Saturday, August 22, 2020
My Total Consecration to Mary: True Devotion to Mary
edit_button


Last Saturday, the Feast of the Assumption of our Lady into Heaven, I at last made the total consecration to Jesus through Mary using the method of St. Louis de Montfort. As part of my preparation, I read "True Devotion," which I happily recommend to anyone looking to better understand the necessity of devotion to Mary.

Some of the parts that resonated with me as I read it are quoted below. These are just the tip of the iceberg though. I highly encourage you to read this truly significant work.
  • "It was also Pius X who granted the Apostolic Benediction to all those who would read the True Devotion; and the same Pope raised the Confraternity of Mary, Queen of Hearts, to the dignity of an Archconfraternity...on the occasion of his golden jubilee in the priesthood, he wished to be inscribed as a member of the Association of Priests of Mary." This Confraternity still exists and there are indulgences attached to it.
  • "The more we reflect, the more we realize that the mission of Christianity is to take possession of man in his entirety in order to transform him into a soul worthy of heaven. Hence, Pius XI, in speaking of Christian Education, says that its 'proper and immediate end is to cooperate with divine grace in forming the true and perfect Christian, that is to form Christ Himself in those regenerated by Baptism.' In this work of transformation, a definite part has been assigned by God to the Blessed Virgin Mary, that of leading souls to Jesus Christ, and of keeping them in His love."
  • "Let us make ourselves, and call ourselves, slaves of Jesus Christ; for that is being the slave of the holy Virgin, inasmuch as Jesus is the fruit and glory of Mary; and it is this very thing which we do perfectly by the Devotion of which we are hereafter to speak."
  • "Our Lord is our advocate and Mediator of redemption with God the Father. It is through Him that we ought to pray, in union with the whole Church, Triumphant and Militant. It is through Him that we have access to the Majesty of the Father, before Whom we ought need to appear except sustained and clothed with the merits of His Son; just as the young Jacob came before his father Isaac in the skins of the kids to receive his blessing. But have we not need of a mediator with the Mediator Himself? Is our purity great enough to unite us directly to him, and by ourselves? If He not God, in all things equal to His Father, and consequently the Holy of Holies, as worthy of respect as His Father? If t through His infinite charity He has made Himself our bail and our Mediator with God His Father, in order to appease Him, and to pay Him what we owed Him, are we, on that account, to have less respect and less fear for His Majesty and His Sanctity?" [See more]
  • "This devotion is a secure means of going to JEsus Christ, because it is the very characteristic of our Blessed Lady to conduct us surely to Jesus, just as it is the very characteristic of Jesus to conduct us surely to the Eternal Father."
  • "Spiritual persons, therefore, must not fall into the false belief that Mary can be a hindrance to them in attaining divine union; for is it possible that she who has found grace before God for the whole world in general and for each one in particular, should be a hindrance to a soul in finding the great grace of union with Him? Can it be possible that she who has been full and superabounding with graces, so united and transformed...that it has been a kind of necessity that He should be incarnate in her, should be a stumbling-block in the way of a soul's perfect union with God?"
  • "Another consideration which may bring us to embrace this practice is the great good which our neighbour receives from it. For by it we show love for our neighbour in an outstanding way, since we give him through Mary's hands all that we prize most highly - that is, the satisfactory and prayer value of all our good works, down to the least good thought and the least little suffering. We give our consent that all we have already acquired or will acquire until death should be used in accordance with our Lady's will for the conversion of sinners or the deliverance of souls from purgatory."

Already made the Total Consecration?

As a reminder, members of the Archconfraternity of Mary, Queen of Hearts, gain an indulgence of 300 days each time they renew their consecration with these words: "I am all Thine and all that I have is Thine, O most loving Jesus, through Mary, Thy most holy Mother."
Read more >>
Wednesday, August 19, 2020
The Traditional Fasting Days Kept in Rome
edit_button


As a follow up to my article "A History of Holy Days of Obligation & Fasting for American Catholics," I wanted to summarize at a high level the change in fasting as seen even in the Eternal City. While the Church has always granted dispensations and allowed for discipline to vary from region to region - albeit far too much in the past few centuries - the Diocese of Rome had previously kept much stricter fasts. 

Fasting Originated in the Early Church

In the Early Church, fasting, which included abstinence as part of it, was widely observed each week on Wednesday and Friday. Some places added Saturday fasting as well, as noted by St. Francis de Sales who writes, "The early Christians selected Wednesday, Friday and Saturday as days of abstinence." One of those places that observed Saturday fasting year-round was Rome. St. Ambrose famously remarked in a letter to St. Augustine: “When I visit Rome, I fast on Saturday; when I am here [in Milan], I do not fast. On the same principle, observe the custom prevailing in whatever Church you come to, if you desire neither to give offense by your conduct, nor to find cause of offense in anothers.”

In addition to the weekly fasting, a special fast on Holy Week was also observed in the Early Church. While not as ancient as the Holy Week fast, the Advent fast likewise originated in the Early Church by at least the fourth century. The Catechism of the Liturgy describes the fast leading up to Christmas: “In a passage of St. Gregory of Tours' History of the Franks we find that St. Perpetuus, one of his predecessors in the See, had decreed in 480 AD that the faithful should fast three times a week from the feast of St. Martin (November 11th) [up] to Christmas… This period was called St. Martin's Lent and his feast was kept with the same kind of rejoicing as Carnival.” In historical records, Advent was originally called Quadragesimal Sancti Martini (Forty Days Fast of St. Martin).

The Catechism of the Liturgy notes that this observance of fasting likely lasted until the 12th century. Remnants of this fast remained in the Roman Rite in the Diocese of Rome in some respect in the form of fasting two days a week during Advent until the 1900s.

The observance of a fast leading up to the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul also originated in the Early Church under Pope St. Leo the Great around the year 461. At the time of St. Jerome, it was known as “Summer Lent,” though it was not practiced under obligation like the fast of Lent itself. While it subsequently fell out of observance in the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Catholic Church still observes this fast to some extent. The Roman Catholic Church though maintained the summer Ember Days, which fell during the ancient Apostles Fast, in addition to the traditional fast on the Vigil of Sts. Peter and Paul, until modern times. As a result, only a fragment of the fasting that was originally practiced persisted. 

Finally, the Lenten fast began under the Apostles themselves. The Lenten fast was kept in Rome and elsewhere. St. Augustine in the fourth century remarked, “Our fast at any other time is voluntary; but during Lent, we sin if we do not fast.” At the time of St. Gregory the Great at the beginning of the 7th century, the fast was universally established to begin on what we know as Ash Wednesday. While the name "Ash Wednesday" was not given to the day until Pope Urban II in 1099, the day was known as the “Beginning of the Fast.” 

Historical records further indicate that Lent was not a merely regional practice observed only in Rome. It was part of the universality of the Church. Lenten fasting began in England, for instance, sometime during the reign of Earconberht, the king of Kent, who was converted by the missionary work of St. Augustine of Canterbury in England. During the Middle Ages, fasting in England, and many other then-Catholic nations, was required both by Church law and civil law. Catholic missionaries brought fasting, which is an integral part of the Faith, to every land they visited.

In 604, in a letter to St. Augustine of Canterbury, Pope St. Gregory the Great announced the form that abstinence would take on fast days. This form would last for almost a thousand years: "We abstain from flesh meat and from all things that come from flesh, as milk, cheese, and eggs."  When fasting was observed, abstinence was likewise always observed.

The Minor Rogation and Ember Days

Concerning the Major Rogation, Dom Gueranger, writing in the late 1800s, mentions the ancient custom of abstinence but not fasting for the Major Rogation in Rome:
Abstinence from flesh meat has always been observed on this day at Rome; and when the Roman Liturgy was established in France by Pepin and Charlemagne, the Great Litany of April 25 was, of course, celebrated, and the abstinence kept by the faithful of that country. A Council of Aix-la-Chapelle, in 836, enjoined the additional obligation of resting from servile work on this day: the same enactment is found in the Capitularia of Charles the Bald. As regards fasting, properly so called, being contrary to the spirit of Paschal Time, it would seem never to have been observed on this day, at least not generally. Amalarius, who lived in the ninth century, asserts that it was not then practiced even in Rome.
Dom Gueranger likewise continues with an account of how fasting and abstinence were kept on the Minor Rogation Days in Rome:
Their observance is now similar in format to the Greater Litanies of April 25th, but these three days have a different origin, having been instituted in Gaul in the fifth century as days of fasting, abstinence and abstention from servile work in which all took part in an extensive penitential procession, often barefoot. The whole western Church soon adopted the Rogation days. They were introduced into England at an early period; as likewise into Spain and Germany. Rome herself sanctioned them by herself observing them; this she did in the eighth century, during the pontificate of St. Leo III. With regard to the fast which the Churches of Gaul observed during the Rogation days, Rome did not adopt that part of the institution. Fasting seemed to her to throw a gloom over the joyous forty days, which our risen Jesus grants to His disciples; she therefore enjoined only abstinence from flesh-meat during the Rogation days. 
While Rome never adopted fasting on Rogation days since these days always fall during Pascaltide, fasting can certainly be done by the Faithful. The Church did though require abstinence from meat, illustrating that even during Pascaltide it is appropriate that we perform some penance.

Like Rogation Days, Ember Days developed early in these times, taking the form that would continue for centuries. The Catholic Encyclopedia explains:
At first the Church in Rome had fasts in June, September, and December; the exact days were not fixed but were announced by the priests. The "Liber Pontificalis" ascribes to Pope Callistus (217-222) a law ordering the fast, but probably it is older. Leo the Great (440-461) considers it an Apostolic institution.
By the time of Pope Gregory I, who died in 601 AD, they were observed for all four seasons though the date of each of them could vary. In the Roman Synod of 1078 under Pope Gregory VII, they were uniformly established for the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after December 13th (St. Lucia), after Ash Wednesday, after Pentecost Sunday, and after September 14th (Exaltation of the Cross)

Advent Fast Drastically Wanes

The Advent Fast which began in the Early Church developed over these centuries. The fast which began in 480 began to adopt the same rigor of Lent by the end of the 6th century when the fast was extended to the whole Church and priests were instructed to offer Mass during St. Martin’s Lent, as it was then called, according to the Lenten rite. 

By the 700s, the Lenten observance was shortened in the Roman Rite to four weeks, though other Rites maintained the longer observance. By the 1100s, the fast had begun to be replaced by simple abstinence. In 1281, the Council of Salisbury held that only monks were expected to keep the fast; however, in a revival of the older practice, Pope Urban V in 1362 required abstinence for all members of the papal court during Advent.   However, the custom of fasting in Advent continued to decline.

Fasting As A Whole Rapidly Declines In the Post-Enlightenment Period

Some of the most significant changes to fsating in Rome, and elsewhere, occurred starting in the mid 1700s. On May 31, 1741, Pope Benedict XIV issued Non Ambiginius which granted permission to eat meat on fasting days while explicitly forbidden the consumption of both fish and flesh meat at the same meal on all fasting days during the year in addition to the Sundays during Lent. Beforehand, the forty days of Lent were held as days of complete abstinence from meat. The concept of partial abstinence was born even though the term would not appear until the 1917 Code of Canon Law. Yet even with these changes, Pope Benedict XIV implored the faithful to return to the devotion of earlier eras:

"The observance of Lent is the very badge of the Christian warfare. By it we prove ourselves not to be enemies of the cross of Christ. By it we avert the scourges of divine justice. By it we gain strength against the princes of darkness, for it shields us with heavenly help. Should mankind grow remiss in their observance of Lent, it would be a detriment to God's glory, a disgrace to the Catholic religion, and a danger to Christian souls. Neither can it be doubted that such negligence would become the source of misery to the world, of public calamity, and of private woe."  

The Vigils of the Apostles and various feasts were also held as fasting days for centuries, though which vigils were days of fasting changed over time. By 1893, the only fasting days kept in Rome were the forty days of Lent, the Ember Days, and the Vigils of the Purification, of Pentecost, of St. John the Baptist, of Ss. Peter and Paul, of the Assumption, of All Saints, and of Christmas. This is summarized from the Handbook to Christian and Ecclesiastical Rome   In just a few years, Rome would abrogate the fast on the Vigil of the Purification and on the Vigil of St. John the Baptist. 

Fasting in Rome in the 1900s

Fast forward to 1917. While often held as an archetype for Tradition, the 1917 Code largely took the concessions granted to America and other nations and reduced fasting practices that were widely practiced elsewhere in the world. With the promulgation of the 1917 Code of Canon Law, we see a change in the rules of fasting and abstinence for the Universal Church, including the Diocese of Rome. 

The days of obligatory fasting as listed in the 1917 Code of Canon Law were the forty days of Lent (including Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday until noon); the Ember Days; and the Vigils of Pentecost, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, All Saints, and Christmas. Partial abstinence, the eating of meat only at the principal meal, was obligatory on all weeks of Lent (Monday through Thursday). And of course, complete abstinence was required on all Fridays, including Fridays of Lent, except when a holy day of obligation fell on a Friday outside of Lent. Saturdays in Lent were likewise days of complete abstinence.

The number of fasting vigils (not liturgically observed vigils) was reduced to four. And the requirement of fasting in Advent was also abolished, following the trend of its abolition in places like the United States. Strangely, even the Vigil of Ss. Peter and Paul, the primary patrons of Rome, ceased being a day of fasting even though the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul remained a Holy Day of Obligation in Rome.

Per the 1983 Code of Canon Law, fasting and complete abstinence are required only on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The notion of "partial abstinence," introduced under Pope Benedict XIV in 1741, was also removed. By this point, the days of obligatory fast had been reduced to merely two days which are observed in Rome and elsewhere.

Conclusion

Alas, the fasting practices were drastically reduced in the 1900s even before Vatican II. Recovering Catholic Tradition is not about setting the clock back to 1962. It must entail re-discovering customs and practices like fasting, which saw significant reductions in the decades leading up to the changes to the Liturgy.
Read more >>
Monday, August 17, 2020
Octave Day of Saint Lawrence
edit_button

This painting is in the parish church of Montreal in southern France. Taken by Fr. Lawrence Lew, OP

Today is the Octave Day of St. Lawrence, the illustrious martyr. For a history of Octaves including the history of the Octave Day of St. Lawrence, which is a simple octave, please see Zephrinus.


Like all of the most important feasts, that of St. Lawrence was traditionally celebrated with an octave; the octave day has a proper Mass, like the octave of Ss. Peter and Paul, sharing only the Epistle and Gospel with the feast day. The introit of this Mass is taken from Psalm 16, which is also said at Matins of St. Lawrence: “Thou hast proved my heart, and visited it by night, thou hast tried me by fire: and iniquity hath not been found in me.” The words “visited (my heart) by night” refer to the Emperor’s threat to torture Lawrence for the length of the night, to which the great Levite answered, “My night hath no darkness, but in it, all things shine brightly in the light.”

Collect:

Grant us, we beseech Thee O almighty God, to extinguish the flames of our evil dispositions, as Thou didst grant blessed Lawrence to overcome the fires of his torments. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.
Read more >>
Sunday, August 16, 2020
St. Roch, Patron Saint Against Sickness
edit_button

August 16th is kept in some places as the Feast of St. Roch, the patron saint against sickness and epidemics. Today is also the Feast of St. Joachim, the father of the Blessed Virgin Mary. St. Roch was a citizen of Montpellier in the South of France, who devoted his life to the serving of the plague-stricken. On their behalf, God enabled His servant to work many miracles. He died in 1337 AD and has since been venerated as the special advocate of the sick.

Numerous brotherhoods have been instituted in his honor. He is usually represented in the garb of a pilgrim, often lifting his tunic to demonstrate the plague sore, or bubo, in his thigh, and accompanied by a dog carrying a loaf in its mouth. The Third Order of Saint Francis, by tradition, claims him as a member and includes his feast on its own calendar of saints, observing it on August 17.

The following is taken from CatholicTradition.org:

Born at Montpellier towards 1295, he died in 1327. His father was governor of that city and at his birth St. Roch is said to have been found miraculously marked on the breast with a red cross. Deprived of his parents when about twenty years old, he distributed his fortune among the poor, handed over to his uncle the government of Montpellier, and in the disguise of a mendicant pilgrim, set out for Italy, but stopped at Aquapendente, which was stricken by the plague, and devoted himself to the plague-stricken, curing them with the Sign of the Cross. He next visited Cesena and other neighbouring cities and then Rome. Everywhere the terrible scourge disappeared before his miraculous power. He visited Mantua, Modena, Parma, and other cities with the same results. At Piacenza, he himself was stricken with the plague. He withdrew to a hut in the neighbouring forest, where his wants were supplied by a gentleman named Gothard, who by a miracle learned the place of his retreat. After his recovery Roch returned to France. Arriving at Montpellier and refusing to disclose his identity, he was taken for a spy in the disguise of a pilgrim, and cast into prison by order of the governor, where five years later he died. The miraculous cross on his breast as well as a document found in his possession now served for his identification. He was accordingly given a public funeral, and numerous miracles attested his sanctity.

In 1414, during the Council of Constance, the plague having broken out in that city, the Fathers of the Council ordered public prayers and processions in honour of the Saint, and immediately the plague ceased. His relics, according to Wadding, were carried furtively to Venice in 1485, where they are still venerated. It is commonly held that he belonged to the Third Order of St. Francis; but it cannot be proved. Urban VIII approved the ecclesiastical office to be recited on his Feast. Paul III instituted a confraternity, under the invocation of the Saint, to have charge of the church and hospital erected during the pontificate of Alexander VI. The confraternity increased so rapidly that Paul IV raised it to an archconfraternity, with powers to aggregate similar confraternities of St. Roch. It was given a cardinal-protector, and a prelate of high rank was to be its immediate superior. Various favours have been bestowed on it by Pius IV [C. Regimini, March 7, 1561], by Gregory XIII [C. dated January 5, 1577], by Gregory XIV [C. Paternar. pont., March 7, 1591], and by other pontiffs. It still flourishes.

Collect:

O God, who are glorious in the glory of the Saints, and to all those that flee unto their protection, grantest the salutary effect of their petition; by the intercession of Thy blessed Confessor Roch, grant to Thy people, who hold forth their devotion in his festivity, that they may be delivered from the sickness of that plague which he suffered in his body for the glory of Thy name, to which may they ever be devoted.
Read more >>
Thursday, August 13, 2020
St. John Berchmans
edit_button


August 13th is kept in some places as the Feast of St. John Berchmans. 

The following is taken from CatholicTradition.org:

St. John Berchmans was born the eldest son of a shoemaker in 1599 at Diest, Belgium. At a very young age he wanted to be a priest, and when thirteen he became a servant in the household of one of the cathedral canons at Malines. After his mother's death, his father and two brothers followed suit and entered religious life. In 1615 he entered the Jesuit college there, becoming a novice a year later. In 1618 he was sent to Rome for more study and was known for his diligence and piety, and his stress on perfection even in small things. That year his father was ordained and died six months later. John was so poor and humble that he  walked from Antwerp to Rome. He died at the age of 22 on August 13. Many miracles were attributed to him after his death; he was canonized in 1888 and is the patron saint of altar boys.

Although he longed to work in the mission fields of China, he did not live long enough to permit it. After completing his course work, he was asked to defend the "entire field of philosophy" in a public disputation in July, just after his exit examinations. The following month he was asked to represent the Roman College in a debate with the Greek College. Although he distinguished himself in this disputation, he had studied so assiduously that he caught a cold in mid-summer, became very ill with with an undetermined illness accompanied by a fever, although some think it now to have been dysentery, and died a week later. He was buried in the church of Saint Ignatius at Rome, but his heart was later translated to the Jesuit church at Louvain.

So many miracles were attributed to him after his death at the age of 22, that his cultus soon spread to his native Belgium, where 24,000 copies of  his portrait were published within a few years of his death. He was known for his devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to Our Lady, to whom he composed a Chaplet in honor of her Immaculate Conception.

Collect:

Lord our God, you invite us always to give you our love, and you are pleased with a cheerful giver. Give us a youthful spirit, to be like Saint John, always eager to seek you and to do your will. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Taken from Supplement to the Divine Office For the Society of Jesus.

Indulged Prayer from the Raccolta:

Saint John, angelic youth, sweet-scented flower of innocence, stalwart soldier of the Company of Jesus, ardent defender of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, whom the all-wise Providence of God hath set forth as a light and pattern, in order that He might reveal in thee the treasures of that holiness which consisteth in the devoted and holy fulfillment of the common duties of life,  I earnestly beseech thee to make me ever constant and faithful in observing the duties of my state of life, pure in heart, fearless and strong against the enemies of my eternal salvation, and cheerfully obedient to the promptings of God's holy will.

By thy singular devotion to the loving Mother of Jesus Christ, who looked upon thee also as her dear son, obtain for me the grace of a fervent love for Jesus and Mary, together with the power of drawing many others to love them in like manner. Wherefore, dear Saint John, I choose thee as my special patron, humbly beseeching thee to make me zealous in the things that pertain to the praise of God, and to assist me by thy mighty help, to lead a life filled with good works. Finally, when the hour of death cometh, do thou, of thy loving kindness, cherish in me those motions of humble confidence, which at the moment of thy departure from this world to thy mansion in the skies, as thou didst lovingly clasp to thy breast the Image of Jesus Crucified, together with Mary's Rosary and thy Book of Rules, impelled thee to utter these sweet words: "these three things are my dearest possessions; with these I am content to die."

Pray for us, Saint John, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Grant, we beseech Thee O Lord God, unto Thy faithful servants, to copy the pattern of innocence and faithfulness in Thy service, wherewith the angelic youth, John, did consecrate to Thee the very flower of his years. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Read more >>
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Remote Catechesis During COVID-19
edit_button

There Has Never Been A Stronger Need for Sound Catechesis

The lack of sound faith formation and reverent liturgies over the past few decades has led to disastrous consequences for the Catholic Faith. Based on statistics available from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate the collapse in enrollment in Catholic religious education, as well as Sacramental reception, has been profound.

Based on statistics available from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate the collapse in enrollment in Catholic religious education, as well as Sacramental reception, has been profound. Since 1970, the number of children in a primary school religious education program has dropped 60% and the number of secondary school students in religious education has dropped 55%. Since 1960, the number of annual adult baptisms has fallen 68%. Since 1975, the number of annual infant baptisms has fallen 18%.

Forming Intentional Disciples by Sherry Weddell further illustrates the consequences following the changes post-Vatican II. These decades saw significant changes in the Sacramental life of Catholics and the customs and practices of living out a Catholic life (e.g. times of fasting, processions, cultural celebrations). The Church was also shaken by the disastrous consequences of the sexual abuse crisis by some of Her priests. The results are grim: only 30% of Americans who were raised Catholic are still practicing and 10% of all adults in America are ex-Catholics.

In one often-quoted study, data by D’Antonio, Dillon, & Gautier in 2013 showed 33% of American Catholics are unaware of the Church’s teaching of Christ in the Real Presence and an additional 4% even deny this central tenet of the Faith. The number of Catholics who are unaware of the official Church teaching illustrates the inability of modern religious education to meet the needs of today’s Catholics.

COVID-19 Has Led To Greater Challenges Than Even Before

In response to the continued threat from COVID-19 and the legal ramifications, large numbers of Dioceses continue to restrict Masses, cancel religious education programs for adults and children, and put a number of precautionary measures in place. Online education, to which the Church must turn especially in times like this, is the solution to both the pandemic and to bucking the trend of children not actually learning the Faith.

Remote learning does not have to mean a lack of quality. For instance, CatechismClass.com focuses on providing authentic and unwaveringly sound Theology in a way that ensures accountability. One of the founding hallmarks of that program, as built by Fr. James Zatalava, is that there is accountability built into all of the lessons. As students take lessons, parishes will receive instantaneous quiz reports of the students' progress. They can see the questions, how well the student did, the amount of time they spent on a lesson, and they have the ability to issue retakes for quizzes that need them. In addition to these instant quizzes, parishes may at any time log in to run a roster report to see how students are doing, their cumulative scores, the average time spent on lessons, etc to ensure that they are learning the materials.

Remote Catechesis During COVID-19 Is the Solution

In 2009, the U.S. Department of Education published a meta-analysis of evidence-based studies of K-12 and postsecondary online learning programs. The study reported that “students who took all or part of their class online performed better on average than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction.” We have reason to believe that children in religious education will also perform better.

Children want to learn and be challenged. The discipline in a secular classroom should carry over to religious education. Children should have regular activities and homework — including frequent reception of the Sacraments, the practice of prayers and pious devotions, and ample opportunities for them to share what they learn.

Children want to be part of something bigger than themselves. They want to feel connected and a part of something; the internet provides this connectivity and hands-on learning, so long as parents and priests help foster this life.

One of the benefits of the pandemic is surely the rise in online, flexible, and sound catechesis. Programs like CatechismClass.com have arisen to solve these needs and since 2004 they have served thousands of families and parishes.

While the Catholic Faith and its doctrines are timeless and unchanging, the manner in how we teach the Faith must adapt to newer standards in order to help ensure our children do not become statistics for ex-Catholics in the next decade. The Internet is a tool that children and adults are already using. Let’s as a Catholic community use it for the good of their souls.
Read more >>
Sunday, August 9, 2020
St. Emygdius, Patron Saint of Earthquakes
edit_button

Listed in the back of the missal for feastdays in some places is the Feast of St. Emygdius which is kept on August 9th. Back in 1903, the Archbishop of San Francisco ordered Masses to be said in his honor.

The Monks of Ramsgate in their 1921 "Book of Saints" write:

Said to have been a native of Germany who, converted to Christianity and coming to Rome, was consecrated Bishop by Pope Saint Marcellus and sent as missionary to Ascoli in the Marches of Ancuona, where he was put to death under Diocletian (A.D. 303 or 304). His relics are in great veneration, and many miracles have been wrought at his tomb.

The following account is taken from Catholic Restoration:

Raised a pagan, Emygdius converted to Christianity some time near the end of the third century. He then travelled to Rome, where he tirelessly worked to convert other pagans. Emygdius willingly risked his own safety to promote his faith. He once stormed a temple and destroyed a statue of Aesculapius, the Roman god of healing. This act angered many Romans, who clamoured for retribution. Although some records say Emygdius turned to Pope Marcellus for protection, it is now believed that Emygdius probably received help from Marcellus’s predecessor named Marcellinus.

The Pope ordained Emygdius, made him a bishop, and then sent him to Ascoli Piceno, a region just northeast of Rome. Once again, Emygdius eagerly spread the Word of God and converted many. But in 304, the bishop was swept up in the persecution of Christians carried out by Emperor Diocletian, who ordered Emgydius and several of his companions to be beheaded.

Emygdius became particularly venerated in Italy. He was said to offer protection against earthquakes, and Catholics in other areas prone to quakes also turned to him for protection. In 1863, the Vatican approved a request from Catholics in California to name Emygdius the patron saint of what is now the Los Angeles diocese. Several statues of the saint still stand in California, and several parishes bear his name.
Read more >>
Saturday, August 8, 2020
The Proper Mass of St. John Vianney
edit_button

The Feast of St. John Vianney has moved around in the 20th century. Before 1955, it was kept on August 9 before moving to August 8th in the 1962 Missal and then being swapped with St. Dominic on August 4th in the Novus Ordo.

In the Angelus Press Missal on page 1346, the Mass said for his feastday indicates it is simply the Mass Os justi of a Confessor with only a proper collect. Nothing special. But in the back of the missal on page 1675 in the section for Masses said "in some places and congregations" (pro aliquibus locis) there is a special Mass for St. John Vianney. While using the special collect already mentioned, it lists a completely unique set of propers. 
After a few years of searching, I determined the source of these special propers, which are not mentioned in the missal's notes like most other pro aliquibus locis propers.

This proper mass was granted to all French dioceses on April 12, 1905. It is also in use chez the Franciscans. Corpus Christ Watershed has a PDF of a Franciscan supplement to the Gradual containing this Mass. Proper antiphons for the Benedictus and Magnificat were also assigned to the feast St John Vianney for France. Here is a 1960 French supplement to the Breviary.

I sincerely hope more places use these beautiful propers in honor of the patron saint of parish priests, the great St. John Vianney. May he intercede for all of the wayward, persecuted, tempted, and suffering priests today.
Read more >>
Friday, August 7, 2020
St. Cyprian on The Importance of Doing's God's Will
edit_button


Our obligation is to do God's will and not our own. We must remember this if the prayer that our Lord commanded us to say daily is to have any meaning on our lips. How unreasonable it is to pray that God's will be done, and then not promptly obey it when he calls us from this world! Instead, we struggle and resist like self-willed slaves and are brought into the Lord's presence with sorrow and lamentation, not freely consenting to our departure, but constrained by necessity. And yet we expect to be rewarded with heavenly honors by him to whom we come against our will! Why then do we pray for the kingdom of heaven to come if this earthly bondage pleases us? What is the point of praying so often for its early arrival if we should rather serve the devil here than reign with Christ?

The world hates Christians, so why give your love to it instead of following Christ, who loves you and has redeemed you? John is most urgent in his epistle when he tells us not to love the world by yielding to sensual desires. Never give your love to the world, he warns, or to anything in it. A man cannot love the Father and love the world at the same time. All that the world offers is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and earthly ambition. The world and its allurements will pass away, but the man who has done the will of God shall live forever.

Our part, my dear brothers, is to be single-minded, firm in faith, and steadfast in courage, ready for God's will, whatever it may be. Banish the fear of death and think of the eternal life that follows. That will show people that we really live our faith.

We ought never to forget, beloved, that we have renounced the world. We are living here now as aliens and only for a time. When the day of our homecoming puts an end to our exile, frees us from the bonds of the world, and restores us to paradise and to a kingdom, we should welcome it. What man, stationed in a foreign land, would not want to return to his own country as soon as possible? Well, we look upon paradise as our country, and a great crowd of our loved ones awaits us there, a countless throng of parents, brothers, and children longs for us to join them. Assured though they are of their own salvation, they are still concerned about ours. What joy both for them and for us to see one another and embrace! O the delight of that heavenly kingdom where there is no fear of death! O the supreme and endless bliss of everlasting life!

There is the glorious band of apostles, there, the exultant assembly of prophets, there, the innumerable host of martyrs, crowned for their glorious victory in combat and in death. There, in triumph, are the virgins who subdued their passions by the strength of continence. There the merciful are rewarded, those who fulfilled the demands of justice by providing for the poor. In obedience to the Lord's command, they turned their earthly patrimony into heavenly treasure.

My dear brothers, let all our longing be to join them as soon as we may. May God see our desire, may Christ see this resolve that springs from faith, for he will give the rewards of his love more abundantly to those who have longed for him more fervently.
Read more >>
Comm. of St. Donatus
edit_button

The Miracle of Saint Donatus by Jusepe de Ribera, Musée de Picardie.

Commemoration (1954 Calendar): August 7

While it is the Feast of St. Cajetan, today is also the Commemoration of St. Donatus, the bishop of Arezzo in Tuscany, who was arrested and beheaded during the rule of Julian the Apostate in 362 AD. May he intercede for us who remember and recall his life today.

Butler's Lives of the Saints:

"Being illustrious for sanctity and miracles, as Saint Gregory the Great assures us, he was apprehended by Quadratianus, the Augustalis, or imperial prefect of Tuscany, in the reign of Julian the Apostate. Refusing to adore the idols, he suffered many torments with invincible constancy, and at length finished his martyrdom by the sword in 361. His relics are enshrined in the cathedral of Arezzo. At the same time and place Saint Hilarinus, a monk, received the like crown, being beaten to death with clubs. His relics were afterwards translated to Ostia. See the Martyrologies."

Collect:

O God, You are the glory of all Your priests. May we sensibly feel the help of Your martyr bishop Donatus whose feast we celebrate today. through our Lord . . .
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.”