, it is greater than all herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come, and dwell in the branches thereof." Another parable he spoke to them: "The kingdom of heaven is like to leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened." All these things Jesus spoke in parables to the multitudes: and without parables he did not speak to them. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: "I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world."

Ps. 129:1-2
OUT OF THE DEPTHS I cry to You, O Lord; Lord, hear my prayer, out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord.

SECRET O GOD, may this offering cleanse us from sin and bring us life, that by it we may be guided and protected. Through Our Lord . . .

Mark 11:24
AMEN I say to you, all things whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you shall receive, and they shall come to you.

POST COMMUNION - O LORD, grant that we who have been nourished with the Food of Heaven may always hunger after this Bread which truly makes us live. Through Our Lord . . .

Sources: Saint Andrew Daily Missal and the Marian Missal , 1945
Friday, November 15, 2013
Why Go on a Retreat?

The following article, distributed as a handout in the recent SSPX newsletter, concisely summarizes some of the key reasons to go on a retreat. Last year I went on one at Our Lady of Sorrows Retreat Center.

Thursday, November 14, 2013
Music Review: Songs for the Eucharist, Ancient and New

I recently had the opportunity to review a wonderful CD: Songs for the Eucharist, Ancient and New.

The repertoire of Songs for the Eucharist, Ancient and New consists entirely of pieces sung at the Eucharistic liturgy when it is celebrated in the Traditional Latin Rite, this being the primary function of a schola cantorum. The repertoire here illustrates this pedagogical function of the schola cantorum, for it spans the centuries from the ancient Church to the near-present, giving appropriate emphasis to Gregorian Chant and Renaissance polyphony.

I can happily recommend this CD to all!

1. Invocabit me, Gregorian Introit, Mode VIII (GN)
2. Oculi mei, Gregorian Introit, Mode VII (GN)
3. Pater manifestavi, Gregorian Office Antiphon, Mode VI (AM)
4. Laudabo, Gregorian Office Antiphon, Mode IV* (PsM)
5. Cum venerit, Gregorian Office Antiphon Mode, VIII (AM)
6. Cantate Domino, Gregorian Office Antiphon, Mode II (GS)
7. Per illud Ave, Josquin des Prez
8. Ego, ego ipse consolabor vos, Ludwig Senfl
9. Benedictus, Orlando di Lasso
10. Hear Ye, Israel, from Elijah, Op. 70 - Felix Mendelssohn
11. Kyrie - Messe Basse, Gabriel Fauré
12. Sanctus - Messe Basse, Gabriel Fauré
13. Benedictus - Messe Basse, Gabriel Fauré
14. Agnus Dei - Messe Basse, Gabriel Fauré
15. Eucaristica, Pablo Casals
16. Tantum ergo, Georges-Émile Tanguay
17. Ave Maria, Jehan Alain
18. Ego sum panis vivus, Valentino Miserachs Grau 

Click here to listen to samples.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
St. Stanislaus Kostka

Today Holy Church celebrates the life of St. Stanislaus Kostka.

St. Stanislaus was born son of a noble Polish senator at Rostkowo, Przasnysz County, Poland, on October 28, 1550. He attended the Viennese Jesuit college from age 14 with his brother Paul, who badly mistreated him. While staying at the home of a Lutheran, he became gravely ill, but was not allowed to call for a priest. He prayed to his personal patron, Saint Barbara, who appeared to him in a vision with two angels, and administered Communion. He was then cured from his disease by Our Lady who told him to become a Jesuit, though it was against his family’s wishes.

He entered the Society of Jesus in Rome on his 17th birthday on October 28, 1567.  He attended the Jesuit college in Rome, Italy. He was a friend of Saint Peter Canisius and a student of Saint Francis Borgia. He died at Rome during the night of 14–15 August 1568.

Saint Stanislaus Kostka was brutally bullied by his brother and fled to Rome, to join the Jesuits at the Novitiate, where he died not long after. This painting, by Andrea Pozzo, is in the first of the rooms dedicated to Kostka's memory.

On the evening of his departure from this world, he wrote a letter to the Blessed Virgin begging her to call him to the skies there to celebrate with her the glorious anniversary of her Assumption. His confidence in the Blessed Virgin, which had already brought him many signal favours, was this time again rewarded; on August 15th, towards four in the morning, while he was rapt in pious utterances to God, to the saints, and to the Virgin Mary, he died.
Saint Stanislaus had drawn as his monthly patron for August the glorious martyr Saint Lawrence, and in his honour he performed daily some penance or devotion. On the eve of his feast, he obtained leave to take the discipline; in the morning he went to Communion, and then laid before the image of the saint a letter addressed to Our Lady, in which he begged that he might die on her Feast of the Assumption, and he prayed Saint Lawrence to present to her his petition. That night he was seized with a slight fever, which, however, rapidly increased; and on Assumption Eve, he received the last sacraments. Then, as he lay dying, he had brought to him a little book containing a litany in his own writing of his monthly patron saints, whom he constantly invoked. At 3 a.m. on the Feast of the Assumption, he face suddenly lit up with joy, and he breathed forth his soul to the Mother of God, who had come to conduct him to heaven (Source from Miniature Lives of the Saints by Bowden)
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
St. Martin I

SemiDouble (1955 Calendar): November 12

Today the Church celebrates the holy life of Pope St. Martin I.  Born in Umbria, St. Martin would become the head of the Catholic Church from July 21, 649, until his death in 655.

He was born near Todi, Umbria, in a place now named after him (i.e. Pian di San Martino). St. Martin acted as the papal apocrisiarius or legate at Constantinople and was held in high repute for his learning and virtue. He succeeded Pope Theodore I in July 649. He was the only pope during the Byzantine Papacy whose election was not approved by a iussio from Constantinople.

St. Martin I conduced the Lateran Council which condemned the patriarch of Constantinople for Monothelitism, which heretically claimed that Christ had no human will. This put the holy saint in opposition to Emperor Constans II who had him arrested and tortured. Paul, Patriarch of Constantinople, repented of his stance which saved Martin from execution, but the pope died in the Crimean Peninsula soon after from damage done during his imprisonment.  He is considered the last martyred pope.

Traditional Matins Reading:

Martin was born at Todi in Umbria. Upon ascending the pontifical throne, he strove by letters and embassies to recall Paul, Patriarch of Constantinople from his wicked heresy to the true Catholic faith. But, supported by the heretical emperor Constans, Paul was so carried away as to exile the legates of the Apostolic See to various islands. The Pope, indignant at this outrage, summoned a council of one hundred and five bishops at Rome, in which he condemned Paul.

Upon this Constans sent the exarch Olympius into Italy, with orders either to kill Pope Martin or else to bring him to the emperor. Olympius, on reaching Rome, charged a lictor to assassinate the Pope as he was celebrating Mass in St. Mary's at the Crib. But the man, attempting to do so, was suddenly struck blind.

From that time many ca­lamities befel the emperor Constans, which however made him no better; and he sent Theodore Calliopus to Rome to seize the Pope. By his deceitful dealing Martin was arrested and led prisoner to Constantinople. Thence he was banished into the Chersonesus; where, on the eve of the Ides of November, he died worn out by his sufferings for the Catholic faith, and not without the glory of miracles. His body was afterwards translated to Rome, and placed in the church dedicated to Saints Sylvester and Martin. He governed the church six years, one month, and twenty-six days. He held two ordinations in the month of December, and ordained eleven priests, five deacons, and thirty-three bishops for divers places.  


O Eternal Shepherd, who appointed blessed Martin shepherd of the whole Church, let the prayers of this martyr and supreme pontiff move You to look with favor upon Your flock and to keep it under Your continual protection. Through our Lord...

Monday, November 11, 2013
Feast of St. Martin of Tours

Double (1955 Calendar): November 11

Happy Martinmas!

When November 11 arrives each year, we are accustomed to seeing civic displays of patriotism and honor for the nation’s veterans. Originally known as Armistice Day – in honor of the ending of World War I, which concluded on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month – the United States in 1954 amended the holiday to include a remembrance of all the living and the dead of the nation’s veterans. And the name was subsequently changed to Veteran’s Day on June 1, 1954.

However, to the Catholic, November 11 is more than a day to honor the nation’s veterans and even more than a day to pray for the repose of the souls of all who have died in battle for the country’s defense.

November 11 is the Feast of St. Martin of Tours, the great worker of charity who is said to have raised three persons from the dead. Known as Martinmas, this day of celebration featured numerous festivities in honor of the life and charity of St. Martin of Tours, and it is still observed by some Catholics who keep the tradition alive of carrying lanterns and eating a traditional meal of goose on this day. Note: No goose allowed, of course, on years when November 11 falls on a Friday.

In fact, Father Francis Weiser, in the Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs, shows that Martinmas was the ‘Thanksgiving Day’ of the Middle Ages. This is not a day we should forget:

“The most common, and almost universal, harvest and thanksgiving celebration in medieval times was held on the Feast of Saint Martin of Tours (Martinmas) on November 11. It was a holiday in Germany, France, Holland, England and in central Europe. People first went to Mass and observed the rest of the day with games, dances, parades, and a festive dinner, the main feature of the meal being the traditional roast goose (Martin’s goose). With the goose dinner they drank ‘Saint Martin’s wine,’ which was the first lot of wine made from the grapes of the recent harvest. Martinmas was the festival commemorating filled barns and stocked larders, the actual Thanksgiving Day of the Middle Ages. Even today it is still kept in rural sections of Europe, and dinner on Martin’s Day would be unthinkable without the golden brown, luscious Martin’s goose.”

Traditional Matins Reading:

Martin was born at Sabaria in Pannonia. When ten years old he fled to the church, against his parents’ will, and had himself enrolled among the catechumens. At the age of fifteen he became a soldier, and served in the army first of Constantine and afterwards of Julian. On one occasion, when a poor naked man at Amiens begged an alms of him in the name of Christ, having nothing but his armour and clothing, he gave him half of his military cloak. The following night Christ appeared to him clad in that half-cloak, and said: Martin, while yet a catechumen has clothed me with this garment.

At eighteen years of age, he was baptized; and abandoning his military career, betook himself to Hilary, bishop of Poitiers, by whom he was made acolyte. Later on, having become bishop of Tours, he built a monastery, where he lived for some time in a most holy manner, in company with eighty monks. He was seized with a violent fever at Cande, a village in his diocese; and he earnestly besought God to free him from the prison of the body. His disciples hearing, asked him: Father, why dost thou abandon us P or to whom dost thou leave us in our desolation? Martin, touched by their words, prayed to God in this manner: O Lord, if I am still necessary to thy people, I do not refuse to labour.

When his disciples saw him praying in the height of the fever, lying on his back, they besought him to turn over for a little while, that he might get some rest and relief. But Martin answered: Suffer me to gaze on heaven rather than earth, that my spirit, which is about to depart, may be directed on its way to our Lord. As death drew nigh, he saw the enemy of mankind, and exclaimed: What art thou doing here, thou cruel beast? Thou wilt find no evil in me. While uttering these words he gave up his soul to God, at the age of eighty-one. He was received by a choir of Angels, whom many, and in particular St. Severinus Bishop of Cologne, heard singing the praises of God.

Tomb of St. Martin of Tours

Tomorrow is the beginning of St. Martin's Lent, the true Advent Fast. For this reason, this is a 2nd "Mardi Gras" today.


O God, You see that we cannot depend upon our own strength. Mercifully preserve us from all harm through the intercession of Your blessed confessor bishop Martin.

Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Armistice Day: 95th Anniversary

The Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month at the Eleventh Hour...

Before Omaha Beach, D-Day (June 1944)

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England. There shall be

During World War I (1914 - 1918)

In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,

Funeral Mass (Date Unknown)

A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers blest by the suns of home.

Mass on the Battlefield (Date Unknown)

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thought by England given;

Mass on the Battlefield (Date Unknown)

Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English Heaven

Source: "The Soldier" by Rupert Brooke (1887 - 1915)

Image Sources: Believed to be in the Public Domain
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Feast of the Dedication of the Archbasilica of our Savior (John Lateran)

Image (c) A Catholic Life Blog 2016

Double of the II Class (1955 Calendar): November 9

Today Holy Mother Church triumphantly celebrates the Dedication of the Archbasilica of Our Savior Jesus Christ, commonly referred to as the Basilica of St. John Lateran.   Its association with the name of Lateran is due to the fact that the Church was in ancient times occupied by the palace of the Laterani family.
The palace of the Laterani, on the Coelian Hill, belonged then to Constantine's wife Fausta. After his conversion the Emperor gave it to the Pope as his private residence and founded in it the church of the Lateran which became the mother and mistress of all the churches of Rome and the world. It was dedicated to Christ our Saviour by Pope St. Silvester on November 9, 324. In the twelfth century it was given as its second title St. John the Baptist whose name was also that of the ancient baptistery connected with the church; hence the present name of the basilica, St. John Lateran. The first basilica having been destroyed, it was rebuilt in the tenth century by Sergius III and consecrated by Benedict XIII in 1726.

Source: Passionist Nuns

Dom Guernager writes in the Liturgical Year:

Today is the birthday of the mother and mistress of churches, called “of our Saviour, Aula Dei (God's palace), the golden Basilica;” it is a new Sinai,[3] whence the apostolic oracles and so many Councils have made known to the world the law of salvation. No wonder this feast is celebrated by the whole world.

Although the Popes for centuries have ceased to dwell in the Lateran palace, the Basilica still holds the first rank. It is as true now, as it was in the time of St. Peter Damian, to say that “as our Saviour is the Head of the elect, so the church which bears his name is the head of all churches; those of St. Peter and St. Paul, on its right and left, are the two arms with which this sovereign and universal church embraces the whole earth, saving all those who desire salvation, cherishing and protecting them in its maternal bosom.” And St. Peter Damian applied conjointly to our Saviour and his Basilica the words of the prophet Zacharias; Behold a Alan, the Orient is his name: and under him shall he spring up, and shall build a temple to the Lord. Yea, he shall build a temple to the Lord: and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit, and rule upon his throne: and he shall be a priest upon his throne.

It is still at the Lateran Basilica that the Roman Pontiffs take official possession of their See. There each year, in the name of the Pope as Bishop of Rome, the episcopal functions are performed, viz: the blessing of the Holy Oils on Maundy Thursday, and on Holy Saturday the blessing of the Font, solemn Baptism and Confirmation, and the general Ordination. Could the great poet of the age of triumph, Prudentius, return to life in these our days, he might still say: “The Roman people hasten in eager crowds to the Lateran, whence they return marked with the sacred sign, with the royal chrism. And are we yet to doubt that Rome is consecrated " to thee, O Christ!”

The Proper of the Mass for today's Mass of the Dedication of St. John Lateran is called the Missa Terribilis, taken from the beginning Introit from Genesis 28: 17, "Terribilis est locus iste..." which is translated as "Terrible is this place: it is the house of God, and the gate of Heaven; and it shall be called the court of God."

The meaning of the word "Terrible" is derived from the Latin word terrere meaning "awesome" or "awestruck," signifying the amazement one should feel in the presence of Almighty God, the Creator and Ruler of the Universe. However, far from seeming awestruck, modern man often forsakes reverence and downplays the grandeur of God who dwells among us in the tabernacle. 

To read the proper prayers for today's Mass in PDF please click here:  Page 1 & Page 2. In honor of today's triumphant celebration, I encourage you to read the beautiful ceremony and prayers for the Dedication of a Church.


O God, by Your care we come safely each year to commemorate with these sacred rites the dedication of Your holy Temple. Graciously hear the prayers of Your people and grant that all who implore Your blessings in this church may joyfully receive the favors they ask. Through Our Lord . . .
Friday, November 8, 2013
Octave Day of All Saints

The Glory of All the Saints, by the Tuscan painter Giovanni da San Giovanni, 1630; fresco in the apse of the church of the Four Crowned Martyrs, Rome.

Today is the traditional Octave Day of All Saints according to the pre-1955 Roman Catholic Liturgical Calendar. This Octave was eliminated in the 1955 reforms; however, those attached to the traditions of the Church still call to mind the spirituality appropriate for this Octave Day.

History of Octaves

While the Novus Ordo calendar unfortunately only has 2 octaves, traditional Catholics will be familiar with the idea of multiple overlaping 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.

By the 8th century, Rome had developed liturgical octaves not only for Easter, Pentecost, and Christmas, but also for the Epiphany and the feast of the dedication of a church.

After 1568, when Pope Pius V reduced the number of octaves (since by then they had grown considerably), the number of Octaves was still plentiful.  Octaves were classified into several types. Easter and Pentecost had "specially privileged" octaves, during which no other feast whatsoever could be celebrated. Christmas, Epiphany, and Corpus Christi had "privileged" octaves, during which certain highly ranked feasts might be celebrated. The octaves of other feasts allowed even more feasts to be celebrated.

To reduce the repetition of the same liturgy for several days, Pope Leo XIII and Pope St. Pius X made further distinctions, classifying octaves into three primary types: privileged octaves, common octaves, and simple octaves. Privileged octaves were arranged in a hierarchy of first, second, and third orders. For the first half of the 20th century, octaves were ranked in the following manner, which affected holding other celebrations within their timeframes:

  • Privileged Octaves
    • Privileged Octaves of the First Order
      • Octave of Easter
      • Octave of Pentecost
    • 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 

Octave of All Saints Propers

INTROIT Ps. 78. 11, 12, 10.

Let the sighings of the prisoners come in before Thee, O Lord; render to our neighbors sevenfold in their bosom; revenge the blood of Thy Saints, which hath been shed. -- (Ps. 78. 1). O God, the heathens are come into Thine inheritance; they have defiled Thy holy temple: they have made Jerusalem as a place to keep fruit. V.: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Let the sighings of the prisoners come in before Thee, O Lord; render to our neighbors sevenfold in their bosom; revenge the blood of Thy Saints, which hath been shed.


O Almighty God, we pay honor to the bravery of Your glorious martyrs in bearing witness to You. Grant that we may feel the power of their intercession with You. Through Our Lord . . .

EPISTLE Heb. 11:33-39

Brethren: The saints by faith conquered kingdoms, wrought justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, recovered strength from weakness, became valiant in battle, put to flight the armies of foreigners. Women received their dead raised to life again. But others were racked, not accepting deliverance, that they might find a better resurrection. And others had trial of mockeries and stripes: moreover also of bands and prisons. They were stoned, they were cut asunder, they were tempted, they were put to death by the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being in want, distressed, afflicted: Of whom the world was not worthy: wandering in deserts, in mountains and in dens and in caves of the earth. And all these, being approved by the testimony of faith, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Exodus 15. 11, 6.

Glorious is God in His Saints, marvelous in majesty, doing wonders. V.: Thy right hand, O Lord, is magnified in strength: Thy right hand hath slain the enemy. Alleluia, alleluia. V.: (Eccli. 44. 14). The bodies of the Saints are buried in peace, and their name liveth unto generation and generation. Alleluia.

GOSPEL Matthew 5:1-12

At that time, Jesus, seeing the multitudes, went up into a mountain, and when he was set down, his disciples came unto him. And opening his mouth he taught them, saying: "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land. "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill. "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. "Blessed are the clean of heart: they shall see God. "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. "Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice for your reward is very great in heaven."


God is wonderful in His Saints: the God of Israel is He who will give power and strength to His people: blessed be God, alleluia.


May the prayers of Your holy martyrs bring us Your bountiful blessings, O Lord, so that our gifts may be pleasing to you and be a means of grace for our redemption. Through Our Lord . . .


And though in the sight of men they suffered torments, God hath tried them: as gold in the furnace He hath proved them, and as a victim of a holocaust He hath received them.


You have comforted us by Your Sacraments, O Lord, and filled us with the joy of Heaven. May Your saints defend us, even as we glory in their own victory. Through Our Lord . . .

Octave of All Saints 
by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876

The Catholic Church, which, every day in the year, places some Saints before our eyes to honor and imitate, represents them all to us today; hence today's festival is called: The Feast of All Saints. The origin of it was as follows : There was, at Rome, a magnificent temple, which had been built before Christ, by Marcus Agrippa, and was called the Pantheon or Temple of all the gods, because they were all worshipped therein. This idolatrous temple had not been torn down like many others, but Pope Boniface IV. consecrated it according to Catholic usage, to the Virgin Mother and all the Saints. To the greater edification of the people, he had many relics of holy Martyrs placed in it with due magnificence, whence this Church received the name of the Church of the holy Martyrs. In after years, it was ordered by Pope Gregory IV. that, not only the festival of the holy Martyrs, but also that of all other Saints, should be celebrated in the above mentioned Church and in all Christendom.

The reasons for instituting this festival were the following: First, it cannot be doubted that the number of Saints who reign with Christ in heaven is very large. "I saw so large a number," says St. John, " that nobody could count them." To speak only of those who became martyrs for Christ's sake, they, according to authentic historians, already in the first centuries of the Church, numbered 17 millions. Who can count the other Saints, as well of the Clergy as the laity, who served God faithfully and died in His grace? The number of the Saints is very great, but most of them are unknown to us. We know the names of the holy Apostles, of many apostolic men, many founders of religious orders, many popes, bishops, religious, hermits, virgins, widows, married people, nobles, princes, kings and emperors; but there is a number far exceeding these, whose very names are unknown to us. And as it is but just that we, who are yet in the Church Militant and are united by the bond of charity with the Saints, should honor them duly, as they are honored as true servants and friends by the Almighty Himself, the holy Church has appointed this day for honoring them all together, as it is not possible to consecrate a separate day to each of them.

The second reason is contained in the prayer which the Church on this day recites in Holy Mass: "That on account of the great number of our intercessors, God may bestow on us, more abundantly, the desired gifts of His liberality." No Catholic doubts that the Saints in heaven, because they enjoy the favor of the Almighty, can obtain for us by their intercession many graces, of which we are not worthy, on account of our sins. For, it is known that, while they were still living on earth, they not only averted much evil from mankind by their intercession, but also drew down many benefits upon them. That we may therefore obtain more surely all that we need or that is useful for our salvation, the holy Church has ordered that we shall today call upon all the Saints as our intercessors, trusting implicitly that the Most High will not disregard the entreaties of so many of His friends.

The third reason is as follows: The Church according to St. Bernard, represents to us so many Saints, in every station in life, to encourage us so that we may not only venerate them, but also imitate their virtues; and that as we call them blessed, so we too should strive after that salvation which they have already attained. Hence, also, the Gospel of the Eight Beatitudes is read today; as in it the road is pointed out and explained, by which the Saints have reached heaven; a road which we too must walk, if we wish to join them in heaven.

We will now explain, in few words, three other points, namely; what we ought especially to meditate upon, to learn and to do, on this day. In regard to the first of these points, we ought to meditate on the happiness of the Saints in heaven, and on the way they walked, or the means they employed to attain their blessedness. This blessedness, to say much in few words, is so great, that it can neither be described nor comprehended. "We can obtain it," says St. Augustine, "but cannot esteem it too highly.

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and it has not entered into the heart of man, what God has prepared for those that love Him," that is, for the Saints in heaven. The happiness of the least Saint in heaven is inexpressibly greater than the most perfect happiness on earth. We esteem those on earth happy, who are not persecuted, nor poor, nor sick, nor despised; but who are distinguished by their high rank, and are honored by all; who enjoy health, and possess a superfluity of riches and pleasures. And yet, how few ever attain such temporal happiness, and when they have attained it, how uncertain they are in its possession! But the happiness of the Saints is true, real happiness; for, nothing is wanted to make it most perfect. They are free from everything that could in the least sadden them; they possess all that can make them glad, all that they can desire, nay, much more than they can desire. They are surrounded by joys, they swim in happiness. Therefore it is written: " Enter into the joys of the Lord!" The happiness of the Saints is a secure happiness; for they have nothing to fear. No one can disturb their joy; no one can lessen it; no one can take it away from them. But what increases the bliss of the Saints most is the thought that it shall last eternally.

The Saints are in glory, and for evermore. They are filled with joys for evermore, for all eternity. They possess all honor and wealth, and all without end, without interruption. Oh! how great a bliss! But how have the Saints attained it? By the use of those means which God has left in His Church, by true faith; by holy baptism; by observing the Commandments, by avoiding sin, by practicing good works, by patience in crosses and sufferings. They walked in the path which Christ shows us in His holy Gospel, the path of innocence, or the path of penance. They served God faithfully and constantly while they were on earth; they earnestly worked for the salvation of their souls; they either committed no sin, or did true penance. When God sent them poverty, sickness, or other adversity, they bore it with Christian patience. In this manner, they attained to such great and eternal felicity. From all this you will doubtless be able to draw the lessons which today's festival offers. I will here give them to you in still shorter form.

Learn, firstly, how true to His promise God is and how richly He recompenses His servants. He leaves not the least good unrewarded, and the recompense He gives is great and eternal. For short labor and suffering, He gives great and everlasting joys. Who would not willingly serve so liberal a Master? Who would not gladly labor and suffer for Him? Who, that longs so ardently for the possession of mere temporal happiness, can hesitate to aim, with all the powers of his mind, at the eternal bliss prepared for the servants of the Most High? Should not every one be animated by the thought of eternal felicity, faithfully and zealously to serve the Lord?

Learn, secondly, that we can gain Heaven in any station of life; for in any station, we can make use of those means which God has given us to work out our salvation. In Heaven there are Saints of all ranks and conditions; emperors and empresses; kings and queens; princes and princesses; nobles and plebeians; learned men and unlettered men; poor and rich; officers and soldiers; magistrates, artisans and peasants; man-servants and maid-servants; unmarried and married persons; widowers and widows; youths, maidens and children. Many Saints lived in the same station in which you live; from it, they went to heaven; and so may you. You have only to live in your station as they did and use the means for your salvation as they used them.

Learn, thirdly, that you will have only yourself to blame, if you do not go to heaven to join the Saints; for, God asks no more from you than from them, and gives you the same means for salvation that He gave to them. The Saints were like you, human beings; like you, they lived in dangers and temptations; like you, they suffered and struggled; and yet they served God and went to heaven. Are you unable to do what they did? You are certainly able, if you have but a true and earnest desire to succeed. If you have it not, the fault is entirely your own. The example of so many Saints, who lived in your station, will convict you of falsehood, if you say that your station prevents you from gaining life everlasting.

All that now remains is to consider what must be done to celebrate today's festival worthily. A few words will teach you this. If you desire to attain the end and aim of this feast, endeavor according to the instructions of holy Church to honor the Saints of the Almighty and invoke them as powerful intercessors at His throne. They are true servants and friends of God, and they are honored by Him. Their intercession is all-powerful with the Almighty. While still on earth, they obtained for others great gifts from God; why then should they not be able to do so now that they are in heaven? To say that the Saints know nothing of us or of our prayers, is a sign of ignorance, and is against Holy Writ; for, we are assured therein that the Saints are equal to the Angels, and we can not doubt that these have knowledge of us and of our prayers.

The Gospel tells us that they rejoice when a sinner does penance; and St. John says that they offer our prayers to God. Hence, call on the Saints with confidence, that, through the merits of Christ, they would obtain for you the grace to live so that you may one day join them. But above all, endeavor to imitate the virtues of the Saints, as this is the best way to honor them. Each Saint calls from Heaven to us, in the words that St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians: "Be my followers," imitate my example. This is especially the call of those Saints, who lived in your station.

If you would enjoy their society in heaven, you must live as they lived on earth. To live as those lived who are in hell, and yet to hope to go, after this life, where they are whom we venerate as Saints, is senseless. Live as the Saints lived, and you will go to heaven as they did. Walk in their footsteps. No one ever obtained life everlasting without the true faith. No one was saved by faith alone. The Saints labored and suffered for heaven. You too must labor and suffer; heaven is worth it.

Copyright Notice: Unless otherwise stated, all items are copyrighted under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. If you quote from this blog, cite a link to the post on this blog in your article.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links on this blog are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. As an Amazon Associate, for instance, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases made by those who click on the Amazon affiliate links included on this website. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”