Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

August 12th, 2016

Monday, August 15th, is the Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Blessed Lady into Heaven, a first-class Feast.  Since it falls on a Monday this year, it is not a Holy Day of Obligation.  Never the less, the importance of the Feast remains in full force.  Therefore, on Monday, August 15th I will celebrate two Holy Masses: one in the morning in English (Ordinary Form) at 8:15 a.m. and a Solemn High Mass in Latin (Extraordinary Form) at 7:00 p.m.  There is an ancient custom of blessing the produce from home gardens and orchards, as well as seeds purchased for next year’s planting season, on the Feast of Our Lady’s  Assumption.  You may bring them to church and I will bless them before the evening Solemn High Mass.  Happy Assumption Day, our Easter in August!                                                                                                                                                                                         – Father Lawrence

 

Assumption of the BVM 2016

Feast of St. Philomena celebrated this Saturday at Noon

August 12th, 2016

St. Philomena 2016

LETTER OF POPE ST. JOHN XXIII on DEVOTION TO THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

July 1st, 2016

Encyclical of Pope Saint John XXIII

ON PROMOTING DEVOTION TO THE MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

To his Venerable Brother Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops and other Local Ordinaries in Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See

Venerable brethren: greetings and apostolic blessings.

From the very outset of our pontificate, in speaking of daily devotions we have repeatedly urged the faithful (often in eager tones that frankly hinted our future design) to cherish warmly that marvelous manifestation of divine mercy toward individuals and Holy Church and the whole world redeemed and saved by Jesus Christ: we mean devotion to his Most Precious Blood.

From infancy this devotion was instilled in us within our own household. Fondly we still recall how our parents used to recite the Litany of the Most Precious Blood every day during July.

The Apostle’s wholesome advice comes to mind: “Keep watch, then, over yourselves, and over God’s Church, in which the Holy Spirit has made you bishops; you are to be the shepherds of that flock which he won for himself at the price of his own blood.”[1] Now among the cares of our pastoral office, venerable brethren, we are convinced that, second only to vigilance over sound doctrine, preference belongs to the proper surveillance and development of piety, in both its liturgical and private expressions. With that in mind, we judge it most timely to call our beloved children’s attention to the unbreakable bond which must exist between the devotions to the Most Holy Name and Most Sacred Heart of Jesus — already so widespread among Christianns — and devotion to the incarnate Word’s Most Precious Blood, “shed for many, to the remission of sins.”[2]

It is supremely important that the Church’s liturgy fully conform to Catholic belief (“the law for prayer is the law for faith”[3]), and that only those devotional forms be sanctioned which well up from the unsullied springs of true faith. But the same logic calls for complete accord among different devotions. Those deemed more basic and more conducive to holiness must not be at odds with or cut off from one another. And the more individualistic and secondary ones must give way in popularity and practice to those devotions which more effectively actuate the fullness of salvation wrought by the “one mediator between God and men, Jesus Christ, who is a man, like them, and gave himself as a ransom for them all.” [4] Through living in an atmosphere thus charged with true faith and solid piety the faithful can be confident that they are “thinking with the Church” and holding fast in the loving fellowship of prayer to Christ Jesus, the high priest of that sublime religion which he founded and which owes to him its name, its strength, its dignity.

The Church’s wonderful advances in liturgical piety match the progress of faith itself in penetrating divine truth. Within this development it is most heart-warming to observe how often in recent centuries this Holy See has openly ap proved and furthered the three devotions just mentioned. From the Middle Ages, it is true, many pious persons prac ticed these devotions, which then spread to various dioceses and religious orders and congregations. Nevertheless it remained for the Chair of Peter to pronounce them orthodox and approve them for the Church as a whole.

Suffice it to recall the spiritual favors that our predecessors from the sixteenth century on have attached to practicing devotion to the Most Holy Name of Jesus, which in the previous century St. Bernardine of Siena untiringly spread throughout Italy. Approval was given first to the Office and Mass of the Most Holy Name and later to the Litany.[5] No less striking are the benefits the popes have attached to practicing devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, whose rise and spread owe so much to the revelations of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.[6] So highly have all the popes regarded this devotion that again and again in their official acts they have expounded its nature, defended its validity, promoted its practice. Their crowning achievement on this devotion are three splendid encyclicals.[7]

Likewise the devotion to the Most Precious Blood, which owes its marvellous diffusion to the 19th-century Ro man priest, St. Gaspar del Bufalo, has rightly merited the approval and backing of this Apostolic See. We may recall that by order of Benedict XIV the Mass and Office in honour of the divine Saviour’s adorable Blood were composed. And to fulfill a vow made at Gaeta Pius IX extended the feast to the whole Church.[8] Finally, as a commemoration of the nineteenth centenary of our redemption, Pius XI of happy memory raised this feast to the rank of first-class double, so that the greater liturgical splendour would highlight the devotion and bring to men more abundant fruits of the re deeming Blood.

Following our predecessors’ example we have taken further steps to promote the devotion to the Precious Blood of the unblemished Lamb, Jesus Christ. We have approved the Litany of the Precious Blood drawn up by the Sacred Congregation of Rites and through special indulgences have encouraged its public and private recitation throughout the Catholic world. Amid today’s most serious and pressing spiritual needs, may this latest exercise of that “care for all the churches”[9] proper to our sovereign office awaken in Christian hearts a firm conviction about the supreme abiding effectiveness of these three devotions.

As we now approach the feast and month devoted to honouring Christ’s Blood —- the price of our redemption, the pledge of salvation and life eternal — may Christians meditate on it more fervently, may they savour its fruits more frequently in sacramental communion. Let their meditations on the boundless power of the Blood be bathed in the light of sound biblical teaching and the doctrine of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. How truly precious is this Blood is voiced in the song which the Church sings with the Angelic Doctor (sentiments wisely seconded by our predecessor,Clement VI [10] )

Blood that but one drop of has the world to win all the world forgiveness of its world of sin. [11]

Unlimited is the effectiveness of the God-Man’s Blood — just as unlimited as the love that impelled him to pour it out for us, first at his circumcision eight days after birth, and more profusely later on in his agony in the garden,[12] in his scourging and crowning with thorns, in his climb to Calvary and crucifixion, and finally from out that great wide wound in his side which symbolizes the divine Blood cascading down into all the Church’s sacraments. Such sur passing love suggests, nay demands, that everyone reborn in the torrents of that Blood adore it with grateful love.

The Blood of the new and eternal covenant especially deserves this worship of latria when it is elevated during the sacrifice of the Mass. But such worship achieves its normal fulfilment in sacramental communion with the same Blood, indissolubly united with Christ’s eucharistic Body. In intimate association with the celebrant the faithful can then truly make his sentiments at communion their own: “I will take the chalice of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord. . . The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve my soul for everlasting life. Amen.” Thus as often as they come worthily to this holy table they will receive more abundant fruits of the redemption and resurrection and eternal life won for all men by the Blood Christ shed “through the Holy Spirit.”[13] Nourished by his Body and Blood, sharing the divine strength that has sustained count less martyrs, they will stand up to the slings and arrows of each day’s fortunes — even if need be to martyrdom itself ffor the sake of Christian virtue and the kingdom of God. Theirs will be the experience of that burning love which made St. John Chrysostom cry out:

Let us, then, come back from that table like lions breathing out fire, thus becoming terrifying to the Devil, and remaining mindful of our Head and of the love he has shown for us. . . This Blood, when worthily received, drives away demons and puts them at a distance from us, and even summons to us angels and the Lord of angels. . . This Blood, poured out in abundance, has washed the whole world clean. . . This is the price of the world; by it Christ purchased the Church… This thought will check in us unruly passions. How long, in truth, shall we be attached to present things? How long shall we remain asleep? How long shall we not take thought for our own salvation? Let us remember what privileges God has bestowed on us, let us give thanks, let us glorify him, not only by faith, but also by our very works. [14]

If only Christians would reflect more frequently on the fatherly warning of the first pope: “Look anxiously, then, to the ordering of your lives while your stay on earth lasts.

You know well enough that your ransom was not paid in earthly currency, silver or gold; it was paid in the precious blood of Christ; no lamb was ever so pure, so spotless a victim.”[15] If only they would lend a more eager ear to the apostle of the Gentiles: “A great price was paid to ransom you; glorify God by making your bodies the shrines of his presence.”[16] Their upright lives would then be the shining ex ample they ought to be; Christ’s Church would far more effectively fulfill its mission to men. God wants all men to be saved,[17] for he has willed that they should all be ransomed by the Blood of his only-begotten Son; he calls them all to be members of the one Mystical Body whose head is Christ. If only men would be more responsive to these promptings of his grace, how much the bonds of brotherly love among individuals and peoples and nations would be strengthened. Life in society would be so much more peaceable, so much worthier of God and the human nature created in his image and likeness.[18]

This is the sublime vocation that St. Paul urged Jewish converts to fix their minds on when tempted to nostalgia for what was only a weak figure and prelude of the new covenant: “The scene of your approach now is mount Sion, is the heavenly Jerusalem, city of the living God; here are gathered thousands upon thousands of angels, here is the assembly of those first-born sons whose names are written in heaven, here is God sitting in judgment on all men, here are the spirits of just men, now made perfect; here is Jesus, the spokesman of the new covenant, and the sprinkling of his blood, which has better things to say than Abel’s had.” [19]

We have full confidence, venerable brethren, that these fatherly exhortations of ours, once brought to the attention of your priests and people in whatever way you deem best, will be put into practice not just willingly but enthusiastically. As a sign of heavenly graces and our affection we im part our most heartfelt apostolic blessing to each of you and to all your flocks, and particularly to those who respond with devout generosity to the promptings of this letter.

Given at St. Peter’s in Rome, the eve of the feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ’s Most Precious Blood, June 30, 1960, the second year of our pontificate.

 

  1. Acts 20:28.
  2. Matthew 26 :2&
  3. Encyclical “On the Sacred Liturgy,” America Press edition (New York: 1954), No. 46.
  4. I Timothy 2:5-6.
  5. Acta Sanctae Sedis 18 (1886) :509.
  6. Cf. Office for the feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, 2nd nocturn, lesson 5.
  7. “On the Consecration of mankind to the Sacred Heart of Jesus,” The Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XIII (New York: 1903), 454– 461; “The Reparation Due to the Sacred Heart,” The Catholic Mind 26 (1928): 221-235; “On Devotion to the Sacred Heart,” The Pope Speaks 3 (1956): 115-149.
  1. Decree “Redempti Sumus,” Aug. 10, 1849, Decreta Authentica S.RC. (Rome: 1898), II, No. 2978.
  2. II Corinthians 11:28.
  3. Bull “The Only Begotten Son of God,” Jan. 25, 1343, The Sources of Catholic Dogma (St. Louis: 1957), No. 550.
  4. Hymn “Adoro te devote.” Translation from Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins (Oxford: 1930), No. 89.
  5. Luke 22:43.
  6. Hebrews 9:14.
  7. “Homily 46,” Commentary on Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist (Fathers of the Church, New York: 1957), 469, 471-472.
  8. 1 Peter 1:17-19.
  9. I Corinthians 6:20.
  10. Cf. I Timothy 2:4.
  11. Cf. Genesis 1:26.
  12. Hebrews 12:22-24.

Fortnight for Freedom: June 21st – July 4th

June 23rd, 2016

fortnight-for-freedom-logo-color

Here at home, the persecution is more subtle but growing

By the Most Rev. Paul J. Swain – Bishop of Sioux Falls

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which includes me, ask us to raise up once again in prayerful concern the serious threats to religious liberty during a Fortnight for Freedom. The theme this year is “Witnesses to Freedom.” It begins on June 21 and concludes on the Fourth of July. We will do so at a Holy Hour on June 28 in the Cathedral at 7 p.m.

Pope Francis has noted “A Church or a Christian who does not give witness is sterile; like a dead person who thinks they are alive; like a dried up tree that produces no fruit; an empty well that offers no water! The Church has overcome evil thanks to the courageous, concrete and humble witness of her children. She has conquered evil thanks to proclaiming with conviction: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

The horror of persecution of Christians around the world is breathtaking and tear making. It has resulted in thousands of lives lost and millions displaced. Let us pray for them and support those Church agencies which seek to provide physical assistance and are witnesses of hope that comes with faith in Jesus Christ.

Here at home the persecution is more subtle but growing on many fronts. We are called to be witnesses to religious freedom in the public square including for whom we vote and standing up for our rights especially in the workplace and institutional settings.

In addressing this threat we do so not as partisans who seek political influence, nor as a special interest which seeks favors, nor as those seeking profit. We do so as disciples of Jesus Christ who seek to follow his directive to first love God with all our heart and mind and soul and strength, and then our neighbor as our self.

One journalist wrote that we Christians are now exiles in our own country. Even if true, we must make clear that we have not left our country and that we will stand up for our God-given rights to religious liberty and freedom of conscience.

As we do so we pray for those who reject faith and those including some government officials, corporate powers and ideological zealots who view believers as old-fashioned, as pests, and even as enemies. We pray for their conversion and changed hearts. We do so not as victims but with the hope that comes from knowing that our Lord has overcome the world; not as adversaries but as evangelists who seek to share the joy of Christ with all; not as dividers but as healers, as instruments of Christ’s invitation to fullness of life in Him.

As we face disagreements and hostility we must do so with civility, compassion, forgiveness but also with courage. We ought not forsake Christ for popularity or paper peace. Our souls and the souls of those who touch our lives and those whose lives we touch are on the line.

It is within that context we approach this continuing threat. Thus we recognize the rule of law in our country to which we owe respect; we also recognize the law of God to which we owe obedience. While respecting civil law generally we cannot disown God’s law.

What are God’s laws that we must defend and are threatened in today’s culture? They include:

  1. the dignity of human life from conception to natural death, and respecting all persons in the years in-between,
  2. the family unit as the basis on which a stable society is grounded
  3. marriage as intended by God which is the union of one man and one woman open to children
  4. the responsibility to feed the hungry, comfort the sick and welcome the stranger in ways consistent with the teachings of Christ, and
  5. recognizing that God is the creator and we are his creatures subject to his natural laws rejecting ideologies that center on ourselves as little gods.

The fact is that we now are surrounded by a culture that essentially rejects the presence of God and our need for God.

Pope Francis noted this trend: “When in the name of an ideology, there is an attempt to remove God from society, it ends up adoring idols, and very soon men and women lose their way, their dignity is trampled and their rights violated.”

One spiritual advisor noted that there are three pagan gods being worshipped today in our country: the god of economics, the god of politics, and the god of entertainment. Each has its narrow and self-centered agenda which it seeks to impose upon us all. The frightening reality today is that they have come together to bully and subjugate those of us who worship the true God. Thus by threats of boycotts, by ruthless imposition of government regulations and by the media saturation with sordid and unseemly images, they seek to drown religious freedom.

What is on the horizon that may restrict our religious liberty and freedom of conscience? That threat includes the use of government regulations to force individual believers and Catholic institutions to violate moral truth such as the mandate to provide drugs that cause abortions. They include the use of government to force employing in Catholic schools and other institutions those who reject in word or action Christ’s teaching.

They include efforts to punish faith-affirming speech as harassment or discriminatory or bigoted hate speech. They include efforts to restrict or withhold accreditation and licenses unless our beliefs are compromised. They include prohibiting government grants and contracts and tax-exemptions in order to limit our outreach ministries by which we live our baptismal call to serve all, Catholics and not.

They include using law suits as time-devouring weapons or to bully settlements that weaken financial support for Church ministries. They include intimidating small business owners to violate their consciences or face going out-of-business. The list could go on.

We clergy, consecrated and lay, must recommit to defending the free exercise of religion and of speech from hostile judges, government regulators, legislative bodies at all levels, corporate boards and media moguls. In that ministry we will be good citizens and persons of charity, but with the motto ever in our hearts, as St. Thomas More, another witness and martyr for the faith, put it, “I am the King’s good servant but God’s first.”

Interview with Robert Cardinal Sarah

June 23rd, 2016

Cardinal Sarah: ‘How to Put God Back at the Center of the Liturgy’

From: THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER; TRANSLATED OF AN INTERVIEW WITH CARDINAL SARAH, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments; BY CHRISTINE BROESAMLE; Translation of an interview originally published by the French magazine Famille Chretienne.

 

Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, calls us to a serious reflection on the Eucharist. He also invites priests and the faithful to turn and “orient” themselves towards the East, “the Orient” — that is, to Christ.

Several weeks ago, you discussed a desire to see “The Sacrament of Sacraments put back in the central place,” that is, the Eucharist. What is your reasoning?

Cardinal Sarah: I wish to engage a serious consideration on this question, with the goal of placing the Eucharist back at the center of our lives. I have witnessed that, very often, our liturgies have become like theater productions. Often, the priest no longer celebrates the love of Christ through his sacrifice, but just a meeting among friends, a friendly meal, a brotherly moment. In looking to invent creative or festive liturgies, we run the risk of worship that is too human, at the level of our desires and the fashions of the moment. Little by little, the faithful are separated from that which gives life. For Christians, the Eucharist is a question of life and death!

How can we put God at the center?

Cardinal Sarah: The liturgy is the door to our union with God. If the Eucharistic celebrations are transformed into human self-celebrations, the peril is immense, because God disappears. One must begin by replacing God at the center of the liturgy. If man is at the center, the Church becomes a purely human society, a simple nonprofit, like Pope Francis has said. If, on the contrary, God is at the heart of the liturgy, then the Church recovers its vigor and sap! Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger prophetically wrote, “In our relationship with the liturgy, the destiny of the faith and of the Church plays out.”

What remedy do you recommend to us?

Cardinal Sarah: The recognition of the liturgy as the work of God implies a true conversion of the heart. The Second Vatican Council insisted on a major point: In this domain, the importance is not what we do, but what God does. No human work can ever accomplish what we find at the heart of the Mass: the sacrifice of the cross.  The liturgy permits us to go out past the walls of this world. To find the sacredness and the beauty of the liturgy requires, therefore, a work of formation for the laity, the priests and the bishops. It is an interior conversion.  To put God at the center of the liturgy, one must have silence: this capacity to silence ourselves [literally: “shut up”] to listen to God and his word. I believe that we don’t meet God except in the silence and the deepening of his word in the depths of our heart.

How do we do this concretely?

Cardinal Sarah: To convert is to turn towards God. I am profoundly convinced that our bodies must participate in this conversion. The best way is certainly to celebrate — priests and faithful — turned together in the same direction: toward the Lord who comes. It isn’t, as one hears sometimes, to celebrate with the back turned toward the faithful or facing them. That isn’t the problem. It’s to turn together toward the apse, which symbolizes the East, where the cross of the risen Lord is enthroned. By this manner of celebrating, we experience, even in our bodies, the primacy of God and of adoration. We understand that the liturgy is first our participation at the perfect sacrifice of the cross. I have personally had this experience: In celebrating thus, with the priest at its head, the assembly is almost physically drawn up by the mystery of the cross at the moment of the elevation.

But is this way of celebrating the Mass authorized?

Cardinal Sarah: It is legitimate and conforms to the letter and the spirit of the Council. In my capacity as the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, I continue to remind all that the celebration toward the East (versus orientem) is authorized by the rubrics of the missal, which specify the moments when the celebrant must turn toward the people. A particular authorization is, therefore, not needed to celebrate Mass facing the Lord. Thus, in an article published by LOsservatore Romano June 12, 2015, I proposed that the priests and the faithful turn toward the East at least during the Penitential Rite, during the singing of the Gloria, during the Propers and during the Eucharistic Prayer.  In the minds of many, the change of the orientation of the altar is tied to Vatican II. Is this accurate?  More than 50 years after the closure of Vatican II, it becomes urgent that we read these texts! The Council never required the celebration facing the people! This question is not even brought up by the Constitution [on Sacred Liturgy], Sacrosanctum Concilium.  What’s more, the Council Fathers wanted to emphasize the necessity for all to enter into participation of the celebrated mystery. In the years that have followed Vatican II, the Church has searched for the means of putting this intuition into practice.

Thus, to celebrate facing the people became a possibility, but not an obligation. The Liturgy of the Word justifies the face-to-face [orientation] of the lector and the listeners, the dialogue and the teaching between the priest and his people. But from the moment that we begin to address God — starting with the Offertory — it is essential that the priest and the faithful turn together toward the East. This corresponds completely with that which was willed by the Council Fathers.

I believe that we need to review the Council text. Certain adaptations to the local culture have probably not been fully developed enough. I have the translation of the Roman Missal in mind. In certain countries, important elements have been suppressed, notably the moment of the Offertory. In French, the translation of the Orate fratres has been truncated. The priest must say, “Pray my brothers that my sacrifice which is also yours would be agreeable to God the almighty Father.” And the faithful should respond: “May the Lord receive from your hands this sacrifice for the praise and the glory of his Name, for our good and that of all his Holy Church.” [Translator’s noteIn French, currently the people respond: “For the glory of God and the salvation of the world.”] At the audience which the Pope granted me on Saturday, April 2, he confirmed that the new translation of the Roman Missal must imperatively respect the Latin text.

What do you think about the participation of the faithful?

Cardinal Sarah: The participation of the faithful is primary. It consists, first of all, of allowing ourselves to be led to follow Christ in the mystery of his death and of his resurrection. “One doesn’t go to Mass to attend a representation. One goes to participate in the mystery of God,” Pope Francis reminded us very recently. The orientation of the assembly toward the Lord is a simple and concrete means to encourage a true participation for all at the liturgy. The participation of the faithful, therefore, would not be understood as a necessity to “do something.” On this point, we have deformed the teaching of the Council. On the contrary, it is to allow Christ to take us and associate us with his sacrifice. Only a view tempered in a contemplative faith keeps us from reducing the liturgy to a theater show where each has a role to play. The Eucharist makes us enter in the prayer of Jesus and in his sacrifice, because he alone knows how to adore in spirit and in truth.

What significance does the Church give to this question of orientation?

Cardinal Sarah: To begin with, we are not the only ones to pray “oriented,” that is, facing the East. The Jewish Temple and the synagogues were always facing East. In regaining this orientation, we can return to our origins. I note also that some non-Christians, the Muslims in particular, pray facing the East.

For us, the light is Jesus Christ. All the Church is oriented, facing East, toward Christ: ad Dominum. A Church closed in on herself in a circle will have lost her reason for being. For to be herself, the Church must live facing God. Our point of reference is the Lord! We know that he has been with us and that he returned to the Father from the Mount of Olives, situated to the East of Jerusalem, and that he will return in the same way. To stay turned toward the Lord, it is to wait for him every day. One must not allow God reason to complain constantly against us: “They turn their backs toward me, instead of turning their faces!” (Jeremiah 2:27).

June 18th – 26th: Novena in Preparation for the Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

June 17th, 2016

Below are the prayers, included in this week’s bulletin, which we will use after every Holy Mass (2 pages).  On Monday, June 27th, there will be a special Evening Mass at 7:00 p.m. to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Novena for Parish June 18 through 26

Novena for Parish June 18 through 26

 

Welcome Back to Salem, Archbishop Gullickson!

June 13th, 2016

SALEM SPECIAL

Prayer for the Christian Family

May 11th, 2016

Prayer for the Christian Family

The Mass is too long…

May 11th, 2016

The Mass is TOO LONG

Friday, May 6th through Saturday, May 14th: Novena in Preparation for Pentecost

May 8th, 2016

Pentecost Novena for Web