Archive for October, 2009

All Saints at Salem

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

This evening, for the Vigil Mass of All Saints, the side altar of St. Aloysius was filled with the relics of many saints and blesseds.  Next to this altar, in front of the statue of St. Michael from Ecuador, the November Book of Remembrance was placed.  Here are some photos:

Another plea to restore the AD ORIENTEM posture…

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

From the very educational blog,

by Jeffrey Tucker

I’ve long been convinced of the case for the celebrant’s facing East during Mass, to preserve the symbolism of a people led by the priest in procession, and also because facing the people has given the impression that the celebrant is performing for the people. It is not just the direction that he faces that is reoriented. It is the focus of the liturgy itself that becomes reoriented.

However, it is not until just today that I full appreciated the negative and revolutionary effect that Mass facing the people had on the historic experience of the faith. I’m touring chapels and cathedrals in Salamanca, Spain. It is heartbreaking to see these grand and glorious high altars and then a tiny little table in front, put there in 1970-something, for the priest to stand facing the people. In the stunning chapel of the St. Esteban Convent, it would appear as if the high altar was actually removed and replaced with a table, therefore removing the theological rationale for the entire wall behind the altar and even refocusing the purpose and goal of the entire structure itself.

In short, this just isn’t working. It makes no sense architecturally, theologically, or liturgically. Being here, amidst structures 1000 years old, you realize what incredible implications the turn around truly had, almost akin to an act of violence. No, I’m not of the opinion that this was done by the devil or by heretics (though both will always be with us). My guess is that it was well intended, with the idea of permitting the people to connect more directly with the action on the altar. But it was still a mistake. It didn’t work and it has created eyesores all over the world.

Benedict XVI has argued forcefully for restoration here, and truly the priority of this is quite urgent. There is nothing in the Vatican Council that mandated this. Even the General Instruction contains passage presuming that the priest must turn to face the people, hinting that an Eastward orientation is still presumed. Why then were these tables constructed and high altars dismantled? Perhaps it was a kind of cultural frenzy along the lines of the folk Mass. I’m not sure. But being here makes me sure that it is unstable and cannot last.

A simple explanation of the doctrine of INDULGENCES by Cardinal Sean O’Malley

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

From Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s weblog:

I want to mention something about indulgences, which are often misunderstood.  Indulgences are not forgiveness for sin but forgiveness for temporal punishment due to sin.

I like to explain it to people with the following story:

As a child, once I came home very late for dinner. My mother was very upset, and seeing how upset she was, I felt very repentant and I told her that it would never happen again. She told me she forgave me, but as my punishment I would have to do the dishes.

So there was repentance and forgiveness, but there was still punishment.

But, as I started doing the dishes, my nana came in and said, “I will help you.”

That is an indulgence.

God loves us and he forgives us, but in His justice there is still some punishment for sin. The indulgence is when the merits and the sufferings of Jesus and the saints are applied to that punishment.

Bishop Finn of Kansas City, MO on Prayer for the Dead

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Reverend_Robert_W__FinnNovember begins with two great liturgical observances: the Solemnity of All Saints on Nov. 1, and the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed – also called “All Souls”- on Nov. 2. The celebration of Holy Mass is particularly meaningful on these days which remind us of the Communion of Saints to which we belong with those who have gone before us in faith.

Having grown up in a parish named “All Souls,” this day has always had a special meaning for me. Not only were we off school on All Souls day because it was our “feast day,” but we were encouraged to come to church and make a visit before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and offer prayers for the souls in purgatory.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Church clearly affirms her belief that “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven” (CCC, no. 1030). The Church gives the name, “Purgatory,” to this work of purgation or purification, and urges us to pray for the dead, and to do good works (almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance) for their eternal well-being (CCC, nos. 1031-1032).

A special “Plenary Indulgence,” is granted by the Church, applicable to the souls in purgatory, when the Christian faithful devoutly visit a church or an oratory on All Souls Day, and offer some prayers for the faithful departed, minimally the Our Father and the Creed. The traditional prayers I was taught at an early age were the recitation of six Our Fathers, Hail Mary’s and Glory Be’s. I still make an All Souls Day visit each year for these intentions.

The plenary indulgence provides the remission of all temporal punishment due to sin, and assists to ready the person to enter into heaven. The “conditions” that must be met are: That the person making this prayerful visit to gain the indulgence for the poor souls should go to sacramental confession within several days preceding or following their visit and prayers; that they should receive Holy Communion worthily, and offer some prayer for the Pope’s intentions.

Having recently re-read the Pope’s Apostolic Constitution on the doctrine of indulgences, I have noted that the Ordinary (the Bishop) of the Diocese may extend the opportunity for the All Souls Day indulgence such that it can be gained either on All Souls Day or on the preceding or following Sunday, or on the Solemnity of All Saints. I gladly extend this privilege to the faithful within the churches and oratories of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph to this Sunday, so that more may take advantage of this grace of interceding on behalf of our brothers and sisters who have died in Christ.

Though it may seem “quaint” or even archaic to some, the notion of the indulgence is a meaningful expression of the doctrine of Grace and merit, and bears testimony to the power of our prayers for one another, even beyond this life. It also expresses the pastoral solicitude of the Vicar of Christ to “bind and loose” (cf. Matthew 16:19) as an expression of God’s mercy.

The greatest and most powerful prayer we can offer for the eternal salvation of those who have died is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Here the saving gift of Jesus Christ, dying and rising, is made present and its fruits or benefits are applied on behalf of the faithful.

The plenary indulgence proper to All Souls Day is a very special moment in the Church’s liturgical calendar for us to remember those who have gone before us. Let us remember throughout this month that “to pray for the dead is a holy and wholesome thought, that they may be loosed from their sins” (2 Mac 12: 46). Remember them every day before the Lord.

November Ministry Schedule now posted…

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

The Ministry Schedule for November is now posted: go to “pages” on the right side, and then go to the  November schedule…  OR, you can simply click here:

Carmelite Monastery Chapel in Lincoln, Nebraska

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

Last Tuesday, I had the privilege to make a return visit to the Carmelite Monastery of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Valparaiso, Nebraska.  This Carmel, like our Carmel in Alexandria, South Dakota, also traces its foundation to Mexico and its journey to the United States following the persecutions.  Once in Las Vegas, the bishop of Lincoln invited them to his diocese, and the rest is history.  Construction on the monastery began in 2000, and they are at capacity (they have already branched off in a new foundation in Elysburg, PA).  Part of their growth is attributed to the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form and
the Divine Office in the ancient Carmelite Rite.

For more information, contact:

Mother Teresa of Jesus, O.C.D., Prioress
9300 Agnew Road
Valparaiso, NE 68065

Prayer of the Christian Farmer – For a Bountiful Harvest

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009


O GOD, source and giver of all things, Who manifest Your infinity majesty, power and goodness in the earth about us, we give You honor and glory.

For the sun and the rain, for the manifold fruits of our fields, for the in-crease of our herds and flock, we thank You. For the enrichment of our souls with divine grace, we are grateful.

Supreme Lord of the harvest, graciously accept us and the fruits of our toil, in union with Christ Your Son, as atonement for our sins, for the growth of Your Church, for peace and charity in our homes, for salvation to all.


Our Lady of the Prairie

Our Lady of the Prairie

— Holy Mary, Mother of God and Help of Christians, pray for us.

— St. Isidore the Farmer, our heavenly patron and model, pray for us.

October 16: Feast of St. Gerard Majella

Friday, October 16th, 2009
St. Gerard Majellla

St. Gerard Majellla

TODAY, Friday, October 16th, the optional memorial (in the new liturgical calendar) of St. Margaret Mary or St. Hedwig.   It is also the feast of St. Gerard Majella in houses/churches of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer.  In these times when human life is so threatened, I annually offer the Mass of St. Gerard Majella because he is the patron of expectant mothers (along with St. Raymond of Nonnatus), and a patron of children, a good confession, and of those falsely accused.

St. Gerard Majella was born in Muro Lucano, Italy, on April 6, 1726, into a family of humble circumstances. From his parents Gerard learned the love of prayer and sacrifice. When his father died, Gerard, being the only son, had to provide for his family by working as a tailor. At the age of 14 he sought to enter the Capuchin friary but was rejected because of his poor health. After a short time as the domestic servant of the bishop of Lacedonia, he returned to tailoring but earned a minimal income.

In April 1749 after attending a Redemptorist mission in Muro, Gerard succeeded in getting himself accepted by the congregation. Following a trial period and a year of novitiate in the house at Deliceto, he professed religious vows on July 16, 1752. Gerard was noted for his observance of the Redemptorist rule, and collecting money for the material needs of the community. His presence to people who were weighed down by poverty and illiteracy was a sign of hope to them. Gerard had great empathy and testified to trust in the love and the compassion of God.

During his five years as a lay brother in the congregation, Gerard was remarkable for his apostolic zeal, patience in sickness, love for the poor, deep humility in the face of false accusation, heroic obedience, spirit of penance and constancy in prayer. He wrote numerous letters of spiritual direction. The Lord favored him with many spiritual gifts, including prophecy, the reading of people’s hearts, and the gifts of miracles. He died at Materdomini on October 16, 1755.

Gerard was beatified by Leo XII on January 29, 1893, and canonized by St. Pius X on December 11, 1904. He is invoked as patron of mothers, especially in time of pregnancy. Couples hoping to conceive a child also seek St. Gerard’s intercession.

The shrine of St. Gerard Majella is at the basilica in Materdomini, Italy.

For a more detailed biography of St. Gerard, go to:

For more information on the Saints and Blesseds of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (the Redemptorists), go to:

For information on the National Shrine of St. Gerard, go to:

St. Gerard with the Poor

St. Gerard with the Poor


For Motherhood:
O good St. Gerard, powerful intercessor before the throne of God, wonder-worker of our day, I call upon you and seek your help. While on earth, you always fulfilled God’s designs; help me, too, always do God’s holy will. Beseech the master of life, from whom all parenthood proceeds, to bless me with offspring, that I may raise up children to God in this life and heirs to the kingdom of God’s glory in the life to come.  Amen.

For Mother with Child:
O almighty and everlasting God, through the Holy Spirit, you prepared the body and soul of the glorious virgin Mary to be a worthy dwelling place of your divine Son. Through the same Holy Spirit, you sanctified St. John the Baptist, while still in his mother’s womb. Hear the prayers of your humble servant who implores you, through the intercession of St. Gerard, to protect me amid the dangers of childbearing and to watch over the child with which you blessed me. May this child be cleansed by the saving water of baptism and, after a Christian life on earth, may we, both mother and child, attain everlasting bliss in heaven.  Amen.

St Gerard in Glory

St Gerard in Glory

Sunday, October 11th: 47th Anniversary of the Opening of the Second Vatican Council

Saturday, October 10th, 2009
Blessed John XXIII

Blessed John XXIII

Blessed John XXIII decided to convene the 2nd Vatican Council on October 11, 1962, the traditional feast of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pope John XXIII was attuned to the symbolic connections made through feast days.

A key motivation for calling the ecumenical council was John’s overwhelming desire to extend “an invitation to the faithful of the separated communities to participate with us in this quest for unity and grace?” Beginning the Council on this feast day expressed John’s desire to connect with the Orthodox Church, one of the “separated communities,” for whom the feast was especially significant. The readings for the Mass of the Holy Spirit celebrating the opening of the council were chanted in both Latin and Greek, signifying the unity of both East and West.

Pope John died in June of 1963 and was beatified on September 3, 2000.  At that time, Pope John Paul II established October 11 as Blessed John’s feastday, the most significant day of his entire life.   On this special day, let us pray for Church unity and peace, all through the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God and of the Church.

Bishop Sample of Marquette on the “Peace Pulpit” bishop

Saturday, October 10th, 2009
Bishop Alexander K. Sample

Bishop Alexander K. Sample

MARQUETTE, MICHIGAN – This is the statement of Bishop Alexander K. Sample of the Catholic Diocese of Marquette, issued this morning:

 “I attempted to handle this matter in a private, respectful and fraternal manner with Bishop Gumbleton. It is unfortunate that what should have remained a private matter between two bishops of the Catholic Church has been made available for public consumption.

 “I want to first of all say that my decision to ask Bishop Gumbleton not to come to Marquette had absolutely nothing to do with the group who invited him to speak, Marquette Citizens for Peace and Justice, nor with the topic of his publicized speech, since the Church is a strong advocate of peace and justice. I am sorry for the negative impact this has had on those planning this event.

“There is a common courtesy usually observed between bishops whereby when one bishop wishes to enter into another bishop’s diocese to minister or make a public speech or appearance, he informs the local bishop ahead of time and seeks his approval. I have had no communication whatsoever from Bishop Gumbleton.

 “As the Bishop of the Diocese of Marquette, I am the chief shepherd and teacher of the Catholic faithful of the Upper Peninsula entrusted to my pastoral care. As such I am charged with the grave responsibility to keep clearly before my people the teachings of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals. Given Bishop Gumbleton’s very public position on certain important matters of Catholic teaching, specifically with regard to homosexuality and the ordination of women to the priesthood, it was my judgment that his presence in Marquette would not be helpful to me in fulfilling my responsibility. I realize that these were not the topics upon which Bishop Gumbleton was planning to speak. However, I was concerned about his well-known and public stature and position on these issues and my inability to keep these matters from coming up in discussion.  In order that no one becomes confused, everyone under my pastoral care must receive clear teaching on these important doctrines.

 “I offer my prayers for Bishop Gumbleton and for all those who have been negatively affected by this unfortunate situation.”

For more information, to to: