Dedication of an Altar

I spent the past week as a Master of Ceremonies preparing for the Mass of the Dedication of an Altar. Whenever the bishop of any diocese is going to pray the Mass at a local parish, there is advance work that needs to be done. That only multiplies when the ceremony to be done is an Altar Dedication.

I spent three hours rehearsing with the altar servers team one evening, another three hours with the priest and the priest-MC a second evening, and then three hours the night before making sure all the furnishings were in place. I spent another hour afterwards returning items to their respective locations.

Through it all, I've been trying to keep up with my obligations to pray the Liturgy of the Hours.

What was in the Office of Readings this past week? The story of Judas Maccabeus and the dedication of the altar of holocaust. Curious, curious...

Then, as if to put a too-fine point on it, the Lord sent into my inbox the following series of posts from my Divine Mercy Daily subscription:

February 7, [1937]. Today, the Lord said to me, I demand of you a perfect and whole-burnt offering; an offering of the will. No other sacrifice can compare with this one. I Myself am directing your life and arranging things in such a way that you will be for Me a continual sacrifice and will always do My will (Diary, 923). 
And for the accomplishment of this offering, you will unite yourself with Me on the Cross. I know what you can do. I Myself will give you many orders directly, but I will delay the possibility of their being carried out and make it depend on others (Diary, 923) 
But what the superiors will not manage to do, I Myself will accomplish directly in your soul. And in the most hidden depths of your soul, a perfect holocaust will be carried out, not just for a while, but know, My daughter, that this offering will last until your death (Diary, 923).

I am marveling at what the Lord has done for me spiritually this week. Preparing for this event with His Excellency was hard work, but it was gratifying on a level I can't find words to describe. The liturgy was ad orientem, because the new altar is a reconstruction of the one that was removed by liturgical deconstructionists in the post-Vatican II frenzy to deny that Council's continuity with the past. As if that weren't beautiful enough, the brazier was used, and an actual cloud of incense rose up to the heights of the reredos, the backing of the main altar wherein the saints each have an alcove.

So, there I am, adoring the Lord in the hands of my Bishop as he faced liturgically Eastward, and the choir began to chant the Magnificat.

It really doesn't get much better than that! I wish to make of myself a holocaust, dedicating my heart as an acceptable altarstone, that the Lord might place a clean heart within me. Those are the words I pray as I dress into my alb before these litrugies commence, "Wash me of my iniquities; cleanse me of all my sin. A clean heart create for me O Lord, and a steadfast spirit place within me."

May it be ever so.


Pope's speech on Synodality

I found a cleaner, less-raw translation at News.Va--

A synodal Church is a Church which listens, which realizes that listening “is more than simply hearing”... It is a mutual listening in which everyone has something to learn. The faithful people, the college of bishops, the Bishop of Rome: all listening to each other, and all listening to the Holy Spirit...

Synodality, as a constitutive element of the Church... the Church is nothing other than the “journeying together” of God’s flock along the paths of history towards the encounter with Christ the Lord... in the Church, it is necessary that each person “lower” himself or herself, so as to serve our brothers and sisters along the way.

I am persuaded that in a synodal Church, greater light can be shed on the exercise of the Petrine primacy. The Pope is not, by himself, above the Church; but within it as one of the baptized, and within the College of Bishops as a Bishop among Bishops, called at the same time — as Successor of Peter — to lead the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches.

As a Church which “journeys together” with men and women, sharing the travails of history, let us cherish the dream that a rediscovery of the inviolable dignity of peoples and of the function of authority as service will also be able to help civil society to be built up in justice and fraternity, and thus bring about a more beautiful and humane world for coming generations.

Hopefully you will read the entirety of the October 17 speech:


a non-Marxist way to serve the Poor

The Church, as “communio” of believers, is at the service of humanity with the word of God, with the sacrificial offering of its life-giving salvation and with the demonstration of the being-for-others of Christ in the diaconate* for the poor, for the disinherited, and for those to whom dignity and justice are denied.

Of decisive importance, in the Council, are the philosophical-anthropological categories of person, dialogue, and communication. The significance and importance given to the one to whom God communicates himself lies precisely in his being a person, and, more precisely, in his being a person inserted corporally-materially into the space of history, society, and culture.

Now, without the Church advancing any totalitarian claim on society - because it acquires its identity by means of faith in Christ and clearly distinguishes itself from other orientations of faith and other religions - it nonetheless follows that it - and with it every ecclesial community and every individual Christian - precisely on the basis of the faith must take on its responsibility for human society as a whole, exerting itself in the areas of the world of work, of the international economy, of social and individual justice, of peace in the world and so on.

-Cardinal Muller, prefect of the CDF, in his assessment of the Theology of Liberation

*note the use of the word diaconate in this fashion..how curious


Synod underway

Natl. Catholic REGISTER has suggested going to this website to seek from among the list of participants someone to pray over. I chose the following:

Mrs. Penny and Mr. Ishwar Bajaj, Hindu-Christian couple from the diocese of Mumbai, India
Fr. Francois-Xavier Dumortier, S.J., Magnificent Rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University
Bishop Jean-Marie Lovey, C.R.B., of Sion, Sitten, Switzerland
Bishop John Baptist Lee Keh-Mien of Hsinchu, China

When you pray, use this one composed by the Holy Father for the occasion:

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
in you we contemplate
the splendor of true love,
to you we turn with trust.
Holy Family of Nazareth,
grant that our families too
may be places of communion and prayer,
authentic schools of the Gospel
and small domestic Churches.
Holy Family of Nazareth,
may families never again
experience violence, rejection and division:
may all who have been hurt or scandalized
find ready comfort and healing.
Holy Family of Nazareth,
may the Synod of Bishops
make us once more mindful
of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,
and its beauty in God's plan.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
graciously hear our prayer. Amen.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/mfenelon/five-things-you-can-do-to-support-the-synod/#ixzz3nrMuTmiJ



Here's a list of every speech he gave in the US. Thank you, Aleteia!

Little Way of Pope Francis

Holiness is always tied to little gestures. “Whoever gives you a cup of water in my name will not go unrewarded”, says Jesus (cf. Mk 9:41).

These little gestures are those we learn at home, in the family; they get lost amid all the other things we do, yet they do make each day different. They are the quiet things done by mothers and grandmothers, by fathers and grandfathers, by children. They are little signs of tenderness, affection and compassion. Like the warm supper we look forward to at night, the early lunch awaiting someone who gets up early to go to work. Homely gestures. Like a blessing before we go to bed, or a hug after we return from a hard day’s work. Love is shown by little things, by attention to small daily signs which make us feel at home. Faith grows when it is lived and shaped by love. That is why our families, our homes, are true domestic churches. They are the right place for faith to become life, and life to become faith.

Jesus tells us not to hold back these little miracles. Instead, he wants us to encourage them, to spread them. He asks us to go through life, our everyday life, encouraging all these little signs of love as signs of his own living and active presence in our world.

So we might ask ourselves: How are we trying to live this way in our homes, in our societies? What kind of world do we want to leave to our children (cf. Laudato Si’, 160)? We cannot answer these questions alone, by ourselves. It is the Spirit who challenges us to respond as part of the great human family. Our common house can no longer tolerate sterile divisions. The urgent challenge of protecting our home includes the effort to bring the entire human family together in the pursuit of a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change (cf. ibid., 13). May our children find in us models and incentives to communion! May our children find in us men and women capable of joining others in bringing to full flower all the good seeds which the Father has sown!

-from homily at WMF Sunday Mass


Retail level

John Allen Jr. has said of the annulment procedures recently announced that, "Annulments are hugely important at the retail level of the faith, because for Catholics whose relationships break down and who want to get married in the Church to someone else, they first have to obtain one." -Crux

retail level...

consider that phrase for a moment, the retail level of faith.

Having worked in parish offices and a chancery cubicle, I can safely say that most of the world operates at this level of faith commitment.

What a compelling image to apply to our contemporary parochial situation. How do we get people to move past this level? Most already have- they aren't even window shopping anymore. They're just staying in bed on Sundays with their girlfriend/boyfriend. Or they work all weekend and bingewatch Netflix until Monday.


Love can only be love if it is Fruitful

from the incomparable Janet Smith:

Most people who do not experience SSA but who are very favorable to same-sex relationships are favorable more out of compassion than out of a conviction that same-sex relationships are natural and good. They rightly sense that everyone is meant to love and be loved: thus they say things like “every one has a right to love whomever they want.” They don’t want their loved ones or anyone with SSA to live lives of loneliness. It is important to acknowledge the truth of the insight that life without love is unbearable and not true to human nature. But it is important to point out that there are many kinds of love and that most of them don’t and shouldn’t involve sexual expression. Parents and grandchildren love each other; brothers and sisters love each other; teachers and students love each other; and friends love each other, but none of these loves should be expressed sexually. Expressing love sexually is appropriate only for those who can participate in the full “meaning” of the sexual act, an act that includes affirmation of the complementary difference between the two sexes and the orientation to new life that belongs in sexual expression.


Contradict today's ruling!

"It is to be anticipated that perhaps not everyone will easily accept this particular teaching.  There is too much clamorous outcry against the voice of the Church, and this is intensified by modern means of communication.  But it comes as no surprise to the Church that she, no less than her divine Founder, is destined to be a ‘sign of contradiction.’  She does not, because of this, evade the duty imposed on her of proclaiming humbly but firmly the entire moral law." --Blessed Paul VI

Family for Life

"In the family we first learn how to show love and respect for life; we are taught the proper use of things, order and cleanliness, respect for the local ecosystem and care for all creatures. In the family we receive an integral education, which enables us to grow harmoniously in personal maturity. In the family we learn to ask without demanding, to say “thank you” as an expression of genuine gratitude for what we have been given, to control our aggressivity and greed, and to ask forgiveness when we have caused harm. These simple gestures of heartfelt courtesy help to create a culture of shared life and respect for our surroundings." -Pope Francis in Laudato Si (no.213)


Collegial Pope

The thing that struck me most about the new encyclical is that (for the first time in a papal encyclical that I can recall), Pope Francis supports his teaching with statements from various Bishops' conferences from around the globe. He has Paraguay, New Zealand, and South Africa in there.

Not only does this confirm that we are indeed the Church Universal, it also brings to fruition an important component of Vatican II reform that has, until now, gone un-tried: genuine collegiality.


This just in: John Allen Jr. beats me to the punch!


Only he chalks it up to other motives.


Fathers matter

“We found that contentment in the late seventies was not even suggestively associated with parental social class or even the man’s own income. What it was significantly associated with was warmth of childhood environment, and it was very significantly associated with a man’s closeness to his father.”
-George Vaillant, on the Harvard Grant Study


Children's Rights Issue

“It is necessary to insist on the fundamental pillars that govern a nation: its intangible assets. The family is the foundation of co-existence and a guarantee against social fragmentation. Children have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child’s growth and emotional development.”- Pope Francis, Nov.17

As my home state of Michigan Celebrates Marriage, we are reminded that

Marriage is Beneficial for Children
“Each child has life, thanks to a mom and a dad.”

A married mother and father are great gifts for children, so supporting an institution that unites children with their mothers and fathers is extremely important. A man and a woman, through their faithful union in marriage, provide a stable environment for children to experience the love and care of both a father and a mother, who each able to contribute to their growth and development in unique ways.

Social science data shows:

Children who live with two married parents tend to enjoy greater physical and mental health than those who live in other family situations.

Children in married, two-parent families enjoy more economic well-being than children in any other family structure, which often carries into their adult lives. By age 30, a woman raised by two married parents will earn an average of $4,735 more in annual income and a man raised by two married parents will earn an average of $6,534 more in annual income than their counterparts raised by single parents.

Children that are raised in married households are significantly less likely to miss class and show attendance or behavioral problems. They are more likely to graduate from high school and college.

Children who grow up in married, two-parent households are more likely to delay parenthood until marriage.

Boys in married households are less likely to engage in delinquent and criminal behavior.

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