Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Get Thee To Confession!

I read this on Archbishop Timothy Doland's blog today and thought it was worth sharing, so here you go:

A good friend of mine is pastor of a bustling, prestigious parish in a large city. He loves it, and they, him. A couple of years ago he shocked them one Sunday when, in his sermon he announced that, as much as he enjoyed being their pastor, he had asked the archbishop for a transfer. When the congregation gasped, he explained:

‘Well, I don’t think you need me. See, you must all be saints. I was sent to serve sinners. But, apparently there are none here in this parish, because I sit in the confessional with no customers!”

We’re called to be saints, but we’re sure not there yet. And a great help to get there is the sacrament of penance.

And Lent is a grand time to return to it!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Consider This Your Fasting Notification

Check it out. It is really is quite amusing:

My favorite quote: "It [fasting] gets a bum rap, pound for pound it does, you know, people think it's for monks and supermodels, and stuff like that." Who would have thought I would ever see monks and supermodels in the same sentence.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

St. Anthony of Padua's Relics

Only us Catholics would get excited about this:

Pilgrims are being given the chance to see the 13th Century remains of St Anthony which go on display in a glass case today in Italy.

The display, which will last until Saturday will be in chapel of his tomb in Padua and marks the feast of the transfer of St Anthony, also known as the 'feast of the tongue'. This commemorates the first time his remains were moved in 1263, under the direction of St Bonaventure, and the final transfer to Relics Chapel of Padua's Basilica on February 15 1350.

St Anthony, patron saint of Padua, is also known as Anthony of Lisbon. When his coffin was moved 30 years after his burial it was opened and it is claimed most of his body was found to have returned to dust. However his tongue remained fresh, which was seen as a sign of his gift of preaching, and was kept in a separate relic box. Anthony's relics were last displayed in 1981, marking the 750th anniversary of his death. He is one of the 'quickest' saints in the history of the Catholic Church as he was canonized by Pope Gregory IX less than one year after he died.

Today he is one of the most famous saints and is often called upon by Catholics to help find lost possessions. He is also remembered as the namesake for the city of San Antonio, Texas; Spanish explorers in the area stopped there on his feast day (June 13) and named the river and settlement after him.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

Today begins the holy season of Lent. Just yesterday I recieved the multi volume work of Dom Gueranger entitled the Liturgical Year. For today it says, among many other things, this:

Yesterday, the world was busy in its pleasures, and the very children of God were taking a joyous farewell to mirth: but this morning, all is changed. The solemn announcement, spoken of by the prophet has been proclaimed in Sion: The solemn fast of Lent, the season of expiation, the approach of the great anniversaries of our Redemption. Let us, then, rouse ourselves, and prepare for the spiritual combat.

But in this battling of the spirit against the flesh we need good armour. Our holy mother the Church knows how much we need it; and therefore does she summon us to ender into the house of God, that she may arm us for the holy contest.

[ ... ]

We are entering, to-day, upon a long campaign of the warfare spoken of by the apostles: forty days of battle, forty days of penance. We shall not turn cowards, if our sols can but be impressed with the conviction, that the battle and the penance must be gone through. Let us listen to the eloquence of the solemn rite which opens our Lent. Let us go whither our mother leads us...

Let us keep one another in prayer during this Holy Season.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Writing Papers...

We are NOT amused...

Fr. Christensen, Fr. Richardson, and Fr. Johansen looking rather dour.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Today begins the last week of classes this quarter, and being a procrastinator, I have much, much work to do this week. I have papers to finish and exams to prepare for. In the midst of all of this work I found myself complaining to myself and thinking this must be what hell is like. I know hell is certaly much worse than finals week, but that thought reminded me of this little explanation of Hell by Fr. Robert Barron, who teaches here at Mundelein. Enjoy...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Promising Development at Mundelein Seminary

It warms my heart to see this on the list of classes for next quarter. Will I be taking it? Absolutely!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Good Things Happening at the Liturgical Institute

I am very blessed to be studying at The Liturgical Institute where so much liturgical progress is being made. Here is one example of the great things that are happening here that my classmate, Fr. Rob Johansen, posted on his blog. It includes an audio recording of the Alleluia from the Mass for the Presentation of the Lord. Go and take a listen by clicking here, it was magnificent.


The ShamWow might be a ripoff, but this surely is not:

Friday, February 5, 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

St. Anskar, Apostle to Scandanavia

In most parishes today the memorial of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr is celebrated, but this is also the memorial of St. Anskar (also referred to as Ansgar, Anschar, Anscharius, and Scharies). Because of the popularity of the blessing of throats through the intercession of St. Blaise, St. Anskar often is forgotten. For those of us of Danish descent, this seems unfortunate. St. Anskar is a great model for all of us, particularly those of us who are clergy. Many do not know much about this great Saint, so I will provide some biographical information from the Internet Medieval Sourcebook:

When one of Anskar's followers suggested to him that he could work miracles he replied, " Were I worthy of such a favour from my God, I would ask that He would grant to me this one miracle, that by His grace He would make of me a good man." No one can read the "Life" written by Rimbert his disciple and successor which, after being lost for five hundred years, was fortunately rediscovered, without feeling moved to thank God for the accomplishment of the miracle for which Anskar had prayed. He was a good man in the best and truest sense of the term. In the character presented to us by his biographer we have a singularly attractive combination of transparent humility, unflinching courage, complete self devotion, and unwavering belief in a loving and overruling providence. The claim to the title Apostle of the North, which was early made on his behalf, rests not upon the immediate outcome of his labours, but upon the inspiring example which he bequeathed to those who were moved to follow in his steps. For whilst the Missions which lie planted in Denmark and Sweden during the thirty-three years of his episcopate were interrupted after his death by the desolating raids of the Northmen, those by whom the work was restarted gratefully recognised him as their pioneer.

Anskar, who was born in 801, was trained in the monastery of Corbey near Amiens and had been transferred with other monks to the monastery of New Corbey near Hoxter on the River Weser, which was founded in 822. By the time of Anskar the spiritual life of the Benedictine monasteries had sunk very low, but the Benedictine monastery of Old Corbey in which he had been trained and which owed its origin to a colony of monks who had come from the stricter Columbanian monastery at Luxeuil, had preserved its early tradition unimpaired. In the new monastery Anskar was placed in charge of the monastic school and, he was also accustomed to preach to the public congregation. From early childhood he had seen visions and dreamed dreams, which created in him the desire to lead a religious life, and his thoughts were perhaps turned in the direction of missionary enterprise by the accounts which must have reached him of the work accomplished by Boniface and his successors. His definite resolve to devote his life to this object dated, as his biographer tells us, from a time immediately after the death of Charlemagne, when he had recently taken the tonsure and had become a monk. About this time he had a vision in describing which Anskar says, " When then I had been brought by the men whom I mentioned into the presence of this unending light, where the majesty of almighty God was revealed to me without need for anyone to explain, and when they and I had offered our united adoration, a most sweet voice, the sound of which was more distinct than all other sounds and which seemed to me to fill the whole world, came forth from the same divine majesty and addressed me and said, Go and return to Me crowned with martyrdom."


His biographer adds, " As a result of this vision, which I have described in the words which he had himself dictated the servant of God was both terrified and comforted and in the fear of the Lord he began to live more carefully, to cleave day by day to good deeds, and to hope that by the mercy of God, in whatever way He might choose, he might be able to obtain the crown of martyrdom." [Chap III] The greatest disappointment in after life which Anskar experienced was caused by the fact that his expectation of martyrdom founded on this vision was not literally fulfilled.


The first two years (826­8) after his arrival in Denmark were not productive of great visible results, but he laid a foundation for subsequent missionary work by starting a school for the training of Danish youths who might become the evangelists of their own countrymen. The twelve boys with which the school opened were either purchased by Anskar or presented to him by the king.


As his life drew to its close he was much distressed that the vision which he had seen many years before, in which, as he thought, it had been foretold that he would die a martyr's death, had not been literally fulfilled. Shortly before his death, however, he bad another vision which assured him that it was through no fault of his that the crown of martyrdom had been withheld. At the same time his friends reminded him that the hardships and dangers which lie had experienced had in effect made his whole life one continuous martyrdom. He died on February 3, 865, at the age of 64, more than half his life having been spent in missionary work in Denmark and Sweden and within the limits of his own diocese.

His whole life was characterized by rigid discipline and self­denial : he wore a haircloth shirt by day and night, and in the earlier part of his life he measured out everything that he ate or drank; he chanted a fixed number of Psalms morning and evening, and would also sing Psalms as he laboured with his hands, and chant litanies as he dressed, or washed his hands, and three or four times a day he would celebrate Mass. Of all that he received he gave at once a tenth part to the poor and every five years he tithed his income afresh. Wherever he went in his diocese he would eat nothing till some poor persons had been brought in to share his meal and during Lent he would wash their feet and would distribute amongst them bread and meat.

Although his biographer attributes to him the working of a number of miracles, Anskar himself never claimed to possess this power. Adam of Bremen, referring to the hospital founded by Littgart at Bremen, states that Anskar was wont to visit it daily, and is said to have healed very many by his speech and by his touch.

In the Liturgy of the Hours used in Scandanavain countries there is this beautiful hymn in honor of the great Saint. Praying this hymn is a fitting way to honor him on this, his feastday.

Most noble father, Anskar,
Restore us by thy grace,
And those who wander now afar
In Christ's own bosom place.

In holy strife contending
Thou did'st the faith proclaim
To Danes and Swedes declaring
The honour of His name.

An unbelieving nation
From thee the light receives,
The teachings of salvation,
It now with joy believes.

Thou to God's sheep hast given
The food they fain would claim,
And earnestly hast striven
To glorify His name.

To the great King thou bringest
When earthly strife doth cease,
The talents thou receivest,
With manifold increase.

To Father, and His only Son
Be laud and honour given
To Holy Spirit, Three in One
In earth and highest heaven.