Sunday, June 29, 2008

Homily: Vigil of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

Here is my first attempt at a podcast...It will go much smoother with the new digital voice recorder (thanks again to the anonymous donor), and hopefully I can do some other fun things like a musical intro, etc in the future. Anyway, here you go:

Thank You!

Thank you to the anonymous reader who sent me a gift card to buy an digital voice recorder with MP3 output. I will offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for your intentions.

I am already working on being able to podcast my homilies, so stay tuned...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Congratulations Archbishop Burke

Well, what many have suspected has come true. Archbishop Raymond L. Burke has been named by the Holy Father as prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the Church's Supreme Court.

This is the statement issued by His Grace:

I am deeply humbled by the trust which His Holiness has placed in me, and, in priestly obedience, I have pledged to serve our Holy Father to the best of my abilities. Although you will no longer pray for me as your archbishop, especially during the celebration of the Holy Mass, I ask your prayers for me, that I may faithfully and generously cooperate with God's grace in fulfilling my new responsibilities.

Leaving the service of the Church in the Archdiocese of St. Louis is most sad for me. It has been an honor and gift for me to serve the archdiocese over the past four years and five months. It had been my hope to serve here for a long time, but, as the bishop who called me to priestly ordination often remarked, "Man proposes, but God disposes." I trust that doing what our Holy Father has asked me to do will bring blessings to the Archdiocese of St. Louis and to me.

St. Louis is a great archdiocese which will always have a treasured place in my heart.In a particular way, I am saddened to leave my fellow priests, whom I have so much grown to esteem and love. Often, I have spoken about the remarkable unity and loyalty of our presbyterate.

For me, it has been a special grace to work with them in the service of God's flock in the archdiocese. I thank them for the priestly fraternity which they have always shown me, and for the generous obedience with which they have responded to my pastoral care and governance of our beloved archdiocese.

With regard to the governance of the archdiocese, the College of Consultors will meet to elect an archdiocesan administrator who, with the help of the consultors, will govern the archdiocese, until the new archbishop is appointed and installed. Please pray for the College of Consultors and for the archdiocesan administrator whom they will elect.

Again, I ask your prayers. You can count upon my daily prayers for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, always.

For the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the Church in the United States this news is sad, but for the Universal Church it will be a great blessing. Archbishop Burke was one of the greatest leaders and defenders of the Faith in the United States which won for him great admiration by some (like myself) and sadly, many enemies as well.

I have known Archbishop Burke since he was Bishop of LaCrosse Wisconsin, but became more aquainted with him during my seminary studies in St. Louis, and most recently I was on a pilgrimage that he lead to the Holy Land. He has been, and hopefully will continute to be, a great source of encouragement for me and my priestly ministry.

Let us pray for this great man, that He will be able to faithfully carry out his duties in this new post.

UPDATE: You can also go the Archdiocesan Website to watch a video statement from the Archbishop.

St. Mary's Catholic Church Blog

The Pastor of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Salem, SD has of late been posting on the parish blog. He is doing marvelous work at this parish, particularly in the area of the Sacred Liturgy. In fact, they are in the midst of a Church restoration project which is magnificent. Check out St. Mary's Catholic Church blog for pictures and more information. Here are a few pictures just to wet your whistle:


Audio Homilies?

Well, I have decided to try something new. I am not sure I am sold on the idea, but I thought I would give posting audio homiles a try. I am borrowing a recorder and playing around with it and trying to figure out the best way to add the audio to my blog. So below is my first trial run of a daily homily. Don't expect much, but do let me know if you like this idea or not, or if you have suggestions on recorders, ways to post the audio on my blog, etc...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Going Against the Grain

From an article in

Members of St. Barnabas Parish in Mazomanie say they are stunned to learn that the priests leading their Catholic community will no longer allow their daughters to be servers at Mass. From now on, only boys will be able to assist priests in the ancient religious rite.

The new policy was announced at a meeting with parents Tuesday by Rev. John Del Priore, who was assigned to the parish on June 1....

...The Catholic Church broke with centuries of tradition in 1994, when the Vatican said girls would be allowed to join "altar boys" in assisting priests at Mass. It is up to the local bishop to decide whether to allow lay women, or girls, to serve when needed, said Brent King, director of communications for the Madison Diocese. Female servers have been allowed in the Madison Diocese, King said, but it is ultimately up to each individual priest to decide whether he needs help at the altar. Priests may ask whomever they wish to assist them, so long as that person is a Catholic in good standing, King said.

He stressed that servers take on the duties of acolytes, traditionally a low clerical rank."Neither lay women nor lay men have the right to carry out the function of acolyte," King said.Altar service is being reserved for boys to promote vocations to the priesthood, Rev. Jared Hood, one of a group of priests that serves the St. Barnabas cluster, said in an interview. Hood said he is a member of the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest, a religious order that ministers to boys to inspire them to become priests. The order offered its services to the Madison Diocese, which is consolidating parishes because of a shortage of priests.

"Very many priests began as altar boys," Hood said. "Without contact with a priest it's difficult for boys to even think about a vocation as a priest." He first learned about the order of which he is now a member as an altar boy in New Jersey, he said.

Four priests from the order now oversee a cluster of five parishes: St. Barnabas, St. Aloysius in Sauk City, St. Norbert in Roxbury, St. John the Baptist in Mill Creek, and St. Mary in Merrimac. Hood said boys only will be servers for each of the parishes.

That's been the case at St. Aloysius for more than a year, and the furor that met the change in policy has evaporated, said Ann Cicero, a secretary for the parish whose sons serve as altar boys.The commitment by parish boys to altar service is proof that it's right to reserve it for boys, she said. When girls were allowed to be servers, it became less popular among boys. Now that it's a thing for boys only, they revel in it.

Besides, having girls on the altar is misleading about what the church is about, she said."Women are not ordained," Cicero said.

The boys meet weekly with priests for training, spiritual growth and outings as the group, St. Michael Altar Guild, a practice that strengthens their ties to the church and parish community, she said. Girls, too, meet regularly and do things "more appropriate for girls."Cicero said several young boys have begun to talk about vocations to the priesthood...

A large part of my own vocation to Holy Priesthood was serving Mass. It gave me an opportunity to get to know the parish priest and learn more about his life.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Recent Bulletin Columns

Here are some excerpts from recent bulletin columns that you might enjoy:

First from the May 25th:

...I wanted to try to answer a question that was put in the Liturgical Question Box. The question is this “I have noticed that the Pope has been wearing older style robes. Does this mean we are going back to the old ways?”

That is a very good question and one that I think has been on minds of a lot of people lately. Yes, the Holy Father has been wearing some styles of vestments that we have not seen for quite awhile; vestments that many associate with the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. These styles of vestments are one style of many styles that we have had throughout the History of the Church. As times change so do vestments, and sometimes for very practical reasons. For instance, before air conditioning was common vestments tended to be smaller and not so heavy so that the priest wouldn’t become so hot during the summer months. The thing to remember is that all the various styles and forms of vestments are acceptable. A priest is able to choose from all styles that have been approved over the centuries, and that is what the Holy Father is doing. He is showing that there is continuity between the past, the present, and the future. He is showing us that was holy at one time in our history is certainly still holy now.

So, as warmer weather approaches, and I begin my usual excessive summer time sweating, don’t be surprised if you see smaller, lighter vestments. And if you do see them, please don’t think it is some sort of sign that we are going to start celebrating Mass in Latin or in the Extraordinary Form, rather see it as sign that I am hot and trying to stay cool. Nothing more, nothing less.
Second from June 8th: I mentioned a few weeks ago, there are many styles of vestments that have been used for the Celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the centuries, and all of them are acceptable to be used. Given that I tend to sweat a lot (some of you noticed this at Mass this last Sunday). and summer has just barely begun, in the next couple of weeks, depending on the weather, you may see a new vestment. Some of you may associate this particular style of vestment with the Mass in Latin, but it is not associated only with Mass in Latin, but also with Mass in Italian, German, Polish, French, Spanish, Swahili, and yes, even English. Some may be tempted to make assumptions that because I am wearing this particular style vestment that I intend to start saying Mass in Latin. Let me assure you, the wearing of this vestment has nothing to do with Latin, it has everything to do with me not overheating or sweating profusely during Mass. It is also a good reminder that we should never forget our history which is varied, rich and full of great beauty.

And this one from June 15:

...Last weeks column ended with this phrase: “…we should never forget our history which is varied, rich and full of great beauty.” Below is a continuation on the theme of history.

We all have histories; we have personal histories, family histories, community histories, national histories, many, many more. One of the greatest histories that has ever been lived is the history of the Church. For over two thousand years She has existed, passing on the faith in every generation. Through trials and tribulations, through good times and bad, through persecution and triumph She has been there bringing the hopeful message of Christ to all, and it continues to this day.

From the first days of the Church there has been continuity, an unbroken line of teaching and worship, which winds its way through history. The theme of continuity with the past is one that has been brought to our attention once again by our beloved Holy Father, Pope Benedict. It seems that one of his greatest concerns is that in the modern world we have a tendency to abandon anything that is old, because we assume that because it is old it is outdated, useless, and boring. When we engage in this sort of wholesale abandonment of things that are deemed “too old” we are, in effect, abandoning our history, we are forgetting where we have come from, we are forgetting the great hardships that our ancestors endured in order to have the very things we are now abandoning. This abandoning of anything “old,” has even found its way into the Church, were there is arising a false distinction between the “old” and the “new.” Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, wrote in his book entitled “Feast of Faith” said “First of all I must take up the distinction you have just made between “the old belief” and “the new”. I must emphatically deny such a distinction. The Council [Vatican II] has not created any new matter for belief, let alone replaced an old belief with a new one…I must admit that in the wake of the Council a lot of things happened far to quickly and abruptly, with the result that many of the faithful could not see the inner continuity with what had gone before.”

Now, thanks be to God, the Holy Father is trying to restore the lost continuity so that we can respect our history and our ancestors. Recently, in response to a question about why the Holy Father is wearing vestments that are “old,” his Liturgical Master of Ceremonies said "The vestments chosen, as also other particulars of the Rite, are intended to underscore the continuity of the present liturgical celebration with that which characterized in the past the life of the Church. Continuity is the interpretive key, always the exact criteria for reading the Church’s journey through time. This is valid also for liturgy…As one Pope cites in his documents the Pontiffs who precede him, so as to indicate the continuity of the Magisterium of the Church, so in the ambient of liturgy a Pope uses also the vestments and sacred accoutrement of his predecessors to show the same continuity also in his celebrations…”

The Holy Father is providing an example for the whole Church of how we can be sensitive to our history and the hard work of our ancestors that got us to where we are in our history. So when we see things that we may consider “old” and “out of date” try rather to think that these things are reminders of our history, reminders of our ancestors, and reminders of where we have been, for without knowing our history; without knowing where we have come from, we can never know where we are going.