Thursday, February 27, 2020
Blessed Mary of the Passion: Founder of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary
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Blessed Mary of the Passion was born in Nantes, France on May 21, 1839 and lived until November 15, 1904.

At the age of 17, she attended a spiritual retreat after experiencing the death of two of her sisters and her cousin. She resolved at the retreat to enter religious life but shortly after her mother died and Blessed Mary was required to undertake the household responsibilities.

A few years later she entered the local monastery of the Poor Clares. She shortly after feel ill and had to leave the monastery, despite stating she had a profound experience of God inviting her to offer herself as a victim for the Church.

In 1864, after recovering in health, she entered the monastery of the Sistesr of Mary Reparatrix which had opened a house in Toulouse in 1860. On August 15th of that year, on our Lady's Assumption, she took the name Mary of the Passion and received the religious habit.

She was assigned to  accompany a group of the Sisters to the Vicariate Apostolic of Madurai in India. On May 3, 1866, she made her first religious vows while she was in India.

Blessed Mary was quickly thereafter, because of her many talents, named the Superior of the community. In 1876, however, due to several tensions that arose among the communities in Madurai, she and twenty other sisters left the congregation. She traveled to Rome and with the permission of Pope Pius IX set up a new community under the name: Missionaries of Mary.

Mother Mary's vision was to maintain their commitment to a life in which the Sisters combined contemplative prayer with their service. One characteristic which the new congregation adopted, which distinguished it from their previous one, was the provision of medical care to the local people. This was especially true for the women of India, who were strictly segregated from men in the traditional system. Mother Mary had seen the need for this and, as women themselves, the Sisters began to visit homes where they could enter the parts restricted to females.

Mother Mary opened a novitiate for the new congregation in Saint-Brieuc, in her native region of Brittany in France. The response was great and soon many young women entered the congregation for service overseas.

She returned to Rome in 1880 to resolve some legal matters of the congregation and returned again to Rome in 1882. Such travels were long and arduous.

On August 12, 1885, the order received official recognition from the Holy See. At this time they adopted the Rule of the Franciscan Third Order Regular. And their name was changed to the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary.

In 1900, Mother Mary had the experience of losing the community of Sisters in Taiyuan, China, who were executed during the Boxer Rebellion. These martyrs, who heroically sung the Te Deum as they were executed, were canonization in 2000.

At the age of 65, worn out from all of her labors, Blessed Mary of the Passion died. At the time of her death, there were 2,000 members of her order in over 86 communities spread across four continents. She is buried in Rome.

Currently there are about 6,700 Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, citizens of 80 nations, serving in 76 countries around the globe.

Application To Us

During the Season of Lent in particular we should call to mind the example of so many martyrs and missionaries who gave up their families, their possessions, their careers and ambitions, and sometimes even their lives to reach people in far away lands. And many of these people sought to kill them for spreading or speaking the Faith. And yet, they still went and still spoke out because they knew that to save one soul from eternal death through Baptism and the Holy Faith was worth the price of torture and earthly death here. We should frequently pray for the Missions.

This Lent, let us invoke Blessed Mary of the Passion to intercede for so many traditional priests who labor in Asia and other far away missions. These missionaries are poor and risk their lives and safety to spread the Faith and serve very few souls in otherwise atheistic, Islamic, or pagan countries.

As part of our Lenten alsmgiving, please consider donating to a Traditional Catholic charity, in particular the SSPX Foreign Missions, the Institute of Christ the King Foreign Missions, the FSSP missions, and the independent priests who labor in the 3rd world need our prayers and our financial support. See: 10 Traditional Catholic Charities: Almsgiving for Traditional Catholics
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Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Votive Feast of the Holy Face of Our Lord Jesus Christ Deformed in the Passion
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Today is the final day before the great and holy fast of Lent. Today, known as Marti Gras or Fat Tuesday, is a day that has transformed for one final day of fun and merriment and meat eating to a day of public scandal and sin for many. Unfortunately, with no few actually keeping the forty day fast, it is a mockery that anyone would celebrate Fat Tuesday who does not commit to an authentically austere Lent.

I have written before on the importance of reparation to the Holy Face for Fat Tuesday. In fact, as I mentioned in that prior post, our Lord appeared to Mother Pierina in 1938 and requested a day of reparation today with these words:
“See how I suffer. Nevertheless, I am understood by so few. What gratitude on the part of those who say they love me. I have given My Heart as a sensible object of My great love for man and I give My Face as a sensible object of My Sorrow for the sins of man. I desire that it be honoured by a special feast on Tuesday in Quinquagesima (Shrove Tuesday – the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday). The feast will be preceded by novena in which the faithful make reparation with Me uniting themselves with my sorrow.”
The Facebook Page "Restore the '54" shares the following on the Votive Feast of the Holy Face of Our Lord Jesus Christ Deformed in the Passion:
This Feast is not found in the Missae pro Aliquibus Locis of most editions of the Roman Missal. The Devotion to the Holy Face has its origins in the 12th century, with the relic of the Veil of Veronica kept at St. Peter's Basilica. The different Masses of the Holy Face used today and throughout history honor this relic which is guarded in the Vatican Basilica. 
The Mass for this Feast appears in a Missal from St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, dating from the 1500's. There is also a Votive Mass of the Holy Face in the Holy Land, which formed the 6th Mass of the "Via Crucis." 
In 1889 Leo XIII approved the Confraternity of the Holy Face. Then, in 1910 St. Pius X through an S.R.C. decree approved a Mass for the Holy Face using the Mass "Humiliavit" (used as the Votive Mass of the Passion for Fridays and Tuesday within Sexagesima) along with three specially composed prayers for the Collect, Secret, and Postcommunion. 
As Fr. Stefano Pedica, O.S.B. writes, "The Mass of the Holy Face of Jesus was permitted by the Holy Pope Pius X, who desired that it might be the same Mass of the Passion, namely the "Missa Humiliavit" with three "appropriate prayers" shedding light upon and determining the liturgical and theological sense of what is proper and due to the Most Sacred Face of the Redeemer...There appears clearly in the prayers the meaning the Holy See desires, about the devotion to the Holy Face. Veronica is not mentioned in them, as in the ancient prayers, nor is there mention of anything which could in the slightest way give cause to critics to oppose that which Holy Mother Church proposes to the faithful, in "lex orandi" and "lex credendi." The wording taken from the Old and New Testaments, confers a dogmatic rather than historic value to the cult of the Holy Face. The Votive Mass of the Most Holy Face of Jesus has been requested by very many Religious Communities (particularly the Benedictine-Silvestrines) and in various Dioceses throughout the world; showing that the devotion to the Holy Face is always growing and more deeply felt in the souls of the faithful." 
This feast, being one of reparation, also pairs well with the age old custom of having the Forty Hours Devotion in reparation for Carnival, which ends on this day. 
The Mass “Propter te sustínui," which is older than the 1910 prescription for the Missa "Humiliavit," belongs to the Missals of the dioceses of Fréjus and Marseille (France), and is one of the two Masses used today for the Feast of the Holy Face. Although, with the 1910 decree from the S.R.C., it would be prudent to use the Missa "Humiliavit" with the three proper prayers.
 Collect:

Omnipotent and merciful God, deign, we beseech you, grant to all those who honor with us the face of your Christ, disfigured by His Passion for our sins, the grace to see Him for eternity in all the splendor of celestial glory. Through the same Jesus Christ…
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Monday, February 24, 2020
Vigil of St. Matthias
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Commemoration (1955 Calendar): February 23 or February 24 if leap year

On February 23rd the Church commemorates the Vigil of St. Matthias, whose feastday is kept tomorrow on the 24th day of February. In a leap year, the Vigil of St. Matthias is kept on February 24, and any Feasts usually occurring from February 24 through 28 are kept one day later. Because February 23rd is the Feast of St. Peter Damian, this Vigil is only commemorated in the Church's liturgy when it falls on February 23rd.

While not one of the original twelve apostles, St. Matthias is honored with the same rank of as the other Apostles as he legitimately took the spot which the traitor Judas Iscariot lost. This election is recounted in detail in the Acts 1:12-26. The Holy Ghost would not have inspired so many lines about his election were it not important.

Before the changes to the Roman calendar in 1955, nearly all feasts of the Apostles were preceded by a special Vigil Day. And the Church put those days in place to help us prepare for the importance of a feast of an Apostle. We have lost the importance of the feasts of the Apostles I believe, in part, due to losing the vigils. We can change that for ourselves by observing these vigils in our own prayer lives.

Collect:

Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that the solemn feast of Thine apostle Matthias, which we anticipate, may both increase our devotion and advance our salvation.

Prayer by Dom Gueranger to St. Matthias:

O Apostle Mathias! thou didst complete the sacred college, from which Judas had fallen; and by the power of the Holy Ghost, thou didst put to flight the darkness of idolatry by the admirable lightnings of thy wise words. Do thou now beseech the Lord that he grant peace and much mercy to our souls. Amen.
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Friday, February 21, 2020
Make Real Progress & Resolutions This Lent
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Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Commemoration of the Passion of Christ (Tuesday after Sexagesima)
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The Commemoration of the Passion of Christ was a feast listed in the pre-1962 Roman Missal as observed in some places, and kept on the Tuesday after Sexagesima. Its was instituted with the purpose of providing a devout remembrance and honour of Christ's sufferings for the redemption of mankind. It was the patronal feast of the Passionist Order.

The Votive Feast of the Commemoration of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is a Duplex Maius, and is always the Tuesday after Sexagesima. 
This feast can be found in the M.P.A.L. of the Roman Missal (and in this case, except for a proper Collect, the M.P.A.L. refers the priest to the Votive Mass of the Passion, "Humiliaverunt," in the Missae Votivae section of the Missal. Pope Leo XIII included these feasts of the Passion and Instruments of the Passion as Votive Offices in the Breviary before the revision of Divinu Afflatu from 1911-1913. However, the designation of it in the M.P.A.L. means unless it has always been celebrated in the Diocese where one resides or it is celebrated out of custom by an Order or country/territory as a whole, then it cannot be used. However, the exception to this rule is by retaining an indult of the local Ordinary or the Holy See. 
For a history of this Feast I refer you to the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia
Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God, Who as a pattern of lowliness for mankind to follow, didst bring our Saviour to take flesh and undergo the cross: mercifully grant that as we celebrate the solemn commemoration of His Passion, so we may also deserve to have the schooling of His longsuffering and partnership of His resurrection. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
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Sunday, February 16, 2020
Lent Preparation Guide
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Use this helpful guide to plan what your sacrifice will be this Lent.

For a helpful list of ideas to consider, read my past post: 20 Pious Practices for Lent: What Should I Give Up for Lent?
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Saturday, February 15, 2020
How to Improve Personal Prayer Life?
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Go to the Sacraments, Confession and Holy Communion. Prayer is a fruit of grace, so we must go to the sources of grace to help improve our prayer lives. Retreats and spiritual reading are also very useful in feeding our souls to help cultivate a better prayer life. And lastly, we should pray the Rosary daily and meditate on its mysteries.
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Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Sarum Use Vespers Chanted in Philadelphia
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This is the official video of the Vespers according to the Use of Sarum, celebrated at St Patrick's Catholic Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Candlemas Eve: February 1, 2020. Over 700 came to attend this unique celebration of Evening Prayer according to the Use of Salisbury: the local adaptation of the Roman Rite used throughout most of England from the Norman Conquest until the Reformation introduced the first Book of Common Prayer in 1549. Relics of St Thomas Becket and St Edward the Confessor were set upon the high altar for this liturgy, organized by the Durandus Institute for Sacred Liturgy & Music.
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Sunday, February 9, 2020
Enroll Your Family This Lent with the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
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The Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel will be offering 40 days of Masses, prayers, vigils, fasting, and penances for all those enrolled this Lent. In this time of crisis in the world and the Church, now we must pray and do penance, fast and beg God for...
  • Spiritual renewal in the Church
  • Sanctification of souls
  • Healing of families and individuals
  • Reversion of fallen-away Catholics
  • Conversion of sinners who are far from God
Enroll your loved ones or those in particular need of prayers. You can help save souls and renew the Church! Enroll by clicking here.

Now that Septuagesima has started, let us prepare for the holy season of Lent and decide what we will do for fasting, what we will do for alms, and what we will do for penance. For our almsgiving, the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel are certainly worth the support.
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Commemoration of St. Apollonia
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Commemoration (1954 Calendar): February 9

Today is the feastday of St. Cyril of Alexandria which includes a Commemoration of St. Apollonia. St. Apollonia was a virgin and of Alexandria who died for Christ during the bloody persecution of the faithful in 249 AD.

The following is taken from the Roman Martyrology: "At Alexandria, in the reign of Decius, the birthday of St. Apollonia, virgin, who had all her teeth broken out by the persecutors; then, having constructed and lighted a pyre, they threatened to burn her alive unless she uttered with them certain impious words. Deliberating a while within herself, she suddenly slipped from their grasp, and prompted by the greater fir of the Holy Ghost with her, she rushed voluntarily into the fire which they had prepared. Those responsible for her death were struck with terror  at the sight of a woman who was more willing to die than they to kill her."

This account was preserved in a letter of Fabius, Bishop of Antioch, in what is now Syria. She is the patron saint of dentists.

Collect:

O God, one of the marvelous examples of Your power was granting the victory of martyrdom even to delicate womanhood. May the example of the blessed virgin martyr Apollonia, whose birthday we celebrate today, draw us closer to You.
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Thursday, February 6, 2020
St. Julian Peter Eymard on the Eucharist
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"He loves, He hopes, He waits. If He came down on our altars on certain days only, some sinner, on being moved to repentance, might have to look for Him, and not finding Him, might have to wait. Our Lord prefers to wait Himself for the sinner for years rather than keep him waiting one instant” (St. Julian Peter Eymard)
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1962 Dominican Little Office in Latin and English
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If anyone is interested in the 1962 Dominican Little Office in Latin and English, I ordered a copy for only $18 of it in spiral bound form. The SSPX-SO (Resistance) Traditional Dominican Tertiaries affiliated with the Domincans in Arville France have it for sale.

If anyone would like to order it, I'll share with you the email address. I don't know if they want their email posted publicly so please just message me for it by commenting below with your email address.





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Commemoration of St. Dorothy
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Commemoration (1954 Calendar): February 6

Today is the feastday of St. Titus with a commemoration of St. Dorothy in the Office and at Mass.

St. Dorothy was a virgin of Caesarea in Cappadocia, who was condemned to be beheaded toward the end of the third century. Before her execution, she had the happiness of winning for Christ two apostates who had been ordered to pervert her.

Catholic Tradition writes the following:
Dorothy was a virgin Martyred at Caesarea in Cappadocia in about A.D. 313, during the persecution of the Christians by Roman Emperor Diocletian. She had refused to marry or to worship idols and was, therefore, sentenced to death. As she was on her way to her execution, a young scribe or lawyer named Theophilus jeered at her and taunted her for her piety. According to her legend, he called out, "Send me some of the fruits and flowers from that garden you speak of, where you are going to your bridegroom." She responded, "Thy request is granted." As she knelt at the executioner's block, she prayed for Theophilus's wish to happen, and as she did, an Angel appeared before her with a basket of three apples and three roses. After she died, the basket was delivered to Theophilus, some say by the Angel and some by a child. He was immediately converted and was himself executed. St. Dorothy is always represented with the basket of roses; sometimes there are also apples.
Collect:

O Lord, pardon our sins through the intercession of the blessed virgin martyr Dorothy, who pleased You by her purity and her faith. Through Our Lord . . .
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Wednesday, February 5, 2020
St. Simeon the God-Receiver
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After many decades had passed in the life of Simeon, the Divine Infant…just 40 days old…was being brought to the Temple by his Virgin Mother and His foster-father. During their journey from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, the Holy Ghost inspired Simeon to come to the temple for the long desired Messiah was approaching.

Simeon was very old…tradition saying that all his hairs were white as the feathers of a swan. And yet he quickly entered the temple with a spring in his step. It was as if he had shaken off old age and that he was once again in the Springtime of youth. Of all the little ones being brought to the temple by their parents, Simeon’s eyes immediately noted the Child Jesus and he reverently approached the Holy Family.

Simeon then falls on his knees and adores the Divine Child in Mary's arms. There is no doubt that Our Lady had also been moved by the Holy Ghost, for she willingly gave the Divine Infant into the arms of the joyful Simeon. The old man then prayed to God to release him from this life…Nunc Dimittis Servum Tuum, Domine…Now thou dost dismiss O Lord according to thy word in peace; because my eyes have seen Thy salvation.

St. Simeon, pray for us!
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Monday, February 3, 2020
Indulged Prayer to St. Blase
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O glorious Saint Blasé, who by thy martyrdom has left to the Church a precious witness to the faith, obtain for us the grace to preserve within ourselves this divine gift, and to defend, without human respect, both by word and example, the truth of that same faith, which is so wickedly attacked and slandered in these our times. Thou who didst miraculously cure a little child when it was at the point of death by reason of an affliction of the throat, grant us thy powerful protection in like misfortunes; and, above all, obtain for us the grace of Christian mortification together with a faithful observance of the precepts of the Church, which may keep us from offending Almighty God. Amen.

An indulgence of 300 days. Source: The Raccolta
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Review of the Baronius Press 3 Volume Breviary Set
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In November 2018 I ordered the rather expensive but only real option for a complete Latin and English Breviary set after Baronius Press restocked their inventory. After using this Breviary on a daily basis for over a year, I feel comfortable writing a review of it.

As I mentioned before in my posts How to Live A Liturgical Life and On The Inseparability of the Mass and the Divine Office, it is necessary for lay Catholics to rediscover the Divine Office. And it's equally, if not even more important, for priests to begin laying aside the modern Liturgy of the Hours (LOTH) and replace it with a Breviary that conforms to Catholic Tradition. Though of course the same can be said for them ceasing attending/celebrating the Novus Ordo and returning to the Tridentine Mass.

The Hymn Translations 

I previously used a 1962 Breviary for Lauds, Vespers, and Compline only in English from Collegeville that I picked up second-hand at Loomes Books in Minnesota. It was a nice book but it did not have the other hours and it had no Latin in it. The hymn translation in English in that one volume was, however, much better than the one in Baronius. Those hymns sounded like hymns. The Baronius Breviary offers more of a literal translation of the hymn so it does not sound like a hymn. Sometimes I still pick up the Collegeville English Breviary off the bookshelf to read the hymn translations in there instead.

The translations in the Baronius Breviary are taken from Fr. Joseph Connelly's "Hymns of the Roman Liturgy". They are literal and not intended for recitation. The online site Divinum Officium by contrast borrows from the Marques of Bute's English translation of the Breviary, which incorporated a lot of earlier translations made in the 19th century by some John Mason Neale and Father Edward Caswall.

The Rubrics of 1962 vs. Divino Afflatu

I prefer the 1954 Office with its multiple commemorations, additional readings, and preservation of Octaves. Sadly, Baronius does not make Latin/English breviaries using the Divino Afflatu rubrics. So sometimes I still use Divinum Officium's website when I want to see the full readings for Matins under DA. The 1962 Breviary chopped a lot of those down. And some of the previous feasts ranked as "simple" feasts were downgraded to only commemorations in 1962 so there is no reading at all at Matins. One such instance is St. Blase. We honor him by the Blessing of Throats which is an important custom but there is no reading for him in this Breviary. Or take for instance the obliteration to nearly all of the Octave that used to be in place. These are not found in the rubrics in the Baronius Press Breviary. And as occurred with the calendar, the breviary lost the Vigil of the Immaculate Conception, the Vigil of All Saint (Halloween), and the Vigils of the Apostles which are sorely needed today to help us re-ignite our connection to the Liturgical Year.

Book Binding / Quality

Overall, the quality of the book and binding is great. The Latin and English is side and side making it easy to read in either language. I have found very few typos or issues. There is nothing distracting in the text. While some do not like the short sentences on the theme of each Psalm, I like them as they aid in my prayers. The paper feels good - not too thin or too thick. The ribbons work nicely too.

Conclusion / Recommendation


While not the pre-1955 calendar that I prefer to keep, it is still a good Breviary with excellent production. I don't mind carrying a bigger book rather than having to carry a smaller book during the day for the Little Hours and a separate one for other hours at home at night. I prefer one volume with everything so the only other book I need is the Martyrology, which I read during Prime. As someone without appropriate Latin training, I need the English for the psalms

Is this Breviary perfect? No.  Is the 1962 Calendar perfect? No. But is it a great Breviary that is well worth the $400 investment? Absolutely.
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Saturday, February 1, 2020
Free Email Subscription to Dom Gueranger's Liturgical Year
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Sign up to receive a daily reading from the monumental "Liturgical Year" work of Dom Gueranger. Definitely worth a daily read. I've subscribed now for several weeks and find the meditations a wonderful addition to my morning after Matins and Lauds.

I first learned about this initiative through the FSSP's online article that was shared on social media which states in part:
“The prayer of the Church is, therefore, the most pleasing to the ear and heart of God, and therefore the most efficacious of all prayers.” So states the Benedictine abbot Dom Prosper Guéranger in the preface to his monumental work The Liturgical Year, a fifteen volume series that guides the reader through every day of the Church’s calendar by means of readings, meditations, prayers and commentary. Dom Guéranger, originally a diocesan priest, became instrumental in restoring monastic life in France after the French Revolution through his revitalization of the abandoned Solesmes Abbey and founding of the French Benedictine Congregation in the 1830s. His Liturgical Year is a goldmine of insights that assist the faithful soul in better praying and understanding the Mass, and St. Francis de Sales Parish, our apostolate in Atlanta, Georgia, has begun a digital delivery service that brings Dom Guéranger’s readings right to your inbox. We recently talked to Fr. James Smith, FSSP, assistant pastor at St. Francis, to learn more.
To sign up, simply visit the FSSP Atlanta Website, enter your email address, and choose the liturgical year option. The meditations follow the pre-1955 Office so you'll receive great meditations for commemorations and feastdays even neglected by the 1962 Missal.
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Friday, January 31, 2020
Book Review: The Courageous Shall Conquer by Henry Brenner OSB
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A few year ago I picked up a second-hand copy of "The Courageous Shall Conquer" by Henry Brenner, published by St. Meinrad Abbey Press in 1943. I set down this month to read it and just completed it.

The Courageous Shall Conquer is a compact book that, like The Imitation of Christ, offers good meditations for daily life. There are 30 chapters in total. Each chapter opens with a Scripture excerpt that pertains to the lesson's topic and there are some real life examples of courage and virtue in life. At the back of the book is a topical index. Each chapter has a particular focus ranging from courage, manfulness, determination, earnestness, resistance, magnanimity, strength, and more.

Even though this book came out shortly before modernism roared and wrecked havoc on the Church, these pages are filled with sound doctrine. This short little book is a good addition to a man's library. Spend 10 minutes a day and read a chapter; then ask yourself how you can grow in that virtue, how you can better imitate the Lord who was full of all of the virtues, and how you can better serve Him.

The Courageous Shall Conquer is a good read. It is not a book by St. Thomas Aquinas. Don't expect to walk way with new philosophical arguments or radically different theories. It is not a history book either, so don't expect to learn about some saints that you never heard of. But if you want to grow in virtues and live more virtuously and courageously, pick it up and as you read it plan to make a list of concrete ways to change your own life for the better. We can all improve and be more courageous, and this book can help you think of some practical ways to do it.
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Wednesday, January 29, 2020
Our Obligation to Switch from a False to the One True Religion
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The Catholic Church is the Only Divine Revealed Religion

"If twelve men without influence, without knowledge, inexperienced in the ways of the world, but loving Christ profoundly, have succeeded by the aid of some poor Jews in spreading the Christian Faith throughout the Roman Empire; if they have accomplished what Greece with all its eloquence, and Rome with its military power have failed to achieve; if they have succeeded in founding an institution which has lasted [20] centuries - an institution which has regenerated the world, emancipated the slave, rehabilitated women, dignified family life, comforted the afflicted, uprooted vices, taught sublime truths, pure morality and heroic virtue, an institution which has resisted long-continued and dangerous destructive tendencies, undergone centuries of persecution, witnessed the passing away of kingdoms and peoples, remaining itself erect and immovable upon the ruins of time - an institution which has opposed human interests and passions -surely we have here the greatest of miracles. Unless the principle of causality be denied or the cogency of evidence called in question, it is necessary to recognize that this institution is Divine" (Francois de Lamy).

There is only one God. All other alleged gods that people pray to are false. They are either demons or they do not exist at all. And it follows that if there is only one true God, there can only be one true religion. Baptism is either required for salvation or it is not. Jesus Christ is either God or He is not. A truth cannot be true and be false. It can not be true to some people and false to others. It also can not be true at some points in time and false at other points in time. To claim the contrary is to assert that 2 + 2 = 4 to some people but to others 2+2 = 5. Divinely revealed dogmatic truths are necessary for salvation, do not change, and are not dictated by opinion. They are true regardless of our own wants, opinions, or beliefs. They are as true as 2+2 equaling 4 even if we do not believe it is 4 or want it to be 4. But it is 4. And nothing changes that.

Likewise, there is only one true religion established by God and that is the Catholic Religion. As the Baltimore Catechism succinctly teaches: “There can be only one true religion, because a thing cannot be false and true at the same time, and, therefore, all religions that contradict the teaching of the true Church must teach falsehood. If all religions in which men seek to serve God are equally good and true, why did Christ disturb the Jewish religion and the Apostles condemn heretics?” (Baltimore Catechism #3 Q. 516).

It is the obligation of all people to convert to the Catholic Religion. Even if a person was born into a false religion that does not excuse them. Catholicism is not only meant for children born to Catholic parents in Catholic countries. All peoples are meant to be a member of the universally established religion for salvation – the Catholic Religion. The Baltimore Catechism’s wisdom teaches us: “What excuses do some give for not becoming members of the true Church? They do not wish to leave the religion in which they were born…How do you answer such excuses? To say that we should remain in a false religion because we were born in it is as untrue as to say we should not heal our bodily diseases because we were born with them…” (Baltimore Catechism #3 Q. 514-515).

We are all called to participate in the Church’s work of evangelization. In fact, in some old Catholic texts on the precepts of the Church list seven precepts of the Church and one of which is to participate in the Church’s evangelization efforts.

What can you do today to help spread the Faith to those who need to convert? How can you be a missionary to your friends and family? Each year the Church observes the Octave of Prayer for Christianity Unity in January, but we can incorporate those prayers  into our prayer lives throughout the year.

Jesus, Mary, I Love Thee! Save Souls!
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Sunday, January 26, 2020
What Does Being a Godparent Mean?
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What does being a godfather mean? What does being a godmother entail? What do godparents do? Whether you are godmother or godfather, you may not know the responsibilities and requirements of being a godparent. Not everyone is eligible to be a godparent. And because you take on the responsibility for the baptized person's religious upbringing, you bear responsibility before God. It's not an honor to accept lightly.

Baptism is above all a Sacrament, instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and it is necessary for salvation. Not all denominations have valid Baptisms though. For more information on Baptism as a Sacrament click here.

Eligibility to be a Godparent

  • Godparents must be baptized, have attained the use of reason and have the intention of fulfilling their role as a godfather of a godmother.
  • A godparent must be a confirmed Catholic and have received their First Holy Communion
  • A godparent must not belong to a heretical or schismatic sect, nor have been excommunicated by a condemnatory or declaratory sentence, nor suffer from infamy of law, nor be excluded from legal acts, nor (if a cleric) have been deposed or degraded from the clerical rank.
  • A godparent must live a life in conformity with the teachings of the Church including weekly attendance at Mass, rejection of artificial contraception and abortion, and a godparent must not support politicians who promote and support abortion, etc.
  • Godparents cannot be the father or mother or spouse of the person to be baptized
  • Godparents must be designated either by the person to be baptized or by the parents or guardians, or in their default by the minister of baptism.
  • The godparent must, either in person or through proxy, physically hold or touch the one baptized, or receive him immediately after baptism from the sacred font or from the hands of the minister.
  • The godparent must be at least sixteen years of age, unless for a just reason the minister admits younger persons or unless a different age is stipulated by the Bishop.
  • The godparent must not be under excommunication, nor excluded from legal acts, nor suffer from infamy of law for reason of a notorious crime, even though no sentence was pronounced against him, nor must he be under an interdict, or otherwise a public criminal, or disgraced by infamy of fact.
  • The godparent must know the rudiments of the faith.
  • The godparent must not be a novice or professed member in any religious organization, unless there is nobody else to be had and the permission is granted by at least the local superior.
  • The godparent must not be a cleric in sacred orders, unless he has the explicit permission of his proper Ordinary
  • The godparent must not be in a mix-marriage (marriage with a non-Catholic) who believes his/her children should choose their own religion when they grow up rather than be raised in the Catholic religion.
  • The godparent must not be involved in an invalid marriage (Justice of the Peace, marriage outside the Church)

As we stated above, a person that is a godparent must not be excommunicated by a condemnatory or declaratory sentence.  What does this mean?  Well here are some of the grave offenses that this would include:

From the 1983 Code of Canon Law:

  • The person who throws away the consecrated Eucharistic species (can 1367);
  • The person who takes or retains the consecrated species for a sacrilege purposes (ibid.);
  • A person who uses physical violence against the Roman Pontiff (can 1370 § 1);
  • A person who falsely denounces before an ecclesiastic superior a priest for solicitation to sin in confession (can. 1390);
  • A person who procures a completed abortion (can. 1398).

Besides these cases, which are also punished with automatic excommunication in the Code of Canon Law of 1917, there were still others incurring latae sentenciae excommunications. They include:

  • The editors of heretical or schismatic books that promote apostasy, heresy or schism (can. 2318 § 1);
  • Those who read books forbidden by the Holy See without due license (ibid.);
  • Authors who publish books on religious matters without due permission (can.2318 § 2);
  • Those who contract marriage before a non-Catholic minister without permission (2319 § 1 n. 1);
  • Those who contract marriage with a implicit or explicit agreement of educating the offspring outside of the Catholic Church (ibid. n. 2);
  • Those who knowingly bring children to be baptized by non-Catholic ministers (ibid. n. 3);
  • Parents or godparents who allow their children be educated in a non-Catholic religion (ibid. n. 4);
  • Those who are not priests and celebrate masses and hear confessions (can. 2322 n. 1);
  • Those who sell false relics,  distribute them or expose them for the veneration of the faithful (can. 2326);
  • A person who profits from indulgences granted (can. 2327);
  • A person who appeals a law, decree or mandate of a Sovereign Pontiff to an Ecumenical Council (can. 2332);
  • Those invested with temporal power who directly or indirectly prevent the execution of the orders of the Apostolic See or its Legates from being executed (can. 2333);
  • Those who make laws, decrees or mandates against the liberty and rights of the Church (can. 2334 n.1);
  • Those who directly or indirectly impede the jurisdiction of the Church in the external or internal forum (ibid. n.2);
  • Those who enroll their names in Masonic sects or other such associations that plot against the Church and the legitimate civil authorities (can. 2335).
  • A person who enters a monastery or convent without due permission in violation of monastic cloister  (can. 2342 n.1);
  • Nuns who leave the monastic cloister without due permission (ibid. n. 3);
  • A person who physically attacks a Cardinal or a Papal Legate (can. 2343 § 2);
  • A person who does the same to a Patriarch, an Archbishop or a Bishop (ibid., n. 3);
  • A person who does the same to priest or a religious (ibid. n. 4);
  • Those who usurp or keep goods that by right belong to the Catholic Church (can. 2345);
  • Those who provoke or accept a duel (can. 2351);
  • Those who forge false documents of the Apostolic See (can. 2360 § 1);
  • The priest or the religious who contracts marriage after taking the solemn vow of chastity (can 2388 §1);
  • Those who contract marriage after taking the non-solemn but perpetual vow of chastity(ibid., § 2);
  • Those who sell offices, benefices or honors of the Church (can. 2392 § 1);
  • Those who steal, destroy or substantially harm documents belonging to the Episcopal Curia (can. 2405).

Being a Godparent Is Both An Honor and A Great Responsibility

All in all, being a godparent is both a great honor and a serious responsibility.  For that reason, the Church has put a number of laws in place in regards to who may rightfully serve as a godparent.  Please review the above to ensure you qualify and your life is appropriately conformed to the life-saving religion of Jesus Christ - the Catholic religion.  As a godparent, you must be committed to the Church's teachings and participate in the life of the Church (i.e. going to Mass weekly, going to Confession often, praying daily, and all other duties that a Catholic must observe).  You also must stand firm to the pro-life views of the Church and reject all that the Church rejects (as listed above for example). You must help ensure that the child (or adult) who is being baptized will be raised in the Catholic Faith.

Godparent Classes

The Church often requires those preparing for the honor of serving as a godparent to attend a class to understand what Baptism is (and what it is not), why it is a Sacrament, why it is necessary for salvation, and what the godparents must do at a Baptism and throughout the life of their godchild. CatechismClass.com produces a best-selling and extremely popular online Baptism course for those looking to take an online course of study.
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Saturday, January 25, 2020
The Catholic Teaching on Artificial Insemination & In Vitro Fertilization
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The practice of this artificial fertilization, since it is a question of man, cannot be considered neither exclusively, nor even mainly, from the biological and medical point of view, leaving aside that of morality and law.

Artificial fertilization, outside of marriage, is to be condemned outright as immoral. Such is indeed the natural law and the positive divine law, that the procreation of a new life can only be the fruit of marriage. Marriage alone safeguards the dignity of the spouses (mainly the woman in this case), their personal property. By itself, only it provides for the good and education of the child. Consequently, on the condemnation of artificial fertilization outside the conjugal union, no difference of opinion is possible between Catholics. A child conceived under these conditions would, by the very fact, be illegitimate.

Artificial fertilization in marriage, but produced by the active element of a third party, is also immoral and, as such, to be condemned without appeal. Only the spouses have a reciprocal right over their body to engender a new life, an exclusive, non-transferable, inalienable right. And that must also be taken into consideration of the child. To anyone who gives life to a small being, nature imposes, by virtue of this bond, the burden of its conservation and education. But between the legitimate husband and the child, the fruit of the active element of a third party (the spouse was he consenting), there is no bond of origin, no moral and legal bond of conjugal procreation.

As for the lawfulness of artificial fertilization in marriage, it suffices for us, for the moment, to recall these principles of natural law: the simple fact that the result to which we aim is achieved by this route, does not justify the use of the medium itself; nor the desire, in itself very legitimate among spouses, to have a child, is not enough to prove the legitimacy of the recourse to artificial fertilization, which would fulfill this desire.

Let it not be forgotten: only the procreation of a new life according to the will and the plan of the Creator carries with it, to an astonishing degree of perfection, the achievement of the aims pursued. It is, at the same time, in conformity with the bodily and spiritual nature and with the dignity of the spouses, with the normal and happy development of the child.

All is an Excerpt: Speech of Pope Pius XII to Catholic Doctors in Rome for their 4th International Congress (Sept. 29, 1949), Acta Apostolicae Sedis 49
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Thursday, January 23, 2020
St. Ildephonsus (Mass in Some Places)
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Today in the pre-1955 Traditional Catholic Missal is the Mass in Some Places (pro aliquibus locis) of St. Ildefonse.  St. Ildefonse was a scholar and theologian who served as the metropolitan Bishop of Toledo for the last decade of his life. His writings were influential across much of the Hispanic world. 

The following account is given in today's martyrology:
At Toledo, St. Ildefonse, bishop, renowned for sanctity. On account of his great purity of life, and his defense of the virginity of the Mother of God against the heretics who denied it, he received from her a brilliant white vestment, and was called to Heaven
Catholic Online shares the following short account of his praiseworthy life:
St. Ildephonsus is highly regarded in Spain and closely associated with devotion to the Blessed Virgin which he fostered by his famous work concerning her perpetual virginity. Born around 607, Ildephonsus came from a noble family and was probably a pupil of St. Isidore of Seville. While still quite young, he entered the Benedictine monastery of Agalia near Toledo and went on to become its Abbot. In that capacity he attended the Councils of Toledo in 653 and 655. 
In 657 the clergy and people elected this holy man to succeed his uncle, St. Eugenius, as Archbishop of Toledo. He performed his episcopal duties with diligence and sanctity until his death in 667. This saint was a favorite subject for medieval artists, especially in connection with the legend of Our Lady's appearance to present him with a chalice. St. Ildephonsus was a prolific writer, but unfortunately only four of his works have survived. Among these are the one already mentioned and an important document of the history of the Spanish Church during the first two-thirds of the seventh century, entitled Concerning Famous Men.
Dom Gueranger writes of him in his work "The Liturgical Year." The following is an excerpt:
Among the glorious Pontiffs, who honoured the noble episcopate of Spain, during the 7th and 8th centuries—for example: Leander, Isidore, Fulgentius, Braulio, Eugenius, Julian, Helladius—among them, and in the foremost rank, stands Ildephonsus, with his glory of having been the Doctor of the Virginity of the Mother of God, just as Athanasius is the Doctor of the Divinity of the Word, Basil the Doctor of the Divinity of the Holy Ghost, and Augustine the Doctor of Grace. The holy Bishop of Toledo has treated the dogma of Mary’s Virginity in all its completeness. With profound learning and with fervid eloquence, he proves, against the Jews, that Mary conceived without losing her Virginity; against the followers of Jovinian, that she was a Virgin in her Delivery; against the disciples of Helvidius, that she remained a Virgin, after she had given birth to her Divine Son. Other holy Doctors had treated separately on each of these sublime questions, before our Saint: but he brought together all their teachings, and merited that a Virgin-Martyr should rise from her tomb to thank him for having defended the honour of the Queen of Heaven. Nay, Mary herself, with her own pure hand, clothed him with that miraculous Chasuble, which was an image of the robe of light wherewith Ildephonsus shines now in heaven, at the foot of Mary’s Throne. 
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Commoration of St. Emerentiana
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Commemoration (1954 Calendar): January 23

Today is the feastday of St. Raymond of Peñafort which includes a Commemoration of St. Emerentiana. Just a few days ago we celebrated the feast of the Virgin-Martyr St. Agnes, who has been held in high regard since ancient times, and whose name is mentioned in the Canon of the Mass. St. Emerentiana is the foster-sister of St. Agnes, who was stoned to death by a pagan mob while she was praying at the young martyr's tomb.

The following is taken from the Roman Martyrology: "At Rome, the holy virgin and martyr, St. Emerentiana. Being yet a catechumen, she was stoned to death by the heathens while praying at the tomb of St. Agnes, her foster sister."

Dom Gueranger writes the following devotional account in his Liturgical Year:
Three days have scarcely passed since the martyrdom of St Agnes, when the Liturgy, so jealous of every tradition, invites us to visit the Martyr's tomb. There we shall find a young Virgin named Emerentiana; she was the friend and foster-sister of our dear little heroine, and has come to pray and weep at the spot where lies her loved one, so soon and so cruelly taken from her. Emerentiana has not yet been regenerated in the waters of Baptism; she is going through the exercises of a Catechumen; but her heart already belongs, by faith and desire, to Jesus. 
Whilst the young girl is pouring forth her grief over the tomb of her much loved Agnes, she is surprised by the approach of some pagans; they ridicule her tears, and bid her pay no more of this sort of honour to one who was their victim. Upon this, the child, longing as she was to be with Christ, and to be clasped in the embraces of her sweet Agnes, was fired with holy courage—as well she might near such a Martyr's tomb—and turning to the barbarians, she confesses Christ Jesus, and curses the idols, and upbraids them for their vile cruelty to the innocent Saint who lay there. 
This was more than enough to rouse the savage nature of men, who were slaves to the worship of Satan; and scarcely had the child spoken, when she falls on the tomb, covered with the heavy stones thrown on her by her murderers. Baptized in her own blood, Emerentiana leaves her bleeding corpse upon the earth, and her soul flies to the bosom of God, where she is to enjoy, for ever, union with him, in the dear company of Agnes.
Collect:

O Lord, pardon our sins through the intercession of the blessed virgin martyr Emerentiana, who pleased You by her purity and her faith. Through Our Lord . . .
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Wednesday, January 22, 2020
What Should I Do For My First Time at a Latin Mass?
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If you are new to the idea of attending the Tridentine Latin Mass, you may not know what to do. What should I wear? What do I need to say? How will I sit and stand? Do I need to cover my head?

Above all, don't let these questions prevent you from attending the Most Beautiful Thing This Side of Heaven - the Latin Mass said according to the Church's Traditional Rubrics. More and more people are thankfully finding the Latin Mass and returning to it.

Fr. Eric Andersen recently well advised those attending a Latin Mass for the first time:
“If you are new to the Latin Mass, my recommendation to you is not to worry about how to participate. Put down the booklet all together. Watch and listen in the silence and let your prayer arise. Have no expectations. Let yourself be surprised. Let the Holy Spirit be your guide. Treat this time like a holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament. Realize that during this Holy Hour, something magnificent is happening: Jesus Christ, the High Priest, is offering the Holy Sacrifice.”
The Mass is truly the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross and this is clearly shown by the gestures, reverence, and actions of the priest. Stop attending the Novus Ordo with its Communion in the Hand, watered down prayers, irreverence, and lack of mystery. Do not let the fear of the unknown trouble you. I travel around the country all the time and have attended Latin Masses everywhere I go - even around the world. I am never bothered. No one thankfully ever asks me why I'm there. I am not forced to participate in any way with the signing, the prayers, the greetings, or more. I am there to worship the Triune God in the one, true, and perfect Sacrifice.

What to Say? Do I need to wear a veil? How do I receive Holy Communion?

For those who do want to still get a good understanding of what the Mass is - what will be said and how it will be said, I found these series of videos to be quite helpful. As to when to sit and stand and kneel, just follow everyone else. You are not required to know this. And there is no requirement to say anything. The priest and server are able to say all of the prayers.

For receiving our Lord in Holy Communion, you must be a baptized Catholic in the state of grace. If you have mortal sin on your soul, you must go to Sacramental Confession before receiving Communion. Assuming you are in the state of grace, then you may approach the Communion rail with everyone else when it is time to receive our Lord. You receive kneeling - though the old and those physically unable to kneel may stand at the Communion rail. Communion is received only on the tongue - never in the hand - and you do not need to say "Amen" or any prayer. The priest will say a prayer in Latin for you as he gives you the Body of our Lord.

And for women, while I believe all women should bring a veil and cover their heads, the overwhelming majority of Latin Masses would never ask a woman to leave who does not do so. In fact, I've never seen it or even heard of that happening. If there is a basket of veils at the door with a sign for women to wear one, the woman should politely follow this custom and veil. Simply borrow a veil - any color will work - and return it after Mass. If there is not a notice or a basket of veils, which is the case at the overwhelming number of churches, then you of course may attend Mass even though you do not have a veil.

As for men, it is not appropriate for a man to cover his head in Church so remove all hats or caps when entering a church and do not wear them until you leave the church completely.

But of course, as Fr. Eric well said - knowing what will happen is not required in the least. You are only asked to be in physical attendance and to lift up your hearts and minds in prayer. All else is extra. The most important element is something you can already do - pray and offer your prayers in union with the priest at the altar.

The Latin Mass Step by Step:





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Tuesday, January 21, 2020
The Miraculous Staircase Built by St. Joseph in New Mexico
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Last November I visited Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The capital city of New Mexico is also home to several other worthwhile Catholic sites - the oldest shrine to our Lady of Guadalupe in the United States as well as San Miguel, the oldest Church structure in the United States.

Just blocks away from these sites is the home of the miraculous staircase. Pay just a few dollars to visit this chapel and marvel at something more than an architectural marvel - it was a miracle.

The Loretto Chapel website shares the story:
Legend says that to find a solution to the seating problem, the Sisters of the Chapel made a novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. On the ninth and final day of prayer, a man appeared at the Chapel with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. Months later, the elegant circular staircase was completed, and the carpenter disappeared without pay or thanks. After searching for the man (an ad even ran in the local newspaper) and finding no trace of him, some concluded that he was St. Joseph himself, having come in answer to the sisters' prayers.
Prayer to St. Joseph:

Oh St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires.

Oh St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your divine son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, our Lord; so that having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.

Oh St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach while he reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss his fine head for me, and ask him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for us. Amen




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Saturday, January 18, 2020
Commemoration of St. Prisca
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St. Prisca Baptized by St. Peter from the Church of Santa Prisca

Commemoration (1954 Calendar): January 18

Today is the feastday of St. Peter's Chair at Rome which includes a Commemoration of St. Paul since each time St. Peter is mentioned in a Collect a prayer to St. Paul is offered as well, and vice versa. Today's liturgy also commemorates the triumph of St. Prisca who was martyred during the third century.

Note: Today is the day to begin the Prayers for the Octave of Christian Unity

The following is taken from America Needs Fatima, a great website worth visiting and supporting:
There are actually three St. Priscilla’s who lived in the first few centuries of the Church – all of whom were martyrs – and two of them share the same feast day of January 18! It is the virgin martyr St. Prisca that the Church primarily celebrates today though.

Prisca was born of a noble family in Rome during the reign of Claudius II. Most likely a Christian from birth, she was arrested during the persecutions when she was a young teenager and brought before the Emperor for questioning. Despite her youth, Prisca courageously proclaimed and upheld her Catholic Faith, even though she knew that by doing so in those days was ultimately the pronouncement of her own death sentence.

She suffered terrible tortures, one of which was being taken to the arena to be devoured by wild beasts. Rather than devour her though, the lions are said to have licked her feet! Finally, she was taken outside the city walls and beheaded. Legend tells us that when she was martyred, a great eagle appeared above her and protected her body for several days until the Christians were able to retrieve it.

The young martyr was buried in the Catacomb of St. Priscilla - the catacomb named after the St. Priscilla, wife of a Roman senator, who shares the same feast day of January 18 with the child-martyr, Prisca. She is said to have opened her home near the catacomb to Christians and to have befriended St. Peter who used her home as his headquarters in Rome. She was martyred during the reign of Emperor Domitian. As an interesting fact, there is probable speculation that this St. Priscilla was a family relation of the child-martyr St. Prisca, who is buried in her catacomb.

The third St. Priscilla was a disciple of St. Paul and wife of the Jewish tentmaker, Aquila.
Collect:

Almighty God, we celebrate today the birthday of Your blessed virgin Martyr Prisca. May her feast fill us with joy, and may we profit by the example of her great faith. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and rules with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.
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Wednesday, January 15, 2020
St. John Neumann: America's First Canonized Male Saint
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January 5th is the feastday of St. John Nepomucene Neumann (1811-1860), a bishop from the United States who did much missionary work and preaching. He is not found on the traditional Catholic calendar as we as only canonized in 1977. But his life is still one of great merits. I had the opportunity to visit and venerate his incorruptible body back in 2013.

He is the first American man and first American bishop to be canonized. Read a short account of his life.


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Commemoration of St. Maurus
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Commemoration (1954 Calendar): January 15

Besides the feastday of St. Paul the First Hermit, today is the Commemoration of St. Maurus. Often these only commemorated saints are too often neglected when there are many ways that we can improve our own lives if only we would imitate their lives, even to a small degree.

St. Maurus, was a sixth-century disciple of St. Benedict, who helped to introduce the monastic life in France. He was rewarded by God with the gift of miracles because of his heroic spirit of obedience. While he is one of many Benedictine saints, his life is specifically honored by being included in the Church's Liturgy.

The following is taken from Archives of the OSB:
St. Maurus, abbot and deacon, son of Equitius, a nobleman of Rome, was born about the year 510 and died in 584. When he was about twelve years old, his father placed him under the care of St. Benedict at Subiaco, to be educated in piety and learning. When he had grown up, St. Benedict chose him as his coadjutor in the government of the monastery. He was a model of perfection to all his brethren, but especially in the virtue of obedience. 
St. Maurus was favored by God with the gift of miracles. To show in what high degree the Saint possessed the gift of miracles, it will be sufficient to cite a few examples of how he miraculously cured the sick and restored to health those who were stricken with a grievous affliction. It has already been stated, according to the testimony of Pope St. Gregory the Great, in the Second Book of his Dialogues, how when a youth, St.Maurus rescued St. Placid from drowning... 
Since St. Maurus miraculously freed many persons from their bodily afflictions through the sign of the Cross and the relic of the true Cross of Christ, in many monasteries of the Order of St. Benedict from time immemorial, after the example of this miracle-worker, the custom of blessing the sick with the relic of the true Cross, has prevailed, in order to restore their health. But until recent years, there was no uniform and approved formula of blessing of the Church. There existed a number of old and new formulas, which were essentially the same, but differed from each other in many details. Some formulas were exceedingly lengthy. In the face of these facts, the Rt. Rev. Dom Maurus Wolter OSB, President of the Beuronese Congregation, petitioned Rome for an approved and authentic formula. A carefully prepared and much abbreviated formula was therefore presented to the Sacred Congregation of Rites for its approval. 
Continue Reading...
Collect:

Let the blessed Abbot Maurus intercede for us, O Lord. May his prayers win us Your help, since our own actions cannot merit it. Through Our Lord . . .
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Tuesday, January 14, 2020
St. Felix of Nola
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Commemoration (1954 Calendar): January 14

Besides the feastday of St. Hilary of Poitiers, today is the Commemoration of St. Felix of Nola. He is not to be confused with St. Felix I, St. Felix II, or others by the same name who are commemorated in the liturgical year.

St. Felix of Nola was a priest of Campania during the third century, who manifested heroic Christian courage in the service of his bishop, St. Maximus, during the cruel persecution under Emperor Decius. He sold off his possessions in order to give to the poor but was arrested and tortured for the Christian faith during one of the persecutions before Christianity was legalized. He died in approximately 250 AD.

The following is taken from Catholic.org:
Felix was the son of Hermias, a Syrian who had been a Roman soldier. He was born on his father's estate at Nola near Naples, Italy. On the death of his father, Felix distributed his inheritance to the poor, was ordained by Bishop St. Maximus of Nola, and became his assistant. When Maximus fled to the desert at the beginning of Decius' persecution of the Christians in 250, Felix was seized in his stead and imprisoned. He was reputedly released from prison by an angel, who directed him to the ailing Maximus, whom he brought back to Nola. Even after Decius' death in 251, Felix was a hunted man but kept well hidden until the persecution ended. When Maximus died, the people unanimously selected Felix as their Bishop, but he declined the honor in favor of Quintus, a senior priest. Felix spent the rest of his life on a small piece of land sharing what he had with the poor, and died there on January 14. His tomb soon became famous for the miracles reported there, and when St. Paulinus became bishop of Nola almost a century later (410), he wrote about his predecessor, the source of our information about him, adding legendary material that had grown up about Felix in the intervening century. His feast day is January 14th.
Collect:

Grant, we beseech You, almighty God, that the example of Your saints may urge us on to a better life, so that we may imitate the deeds of those whose feasts we celebrate. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
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Monday, January 6, 2020
How Much Merit Does the Church Have to Give Away in Indulgences?
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What Are Indulgences?

Pope Paul VI said: "An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain defined conditions through the Church’s help when, as a minister of redemption, she dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions won by Christ and the saints" (Indulgentiarum Doctrina 1).

An indulgence is a removal of the punishment from sin. Although you are forgiven in Confession for sins the punishment stills remains, which would have to be achieved through purification like in purgatory. If an indulgence is performed and earned, then part or all of the punishment is removed. Catechists often use the story of a boy hitting a baseball through his neighbor’s window to explain indulgences. The neighbor forgives the boy for the offense – which corresponds to our forgiveness in the confessional – yet the boy must still make restitution and pay for a new window – which relates to our need for penance to remove the temporal effects of sin.

Remember, indulgences are only possible because of God's love displayed on the Cross. Without Jesus Christ, we would have no chance to be forgiven and obtain salvation.


How Much Merit Does the Church Have to Give Away in Indulgences? 

The Church possesses an infinite treasury of merits that can be applied to souls. This treasury is composed of the acts of those who in Heaven or who are still on Earth that they did not need (i.e. their souls were already clean from the temporal punishment from sin). This excess is not lost and if the person performing the indulged act does not ask God to apply the merits to someone in particular, they remain in the Church’s treasury.

However, these merits are small, in fact infinitely small, in comparison to the merits won by our Lord on the Cross. By His Sacrifice, our Lord won for us an infinite treasure of merits which He entrusts to the Church. This treasury as such will never run out. There is no concern that the Church will run out of merits to apply to us for our indulged acts.

What Are The Kinds of Indulgences?

A universal indulgence is granted anywhere in the world while a local indulgence applies to only a specific place or area. A perpetual indulgence is one that may be gained at any time while a temporary indulgence only is available for certain times, for example, like certain indulgences for the Holy Souls in November. A plenary indulgence is the complete remission of the temporal punishment of sin.

Temporal punishments only “cancel out” a certain amount, of which only God knows. If more temporal punishment remains, more indulgences or time in purgatory (which is also biblical) is required in order to reach the perfection of Heaven.

Please also realize that many older documents like holy cards and prayer books would have a certain length of time printed on them. For example, a prayer could say it is a 300 day partial indulgence. However, realize that time does not exist in purgatory or Heaven or hell. The Church has never taught that if such a prayer was said, the person would get 300 days off purgatory time. An indulgence is only reduced as God sees fit. The dates corresponded only to early Church practices. The 300 days indulgence would correspond to 300 days of earthly fasting and penance. Since it was so misunderstood, most prayer cards no longer print these dates, referring to indulgences instead as either partial or plenary.
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Sunday, January 5, 2020
Act of Reparation for Blasphemies Uttered Against the Holy Name of Jesus
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IHS Monogram–the Name of Jesus by Waiting For The Word (2006) via Flickr, CC.

O Jesus, my Savior and Redeemer, Son of the living God, behold, we kneel before Thee and offer Thee our reparation; we would make amends for all the blasphemies uttered against Thy holy name, for all the injuries done to Thee in the Blessed Sacrament, for all the irreverence shown toward Thine immaculate Virgin Mother, for all the calumnies and slanders spoken against Thy spouse, the holy Catholic and Roman Church. O Jesus, who hast said: "If you ask the Father anything in My name, He will give it to you," we pray and beseech Thee for all our brethren who are in danger of sin; shield them from every temptation to fall away from the true faith; save those who are even now standing on the brink of the abyss; to all of them give light and knowledge of the truth, courage and strength for the conflict with evil, perseverance in faith and active charity! For this do we pray, most merciful Jesus, in Thy name, unto God the Father, with whom Thou livest and reignest in the unity of the Holy Ghost world without end. Amen.

Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954

Learn more about devotion to the Most Holy Name of Jesus.
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Friday, January 3, 2020
The 17 Approved Catholic Scapulars
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Types of Scapulars

Scapulars were originally part of the garment of monks. It began as something similar to an apron but evolved to be a mark of commitment to the religious Order. As lay people became dedicated to following some of the ways of the priests and monks, a smaller version of the scapular was used to signify this connection. The earliest religious Orders with lay “Confraternities” were the Servites, Carmelites, Trinitarians and Mercederians. The Franciscans, Benedictines, and Dominicans also developed Third Order lay groups. The scapulars are blessed, and wearers are “invested” in the wearing of the scapular with an expectation of prayers, charity, and devotion as a part of the investiture and relationship to a religious Order. They are not good luck charms or magical artifacts.

In the course of time other Orders received the faculty of blessing small scapulars and investing the lay faithful, although such scapulars were not always connected with a confraternity. Pope Leo XIII approved several new scapulars in the early 1900s, including one to St. Michael the Archangel. The additions of these scapulars brought the total number to 17.

There are five early scapulars which are often grouped together on one string. This is referred to as the Five-Fold Scapular.
The five are: the Scapular of the Most Blessed Trinity, that of the Carmelites, of the Servites, of the Immaculate Conception, and the Red Scapular of the Passion. When the scapulars are joined together, the bands must be of red wool, as required by the Red Scapular; it is customary to wear the Red Scapular uppermost and that of the Most Blessed Trinity undermost, so that the images specially prescribed in the case of the Red, and the small red and blue cross on the Scapular of the Blessed Trinity, may be visible. 
(New Advent, Catholic Encyclopedia)
Scapulars are blessed and invested only once. They are expected to be worn constantly.

The White Scapular of the Blessed Trinity began when Pope Innocent III authorized the Trinitarian Order in 1198 and had a vision of an angel in white with a cross of blue and red on the chest. This became the habit of the order and the design of the scapular.

The Brown Scapular of the Carmelites is the most widely known scapular and was given to St. Simon Stock while he was in England in 1251. The Blessed Virgin promised to grant special aid at the hour of death to those wearing this scapular.

The Black Scapular comes from the Servite Order which began in 1255 and was sanctioned by Pope Alexander IV. This scapular honors the Seven Sorrows of Mary.

The Blue Scapular came as a part of a vision of Venerable Ursula Benicasa, who founded the Order of Theatine Nuns. She saw Jesus and asked Him to grant favors to all who wore the Blue Scapular in honor of the Immaculate Conception. Pope Clement X in 1671 and Clement XI granted indulgences for wearing this scapular.

The Red Scapular of the Passion began after a vision by a Sister of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in 1846. Jesus promised to all who wear this on Fridays, an increase in faith, hope and charity. The vision was reported to Pope Pius IX and he granted the Lazarists Order the faculty of blessing and investing this scapular.

The 17 Approved Scapulars:

1. Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
2. Green Scapular
3. Black Scapular of the Passion
4. Black Scapular of the Seven Dolours of Mary
5. Blue Scapular of the Immaculate Conception
6. Red Scapular of the Passion
7. Scapular of the Blessed Virgin Mary
8. Scapular of the Most Precious Blood
9. Scapular of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary
10. Scapular of St. Benedict
11. Scapular of St. Dominic
12. Scapular of St. Joseph
13. Scapular of St. Michael the Archangel
14. White Scapular of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
15. White Scapular of the Most Blessed Trinity
16. White Scapular of the Mother of Good Counsel
17. White Scapular of Our Lady of Ransom

May more Catholics have recourse to these and all Sacramentals. Those unfamiliar with the purpose of Sacramentals or their benefits should consult the Baltimore Catechism.
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