Archive for August, 2008

The Right Rev. Msgr. John Bernard Weber, P.A.

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

A Sung Requiem Mass, in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, will be celebrated on Msgr. Weber’s birthday, Thursday, Novemeber 6, 2008 in the newly-restored Church of St. Mary, Salem.  All are invited to assist at this Mass offered for the repose of the soul our third pastor, offered at the beautiful high altar he installed in 1905.

Msgr Weber holycard for Papal HonorsMsgr Weber, Protonotary Apostolic, celebrating Solemn Pontical MassMsgr. Weber in rochet and mantellettaFather John Bernard Weber


Our third pastor, the Reverend John Bernard Weber, arrived in Salem on January 22, 1897. Born in Germany on November 6, 1869, Father Weber studied for the priesthood at St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee, and was ordained on June 24, 1893. Father Weber continued Father Weixelberger’s plans for a new stone church, but changed the proposed location from N. Main Street to its present location on Vermont Street. The cornerstone of the new stone church was laid on July 4, 1898, with the church opening for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in 1899. The three altars and the pulpit, carved in Bavaria, arrived in 1905, with the appointments from the first church used in the intervening years following the opening of the church. Amidst great fanfare and enthusiasm, St. Mary’s Church was solemnly consecrated by the Right Reverend Thomas O’Gorman, Second Bishop of Sioux Falls, under the title of Our Lady, Help of Christians, on June 18, 1907.

Father Weber began the building of the first school building in 1901, and invited the Sisters of St. Francis from Milwaukee to serve as teachers. In 1929, the High School was opened and served the parish until it closed in 1970. Father Weber was named a Monsignor on January 16, 1923 and a Protonotary Apostolic by the Servant of God, Pope Pius XII in 1952, the same year he celebrated the 60th Anniversary of his Ordination to the Priesthood.

In June of 1956, Msgr. Weber resigned as pastor and moved in with his niece, Frances Weber, and her husband, Steve, on their farm northeast of Salem. Msgr. Weber died six months later, on December 11, 1956, and his Solemn Requiem Mass was celebrated on December 15, with the Reverend Urban J. Rodenbur (third native son of St. Mary’s to be ordained a priest) as Celebrant. Father Henry Kolbeck, another native son of the parish, served as the Deacon of the Mass, and the Reverend Patrick C. Conway, future pastor of St. Mary’s, serving as Subdeacon. The body of the famous third pastor of Salem lies in St. Mary’s Cemetery, awaiting the Resurrection of the Body on the last day.

In 1985, St. Mary’s Parish celebrated its centennial, and the church was formally placed on the National Historic Register. In 2010, St. Mary’s will celebrate its 125th anniversary.

A few more church restoration photos…

Friday, August 29th, 2008

More to be added after September 4.


Liturgical Ministry Schedule for September now on-line

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

August 21: Feast of Pope St. Pius X

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

Quotes from the writings of Pope St. Pius X (born Guiseppe Sarto in 1835; elected Sovereign Pontiff in 1903 and died in 1914 on the eve of World War I), who was Pope when St. Mary’s Church, Salem was consecrated by Bishop Thomas O’Gorman in 1907:

“Truly we are passing through disastrous times, when we may well make our own the lamentation of the Prophet: ‘There is no truth, and there is no mercy, and there is no knowledge of God in the land’ (Hosea 4:1). Yet in the midst of this tide of evil, the Virgin most merciful rises before our eyes like a rainbow, as the arbiter of peace between God and man.

“God could have given us the Redeemer of the human race, and the Founder of the Faith, in another way than through the Virgin, but since Divine Providence has been pleased that we should have the Man-God through Mary, who conceived Him by the Holy Spirit and bore Him in her womb, it only remains for us to receive Christ from the hands of Mary.

“My hope is in Christ, who strengthens the weakest by His Divine help. I can do all in Him who strengthens me. His Power is infinite, and if I lean on him, it will be mine. His Wisdom is infinite, and if I look to Him for counsel, I shall not be deceived. His Goodness is infinite, and if my trust is stayed in Him, I shall not be abandoned.


 “Let the storm rage and the sky darken – not for that shall we be dismayed. If we trust as we should in Mary, we shall recognize in her, the Virgin Most Powerful “who with virginal foot did crush the head of the serpent.


“Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to Heaven.”


from the apostolic constitution of Pope Saint Pius X on Sacred Scripture:

“The collection of psalms found in Scripture, composed as it was under divine inspiration, has, from the very beginnings of the Church, shown a wonderful power of fostering devotion among Christians as they offer “to God a continuous sacrifice of praise, the harvest of lips blessing his name.” Following a custom already established in the Old Law, the psalms have played a conspicuous part in the sacred liturgy itself, and in the divine office. Augustine expresses this well when he says: ‘God praised himself so that man might give him fitting praise; because God chose to praise himself man found the way in which to bless God.’ …
“The psalms have also a wonderful power to awaken in our hearts the desire for every virtue. Athanasius says: ‘The psalms seem to me to be like a mirror, in which the person using them can see himself, and the stirrings of his own heart; he can recite them against the background of his own emotions.’ Augustine says in his Confessions: ‘How I wept when I heard you hymns and canticles, being deeply moved by the sweet singing of your Church. Those voices flowed into my earts, truth filtered into my heart, and from my heart surged waves of devotion.’ 

“Indeed, who could fail to be moved by those many passages in the psalms which set forth so profoundly the infinite majesty of God, his omnipotence, his justice and goodness and clemency, too deep for words, and all the other infinite qualities of his that deserve our praise? Who could fail to be roused to the same emotions by the prayers of thanksgiving to God for blessings received by the petitions, so humble and confident, for blessings still awaited, by the cries of a soul in sorrow for sin committed? Who would not be fired wiht love as he looks on the likeness of Christ, the redeemer, here so lovingly foretold? His was ‘the voice’ Augustine heard in every psalm, the voice of praise, of suffering, of joyful expectation, of present distress.”



Feast of St. Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop & Doctor of the Church

Friday, August 1st, 2008

Saint Alphonsus Maria Liguori was born in Marianella near Naples on September 27, 1696. He was the first born of a rather large family belonging to the Neapolitan nobility. His received a broad education in the humanities, classical and modern languages, painting and music. He composed a Duetto on the Passion, as well as the most popular Christmas carol in Italy, Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle, and numerous other hymns. He finished his university studies earning a Doctorate in both civil and canon law and began his practice in the legal profession.In 1723, after a long process of discernment, he abandoned his legal career and, despite his father’s strong opposition, began his seminary studies. He was ordained a priest on December 21, 1726, at the age of 30. He lived his first years as a priest with the homeless and marginalized young people of Naples. He founded the “Evening Chapels”. Run by the young people themselves, these chapels were centers of prayer, community, the Word of God, social activities and education. At the time of his death, there were 72 of these chapels with over 10,000 active participants.

In 1729, Alphonsus left his family home and took up residence in the Chinese College in Naples. It was there that he began his missionary experience in the interior of the Kingdom of Naples where he found people who were much poorer and more abandoned than any of the street children in Naples.

On November 9, 1732, Alphonsus founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, popularly known as the Redemptorists, in order to follow the example of Jesus Christ announcing the Good News to the poor and the most abandoned. From that time on, he gave himself entirely to this new mission.

Alphonsus was a lover of beauty: musician, painter, poet and author. He put all his artistic and literary creativity at the service of the mission and he asked the same of those who joined his Congregation. He wrote 111 works on spirituality and theology. The 21,500 editions and the translations into 72 languages that his works have undergone attest to the fact that he is one of the most widely read authors. Among his best known works are: The Great Means of prayer, The Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ, The Glories of Mary and The Visits to the Most Holy Sacrament. Prayer, love, his relationship with Christ and his first-hand experience of the pastoral needs of the faithful have made Alphonsus one of the great masters of the interior life.

Alphonsus’ greatest contribution to the Church was in the area of Moral Theological reflection with his Moral Theology. This work was born of Alphonsus’ pastoral experience, his ability to respond to the practical questions posed by the faithful and from his contact with their everyday problems. He opposed the sterile legalism which was suffocating theology and he rejected the strict rigorism of the time… the product of the powerful elite. According to Alphonsus, those were paths that were closed to the Gospel because “such rigor has never been taught nor practiced by the Church”. He knew how to put theological reflection at the service of the greatness and dignity of the person, of a moral conscience, and of evangelical mercy.

Alphonsus was consecrated bishop of St. Agatha of the Goths in 1762. He was 66 years old. He tried to refuse the appointment because he felt too old and too sick to properly care for the diocese. In 1775, he was allowed to retire from his office and went to live in the Redemptorist community in Pagani where he died on August 1, 1787. He was canonized in 1831, proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1871 and Patron of Confessors and Moralists in 1950.


From Pope John Paul II’s encyclical, ECCLESIA DE EUCHARISTIA:

Friday, August 1st, 2008

48. Like the woman who anointed Jesus in Bethany, the Church has feared no “extravagance”, devoting the best of her resources to expressing her wonder and adoration before the unsurpassable gift of the Eucharist. No less than the first disciples charged with preparing the “large upper room”, she has felt the need, down the centuries and in her encounters with different cultures, to celebrate the Eucharist in a setting worthy of so great a mystery. In the wake of Jesus’ own words and actions, and building upon the ritual heritage of Judaism, the Christian liturgy was born. Could there ever be an adequate means of expressing the acceptance of that self-gift which the divine Bridegroom continually makes to His Bride, the Church, by bringing the Sacrifice offered once and for all on the Cross to successive generations of believers and thus becoming nourishment for all the faithful? Though the idea of a “banquet” naturally suggests familiarity, the Church has never yielded to the temptation to trivialize this “intimacy” with her Spouse by forgetting that He is also her Lord and that the “banquet” always remains a sacrificial banquet marked by the blood shed on Golgotha. The Eucharistic Banquet is truly a “sacred” banquet, in which the simplicity of the signs conceals the unfathomable holiness of God: O sacrum convivium, in quo Christus sumitur! The bread which is broken on our altars, offered to us as wayfarers along the paths of the world, is panis angelorum, the bread of angels, which cannot be approached except with the humility of the centurion in the Gospel: “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof ” (Mt 8:8; Lk 7:6).