Tuesday, November 2, 2010

All Soul's Day

From the Handbook of Indulgences

Visiting a Church or an Oratory on All Souls Day

A plenary (“full”) indulgence, which is applicable only to the souls in Purgatory is granted to the Christian faithful who devoutly visit a church or an oratory on (November 2nd,) All Souls Day.

Requirements for Obtaining a Plenary Indulgence on All Souls Day (Nov. 2nd)

-Visit a church and pray for souls in Purgatory
-Say one “Our Father” and the “Creed” in the visit to the church
-Say one “Our Father” and one “Hail Mary” for the Holy Father’s intentions
-Worthily receive Holy Communion (ideally on the same day if you can get to Mass)
-Make a sacramental confession within a week of All Souls Day
-For a plenary indulgence be free from all attachment to sin, even venial sin (otherwise, the indulgence is partial, not plenary, “full”).

Monday, November 1, 2010

All Saints Day

Why should our praise and glorification, or even the celebration of this feast day mean anything to the saints? What do they care about earthly honors when their heavenly Father honors them by fulfilling the faithful promise of the Son? What does our commendation mean to them? The saints have no need of honor from us; neither does our devotion add the slightest thing to what is theirs. Clearly, if we venerate their memory, it serves us, not them. But I tell you, when I think of them, I feel myself inflamed by a tremendous yearning.

Calling the saints to mind inspires, or rather arouses in us, above all else, a longing to enjoy their company, so desirable in itself. We long to share in the citizenship of heaven, to dwell with the spirits of the blessed, to join the assembly of patriarchs, the ranks of the prophets, the council of apostles, the great host of martyrs, the noble company of confessors and the choir of virgins. In short, we long to be united in happiness with all the saints. But our dispositions change. The Church of all the first followers of Christ awaits us, but we do nothing about it. The saints want us to be with them, and we are indifferent. The souls of the just await us, and we ignore them.

Come, brothers, let us at length spur ourselves on. We must rise again with Christ, we must seek the world which is above and set our mind on the things of heaven. Let us long for those who are longing for us, hasten to those who are waiting for us, and ask those who look for our coming to intercede for us. We should not only want to be with the saints, we should also hope to possess their happiness. While we desire to be in their company, we must also earnestly seek to share in their glory. Do not imagine that there is anything harmful in such an ambition as this; there is no danger in setting our hearts on such glory.

When we commemorate the saints we are inflamed with another yearning: that Christ our life may also appear to us as he appeared to them and that we may one day share in his glory. Until then we see him, not as he is, but as he became for our sake. He is our head, crowned, not with glory, but with the thorns of our sins. As members of that head, crowned with thorns, we should be ashamed to live in luxury; his purple robes are a mockery rather than an honor. When Christ comes again, his death shall no longer be proclaimed, and we shall know that we also have died, and that our life is hidden with him. The glorious head of the Church will appear and his glorified members will shine in splendor with him, when he forms this lowly body anew into such glory as belongs to himself, its head.

Therefore, we should aim at attaining this glory with a wholehearted and prudent desire. That we may rightly hope and strive for such blessedness, we must above all seek the prayers of the saints. Thus, what is beyond our own powers to obtain will be granted through their intercession.

-From a Sermon by St. Bernard

Saturday, October 23, 2010

May God Reward Archbishop Dolan

Archbishop Dolan is apparently getting fed up with media bias hatred toward the Catholic Church. Here is what he said recently regarding the New York Times and their anti-Catholicism:

I know, I should drop it. “You just have to get used to it,” so many of you have counselled me. “It’s been that way forever, and it’s so ingrained they don’t even know they’re doing it. So, let it go.”

I’m talking about the common, casual way The New York Times offends Catholic sensitivity, something they would never think of doing — rightly so — to the Jewish, Black, Islamic, or gay communities.

Two simple yet telling examples from one edition, last Friday, October 15.

First there’s the insulting photograph of the nun on page C20, this for yet another tiresome production making fun of Catholic consecrated women. This “gleeful” tale is described as “fresh and funny” in the caption beneath the quarter-page photo (not an advertisement). Granted, prurient curiosity about the lives of Catholic sisters has been part of the nativist, “know-nothing” agenda since mobs burned the Ursuline convent in Boston in the 1840’s, and since the huckster Rebecca Reed’s Awful Disclosures made the rounds in the 19th century. But still now cheap laughs at the expense of a bigoted view of the most noble women around?

Maybe I’m especially sensitive since I just came from the excellent exhibit on the contributions of Catholic nuns now out on Ellis Island. These are the women who tended to the homeless immigrants and refugees, who died nursing the abandoned in the cholera epidemic, who ran hospitals and universities decades before women did so in the non-Catholic sphere, who marched in Selma and today teach our poorest in our inner-city schools. These are the nuns mocked and held-up for snickering in our city’s newspaper.

Now turn to C29. This glowingly reviewed not-to-be missed “art” exhibit comes to us from Harvard, and is a display of posters from ACT UP. Remember them? They invaded of St. Patrick’s Cathedral to disrupt prayer, trampled on the Holy Eucharist, insulted Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger when he was here for a conference, and yelled four letter words while exposing themselves to families and children leaving Mass at the Cathedral. The man they most detested was Cardinal John O’Connor, who, by the way, spent many evenings caring quietly for AIDS patients, and, when everyone else ran from them, opened units for them at the Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center and St. Clare’s Hospital. Too bad for him. One of the posters in this “must see” exhibit is of Cardinal
O’Connor, in the form of a condom, referred to as a “scumbag,” the “art” there in full view in the photograph above the gushing review in our city’s daily.

Thanks for your patience with me. I guess I’m still new enough here in New York City that the insults of The New York Times against the Church still bother me. I know I should get over it. As we say in Missouri, it’s like “spitting into a tornado.”

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pope Benedict's Letter To Seminarians

Brothers, listen to our shepherd (emphasis added):
Anyone who wishes to become a priest must be first and foremost a “man of God,” to use the expression of Saint Paul (1 Tim 6:11). For us God is not some abstract hypothesis; he is not some stranger who left the scene after the “big bang”. God has revealed himself in Jesus Christ. In the face of Jesus Christ we see the face of God. In his words we hear God himself speaking to us. It follows that the most important thing in our path towards priesthood and during the whole of our priestly lives is our personal relationship with God in Jesus Christ. The priest is not the leader of a sort of association whose membership he tries to maintain and expand. He is God’s messenger to his people. He wants to lead them to God and in this way to foster authentic communion between all men and women. That is why it is so important, dear friends, that you learn to live in constant intimacy with God. When the Lord tells us to “pray constantly”, he is obviously not asking us to recite endless prayers, but urging us never to lose our inner closeness to God. Praying means growing in this intimacy. So it is important that our day should begin and end with prayer; that we listen to God as the Scriptures are read; that we share with him our desires and our hopes, our joys and our troubles, our failures and our thanks for all his blessings, and thus keep him ever before us as the point of reference for our lives. In this way we grow aware of our failings and learn to improve, but we also come to appreciate all the beauty and goodness which we daily take for granted and so we grow in gratitude. With gratitude comes joy for the fact that God is close to us and that we can serve him.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

You Fool!

Well folks, I have FINALLY got around to posting another homily. This one is from all the way back in August. Sorry for the delay, but enjoy it nevertheless.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Its Been Busy

To the three of you who still check on on me:

Phew! It's been a crazy couple of weeks. A new quarter of studies began and I made a couple of weekend trips. One to Salt Lake City (no, I'm not becoming Mormon), and another to Kansas City for the Annual Meeting for the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem of which I am a member. That being said, I apologize for not posting during that time, but I hope to be back at it tomorrow. I am behind on my homilies, so I have a few to post in the near future, and I have some great liturgical stuff that I have been reading for classes to share with you.

Monday, August 30, 2010

No One Who Prays is Ever Alone

Fr. Patrick Peyton

Once in awhile I log on to Archbishop Dolan's blog to see what he has to day, and today I found the following gem. It's worth the read.

Ah, it’s true: those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer –thank you, Nat King Cole –are coming into the station. Soon, all we’ll have are memories.

One stands out for me. I was on the Jersey Shore, at the Villa Saint Joseph, in company with priests. At supper I had quietly admired one of them, now retired, and listened as he joined in swapping stories about past assignments and colorful incidents from priestly life. It was clear to me that this particular priest had worked hard for over fifty-five years –poor parishes, teaching, caring for the sick. He was an example of a senior priest who had “been in the trenches” and served Jesus and His Church faithfully.

Later that evening I sat alone up on the second-floor porch and enjoyed the sea-breeze. I also smiled as I watched the married couples and families walk along the boardwalk, and had to admit to myself that it sure would be nice to have a wife, kids, or grandkids here with me. Not that I was regretting my priestly celibacy, mind you, because I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I guess I was just imagining “what-if …”

And then I saw the old priest below me on the front porch. He, too, was all alone. He, too, was looking at the couples and families walking-by. And I felt sorry for him. This priest, who had given it his all as a generous, committed priest, there all-by-himself in a rocker on the front porch.

Down I went. Yet, as I approached, I saw his lips moving, as if he were in conversation with a friend; his eyes were closed, although he was not asleep, because the rocker was moving; he hardly looked lonely at all, because there was a smile there …

Then I saw the rosary in his hand, and the breviary (the book of daily readings and prayers, mostly from the Bible, which we priests promise to pray daily) open on his lap … and I realized he was enjoying the best company of all.

I went back upstairs and finished my cigar.

And recalled what Pope Benedict XVI had observed earlier in the summer when he had begun his own vacation, “No one who prays is ever alone.”

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ongoing Conversation

Recently someone posted a comment on a post from some time ago (click here to view origional post) which said,

Thank you, I thought this a good and direct sermon in general, but I believe you stated our voting responsibility very poorly (just after the 8 minute mark):

“But since we don’t live in a perfect world, and there’s no such thing as a politician that perfectly reflects the Church’s teaching on life, well then we must choose the lesser of two evils. We must support candidates who most closely reflect the truth about abortion.”

This comes across more like Republican Party propaganda than authentic Church teaching. We must never choose evil. (I understand that we may vote for a candidate in spite of his or her advocacy of evil policies as long as we continue to work against those policies, but that’s not what you said.) Since the 2010 elections are almost upon us, rather than carrying on here, I ask that you create a new post on the topic so we can carry on the discussion on the home page.

Have at it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

How Many Hours a Day Do You Pray?

Emphasis added:

Rome, Italy, Aug 26, 2010 / 05:46 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Archpriest of
St. Peter's Basilica remembered at Mass on Thursday how a promise he made to Mother Teresa 40 years ago preserved his vocation.
She taught him that without prayer, charity cannot exist.

Cardinal Comastri presided over the Eucharistic celebration at Rome's San Lorenzo in Damaso Church, which had a very welcoming feel with the presence of more than 100 Missionaries of Charity sisters, over 20 concelebrating priests, local government leaders and a very diverse collection of faithful.

Church-goers were pleasantly surprised by the presence of newly-arrived prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who also concelebrated and read a message from the Pope at the beginning of Mass.

In a homily which emphasized that love is the foundation of our existence, Cardinal Comastri remembered a personal encounter he had with the Missionaries of Charity's founder when he was just a young priest.

His first contact with Mother Teresa came when he mailed her a letter just after he was ordained a priest. Her "unexpected" response was especially striking, he recalled, because it was written on "very poor paper, in a very poor envelope."

At a later date, Cardinal Comastri sought her out when she was visiting Rome to thank her for the answer. When he found her, she asked him a question that left him "a little embarrassed."

"How many hours do you pray a day?" she asked.

In 1969-70, he recalled, the Church was in a time of "dispute," so thinking that it was "near heroism, then-Father Comastri explained to her that he said daily Mass in addition to praying the Liturgy of the Hours and the Rosary.”

To this, she responded flatly, "That's not enough.”

"Love cannot be lived minimally," she said, and then asked him to promise to do half an hour of adoration every day.

"I promised," said Cardinal Comastri, "and today I can say that this saved my priesthood."

Trying to defend his case at the time, he told Mother Teresa that he thought she was going to ask him how much charity he did. She answered him, "And do you think if I didn't pray I would be able to love the poor? It's Jesus that puts love in my heart when I pray."

She helped the poor, but it was "always Jesus' love," the saintly sister told him.

Then, Mother told him something that he would never forget: she told him to read Scripture.

Through Jesus' teachings, she said, we are reminded that "without God we're too poor to help the poor.” This, she explained, "is why so much assistance falls into the void. It doesn't change anything, it doesn't contribute anything because it doesn't bring love and it isn't born of prayer."

Concluding, Cardinal Comastri said, "Through this little woman ... we are reminded that charity is the apostolate of the Church and that charity is only born if we pray."

Guess I need to get to work...

Biretta tip to Fr. Z.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Indulgence Alert

From the famous Fr. Z (emphasis added by me):

St. Francis, as you know, repaired three chapels. The third was popularly called the Portiuncula or the Little Portion, dedicated to St. Mary of the Angels. It is now enclosed in a sanctuary at Assisi.

The friars came to live at the Little Portion in early 1211. It became the “motherhouse” of the Franciscans. This is where St. Clare came to the friars to make her vows during the night following Palm Sunday in 1212 and where Sister Death came to Francis on 3 October 1226.

Because of the favors from God obtained at the Portiuncula, St. Francis requested the Pope to grant remission of sins to all who came there. The privilege extends beyond the Portiuncula to others churches, especially held by Franciscans, throughout the world.

A plenary indulgence is a mighty tool for works of mercy and weapon in our ongoing spiritual warfare. A plenary indulgence is the remission, through the merits of Christ and the saints, through the Church, of all temporal punishment due to sin already forgiven.

To obtain the Portiuncula plenary indulgence, a person must visit the Chapel of Our Lady of the Angels at Assisi, or a Franciscan sanctuary, or one’s parish church, with the intention of honoring Our Lady of the Angels. Then perform the work of reciting the Creed and Our Father and pray for the Pope’s designated intentions. You should be free, at least intentionally, of attachment to venial and mortal sin, and truly repentant. Make your sacramental confession 8 days before or after. Participate at assist at Mass and receive Holy Communion 8 days before or after.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

St. Mary Magdalene, Penitent

When Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and did not find the Lord’s body, she thought it had been taken away and so informed the disciples. After they came and saw the tomb, they too believed what Mary had told them. The text then says: The disciples went back home, and it adds: but Mary wept and remained standing outside the tomb.

We should reflect on Mary’s attitude and the great love she felt for Christ; for though the disciples had left the tomb, she remained. She was still seeking the one she had not found, and while she sought she wept; burning with the fire of love, she longed for him who she thought had been taken away. And so it happened that the woman who stayed behind to seek Christ was the only one to see him. For perseverance is essential to any good deed, as the voice of truth tells us: Whoever perseveres to the end will be saved.

At first she sought but did not find, but when she persevered it happened that she found what she was looking for. When our desires are not satisfied, they grow stronger, and becoming stronger they take hold of their object. Holy desires likewise grow with anticipation, and if they do not grow they are not really desires. Anyone who succeeds in attaining the truth has burned with such a great love. As David says: My soul has thirsted for the living God; when shall I come and appear before the face of God? And so also in the Song of Songs the Church says: I was wounded by love; and again: My soul is melted with love.

Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek? She is asked why she is sorrowing so that her desire might be strengthened; for when she mentions whom she is seeking, her love is kindled all the more ardently.

Jesus says to her: Mary. Jesus is not recognised when he calls her “woman”; so he calls her by name, as though he were saying: Recognise me as I recognise you; for I do not know you as I know others; I know you as yourself. And so Mary, once addressed by name, recognises who is speaking. She immediately calls him rabboni, that is to say, teacher, because the one whom she sought outwardly was the one who inwardly taught her to keep on searching.
-St. Gregory the Great

What a great passage! It gave me some insight into why it is the Lord may make us wait for what we desire.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Statue Worshipers!

Glad to see someone is taking on Jack Chick and his anti-Catholic tracts.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

God Works in Amazing Ways

A great story:

ROCKFORD, Illinois, July 9, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com)
- Staff at the Rockford abortion mill, which has been blaring the radio through its speakers to drown out pro-life counselors for several weeks, got an unpleasant surprise Friday morning when a local D.J. found out what his show was being used for.

LifeSiteNews.com has reported numerous times on the bizarre Rockford abortuary, which has taken to taunting pro-life witnesses with signage and other paraphernalia mocking Christianity and Jesus Christ, and even directing personal insults at local pro-lifers. (See coverage here)

The facility’s latest form of harassment, blasting a radio talk show through its outdoor speakers to keep women from hearing the message of pro-life counselors gathered outside, backfired when D.J. Doug McDuff's scheduled talk show guest cancelled, and he opened the phone lines for comment.

Seeing his chance, Rockford pro-life veteran Kevin Rilott whipped out his cell phone and was on air within seconds, loud and clear outside the abortion centre where he was standing. Rilott took the opportunity to explain to McDuff and his listeners how the radio station, WNTA, was being used to silence pro-lifers' attempt to help mothers in need.

McDuff, none too pleased, decided to take matters into his own hands. "God bless pro-lifers! God bless pro-lifers! God bless pro-lifers!" the D.J. shouted.

One of the staff members, who was walking from across the parking lot at that moment, was so aghast, Rilott told LifeSiteNews.com, that "I thought she was going to have a heart attack."

"The abortion mill nurse who heard this began waving her arms around her head like she couldn't believe what was being broadcast over the abortion mill public address system," related Rilott. "The look of almost terror and confusion on her face was priceless as she scrambled into the mill."

The D.J. then gave Rilott airtime to explain how those who keep vigil outside the Rockford mill come "to offer love, help, and hope to mothers in need," and to request prayer for mothers in need and an end to abortion.

The landlord of the abortion mill, still determined to drown out both the radio and the pro-lifers, charged outdoors with a chainsaw running. But even that was not enough to prevent at least one mother from hearing the message and choosing life for her baby.

Rilott said that a woman who had entered the clinic earlier in the morning left after the incident, before the abortionist arrived for the day. "She certainly heard it inside the clinic, and when she left she gave us a big smile and thumbs-up, and she left before the abortionists arrived," he told LSN. "So it was a good day."

Sermon: 15th Sunday of the Year

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Power of A Father's Love

Yeah, it's sappy, but very true and very beautiful.

One of the reasons priests are called "Father" is that they are called to do what this man's father did, to pick up his sons and daughters when they fall and help them to the finish line. Pray for priests, that they will be fathers after the heart of God.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sermon: 14th Sunday of the Year

Sorry it has been so long since I last posted. I have been traveling and am currently in Charlotte, NC. You might be wondering about the above photo, well, you will have to listen to the sermon to understand. This week I was visiting the parishes of Kingsbury County, South Dakota. Have a listen:

Friday, June 25, 2010

Where's Fr. Christensen? Part II

Another of the three parishes I have been taking care of for the past couple of weeks is St. Anthony's in Selby, SD. Selby has a population of 647. The Church has a beautiful statue of St. Anthony:

Here is a wide view of the Sanctuary:

And a little closer view:

Above the Altar is suspended a beautiful crucifix with Jesus vested as a priest, after all on the cross He was both Priest and Victim. Something that you liturgy nuts (myself included of course) will notice is that Jesus is wearing a Maniple:

There is also a lovely statue of the Immaculate Heart of Mary:

St. Anthony's has a cabinet that has various liturgical items in it. Oh, if only some of them were still being used:

Next on our tour of the Catholic Churches of North Central South Dakota will be St. Joseph's in Eureka.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Where's Fr. Christensen?

For the past couple weeks I have been ministering to three small parishes in north central South Dakota; St. Michael's in Herreid, St. Anthony's in Selby, and St. Joseph's in Eureka. In the next three posts I will share some photos I have taken of the three parishes. I will begin with Herreid, population 360 (in 2008).

Here is a view of the Church (I posted this on facebook and someone accused me of straightening all the hymnals for the picture):

Here is a closer view of the Sanctuary. Notice the lovely altar cloth on the altar in the foreground. It matches both the tabernacle veil and the vestments:

Here is a closer view of the High Altar which, thank God, was not removed after the "changes" of the Second Vatican Council. Notice the veiled tabernacle, one of my favorite things:

Here is one of the side altars, this one is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus:

They even have some of the "old school" confessionals. In case you are wondering, yes, I use them.

So there you have it, a few pictures from where I have been the past couple of weeks. The next post will have pictures from St. Anthony's in Selby.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Novena Of Confidence

Since we are in the month of the Sacred Heart, I thought it might be a good time to share one of my favorite prayers. Recently a priest friend of mine shared it with me and now I pray it daily.

O Lord Jesus Christ, to your most Sacred Heart,
I confide this/these intention(s):

(State you intention(s) here...)

Only look upon me, and then do
What your Sacred Heart inspires.

Let your Sacred Heart decide
I count on it, I trust in it
I throw myself on Your mercy,
Lord Jesus! You will not fail me.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in You.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I believe in Your love for me.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, Your Kingdom come.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus,
I have asked you for many favors,
But I earnestly implore this one.
Take it, and place it in Your open, broken Heart;
And, when the Eternal Father looks upon It,
Covered with Your Precious Blood,
He will not refuse it.

It will be no longer my prayer, but Yours, O Jesus.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in You.
Let me not be disappointed. Amen.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sermon: 12th Sunday of The Year

Well folks, thanks to some encouragement from some of you I have started recording my sermons once again. You can listen to them here or in your ipod/iphone by subscribing to White Around The Collar on itunes by clicking here.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Blog Traffic

This is what happens when Fr. Z links to you on his blog:

Maybe if this kind of traffic keeps up I will feel more obligated to post more regularly...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mmmm Mmmm Good

Those of you who know me well know that I enjoy cooking alot (and if you hAdd Imageave seen me, you know I also like to eat). Tonight I am hosting a brother priest and a transitional deacon for dinner and so a good part of today is being spent in the kitchen.

In the footsteps of the great and mighty Fr. Z, I think I will share the process with you via photos and commentary, this post with be updated as I go.

First, dinner will begin with a caprese salad. Here I am beginning the prep work:

The roast beast (aka beef) prior to preparation:

After a nice slathering of olive oil and a generous rubbing with garlic and a plentiful sprinkling with salt, pepper (fresh ground of course) and rosemary:

Into the oven it goes:

Final update. The roast was amazing. Due to some circumstances beyond my control (yes, there are such things) I was unable to take some pictures of the finished roast, but boy was it juicy and delicious. The caprese salad, garlic mashed potatoes and the brussel sprouts were delicious as well. We finished it all off with an american classic: apple pie and ice cream.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Anticatholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice UPDATED

I just saw this online and was horrified by what I saw. I can't believe that a company would sink so low as to mock something so Sacred to Catholics as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Don't get me wrong, I can laugh at myself, but this goes too far. Take a look, and if you feel so moved, send a note to Hyundai at consumeraffairs@hmausa.com to express your feelings, I did.


Here is the response I recevied from Hyundai, I'm not sure if it's exactly an apology, but it's something I guess:

Hello and thank you for your feedback regarding Hyundai advertising.

Hyundai Motor America would like to thank you and other consumers for sharing concerns about a new ad titled "Wedding" which aired during the opening games of the FIFA World Cup broadcast last week. We take comments of this nature very seriously. Because of feedback like yours, we have removed the ad from all Hyundai communications and stopped airing it.

We credit the passionate World Cup viewers and Hyundai owners for raising this issue to us. The unexpected response created by the ad, which combined both soccer and religious motifs to speak to the passion of international soccer fans, prompted us to take a more critical and informed look at the spot. Though unintentional, we now see it was insensitive. We appreciate your feedback and hope you will accept our
sincere apologies.

With appreciation,

Hyundai Motor America

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Beauty Crowned with Thorns and Crucified

Today in my Sacramental Aesthetics class I came across this amazing quote from Hans Urs Von Balthasar. I found it moving. Hopefully you will as well.

Both the person who is transported by natural beauty and the one snatched up by the beauty of Christ must appear to the world to be fools, and the world will attempt to explain their state in terms of psychological or even physiological laws (Acts 2.13). But they know what they have seen, and they care not one farthing what people may say. They suffer because of their love, and it is only the fact that they have been inflamed by the most sublime of beauties - a beauty crowned with thorns and crucified - that justifies their sharing in that suffering.

Yes, my friends, the crucifixion, with all its horror and shame is beautiful. Our wounds too, the ones we bear in our hearts, can be beautiful as well, if only we unite them to the sufferings of our Lord.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I Consider Myself Consecrated

Today in Fatima, Portugal, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI consecrated the priests of the world to Our Blessed Mother. Here is the prayer he used:

Immaculate Mother,
in this place of grace,
called together by the love of your Son Jesus
the Eternal High Priest, we,
sons in the Son and his priests,
consecrate ourselves to your maternal Heart,
in order to carry out faithfully the Father’s Will.

We are mindful that, without Jesus,
we can do nothing good (cf. Jn 15:5)
and that only through him, with him and in him,
will we be instruments of salvation
for the world.

Bride of the Holy Spirit,
obtain for us the inestimable gift
of transformation in Christ.
Through the same power of the Spirit that
overshadowed you,
making you the Mother of the Saviour,
help us to bring Christ your Son
to birth in ourselves too.
May the Church
be thus renewed by priests who are holy,
priests transfigured by the grace of him
who makes all things new.

Mother of Mercy,
it was your Son Jesus who called us
to become like him:
light of the world and salt of the earth
(cf. Mt 5:13-14).

Help us,
through your powerful intercession,
never to fall short of this sublime vocation,
nor to give way to our selfishness,
to the allurements of the world
and to the wiles of the Evil One.

Preserve us with your purity,
guard us with your humility
and enfold us with your maternal love
that is reflected in so many souls
consecrated to you,
who have become for us
true spiritual mothers.

Mother of the Church,
we priests want to be pastors
who do not feed themselves
but rather give themselves to God for their brethren,
finding their happiness in this.
Not only with words, but with our lives,
we want to repeat humbly,
day after day,
Our “here I am”.

Guided by you,
we want to be Apostles
of Divine Mercy,
glad to celebrate every day
the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar
and to offer to those who request it
the sacrament of Reconciliation.

Advocate and Mediatrix of grace,
you who are fully immersed
in the one universal mediation of Christ,
invoke upon us, from God,
a heart completely renewed
that loves God with all its strength
and serves mankind as you did.

Repeat to the Lord
your efficacious word:
“They have no wine” (Jn 2:3),
so that the Father and the Son will send upon us
a new outpouring of
the Holy Spirit.
Full of wonder and gratitude
at your continuing presence in our midst,
in the name of all priests
I too want to cry out:
“Why is this granted me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk 1:43).

Our Mother for all time,
do not tire of “visiting us”,
consoling us, sustaining us.
Come to our aid
and deliver us from every danger
that threatens us.
With this act of entrustment and consecration,
we wish to welcome you
more deeply, more radically,
for ever and totally
into our human and priestly lives.

Let your presence cause new blooms to burst forth
in the desert of our loneliness,
let it cause the sun to shine on our darkness,
let it restore calm after the tempest,
so that all mankind shall see the salvation
of the Lord,
who has the name and the face of Jesus,
who is reflected in our hearts,
for ever united to yours!

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Extraordinary From of the Roman Rite

The Servant of God, Pope Pius XII
offering the Extraordinary Form in St. Peter's Basilica

As some of you may know (particularly those who are my facebook friends) I have been learning how to celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. One of my priest-friends, Fr. S., is also doing the same and is offering some wonderful commentary on the Extraordinary Form on his extraordinary blog. Here is a taste of what he has to say:

Ad Orientem

In many Catholic minds today, this means, "turning one's back to the people." It is amazing to me how pride creeps into the mind! Somehow, if the priest is facing the same direction as the people, he must be intending to show his superiority as opposed to his unity. What insidiousness! I find that facing the same direction as the faithful is a great help in humility while offering the Holy Mass. When facing the people, ("ad populum") there is a constant temptation to make the Holy Mass about the presider and his own whims. When the priest faces the same direction as the congregation, that desire disappears because no one sees his face. It is far easier to speak to the Father.

This orientation has a second benefit, too. So often when one goes to Holy Mass, it seems that the priest is trying to tell a story or to be having a dialogue with the congregation. While there are certainly exchanges between the priest and the faithful, the Mass is primarily said by the priest, in the person of Christ, to the Father. I recall the first time that I offered the Ordinary Form ad orientem. After Holy Mass, people said, "Father, that was dramatic! It was so clear when you were speaking to us and when you were speaking to God!" Now, can this be clear ad populum? Surely. That being said, it seems easier to me to me ad orientem.

The third benefit of this orientation, it seems to me, is its intimate nature. When Holy Mass is offered ad orientem, the priest does not have the sense of being watched, of being on display. Rather, there is a great deal of closeness by virtue of having no one between the priest and the crucifix. This is, to me, the most important benefit of offering Holy Mass ad orientem.

If you want to read more of his commentary, check him out at his blog: Clerical Reform.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What is a Christian?

Ever wonder what a Christian is? Well, this is from Matins (the Office of Readings) for today, and gives a pretty good description:

Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.

And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labour under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives. They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law.

Christians love all men, but all men persecute them. Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again. They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything. They suffer dishonour, but that is their glory. They are defamed, but vindicated. A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference their response to insult. For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors, but even then they rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life. They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred.

To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body. As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world. As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world, but their religious life remains unseen. The body hates the soul and wars against it, not because of any injury the soul has done it, but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures. Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong, but because they are opposed to its enjoyments.

Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its members despite the body’s hatred. It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held together, and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as in a prison, that the world is held together. The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place; and Christians also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and decay that will be theirs in heaven. As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution. Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself.

- From a letter to Diognetus

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Excellent Homily

Bishop Slattery hit a homerun with this homily. It's well worth the listen.

Part I

Part II

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Most Reverend Paul J. Swain's Chrism Mass Homily

Well, now that Easter Day has passed (althought liturgically it continues to live on through the octave), I have a little time to post some excerpts from an excellent homily given by Bishop Paul Swain of the Diocese of Sioux Falls, SD on the occasion of the Chrism Mass. My favorite parts are in bold.

Thank you for coming tonight. The Chrism Mass is a celebration of who we are as church. We are the local church of Sioux Falls, over 35,000 square miles, more than 125,000 Catholics, 150 parishes, 23 schools, with one Cathedral, the mother church, currently being preserved, restored and beautified as a beacon of hope for generations to come...

In a few minutes the priests gathered around the bishop will renew their ordination promises, as priests will do throughout the universal church in the days before Easter. Then the sacred oils of chrism, of catechumens and of the sick will be consecrated or blessed. They will then be dispersed throughout the diocese to be used for baptisms, confirmations, ordinations and the sacrament of the sick, a sign that we are one family with many homes. Chrism Mass focuses on the priesthood, as our readings relate. Yet we do so not in a way that suggests other vocations are lesser ones, only different and distinct. We celebrate married life, single life, religious life and the diaconate. We are one family, one body as St. Paul described the church. We need all of its parts to function in unity with one another if we are to continue the mission and ministry of Christ until he comes again.

Yet tonight we do honor priests and pray for an increase in their number. Without priests, there would be no Holy Eucharist. We especially want to acknowledge those priests who will be celebrating significant ordination anniversaries this year....Thank you for your combined 295 years of priestly service. You are inspirations to us. We also with grateful hearts remember those ordained who have died since our last Chrism Mass....

This Chrism Mass is especially meaningful as we celebrate the Year for Priests. When Pope Benedict XVI declared this special year he identified its purpose as “to encourage priests in … striving for spiritual perfection on which, above all, the effectiveness of their ministry depends.” In the context of the secularism of our day, the culture of death, the sinfulness and scandal that has infiltrated the Church, the lack of civility in public and personal affairs, and the uncertainty of the future, I believe that the need for good and holy priests is especially urgent in our day. A new evangelization is desperately needed. It is our sacred mission. The salvation of souls is at stake. Ours is a high calling and a difficult one. With this task before us, the difference between a priest filled with the Spirit and a dispirited priest is apparent to all.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan recounted this story: A priest in his home diocese of St. Louis in 1962 had the privilege of an audience with Pope John XXIII. There were about ten other priests present and he was last in line to greet the pontiff. Each of the priests before him introduced himself to the Pope, told him what he did as a priest, and then knelt to kiss the Pope’s ring. “I am a university president,” the first one reported. “Holy Father, I am chancellor of my diocese,” said the next. And so on. As Pope John came to the priest from St. Louis, the priest felt rather low, because he thought his priestly work was hardly as exalted as those nine before him. In almost a whisper, he said, “Holy Father, all I am is a parish priest.” Pope John genuflected before him, kissed his hands, and said, “That’s the greatest priestly work of all.” Indeed it is. How precious are the souls that are placed in our care. How fragile are we as we seek to serve them with humility and hope. But it is not on our shoulders alone. We are instruments of Christ, not miracle workers. Pope Benedict XVI told priests on his visit to Poland: “The faithful expect only one thing from priests: that they be specialists in promoting the encounter between man and God. The priest is not asked to be an expert in economics, construction, or politics. He is expected to be an expert in the spiritual life.” We cannot be so to others unless we are spiritually grounded ourselves. And we must accept the fact that are not called to be everything to everyone, though the unrealistic expectations of some on what we priests ought to do and how to do it is wearing. We are called to use the gifts we have to be men of the Holy Eucharist, men of and in Christ. Without spiritual grounding we cannot live up to such a high calling. There is a Trinity of spiritual nourishment that can help us toward spiritual perfection. They are prayer, study and sacrament. That means daily prayer that is more than routine and obligatory, spiritual reading and continuing theological reflection that informs and inspires, and regular reception of the sacraments ourselves while praying and administering them well for others not for ourselves. Without these three, which all come down to relating our lives totally to Christ, we can lose our spiritual strength and motivation.

We can be encouraged by those who went before, the known saints, and those unknown to others who have touched and shaped our lives. They faced tough challenges and persevered in faith. Today is the 30th anniversary of the death of Archbishop Oscar Romero, killed while celebrating Holy Mass in El Salvador. His life and martyrdom reminds us of our call to seek justice especially for the poor and vulnerable and to respect life in its fullest sense, at conception, at natural death, and all the years inbetween. Pope Benedict has asked us to reflect on St. John Vianney, patron of all priests. He does not expect us to become like this saint who was truly unique, but to rediscover in his priesthood the core of what priesthood ought to be about for us. I have placed here on the altar a relic of the inspirational St. John Vianney which was in the possession of one on our own inspirational priests, Msgr. John McEneaney.

St. John was sent to evangelize a remote village where faith was lacking. Benedictine Abbot Martin Marty, who became the first bishop of Sioux Falls, came from Europe to the Dakota Territory to Evangelize those here who did not know of Christ’s love and mercy. Others followed to our own day. You know their names. The need for such personal and sacrificial evangelization is as great if not greater today. What motivated and sustained them? Perhaps we ought to study and model those priests of the prairie in whose legacy we live.

The story is told of a worldly lawyer from Paris who went to Ars to see for himself this priest who was called a living saint. He came back to Paris and began attending Mass, going to confession and living the faith. He was asked “what did that priest say to you that convinced you to begin practicing the faith again.” The attorney replied, “Well, I really could not even understand him. He was not a good speaker and his accent was thick. It was not what he said that changed me. It was what I saw. What I saw was God in a man.” My brother priests, who do others see in us?

And we can be inspired by the Blessed Mother. Tonight is the Vigil of the Annunciation, when the Archangel Gabriel came to the young Mary and told her God has called her to a special vocation, to be the Mother of God, and ultimately the mother of us all. She pondered as do we all, yet she responded with the humility to which we all are called, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you say,” as God wills. That in essence is what we will recommit to in our priestly promises of service.

A retreat master told the story of a priest in the early 1900s who was a circuit rider going on horseback from village to village to celebrate the sacraments, not unlike the early days of our diocese. After celebrating Holy Mass a lady said to him, “Father, have you heard about old man Jones. They say he is dying.” Immediately the priest was lead on horseback many miles to a dilapidated one-room cabin. Inside on a cot was an old, black man with hands calloused from hard work, now emaciated from cancer. He likely had been a slave or a child of slaves. When he saw the priest he exclaimed, “Father, I knew you would come.” The priest heard his confession, gave him Holy Communion, the sacrament of Extreme Unction as it was in those days. He said he heard the dark rasp of death from the man, so he knelt down by the bed, held the man’s hand and prayed the rosary. Suddenly the weak, cancer-ridden man sat up and pointed behind the priest and shouted: “I see the Blessed Mother and she’s smiling at you and me.” The priest turned toward where the man was looking but only saw the darkness. He turned back; the old man was dead. The priest recalled, “I stayed there, kneeling on the floor in darkness and I held that old man’s hands until they grew cold. And I cried, and I thanked God that I was a priest.”

I thank God that I am a priest. We thank God for you the priests of and in the Diocese of Sioux Falls, present and past. I am humbled and proud to be your bishop. May others see in each of us, God in a man.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Alleluia! Happy Easter!

Victimae Paschali Laudes

Christians, to the Paschal Victim
Offer your thankful praises.

A Lamb the sheep redeems;
Christ, who only is sinless,
reconciles sinners to the Father.

Death and life have contended
in that combat stupendous:
The Prince of life, who dies, reigns immortal.

Speak, Mary, declaring
what you saw, wayfaring.
"The tomb of Christ, who is living,
The glory of Jesus' resurrection;

Bright angels attesting,
the shroud and napkin resting.
Yes, Christ my hope is arisen;
to Galilee he goes before you."

Christ indeed from death is risen,
our new life obtaining.
Have mercy, Victor King, ever reigning.
Amen. Alleluia!

Friday, April 2, 2010

We Adore You O Christ and We Bless You, Because By Thy Holy Cross Thou Hast Redeemed the World

The Reproaches from the Mass of the Presanctified on Good Friday

My people, what have I done to you?
How have I offended you? Answer me!

I led you out of Egypt, from slavery to freedom,
but you led your Savior to the cross.

My people, what have I done to you?
How have I offended you? Answer me!

Holy is God!

Holy and Strong!

Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us!

For forty years I led you safely throught the desert.
I fed you with manna from heaven
and brought you to a land of plenty;
but you led your Savior to a cross.

What more could I have done for you?
I planted you as my faires vine,
but you yielded only bitterness:
when I was thirsty you gave me vinegar to drink,
and you pierced your Sacior with a lance.

Holy is God!

Holy and Strong!

Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us!


For your sake I scourged your captors and their firstborn sons,
but you brought your scourges down on me.

My people, what have I done to you?
How have I offended you? Answer me!

I led you from slavery to freedom
and drowned your captors in the seas,
but you handed me over to your high priests.

My people, what have I done to you?
How have I offended you? Answer me!

I opened the seda beofre you,
but you opened my side with a spear.

My people, what have I done to you?
How have I offended you? Answer me!

I led you on your way in a pilar of cloud,
but you led me to Pilate's court.

My people, what have I done to you?
How have I offended you? Answer me!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Passover is Nearly Upon Us

So let us take our part in the Passover prescribed by the law, not in a literal way, but according to the teaching of the Gospel; not in an imperfect way, but perfectly; not only for a time, but eternally. Let us regard as our home the heavenly Jerusalem, not the earthly one; the city glorified by angels, not the one laid waste by armies. We are not required to sacrifice young bulls or rams, beasts with horns and hoofs that are more dead than alive and devoid of feeling; but instead, let us join the choirs of angels in offering God upon his heavenly altar a sacrifice of praise. We must now pass through the first veil and approach the second, turning our eyes toward the Holy of Holies. I will say more: we must sacrifice ourselves to God, each day and in everything we do, accepting all that happens to us for the sake of the Word, imitating his passion by our sufferings, and honouring his blood by shedding our own. We must be ready to be crucified.

If you are a Simon of Cyrene, take up your cross and follow Christ. If you are crucified beside him like one of the thieves, now, like the good thief, acknowledge your God. For your sake, and because of your sin, Christ himself was regarded as a sinner; for his sake, therefore, you must cease to sin. Worship him who was hung on the cross because of you, even if you are hanging there yourself. Derive some benefit from the very shame; purchase salvation with your death. Enter paradise with Jesus, and discover how far you have fallen. Contemplate the glories there, and leave the other scoffing thief to die outside in his blasphemy.

If you are a Joseph of Arimathea, go to the one who ordered his crucifixion, and ask for Christ’s body. Make your own the expiation for the sins of the whole world. If you are a Nicodemus, like the man who worshipped God by night, bring spices and prepare Christ’s body for burial. If you are one of the Marys, or Salome, or Joanna, weep in the early morning. Be the first to see the stone rolled back, and even the angels perhaps, and Jesus himself.

- From a Homly by St. Gregory of Nazianzen

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


This year I am doing something that a priest would rarely get to do. I am going on retreat for Holy Week. Myself and two brother priests who are studying at the Liturgical Institute will be on retreat from today until Easter Monday at St. Louis Abbey in St. Louis, Missouri. Please pray for us that the retreat will be a powerful time of communion with the Lord who suffered, died, and rose so that we might have life.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pray for the Pope

From Archbishop Timothy Dolan during his Homily for Palm Sunday:

May I ask your patience a couple of minutes longer in what has already been a lengthy — yet hopefully uplifting —Sunday Mass?

The somberness of Holy Week is intensified for Catholics this year.

The recent tidal wave of headlines about abuse of minors by some few priests, this time in Ireland, Germany, and a re-run of an old story from Wisconsin, has knocked us to our knees once again.

Anytime this horror, vicious sin, and nauseating crime is reported, as it needs to be, victims and their families are wounded again, the vast majority of faithful priests bow their heads in shame anew, and sincere Catholics experience another dose of shock, sorrow, and even anger.

What deepens the sadness now is the unrelenting insinuations against the Holy Father himself, as certain sources seem frenzied to implicate the man who, perhaps more than anyone else has been the leader in purification, reform, and renewal that the Church so needs.

Sunday Mass is hardly the place to document the inaccuracy, bias, and hyperbole of such aspersions.

But, Sunday Mass is indeed the time for Catholics to pray for “ . . . Benedict our Pope.”

And Palm Sunday Mass is sure a fitting place for us to express our love and solidarity for our earthly shepherd now suffering some of the same unjust accusations, shouts of the mob, and scourging at the pillar, as did Jesus.

No one has been more vigorous in cleansing the Church of the effects of this sickening sin than the man we now call Pope Benedict XVI. The dramatic progress that the Catholic Church in the United States has made — — documented again just last week by the report made by independent forensic auditors — — could never have happened without the insistence and support of the very man now being daily crowned with thorns by groundless innuendo.

Does the Church and her Pastor, Pope Benedict XVI, need intense scrutiny and just criticism for tragic horrors long past?

Yes! He himself has asked for it, encouraging complete honesty, at the same time expressing contrition, and urging a thorough cleansing.

All we ask is that it be fair, and that the Catholic Church not be singled-out for a horror that has cursed every culture, religion, organization, institution, school, agency, and family in the world.

Sorry to bring this up … but, then again, the Eucharist is the Sunday meal of the spiritual family we call the Church. At Sunday dinner we share both joys and sorrows. The father of our family, il papa, needs our love, support, and prayers.

I whole heartedly agree.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion

Today I wanted to share two beautiful pieces of music in honor of Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion. The first is the antiphon for the beginning of the Procession, and the second is my favorite hymn for Palm Sunday.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Virtual Pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem

View of the interior of the Tomb of Jesus.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the premiere pilgrimage site for Christians, but sadly, many never get the opportunity to visit the very place where the Lord Jesus died, was buried, and rose from the dead. Thanks to some friends, I found this virtual tour of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Passiontide would be a wonderful time to make a virtual pilgrimage to this holy site.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Where You Are From

Recently someone commented to me that my readership seems to be kind of international, and in fact it is. Here are just some of the countries that visitors to this blog are from:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Get Thee to Sunday Mass

Apparently it is a tradition for the Archbishop of New York to write a letter to his flock on St. Patrick's day. This year Archbishop Timothy Dolan wrote to his people on the topic of Sunday Mass. At one particular point he addresses those who are already going to Mass every Sunday. He encourages them to evangelize their friends on this topic by saying

How about giving this message to someone who no longer does, especially if he or
she has stopped going to Sunday Mass? Get ready for the excuses:

– “Sunday is our only free time together.” (Great, what better way to spend that time than by praying together at Mass).

– “I pray my own way.” (Nice idea. But, odds are, you don’t).

– “The sermon is boring.” (You may have a point).

– “I hate all the changes at Mass.” (see below)

– “I want more changes at Mass.” (see above)

– “Until the church makes some changes in its teaching, I’m staying away.” (But, don’t we go to Mass to ask God to change us, not to tell God how we want Him and His Church to change to suit us?)

– “Everybody there is a hypocrite and always judging me.” (Who’s judging whom here?)

. . . and the list goes on.

And the simple fact remains: the Eucharist is the most beautiful, powerful prayer that we have. To miss it is to miss Jesus — His Word, His people, His presence, His Body and Blood.

Amen! It's high time we share things like this with our friends and family who don't observe the Day of the Lord, so get to it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Heath Care Reform, Repost of Old Homily

When I watched as Health Care Reform Passed and as "Pro-Life" Democrats sold out I was reminded of a homily I preached after an Abortion Ban failed to pass in my home state of South Dakota. I thought I might re-post that homily today.

About a month ago I had a Thursday morning school Mass. It was a couple of days after a group of pastors here in Sioux Falls had abandoned their role to teach the truth to come out in opposition to the Abortion ban. That morning for Mass I was wearing a green vestment as I am today.

I started my homily that morning by trying to convince the children that the vestment I was wearing was actually white. I told them that I have always believed that this color was white…most of them told me no…it wasn’t white…it was green. I persisted…no, I said, this is white…I told them there were lots of people who believed that this color is white so surely it must be white. Yes, they did not believe me…they knew it wasn’t…they knew it was green. Finally, after asking the kindergarteners, the sixth graders and even the teachers, I gave in. I told them that it was green, but just like I tried to convince them that what was actually green is a white, there are people who will try to tell them that killing is ok; that it is not wrong. It told them that in their lives they will run into a lot of people who will try to tell them that something they know is wrong is actually right, like killing, or steeling, or telling lies, and sometimes those people might be important people like presidents, teacher, or even pastors. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that we stick up for what we know is right.

I reminded them that anyone who tells them that something contrary to what God tells them is wrong. God is always right, he can’t be wrong, he knows everything. He is God. Green is green, it will always be green, it will never be white no matter how many people say it isn’t. Killing is wrong. It will always be wrong. It will never be right. So when people try to tell you it is: Don’t listen, no matter who it is.

That’s what I told them four weeks ago. Then came the election.

On Wednesday, the day after the election, I had the School Mass yet again. I have to admit, I was a bit sad, a bit upset, and even a little angry about the election results. I hadn’t slept much the night before; I couldn’t stop thinking about how Satan must be having quite a celebration. The idea of having to be upbeat for the children really didn’t appeal to me…but nevertheless I did my best.

When the time came for the homily I stood right here, and I looked out into the sea of children and saw the innocence purity and innocence in their eyes my heart melted, and I knew this is exactly where I needed to be on such a dark day.

I asked them to think back to a few weeks before when I tried to convince them that the green vestment I was wearing was white. I asked them if they remembered how I told them that green is green no matter who tells them otherwise. They said yes. I asked them if they remembered what I said about killing, how it has always been wrong, and how it will always be wrong no matter how many people tell them that it’s is right. Again, they nodded affirmatively. Then the emotion welled up inside of me, and my eyes began to tear up, and with a cracking voice and I said “Yesterday we had an election, and a lot of people said it’s ok to kill…but we know it’s not. We know that killing is always wrong…it will never be right…and those who think it right is are wrong…and they will always be wrong even if a lot of people say they are right. Boys and girls” I went on “sometimes it feels like the devil is winning, but he’s not. The devil will never win…he will always lose. Right will always beat wrong. Good will always beat evil. Life will always beat death. In the last book of the bible it tells us that in the end…after a great war between God and the devil, between good and evil, between life and death…God wins.”

You know, Holy Spirit Family, if I am honest with myself didn’t preach that homily on Wednesday to the children as much as I did to myself. I, like you, need a reminder that even though right now it feels like the Satan won…he didn’t. It’s just like Good Friday. It looked hopeless, it looked like God lost, it seemed as if Satan had triumphed, it looked like the darkness of evil had descended upon us forever. But three days later Satan’s head was crushed under the foot of the risen Christ. Life conquered death! Goodness, Truth and beauty had won out.

My people…Don’t lose hope! Life WILL triumph over death! We’ve read the last Chapter…and we win! We win.