Archive for June, 2016

Fortnight for Freedom: June 21st – July 4th

Thursday, 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

Thursday, 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

Friday, 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!

Monday, June 13th, 2016

SALEM SPECIAL