Search A Catholic Life:

Monday, June 18, 2018
Commemoration of Sts. Mark and Marcellianus
edit_button


Today Holy Mother Church celebrates the feast day of St. Ephrem and also calls to mind a Commemoration of Sts. Mark and Marcellianus

Sts. Mark and Marcellianus were both brothers and deacons of the Roman Church. These two holy martyrs were slain by arrows, after two days of suffering early in the reign of Diocletian.  Their crime?  Being a Catholic. 

The Daily Prayers website summarizes their last days in this world:
During the Diocletian period of Christian persecution, St’s Mark & Marcellian were arrested and imprisoned for practising their faith. Despite pleas from their parents and family, St’s Mark and Marcellian, with the guidance of St Sebastian (also imprisoned), refused to renounce their faith and offer sacrifice to the Roman gods. Indeed, St Sebastian converted their parents, the local prefect, other prison officials and many prisoners to Christianity as well as, miraculously healing an official’s wife, Zoe.  
One of the converted officials released the prisoners, however, St’s Mark and Marcellian were later rearrested and condemned to be hanged for a day upside down while nailed between two pillars. They were then pierced with lances. Many of the remaining prisoners and officials were also captured and executed including Zoe, who was burnt alive.
Collect:

O Almighty God, may the prayers of Your blessed martyrs Mark and Marcellian, whose heavenly birthday we celebrate today, rescue us from all the dangers that threaten to overcome us. Through our Lord . . .
Read more >>
Saturday, June 16, 2018
St. John Francis Regis (Mass in Some Places)
edit_button


Today is a feria day on the Universal Calendar but in some parts of the world, it is the Feast of St. John Francis Regis.  His life is summarized by Deacon John Giglio Jr:

Born into a family of some wealth, John Francis was so impressed by his Jesuit educators that he himself wished to enter the Society of Jesus. He did so at age 18. Despite his rigorous academic schedule he spent many hours in chapel, often to the dismay of fellow seminarians who were concerned about his health. Following his ordination to the priesthood, he undertook missionary work in various French towns. While the formal sermons of the day tended toward the poetic, his discourses were plain. But they revealed the fervor within him and attracted people of all classes. Father Regis especially made himself available to the poor. Many mornings were spent in the confessional or at the altar celebrating Mass; afternoons were reserved for visits to prisons and hospitals.

The Bishop of Viviers, observing the success of Father Regis in communicating with people, sought to draw on his many gifts, especially needed during the prolonged civil and religious strife then rampant throughout France. With many prelates absent and priests negligent, the people had been deprived of the sacraments for 20 years or more. Various forms of Protestantism were thriving in some cases while a general indifference toward religion was evident in other instances. For three years Father Regis traveled throughout the diocese, conducting missions in advance of a visit by the bishop. He succeeded in converting many people and in bringing many others back to religious observances.

Though Father Regis longed to work as a missionary among the North American Indians in Canada, he was to live out his days working for the Lord in the wildest and most desolate part of his native France. There he encountered rigorous winters, snowdrifts and other deprivations. Meanwhile, he continued preaching missions and earned a reputation as a saint. One man, entering the town of Saint-Andé, came upon a large crowd in front of a church and was told that people were waiting for "the saint" who was coming to preach a mission.

The last four years of his life were spent preaching and in organizing social services, especially for prisoners, the sick and the poor. In the autumn of 1640, Father Regis sensed that his days were coming to a conclusion. He settled some of his affairs and prepared for the end by continuing to do what he did so well: speaking to the people about the God who loved them. On December 31, he spent most of the day with his eyes on the crucifix. That evening, he died. His final words were: "Into thy hands I commend my spirit."

He was canonized in 1737.
Read more >>
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Commemoration of Saints Basilides, Cyrinus, Nabor, and Nazarius
edit_button

Today, besides the Feastday of St. John of San Facundo, is the commemoration of Sts.  Basilides, Cyrinus, Nabor, and Nazarius.

These saints are yet another example to us of the life we are called to live as Christians.  Namely, we are called to devote our entire lives to God and His Church.  While many of us will never suffer death for the Faith, we must be willing to endure all things so long as we keep the Faith and reach Heaven.  These saints, like so many others, help us put that into perspective in our lives in this modern world.

Liturgia Latina summarizes their lives:
These saints, Roman soldiers, noble by birth and illustrious by their virtues, became Christians under Diocletian. Arrested and cast into prison, they were condemned to death and beheaded. Their bodies were thrown to the wild beasts who respected them; they were buried with honour by the Christians.
They suffered and died for the faith around the year 303 AD.

Collect:

O Lord, may the keeping of this festival of the heavenly birthday of Thy holy martyrs, Basilides, Cyrinus, Nabor and Nazarius, shed brightness on our lives; and may the eternal glory granted them, be increased by the devout service we pay Thee.
Read more >>
Friday, June 8, 2018
Mass Propers for the Feast of the Sacred Heart
edit_button

For more information on the spirituality and devotions for this feast day, please see the post: Feast of the Sacred Heart.

The Traditional Mass Propers for the Feast of the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ:

This Feast occurs on the Friday after the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost, which traditionally was the day immediately following the Octave Day of Corpus Christi.  Thus, after having celebrated 8 days honoring the august Sacrament of the Altar, we now honor the Sacred Heart and render Him our acts of fitting reparation for all sins, indifference, and offenses.

INTROIT  Ps. 32:11, 19 
The thoughts of His heart stand through all generations, to deliver their souls from death, and keep them alive in spite of famine.
Ps. 32:1. Rejoice in the Lord, you just; praise befits the upright.
V. Glory be . . .

COLLECT
O God, through Your mercy we possess the treasures of Your love in the Sacred Heart of Your Son, the same Sacred Heart which we wounded by our sins. May our honor, devotion, and love make reparation to Him for our faults. Through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord . . .

EPISTLE Eph. 3:8-12, 14-19
Brethren: To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith--that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

GRADUAL Ps. 24:8-9The Lord is kind and just, therefore He shows even the erring the way.
V. He guides the humble in justice, He teaches the meek His way.

Alleluia, alleluia! V. Matt. 11:29
Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your souls. Alleluia!

GOSPEL John 19:31-37
At that time, the Jews, since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness--his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth--that you also may believe. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken." And again another Scripture says, "They will look on him whom they have pierced."

OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Ps. 68:21
My heart dreaded reproach and misery, and I looked for someone to sympathize with Me, but there was none. I sought for someone to comfort Me, and I found none.

SECRET
O Lord, behold the love in the heart of Your beloved Son, which no tongue can describe. Because of that love, accept our gift as an offering in atonement for our sins. Through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord . . .

COMMUNION ANTIPHON John 19:34
One of the soldiers opened His side with a lance, and immediately there came out blood and water.

POSTCOMMUNION
O Lord Jesus, let the Blessed Sacrament fire us with a holy fervor, that we may experience the sweetness of Your loving Heart and learn to prefer the things of Heaven to those of earth; who lives and reigns with God the Father . . .
Read more >>
Sunday, June 3, 2018
The Catholic Church and Slavery in the Americas
edit_button


You've probably heard the claims that the Catholic Church and/or Christopher Columbus encouraged or contributed to the slavery of the Native Americans or the Africans.  Such a claim is a bold faced lie.

In 1435, Pope Eugene IV officially condemned the enslavement of the black natives of the Canary Islands. He decreed that all European masters were to free the enslaved within 15 days or face excommunication - the highest penalty of the Church (Sicut Dudum). In that papal bull, the Holy Father stated:
"They have deprived the natives of their property or turned it to their own use, and have subjected some of the inhabitants of said islands to perpetual slavery (subdiderunt perpetuae servituti), sold them to other persons and committed other various illicit and evil deeds against them.... Therefore We ... exhort, through the sprinkling of the Blood of Jesus Chris...ed for their sins, one and all, temporal princes, lords, captains, armed men, barons, soldiers, nobles, communities and all others of every kind among the Christian faithful of whatever state, grade or condition, that they themselves desist from the aforementioned deeds, cause those subject to them to desist from them, and restrain them rigorously. And no less do We order and command all and each of the faithful of each sex that, within the space of fifteen days of the publication of these letters in the place where they live, that they restore to their pristine liberty all and each person of either sex who were once residents of said Canary Islands ... who have been made subject to slavery (servituti subicere). These people are to be totally and perpetually free and are to be let go without the exaction or reception of any money."
Columbus shortly afterward began to find a nation that would sponsor his exhibition.  At this tumultuous time in history when so many nations revolted against God, it was the Spanish Crown alone that remained faithful to the Cross and the Church of Jesus Christ.  The book, "Garcia Moreno" explains:
"To this profoundly Catholic people [Spain] God entrusted the evangelization of those millions of his children who, until then, had been plunged in the depths of a sea of shadows.  For eighteen years Christopher Columbus, the strange genius to whom God had given the presentiment of the existence of unknown worlds, had been wandering from kingdom to kingdom looking for a prince desirous of being Christ's messenger; but everywhere, in Genoa, in Venice, in France and in England, he had been regarded as a visionary and an adventurer.  Finally God led him to the court of Spain, where Catholic Isabella, no less zealous than he for the salvation of souls, looked favorably on his expedition.  Subsequently Columbus discovered America and the Sovereign Pontiff, in the name of Christ - King of all peoples under the sun - gave the kings of Spain entitlement to all the new islands and continents, 'on condition that they would make Jesus Christ known in these distant lands and, for that purpose, send to the aforesaid islands and territories good and god-fearing men, filled with doctrine, wisdom and experience, to instruct the inhabitants in the Catholic faith and fashion them in good conduct' (Bull Inter extera of 1493)" (Page 7)
Soon afterward, in 1537, Pope Paul III attributed the slavery of the West Indian and South American natives to Satan in Sublimis Deus (June 2, 1537).  The Church worked tirelessly to save the souls of the Indians and the natives and, when the allure of gold filled the hearts of avaricious men who arrived in the New World, the Church responded by condemning all attacks and affronts on these people.  If we look at the life of St. Turibe, Archbishop of Lima, who traveled around 21,000 miles on foot to preach to the Spanish and Indians and offer the Sacraments, we understand the zeal that the Church had for souls.  St. Turibe slept on the bare ground, crossed high mountains, traveled in deep forests, and suffered for years from hungry all to save the souls of the inhabitants of that land.  Indeed, St. Peter Claver, a slave himself, along with St. Martin de Porres show us incredible examples of holiness.

Columbus himself was a Third Order Franciscan who labored for the good of souls his whole life.  He prayed the Office daily.  And it was Columbus, who when we saw the New World being flooded by men who sought only gain and greed, reproached the Spanish Crown with the words, "Your Highnesses must not permit any Spaniard to go to America unless he is a true Christian, for this enterprise had no other aim but the glory of the Catholic religion" (Page 10 of Garcia Moreno).  More on the life of Christopher Columbus can be read in the article "Christopher Columbus: Catholic Explorer" or in the You-Tube video: Columbus the Holy Admiral.

Further condemnations of slavery by the Church emerged under Popes Gregory XIV (1591), Urban VIII (Commissum Nobis, 1639), Innocent XI (1686), Benedict XIV (Immensa Pastorum, 1741), and Pius VII (1815).

Pope Gregory XVI wrote: "We, by apostolic authority, warn and strongly exhort... that no one in the future dares to bother unjustly, despoil of their possessions, or reduce to slavery Indians, Blacks or other such peoples... We prohibit and strictly forbid any Ecclesiastic or lay person from presuming to defend as permissible this trade in Blacks under no matter what pretext or excuse, or from publishing or teaching in any manner whatsoever, in public or privately, opinions contrary to what We have set forth in these Apostolic Letters" (In Supremo Apostolatus, 1839).

Pope Leo XIII writes, "In the presence of so much suffering, the condition of slavery, in which a considerable part of the great human family has been sunk in squalor and affliction now for many centuries, is deeply to be deplored; for the system is one which is wholly opposed to that which was originally ordained by God and by nature" (On the Abolition of Slavery, 1888)

Indeed, it can be truly said that no organization worked more for the abolishment of slavery than the Catholic Church.
Read more >>
7 Sundays in Honor of St. Camillus of Lellis
edit_button

Today is the 1st of the 7 Sundays before the Feast of St. Camillus this year.  The following is taken from the Raccolta:


The Sovereign Pontiff Pius IX., by a decree of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, August 8, 1853, granted, at the prayer of the Clerks Regulars, ministers of the sick, thereby to augment devotion towards this Saint -

i. An indulgence of seven years and seven quarantines, whenever any one shall, at any time of the year, in public or in private, practise the pious exercise of keeping seven Sundays in honour of St. Camillus, saying some devout prayer in honour of this Saint. This Indulgence may be gained on each of these Sundays, provided the prayer be said with contrite heart.

ii. A plenary indulgence, instead of the seven years &c., on the seventh Sunday, to all the faithful who, after Confession and Communion, and having said the prayer as above, shall visit a church or public oratory and pray there according to the intention of his Holiness.

And here is a sample prayer:

O glorious Saint Camillus, special patron of the sick poor, thou who for forty years, with truly heroic charity, didst devote thyself to the relief of their temporal and spiritual necessities, be pleased to assist them now even more generously, since thou art blessed in heaven and they have been committed by Holy Church to thy powerful protection. Obtain for them from Almighty God the healing of all their maladies, or, at least, the spirit of Christian patience and resignation that they may sanctify them and comfort them in the hour of their passing to eternity; at the same time obtain for us the precious grace of living and dying after thine example in the practice of divine love. Amen.
Read more >>
Thursday, May 31, 2018
Corpus Christi at St. Thomas Aquinas SSPX Seminary
edit_button

Thanks go out to Jim Bond for sending in these images from the seminary this morning.





Hail to thee, true body born
From Virgin Mary's womb!
The same that on the cross was nailed
And bore for man the bitter doom.

Thou, whose side was pierced and flowed
Both with water and with blood;
Suffer us to taste of thee,
In our life's last agony.

O kind, O loving one!
O sweet Jesus, Mary's Son!
Read more >>
St. Ferdinand III of Castile
edit_button

Today in Some Places is the Feast of St Ferdinand III of Castille.
He was the son of Alfonso IX, King of Leon, and Berengaria, daughter of Alfonso III, King of Castile. He was declared king of Castile at age eighteen.  
St. Ferdinand was born near Salamanca; proclaimed king of Palencia, Valladolid, and Burgos; his mother advised and assisted him during his young reign. He married Princess Beatrice, daughter of Philip of Suabia, King of Germany and they had seven sons and three daughters. His father (the king of Leon) turned against him and tried to take over his rule. The two reconciled later, and fought successfully against the Moors.  
In 1225, he held back Islamic invaders; prayed and fasted to prepare for the war; extremely devoted to the Blessed Virgin. Between 1234-36, Ferdinand conquered the city of Cordoba from the Moors. Queen Beatrice died in 1236, and he overtook Seville shortly thereafter. He founded the Cathedral of Burgos and the University of Salamanca; married Joan of Ponthieu after the death of Beatrice.  
He died on May 30th after a prolonged illness, and buried in the habit of his secular Franciscan Order. His remains are preserved in the Cathedral of Seville and was canonized by Pope Clement X in 1671.  
Ferdinand was a great administrator and a man of deep faith. He founded hospitals and bishoprics, monasteries, churches, and cathedrals during his reign. Her also compiled and reformed a code of laws which were used until the modern era. Ferdinand rebuilt the Cathedral of Burgos and changed the mosque in Seville into a Cathedral. He was a just ruler, frequently pardoning former offenders to his throne.  
Source: Catholic.org
The following account by Rev. Alban Bulter in the "Lives of the Saints" truly shows how to have a holy death when it describes the death of St. Ferdinand III:
"Before his death he called for all his children, gave them excellent instructions with his blessing, and asked pardon of all the world if ever he had given offence to any. In his agony, holding a blessed taper in his hands, he recommended his soul to God through the merits of his crucified Redeemer in the most pathetic aspirations; then caused the clergy to recite near him the Litanies, and afterwards the Te Deum. This was scarcely finished when he yielded up his soul into the hands of his Creator on the 30th of May, 6 in the year 1252, the fifty-third of his age, the thirty-fifth of his reign in Castile, and the twenty-second in Leon. According to his desire he was buried before the image of our Lady in the great church at Seville, and his body is still preserved in that church in a rich shrine without the least blemish of corruption, and has been honoured with miracles."
Read more >>
Monday, May 28, 2018
Memorial Day Prayer for Catholics
edit_button


COMMEMORATION OF THE DEAD 

Remember, O Lord, Thy servants, who have gone before us with the sign of faith and rest in the sleep of peace. 

To these, O Lord, and to all who rest in Christ, grant, we pray Thee, a place of refreshment, of light, 
and of peace. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen. 

PRAYER FOR THE WAR 

Our Father, Who art in Heaven: give us, we pray Thee, the courage and the strength to stamp out the threat of paganism and slavery that hangs over the world today. 
Be merciful to all those who have died in the service of our country. 
Console those who have lost their loved ones in the struggle. 
Help our fighting men to be always clean of heart and therefore unafraid. 
Soothe the wounded in battle. 
Sustain the courage of those who suffer persecution for conscience' sake. 
Have pity on all who have been insulted, robbed, tortured, defiled, enslaved by their conquerors. 
Grant wisdom to our leaders, civil and military, 
that they may most effectively direct our efforts, at home and abroad. 
Teach us all to walk humbly with Thee, so that we may be worthy to conquer, 
and having conquered may build a peace with justice, under the Fatherhood of God. 
Amen.
Read more >>
Sunday, May 27, 2018
Pope St. John I
edit_button

Commemoration (1954 Calendar): May 27

Today we commemorate Pope St. John I, who reigned from August 13, 523 until May 18, 526 as the 53rd Pope. 

The most famous story of Pope John I's life was the delegation he led to Constantinople to negotiate the care of the Catholics there who were suffering under Theodoric the Goth, who was an Arian.  While the mission was successful, Theodoric had Pope John kidnapped and imprisoned as he suspected the Pope of plotting against him.  The frail Pontiff died on May 18, 526 of thirst and starvation in prison.  He had sacrificed his life to care for the flock of Christ.

Collect:

O Eternal Shepherd, who appointed blessed John 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 . . .
Read more >>
Saturday, May 26, 2018
Indulged Prayer for Each Day of the Week by St. Philip Neri
edit_button


The Holy Father Pius IX, by a rescript of the Sacred Congregation of Indulgences, dated May 17, 1852, granted -

An indulgence of fifty days; to be gained once a day for saying with a contrite heart the following prayers, each on its appointed day, in order to obtain thereby the intercession of this Saint for the acquisition of certain special virtues.

Source: The Raccolta

See more on St. Philip Neri

THE PRAYERS.

FOR SUNDAY.

Prayer to obtain the virtue of Humility.

St, Philip, my glorious Patron, who on earth didst so love humility as to count the praise and even the good esteem of men as dross; obtain for me also this virtue by thy prayers. Thou knowest how haughty I am in my thoughts, how contemptuous in my words, how ambitious in my doings. Ask for me humility of heart; that my mind may be freed from all pride, and impressed with the same low esteem of self which thou hadst of thyself, counting thyself the worst of all men, and for that reason rejoicing when thou didst suffer contempt, and seeking out for thyself occasions of enduring it.  Great Saint, obtain for me a true humble heart and the knowledge of my own nothingness; that I may rejoice when I am despised, and resent not when others are preferred before me; that I may never be vain when I am praised, but may ever seek only to be great in the eyes of God, desiring to receive from Him alone all my exaltation.

Pater, Ave, Gloria.



FOR MONDAY

Prayer to obtain the virtue of Patience.

St. Philip, my Patron Saint, whose heart was ever so constant in time of trouble, and whose spirit was so loving under suffering, that, when persecuted by the jealous, or calumniated by the wicked who thought to discredit thy sanctity, or when tried by God with many long, painful infirmities, thou didst always bear thy trials with wonderful tranquillity of heart and mind; pray for me that I may have a spirit of true courage in every adversity.  Alas, how much I stand in need of patience!  I shrink from every little trouble; I sicken under every light affliction; I fire up at and resent every trifling contradiction; never willing to learn that the road to paradise lies amidst the thorns of tribulation. Yet this was the path our Diving Master deigned to tread, and this too, my Saintly Patron, was thy path also.  Obtain for me, then, this courage, that with good hearty will I may embrace the crosses which every day I receive from God, and bear them all with the same endurance and ready will as thou didst when thou wast on earth; that so I may be made worthy to enjoy the blessed fruit of sufferings with thee in heaven above.
Pater, Ave, Gloria.



FOR TUESDAY

Prayer to obtain the virtue of Purity.

St. Philip, who didst always preserve the white lily of thy purity unsullied, with such great honour to thyself that the brightness of this fair virtue dwelt in thine eyes, shone forth from thy hands, and cast its fragrance over thy whole body, causing it to emit so sweet a perfume that it gave consolation, fervour, and devotion to all who conversed with thee; obtain me from the Holy Spirit of God so true a love for that virtue, that neither the words nor bad examples of sinners may ever make any impression upon my soul.  Never permit me in any way to lose that lovely virtue; and since avoidance of occasions, prayer, labour, humility, frequent use of the Sacraments, were the arms with which thou didst conquer the flesh, which is our worst enemy, so do thou obtain for me grace to use the same arms to vanquish the same foe.  Take not away thy help from me; but be as zealous for me as thou wast during thy life for thy penitents, keeping them far removed from all sensual infection.  Do this for me, my holy Patron; and be ever my protector in respect of this fair virtue.

Pater, Ave, Gloria.



FOR WEDNESDAY.

Prayer to obtain the Love of God.

St. Philip, I am filled with wonder at the great miracle which was wrought in thee by the Holy Spirit when He poured into thy heart such a flood of heavenly charity, that in order to contain it two of thy ribs were broken by the power of Divine love; and I am confounded when I compare thy heart with mine own.  I see thy heart all burning with love; and mine, all frozen and taken up with creatures.  I see thine inflamed with a fire from heaven, which so filled thy body that it radiated like flames from thy countenance; while mine is full of earthly love.  I love the world, which allures me and can never make me happy; I love the flesh, which ever wears me with its cares, and can never render me immortal; I love riches, which I can enjoy but for a moment.  O when shall I learn of thee to love nothing but God, my incomprehensible and only Good!  Help me, then, blessed Patron, that by thy intercession I may begin at once: obtain for me an efficacious love, manifesting itself by works; a pure love, making me love God most perfectly; a strong love, enabling me to surmount all obstacles hindering my union with God in life, that so I may be wholly united to Him for ever after my death.

Pater, Ave, Gloria.



FOR THURSDAY

Prayer to obtain the Love of our Neighbour.

Glorious Saint, who didst employ thyself wholly in the good of thy neighbour, thinking well of all, sympathising with all, helping all, who throughout thy whole life didst ever try to secure the salvation of all, never shrinking from labour or trouble, keeping for thyself no time or comfort, that thou mightest win all hearts to God; pray for me, that together with the pardon of my sins I may have charity for my neighbour, and be henceforth more compassionate to him in his necessities, and obtain for me grace that I may love every man with pure, unselfish love, as mine own brother, succouring each one, if I am unable to do it with temporal goods, at least with prayers and good advice. And teach me too on every occasion to defend the honour of my neighbour, and never to say to him a hurtful or displeasing word; but ever to maintain, even with my enemies, sweetness of spirit like thine own, whereby thou didst triumph over thy persecutors.  Blessed Saint, ask of God for me also this lovely virtue, which already thou hast gained for so many of thy clients; that so we may all one day come to praise our God with thee in an eternity of bliss.

Pater, Ave, Gloria.



FOR FRIDAY

Prayer to obtain detachment from temporal goods.

Great Saint, who didst prefer a poor and austere life to the comforts of thy home, despising the honour and glory of thy station; obtain for me grace ever to keep my heart detached from transitory goods of this life.  St. Philip, whose desire it ever was to become so poor as one day to have to beg thy bread, and find no charitable hand to offer thee a crumb wherewith to support life; ask of God for me such love of poverty that I may turn all my thoughts to goods which never fail.  St. Philip, who didst prefer to live unknown, to promotion to the highest honours of the Church; intercede for me, that I may never seek after dignities, but always content myself with that state where God has set me.  My heart is too
anxious for the empty fleeting things of earth; but thou - ah, what a maxim didst thou leave us by thy two words: "And then-" !  O wonder-working words! may they ever be deeply impressed upon my soul; that, despising the nothingness of earth, God alone may reign sole object of my affections and my thoughts.

Pater, Ave, Gloria.



FOR SATURDAY

Prayer to obtain perseverance in good works.

St. Philip, my holy Patron, who, ever constant in good works and full of merit, didst receive from Most High God the crown of glory in reward of all thy labours; obtain for me grace never to weary in His service.  St. Philip, who didst recompense those who loved thee by acquiring for them the gift of perseverance in good, ask of God this gift for me; stand by me, dear father, at the last moment of my life, and pray for me that I may depart this life strengthened with the grace of the Holy Sacraments.  Meanwhile intercede for me, that I may do penance for my sins, and deplore them bitterly all my days.  St. Philip, who from on high beholdest all my miseries, and the chains which yet bind me to my sins and to this earth; pray for me that I may be liberated from them, and be constantly devoted to my God.  Obtain for me an ardent desire to co-operate in my own salvation, and unshaken firmness in the good which I have begun; that so by thy intercession I may deserve to be for ever in thy company in an eternity of bliss.

Pater, Ave, Gloria.
Read more >>
Thursday, May 24, 2018
Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians
edit_button

In the Missal today under "Mass in Some Places" is the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians.  The Roman Catholic Daily Missal published by Angelus Press says of today's feast: "The Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians is a feast of thanksgiving, instituted by Pope Pius VII in 1815, when the exile of the Sovereign Pontiffs, consequent upon the troubles caused by the French Revolution, came to an end."

Pope Saint Pius V gave Mary the title: "Help of Christians," after the victory of the Christian fleet over the Turks at Lepanto on October 7, 1571, and he added this invocation to her litany. When Pius VII returned to Rome on May 24, 1814, after spending five years of exile and captivity, he established the Feast of Our Lady, Helper of the Papal States.

The invocation of Mary as Help of Christians is part of the oldest prayer addressed directly to Mary, the "Sub tuum praesidium," which was found on a papyrus dating, at the latest, from the end of the third century. This prayer was composed at a time of great danger for Christians and for the Church. "Praesidium" is translated as "an assistance given in time of war by fresh troops in a strong manner."

Yet, Mary help of all Christians is not only helpful to those engaged in new wars, as the Gospel shows quite clearly. She is the bearer of joy, readying all Christians of good will to receive God's grace and the many gifts of life. Yes, ultimately, it is the caring woman of Cana who makes victory over dragon and serpent possible -- in letting Christ act on his own terms and at his own hour.

Collect:

O Almighty and merciful God, who didst wondrously appoint the most Blessed Virgin perpetual help for Christians in need of protection, grant in Thy mercy that after battling in life under such a protectress, we may be able to conquer our enemy at death. Through our Lord . . .
Read more >>
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Mass of St. John Baptist de Rossi
edit_button


Today in Some Places of the world, the Mass of St. John Baptist de Rossi is said.  While not on the Universal Calendar, we can learn much from his life.

The following is taken from Butler's Lives of the Saints:
St. John Baptist de Rossi is the first instance in modern times of the canonization as Confessor of a priest belonging to no religions Order or Congregation. He was born at Voltaggio, a little town about fifteen miles north of Genoa, February 22, 1698. From the first he was distinguished for his piety and purity. The parish church was his favorite resort, and thither he would hasten after the early morning class to serve as many Masses as he could. The gravity and modesty he showed in holy places struck all who saw him, and many declared he was like a little angel just come down from heaven and still full of the vision of God. When our Saint was ten years old, a wealthy couple of Genoa visited Voltaggio; attracted by the unaffected piety and winning ways of the boy, they obtained from his parents permission to adopt him, and took him to their palace, where he was treated as their son. 
After a residence of three years in Genoa, he removed, with his mother's consent,—his father having died in the mean while,—to Rome, where his cousin, Laurence de Rossi, was the Canon of S. Maria in Cosmedin. There he began at once to attend the lower classes of the Roman College, and there was no more industrious or saintly student to be found. At the age of eighteen he received the tonsure, and the following year minor orders. He was then selected for a lengthened course of scholastic theology; but in striving to purify his soul he overtaxed his strength, and one day, while devoutly hearing Mass, he fell on the floor of the church in a swoon. From that time out he was subject to epileptic fits, which rendered his projected studies impracticable. This being the case, our Saint looked elsewhere.  
A course of lectures on the text of St. Thomas, then being delivered, was attracting no little attention, and a large number of students attended. As the labor of following the course was comparatively light, John Baptist joined the class. In spite of his feeble health he applied himself most indus602 triously, and still practised such mortifications as were prudent. Walking along the streets, his eyes were never raised from the ground, and in the coldest weather he wore no gloves. ; When he was twenty-three years old he was ordained a priest. The first shape his charity assumed was an active interest in the young students who flock to Rome from every part of the Catholic world. He organized special services for them, preached sermons specially suited to them, and gathered them about him in his visits to the hospitals, to assist him in soothing and relieving the sick and dying. This charitable work over, they would enter a church and recite the Rosary aloud, after which they would enjoy themselves at some innocent game. 
Another charity which attracted our Saint was the spiritual care of the drovers and cattlemen who frequented the market-places. The most of these were ignorant and depraved, caring for no one and with no one to care for them. By visiting their haunts at early dawn, before their work began, John Baptist won them by his kind words, and at last led many to the confessional who had not been there in years, and some who had never been. Hitherto he had not heard confessions himself, but now, at the instance of his bishop, he applied for and received faculties for the administration of the Sacrament of Penance. 
In February, 1735, John Baptist, much against his own inclination, was appointed assistant to his cousin, Laurence de Rossi, who was growing feeble ; and when, two years after, that good man died, his property and canonry were left to our Saint. Within a fortnight the new Canon of Santa Maria in Cosmedin had got rid of a great part of the property. He entered upon the duties of his new office at once, and soon gathered round him crowds of devout worshippers. His confessional was besieged by eager penitents, but always the poorest and most ignorant. The rich and noble he managed to put off, saying they could find confessors in plenty. He would never permit the confessional to be a medium for almsgiving. He himself would not bestow an alms from that tribunal on a penitent, no matter how poor, nor would he there accept a present from the rich, as he feared it might deter him from speaking plainly and freely. His devotion to the poor and ignorant was remarkable. He sought out the most abject and abandoned people, and pursued this work of Christian charity with such zeal as to merit the title of " Venator Animarum," the hunter of souls. In 1740, when Pope Benedict XIV. determined to institute catechism classes for the instruction of criminals serving short sentences, he found an able assistant in our Saint. He had no difficulty in winning the hearts of the convicts from the start, and there was a perceptible reformation wrought in a short time. 
The endless labor and the severe penances which the Saint imposed on himself finally told on his delicate frame, and on May 23, 1764, a stroke of apoplexy ended his mortal life, and brought him the endless bliss of the presence of God, for which his soul had so long yearned. 
After the death of the holy man many miracles bore witness to his sanctity. Among others was the case of Sister Mary Theresa Leonori, of the Convent of St. Cecilia at Rome, who in 1859 suffered from a throat disease which the best medical authorities pronounced incurable. Wasted and enfeebled by her sickness, entirely deprived of speech, suffering great pain, and unable to partake of any nourishment, her death was momentarily looked for. Human aid failing her, the pious Sister besought the help of St. John Baptist, and Our Lord, to show His love for His faithful servant, deigned to work a miracle at the Saint's intercession. Sister Mary Theresa was instantly cured and rose from her bed of suffering a well woman.
Read more >>
Saturday, May 19, 2018
Book Review: Saint Catherine of Siena by Alice Curtayne
edit_button

This past week I picked up the book "Saint Catherine of Siena" by Alice Curtayne.  Ms. Curtayne wrote this book back in 1929. While not a writer by trade, she became so immersed in the life and works of St. Catherine of Siena that she wrote this fantastic book after years of researching and compiling notes on St. Catherine.  Interestingly, this book was her first notable book.  After the success of this one, she went on to write A Recall to Dante, The Catholic Literary Revival, St. Brigid of Ireland, and The Irish Story.

"Saint Catherine of Siena" is an easy and inspiring read.  As a Dominican Tertiary, I am well acquainted with the life of St. Dominic.  But St. Catherine, who was a Dominican tertiary herself, is the patroness of the Third Order today.  Yet, I did not truly know her life's story.

What Ms. Curtayne has done is summarize the wonderful effect of her life.  Despite all of her struggles, she had a way of bringing many souls back to Christ.  The book describes the band of followers who assisted her in her mission of writing letters and defending the Church in the midst of the Avignon Papacy.  I had previously heard of St. Catherine's role in bringing the Pope back from Avignon to Rome but I had no idea the drama and tumult that centered around the Avignon Papacy.  I also had no idea of the depth of her involvement and the amount of time, effort, suffering, and prayers it took for to help the Holy Father return to Rome.

The book also describes her life's work of promoting the interests of the Church in the calling for a Crusade (which she never saw happen), her role in bringing peace to Tuscany and Italy after a Revolution of sorts against the Church, her relationship with the Popes of the time, and finally her efforts to defend Urban VI after the Western Schism occurred and the anti-Pope Clement VII was elected.  I had no idea of the magnitude of these events and how it seemed that all hope had been lost for Christendom.  Yet, the Church prevailed and she did not sink from the attacks from without and within her ranks.  It was inspiring to read this book during this trying time with modernism reigning throughout the Eternal City.  It's also inspiring to think that despite many seemingly earthly failures, she nevertheless did so much for souls.

Ms. Curtayne really brings the personality and devotion of St. Catherine to Christ Crucified to life.  St. Catherine was a prolific writer (who dictated her correspondence but who nevertheless determined what was said), and Ms. Curtayne's book quotes these letters extensively.  The book is a wonderful tapestry of the letters of St. Catherine supplemented and explained with stories of her follower's lives and commentary on the Church at the time.

I'm happy to recommend this book to anyone looking for a book on the life and the writings of St. Catherine

Truly, if she could have done so much in only 33 years of life, we need to ask ourselves if we are truly doing enough each day and doing that which the Holy Ghost wishes us to do for the honor of God and the good of souls. 

St. Catherine, pray for us!

The Body of St. Catherine under the main altar at Santa Maria Minerva in Rome.  The photo was taken during my April 2016 visit to the Eternal City.
Read more >>
Commemoration of St. Pudentiana
edit_button

Commemoration (1954 Calendar): May 19

Today Holy Church commemorates St. Pudentiana, the sister of St. Praxedes.

St. Pudentiana was a daughter of a Roman senator, who consecrated herself wholly to Christ and gave away her goods to the poor. All of this was done at a remarkably young age.  She died in the year 160, when she was only 16 years of age.  Young but full of holiness.

Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch:
According to an ancient tradition, St. Peter was the guest of the senator Pudens during his stay in Rome. Pudens had two daughters, Pudentiana and Praxedes, virgins who dedicated themselves wholly to acts of charity. After the death of their parents, Pudentiana and her sister Praxedes distributed their patrimony to the poor. The fact that Puden's entire household of some 96 persons were baptized by Pope Pius I (d. 154) is ascribed to their zealous activities. When Christian services were forbidden by the Emperor Antoninus Pius, Pius I celebrated Mass in their home. The saints were buried next to their father in the catacomb of St. Priscilla. One of Rome's most ancient stational churches is dedicated to St. Pudentiana.
Collect:

Hear our prayer, O God our Saviour, and let us learn the spirit of true devotion from Your blessed virgin Pudentiana, as we joyfully celebrate her feast. Through Our Lord . . .
Read more >>
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
St. Isidore the Farmer (Mass in Some Places)
edit_button

While not on the Universal Calendar, today is the Feast of St. Isidore the Farmer in Some Places. 

This account of his life comes from the Roman Breviary:
Isidore the Farmer was a native of Madrid, Spain. He was hired as a plowman to labor in a place just outside the Spanish capital. While engaged in this occupation it was not long before he reaped a plentiful harvest of virtues.
His imitation of Christ and the Saints was indeed admirable. He would never go to work in the morning without first seeking the kingdom of God and visiting the churches dedicated to God or to his blessed Mother. As a result of these visits he was often late for work in the fields, thereby bringing upon himself the displeasure of his employer. One day his employer, who had observed the farmer from a vantage-point and was waiting for him in order to upbraid him, was surprised to see two Angels dressed in white, each plowing with a team of oxen, and Isidore in the midst of them. The news of this miracle spread far and wide and thereafter his employer and others held Isidore in high esteem.
His charity towards the poor was so ardent that he used to distribute to the needy the earnings of his labors. Indeed it is related how on one occasion he brought along a crowd of beggars to a confraternity dinner; the others had already eaten and nothing remained but the portion reserved for Isidore. Accordingly the man of God with extraordinary faith began to distribute the remaining portion which by a wonderful multiplication was enough to feed and satisfy all those poor people. Among the other wonderful things told about this Saint, the following is noteworthy. While out on the fields, one hot summer day his employer suffering from a very great thirst longed dor a drink of water. There was however no spring or other source of water there. Thereupon Isidore struck the ground with the goad-stick he used to carry and immediately there gushed forth a spring which to the present day has never ceased supplying water in great abundance. 
At length in extreme old age, renowned for holiness, he fell asleep in the Lord and was buried in the cemetery of St. Andrew. Here his body remained until the citizens of that place were admonished by God to provide a more honorable resting place for it by bringing it to the church. At that time it was found intact and uncorrupted; it also exhaled a most fragrant odor which is noticeable even in our time. His body was transferred to the church and enshrined in a conspicuous place where God has honored it with striking miracles. More than once the city of Madrid and other places in Spain felt the benefit of these miracles throgh Isidore's intercession. Finally, after almost four hundred years, Isidore now famous for holiness and miracles was enrolled among the number of the Saints by Pope Gregory X. 
Collect:

O Merciful God, shield us from the pride that comes from learning, through the intercession of Your holy farm worker Isidore. May his merits and example help us to please You by our humble service. Through Our Lord . . .
Read more >>
Monday, May 14, 2018
St. Boniface of Tarsus
edit_button


Simple (1955 Calendar): May 14

Born a pagan in the 3rd century, Boniface Boniface was one of Aglaida's slaves. Both were pagans and lived in debauchery together and some legends say they were lovers.

Yet by the grace of God, the tired of their sinful way of life and both discovered Christianity as a meaningful way. Aglaida decided to send him on an errand to collect holy relics. Finding upon arrival at Tarsus that the authorities were torturing Christians, he openly declared himself to be a Christian. For this he was executed with savage cruelty in 307 AD.  Providentially, his own body constituted the relics that were brought back to Aglaida, who in turn became a Christian.

Prayer:

O Almighty God, may the prayers of Your blessed martyr Boniface aid us as we celebrate his feast today. Through Our Lord . . .

Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Read more >>
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Indulgence for the Angelic Crown in Honor of St. Michael
edit_button

In honor of the first of two feastdays of St. Michael the Archangel, I wish to remind everyone of the following entry in the Raccolta:


It is a pious tradition, that the Archangel Michael revealed to a holy person that he would he well pleased by his bringing into use the following prayers in his honour and in honour of all the angelic host; and that he would repay those who practised this devotion with signal favours, particularly in such times as the Catholic Church should experience some special trial. 

In this belief, a holy Carmelite nun, of the convent of Vetralla, in the diocese of Viterbo, who died with the reputation of sanctity in the year 1751, made it her delight to practise this method of prayer, commonly called the "Angelic Chaplet;" and it was at the instigation of the nuns of her convent that his Holiness Pins IX., by a decree of the S. Congr. of Rites, dated August 8, 1851, granted the following Indulgences -

i. An indulgence of seven years and seven quarantines every time the Chaplet is said.

ii. An indulgence of 100 days daily to any one who carries this Chaplet about him, or kisses the medal with the representation of the holy angels appended to the said Chaplet.

iii. A plenary indulgence once a month to every one who says daily this Chaplet, on any one day when, after Confession and Communion, he shall pray for the exaltation of our holy Mother the Church and the safety of the Sovereign Pontiff.

iv. A plenary indulgence, with the conditions above named, on -

1. The Feast of the Apparition of St. Michael. May 8.
2. The Dedication of St. Michael. September 29.
3. St. Gabriel the Archangel. March 18.
4. St. Raphael the Archangel. October 24.
5. Holy Angel Guardians. October 2.

To gain these Indulgences, a Chaplet must be used consisting of nine Pater noster’s, and three Ave Maria's after each Pater noster, with four Pater noster’s at the end; the following corresponding salutations being said at the same time in their proper order, with the antiphon and prayer at the end us given below. These Chaplets must be blessed by the actual father confessor of the convent of Vetralla, or some other priest who has obtained faculties for this purpose.

METHOD OF PRACTISING THIS DEVOTION.

Let every one, according to his ability, begin with an act of sincere contrition, kneeling before a representation of the holy Archangel; then let him say with devotion the following salutations:

V. Deus in adjutorium meum intende.
R. Dontine ad adjuvandum me festina.

Gloria Patri, &c.

FIRST SALUTATION.

One Pater noster and three Ave Maria’s, to the First Angelic Choir.

At the intercession of St. Michael and the heavenly choir of the Seraphim, may it please God to make us worthy to receive into our hearts the fire of His perfect charity. Amen.

SECOND SALUTATION.

One Pater noster and three Ave Maria’s, to the Second Angelic Choir.

At the intercession of St. Michael and the heavenly choir of the Cherubim, may God grant us grace to abandon the ways of sin, and run the race of Christian perfection. Amen.

THIRD SALUTATION.

One Pater noster and three Ave Maria’s, to the Third Angelic Choir.

At the intercession of St. Michael and the sacred choir of the Thrones, may it please God to infuse into our hearts a true and earnest spirit of humility. Amen.

FOURTH SALUTATION.

One Pater noster and three Ave Maria’s, to the Fourth Angelic Choir.

At the intercession of St. Michael and the heavenly choir of the Dominations, may it please God to grant us grace to have dominion over our senses, and to correct our depraved passions. Amen.

FIFTH SALUTATION.

One Pater noster and three Ave Maria’s, to the Fifth Angelic Choir.

At the intercession of St. Michael and the heavenly choir of the Powers, may God vouchsafe to keep our souls from the wiles and temptations of the devil. Amen.

SIXTH SALUTATION.

One Pater noster and three Ave Maria’s, to the Sixth Angelic Choir.

At the intercession of St. Michael and the choir of the admirable celestial Virtues, may our Lord keep us from falling into temptation, and deliver us from evil. Amen.

SEVENTH SALUTATION.

One Pater noster and three Ave Maria’s, to the Seventh Angelic Choir.

At the intercession of St. Michael and the heavenly choir of the Principalities, may it please God to fill our souls with the spirit of true and hearty obedience. Amen.

EIGHTH SALUTATION.

One Pater noster and three Ave Maria’s, to the Eighth Angelic Choir.

At the intercession of St. Michael and the heavenly choir of Archangels, may it please God to grant its the gift of perseverance in the faith and in all good works, that we may thereby be enabled to attain unto the glory of Paradise. Amen.

NINTH SALUTATION.

One Pater noster and three Ave Maria’s, to the Ninth Angelic Choir.

At the intercession of St. Michael and the Heavenly choir of Angels, may God vouchsafe to grant us the safe-conduct of the holy Angels through life, and after death a happy entrance into the everlasting glory of heaven. Amen.

Then say four Pater noster's in conclusion; the first to St. Michael, the second to St. Gabriel, the third to St. Raphael, the  fourth to your Angel Guardian.

This exercise then ends with the following Antiphon.

ANTIPHON.

Michael, glorious Prince, chief and champion of the heavenly host, guardian of the souls of men, conqueror of the rebel angels, minister in the house of God, our worthy captain under Jesus Christ, endowed with superhuman excellence and virtue; vouchsafe to free us all from every evil, who with full confidence have recourse to thee; and by thy powerful protection enable us to make progress every day in the faithful service of our God.

V. Pray for us, most blessed Michael, prince of the Church of Jesus Christ.
R. That we may be made worthy of His promises.

PRAYER.

Almighty and eternal God, who in thine own marvellous goodness and pity didst, for the common salvation of man, choose the glorious Archangel Michael to be the prince of Thy Church; make us worthy, we pray Thee, to be delivered by his beneficent protection from all our enemies, that at the hour of our death no one of them may approach to harm us, and that by the same Archangel Michael we may be introduced into the presence of Thy high and heavenly Majesty. Through the merits of the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Read more >>
Monday, May 7, 2018
The Tomb of St. Francis Regis Clet
edit_button

This past March I was privileged to venerate the body of St. Francis Regis Clet, whose body is housed in the Shrine of St. Vincent de Paul in Paris, France.


Who is this St. Francis Regis Clet?  The Vincentian Encyclopedia summarizes his life:
Francis Regis Clet, the tenth of 15 children, was born into a farm family in Grenoble in the southwest corner of Francis in 1748 and was named for the recently canonized fellow-Grenoblian, Jesuit Jean Francois Regis. After completing studies at the Royal College (founded by the Jesuits), he followed his elder brother and sister into vowed religious life. In Lyons in 1769, he entered the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians). After ordination, Francis served as professor of moral theology at the Vincentian seminary in Annecy where he was affectionately called "the walking library" because of his encyclopedic knowledge and academic discipline. In 1786, he became Rector of Annecy and two years later, Director of Novices in Paris.
Francis Regis petitioned to go to China as a missionary several times, but his superiors did not accede to his request until 1791. At the age of 43, he replaced another priest who had to withdraw from the assignment at the last minute. A confrere, in writing about Clet's assignment to China, noted: "He has everything you could ask for: holiness, learning, health and charm." 
After a six month sea journey from France and some transition time in Macao, which included assuming the dress and customs of the Chinese people, the new missioner arrived in Kiang-si in October of 1792 as the only European in the area. Clet's acculturation was hampered by his life-long difficulty with the language. In 1793 Clet joined two Chinese confreres in Hou-Kouang in the Hopei Province where both of his companions died within his first year, one in prison and one from exhaustion. In that year, Clet became superior of an international group of Vincentian missioners scattered over a very large territory, and he himself pastored an area of 270 thousand square miles. In that leadership capacity, he developed standards so that there would be a uniform approach to ministry (sacramental and catechetical) among the missioners. 
In 1811, the anti-Christian persecutions in China intensified with the Christians being accused of inciting rebellion against the ruling dynasty. For several years, Clet endured abuse and attacks, which frequently forced him to find refuge in the mountains. In 1819, with a generous reward on their heads, Clet and a Chinese confrere became fugitives. Like Jesus, he was finally betrayed by one of his own, a Catholic schoolmaster whom Clet had challenged for his scandalous behavior. Like the missionary St. Paul, Clet endured ignominy and forced marches in chains over hundreds of miles. 
On January 1, 1820, Clet was found guilty of deceiving the Chinese people by preaching Christianity and was sentenced to strangulation on a cross. On February 18, after approval of his sentence by the Emperor, Francis Regis Clet was executed. As in the case of Jesus, Christians took his body and buried it on a hillside where it rested until it was returned to the Vincentian motherhouse in Paris several decades later and is now honored at St. Lazare.

All photos are taken by me.  See Flickr for more photos from the trip.
Read more >>
Sunday, May 6, 2018
Can you make Confirmation before Communion?
edit_button

In the Catholic Church the common practice is for children to make their First Holy Communion around 2nd grade - this is around the "age of reason," where a child is able to understand that what they are receiving is not bread but the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ.  They are also aware of sin and thus able to commit actual sins - as a result, they need the Sacrament of Confession to receive absolution from their actual sins.

Confirmation is typically administered around 8th grade or in some places 10th grade.  But, there is a growing trend to more Conformation closer to Communion.  In fact, in the Byzantine Catholic Tradition Baptism and Confirmation are received together and it is later on the child is able to receive First Holy Communion.

The following dioceses have begun to administer Confirmation in the 2nd grade level around the time of First Communion and the list continues to grow:

1.    Saginaw (1995)
2.    Great Falls-Billings (1996)
3.    Portland, Maine (1997)
4.    Spokane (1998)
5.    Fargo (2002)
6.    Gaylord (2003)
7.    Tyler (2005)
8.    Phoenix (2005)
9.    Honolulu (2015)
10.   Denver (2015)
11.   Manchester (2017)

The difficulty though for these students in our modern world is to live out the Catholic Faith.  While many students falsely treat an 8th grade Confirmation as a graduation from religion and the need to end classes [which it is not!], these students in 2nd grade need a strong religious conviction in their family to be sure they are continuing to learn the Faith and make progress in the spiritual life.

So, is it possible to receive Confirmation before Communion?  Yes it is, but it depends on what Diocese you are in.  Seek out information from your local priest. 

And for those looking for an online religious education program to help you learn the Faith and prepare for your Sacraments (whether Confirmation, Confession, or Communion) please look to CatechismClass.com, the leader in the field.
Read more >>
Vatican II Engendered Today’s “Religious Liberty”
edit_button


Guest Post By David Martin

There has been much published this past year in refutation of Pope Francis’ repeated use of distorted or ambiguous wording to advance licentious behavior in the name of “conscience.”

These publications are warranted. For instance, Amoris Laetitia says that those living in adultery may at times continue thus in good conscience: "Conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel. It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal." (Amoris Laetitia 303)

So according to Amoris Laetitia, conscience can recognize that "the most generous response" we can give to God is to break his commandments. How can this be when Christ said, "If you love me keep my commandments?" (John 14:15) Sin crucifies the Savior, so how can it be a "generous response” to him?

In an adulterous situation with a fornicator, the only thing that conscience recognizes is that he is offending God. The finger of conscience is pointing at him and telling him he must leave his shameful vice if he wishes to be saved, but pride comes along and closes his heart to the voice of conscience. Like a Pharisee, he resists the Holy Spirit and seeks continued escape in his sin, yet Amoris Laetitia says this "is what God himself is asking" of him.

This false understanding of conscience is becoming problematic in a way never before seen in Church history. More and more we see Catholics entertaining a false religious liberty that advocates the selfish rights of man, as if modern man is now a little god who can think for himself without the guidance of a divine chaperone.   

Sadly, the groundwork for this arrogance was laid at the Second Vatican Council fifty-three years ago. Consider the opening paragraph of Dignitatis Humanae, which is the Vatican II document on Religious Liberty:

“A sense of the dignity of the human person has been impressing itself more and more deeply on the consciousness of contemporary man, and the demand is increasingly made that men should act on their own judgment.” [1] 

Again, we read:

“God has regard for the dignity of the human person whom He Himself created and man is to be guided by his own judgment and he is to enjoy freedom.” [11]

Here we see the Council honoring man’s prerogative to be his own guide, which is contrary to the Creator. “For God will not except any man’s person, neither will He stand in awe of any man’s greatness: for He made the little and the great, and he has equally care for all.”   (Wisdom 6:8)

Man’s true dignity consists in his being made to the image of God, but this dignity is preserved by keeping one’s innocence and yielding his judgment up to God, so that he makes God’s judgment his own in matters of faith and morals. What God requires of us is a childlike submission to doctrine and Tradition as taught by the Savior Himself: “Unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)

According to Vatican II, the Church may not infringe upon one’s personal rights by laying down the law as to what they must do to be saved. It affirms the natural rights of man in matters of religion (Masonic freedoms), which is contrary to the previous papal teachings which deny any such rights. Pope Pius IX in his Encyclical “Quanta Cura”, Leo XIII in his Encyclicals “Libertas Praestantissimum” and “Immortale Dei” and Pius XII in his allocution “Ci Riesce” all affirm that there is no logical or scriptural basis for this humanist notion of human dignity, yet Vatican II seems to assert it as dogma.

However, we have to make a clear distinction between moral conscience and temptation. Conscience will always compel one to fear God and keep his Commandments which are already engraved “in the fleshy tablets of the heart” (2 Cor. 3:3), whereas temptation will always lead one to depart the Commandments and follow his own will or sense of liberty where he doesn’t allow the Divine Monarch to hold the reins in his life. Such liberty offends God and chains us to the shackles of guilt, which is no liberty. (John 8:34) There is no such thing as “my moral conscience told me to sin and be a rebel,” for such is the manifestation of a guilty conscience, not a moral conscience.

It is true that man is given a free will to choose between good and evil, which God does not interfere with, since our eternal friendship with God must be a free will offering which is grounded in charity, and not coercion. However, the abuse of our free will to choose evil is not honored by God nor is it permitted in the Church, nor is it a form of religious liberty.

With every liberal proposal in the Vatican II document(s) there is an apparent conservatism (ambiguous double meaning) to cover its tracks so that, under the pretext of honoring the rights of every human to freely adore his Creator, the document advocates that man has the liberty to follow his own licentious will:

“In all his activity a man is bound to follow his Conscience… It follows that he is not to be forced to act in manner contrary to his conscience. Nor, on the other hand, is he to be restrained from acting in accordance with his conscience, especially in matters religious. The reason is that the exercise of religion, of its very nature, consists before all else in those internal, voluntary and free acts whereby man sets the course of his life directly to God.” [3]

Here conscience is used interchangeably with self-will so that on the surface it looks very honorable and says the truth that no man or religious authority may infringe on the God-given rights of men to direct themselves to God. But what the document is really saying is that the Church must honor the judgment of man to choose and decide for himself what course he is going to take, even if it means denying Christ. We might almost see the document as a pro-choice document, since what is honored is not the right choice but the “right” or “freedom” to choose, so that whatever choice is made is automatically honored by the Council.

What is absurd is how Vatican II cites our “human dignity” as the justification for this religious liberty. “The declaration of this Vatican Council on the right of man to religious freedom has its foundation in the dignity of the person, whose exigencies have come to be fully known to human reason through centuries of experience.” [9] Since when is man’s ‘dignity’ flaunted before the throne of God?

True religious liberty is that special endowment we all have to freely serve God without the interference of tyrannies or world councils that coerce us into adopting anything contrary to Church tradition. Such was the way of the saints who freely abandoned themselves to God with complete immunity to all things so that they were answerable only to God without respect to persons. (Ephesians 6:6)

The same liberty applies to Christian governments. It is not only the right but duty of government to enforce Christian morality as the law of the land, and to openly advocate it for the good of all, but according to Vatican II our U.S. government does not have that right.

“It follows that a wrong is done when government imposes upon its people, by force or fear or other means, the profession or repudiation of any religion.” [6]

Government indeed cannot force its people to profess a certain denomination, but it most certainly can profess Christianity to be the law of the land where the people at least are required to profess it in action through their compliance. But according to the Council, the U.S. Supreme Court did wrong in 1892 by declaring the United States to be “A Christian nation” in which “Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind.” The U.S. traditionally imposes the rule of Christianity as the law of the land to be obeyed by its citizens, namely, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not rape, fornicate or abuse little children, etc., yet the Council seems to regard this mandatory compliance as ‘coercion.’ Does government not have a right and duty to enforce law and order?

According to the document, religious zealots and terrorists should be free from such government coercion. “The freedom or immunity from coercion in matters religious which is the endowment of persons as individuals is also to be recognized as their right.” [4] Since when do people have a right to offend? If a person’s religion dictates that he can murder Christians for Allah and crash his jet into the local skyscraper, shall he now be immune from government censure or coercion? God forbid!

The fact that someone has a religious conviction doesn’t make it right. With great liberty and conviction, the Jews condemned Jesus to death, even in the name of “God their father,” but Jesus told them who their father was, the devil, just as the devil is the father of those who suggest we may break the laws of God in view of religious liberty.

Perhaps the most passionate opponent of the Religious Liberty document was Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who warned of its detrimental consequences for the future, citing that it advocated “the right to cause scandal.” He warned that with this document “a civil society endowed with Catholic legislation shall no longer exist” and said it would bring about “the disappearance in the Church of the missionary spirit for the conversion of souls.” (Bernard Tissiers, The Biography of Marcel Lefebvre)

On June 29, 1976, the Archbishop also had this to say: “This right to religious freedom is blasphemous, for it attributes to God purposes that destroy His Majesty, His Glory, His Kingship. This right implies freedom of conscience, freedom of thought, and all the Masonic freedoms.”

According to Lefebvre, the most incriminating evidence against the Religious Liberty of Vatican II was the enthusiastic support it received from the synagogue of satan. Consider the following from the Archbishop:

“This very year [1965], Yves Marsaudon, the Freemason, has published the book L’ oecumenisme vu par un franc-macon de tradition (Ecumenism as Seen by a Traditional Freemason). In it the author expresses the hope of Freemasons that our Council will solemnly proclaim religious liberty… What further evidence do we need?”

If Pope Francis is so impassioned about honoring the rights of man, he should honor our right to resist him, otherwise he discriminates. If adulterers have a right to continue in adultery, then we certainly have a right to censure their adultery, because “men should act on their own judgment” [1] and “man is to be guided by his own judgment.” [11]

With God as our guide we will do just that!
Read more >>
Saturday, May 5, 2018
Indulged Hymn for the Feast of St. Pius V
edit_button

The following is taken from the Raccolta:


Pope Pius VII., by his Rescript of August 14,1801, granted -

i. A plenary indulgence to all the faithful who, on the Feast of St. Pius V., May 5, being truly penitent, shall, after Confession and Communion, say on this day with devotion the following hymn before an altar or greater relic of this Saint, or else in some church dedicated to his honour, praying according to the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

ii. An indulgence of forty days, once a day, on saying this hymn with devotion.

These Indulgences Pope Pius VIII. of blessed memory granted afresh for ever by a decree of the S. Congr. of Indulgences of Oct. 2, 1830.

HYMNUS

Belli tumultus ingruit,
Cultus Dei contemnitur;
Ultrixque culpam persequens
Jam poena terris imminet.

Quem nos in hoc discrimine
Coelestium de sedibus
Praesentiorem vindicem,
Quam te, Pie, invocabimus?

Nemo, beate Pontifex,
Intensiore robore
Quam tu, superni numinis
Promovit in terris decus.

Quem nos. &c.

Ausisve fortioribus
Avertit a cervicibus,
Quod Christianis gentibus
Jugum parabant barbari.

Quem nos. &c

Tu comparatis classibus,
Votis magis sed fervidis
Ad insulas Echinadas
Fundis tyannum Thraciae.

Quem nos. &c.

Absensque eodem tempore,
Hostis fuit quo perditus,
Vides, et adstantes doces
Pugnae secundos exitus.

Quem nos. &c.

Majora qui coelo potes,
Tu supplices nunc aspice,
Tu civium discordias
Compesce, et iras hostium.

Quem nos. &c.

Precante te, pax aurea
Terris revisat; ut Deo
Tuti queamus reddere
Mox laetiora cantica.

Quem nos. &c.

Tibi, Beata Trinitas
Uni Deo sit gloria,
Laus, et potestas omnia
Per saeculorum saecula. Amen.

V. Ora pro nobis, Beate Pie.
R. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.

Oremus.
Deus, qui ad conterendos ecclesiae tuae hostes, et ad divinum cultum reparandum beatum Pium pontificem maximum eligere dignatus es: fac nos ipsius defendi praesidiis, et ita tuis inhaerere obsequiis, ut omnium hostium superatis insidiis perpetua pace laetemur. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum, &c.  R. Amen.

THE HYMN.

Wars and tumults fill the earth;
Men the fear of God despise;
Retribution, vengeance, wrath,
Brood upon the angry skies.

Holy Pius! Pope sublime!
Whom, in this most evil time,
Whom, of saints in bliss, can we
Better call to aid than thee?

None more mightily than thou
Hath, by holy deed or word,
Through the spacious earth below
Spread the glory of the Lord.

Holy Pius, &c.

Thine it was, O pontiff brave!
Pontiff of eternal Rome!
From barbaric yoke to save
Terror-stricken Christendom.

Holy Pius, &c.

When Lepanto’s gulf beheld,
Strewn upon its waters fair,
Turkey’s countless navy yield
To the power of thy prayer.

Holy Pius, &c.

Who meanwhile with prophet’s eye
Didst the distant battle see;
And announce to standers-by
That same moment's victory.

Holy Pius, &c.

Mightier now and glorified,
Hear the suppliant cry we pour;
Crush Rebellion’s haughty pride;
Quell the din of rising war.

Holy Pius, &c.

At thy prayer may golden peace
Down to earth descend again:
License, discord, trouble cease;
Justice, truth, and order reign.

Holy Pius, &c.

To the Lord of endless days,
One Almighty Trinity,
Sempiternal glory, praise,
Honour, might, and blessing be.

Holy Pius, &c.

V. Pray for us, blessed Pius.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.
God, who to the destruction of the enemies of Thy Church, and to the restoration of Thy holy worship, didst vouchsafe to elect blessed Pius to be Thy high-Priest; grant us so to be defended by his protection, and so to remain steadfast in Thy service, that overcoming the snares of all our enemies, we may enjoy perpetual peace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son. Amen.
Read more >>
Friday, May 4, 2018
Devotion to the Sacred Heart Summarized by Pope Pius XII
edit_button

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is more than just the worship of this noble part of our adorable Savior's body.  In the Sacred Heart, we adore the very Person of the Incarnate Word with all His Divine and human attributes.  The Sacred Heart is the symbol of the redeeming love of Our Lord Jesus Christ for men and represents the most ardent affections of the God-Man in His Incarnation, Passion, Death, and Resurrection.

In the expounding on this holy devotion, there is nothing better than the encyclical Haurietis Aquas, in which Pope Pius XII (1939 - 1958) summarized it with unction and solid theological foundation.

Our Lord's Heart, the Pontiff teaches, "the noblest part of human nature, is hypostatically united to the Person of the Divine Word."  For this reason, "there must be paid to it that worship of adoration with which the Church honors the Person of the Incarnate Son of God Himself."

Furthermore, the Sacred Heart, "more than all the other members of His body, is the natural sign and symbol of His boundless love for the human race." This heart symbolizes and expresses "the infinite love of Jesus Christ which moves us to love in return."

The mystery of our redemption is, above all, a mystery of love, "that is, of the perfect love of Christ for His heavenly Father to Whom the sacrifice of the Cross, offered in a spirit of love and obedience, presents the most abundant and infinite satisfaction due for the sins of the human race."

For all of these reasons, Pope Pius XII deems it, "a powerful remedy for the healing of those very evils which today also, and beyond question in a wider and more serious way, bring distress and disquiet to individuals and to the whole human race"

Source: by Lius Solimeo in "From the Immaculate Heart of Mary and God's Plan for America."  Quoted in the May / June 2018 issue of Crusade Magazine
Read more >>
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Go Ahead and Eat with Sinners: 5 Ways to Defend the Catholic Faith
edit_button

Go Ahead and Eat With Sinners – A Reflection on the Battle of Today’s Traditional Catholic



St. Mark early in his Gospel recounts how Our Lord ate with sinners.  "And it came to pass, that as he sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat down together with Jesus and his disciples. For they were many, who also followed him. And the scribes and the Pharisees, seeing that he ate with publicans and sinners, said to his disciples: Why doth your master eat and drink with publicans and sinners? Jesus hearing this, saith to them: They that are well have no need of a physician, but they that are sick. For I came not to call the just, but sinners" (Mark 2:15-17).

Just this past Easter Sunday I invited over to Easter dinner a few people.  All of whom were not Catholic.  One man, a friend of my mother, grew up Lutheran but has largely fallen away from any religious practice aside from occasional Bible reading while he hunts deer.  The other man was a friend of my sister who grew up in a household that loved carnal desires, rock-n-roll, and what we might just call downright debauchery. And when I related to a friend of mine, let’s call him Jim, of their presence at dinner, he was outwardly scandalized.  “Why would you invite them over to Easter dinner?  Don’t you know they aren’t Catholic?”

“Yes, I certainly do,” I replied.  I continued, “In fact, that’s why I invited them to begin with!”  He was confused.  So I took a few moments to explain.

Life is a Battle

We are often quick to condemn the sins of others – and rightfully so!  But while we should admonish sinners, our battle in this world is not to chase away souls.  Our Lord prayed, “Now this is the will of the Father who sent me: that of all that he hath given me, I should lose nothing” (John 6:39), and we who are called to help preserve and diffuse the Catholic Faith should pray that our actions likewise should lose not a single soul.

As a Third Order Dominican and as a catechist, I often say that we can never study the truths of the Faith enough.  We cannot read the catechism or re-study Christian doctrine too much.  So I reminded Jim that we first and foremost are in a battle.  He certainly agreed.  But, this battle is not one that will be won with an outward assault on our enemies.  It will be won in the deepest reaches of our soul (cf. Matthew 11:12) and through our persistent, subtle actions that target souls held in slavery by the camp of Satan.

Whether we like it or not, we are in a battle, and this battle is one which we did not create.  In fact, this battle has existed far before the errors of Vatican II even seeped into the Church.  Our battle is namely the same that St. Paul referenced when he said, “For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places” (Ephesians 6:12).  And we fight this battle by virtue of our Confirmation.

In the traditional Confirmation Rite, the bishop lightly slaps the cheek of the one who has been confirmed as an outward expression of the inward reality, namely that those confirmed must be ready to suffer all things, even death, for the sake of Jesus Christ.

And like a good and noble soldier, this war is not our cause.  It has existed long before our time.  In fact, we have been thrown into the very middle of the warfare as a paratrooper would land deep into the heat of the battle.  And just as the noble soldier who undertakes such a perilous mission behind enemy lines knows, his battle ends only at death.  We too, as confirmed Catholics, must continue to remind ourselves that our battle is one that will end with the triumph of the Immaculate Heart, but it is a battle in which we must die.  We must die to ourselves while persisting in the state of sanctifying grace until death. For the battle is fought first within ourselves through penance and prayer (1 Corinthians 9:27) before we can battle against the principalities of this world of darkness.

The Spiritual Weapons for the Battle

So imagine yourself in the heat of battle.  Immorality and carnal lust swirls around us.  Debauchery, idolatry, greed, and envy reign in the highest places.  Darkness is around.  You paratroop in and hit the ground.  Everything goes black.  Suddenly you awaken to the sound of battle.  So what do you do?

What soldier in the midst of battle does not arise and double back in order to pick up a sufficient weapon lest he stand no chance?  The same is true for the spiritual conduct we find ourselves in.  It doesn’t matter if we were baptized and confirmed long ago before the battled raged as it does today.  It doesn’t matter if we are timid by nature or not.  On the contrary, we are in the battle!  Our focus is not to understand why we got here – the immediate focus is on what we can do to fight the good fight and press on.

And our weapons in this battle are plentiful.  In fact, Heaven has showered our battlefield with a myriad of weapons.  My focus as a catechist is on the Doctrine of Christ which is sweet and awe-inspiring to souls.  There are in fact other weapons though – the Rosary, the various Scapulars given by our Lady, the St. Benedict Medal, the Miraculous Medal, the Cord of St. Philomena, and countless others.

My “weapon of choice” though besides these Sacramentals which I wholeheartedly encourage nonetheless, is the sweetness of the Doctrine of Christ.  For those wishing to ground yourself in authentic Catholic teaching, I recommend a few essential books that must be in your library.

Firstly, the Baltimore Catechism and the Roman Catechism are foundational.  Use the Baltimore Catechism with your children and read it yourself too.  Keep these simple but true axioms of the Faith in mind.  Whereas modern churchman are accustomed to lengthy and complicated theological studies, the Catechisms provide in clear and easy to understand language the truths of the Faith that are timeless and unchanging.

Next, pick up a copy of the Douay Rheims Bible and pair with it a copy of Fr. George Leo Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary.  Fr. Haydock's Douay Bible with his extended commentary was originally published in 1811 and became the bestselling English Catholic Bible in the 19th century in the world.  The text is available freely online - and the same is true for the Baltimore Catechism and the Roman Catechism.

And as any good soldier would do as he surveys the battle field and fills his satchel, you need some stronger weapons for the stronger enemies on the battlefield.  In our spiritual conquest, we too will find those enemies.  Whether they be in the form of the unrepentant sinner of 50 years, the Jehovah’s Witness at our door, or the Protestant street preacher, we need to be prepared.

For those tougher battles, find a copy of the Summa Theologia of St. Thomas Aquinas.  The text is one of the best summaries of the Catholic Faith with various arguments and their refutation by chapter.  While the Summa is a truly massive text, fear not.  Two years before he died, St. Thomas Aquinas asked by his assistant, Brother Reginald, to write a simple summary of the Faith for those who lacked the time or the ability to tackle his massive Summa Theologica.  That text is known as the “Shorter Summa” and is available for purchase online.

And last of all, for those hard-lined modernists who assail Catholic Tradition, let us take as our weapon the “Liturgical Year” by the Abbot Dom Prosper Gueranger.  Written in 15 volumes, no work today better expresses the beauty, majesty, and symbolism of the entirety of the Traditional Catholic Liturgical Year.

These are the five items - in addition to the sacramentals - you should equip yourself with.

Persist in Grace and Fight Onward

As “soldiers of Christ,” we often are prone to envision these battles as glorious opportunities to defend Christ.  On the contrary, every battle is a grind.  We will slip in mud.  We will fall and scrap our legs.  We will lose our hearing as the bombs explode and we will lose our sight at times from the glow of the bombs.  We are the in trenches.  We fight.  We get up through the Sacrament of Confession and refresh our souls through the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, worthily received.

Our time for rest and glory is only after our fight in the battle ends – not during it.  And our battle ends only at death.

So then I stopped and Jim understood why I invited the lapsed Lutheran over and the agnostic, worldly man.  Far from keeping the day to only celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection with family, I wanted to spend it using persistent but subtle conversations to plant the seed of Faith in other souls.  I may never reap those fruits or see them reaped.  But that’s fine!  May the souls that I plant seeds of the Faith in, one day ripen nonetheless.  And through them, may God be glorified.

So gone on, eat with sinners!  Don’t be afraid to befriend Muslims or Pagans or Protestants.  Go to their homes.  Be friends with their children.  Care about them.  Pray for them.  Carry the Cross and make reparation for them.

But with any battle, do so only with the weapons of catechesis properly in your mind and lived out in your heart.  Fight until the Good Lord calls us to the end of our battle.  And on that day may we hear the blessed words, “Well done, good and faithful servant: because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:23)

Read more >>

Subscribe to Future Posts on A Catholic Life

Enter email address:



Copyright / Disclaimer

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. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and/or believe will add value to my readers. 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.”