Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I meant to post this yesterday. We hope to go here next Easter after going to Dallas to witness our son's coming into the Church!! Yes,Praise God, after almost 4 years of praying, our son is attending RCIA! He had his first class last Thursday night. It is taught by a couple who are licensed to teach from the Vatican. She has numerous degrees and he is a canon lawyer, so my son thinks it will be a very good class for him, "right up his alley" so to speak...(his lawyer brain will be loving the depth.) I've been praying to my dear Fr. Kevin who was known for bringing so many souls into the Church in the diocese of Youngstown, Ohio, and also many prayers have been ascending to Padre Pio for our son. This past summer really has been a one of suffering inwardly for me and also great joy mingled with the sorrow. Then "out of the blue" our son called and told us of his desire to go to RCIA. I credit my beloved Saints for this, and also many more, like St. Justin and St Paul and St Therese. Anyway, while searching if there were any Padre Pio churches or shrines in the U.S. I found this one and if we're in Dallas next Spring, we might as well make a full pilgrimage to this wonderful Shrine to one of my favorite Saints.
more photos of this beloved Saint.
Deares Padre Pio, pray for us!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
A Priest's Joy
by Fr. Frank E. Jindra
Article originally appeared on 11 Nov 2002
I have been a priest for 18 years. I am almost completely a "child of Vatican II." The first year I was old enough to serve at Mass was the first year of the "all-English Mass," so I’ve never had to learn the Mass in Latin.
My seminary training required only one year of Latin study—study allowing me to sit with a good dictionary as I made the necessary translations from Latin to English. Needless to say, my ability to pray the "Old Mass" is just not there.
Not long after my first parish assignment, however, I tried to pray the Eucharistic prayer in Latin. My parish town was celebrating the 125th year of its founding, and the pastor and I thought it would be a good trip down "memory lane" for those who grew up pre-Vatican II for us to pray the Mass in Latin. Although I made it through the Mass, I could’ve sworn I saw people cringing as I was praying—at least attempting to pray—in Latin. Looking back on this experience, I’d like to make a "true confession," if you will (as opposed to a sacramental confession), of a few discoveries I’ve made in my years as a priest.
As I stood at the altar for the first time (as a transitional deacon) in my home parish, I was amazed and thrilled as only one thought raced through my mind, "I'm home! Right here at the altar, I am finally home at the age of 28."
The overwhelming feeling of being "home" as I stand at the altar has sustained me throughout some very tough times and very good times as a Roman Catholic priest. During my service as a priest in nine different parishes and one year of active duty in Desert Storm as a Battalion chaplain in the U.S. Marine Corps, I have prayed the Mass rapt in devotion and deep concentration from start to finish. Sadly, on other occasions, I have allowed my concentration to lapse until—bam!—I am suddenly shocked back into the reality of what I’m doing as a priest acting in persona Christi Capitis.
In my opinion, this inconsistency of focus at Mass is not a function of any deficiency in the Novus Ordo Missae. Rather, I believe this inconsistency has everything to do with being a modern American, one who cannot hold his attention on any one thing for any sufficient length of time. We—I—have become too accustomed to quick sound-bites and are therefore hampered in our ability to enter into the mystery and beauty of the Mass, which is, after all, eternal and never quick.
What I remember of the "Old Mass" — the seemingly sudden movements disturbing the seemingly endless periods of non-activity by the priest, followed by the seemingly random and startling bell-ringing thrusting our attention forward and riveting us back to the mysteries — are moments of attention-grabbing, grace-filled, transcendent splendor.
So, how do we get these same wonderful moments to surface in the "New Mass"? To help us concentrate, some have tried implementing the creative application of music, drama, dance, etc., with varying degrees of success and acceptance. When I pray Mass (a more accurate description than saying Mass), I try to plummet to as great a depth of emotion and love for Jesus Christ as possible. I try to pour all my attention and devotion into what I consider to be the most important parts of the Mass: Jesus' own words in the Eucharistic prayers, "This is my Body… this is my Blood…" and the declaration just before Communion, "This is the Lamb of God...."
The Words of Institution need to hold a primary place in the Mass, and this is achieved through the genuflection of the priest and, in many places, the ringing of bells. I have my servers ring the main tower bell of the Church so everyone within hearing distance will know what is happening. Parishioners who have to work early in the morning tell me hearing the bells allows them to pause and meditate on what they know is happening across the street at the Mass they cannot attend.
I try to dwell on the importance of what I am saying each time I pray Mass; but, I must admit, I’m sometimes distracted by the "needs of the day ahead." This is to my shame; yet, I suspect many people in the pews have the same problem. Again, I believe this is a function of the short attention span of our collective society rather than any inherent lack of piety or absence of sacredness in the current translations used in the Mass. We just have a hard time making the transcendent reality of God's Presence in our midst "really real."
I concelebrated a Mass recently where the main celebrant chanted the Words of Institution using a melody from an Eastern Rite. The effect this had on me was palpable — it jostled me into an awareness of the Mystery and what I was doing at that very moment to bring Christ to the altar.
If you notice your priest, during a particular Mass, suddenly being affected by what he is doing, please ask him after Mass what exactly it was that affected him. If you find your priest too often in an apparent monotonous recitation of the Mass, ask him what part of the Mass is most important to him. Then ask him to find some way to highlight it for everyone, perhaps through a change in his tone, a change in the cadence of what he is praying, or some other respectful acknowledgement of what he is doing in that moment.
As I mentioned, the precious moment when I hold the Lord high and declare to everyone, "this is Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world…" is the highest point of the Mass for me, second only to actually receiving Him. Sometimes I'd just as soon stay there and adore Him instead of consume Him. At the moment I am standing before Him and all the people, I thank Him and stand in awe of His allowing my hands to hold Him in such an intimate way — the same hands that trained for war before becoming a priest, the same hands that fought so many dirty fights…. Well, let me leave my past transgressions with just that much said. He chooses to be there, with me and through me, and it is an awesome moment. Sometimes as I stand there with Him lifted high over my head, I feel sorry I cannot lift Him higher for more of the world to see. I find myself "stuck" in worship and adoration on many occasions. I find myself not wanting to move, hardly daring to breathe, until my arms ache with the strain of holding Him high…
…Just a small insight into one priest's joy in the Eucharist.
So try to find out what excites your priest in the Mass, and watch for moments of his joy. Enter into them with him and you’ll find the Mass much more than just a busy set of words and actions. The Mass will become the genuine, transcendent, awe-filled worship of our God that it was meant to be. Pray for your priests that they will be able to communicate their joys in the Mass to you. And then, expect Jesus to reveal Himself in the simplicity and grandeur of a Mass you can understand.
I am utterly convinced that some people's dissatisfaction with the "New Mass" stems from the fact that it has become too common an experience for them. Experiencing the Mass as "all too common" leads people to want to leave and go to a place where they can sense the transcendence of the Mass through the "Old" way, or go to a more "relevant" church with "better" content (beware the deception), or go elsewhere to the allures of the world in this all too busy life. I believe this is true for both priests and parishioners. Instead of abandoning the Mass, instead of saying the Mass in a subconscious way, what we need to do is put forth greater effort to respond to Christ’s moments of love, wherever they reach us in the Mass.
Friday, September 19, 2008
When I briefly turned the channel to get a "glimpse" of the Democratic Convention, I almost shivered when I saw the huge banners draped outside; long, dark blue at the bottom, lighter blue midway, and light blue mountains, with... lo and behold, a single 'red star' at the top. Shazzam! Similar to the yellow/golden outlined red star I'd seen elsewhere. By jove! Of course! The "Red Army" Soviet flag! Might this be the "hope and change" we can expect should Obama be elected? I don't think I'm too far off in saying 'yes' since he's got cronies all over the world who support him whom are Communist and Socialist/Marxist. Hm. And isn't it strange that both the Soviet flag and the Chinese flag have the 'singe red star' and how it is almost done in defiance of the "Star of David" - Israel's flag? We know Communism, Socialism, Marxism are all anti-God, anti-Christian philosophies/worldviews. Read the Democrat message above.
"Rewarding work" yeah, working for the ones in power. "Healthy Childhood"... does that perchance mean no "weak or sick ones?" Hm. "Freedom to worship"....my arse! Well, maybe they mean "one world religion?" "Respecting differences"...my arse! Obama can't even be criticized without claiming it's a "personal attack." Yet, look at Sandra Bernhardt's warning Sarah Palin not to come to New York or she'll be "gang raped" by Sandra's big, black "bruthas?" That's not 'respectful' at all, more like HATE SPEECH! "Justice Without Killing"....unless it's a baby that's not "wanted" right Dems?? "Collective Security".....how "Socialistic" of ya. "Revering Nature"...yeah, Save the spotted owl, and dismember a baby in the womb, and stab a baby in the head with scissors as it's being born. That's a great way to "revere nature."
Well, just a few thoughts.
translation: "Hope and Change"
надежда и изменение
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
I have read Soufanieh is approved by the Church, and of course, that Medjugorje is not. There seems to be a disparaging tone coming from Medjugorje camp toward Soufanieh camp and I'm wondering WHY would appartitions of our Lady, calling for conversion and unity be so disparaging? It's almost like there's a feud going between these people and I find it troubling. If anyone could shed some light I'd appreciate it. I suppose what might happen is I'll end up even more baffled. It's had me bothered in my soul all day. Having just been to two small and obscure Fatima Shrines, one in Nebraska and one built by Fr. Robert Fox in South Dakota, and seeing Fr. Fox has written a book and his involvment with Damascus/Soufaneih, has me very much in a "cautious" mode about Medjugoje because apparently they don't take kindly to one another. Just curious and hoping for some answers. Thanks.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Visit the website: Unborn Word Alliance
Visit the blog version of: Unborn Word of the day
For nine weeks, from September 1 to Election Day (November 4), Priests for Life calls upon believers to participate in the "Election Novena"; by saying the following prayer each day:
We thank you for the privilege
Of being able to organize ourselves politically
And of knowing that political loyalty
Does not have to mean disloyalty to you.
We thank you for your law,
Which our Founding Fathers acknowledged
And recognized as higher than any human law.
We thank you for the opportunity that this election year puts before us,
To exercise our solemn duty not only to vote,
But to influence countless others to vote,
And to vote correctly.
Lord, we pray that your people may be awakened.
Let them realize that while politics is not their salvation,
Their response to you requires that they be politically active.
Awaken your people to know that they are not called to be a sect fleeing the world
But rather a community of faith renewing the world.
Awaken them that the same hands lifted up to you in prayer
Are the hands that pull the lever in the voting booth;
That the same eyes that read your Word
Are the eyes that read the names on the ballot,
And that they do not cease to be Christians
When they enter the voting booth.
Awaken your people to a commitment to justice
To the sanctity of marriage and the family,
To the dignity of each individual human life,
And to the truth that human rights begin when human lives begin,
And not one moment later.
Lord, we rejoice today
That we are citizens of your kingdom.
May that make us all the more committed
To being faithful citizens on earth.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A few other websites encouraging prayer for this election:
National Day of Prayer Website is encouraging Christians to pray for the election. They have many good suggestions to help you pray for this noble intention.
54 Day Rosary Novena "For an outcome of the November Elections which is pleasing to Almighty God, and which serves the eternal and temporal interests of all of His children."
Other wonderful endeavors to encourage prayer for the unborn - one of the most important reasons that we need to pray for this election.
40 Days for Life A campaign of prayer and fasting that will take place September 24 - November 2 and will be conducted in cities from coast to coast.
World Prayer for Life On the 12th October 2007 all the participants of the II World-Prayer-Congress for Life unanimously reached the decision of starting the World Prayer for Life crusade. From that day, people from all over the world will pray every day, asking for God's expiation for every rejected gift of life, for the increase of respect for human life and for ensuring in the legislation of all countries unconditional right to live for every human being from the conception until natural death.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Monday, September 08, 2008
Too good not to post. Thanks TJ.
It's very common for ex Catholics to be the most vocal about not wanting to be Catholic. I for one am a prime example.
I have asked myself now (over the past 4 years) countless times why did I leave this Church? My conclusion is this: No Catholic ever leaves the Church fully knowing and believing that Jesus is really present, soul body and divinity in the Eucharist. Had I really understood that Jesus was truly present in the Mass and residing in the tabernacle, why would I go anywhere else?
Sadly, akin to God of the universe coming to us as a babe in a manger (that goes unnoticed by most of the world), the most sublime mystery of the universe, God with us in the appearance of bread and wine, continues to go unnoticed by the many of us Catholics who go to Mass.
I suspect if you query your wife as to whether she really believed that she was receiving Jesus every Sunday, she would likely say she didn't believe or understand that.(Forgive me if I am making assumptions about your loved one that aren't true) I certainly didn't believe Jesus was in this Church, really substantially present, at 14 years of age when I had a conversion experience outside the Church. Despite the fact at every Mass, the priest holds up the Eucharist and says "This is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world" Familiarity breeds contempt and sadly, I was one of those many Catholics who didn't hear the words of the Liturgy as they are being prayed Sunday after Sunday.
Today, September 8 is celebrated as the feast day of the Birth of Mary. We would like to praise God for the birth of the Mother of our Savior.
"The Church usually celebrates the passing of a person, that is, the person's entry into eternal life. Besides the birth of Christ, the Christian liturgy celebrates only two other birthdays: that of St. John the Baptizer and of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. It is not only the individual greatness of these saints that the Church celebrates, but their role in salvation history, a role directly connected to the Redeemer's own coming into the world." To learn more: The History of the Liturgical Celebration of Mary's Birth
Here is a beautiful hymn about when Mary carried Jesus our Savior and God in her womb.
Mary's womb filled me with wonder
that it should contain you,
my Lord, and enclose you.
The whole of creation was too
small to conceal your greatness,
Earth and Heaven too narrow to
serve as embracing arms, to
conceal your divinity,
The womb of the earth is too small
for you, and yet the womb of
Mary is large enough for you.
These lines from Saint Ephrem's Hymn on the Nativity
Visit the website: Unborn Word Alliance
Visit the blog version of: Unborn Word of the day
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Friday, September 05, 2008
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Apparently the liberal media doesn't want a strong, independent, Christian, pro-life woman as VP! Governor Sarah Palin got pregnant at 43 and her unborn child was diagnosed with Down's Syndrome. That she went ahead with her pregnancy and loves her little baby apparently irks a lot of pro-choice liberals, it rubs them the wrong way. In the deepest recesses of their conscience they might even be reminded that killing unborn babies is really not the proper thing to do. So they disrespect the one who reminds them of this truth which contradicts their shallow value system.
Enter the teenage girl who also wants to do the right thing for her unborn baby. Bristol Palin, the 17 year old daughter of Governor Sarah Palin, is about 5 months pregnant. I think she is probably just like every Christian, and every non-Christian, I ever met. We all have a long - really long - list of past mistakes, failings, sins and things we would have done differently. Bristol, since she is only 17, probably has a much shorter "list" than those of us who are older. But...she has her list.
But then there is the other list! The better list! The list of acts of heroic virtue and heroic commitments to others! Bristol has made a valiant, a heroic commitment, to not abort her unborn child - to give this unborn child the same chance at life that we all have had. No doubt there have been many other wonderful virtuous acts in Bristol's life and God bless her for them all. It's just that none of her future acts will probably ever be so publicized. But the liberal media and others who share in the holier-than-thou "Planned Parenthood mentality" are looking for blood (as usual).
So Bristol is in a tough place and so is her mom. Pro-Life People Unite! Pray for all pro-life politicians, like John McCain and Sarah Palin AND for their families! Please! And dig deep into your wallet for all pro-life politicians NOW! The liberal media is already attacking this family in many ways for being Christian and Pro - Life. Pray for the Palin Family!
Monday, September 01, 2008
House of Mary Shrine
Here's a wonderful thing to do, if you need a day or two to get away and find where the love for Mary is, where she's been in a special way, or where she's been venerated in a special way or place. I typed in Google search "Marian Shrines of the U. S." or something like that and you get a list of every state. Then click the state you want to go to and you'll see the shrines listed and their locations.
As you know, Rich and I like to get off the beaten path and visit these holy sites. Two weeks ago we went to Arapahoe NE. to visit Our Lady of Fatima Shrine, built by Fr. Henri Denis, a survivor of Dachau concentration camp. But to get to these shrines, we've found it really doesn't take all that long. It was about 5.5 hours to Arapahoe, and also to Alexandria S.D. Had we just driven straight through, only stopping for gas we could have made it shorter, but that's then not a pilgrimage, for a pilgrimage shouldn't be hurried or a "rushed" event.
We like to stop and visit the Lord along the way. He resides in some very beautiful churches off the highways in rural spots or small towns, so what could be a "quicker time" to a destination takes us longer due to our love of these gorgeous houses of worship built by our forefathers and mothers with their hard earned money, labor, blood, sweat and tears. They believed that God's house should be more glorious than their own in most of these towns and that's where their money went. It is sometimes sad to see now a days that we tend to put more into our own houses than our church. (most priests would LOVE to get 3 % from their congregations! Just think if they did, most kids could go to Catholic school for free! but I digress) Of course, back in the 1800's and early 1900's most people didn't have all the material goods, they had to work for their food, for their "daily bread" ...and life was "simpler" in many ways. It's sad to see how the affluence of our culture has had such a tragic effect on us, some more than others. That parable comes to life here, how hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!!
The "sin" of capitalism is greed for material gain and sloth of spirit and it does exist in this country, that's been so abundantly blessed. There were many warnings given to us by different Popes, JPII and GK Chesterton to name a couple. The modern churches with their more sparse interiors, modern, less ornate architecture seems to have a part to play in how we see and "feel" even in our present parishes. So many are now built by Construction Companies and not the actual parishoners themselves, and of course that was bound to happen, yet it makes them more "impersonal" in some ways.
All I can say is that for me, the more sparse the sanctuary and the more "modern" it looks, the more easily my mind wanders, and I don't seen windows of the gospels shining in the sun, just bricks and the pipes in the left corner of our huge pipe organ. We do have Mary and St Gabriel to the right of the pulpit and directly behind the pulpit a life-size crucifix, which is powerful. Yes, our St Robert Bellarmine parish is lovely, and tastefully done, but when I go to a old gothic or Romanesque cathedral or basilica, I can't help but marvel at the beauty and my mind can't be distracted for too long, because there's always a Saint or a frescoe or a window with our Catholic faith expressed in artistic wonder that draws me "heavenward." The reverence is just "felt" more in these older churches, I've witnessed it. Even the older ones in town seem to have a more "holy" feel, or aura about and inside them.
I'll get some pics on the blog as soon as I can. This has been an intense time for me the last 4 weeks or so. I've been in some desolation at times, sorrowful, but not without a deep joy that continues to bolster me. This country needs to be drenched and bathed in prayer for our election and for the "little ones" in the womb. That is most grievous to my heart and I share that with Mary our Mother of all children, born and unborn. Thanks, Marie for your concern and your prayers for America! Bless you all...
And PEACE to you all,