Thursday, January 30, 2014
St. Martina, Virgin and Martyr

St. Martina Calling Down Lightning on the Idols by Pietro da Cortona

SemiDouble (1954 Calendar): January 30  

Saint Martina, a Roman virgin, was the child of a noble Christian consul, of whom it was said that he was extremely merciful towards the poor, and very zealous for faith in the Most Holy Trinity. His daughter lost both her parents while she was still very young, and for love of Christ she distributed all she inherited to the poor, that she might be more free to hasten towards martyrdom, during the persecution which had recently begun.

Under the emperor Alexander Severus she was discovered in a church one day by three officers of a search party, and commanded to follow them to a temple of Apollo. She cheerfully agreed, saying she would do so after praying for a short time and taking leave of her bishop. The officers reported their important capture to the emperor, believing she would readily renounce her faith. But when he ordered her to speak, she replied that she would sacrifice to none other than the true God, and never to idols, the handiwork of men. She was tortured by iron hooks, but her executioners were thrown to the ground amid a great light as she prayed, and arose converted, like Saint Paul, to the Christian faith.

She was tormented again the following day before the emperor, cruelly scourged while attached by her hands and feet to posts. When, one day later, she was taken to a temple of Diana, the demon left amid horrible screams. Fire from heaven fell and burnt the idol, which in tumbling crushed many of its priests and pagan worshipers. Saint Martina, after suffering other tortures and being spared by an enraged lion and a fiery furnace, was finally beheaded. Her death occurred on January 1st during the fourth year of Alexander Severus.

Her relics were found in 1634, during the papacy of Urban VIII, near the Mamertine Prison, with those of several other martyrs. All were placed in a beautiful church dedicated to Saint Martina in the Roman Forum. Urban VIII spared no efforts in promoting her veneration; and through his solicitude the Office was enhanced with hymns for Matins and Lauds. In these we read that her soul rose to heaven, where she was seen afterwards upon a royal throne, while the Blessed sang praises to God.

Reflection: God calls His Saints to Him at every age; little children turn to Him with faith and love, strong men in their mature years, white-haired grandparents and servants of God in their golden age. And we find martyrs ready for every torment, at all epochs of life. What is important is to be ready and to desire the most important day of our life — that of our death.

Extracted from: Lives of the Saints by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 2.


O God, one of the marvelous examples of Your power was granting the victory of martyrdom even to delicate womanhood. May the example of the blessed virgin martyr Martina, whose birthday we celebrate today, draw us closer to You. Through Our Lord . . .
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Commemoration of St. Agnes on January 28th

Commemoration (1954 Calendar): January 28

Besides being the traditional Feast of St. Peter Nolasco, January 28 in the Universal Calendar of the 1962 Calendar mentions a "Commemoration of St. Agnes."  This is indeed the same St. Agnes who is celebrated just days before on January 21st in the Universal Calendar.  Why has the Church in Her wisdom placed a commemoration of this saint 8 days thereafter?

This is an ancient feastday.  According to Rev. Alban Butler's The Lives of the Saints in 1866, "A second Commemoration of St. Agnes occurs on this day in the ancient Sacramentaries of Pope Gelasius and St. Gregory the Great; as also in the true Martyrology of Bede." It was kept on the Church's Calendar for centuries on January 28 and only reduced to a Commemoration in 1931. It was previously known as Sanctae Agnetis secundo (St. Agnes for a 2nd Time).

And we should not underestimate the importance of St. Agnes, who is mentioned in the Roman Canon.  As St. Jerome writes: "All nations, especially their Christian communities, praise in word and writing the life of St. Agnes. She triumphed over her tender age as well as over the merciless tyrant. To the crown of spotless innocence she added the glory of martyrdom."  It would thus seem fitting that her life would be honored in a very special way by the Church.

But the 8th day after her death was quite a special one indeed.  It was eight days after her death that St. Agnes appeared to her parents with a train of virgins and a lamb at her side.

As stated in the Pictural Lives of the Saints: "A week after her death, Saint Agnes appeared to her parents as they were praying at her tomb; she was amid a choir of virgins clothed in golden robes and crowned with garlands. She begged them not to weep for her as for one dead, telling them rather to rejoice with her in her happiness" (Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler's Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894); Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 1)

And so, may we never forget this Commemoration of St. Agnes.  Let us pray for her intercession and especially remember to pray for the conversion of our family and friends and especially let us honor the 4th Commandment and pray for the spiritual needs of our parents.
Penny Lord, EWTN Favorite, Dies at the Age of 85

Taken from the National Catholic Register:
MORRILTON, Ark. — Penny Lord — who with her husband, Bob, became a familiar sight to Eternal Word Television Network’s international family of viewers as they hosted a series of programs that began the year after the Lords had their first interview with Mother Angelica in December 1986 — died at home on Jan. 21. She was 85.

The Lords would go on to be network regulars over the next 26 years, with programs that continue to air today. They became particular favorites of viewers and would frequently appear at EWTN events, including the 2013 Family Celebration in Birmingham, Ala.

“From the earliest days of the network’s history, Penny Lord was a devoted and faithful supporter of Mother Angelica and the mission of EWTN,” noted Michael Warsaw, chairman and CEO of EWTN. “Together with her husband, Bob, she touched the lives of countless viewers of EWTN, transporting them to shrines and places of pilgrimage and devotion around the world.

“Her enthusiasm and zeal for Our Lord was infectious. All of us who knew her through the years took great joy in every encounter, phone call or meeting with Penny. We will certainly miss her greatly.”
Journeys of Faith are the publishers of all of Bob and Penny Lord's books and videos.

Let us pray for the repose of her soul.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Te decet hymnus, Deus, in Sion,
et tibi reddetur votum in Jerusalem.
Exaudi orationem meam,
ad te omnis care veniet.
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Grant them eternal rest, Lord,
and let perpetual light shine on them.
You are praised, God, in Zion,
and homage will be paid to You in Jerusalem.
Hear my prayer,
to You all flesh will come.
Grant them eternal rest, Lord,
and let perpetual light shine on them.

Sunday, January 26, 2014
Priests and deacons ordained at La Reja seminary for the SSPX: December 2013

An American priest from Miami was part of a bumper crop of priestly ordinations at the SSPX's seminary in Argentina in December.

In the image above, Fr. Baquerizo's maniturgium is bound around his hands by his mother after being were anointed with sacred chrism by the ordaining bishop. It is customary for a priestly son to honor his mother by giving her this linen maniturgium — and buried with upon her death.

Priests and deacons ordained at La Reja seminary for the SSPX

December 21st (2013) was a day of great rejoicing for the seminary of Our Lady Co-Redemptrix in La Reja, Argentina. For on that date, nine deacons (a number equaled only once in her history) were ordained priests by Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais:
  • Fr. Aureo Mendes (Brazil)
  • Fr. Fernando Rivero (Argentina)
  • Fr. Pedro Roldan (Argentina)
  • Fr. Jose Maria Jimenez, (Spain)
  • Fr. Luis Rodriguez (Mexico)
  • Fr. Jose Mota (Mexico)
  • Fr. Jesus Estevez (Dominican Republic)
  • Fr. Pius Nanthambwe (Zimbabwe)
  • Fr. David Baquerizo (United States)
Also, four subdeacons were also raised to the diaconate:
  • Rev. Mr. Santiago Villanueva (Argentina)
  • Rev. Mr. Timothee de Bonnafos (France)
  • Rev. Mr. Fernando Moenckeberg (Chile)
  • Rev. Mr. Felipe Echazu (Argentina)

Newly-ordained American, Fr. David Baquerizo (originally a parishioner at the Shrine of St. Philomena in Miami, Florida), returned home two weeks later to say a first Mass on Sunday, January 5. The prior of Sanford, Florida, Fr. Marc Vernoy, made the 5-hour trip south to be his assistant priest in the Mass, and Fr. Pierre Duverger flew in from Platte City, Missouri to preach the sermon.
Since the Mass coincided with Fr. Baquerizo's 25th birthday, the jubilant parishioners prepared a special party to honor the event.

Source: SSPX

Serving Notes for Candlemas in the Traditional Mass

Image Source:

For those of us praying the Divine Office and attending frequent Mass, we recognize the importance of the Feast of Candlemas.  The spiritual focus of the season of Epiphanytide through Candlemas is essentially a continuation of Christmas and contemplation of the Divine Childhood. After Candlemas (February 2nd), the celebration of events of His young life gives way to a focus on His adult life.

The Feast of Candlemas, exactly 40 days after Christmas, commemorates Mary's obedience to the Mosaic law by submitting herself to the Temple for the ritual purification, as commanded in Leviticus.

The Feast of the Purification, is called Candlemas for the traditional blessing and distribution of candles on that day.  It is customary to bring candles from home to be blessed -- at least 51% beeswax candles that one uses for devotional purposes (candles for the family altar, Advent candles, etc.) -- so they can be lit after dusk on All Saints' Day (1 November), during the Sacrament of Unction, and during storms and times of trouble.  Nowadays, though, for those few parishes continuing this ancient observance, the parish will provide the candles.

Mass on Candlemas is typically preceded by a procession with the lighted candles and the singing of anthems. The lighted candles are held during the reading of the Gospel and from the beginning of the Canon of the Mass to Communion.

Romanitas Press has put together these Ceremonial Guides for the Feast of Candlemas in PDFs. See here.
Saturday, January 25, 2014
What are Relics and Why do Catholics Honor them?

The veneration of relics is a practice that precedes Christianity and has its origin in Judaism. In the 2nd Book of Kings (cf. 13:21) we read the account of a corpse being thrown "into the grave of Elisha". Upon contact with the prophet Elisha's remains, the corpse resuscitated to life. Holy objects (such as Aaron's staff, the Ten Commandments, and manna from the desert) were both revered, and preserved in the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:10).

The Church has adopted the veneration of sacred objects from Judaism. Many miracles have been worked in the Church's history through these sacred objects. Tradition tells us that Saint Helena, Constantine's mother, discerned which of the three crosses found on the hill of Calvary was the True Cross, upon which our Savior died for us, by placing a sick child on them and then he was restored to health when he made contact with the True one.

Listed in the pre-1962 Missal is an often unknown feast - that of The Sacred Relics for November 5th of each year. This Mass was a "Mass in Some Places" and was not universally celebrated.  The great liturgical Dom Prosper Guéranger recounts the spirituality for this feast.  The following is excerpted from Dom Prosper Guéranger's entry in The Liturgical Year in Volume XV of the 1983 Marian House edition of the English translation by the Benedictines of Stanbrook.
"Had we angels' eyes, we should see the earth as a vast field sown with seed for the resurrection. The death of Abel opened the first furrow, and, ever since, the sowing has gone on unceasingly the wide world over. This land of labour and of suffering, what treasures it already holds laid up in its bosom! And what a harvest for heaven, when the Sun of justice, suddenly darting forth His rays, shall cause to spring up as suddenly from the soil the elect ears ripe for glory! No wonder that the Church herself blesses and superintends the laying of the precious grain in the earth." 
"But the Church is not content to be always sowing. Sometimes, as though impatient of delay, she raises from the ground the chosen seed she had sown therein. Her infallible discernment preserves her from error; and, disengaging from the soil the immortal germ, she forestalls the glory of the future. She encloses the treasure in gold or precious stuffs, carries it in triumph, invites the multitudes to come and reverence it; or she raises new temples to the name of the blessed ones, and assigns him the highest honour of reposing under the altar, whereon she offers to God the tremendous Sacrifice." 
Yet this is not the only case of relics being celebrated by the Church.  Each year the Church traditionally celebrated on August 5th the Feast of the Finding of the Relics of St. Stephen the First Martyr.
The second festival in honor of the holy protomartyr St. Stephen was instituted by the Church on the occasion of the discovery of his precious remains. His body lay long concealed, under the ruins of an old tomb, in a place twenty miles from Jerusalem, called Caphargamala, where stood a church which was served by a venerable priest named Lucian. In the year 415, on Friday, the 3d of December, about nine o'clock at night, Lucian was sleeping in his bed in the baptistery, where he commonly lay in order to guard the sacred vessels of the church. Being half awake, he saw a tall, comely old man of a venerable aspect, who approached him, and, calling him thrice by his name, bid him go to Jerusalem and tell Bishop John to come and open the tombs in which his remains and those of certain other servants of Christ lay, that through their means God might open to many the gates of His clemency. 
This vision was repeated twice. After the second time, Lucian went to Jerusalem and laid the whole affair before Bishop John, who bade him go and search for the relics, which, the Bishop concluded, would be found under a heap of small stones which lay in a field near his church. In digging up the earth here, three coffins or chests were found. Lucian sent immediately to acquaint Bishop John with this. He was then at the Council of Diospolis, and, taking along with him Eutonius, Bishop of Sebaste, and Eleutherius, Bishop of Jericho, came to the place. Upon the opening of St. Stephen's coffin the earth shook, and there came out of the coffin such an agreeable odor that no one remembered to have ever smelled anything like it. 
Sometimes relics are transferred from one location to another with great solemnity when a saint is canonized.  In the United States, this recently occurred with the transfer of the relics of Mother Guerin.

Relics are important and the source of Pilgrimage.

The Holy Relics of Aachen Germany are exposed only for 10 days once every 7 years. Few places rank beside Aachen in the history of Christian Europe. Aachen’s Cathedral was built in 790-800 AD as the palace chapel of Charlemagne, King of the Francs and Holy Roman Emperor (born 742; died 814). Charlemagne was given his final resting place in this cathedral, which was the most distinguished sanctuary in his realm. For nearly 600 years, from 936 to 1531, kings were enthroned on Charlemagne’s throne, after having been anointed and crowned at the main altar.

During the Middle Ages, Aachen became one of Christendom’s most important places of pilgrimage, on a par with Jerusalem, Rome, and Santiago de Compostela. The Aachen pilgrimage, which has been taking place every seven years ever since 1349, is devoted to worshiping the four Holy Relics collected by Blessed Charlemagne:
  • the cloak of Our Lady
  • the swaddling clothes of the Infant Jesus
  • the loin clothes worn by Our Lord during His Crucifixion
  • and the cloth where the head of St. John the Baptist was placed after his beheading

As relics are important. The Church has systematized these sacred objects into classes. A First Class relic is any corporeal remains. A Second Class relic is any object that belonged to the Saint. And a third class relic is an object (e.g. Rosary, piece of cloth, holy card, etc.) that has touched a first or a second class relic.

An example of first and second class relics may be found at the Shrine of St. John Neumann in Philadelphia.  At this shrine is preserved the incorruptible body of St. John Neumann under the altar in a glass case.  It is truly a miracle that some saints' bodies do not decay even after hundreds of years and without embalming as a testament to God and to the authenticity of the Catholic Church. The saint's body is the first-class relic while the museum of artifacts of items used and owned by St. John are 2nd class relics. You may see a complete listing of photos by clicking here.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Is Medjugorje Catholic? Is Medjugorje Real?

Some of the Alleged “Messages” from Medjugorje:

“All religions are equal before God," says the Virgin. (Chronological Corpus of Medjugorje, p. 317)

"I do not dispose of all graces...Jesus prefers that you address your petitions directly to him, rather than through an intermediary." (Chronological Corpus of Medjugorje, p.181, 277-278)

"God directs all denominations as a king directs his subjects, through the medium of his ministers" ("The Apparitions at Medjugorje," by Fr. Svat Kraljevic, 1984, p.58)

"It is you who are divided on this earth. The Muslims and the Orthodox, like the Catholics, are equal before my Son and before me, for you are all my children." (Fr. Ljubic, p.71)

“The Madonna said that religious are separated in the earth, but the people of all religions are accepted by her Son.” Ivanka Ivankovic (The Apparitions of Our Lady of Medjugorje, Francisco Herald Press, 1984)

Question: “Is the Blessed Mother calling all people to be Catholic?” Answer: “No. The Blessed Mother says all religions are dear to her and her Son.” Vicka Ivankovic. (The Visions of the Blessed Mother at Medjugorje, St. Martin's Press, August 1992)

The Unending, unalterable teaching of the Holy Church of Jesus Christ:

Pope Innocent III: "There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved." (Fourth Lateran Council, 1215.)

Pope Boniface VIII: "We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff." (Unam Sanctam, 1302.)

Pope Eugene IV: "The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church." (Cantate Domino, 1441.)

All peoples are called to the Catholic Faith, outside of which no one can be saved.  This is a revealed fact from God.
Saturday, January 18, 2014
Pope Francis Appoints First Group of Cardinals in February 2014

The following is taken from a recent article on the website of the SSPX. Now is an enlightening time to see the types of men being promoted to the rank of Cardinal. If only they were all faithful to the traditions of the Church and the Traditional Mass. Kyrie eleison!

Pope Francis announced, during the Angelus on January 12, 2014, that he will create 19 new cardinals in the Consistory that will take place on February 22 of this year. These are the first cardinals to be appointed by the Supreme Pontiff since his election in March 2013. Among the new cardinal electors, four prelates of the Roman Curia figure prominently: Pietro Parolin, Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, Beniamino Stella, and Lorenzo Baldisseri, along with 12 residential archbishops.
The Pope sent this letter to each of the cardinals that he will create on February 22:
Dear Brother, on the day when your appointment to the College of Cardinals is made public, I wish to send you a heartfelt greeting along with assurances of my closeness and my prayers. I hope that, as an associate of the Church of Rome, clothed in the virtues and the mind of the Lord Jesus (cf. Rom 13:14), you might be able to help me with fraternal effectiveness in service to the universal Church. The Cardinalate does not mean a promotion, nor an honor, nor a decoration. It is simply a service that requires us to widen our gaze and enlarge our heart. And although it seems a paradox, this ability to see farther into the distance and to love more universally with greater intensity can be achieved only by following the same way of the Lord: the way of bowing down [in Italian, abbassamento] and of humility, in the manner of a servant (cf. Phil 2:5 -8). Therefore I ask you, please, to accept this appointment with a simple and humble heart. And, although you should do so with happiness and with joy, do it in such a way that this sentiment is far removed from any expression of worldliness, from any celebration alien to the evangelical spirit of austerity, simplicity and poverty. We will see each other again, then, on February 20, when we will begin two days of reflection on the family. I remain at your disposal, and I ask you, please, to pray for me and to have others pray for me. May Jesus bless you and may the Blessed Virgin protect you.
As of the Consistory on February 22, as Jean-Marie Guenois notes in the January 13 issue of Le Figaro:
The Sacred College will number 122 cardinal electors with the following profile: more Latin Americans (19) than North Americans (15), an Asian representation (13) equal to the African (13), only one from Oceania, but some Europeans (61) who symbolically lose the majority, having only 50% of the votes. This is historic, but the trend can only become more pronounced with Francis. The Pope is sovereign in this matter; his choices are therefore the reflection of his policy. Francis’ first list was anxiously awaited. And so nine of the sixteen new cardinals come from non-Western countries: there are five Latin Americans (Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Haiti, Nicaragua), two Africans (Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso), and two Asians (South Korea and the Philippines). This proportion is not spectacular but it has rarely been attained….Out of the six Europeans, four are ‘automatic’ nominations because of the posts occupied by these personages — these are ‘ministers’ of the Vatican. So it is with three Italians: the new Secretary of State, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, Archbishop Beniamino Stella, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, and Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, and also with the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the German Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller. By this minimalist choice of Curia officials — Francis could have appointed other heads of dicasteries, for instance the French Dominican Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues, achivist and librarian of the Holy Roman Church — this Pope is inaugurating a new way in which the cardinal’s hat is no longer necessarily connected with a ministerial post at the Vatican. The idea is to privilege the pastors on the ground in the Church’s Senate.
Here is a brief introduction to the four new cardinals of the Roman Curia.
Archbishop Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See, was ordained a priest in 1980. He spent his whole career in Vatican diplomacy. After entering the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in 1983, he was stationed in Nigeria (1986-1989), then in Mexico (1989-1992). He was then called back to the Secretariat of State, as minister for relations with Spain, Andorra, Italy and the Republic of St. Marin. In 2002 John Paul II appointed him undersecretary for relations with the States, which made him the third-ranking official in Vatican diplomacy. In 2009 he was appointed nuncio to Venezuela. Pope Francis chose him on August 31, 2013, to become his Secretary of State, a post that Archbishop Parolin has officially occupied since October 13 of that same year. (See DICI no. 281 dated September 13, 2013)
Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Born in Mainz (Germany), he was ordained a priest in 1978. As a member of the International Theological Commission from 1998 to 2002, he worked alongside his compatriot Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, within the framework of the dialogue with the Orthodox. He was appointed Bishop of Regensburg in October 2002 by John Paul II. Benedict XVI was the one who called on him in July 2012 to succeed the American Cardinal William Levada at the head of the CDF. (See DICI no. 262 dated October 12, 2012;  DICI no. 271 dated March 1, 2013;  DICI no.288 dated January 17, 2014).
Archbishop Beniamino Stella, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy since September 2013. Ordained a priest in 1966, he entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1970. Ordained a bishop by John Paul II in 1987, he was then appointed nuncio to the Congo (1987-1992), then to Cuba (1992-1999) and finally to Colombia (1999-2007). In 2007, Benedict XVI assigned him to direct the Pontifical Ecclesiastic Academy where future nuncios are trained. On September 21, 2013, Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Stella Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, which is in charge of priests and seminaries.
Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops since September 21, 2013. Ordained a priest in 1963 for the Diocese of Pisa, consecrated Archbishop in 1992, Archbishop Baldisseri had a long diplomatic career: he was nuncio in Haiti (1992-1995), in Paraguay (1995-1999), in India (1999-2002) and in Brazil (2002-2012). On January 11, 2012, he succeeded Archbishop Monteiro de Castro as Secretary of the Congregation for Bishops. Ex officio he became secretary of the College of Cardinals. In that capacity he served as secretary during the conclave in March 2013. By appointing him to the Synod of Bishops, Pope Francis made him one of the designers of the reform of the Curia, which is supposed to give that institution greater importance in the government of the Church.
(Sources:  VIS/Apic/Imedia/Figaro – DICI no. 288 dated January 17, 2014)
Friday, January 17, 2014
Efficacious Novena To The Sacred Heart Of Jesus

Efficacious Novena To The Sacred Heart Of Jesus
(This novena prayer was recited every day by Padre Pio for all those who asked his prayers)

I. O my Jesus, You have said, ‘Truly I say to you, ask and it will be given you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.’ Behold, I knock, I seek and ask for the grace of… Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory be to the Father… Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you. 

II. O my Jesus, You have said, ‘Truly I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, He will give it to you.’ Behold, in Your name, I ask the Father for the grace of… Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory be to the Father… Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you. 

III. O my Jesus, You have said, ‘Truly I say to you, heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away.’ Encouraged by Your infallible words, I now ask for the grace of… Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory be to the Father… Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you. 

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, for whom it is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us poor sinners and grant us the grace which we ask of You, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate heart of Mary, Your tender mother and ours. Hail, Holy Queen… St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Feast of St. Paul the First Hermit

Double (1954 Calendar): January 15

Today the Holy Church calls to mind the life of St. Paul of Thebes, an Egyptian hermit and friend of St. Jerome, who is often called St. Paul the First Hermit.  Born c. 229 AD in Egypt, he was left an orphan at about the age of fifteen and hid during the persecution of the Church under Emperor Traj anus Decius.

At the age of twenty-two, he went to the desert to circumvent a planned effort by his brother in law to report him to authorities as a Christian and thereby gain control of his property. Paul soon found that the eremitical life was much to his personal taste, and so remained in a desert cave for the rest of his reportedly very long life. His contemplative existence was disturbed by St. Anthony of Egypt, who visited the aged Paul. Anthony also buried Paul, wrapping him in a cloak that had been given to Anthony by St. Athanasius.

According to legend, two lions assisted Anthony in digging the grave. While there is little doubt that Paul lived, the only source for details on his life is found in the Vita Pauli written by St. Jerome and preserved in both Latin and Greek versions.

Dom Gueranger writes of St. Paul the First Hermit:

Today the Church honours the memory of one of those men who were expressly chosen by God to represent the sublime detachment from all things which was taught to the world by the example of the Son of God, born in a Cave, at Bethlehem. Paul the Hermit so prized the poverty of his Divine Master that he fled to the desert, where he could find nothing to possess and nothing to covet. He had a mere cavern for his dwelling; a palm-tree provided him with food and clothing; a fountain gave him wherewith to quench his thirst; and heaven sent him his only luxury, a loaf of bread brought to him daily by a crow. For sixty years did Paul thus serve, in poverty and in solitude, that God who was denied a dwelling on the earth he came to redeem, and could have but a poor Stable wherein to be born.

But God dwelt with Paul in his cavern; and in him began the Anchorites, that sublime race of men who, the better to enjoy the company of their God, denied themselves not only the society, but the very sight of men. They were the Angels of earth, in whom God showed forth, for the instruction of the rest of men, that he is powerful enough and rich enough to supply the wants of his creatures, who, indeed, have nothing but what they have from him. The Hermit, or Anchoret, is a prodigy in the Church, and it behoves us to glorify the God who has produced it. We ought to be filled with astonishment and gratitude, at seeing how the Mystery of a God made Flesh has so elevated our human nature as to inspire a contempt and abandonment of those earthly goods which heretofore had been so eagerly sought after.

The two names, Paul and Antony, are not to be separated; they are the two Apostles of the Desert; both are Fathers—Paul of Anchorites, and Antony of Cenobites; the two families are sisters, and both have the same source, the Mystery of Bethlehem. The sacred Cycle of the Church's year unites, with only a day between their two Feasts, these two faithful disciples of Jesus in his Crib.

The biography of St. Paul as written by St. Jerome is preserved and available for reading online.


O God, it is a joy for us to celebrate yearly the feast of Your blessed confessor Paul. May we who commemorate his birthday also imitate his example. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

The Order of Saint Paul the First Hermit (Latin: Ordo Fratrum Sancti Pauli Primi Eremitae) is a monastic order of the Roman Catholic Church, founded in Hungary during the 13th century. The Order's name is derived from the holy hermit who was canonized in 491 by Pope Gelasius I.  The coat of arms of the Order (pictured above) is taken from the example of St. Paul of Thebes.

Elements of the Coat of ArmsThe references to the traditions of the life of St. Paul, Hermit (by application)
The date palmSt. Paul the First Hermit produced clothing from the leaves of the palm tree
The fruit of the palm tree helped sustain the Hermit in the desert.
The Raven with a loaf of bread in its beakThis bird, through the grace of God, brought Half a loaf of bread to the Hermit every day for 90 years
LionsTwo lions dug a grave for St. Paul, where he buried by St. Anthony the Great
After his death, a monastery taking him as its model was founded on Mount Sinai and still exists today.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Delurker Day

It's Delurker Day! If you've been waiting for an opportunity to comment on my blog, this is your lucky day. Whether you're a regular commenter or a long-time secret reader — make yourself known today! Just say hi or introduce yourself. Tell me what you like about my blog.  Tell me what you'd like to see covered.  Above all, just make yourself known!
Monday, January 6, 2014
For Sale: First Mass Book Sacred Heart- Boys Book

I'm pleased to make available for purchase the First Mass Book Sacred Heart- Boys Book produced by the Catholic Book Publishing Corp from 2011. This book is available for only $4.95 (plus $1.00 shipping/handling). This is at a significant discount as compared with the price through all other distributors.

All are available in new condition! To order, please visit the following link. But, please hurray! Quantities are limited and this is available only on a first-come-first-serve basis.


Age Range: 4 and up
Type: Hardcover
Publisher: Catholic Book Publishing Corp (June 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0899428797
ISBN-13: 978-0899428796
Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 4 x 6.4 inches
Sunday, January 5, 2014
What is Epiphanytide?

Of all the seasons that the modern Catholic Calendar has neglected to properly retain and celebrate, Epiphanytide has, like Ascensiontide, fallen by the wayside.  But, for those Catholics committed to the Sacred Traditions of the past, Epiphanytide holds a special length of time.  Instead of having Christmastide turn into some oddly name "Ordinary Time" (after all did anyone even really understand its purpose or its oddly split up parts through the year), traditional Catholics will celebrate Christmastide, Epiphanytide, Septuagesima, and then finally begin the penance of Lent.

So what exactly is Epiphanytide and what customs do traditional Catholics observe during this time?

Octave of the Epiphany

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.

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. The changes under St. Pius X did not really change the practice of any of the Octaves, except for Simple Octaves - it just changed the category labels as Restore the '54 explains.

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 time frames:
  • 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
As one can notice, the Octave of the Epiphany ranked even higher than the Octave of Christmas! Dom Gueranger explains:

"A solemnity of such importance as the Epiphany could not be without an Octave. The only Octaves during the year that are superior to this of the Epiphany, are those of Easter and Pentecost. It has a privilege which the Octave of Christmas has not; for no Feast can be kept during the Octave of the Epiphany, unless it be that of a principal Patron; whereas Feasts of double and semi-double rite are admitted during the Christmas Octave. It would even seem, judging from the ancient Sacramentaries, that anciently the two days immediately following the Epiphany were Days of Obligation, as were the Monday and Tuesday of Easter and [Monday and Tuesday of] Whitsuntide. The names of the Stational Churches are given, where the Clergy and Faithful of Rome assembled on these two days." 

These days had to be before the Decretals of Gregory IX in 1234 as the two days following Epiphany are not mentioned in his catalog of holy days of obligation.

Season of Epiphanytide

The Sunday within that Octave was up until the reforms of 1955, the feast of the Holy Family, and Christmastide was reckoned as the twelve days ending on 5 January, followed by Epiphany time, 6-13 January. The following Sundays, until Septuagesima, were named as the "First (etc.) Sunday after Epiphany". Interestingly, before the changes in 1911, the Second Sunday of Epiphany was kept as the Feast of the Holy Name, since January 2nd, 3rd, and 4th were the Octave Days of the Comites and January 5th was the Vigil of the Epiphany.

The 1969 destruction in the General Roman Calendar defined Christmastide instead as extending from the Vigil Mass of Christmas on the evening of 24 December to the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (generally the Sunday after 6 January).

While sometimes performed (but often neglected in the Novus Ordo), the Feast of the Epiphany is a time for the blessing of one's home using blessed Chalk and holy water.  This tradition has a beautiful ritual in the Rituale Romanum and is described in my post: Blessing of Epiphany Chalk.

Because the date of Easter changes each year, two seasons of the Calendar have variable lengths in order to balance (after all there can not be more than 52 weeks in the year). The Season of Time After Pentecost can have as few as 23 Sundays or as many as 28 Sundays depending on the date of Easter. This season of Epiphanytide can have anywhere from 4 to 38 days, depending on the date of Easter. If this season is short, then Time after Pentecost will be longer; and if this season is long, Time after Pentecost will be shorter.  Makes sense, right?

But the spiritual focus of the season up through Candlemas is essentially a continuation of Christmas and contemplation of the Divine Childhood. After Candlemas (February 2nd), the celebration of events of His young life gives way to a focus on His adult life.

Candlemas (The Feast of the Purification of our Lady) is another day in which the Novus Ordo calendar greatly overlooks in importance.  The Feast of Candlemas, exactly 40 days after Christmas, commemorates Mary's obedience to the Mosaic law by submitting herself to the Temple for ritual purification, as commanded in Leviticus.

The Feast of the Purification is called Candlemas for the traditional blessing and distribution of candles on that day.  It is customary to bring candles from home to be blessed -- at least 51% beeswax candles that one uses for devotional purposes (candles for the family altar, Advent candles, etc.) -- so they can be lit after dusk on All Saints' Day (1 November), during the Sacrament of Unction, and during storms and times of trouble.  Nowadays, though, for those few parishes continuing this ancient observance, the parish will provide the candles.

Mass on Candlemas is typically preceded by a procession with lighted candles and the singing of anthems. The lighted candles are held during the reading of the Gospel and from the beginning of the Canon of the Mass to Communion.

And this Season of Epiphanytide also usually includes several beautiful feastdays rich in traditional customs such as the Feasts of St. Agnes, and St. Blaise (on which day the faithful's throats are blessed).

Let's remember not to neglect this season and give it our due observance.  After all, those of us praying the Older Breviary will find much beauty in the hymns and antiphons during this time.
Thursday, January 2, 2014
St. Gregory (Bishop): Feast on January 4th

This year as part of the 2014 Patron Saint of the Year Drawing, I drew the name of St. Gregory the bishop whose feastday is January 4th.  This St. Gregory is not to be confused with St. Gregory I (The Great) or St. Gregory VII or the other saints by this holy name.

After having drawn the name of this saint, I looked up his biography and was delighted to read it:
ST. GREGORY was one of the principal senators of Autun, and continued from the death of his wife a widower till the age of fifty-seven, et which time, for his singular virtues, he was consecrated Bishop of Langres, which see he governed with admirable prudence and zeal thirty-three years, sanctifying his pastoral labors by the most profound humility, assiduous prayer, and extraordinary abstinence and mortification. An incredible number of infidels were converted by him from idolatry, and worldly Christians from their disorders. He died about the beginning of the year 541, but some days after the Epiphany. Out of devotion to St. Benignus, he desired to be buried near that Saint's tomb at Dijon; this was executed by his virtuous son Tetricus, who succeeded him in his bishopric.
This year I have a chosen patron who exemplifies humility, prudence, and zeal who labored with great prayer and penance, as I hope to do this year as I again embrace the traditional 40 Day Lenten Fast and Abstinence (even though the modern Church does not have 40 days of such penance). I am honored to have St. Gregory as a heavenly companion of mine.

May St. Gregory pray for us all to preserve in our devotions and to win converts to the Faith and to help convert sinners.  St. Gregory, ora pro nobis!
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Catholic Resolutions 2014

Each year I have made what I call "Catholic Resolutions."  These New Years Resolutions are not centered on losing weight, eating more healthy, or the like.  Rather, these resolutions each year are centered around my spiritual life.  I encourage all of you to make resolutions specifically geared on improving your own Faith life and your own knowledge of the Faith.  Ask yourself:

1. Do I know the Faith that I profess to believe in?  If not, how can I learn more?  For example, has an ideal Adult Course just for this purpose.
2. Am I truly living a Catholic life?  Am I learning more prayers?  Am I helping others to learn the Faith and live it out?  Do I regularly receive the Sacraments?
3. Do you struggle with certain sins or addictions?

This is the time of year to truly set Catholic Resolutions which will have eternal repercussions.

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

2014 Catholic Resolutions

1.   Continue to pray the Rosary Daily
2.   Pray the Divine Office at least 1X Daily
3.   Network with 10 more Traditional Catholics
4.   Receive the rank of Squire in the Order of Knight of our Lady and make progress in my study towards the rank of Donate
5.   Bi-Weekly Confession to help conquer old habits

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.”