Friday, December 20, 2019
2020 Patron Saint of the Year Devotion
edit_button

December 29th at 2:40 PM: The drawing is complete and the results are below. Merry Christmas! May all of the saints intercede for us! For anyone looking for a prayer to your saint, you may always use the Prayer to Venerate Any Saint. I have been selected by St. Bede the Venerable. May he intercede for me this year in a special way.

January 2nd at 1:00 PM: For any additional requests, I will be performing another drawing on the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th. So please feel free to continue to add names in the comments box below.

January 6th at 12:30 PM: Thank you for all who have wished to participate in this devotion. The final drawing has taken place and the results are below. Please use this year to get to know your saint. Pray to him/her. Make some true Catholic resolutions for yourself for this year. Ask your saint to intercede for you so you can conquer any of your sinful inclinations and grow in grace. Have the strength to do what you need to do the most in your spiritual life. Avoid bad company. Keep the Commandments. Pray the Rosary daily. Observe the First Fridays and First Saturdays. Ask your saint to help you.  


I am very pleased to again be a facilitator for the Patron Saint of the Year Devotion.  I have been part of this annual tradition since 2006 and have helped coordinate devotions for hundreds of families.  It is my pleasure to now be part of the 2020 Patron Saint of the Year Devotion.

If you find this devotion helpful and would like to support A Catholic Life in the next year, please submit a donation.  Your donation is especially important since I am not currently working professionally aside from my writing/speaking/catechesis work so the donation is quite helpful to me and to this blog. This devotion takes a significant amount of time to facilitate as I cut hundreds of saints' names on paper to draw them, and I pull them out after a prayer for each and every name submitted in the comments box.

SPONSOR: This Devotion is being sponsored again this year by CatechismClass.com.  Whether you are looking for godparent preparation courses, Sacramental preparation for your children, or just to better learn the Faith as an adult, CatechismClass.com has courses for all ages and walks of life.  Check out CatechismClass.com's affordable programs and make it a New Year's resolution to learn and live the Faith better than ever before.

You can read about the past devotions at the following posts:
Again, I would like to take a few minutes to explain the devotion.

When will the saints be drawn?  This year I will start the drawing of saints on December 27th. Drawings will occur as the Litany of Saints are again recited.  That means results will likely be posted in the late afternoon (US Central Time) on Sunday, December 29, 2019.

How do I enter?  Just add the names of everyone (you and your family) that you want to be included in the drawing in the comment box below.  DO NOT also email them to me. Emailed entries will not be accepted. Please leave all entries in the comment box to this post.

This year, saints will be posted here after the drawing is complete.

What is the Saint for the Year Devotion? Here is my post on this from years past to clarify the matter. This is from the person that draws all of the saints. I don't draw the saints. I will merely pass on your name or screen name to her so that she will draw a saint for you. Also, I will pass on the name of any of your family or friends that would like to participate. This isn't superstition. St. Faustina did the same thing!

Last year hundreds of people received saints to be their special patron, and there were miraculous connections. It was truly amazing. We pray that this year the Holy Ghost will again work so that all participants receive a saint that they will be able to pray to for aid throughout the entire year:
Saint for the Year
I want to tell you about the practice of picking a saint at random to be your “holy protector” for the year. Actually, the saint is the one who chooses us though. The tradition of letting a saint “pick you,” is not a new one. St. Faustina wrote about it in her diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul. The excerpt is below.

“There is a custom among us of drawing by lot, on New Year's Day, special Patrons for ourselves for the whole year. In the morning during meditation, there arose within me a secret desire that the Eucharistic Jesus be my special Patron for this year also, as in the past. But, hiding this desire from my Beloved, I spoke to Him about everything else but that. When we came to refectory for breakfast, we blessed ourselves and began drawing our patrons. When I approached the holy cards on which the names of the patrons were written, without hesitation I took one, but I didn't read the name immediately as I wanted to mortify myself for a few minutes. Suddenly, I heard a voice in my soul: ‘I am your patron. Read.’ I looked at once at the inscription and read, ‘Patron for the Year 1935 - the  Most Blessed Eucharist.’ My heart leapt with joy, and I slipped quietly away from the sisters and went for a short visit before the Blessed Sacrament, where I poured out my heart. But Jesus sweetly admonished me that I should be at that moment together with the sisters. I went immediately in obedience to the rule.”Excerpt from Divine Mercy in My Soul, the Diary of St. Faustina"

I have a container full of names ... I will be glad to pick out the name for you and send you the name if you prefer. I am so excited by my saint(s) ... I already picked mine. Well, I should say that they picked me ... I have Saints Marcus and Marcellianus ... they are twin brothers who were sent to prison before their death. St. Sebastian visited them continually in prison and helped keep their faith alive. They are buried near St. Felix and are specifically honored in Spain.

OK now ... here are a couple of immediate ironies in regard to these saints ... I have a SPECIAL place in my heart for twins! As a child, I LOVED reading the story about St. Sebastian. I had a children's book of saints and I think I wore out the pages on St. Sebastian! Felix is my grandfather's name! Silvia, our exchange student, is from Spain! I am so excited to have these two saints to walk through 2006 with me! I'm looking forward as to where and how they will intercede for me.
Please pass this message on through your blogs and/or email distribution lists, letting all of the Catholic Blogsphere have the chance to participate.

So, please leave it below in the comment box when you ask to participate. If you wish to remain anonymous, please leave your initials instead of your name.  Anonymous requests without names or initials will NOT be part of the drawing.  Do not add the same request more than once.  If your comment is posted below, it will count.

NoteDO NOT email me your entries. Emailed entries will not be accepted.  Leave all submissions here in the comments box to this blog post.

So, comment below and pass this message on throughout the entire Catholic Blogsphere!

Results of the Drawing

Name Saint
Matthew Blessed Margaret Ebner
Anna St. Jerome
Maksim St. Anne
Eric Peters St. Francis de Sales
Fran T. St. Martha
Dorothy C Blessed James of Voragine
Cathleen W St. Clare
Harry T St. Richard of Vaucelles
Isabella T St. Salvius of Amiens
Diane St. John Bosco
K.J. Blessed Jane of Orvieto
Shannon  St. Berno of Cluny
Tina M. St. Austrebertha of Pavilly
Joe M. St. Anne
Rina M. Blessed Alponsus and Companions
John M. St. Kevoca of Kyle
Julie T. Pope St. Hyginus
Blake T. St. Gotteschalk
Bella T. St. Sebastian
Christine Mac Blessed James of Voragine
Robert Mac St. William of Aebelholt
Casey Mac St. Noel Chabanel
Colin Mac St. Emilie de Villeneuve
Grace M. St. Basil the Great
Ron Forrester St. Germana
Joan Forrester Pope St. Pius I
Ben Blessed Simon
Jeannie St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier
Felicity St. Sebastian of Aparicio
Sarah Blessed Basil Hopko
Veronica St. Charles Garnier
Joseph St. Berno of Cluny
Augustine St. William of Breteuil
Mark Angelo St. Vaast of Arras
LPA St. Rigobert of Rheims
TKH St. Padre Pio
CG St. Cecilia
Joey V St. Marie of the Incarnation
Laura L St. Peter Damien
LD St. Augustin Schoeffler
BN St. Rafael Guizar Valencia
AD Blessed Aimo
TD St. Bede the Venerable
GS St. Pretextatus
MS St. Anselm of Canterbury
IS St. Leudwinus
MC St. Apollinaris of Ravenna
Kathy Rossi St. John Chrysostom
IreneK St. Goswin
Olindo V St. Leudadd of Bardsey
Valerie V St. Helladius
Katie V St. Paulinus of Trier
Tim W St. Justin Martyr
Max D St. Andrew
Jimmy D Blessed Albert of Bergamo
Jeffrey D St. Gordian
Michael D Blessed James Salomonio
Francis D Pope St. Hyginus
Nicholas D St. Stanislaus Kostka
Dominic D Pope St. Martin I
Xavier D St. Benildus Romancon
Johnny D St. Henry II
Peter D Blessed Maria
Andrew D Blessed Basil Hopko
Jacob D St. Peter Faber
Griffin C Blessed Sibyllina
Elijah C St. Filippo Smaldone
Isaac C St. Bruno
Douglas T St. Sindeulphus
Mallory H The Martyrs of Constantinope (Feast 7/8)
Landyn H St. Agathangelus
Savanna H St. Julio Alvarez Mendoza
Susan M St. Leontius
Rich M Blessed John of Salerno
Greg M St. Martin of Tours
Fred M St. Jeanne-Marie de Maille
Chad M Blessed Stephen Bellesini
Douglas Blessed Villana
Michelle St. Polycarp
Shaun Blessed Raymond of Capua
Cristina St. Jane Frances de Chantal
Stephanie St. Norbert
Gianna St. Catherine Laboure
Leilani G. St. Chrysanthus
Dominic St. Paul of the Cross
Bryan St. George
Zachary St. Philip Benizi
Steven St. Peter Fourier
Linda St. Joachim
Michael St. Faustinus
jmr1979 St. Ennodius
Nathan B  St. Aventinus of Tours
Dominic B St. John of Parma
Josemaria St. John of God
Tony St. Tironensian Order
Haydee St. Romana of Capua
Mike Blessed John Dominic
Cherie St. Gracilian
Rolly Blessed Bezela of Goda
Boy St. Gaugericus
Mary Ann St. Anthony Zaccaria
Kristine St. Marcellus I
Andy St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi
Jenna S Blessed Jose Vega Riano
Anna BG Blessed Pier Giorgio
JL G St. Andeolus of Smyrna
Jaime L St. Noel Chabanel
Auliya G St. Ambrose
Julio L St. Aloysius Gonzaga
Roman L St. Marcellus I
Janine D St. Floribert of Liege
Kyle D St. Francis Borgia
Nicole H Pope St. Pius I
James Hargett Blessed Josefa Navval Girbes
Joanna Hargett St. Hilary of Poiters
Arwen Hargett St. Louise de Marillac
Christian Hargett Blessed Anthony della Chiesa
Cindy St. Anastasius
Dustin St. Judoc
Hailey St. William of Breteuil
Lila Blessed Crescencio Graacia Pobo
Elizabeth B. St. Edward the Confessor
Mckenna R. St. Chrysanthus
Baby R. St. Joseph of Leonissa
Sonny R. Pope St. Sixtus I
Levi R. St. Lawrence
Jeanne R. Saint Honoratus of Arles
Richard R. St. Bernardine of Siena
Katie M. Blessed Julia Rodzinska
Jana M. St. Vaast of Arras
Kenneth M. St. Julian the Hospitaller
Ramona R. St. Stephen of Mar Saba
Arnold R. St. Cosmas
Earlene R. St. Florentius of Carracedo
Francesca R. Blessed Bartholomew of Vincenza
Ehvalina R. Blessed Henry
Hollie S. St. Joan Antidea Thouret
Andres S. Blessed Giles
Lorenzo S. Blessed Dominic Spadafora
Andrew C. St. Romana of Capua
Helen Margaret Blessed Basil Hopko
Kevin B St. Wistremundus of Cordoba
IJ Blessed Ann of the Angles
Ryan St. Edward the Confessor
Jeremy St. Isidore of Alexandria
Debbie Blessed Gonsalvo
Elaine St. Francis de Sales
Fred St. Florian of Lorch
Sandy St. Mary Magdalene
Brandon St. Matthew the Apostle
Sydnie St. Edwin of Northumbria
Rachel St. John of Capistrano
Kalab St. Sebastian
Dick St. Cosmas
Trey St. Stephen
Kierra St. Peter Canisius
Dave St. Francis de Sales
Austin St. Isaac Jogues
Autumn Our Lady of Guadalupe
Abbie St. Albert of Sicily
Caelin St. Margaret of Hungary
Taiyler St. Dymphna
Robert St. John Bosco
Robin St. Nicholas of Tolentino
Brandon St. Damien of Molokai
Ally St. Ivo of Kermartin
Jocelyn St. Vladimir I of Kiev
Kasen St. Tillo
Hadley St. John of Parma
Eric St. Helena
Tim St. Lutgardis
Sue Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro
Liam St. Mary Clopas
Lincoln St. Hedwig
Lilly St. Basil the Great
Leah St. Leonidas of Alexandria
Debbie St. Pius V
Joe St. Teresa Margaret Redi
Thomas St. Sebastian
David St. Dorothy of Montau
Stephanie  St. Barnabas
Matt W St. Braulio of Saragossa
Jennie W St. Joachim
Diego PL. St. Peter the Apostle
Kelly St. Angela Merici
Emily St. Damian
Kyla St. Ferdinand III of Castille
Jay St. Mary Clopas
Sue St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Suzanne St. Leonard of Port Maurice
Josh St. Andre Bessette
Joe St. Raymond Nonnatus
Jen St. Teresa of Avila
John St. Paul Miki
Missy St. Clotilde
Joan St. Thomas the Apostle
Matt Bl. Anne Marie Taigi
Mason C St. Catherine of Siena
Alex M. Bl. Marie Rose Durocher
Melody R. St. Damien of Molokai
Elizabeth Lisa B. St. Benedict
Marian E. St. Gabriel the Archangel
James A. B. Bl. Margaret of Castello

Support

I handle the planning, marketing, and drawing for this devotion each year without any cost. Please take a minute and if you are a supporter of this devotion, please consider leaving us a free will donation. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps me continue working on this devotion and spreading it further and it helps keep A Catholic Life online.

paypal.me/MPlese
Read more >>
Tuesday, December 17, 2019
Advent Ember Day Fast
edit_button

If you are in good health, please at least fast during these three days and pray 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 partial abstinence.

Please click here for a special Ember Day Manual, including reflections for the Advent Ember Days.  It is free.

Ember Days this Advent: December 18, 20, and 21

From Angelus Press Daily Missal:
At the beginning of the four seasons of the Ecclesiastical Year, the Ember Days have been instituted by the Church to thank God for blessings obtained during the past year and to implore further graces for the new season. Their importance in the Church was formerly very great. They are fixed on the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday: after the First Sunday of Lent for spring, after Pentecost Sunday for summer, after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (14th September) for autumn, and after the Third Sunday of Advent for winter. They are intended, too, to consecrate to God the various seasons in nature, and to prepare by penance those who are about to be ordained. Ordinations generally take place on the Ember Days. The faithful ought to pray on these days for good priests. The Ember Days were until c. 1960 fastdays of obligation.
Read more >>
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
The Top 3 Catholic Newspapers
edit_button

For those who still prefer to receive physical newspapers (in addition to or instead of online news articles), there are still a few good Catholic newspapers in circulation. There are plenty of great Catholic news sites online and plenty of false, modernist ones too unfortunately. The same is true for newspapers. Some Catholic newspapers are mainstream and refuse to address the hard issues of today so as not to offend anyone, and others blatantly advocate heresy. I prefer to keep the same Faith as the saints of past generations. That is after all what it means to adhere to the Catholic (i.e. universal) Religion.

Here are my top 3 Catholic newspapers along with information on how to subscribe to them.

1. Catholic Family News


Catholic Family News is a monthly publication to which John Vennari served as its chief editor until his death in 2017. Catholic Family News is a traditional Catholic publication with no affiliation with any particular order. The paper also includes devotional materials and articles on historic Roman Catholic teachings and persons. It has relevant Catholic news from a Tradition perspective. The paper maintains an anti-sedevecantist position and promotes the proper collegial consecration of Russia, as requested by Our Lady of Fatima. The paper's current editor is active at managing the paper's online social media presence. For instance, they regularly post and engage with questions on their Twitter account.

As of this writing, US subscriptions are $42/year with different rates for Canada or overseas delivery. Learn more and sign up.

2. Catholic



Catholic began life in 1982 as a lay publication for traditionalist Catholics, managed by Don Mclean of Melbourne, Australia. The Transalpine Redemptorists inherited the publication from Mr. Mclean when he retired in 2000. The paper is published 4 times a year and contains many devotional articles and stories about Catholic history and saints, as well as current news for those who love the traditional liturgy. The paper features beautiful and vibrant Catholic photos truly meant to inspire. Read the paper and share it with others. Your subscription helps support the monks and their monastery.

The paper is $10/issue. You may learn more and sign up via the Transalpine Redemptorist's website.

3. The Remnant


Founded in 1968, The Remnant is the oldest Traditionalist Catholic newspaper in the United States. The name The Remnant is a reference to the remnant of Isaiah and the belief that only a remnant of Catholics holding to the traditional teachings and practice of the Church remain after the sweeping changes unleashed by the Second Vatican Council. The paper is currently led by Michael Matt, whose online videos on the Faith are refreshing and inspiring. The Remnant is not affiliated with any particular traditionalist group.

The paper is available currently for $40/year for standard delivery. Other options exist. Click here to learn more and sign up.
Read more >>
Saturday, December 7, 2019
Consecration to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception 
edit_button

O IMMACULATA, Queen of Heaven and earth, refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother, God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to you. I, (name), a repentant sinner, cast myself at your feet, humbly imploring you to take me with all that I am and have, wholly to yourself as your possession and property. Please make of me, of all my powers of soul and body, of my whole life, death and eternity, what­ever most pleases you.  If it pleases you, use all that I am and have with­out reserve, wholly to accomplish what was said of you: "She will crush your head," and "You alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world." Let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and merciful hands for introducing and increasing your glory to the maximum in all the many strayed and indif­ferent souls, and thus help extend as far as possible the blessed kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For wherever you enter you obtain the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is through your hands that all graces come to us from the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

V. Allow me to praise you, O Sacred Virgin
R. Give me strength against your enemies.

Source: Written by St. Maximilian Kolbe
Read more >>
Thursday, December 5, 2019
Mission Santa Barbara
edit_button

After having just celebrated the feastday of St. Barbara, I thought it appropriate to share a series of photos from my time in Santa Barbara, California back in 2014. Please excuse the poor quality of these images by today's standards. Back then I visited the Mission of St. Barbara in the city dedicated to her honor. These are some images of that church.






Prayer in Honor of St. Barbara, Virgin and Martyr, to Obtain a Good Death 

O Lord, Who selected St. Barbara for the consolation of the living and the dying, grant us by her intercession ever to live in thy divine love and to put all our confidence in the merits of the most sorrowful passion of Thy Son. May the death of Him never surprise us, but, comforted by the holy sacraments of Penance, Holy Eucharist and Extreme Unction, may we set forward without fear towards eternal glory. This we beseech thee by the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen 

(Indulgence 100 days)

Read more >>
Tuesday, December 3, 2019
UPDATED DESIGN: NEW Latin Pronunciation Prayer Cards
edit_button

PrayLatin.com, the producer of beautiful prayer cards in English and in Latin, has just released an exciting new line of pronunciation prayer cards.


Check out their selection of Latin prayer cards featuring complete English phonetic renderings of the Latin words per the more romano (like the Romans) liturgical pronunciation as endorsed by Popes St. Pius X, Benedict XV, and Pius XI. Phonetic renderings were provided by Louis Tofari of Romanitas Press, whose products I've also reviewed before.

The pronunciation prayer cards are offered in both 10 and 50 packs for very affordable prices. Buy some and pass them out and distribute them. Let's get more Catholics praying in the Church's official language. Click here to browse their offerings.

I would personally suggest their variety pack which features 16 cards - 2 of each of the following prayers:
  • Signum Crucis (Sign of the Cross) & Gloria Patri (Glory Be)
  • Pater Noster (Our Father)
  • Ave Maria (Hail Mary)
  • Sancte Michael (St. Michael)
  • Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen)
  • Benedictio Mensae (Prayers Before and After Meals)
  • Actus Contritionis (Act of Contrition)
  • Credo (Apostles' Creed)
Check out the variety pack specifically by clicking here.
Read more >>
Saturday, November 30, 2019
Advent Preparation Guide
edit_button

Advent begins this Sunday. This is like a mini Lent. Let's start planning how to spend these days leading up to Christmastide.


Read more >>
Tuesday, November 26, 2019
St. Leonard of Port Maurice
edit_button


November 26th is the Feast of St. Sylvester the Abbot. It is in addition also the feastday of St. Peter of Alacantra, who was one of the first martyrs for combating the heresy of Arius. In the Divine Office a Commemoration is made of him.

Furthermore, in some places it is also the feastday of St. Leonard of Port Maurice. The following account is taken from the St. Benedict Center:
Saint Leonard of Port Maurice was a most holy Franciscan friar. He lived at the monastery of Saint Bonaventure in Rome. He was one of the greatest missioners in the history of the Church. He used to preach to thousands in the open square of every city and town where the churches could not hold his listeners. The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the veneration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus were his crusades. He was in no small way responsible for the definition of the Immaculate Conception made a little more than a hundred years after his death. But Saint Leonard’s most famous work was his devotion to the Stations of the Cross. He is sometimes called the Saint of the Stations of the Cross. So brilliant and holy was his eloquence that once when he gave a two weeks’ mission in Rome, the Pope and the College of Cardinals came to hear him. Saint Leonard of Port Maurice also gave us the Divine Praises, which are said at the end of Benediction. He died a most holy death in his seventy-fifth year, after twenty-four years of uninterrupted preaching.
Spend some time reading one of his greatest sermons: The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved by St. Leonard of Port Maurice

Read more on his life at Nobility.org.
Read more >>
Monday, November 18, 2019
St. Anthony of Padua Restores a Faithful Woman Her Hair
edit_button


Once there was a Holy woman who was kind and charitable to Saint Anthony and his Friars. This infuriated her husband to no ends to the point the jealous husband ordered her to stop giving them alms. The woman knew her husband's orders were unreasonable, so she ignored them. The next time he found she had been giving things to the friars he became quite furious. He laid hands on his wife and beat her unmercifully. He even dragged the poor woman around by the hair so that a good part of it was pulled out by the roots. When the woman saw this, she went to St. Anthony for help. Anthony asked the rest of the friars to pray with him. By the time their prayers had come to an end, the woman's hair had been restored, even more lovely than before. When the husband saw the miracle worked through St. Anthony, he was throughly ashamed and converted. He begged his wife's forgiveness and never more interfered in her works of charity towards the Franciscan friars.

St. Anthony of Padua, pray for us!
Read more >>
Friday, November 15, 2019
Commemoration of All Souls of the Carmelite Order
edit_button


While the Universal Church keeps on November 2nd the Commemoration of All Departed Souls, the various religious orders in the Church keep specific days to remember the dead of their Orders throughout November.

The Dominicans traditionally keep the Feast of All Dominican Saints on November 12th and the Commemoration of All Departed Dominican Souls on November 13th. The Benedictines keep the Feast of All Benedictine Saints on November 13th and the Commemoration of all Benedictine Souls on November 14th. Likewise, the Carmelites keep on November 14th the Feast of All Carmelite Saints and on November 15th keep the Commemoration of all Carmelite Souls.

As many of us have (or should have) been enrolled in the Brown Scapular, which is part of the Carmelite Order, it is certainly meritorious if we would stop and say a prayer this day for all of the departed Carmelite Souls who are in Purgatory and undergoing their final purification before entering Heaven.


Prayers said by Carmelites:

Inclina, Domine, aurem tuam ad preces nostras, quibus misericordiam tuam supplices deprecamur: ut animas Fratrum et Sororum Ordinis nostri, quas de hoc sæculo migrare jussisti; in pacis ac lucis regione constituas, et Sanctorum tuorum jubeas esse consortes. Per Dominum.

Lord, give ear to our prayers as we humbly beseech thy mercy that the souls of the Brothers and Sisters of our Order, who at thy bidding have departed from this world, may be established in the abode of peace and light, and may at thy command have entrance into the company of thy saints: through our Lord.

(Carmelite Liturgy of the Holy Sepulchre with English Translation by the old Carmelite Daily Missal)

Prayers said by the Discalced Carmelites:

Deus, veniæ largitor, et humanæ salutis amator: quæsumus clementiam tuam; ut nosræ Congregatonis Fratrers et Sorores, qui ex hoc sæculo transierunt, beata Maria semper Virgine intercedente cum omnibus Sanctis tuis, ad perpetuæ beatitudinis consortium pervenire concedas. Per Dominum.

O God the giver of forgiveness and lover of human salvation, we ask thy mercy: that the brothers and sisters of our congregation who have passed from this world, by the intercession of the blessed Mary ever-virgin and all thy saints, you would grant them to reach the company of eternal bliss. Through our Lord.
Read more >>
St. Martin's Lent
edit_button

Detail from Charité de Saint Martin by Caroline Sorg (1864)

November 15th in the Eastern Rite Churches begins the Nativity Fast. This 40-day long period fasting is a preparation for the holy celebration of Christmas. Like Lent, the Eastern Churches observe a period of 40 days of fasting in preparation for the Nativity of the Lord. This was practiced for many centuries by the Western Church, especially before Advent became four weeks in Lent. Previously, Advent was modeled after Lent. The fast, which shortly follows Martinmas, is often called "St. Martin's Lent." Learn more at AroundtheYear. The exact beginning has varied. Sometime ago it was begun on November 12th, the day immediately after Martinmas, thus taking the name of St. Martin's Lent. In the Byzantine tradition it is called both the Nativity Fast as well as St. Philip's Fast since November 14th is the Feast of St. Philip in the Byzantine Rite.

[St. Martin’s Lent] was formerly observed, even by the Laity, with Abstinence from Flesh, and with a rigorous Fast, in some Places, by Precept, in others of Devotion, and without any positive Obligation, though universal. The first Council of Maçon, in 581, ordered Advent from St. Martin’s to Christmas-day three Fasting Days a Week, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; but the whole Term of forty Days, was observed with a strict Abstinence from Flesh Meat.—Alban Butler

Latin Rite Catholics today may certainly still observe fasting during this time to spiritually prepare themselves for Christmas. Beginning with Vespers on November 15th, the Nativity Fast continues until just before Vespers on Christmas Eve.

As with all periods of fasting, Fasting is forbidden on Sundays. Due to many popular feast days occurring between now and December 9th, many places began to adapt the fast to begin on December 10th. Latin Rite Catholics traditionally already fasted on the Vigil of the Immaculate Conception (December 7th) and on the Vigil of the Nativity (December 24th). Those two days should still be observed by Roman Catholics devotionally. In years when these days fall on a Sunday, fasting is suppressed.

The fast's purpose is to spiritually prepare the soul for drawing closer to God. Along with our fasting, we must increase our own prayer life, almsgiving, and good works. Fasting without increased prayer should never be done.

Ask yourself - can you join in this ancient fasting period (aside from Thanksgiving Day and Sundays and the Holy Day of the Immaculate Conception)?

Can you offer this penance for the conversion of sinners as a Christmas present to the Lord?
Read more >>
Thursday, November 14, 2019
Traditional Latin Mass at St. Monica's in San Francisco, CA
edit_button


On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 11 AM, St. Monica Catholic Church at 470 24th Street offers the Traditional Latin Mass. Here are some highlights from my time there on the feastday of St. Josaphat on November 14th.

Logistics:
  • The entrance to the weekday Mass is through the parking lot in the back. It is not through the front doors. The back area near the rectory has a small ramp and a door open where you enter. 
  • There is a restroom near that entrance, which is nice since not all parishes have restrooms available during the week
  • The Mass that I attended featured a sermon and was a Low Mass but went a full hour - actually a bit more than an hour. For someone coming to this Mass on their lunch break, this would be important to know. It was not a "quick" 30-minute Low Mass
Highlights:
  • The priest offered a compelling sermon even on a weekday where he spoke of the Catholic Church as the One True Church, outside of which no one is saved. And he highlighted our role in evangelization as a duty to bring all non-Catholics to the Catholic Faith. He even directly countered the errors of Pope Francis who has spoken negatively on conversions before. This was extremely refreshing to hear.
  • The church is not crowded at all. There was an abundance of room to move around and sit without bumping into anyone.
  • Approximately 20 people were in attendance - of which 17 were women. And all of the women wore veils. All of them. Great to see!
Oddities:

Not to complain, as I do appreciate this parish offering this Mass, there were some oddities that would stand out to someone who often goes to the Tridentine Mass:
  • The main distraction was the "loudness" of the prayers. I noticed even while sitting 6 rows back that I could hear the prayers ascending to the altar, the Munda Cor Meum, and the offertory silent prayers almost word for word. While the Canon was said in a lower voice, I could still hear many of the words and that was a distraction to me. The "Nobis quoque peccatóribus" was said so loudly it was a yell. I hope the priest continues to offer the Traditional Mass but modifies his vocal cords to be more in conformity with the rubrics of the quiet of Low Mass.
  • They were dog friendly, which is fine as I noticed a woman brought her dog with her. But the priest seemed to have a dog of his own that ran around the church and even the sanctuary for about 10 minutes from the start of Mass until the dog decided to jump on top of the priest's chair and sleep. Quite a distraction.
  • The priest did not make the Sign of the Cross at the beginning or end of the sermon
  • The priest did not wear a maniple
  • There was no "sanctus candle" placed on the altar
While it was not a "perfectly" said Mass according to the rubrics, the sermon was spot on. Please say a prayer for this priest.

Photos:





Read more >>
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini
edit_button


On November 13th, in the United States we keep the traditional feastday of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini. On the Universal Calendar, today is the Feast of St. Didacus and in various particular calendars, the Benedictines today celebrate the Feast of All Benedictine Saints, and the Dominicans keep the Commemoration of All Dominican Souls on this day. The life of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini is read as part of the Martyrology entry for December 22nd, the anniversary of the date of her passing to eternal life. In the United States, her feast is celebrated on November 13th, the day of her beatification, in order to avoid conflicting with the greater ferias of Advent.

From childhood Frances Cabrini desired to become a missionary for Christ. After some unsuccessful starts, she founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Codogna, Italy; and in 1889 at the urging of Pope Leo XIII, she accepted the invitation of New York's Archbishop Corrigan to work among the numerous Italian immigrants of that era. Mother Cabrini founded orphanages, schools, and hospitals all over the United States, and extended her institute to Central and South America, France, Spain, and England. Everywhere her work succeeded only through her unbounded trust in God's providence. Though always in poor health, she traveled constantly, crossing the Atlantic 25 times in spite of a great fear of ocean voyages.

A naturalized citizen of the United States, Mother Cabrini died in 1917 in the convent of her great hospital in Chicago, and was canonized in 1946, the first American citizen-saint.

Collect:

O Lord, Jesus Christ, You enkindled the fire of Your Sacred Heart in the holy virgin Frances Xavier so that she might win souls for You in many lands, and establish a new religious congregation of women in Your Church. Grant that we too may imitate the virtues of Your Sacred Heart through her intercession, so that we may be worthy of the haven of eternal happiness, who lives and rules with God the Father . . .
Read more >>
Can Catholics be Buddhist? Why Catholics May Not Practice Buddhism
edit_button

"The fundamental tenets of Buddhism are marked by grave defects that not only betray its inadequacy to become a religion of enlightened humanity, but also bring into bold relief its inferiority to the religion of Jesus Christ.

"In the first place, the very foundation on which Buddhism rests—the doctrine of karma with its implied transmigrations—is gratuitous and false. This pretended law of nature, by which the myriads of gods, demons, men, and animals are but the transient forms of rational beings essentially the same, but forced to this diversity in consequence of varying degrees of merit and demerit in former lives, is a huge superstition in flat contradiction to the recognized laws of nature, and hence ignored by men of science.

"Another basic defect in primitive Buddhism is its failure to recognize man's dependence on a supreme God. By ignoring God and by making salvation rest solely on personal effort, Buddha substituted for the Brahmin religion a cold and colourless system of philosophy. It is entirely lacking in those powerful motives to right conduct, particularly the motive of love, that spring from the consecration of religious men and women to the dependence on a personal all-loving God. Hence it is that Buddhist morality is in the last analysis a selfish utilitarianism.

"There is no sense of duty, as in the religion of Christ, prompted by reverence for a supreme Lawgiver, by love for a merciful Father, by personal allegiance to a Redeemer. Karma, the basis of Buddhist morality, is like any other law of nature, the observance of which is prompted by prudential considerations. Not infrequently one meets the assertion that Buddha surpassed Jesus in holding out to struggling humanity an end utterly unselfish. This is a mistake. Not to speak of the popular Swarga, or heaven, with its positive, even sensual delights the fact that Nirvana is a negative ideal of bliss does not make it the less an object of interested desire. Far from being an unselfish end, Nirvana is based wholly on the motive of self-love. It thus stands on a much lower level than the Christian ideal, which, being primarily and essentially a union of friendship with God in heaven, appeals to motives of disinterested as well as interested love."

For more, see: New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia
Read more >>
Monday, November 11, 2019
Happy Martinmas! (And 101st Anniversary of Armistice Day)
edit_button


Today is a two-fold celebration.

Firstly, today is Martinmas, the Feast of St. Martin of Tours, and a great celebration in the Catholic sense.  This is the end of the autumn season and essentially a “Catholic Thanksgiving.”  There are many traditions associated with today.  I encourage you to read up on them by clicking here.  You may also read the life of St. Martin of Tours here.

Secondly, today is Veterans Day (originally called Armistice Day).  President Woodrow Wilson, an anti-Catholic at heart, started this day in an attempt to blot out the long held practice of honoring St. Martin.  While today is a fitting day for us to recall the lives of those who perished and honor their service and commend the repose of their souls to God in prayer, let us not forget the Catholic sense of praying for the dead and those in the military.

Make an effort today to thank a veteran. And make an effort to pray for all who have died in battle - those in World War I, World War II, more recent conflicts, and those from centuries ago who sadly are forgotten. If the souls of those who died in such battles of long ago are still in Purgatory, no one in likely praying for them. Make an effort to pray for all the dead veterans of all times today.

St. Martin of Tours, pray for us to have true Christian charity!

For the repose of all of the souls of the dead...Pater Noster, Ave Maria, Requiem aeternam...

For all living veterans who struggle with addictions, employment issues, or health issues...Pater Noster, Ave Maria...


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Read more >>
Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Online Tridentine Mass Stipend Requests
edit_button

For those of us who attend the Tridentine Mass, we may find it difficult to arrange a time to have a Mass said for our intentions. Whether it be for the repose of the soul of a deceased friend or family member, a Mass said in thanksgiving for birthday blessings, or a Mass to beseech the Divine Majesty for a particular intention, we often have the need to request Masses often throughout the year. But many Traditional Mass chapels limit the number of Masses to a certain number per family or the next available date for a Mass to be said could be weeks, if not months, away.

Thankfully, there are a number of organizations and orders who offer the Tridentine Mass (some 1962 Missals and some pre-1955 Missals) and accept online Mass stipends. Some of these are religious orders which could really use the stipend as a means to support the priest as some traditional priests have stipends as a sole (or at least) a major source of their support.


Here is a list of 5 Orders / Communities that accept online Mass stipends:

1. St. Gertrude the Great

The majority of the Mass intentions received through this site are passed along to poorer traditional Catholic priests we know in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Nigeria. They rely on these stipends to live. Individual Mass stipends are $25 and Gregorian Masses are offered for $800. You may also request a Novena of Masses for $225. You may visit the Mass request page here.

2. Servants of the Holy Family

For $21, you can request a Mass to be said by the Servants of the Holy Family. $1 is for processing charges and $20 will go to the priest. You may request a Mass here. You may also request a Gregorian Mass for $930. $30 is for processing fees which can be avoided if you pay via a check in the mail. You may request a Gregorian Mass here.

3. Fraternité Saint Vincent Ferrier

Based in France, the Fraternité Saint Vincent Ferrier is a Catholic religious institute of pontifical right that follows Dominican spirituality and uses the traditional Dominican Rite. Masses may be requested for 17 Euros online here. A novena of Masses may be requested for 170 Euros or Gregorian Masses for 550 Euros.

4. Congregation of St. Pius V

The SSPV through their Immaculate Heart of Mary seminary accepts Mass requests online as well. The cost is $12 which includes the processing fee of $2. Request a Mass here.

Lastly, the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) unfortunately does not accept online Mass requests. Their page provides information on where to mail a check. Their current stipend amount is $20
Read more >>
Sunday, October 27, 2019
Turned Away from an SSPX Retreat for Observing Lent
edit_button


Earlier this year I registered to attend a retreat with the SSPX retreat house in Los Gatos, CA. This would have been my third retreat with the SSPX as I've previously visited their Ridgefield, Connecticut and Phoenix, Arizona retreat houses. My experience was not pleasant and after thinking through this experience for several months I think it's important to share what happened to me.

On February 11th I registered for a retreat that was to take place this Lent and to my surprise shortly after sending in my deposit I received a refund along with this note from the St. Aloysius Retreat Center secretary:
We received a deposit for an upcoming retreat. Father Asher asked me to please refund your deposit. We are sorry, but the Retreat House is unable to accommodate your dietary requests. Your deposit will be refunded through PayPal, as it was the original payment method.
In my registration I had asked for shellfish free meals to be prepared (for an allergy) and for no meat to be served to me for the Monday - Thursday sessions since it is Lent and I follow the pre-1962 abstinence for all 40 days. In actuality, I maintain a vegan diet with an exception for fish but for the sake of ease on the retreat house, I only asked for them to not serve me shellfish or meat. 

I asked for clarification and received a terse reply from the same secretary:
We cannot accommodate either of your dietary restrictions -- it is impossible for the Retreat House to guarantee "no cross contamination" for the shellfish nor can the Retreat House accommodate the "no Meat during Lent" restriction.
A alleged traditional Catholic community can not accommodate no meat during Lent? This is absurd. No further replies or apologies were received. I did not ask for them to make me anything special - just to not serve me meat. So in June I sent in this note to the SSPX district office to see how they would react to this clear violation of Catholic Tradition. How can a retreat house turn someone away who did not want to eat the meat they prepared? I wrote:
I have thought and prayed about this over the past few months but I can no longer support the SSPX. I was planning this year to attend my 3rd Ignatian retreat and I was turn away.  My crime?  Asking that, since it was Lent, I be served meatless meals while there. I thought that was a simple request considering it is the traditional custom of the Lenten fast to abstain from meat for 40 days. Plus, it would be cheaper too for the retreat house. But I was refused. My deposit was returned. No questions asked.
I'm going to cease my donations to the SSPX, cease attending SSPX chapels (which I've done now for nearly 10 years), and as a Traditional Catholic author and writer for several publications, I think I'm going to have to make this situation aware to others. To turn away someone for asking to have a meatless meal is unconscionable. You have it clearly on your website that dietary restrictions are honored. Yet it seems they are not in Los Gatos if that dietary restriction is in keeping with a Lenten practice that, while not in place in 1962, was certainly in place in my grandparent's time.  Please update your website to state that you do NOT honor dietary requests for traditional Catholic practices.
On June 25th I received a response from the Executive Assistant to the District Superior - another lay person and not a priest. After commenting on my request for no shellfish, she wrote:
Your request for a non-meat diet during the retreat was a secondary issue, although, being a preference and not a medically-diagnosed diet, they do have the right to refuse to accommodate such a request. Retreatants, as with all of us who are seeking a deeper spiritual life, are encouraged to accept simply what is set before them at table. If you were to look into saints’ lives, particularly those who dwelt in community with others, they put their individual preferences after the needs or common life of the community. St. Therese of the Child Jesus, for example, would “eat anything” according to her religious sisters and they never knew what she liked or disliked when it came to food. Eating one’s meals in common with others during a retreat could be compared with that aspect of religious life. On a practical note, it would be impossible for the retreat house to cater to each individual retreatant’s preferences when it comes to meals in common. This is why they restrict consideration of diet accommodations to those that are “medically prescribed”, as indicated on the registration form. We were informed that the retreat house did reach out to you by phone after receiving your deposit in order to inform you that they could not accommodate your allergy restriction and that your deposit was refund immediately after that call.
On July 12th, after having through about their email for several weeks, I responded:
While I appreciate your attempt to address these issues via email, they only underscore the need to pull my support for the SSPX: 
1. I do swear that the retreat house never called me and spoke with me. They are either lying or mistaken. There was no discussion - just a refund and a terse email that said that I basically was not welcome 
2. I do not believe my food allergy was the cause. I have attended retreats in both retreat centers in Phoenix and in Connecticut before and they both happily honored my dietary request for no shellfish and to cook the dishes separately when shellfish were served.   
3. The real issue here is that the SSPX seems to think that modernism entered the Church in 1963 and that all practices in place in 1962 were good. They were not. Pope St. Pius X rightfully condemned modernism decades before. And part of that modernism was the New Church's allowing of meat to be eaten during the 40 days of Lent. To violate that abstinence is a sin regardless of what the SSPX thinks. I am not on a crusade to force SSPX priests or Mass-goers to abide by those laws, which are surely still valid, but your refusal to allow me to keep Catholic Tradition is the real reason I was not invited. The 1983 Code is not a valid Code. And I do not violate the traditional tenets of our Faith, including the Lenten abstinence rules. This is not my personal preference - this is true Church law. 
I have already pulled my financial support for the SSPX and will not be assisting at their chapels any further. It was made manifestly clear by the retreat house and by your response that I am not welcome.
No response was ever received. 

Why do I share this story? 

I share this because I know for many years, especially when I was newer to Traditional Catholicism, I viewed the SSPX has the epitome of pre-Vatican II Catholicism. However, after experiencing life in their chapels for many years I can say first-hand that I've met many priests who are extremely hard to talk to, dismissive, and lacking in charity. I still believe Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre was a hero, but that does not mean the modern SSPX is perfect.

In recent years, the resurgence of interest in the more traditional 1954 missal, with its octaves and untouched Holy Week ceremonies, has gained popularity in many Traditional Catholic groups but not in SSPX chapels. They continue to hold firm to the semi-modernized 1962 missal and 1961 breviary with the deletion or downgrading of dozens of feasts and octaves, not to mention the liberalizing 1962 Week reforms. To assert that the 1954 Missal is wrong, as I've heard in SSPX groups, is scandalous. But what is even more scandalous is the SSPX's views that the fasting and abstinence laws of 1962, which eliminated the Lenten fast and countless of other fasts on vigils, are to be observed. And even worse, if I were to observe the pre-1962 fasting periods I am refused admission to their retreat house.

The SSPX are not the embodiment of Catholic Tradition. I have met very committed Catholics who regularly attend SSPX chapels but I've found Catholic Traditions in other chapels and communities. I would advise great caution with accepting completely everything said by an SSPX priest, especially when their statements contradict pre-1962 Tradition or result in uncharitable actions towards others. We are all called to be missionaries of Traditional Catholicism and we do not do so by only preaching with fire and brimstone. We can save many by living a pre-Vatican II (that is pre-1960s lifestyle) and doing so in a way that shows others great love and charity and concern. 

My advice: do not attend an SSPX retreat and only attend an SSPX chapel if a Mass said according to the pre-1955 is not available.

Reject the 1962 Missal. Restore the 1954 Missal. Reject the 1983 Code of Canon Law. Observe the 1917 Code. Reject the modernistic fasting that was practiced in 1962, which Pope Benedict XIV surely would have condemned. Practice the traditional fasting done by our grandfathers and their grandfathers. 
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.”