Homilies at the Cathedral
New on the Cathedral's website - a Homily section!
Of note today - Fr. Michael Skluzacek's Reflections on 25 Years as a Priest
"Keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus, who inspires and perfects our faith" --Hebrews 12:2
And only where God is seen does life truly begin. Only when we meet the living God in Christ do we know what life is. We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution.
Each of us is the result of a thought of God.
Each of us is willed,
each of us is loved,
each of us is necessary.
There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him.
~Pope Benedict XVI, Homily April 24th, 2005
New on the Cathedral's website - a Homily section!
Of note today - Fr. Michael Skluzacek's Reflections on 25 Years as a Priest
I had the splendid occasion yesterday to open up my mail and discover a card from my good friend Jesse, who entered the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration last summer on the feast of the Assumption (The PCPA is Mother Angelica's order, of EWTN fame).
As a postulant, Jesse is unable to write to us very often. We did get a letter for Christmas, and when a few of us sent her some Easter treats she was able to write us then too. And then I get this card, an invitation to "The Clothing Ceremony of Sister Jessica" on the Solemnity of the Assumption, Monday August 15th, 2005!!
Unfortunately, I will not be able to travel to Alabama to see her, as I will be leaving for Italy on August 7th for a year of study... :( But I will be in Assisi on the feast of St. Clare, August 11th, and will be in Turin for the Assumption, so I will be in good places to pray for her from afar! I hope everyone else who reads this will also keep Jesse, and all who are entering religious life, in their prayers, as they continue to discern God's call for their lives.
Inside the card was a fascinating slip of paper with an explanation of what happens at a Poor Clare of Perpetual Adoration Clothing ("Investiture") ceremony -- I reprint it here:
After this year of discernment, she is admitted into the novitiate. This ceremony is known as an in investiture. At the investiturre ceremony (which immediately follows the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass), many exciting things take place! It begins with a Scripture reading from Genesis that the nun is asked again what her heart desires. To this she responds, "Reverend Mother, I desire to spend my life at the Feet of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament."
A reading from Philippians follows this dialogue between the abbess and the nun. Then, after the holy habit is blessed by the priest, the abbess proceeds to cut the nun's hair. This symbolizes her total renunciation of the vanities of the world.
After the abbess does this, she then clothes the nun in the holy habit of our Order. The habit is an exterior sign of our commitment and total consecration to Jesus Christ. Each part of the holy habit, even its colors, has deep spiritual meaning.
Underneath the white veil, the nun wears a white head covering. This is a symbol that her mind is not on "the world" but on the Kingdom that is to come. No part of her mind, intellect, memory, or will is to be part of the world, part of darkness, or part of anything that is contrary to Jesus Christ.
The white collar is a symbol that the nun is surrounded with "community", the religious life lived in common. She wishes to live in goodness, in love, and in poverty of mind and heart. She puts at the very top of her body, which is consecrated to God, something white as a constant reminder that she is a temple of the Holy Spirit. That temple must be ever clean and pure. All the white parts of her habit are a symbol of her desire to exemplify the awesome purity of God Himself in the Most Holy Eucharist.
The earthly colors of the brown Franciscan habit reminds the nun of the Scripture passage used on Ash Wednesday: "Remember thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return." It also is a remembrance for her that - without Him - she is absolutely nothing.
The white Franciscan cord, with three knots in it, symbolizes the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience that this new novice hopes to make at her first holy profession. Over the habit is placed a brown mantle, which is worn at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is a symbol of the nun's love for Our Lady and also of the Blessed Virgin Mary's maternal protection.
After the nun receives the holy habit, she chants Psalm 40 - Here I am, Lord, I come to do Your Will. Then after the Holy Gospel is proclaimed, she receives a new name. Each nun is privileged to have the Holy Name of Mary as part of her own religious name. in addition to this, she is given a title (example: Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation).
The ceremony concludes as the Community greets its newest novice. Of course, we know, that this is no an ending, but actually a beginning. The novice will spend two years in the novitiate learing about the religious life and being formed in the spirit of the Order. After this blessed time of formation, the nun will profess her first holy vows.
+Sts. Francis & Clare, pray for us!
Interesting article today in the UK's Catholic online journal the Tablet, on Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ. Fr. Fessio's amazingly Providential life, as a standard bearer of orthodoxy in the United States, is a well known figure to many of us, even those of us who have never heard his name. He is both founder and editor-in-chief of Ignatius Press (which publishes all of now-Pope Benedict's works among hundreds of other titles) as well as provost of Ave Maria University in Florida.
The rumor mill has been rumbling about Fr. Fessio's name being considered for the soon-to-be-vacant San Francisco See (as Archbishop Levada is moving to take over Ratzinger's former position at the CDF in September)... Only time will tell, but that's sure going to be an interesting appointment when it comes, no matter who gets it!
Fr. Fessio - The priest who bestrides America
Sandro Magister, the guy who always seems to be one up on the competition when it comes to the latest Vatican buzz, is now reporting that it seems likely that the current papal liturgist, Archbishop Marini, may be replaced... with the intention of returning to papal Masses that are celebrated with the accompaniment of Gregorian chant instead of liturgical dancers.
Read more (with a grain of salt) at: Pope set to return to traditional liturgy
I was going to blog on the sorry and spiteful conclusion Michael Schiavo etched into the tragedy of Terri Schiavo's life... but the Curt Jester beat me to it. All I have to say further is that, if Michael really did "keep his promise," then I find strength in the fact that Jesus Christ, the Just Judge, will also keep His.
The Curt Jester: Love, Honor, and Kill
Employees of PETA, yes, the PETA, the group that would seemingly rather kill their own children than eat a cow, is in trouble with the law. The crime?
Adria Joy Hinkle, 27, of Norfolk, and Andrew Benjamin Cook, 24, of Virginia Beach, appeared Friday in Hertford County District Court and their trial was set for July 19. Each faces 31 felony charges of animal cruelty and nine misdemeanor counts -- eight of illegal disposal of dead animals and one of trespassing.
And, one might think, what a horrible tragedy but surely it is simply that, a tragedy. Think again:
Dumping the bodies of dead dogs and cats in the garbage is wrong, but the president of Norfolk-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said Friday that animal cruelty charges against two employees won't stick. ... But she told a news conference there was no indication of "pain or suffering" among the 18 animals that police in Ahoskie, N.C., found in a shopping center garbage bin or the 13 found in a van registered to PETA.
Wow. Never thought I would see the day when PETA, of all wacky environ-mentalist groups, would get beaten by their own game.
Not only do they now have to explain how two of their workers could have gotten away with dumping off 60-70 animals into garbage bins, instead of bringing them back to the PETA facility to be "humanely" euthanized, but they have to explain why they are euthanizing the animals instead of finding homes for them like they are promising the vets and animal control officers that have been allowing them to take the animals!! This is some serious scandal for the compassionate and law-abiding public image PETA tries to portray.
Whole tale can be found at: PETA President Denounces Dumping, Defends Accused Workers
Found on Happy Catholic:
Who was Papa Ratzi talking to on that cell phone?
A sick nun from Angri (southern Italy). How cool is that?
"When I heard his voice, I couldn't believe it was him," she was quoted as telling Italian media on Thursday. "I thought I was living a dream, instead it was real."
Mystery caller on the other end revealed
Today the Cathedral of Saint Paul welcomed our new associate pastor, newly ordained Fr. Erich Rutten -- just two and a half weeks ago he prostrated himself in the very same Cathedral and promised obedience to God, Church and the Archbishop, one of 15 men ordained that day as priests forever! Today, June 15th, 14 of these men began their diocesan ministry in their various parishes (1 is returning to Rome for a licentiate degree before returning to serve in the diocese).
Today, as I saw newly-minted Fr. Rutten, for the first time in the Cathedral, lift high our Lord for us to "behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world," I could not help but grin. His face was glowing, I think it was the light of Christ from the Host reflecting upon him, blessing him. And the same thing was (I pray) being repeated across the Archdiocese, as the newly ordained were sent near and far throughout the area, to bring Christ to the people and the people to Christ.
Later tonight, our Cathedral's Young Adults group (of which Fr. Rutten is de facto our new fearless leader!) hosted another installment of Theology on Tap (on "Reclaiming the Feminine and Masculine" with Dr. Anne Maloney, a fabulous philosophy professor!). Once again, we had a "sell-out" crowd of around 200 young adults, eager for the truths of the faith and the support of faithful peers. Just about every single one of our Theology on Tap evenings have attracted well over 100 people a night, and this night's crowd of 200 or so is not uncommon for us. Well, with all that in mind, seeing Fr. Rutten be able to simply immerse himself into the crowd - praying, teaching and getting to know his new flock - was beautiful.
For all that is wrong, there is so much that is so right! For all of our Archdiocese's faults, I look around at the rest of the country, and I pray that the vast areas of cloudiness look to the bright spots that are out there, and humble themselves enough to take the narrow road.
The Catholic News Service also revisited the occasion of St. Paul's recent ordinations in an article on this year's large ordination classes from 6/14 -
One of the newly ordained, Father Randel Kasel, also credited the archdiocese at large for routinely praying for an increase in vocations.
"There's an archdiocesan prayer, and I will not underestimate that," he told The Catholic Spirit, the archdiocesan newspaper. "It is a very specific, efficacious prayer."
During the ordination ceremony at the Cathedral of St. Paul, Archbishop Flynn advised the ordinands to "let people see you at prayer, let them see you before the Blessed Sacrament, let them see you with your rosary, let them see you meditating on the Scriptures in the church."
Read the article at: Across country, newly ordained priests come from varied backgrounds
St. Joan of Arc's Sunday Bulletin
Celebrate George as he retires on July 1. Reserve Friday, June 24 for the Open House Party from 7 to 10:30 pm in the gym. An Ice Cream Social will follow both Masses on June 26 in the Courtyard. And a “Concert for George” will be held on June 26 at 7 pm in the gym preceded by a reception beginning at 5:30 pm. Admission is free. Please RSVP to the Parish Center by Friday, June 17 for the Friday and Sunday night events. Celebrate George and his 13 years of service at St. Joan of Arc.
Oh yeah, we're celebrating all right! Whoo-hoo!! Maybe a bunch of us Catholics should go crash the party at the parish that day, to offer our own thanksgiving to God and "celebration" of George. [muahahahahaha]
Of course, this just makes me wonder... everyone knew since winter that "George" was "retiring" this July 1st. And yet there has been no word at all on his replacement. The current associate pastor, Fr. Cassidy still remains... and the SJA website "schedule of speakers" still shows the only priest as Fr. Cassidy through the next few months (and plenty of lay "speakers" at the liturgies... including some woman talking about "Parish Transition", I bet that'll be a great homily on the readings for the day, what do you think?)
Fr. George Wertin at the infamous St. Joan of Arc parish in South Minneapolis (as their parishoners have said, "we are the last stop on the way out of the Catholic Church!") is "retiring" July 1st - but apparently his last Masses are next weekend.
An interesting notice in their current Sunday bulletin is that they have a website up for people to post their "memories" of Fr. George.
Wow, how tempting is that? If you're brave enough, feel free to add your "memory" here: Memories of Fr. George
Here are a couple of past "homilies" to get you started -
* The Spirit Blows Where It Will
* Baptized... Called Christian
Fr. JC Maximilian: Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
We Christians can be as greedy, materialistic, and thrill-seeking as anyone else. Too often we fail to make our eternal salvation the central goal of our lives, and instead focus just on the here-and-now, on this world. And in doing so we can be just as unhappy, just as lost, feeling just as abandoned and empty as anyone else.
Jesus looks on us with great feelings of pity. What must we do? First we must acknowledge the basic truth of reality, namely, that it is God who is the source and chief protagonist of all that is, all that surrounds us, and all that is within us. When we recognize the centrality of God, then we can sing out with today’s Responsorial Psalm the joy in recognizing ourselves as created by God, and of being the object of God’s love.
Or so seminarian Bryan Jerabek says, about his awesome online collection of Catholic line art and engraving -- perfect for all of you parish bulletin editors! (Most of it is in public domain by now)
Like, how about this one for the Eucharistic Congress in the Twin Cities this fall? http://www.quodlibeta.com/art/Corpus%20Christi.jpg
Whole collection listed at: QUODLIBETA: 19MB of Pure POD Bliss!
Now I've seen it all... Clayton has outdone himself this time.
"Cardinal Mahoney" stars in Doxaweb's latest installment, the "Lord of the Thing" (otherwise known as "Mordor in the Cathedral")
The cast of characters:
* Roger Mahony as Frodo Cardinal Baggins
* Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger as Strider/Benedict Aragorn
* Karol Wojtyla as Gandalf the Great
* the archbishop of San Francisco as Samwise Levada
* Teresa of Calcutta as Arwen
* a member of the Los Angeles Rainbow Sash movement as Smeagol the Sasher
* the pastoral associates of the Archdiocese as Sauron's army
* and a cameo by Fr. Richard McBrien as himself
To continue reading Clayton's introduction, click here, or to watch the trailer immediately, click here.
To see the hideousness of LA's Our Lady of the "Angles" Cathedral, click here (I will never understand how they can be so proud of something so ugly... is it just a case of peer pressure, where everyone just thinks that everyone else likes it and so they should too? Honestly, can anyone truly LIKE that thing?)
To read another great blog about the trials and tribulations of trying to be a Catholic in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, check out L.A. Catholic.
Our Lady of the Angels, pray for us!
LOL! I was just checking out my blog's counter tracker, seeing what pages people are getting referred to this blog by, and noticed that on one blog (previously unknown to me) I'm apparently in good company -
The Catholica and its weblogs
Against the Grain
Thanks President Aristotle! (I only looked at a few posts of his so far, but it looks like an interesting blog, go check it out!)
Seriously... Why is it that all the major "professional" organizations and their awards go the way of the liberal? Just what the heck are "awards" meant to show these days anyway, a friendly congenial slap on the back, or an indicator of true talent? I'm thinking it's definitely the former.
And so, we bring you news of the Catholic (Liberal) Press Association's 2005 (Liberal) Newspaper Award Winners
Congratulations to the National Catholic Reporter, best overall (liberal) newspaper.
And of course, can't have a reputable newspaper awards lineup without... best (liberal) headline:
The Catholic Spirit, St. Paul, MN, Sept 2, "Is Communion Rule Hard to Swallow?"
Ok, just to be fair, so there are some good awards on there... The National Catholic Register got a few kudos, and a couple of decent Catholic Spirit articles got nods, Julie Carroll's great piece on the Theology of the Body comes to mind. But seriously! The imbalance between orthodox newspaper/article awards and "questionable" newspaper/article awards is quite obvious...
I suppose the lesson to be learned (again) from this is - never seek the favors of men, but only the pleased smile of God our Father in heaven.
God bless all of you faithful and unapologetically Catholic reporters/photographers/editors working for our "Catholic" newspapers!! Do not despair at being passed over for other, more worldly, competitors -- for they have received their reward in full, while your reward will be great in heaven. Please keep all of our Catholic journalists and media workers in your prayers!
+ St. Gabriel, patron of the media/communications, pray for us!
Just got an e-mail -- for all of you in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area this weekend, check this out!
Eucharist procession through northeast Minneapolis: Service begins at 3 p.m. at Holy Cross Church, 1621 N.E. University Ave., Minneapolis. The procession will move to six other churches: Sts. Cyril and Methodius, St. Anthony, St. Boniface, St. Maron, St. Constantine, with a closing benediction at All Saints. Refreshments at St. Maron, 602 N.E. University Ave. Call (612) 379-2758 for more details.
Count 'em -- SIX churches!! Sweet!
Another decent Catholic blog with an eye for discussion on some very touchy topics has emerged, from a 19-year-old out at Thomas Aquinas college in California. I'd say it's worth a look-see!
... Contemporary bioethics has become a natural ally of the culture of death, but the culture of death itself is a perennial human temptation; for onlookers in particular, it offers a reassuring answer (“this is how X would have wanted it”) to otherwise excruciating dilemmas, and it can be rationalized every which way till Sunday. In Terri Schiavo’s case, it is what won out over the hospice’s culture of life, overwhelming by legal means, and by the force of advanced social opinion, the moral and medical command to choose life, to comfort the afflicted, and to teach others how to do the same. The more this culture continues to influence our thinking, the deeper are likely to become the divisions within our society and within our families, the more hardened our hatreds, and the more manifold our fears. More of us will die prematurely; some of us will even be persuaded that we want to.
Read it. Read it all. Commentary - Annihilating Terri Schiavo
Oh how nice, just what I wanted to discover on a Monday morning. Communion is now just a "wacky wafer." And we now know of one more instance of sacriledge that happened at the Cathedral on Pentecost Sunday -- and he's so proud of it too.
There is just so much offensive to Catholics in this that I don't even know where to begin.
On TV that night, a reporter asked one woman what the priest did instead of doing his job as Christ's middleman. "He blessed me," she said, "and I blessed him back."
My first reaction was, So what's the problem? Instead of partaking in an archaic tradition of flesh-eating and blood-drinking that would do any cannibal or vampire proud, two human beings, in a time of great stress, on opposite sides of the God aisle, blessed each other. Now, if you ask me, that's as great a sacrament as they come--and I know of what I blaspheme, for that very morning, I received communion from my mother, who doled out two of the wacky wafers to her grandson and granddaughter for the first time.
The rest of the column is equally offensive. The sad thing is that this guy is apparently a husband and father (though of course that's only mentioned in passing, admist his tales of being sexually aroused by the hotel massuse, and the money God blessed him with at the slot machines).
I do idly wonder which priest it is that he refers to as being the chaplain at HCMC and of "nurturing a tiny church in the heart of south Minneapolis." Hmmmm.
Read the whole thing (careful -- adult language!!) at: City Pages - Bless This Mess.
In my eBay browsing this morning, I came across this very cool bumper sticker. I just might have to get myself one of these!
The Cafeteria Is Closed is reporting that there is to be a program scheduled to air on various NBC affiliates (does not say which ones) that will look in depth at the Catholic faith grounding three "famous" people (Mary Higgins Clark, Nicholas Sparks, and Jack McKeon) -- it sounds pretty good! It sounds like it is something that was produced by the USCCB's Communications Campaign (!) and hosted by Msgr. Jim Lisante (I've heard good things about him!)
I remember listening to Relevant Radio one day and hearing Nicholas Sparks talk about the importance of his Catholic faith in his life, and was very interested in it, if a bit surprised. I have read a few of his books, and they are not exactly chaste (not necessarily on par with good ole' Fr. Andrew Greeley's dubious novels, but still, a bit, shall we say, "gritty"). I would be interested to hear more of his story, particularly his faith timeline. Mary Higgins Clark too I have heard about before but never in any great detail. The other guy, a baseball manager I guess, I never heard of (sorry sir!).
This time around it's Archbishop Chaput from Denver, whom the scuttlebutt is speculating as a possible replacement for Cardinal McCarrick in Washington D.C. July 8th, McCarrick turns 75, when all bishops are required to offer their resignation.
I don't think this is likely though, McCarrick hasn't been there long enough, and will probably ask to stay on a few more years... but then again, maybe not. Denver would be very sad to lose Chaput, though!
Of course, this also reminds me of that small detail of the San Francisco see being vacant as of this September.... Hmmmm.
One thing's for sure -- now that Pope Benedict is here, and the episcopacy is already feeling the shuffling, bishop appointments have gotten a lot more interesting!
Now if only something can be done about Catholic LA LA Land and the Taj Mahoney.
Rocky Mountain News: Talk of Chaput for post
That book meme that's been making the rounds on the Catholic blogs seems to have landed on my desk finally... courtesy of Clayton over at The Weight of Glory. Ok, hmm... The five questions:
1) Total number of books I own: Like so many others, that's a toughie... I seem to accumulate books quite easily. However, I also tend to "redistribute" books also quite easily, between the loaning, the losing, and the letting go to better homes. At the present moment I would guess I have between 250-300. But, I'm leaving for a year in Italy in August... and so many of my books will likely be going on to new homes before then.
2) The last book I bought: Well, I have the good fortune (misfortune?) of living only 30 minutes from Loome Books in Stillwater... and ended up there last week on other business, but walked away with an old copy of "St Thomas Aquinas: Theological Texts" selected and translated, with notes and introduction by Thomas Gilby (with imprimatur from 1953), as well as a nice nearly-new copy of James Monti's The King's Good Servant but God's First on the life and writings of St. Thomas More, published by Ignatius.
3) The last book I read: Read totally? Completely? Entirely? Hmm... I dunno. I don't think I ever read anything entirely anymore, at least it doesn't seem like it. Probably I Believe in Love, a wonderful spiritual book that is a compilation of retreats given by Fr. Jean C. J. d'Elbee, a French priest, on the spirituality of St. Therese (but not just limited to her, with much interweaving of the Bible and writings of other saints).
4) Five books that mean a lot to me: (Like many others, I'm saying up front that the Bible and Catechism are givens...)
* "The Lord of the Rings"... yup.
* Msgr. Romano Guardini's classic, "The Lord"
* Caryll Houselander's "Reed of God" (wonderful little Marian book)
* St. Augustine's "Confessions" (first saint's writings I read, when I was coming back into the Church -- wow, good stuff.)
* Toss up... Either St. Therese's "Story of a Soul" or perhaps G.K. Chesterton's "Orthodoxy." They may seem totally different, but they both had pretty much the same impact on me, making my soul take a good look and realize how little I am and how little the world is -- something I think we all need to be reminded of these days.
5) Tag five people: I'm lousy at this kind of thing... If you are reading this, and you are a blogger, and you have not done this yet, then consider yourself tagged and just do the dang thing already! :)