Friday, March 31, 2017
Catholic Virtual Tour of Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna

Last week I was privileged to travel to the cities of Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna as part of a 7-day long trip to Bavaria and Austria. I returned on the eve of the Feast of the Annunciation. Now, after taking a few days to settle back in, I would like to share some of the scenes from my trip. I am happy to present this Catholic Virtual Tour of Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna.

Note: All photos are copyright (c) 2017 by A Catholic Life Blog and may not be used without prior permission and without attribution.


My trip started in the city of Munich and included walking tours of the city, visits to historical Nazi/WWII locations, and time in the famous churches of Munich.  Here are some of those pictures:

The above images of the famous "Asam" Church in Munich

These images are of St. Anna, where the FSSP offers the Traditional Mass daily for those in Munich

These images are from the beautiful church of St. Michael in the heart of Munich.  Just steps away from St. Anna and several other churches, I found this to be one of the most beautiful churches I encountered on my trip.

And no trip to Munich would be complete with a visit to St. Peter's Church.  The Church preserves the body of St. Munditia on a side altar (pictured above).  Also, above is a stunning image of Our Lady of Sorrows in the Church.


Leaving Munich after spending a few days there, I ventured out to tour some of the castles of King Ludwig II including his famous Neuweinstein Castle.  It was breathtaking and the throne room of the castle looked like an altar sanctuary.  No photos were permitted but I must say that it was the most amazing room I have ever seen in my life.  Here are some photos of what I could capture on this leg of the trip:

Vienna, Austria:

After returning back to Munich from the castles, I rested for one night and then took a train out several hours eastward to Vienna (Wien). The city was a true gem of history, culture, and architecture.  And aside from Rome, this was the most beautiful city I have ever seen in my life.  Some of the highlights included:

The Austrian Parliament Building

The town hall in Vienna near Rathausplatz

The above three images are of the impressive and historic St. Stephen's Cathedral in the heart of Vienna

Salzburg, Austria:

After a day and one night in Vienna, I traveled back westward toward Munich but stopped for a few hours in Salzburg.  There I visited the home of Mozart (both his birthplace home as well as the place where he lived). I also spent time in the Salzburg Cathedral, its museums, and the beautiful Church of St. Peter, which includes outside its famous cemetery.

St. Peter's Church in Salzburg

The Cathedral in Salzburg


All in all, it was an awe-inspiring trip and one that I will remember.  I prayed for all of my benefactors intentions.  So thank you to everyone who was kind enough to donate to help me in the sidebar of this blog.  You can still donate and I will remember your intentions in prayer as I travel to Spain this June.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

“Pray! Pray a great deal! The hearts of Jesus and Mary of designs of mercy for you. Offer up prayers and sacrifices to the Most High...Make everything you do a sacrifice, and offer it as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended and in supplication for the conversion of sinners...Above all, accept and bear with submission the sufferings sent you by Our Lord...”

“Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference by which He is offended. And through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart, and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners...Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Repair their crimes and console your God”.
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
St. John of Capistrano

Double (1954 Calendar): March 28th

Today is the Feast of St. John of Capistrano.  On feastdays in Lent, more usually the Mass of the Lenten feria is said with only a commemoration of the feast - unlike the other seasons in the Church's liturgical year.

St. John of Capistrano was a Franciscan Friar and priest from Italy who was famous as a preacher, theologian, and inquisitor. John Capistran was the friend of four Popes: he reformed his order, and he evangelized Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Poland.

St. John was born in Abruzzi on June 24, 1385 in the kingdom of Naples. He became a famous lawyer and then was appointed governor of Perugia. At the age of 39 he entered the Franciscan Order.

St. John famously led a crusade against the Ottomons at the Siege of Belgrade. Mohammed II had taken the city of Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Empire, and was marching towards Belgrade. Pope Callistus III decreed a crusade and St. John Capistrano preached it in Pannonia and the other provinces. He enrolled over 70,000 Christians, aided by the Hungarian nobleman, John Hunyady. The warriors went to battle not with guns but pitchforks. Aided by the prayers of St. John Capistrano, the battle led to over 120,000 Turks slain and the retreat of Mohammed II, who was wounded himself. He renounced afterwards his intent to conquest the Christian West.

This victory at Belgrade in 1456 occurred as St. John neared the end of his earthly life. He died on October 23, 1456 in modern day Croatia. He was the chosen instrument of God for the defense of Christendom. May we have recourse to St. John's protection through our prayers and may we join in penance as we continue our Lenten discipline.


O God, blessed John manifested the power of the most holy name of Jesus when he led the faithful in triumph over the enemies of the Cross. May we overcome the deceits of our spiritual enemies and receive the crown of justice from You through the intercession of this saint. Through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord . . .
Monday, March 27, 2017
Bernard de Jusix: 11th Dominican Master

Continuing my articles on the Masters of the Dominican Order, we now arrive at the 11th Dominican Master: Bernard de Jusix.   For a quick recap on the previous Masters of the Order, please click here.

Bernard de Jusix governed the Order for only a few short years from 1301 to 1303.  In fact, little is known on Bernard de Jusix of certainty.  A quick internet search reveals little on his life.

In "The Dominicans" by Benedict M. Ashley, he writes of this era: "In these complex times Dominican community life suffered one of its sharpest declines in the Order's whole history. Although by 1303 it had reached 20,000 friars, the Black Death carried away a third and perhaps a half." Furthermore, he writes, "For the first half of the century the General Chapters were hampered by the rapid turn-over of Masters. Albert Chiavari (1300) died after three months. Bernard de Jusix in two years..."

Yet by the grace of God the Order of Friar Preachers spread and continues to serve the True Faith.

Let us pray for the repose of the soul of Bernard de Jusix and all Dominicans.  

Pater Noster. Ave Maria. Requiem aeternam.
St. John Damascene

Double (1954 Calendar): March 27th

Today is the Feast of St. John Damascene.  Also known as St. John of Damascus, St. John Damascene was a Syrian monk and priest who died in Mar Saba, near Jerusalem. On feastdays in Lent, more usually the Mass of the Lenten feria is said with only a commemoration of the feast - unlike the other seasons in the Church's liturgical year.

St. John Damascene - also known as St. John of Damascus - was born in 645 AD and lived until 749 AD.  The Roman Martyrology on this date proclaims: "St. John Damascene, priest, confessor, and doctor of the Church, whose birthday is commemorated on the 6th of May."

Butler's Lives of the Saints fittingly summarizes his life and example:
ST JOHN OF DAMASCUS, the last of the Greek fathers and the first of the long line of Christian Aristotelians, was also one of the two greatest poets of the Eastern church, the other being St Romanus the Melodist. The whole of the life of St John was spent under the government of a Mohammedan khalif, and it exhibits the strange spectacle of a Christian father of the Church protected from a Christian emperor, whose heresy he was able to attack with impunity because he lived under Moslem rule. He and St Theodore Studites were the principal and the ablest defenders of the cultus of sacred images in the bitterest period of the Iconoclastic controversy. As a theological and philosophical writer he made no attempt at originality, for his work was rather to compile and arrange what his predecessors had written. Still, in theological questions he remains the ultimate court of appeal among the Greeks, and his treatise Of the Orthodox Faith is still to the Eastern schools what the Summa of St Thomas Aquinas became to the West. 
The Moslem rulers of Damascus, where St John was born, were not unjust to their Christian subjects, although they required them to pay a poll tax and to submit to other humiliating conditions. They allowed both Christians and Jews to occupy important posts, and in many cases to acquire great fortunes. The khalif J s doctor was nearly always a Jew, whilst Christians were employed as scribes, administrators and architects. Amongst the officials at his court in 675 was a Christian called John, who held the post of chief of the revenue department — an office which seems to have become hereditary in his family. He was the father of our saint, and the surname of al-Mansur which the Arabs gave him was afterwards transferred to the son. The younger John was born about the year 690 and was baptized in infancy. 
With regard to his early education, if we may credit his biographer, " His father took care to teach him, not how to ride a horse, not how to wield a spear, not to hunt wild beasts and change his natural kindness into brutal cruelty, as happens to many. John, his father, a second Chiron, did not teach him all this, but he sought a tutor learned in all science, skilful in every form of knowledge, who would produce good words from his heart ; and he handed over his son to him to be nourished with this kind of food ". 
Afterwards he was able to provide another teacher, a monk called Cosmas, " beautiful in appearance and still more beautiful in soul ", whom the Arabs had brought back from Sicily amongst other captives. John the elder had to pay a great price for him, and well he might for, if we are to believe our chronicler, " he knew grammar and logic, as much arithmetic as Pythagoras and as much geometry as Euclid ". He taught all the sciences, but especially theology, to the younger John and also to a boy whom the elder John seems to have adopted, who also was called Cosmas, and who became a poet and a singer, sub- sequently accompanying his adopted brother to the monastery in which they both became monks. 
In spite of his theological training St John does not seem at first to have con- templated any career except that of his father, to whose office he succeeded. Even at court he was able freely to live a Christian life, and he became remarkable there for his virtues and especially for his humility. Nevertheless, after filling his responsible post for some years, St John resigned office, and went to be a monk in the laura of St Sabas (Mar Saba) near Jerusalem. It is still a moot point whether his earlier works against the iconoclasts were written while he was still at Damascus, but the best authorities since the days of the Dominican Le Quien, who edited his works in 17 12, incline to the opinion that he had become a monk before the outbreak of the persecution, and that all three treatises were composed at St Sabas. In any case John and Cosmas settled down amongst the brethren and occupied their spare time in writing books and composing hymns. 
It might have been thought that the other monks would appreciate the presence amongst them of so doughty a champion of the faith as John, but this was far from being the case. They said the new-comers were introducing disturbing elements. It was bad enough to write books, but it was even worse to compose and sing hymns, and the brethren were scandalized. The climax came when, at the request of a monk whose brother had died, John wrote a hymn on death and sang it to a sweet tune of his own composition. His master, an old monk whose cell he shared, rounded upon him in fury and ejected him from the cell. " Is this the way you forget your vows ? " he exclaimed. "In- stead of mourning and weeping, you sit in joy and delight yourself by singing." He would only permit him to return at the end of several days, on condition that he should go round the laura and clear up all the filth with his own hands. St John obeyed unquestioningly, but in the visions of the night our Lady appeared to the old monk and told him to allow his disciple to write as many books and as much poetry as he liked. From that time onwards St John was able to devote his time to study and to his literary work. 
The legend adds that he was sometimes sent, perhaps for the good of his soul, to sell baskets in the streets of Damascus where he had once occupied so high a post. It must, however, be confessed that these details, written by his biographer more than a century after the saint's death, are of very questionable authority. 
If the monks at St Sabas did not value the two friends, there were others outside who did. The patriarch of Jerusalem, John V, knew them well by reputation and wished to have them amongst his clergy. First he took Cosmas and made him bishop of Majuma, and afterwards he ordained John priest and brought him to Jerusalem. St Cosmas, we are told, ruled his flock admirably until his death, but St John soon returned to his monastery. He revised his writings carefully, " and wherever they flourished with blossoms of rhetoric, or seemed superfluous in style, he prudently reduced them to a sterner gravity, lest they should have any display of levity or want of dignity ". His works in defence of eikons had become known and read everywhere, and had earned him the hatred of the persecuting emperors.

Almighty and Eternal God, You endowed blessed John with divine learning and wondrous fortitude of soul in order that he might defend the veneration of sacred images. May the example and prayers of blessed John help us to imitate the virtues and enjoy the protection of the saints whose images we venerate. Through our Lord . . .

Friday, March 24, 2017
St. Gabriel the Archangel

Greater Double (1954 Calendar): March 24th

Today is the Feast of St. Gabriel the Archangel.  On feastdays in Lent, more often the Mass of the Lenten feria is said with only a commemoration of the feast - unlike the other seasons in the Church's liturgical year. Today is also the day before the Feast of the Annunciation - which commemorates the announcement to Mary that she would conceive and give birth to the Lord. March 25th is the most important day in human history 3 times over!

The following is taken from Butler's Lives of the Saints for today:
By a decree of the Congregation of Sacred Rites dated October 26, 1921, issued by command of Pope Benedict XV, it was directed that the feast of St Gabriel the Archangel should be kept in future as a greater double on March 24 throughout the Western church. 
As the question of the liturgical celebration of festivals in honour of the great archangels will be more naturally treated in connection with the older feast of St Michael on September 29, it will be sufficient here to point out that according to Daniel (ix 21) it was Gabriel who announced to the prophet the time of the coming of the Messiah, that it was he again who appeared to Zachary "standing on the right side of the altar of incense" (Luke i 10 and 19) to make known the future birth of the Precursor, and finally that it was he who as God's ambassador was sent to Mary at Nazareth (Luke i 26) to proclaim the mystery of the Incarnation.  
It was therefore very appropriate that Gabriel should be honoured on this day which immediately precedes the feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin. There is abundant archaeological evidence that the cultus of St Gabriel is in no sense a novelty. 
An ancient chapel close beside the Appian Way, rescued from oblivion by Armellini, preserves the remains of a fresco in which the prominence given to the figure of the archangel, his name being written underneath, strongly suggests that he was at one time honoured in that chapel as principal patron. There are also many representations of Gabriel in the early Christian art both of East and West which make it plain that his connection with the sublime mystery of the Incarnation was remembered by the faithful in ages long anterior to the devotional revival of the thirteenth century.  
This messenger is the appropriate patron-saint of postal, telegraph and telephone workers. See the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, vol. xiii (1921), and the note to Michael the Archangel on September 29.
It was St. Gabriel, according to some, who also announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds. And according to Dom Gueranger in his "Liturgical Year," was the angel that comforted our Lord in the Garden before the beginning of His Passion: "Lastly, when Jesus is suffering His agony in the garden of Gethsemani, an angel appears to Him, not merely as a witness of His sufferings, but that he might strengthen Him under the fear His human nature felt at the thought of the chalice of the Passion He was about to drink. Who is this angel? It is Gabriel, as we learn not only from the writings of several holy and learned authors, but also from a hymn which the Holy See has permitted to be used in the liturgy."

More Reading for Today: What are Angels? A Summary & Exposition on Angels for Catholics

Gabriel, angel of light, and strength of God!
whom our Emmanuel selected from the rest of the heavenly princes,
that thou shouldst expound unto Daniel
the mystery of the savage goat.

Thou didst joyfully hasten to the prophet as he prayed,
and didst tell him of the sacred weeks,
which were to give us the birth of the King of heaven,
and enrich us with plenteous joy.

’Tis thou didst bring to the parents of the Baptist
the wondrous and gladsome tidings that Elizabeth,
though barren, and Zachary,
though old, should have a son.

What the prophets had foretold from the beginning of the world,
this thou didst announce in all the fulness
of the mystery to the holy virgin,
telling her that she was to be the true Mother of God.

Thou, fair spirit, didst fill the Bethlehem shepherds with joy,
when thou didst tell them the heavenly tidings;
and with thee a host of angels sang
the praises of the newborn God.

As Jesus was in prayer on that last night,
when a bloody sweat bathed his limbs,
thou didst leave heaven to be near him,
and offer him the chalice that his Father willed him to drink.

O blessed Trinity!
strengthen Catholic hearts with the heavenly gift of faith.
Give us grace,
as we to thee give glory for ever.



O God, from among all the angels You chose the archangel Gabriel as the messenger of the mystery of Your Incarnation. May his intercession in heaven help us as we celebrate his feast on earth; who lives and rules with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.
Saturday, March 18, 2017
St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Double (1954 Calendar): March 18th

Today is the Feast of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, a Doctor of the Church.  On feastdays in Lent, more usually the Mass of the Lenten feria is said with only a commemoration of the feast - unlike the other seasons in the Church's liturgical year.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem was born in 313 AD around the same time that Christianity was finally legalized in the Roman Empire.  The holy saint would in 349 AD be ordained the bishop of the holy city of Jerusalem, yet he would not be free from sufferings even in the era of the legalization of Christianity.  On three occasions St. Cyril was banished from Jerusalem by various bishops and emperors who espoused the Arian heresy.

In May of 381, Theodosius called the second ecumenical council at Constantinople to resolve theological disputes. Since Theodosius was the Emperor of the East at this time (he did not become the Emperor of the entire Roman Empire until 392) only the Eastern Bishops were invited. The Council met in the church of Hagia Irene (Holy Peace). Although only 150 Bishops attended, several have become recognized as saints – Gregory of Nazianzus, Meletius of Antioch, Gregory of Nyssa, Peter of Sebaste, Pelagius of Laodicea, Eulogius of Edessa, Amphilochius of Iconium and Cyril of Jerusalem - just to name a few.  The most important contribution from this Council was the expansion of the Nicene Creed.  The new Nicene – Constantinopolitan Creed described the incarnation, suffering and death of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Dr. Italy on CrossRoad Initiatives further elaborates:
Saint Cyril of Jerusalem is one of the most important sources we have for how the church celebrated the liturgy and sacraments during the first few decades after the legalization of Christianity. In his famous 24 lectures commonly known as the Jerusalem Catecheses, Saint Cyril instructs new Christians in the days immediately before and after their initiation into the life of the Church at the Easter Vigil. In these catechetical instructions, which are the only documents that survive by St. Cyril, we find very strong insistence on the value and efficacy of the sacrament of baptism as well as heavy emphasis on the real presence of Christ’s body and blood in the sacrament of the Eucharist.  
St. Cyril of Jerusalem is considered to be one of the Early Church Fathers and is also reckoned among the number of the Doctors of the Catholic Church. St. Cyril of Jerusalem died about 386 AD, shortly after the First Council of Constantinople which completed the Creed commonly known as the Nicene Creed.  (bio by Dr. Italy)
You may read his 24 lectures online for free.  Click here for Part 1 and click here for Part 2.


O Almighty God, may the prayers of Your blessed bishop Cyril help us to know You, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent, so that we may be numbered among the flock that obeys His voice. Through the same Jesus Christ . . .
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
How Did Jesus Pay the Debt for All Sins?

Meditations for Each Day of Lent
by St. Thomas Aquinas

Wednesday After the Second Sunday

The Passion of Christ brought about our salvation
because it was an act of satisfaction

He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for those of the whole world.--I John ii. 2.

Satisfaction for offences committed is truly made when there is offered to the person offended a thing which he loves as much as, or more than, he hates the offences committed.

Christ, however, by suffering out of love and out of obedience, offered to God something greater by far than the satisfaction called for by all the sins of all mankind, and this for three reasons. In the first place, there was the greatness of the love which moved Him to suffer. Then there was the worth of the life which He laid down in satisfaction, the life of God and man. Finally, on account of the way in which His Passion involved every part of His being, and of the greatness of the suffering he undertook.

So it is that the Passion of Christ was not merely sufficient but superabundant as a satisfaction for men's sins. It would seem indeed to be the case that satisfaction should be made by the person who committed the offence. But head and members are as it were one mystical person, and therefore the satisfaction made by Christ avails all the faithful as they are the members of Christ. One man can always make satisfaction for another, so long as the two are one in charity.

2. Although Christ, by His death, made sufficient satisfaction for original sin, it is not unfitting that the penal consequences of original sin should still remain even in those who are made sharers in Christ's redemption. This has been done fittingly and usefully, so that the penalties remain even though the guilt has been removed.

(i) It has been done so that there might be conformity between the faithful and Christ, as there is conformity between members and head. Just as Christ first of all suffered many pains and came in this way to His glory, so it is only right that His faithful should also first be subjected to sufferings and thence enter into immortality, themselves bearing as it were the livery of the Passion of Christ so as to enjoy a glory somewhat like to His.

(ii) A second reason is that if men coming to Christ were straightway freed from suffering and the necessity of death, only too many would come to Him attracted rather by these temporal advantages than by spiritual things. And this would be altogether contrary to the intention of Christ, who came into this world that He might convert men from a love of temporal advantages and win them to spiritual things.

(iii) Finally, if those who came to Christ were straightway rendered immortal and impassible, this would in a kind of way compel men to receive the faith of Christ, and so the merit of believing would be lessened.
Monday, March 13, 2017
Albertus de Chiavari: 10th Dominican Master

Continuing my articles on the Masters of the Dominican Order, we now arrive at the 10th Dominican Master: Albertus de Chiavari.  Albertus governed the Dominican Order after Nicola Boccasini (Pope Benedict XI), left the role when he was elected as the Supreme Pontiff.

For a quick recap on the previous Masters of the Order, please click here.

Albertus de Chiavari governed the Order only for less than one year.  In fact, little is known on Albertus of certainty.  A quick internet search reveals nothing on his life.  

Let us pray for this "forgotten" Dominican and all those in the past ages who have no one to pray for them now.

Pater Noster. Ave Maria.
Sunday, March 12, 2017
St. Gregory the Great

Double (1954 Calendar): March 12
III Class (1962 Calendar): March 12 (2nd Class in England & Wales)

Today is the Feast of St. Gregory I (i.e., St. Gregory the Great), who ruled the Church as Pope from September 3, 590 AD until his death on March 12, 604 AD.  During Lent, the Lenten feria is said with only a commemoration of the feast per the 1962 rubrics - unlike the other seasons in the Church's liturgical year. Yet even with that being the case, today is still worth reflecting on this great saint in the midst of our Lenten discipline.

Let's read what the Roman Martyrology says of St. Gregory: "Also at Rome, the raising to the Sovereign Pontificate of St. Gregory the Great. This incomparable man, being forced to take that burden upon himself, sent forth from the exalted throne brighter rays of sanctity upon the world." His contributions to the Liturgy and to the Church's official music (named Gregorian Chant after him) along with his charity will never be forgotten. He was the first pope to take the title "servant of the servants of God," and all Popes since have kept as an official title.

Dom Gueranger writes in part on him:

Among all the pastors whom our Lord Jesus Christ has placed, as His vicegerents, over the universal Church, there is not one whose merits and renown have surpassed those of the holy Pope, whose feast we keep to-day. His name is Gregory, which signifies watchfulness; his surname is ‘the Great,’ and he was in possession of that title, when God sent the Seventh Gregory, the glorious Hildebrand, to govern His Church. In recounting the glories of this illustrious Pontiff, it is but natural we should begin with his zeal for the services of the Church. 

The Roman liturgy, which owes to him some of its finest hymns, may be considered as his work, at least in this sense, that it is he who collected together and classified the prayers and rites drawn up by his predecessors, and reduced them to the form in which we now have them. He collected also the ancient chants of the Church, and arranged them in accordance with the rules and requirements of the divine Service. Hence it is, that our sacred music, which gives such solemnity to the liturgy, and inspires the soul with respect and devotion during the celebration of the great mysteries of our faith, is known as the Gregorian chant. He is, then, the apostle of the liturgy, and this alone would have immortalized his name; but we must look for far greater things from such a Pontiff as Gregory. His name was added to the three, who had hitherto been honoured as the great Doctors of the Latin Church. These three are Ambrose, Augustine, and Jerome; who else could be the fourth but Gregory? The Church found in his writings such evidence of his having been guided by the Holy Ghost, such a knowledge of the sacred Scriptures, such a clear appreciation of the mysteries of faith, and such unction and authority in his teachings, that she gladly welcomed him as a new guide for her children.

The following account of his life is from the Traditional reading of Matins:

Gregory the Great, a Roman by birth, was son of the senator Gordian. He applied early to the study of philosophy, and was entrusted with the office of prætor. After his father’s death he built six monasteries in Sicily, and a seventh, under the title of Saint Andrew, in his own house in Rome, near the basilica of Saints John and Paul, on the hill Scaurus. In this last named monastery, he embraced the monastic life, under the guidance of Hilarión and Maximian, and was, later on, elected abbot. Shortly afterwards, he was created Cardinal-Deacon, and was by Pope Pelagius sent to Constantinople, as legate, to confer with the emperor Constantine. While there, he achieved that celebrated victory over the patriarch Eutychius, who had written against the resurrection of the flesh, maintaining that it would not be a real one. Gregory so convinced him of his error, that the emperor threw his book into the fire. Eutychius himself fell ill not long after, and when he perceived his last hour had come, he took between his fingers the skin of his hand, and said before the many who were there: ‘I believe that we shall all rise in this flesh.’

On his return to Rome, he was chosen Pope, by unanimous consent, for Pelagius had been carried off by the plague. He refused, as long as it was possible, the honour thus offered him. He disguised himself and hid himself in a cave; but he was discovered by a pillar of fire shining over the place, and was consecrated at Saint Peter’s. As Pontiff, he was an example to his successors by his learning and holiness of life. He every day admitted pilgrims to his table, among whom he received, on one occasion, an angel, and, on another, the Lord of angels, who wore the garb of a pilgrim. He charitably provided for the poor, both in and out of Rome, and kept a list of them. He re-established the Catholic faith in several places where it had fallen into decay. Thus, he put down the Donatists in Africa, and the Arians in Spain; and drove the Agnoites out of Alexandria. He refused to give the pallium to Syagrius, bishop of Autun, until be should have expelled the Neophyte heretics from Gaul. He induced the Goths to abandon the Arian heresy. He sent Augustine and other monks into Britain, and, by these learned and saintly men, converted that island to the faith of Christ Jesus; so that Bede truly calls him the Apostle of England. He checked the haughty pretensions of John, the patriarch of Constantinople, who had arrogated to himself the title of bishop of the universal Church. He obliged the emperor Mauritius to revoke the decree, whereby he had forbidden any soldier to become a monk.

He enriched the Church with many most holy practices and laws. In a Council held at St. Peter’s he passed several decrees. Among these, the following may be mentioned: That in the Mass the Kyrie eleison should be said nine times; that the Alleluia should always be said, except during the interval between Septuagesima and Easter. That these words should be inserted in the Canon: Diesque nostros in tua pace disponas (And mayst thou dispose our days in thy peace). He increased the number of processions (litanies) and stations, and completed the Office of the Church. He would have the four Councils, of Nicea, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon, to be received with the same honour as the four Gospels. He allowed the bishops of Sicily, who, according to the ancient custom of their Churches, used to visit Rome every three years, to make that visit once every fifth year. He wrote several books; and Peter the deacon assures us, that he frequently saw the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove resting on the head of the Pontiff, while he was dictating. It is a matter of wonder that, with his incessant sickness and ill health, he would have said, done, written, and decreed, as he did. At length, after performing many miracles, he was called to his reward in heaven, after a pontificate of thirteen years, six months and ten days; it was on the fourth of the Ides of March (March 12), which the Greeks also observe as a great feast, on account of this Pontiff’s extraordinary learning and virtue. His body was buried in the basilica of Saint Peter near the secretarium.


O God, You rewarded the soul of Your servant Gregory with eternal happiness. Mercifully relieve us from the oppressive weight of our sins through the intercession of this saint. Through Our Lord . . .
Prayer on the Imposition of the Papal Tiara

In the coronation of all popes — including Pius XII, on March 12, 1939 — the tiara is placed on the candidate’s head with the words: “Receive the tiara adorned with three crowns and know that thou art Father of princes and kings, Ruler of the world, Vicar of our Savior Jesus Christ.”

If this phraseology had not been sanctified by long usage, it would not have been coined in this generation to express the relation of the pope to the political and social order; but it would not have been created in the first place if it had not meant then what it says — “Ruler of the world.”
Thursday, March 9, 2017
Sacred Metals

I recently came across the website which offers a number of beautiful medals, crosses, Rosaries, Rings, and more.  While I have not used them personally, I have been very impressed with their selection and their apparent quality.

They are currently offering a Lenten sale of up to 50% off. Check them out and if you have used them, please let me know your thoughts.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017
The Lenten Ember Fast Starts Today

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

Ember Days this Lent: March 8, 10, and 11

From New Advent:

Ember days (corruption from Lat. Quatuor Tempora, four times) are the days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence. They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) for the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after 13 December (S. Lucia), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday, and after 14 September (Exaltation of the Cross). The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy. The immediate occasion was the practice of the heathens of Rome. The Romans were originally given to agriculture, and their native gods belonged to the same class.

At the beginning of the time for seeding and harvesting religious ceremonies were performed to implore the help of their deities: in June for a bountiful harvest, in September for a rich vintage, and in December for the seeding; hence their feriae sementivae, feriae messis, and feri vindimiales. The Church, when converting heathen nations, has always tried to sanctify any practices which could be utilized for a good purpose. At first the Church in Rome had fasts in June, September, and December; the exact days were not fixed but were announced by the priests. The "Liber Pontificalis" ascribes to Pope Callistus (217-222) a law ordering: the fast, but probably it is older. Leo the Great (440-461) considers it an Apostolic institution. When the fourth season was added cannot be ascertained, but Gelasius (492-496) speaks of all four. This pope also permitted the conferring of priesthood and deaconship on the Saturdays of ember week--these were formerly given only at Easter.

Before Gelasius the ember days were known only in Rome, but after his time their observance spread. They were brought into England by St. Augustine; into Gaul and Germany by the Carlovingians. Spain adopted them with the Roman Liturgy in the eleventh century. They were introduced by St. Charles Borromeo into Milan. The Eastern Church does not know them. The present Roman Missal, in the formulary for the Ember days, retains in part the old practice of lessons from Scripture in addition to the ordinary two: for the Wednesdays three, for the Saturdays six, and seven for the Saturday in December. Some of these lessons contain promises of a bountiful harvest for those that serve God.

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

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

Since the late 5th century, the Ember Days were also the preferred dates for ordination of priests. So during these times the Church had a threefold focus: (1) sanctifying each new season by turning to God through prayer, fasting and almsgiving; (2) giving thanks to God for the various harvests of each season; and (3) praying for the newly ordained and for future vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
Friday, March 3, 2017
Book Review: Saint Junipero Serra's Camino by Stephen Binz

Back in 2014 I spent a week visiting southern California - specifically Los Angeles down to San Diego. As part of my journey, I visited several missions including the Mission Basilica of San Diego de Alcala and Mission San Juan Capistrano.

Flash forward to early 2017.  I was contacted by Pete Socks in January with an opportunity to review one of Franciscan Media's newest books entitled Saint Junipero Serra's Camino by Stephen Binz.  As someone went on a pilgrimage to Rome last year, I jumped at the chance.  I found travel guide books very helpful in making the most out of pilgrimage in Rome, and I was excited to see how a guidebook would help in promoting the Catholicity of the California missions.  I was excited to have the chance to read Stephen Binz's book for myself.

And the result?  I wish I had this book back in 2014 when I first went to California.  In fact, I have not seen a book that so appropriately and usefully summarizes the missions.  This book importantly goes further than merely presenting the facts as to what is in each mission.  The book highlights the history of the missions and includes relevant prayers, litanies, and Scripture readings in each chapter, thus making this an ideal companion for those on pilgrimage in Southern California.

The book is easy to read, spiritually uplifting, and conveniently fits in your travel bag.  As a result, I'm happy to recommend this book to all.  To learn more, please check out Saint Junipero Serra's Camino by Stephen Binz on

For those interested in journeying with this book to the missions founded by St. Junipero Serra, the following are just a few of the images from my travels there:

St. Junipero Serra, pray for us and for the Church!
Thursday, March 2, 2017
31-Day St. Joseph Daily Reflection Manual: Free PDF

Did you know that the Month of March is dedicated to St. Joseph?

31-Day St. Joseph Daily Reflection 

Originally composed by St. Alphonsus Liguori, the text in this booklet was adapted by Hugh J. O'Connell, C.SS.R. Printed with an Imprimatur in 1962, it is now difficult to find. The text was recently arranged as a pdf download, ready to print at home for family devotions. The booklet is composed of 31 short but fervent devotions to St. Joseph, arranged for each day in the month. Every line bears testimony to the respect, confidence, and love which St. Alphonsus felt for the foster father of Jesus.

Via: SSPX Website

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