Archive for the ‘New Springtime of the Church’ Category
Parish Knights of Columbus to Sponsor
Our Lady of Guadalupe Prayer Program
at St. Mary’s on September 7th and 8th
The Our Lady of Guadalupe Prayer Program began August 3, 2011 at the 129th Supreme Convention in Denver. This program features an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Our Lady of Guadalupe, as patroness of the Americas, has special significance to the Knights of Columbus. When the Order sponsored a tour of a relic of St. Juan Diego’s tilma in 2003, Our Lady of Guadalupe’s role as mother of all in the Americas became very clear. In city after city, crowds of tens of thousands of people came to venerate Our Lady of Guadalupe. What was most striking was not the number of people, but the number of nationalities and ethnicities represented in each gathering. Likewise, at the Guadalupe Festival sponsored by the Knights of Columbus in 2009 in Phoenix, more than 20,000 people came to venerate and celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is our hope that this prayer program will continue to expand devotion to Our Lady and the evangelization of the Americas.
The pilgrim icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe will be venerated in our church sanctuary next Saturday and Sunday, with a prayer service following the Saturday evening Vigil Mass (beginning around 6:15pm). All are encouraged to attend.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
In writing to you, I wish to inform you that I have successfully completed my first year of studies (out of a total of seven years) at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Nebraska. Thank you for your prayers and support in this endeavor. It has truly been a great year that I will never forget!
I have enjoyed the many opportunities that have been presented to me during my time at the seminary, especially the extra opportunities for prayer, spiritual reading, and for socializing with fellow seminarians. The whole seminary took a trip to Colorado to go hiking in the beginning of the academic year. This was a great chance to begin to become acquainted with my new confrères. The first year class took many day-trips as well, including a visit to the Omaha Zoo, the Strategic Air Command Museum, the Carmelite nuns, the “Pink Sisters,” the Schoenstatt Shrine of Our Lady, and a few nearby hiking trips. These outings provide welcome breaks from the many studies that we do at the seminary.
My classes this year were very good, though. This year, I took Latin I, Introduction to the Spiritual Life, Introduction to Liturgy, Christian Doctrine, Gregorian Chant, Music and Morality, Sacred Scripture, and Constitutions of the FSSP (our fraternity: the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter). I received my report card and found that, with the help of God, I had performed quite well in all of my classes. This fall, I will begin to take more difficult classes as I begin the study of Philosophy for two years, followed by four years of Theology.
Also this fall, on October 19, I will receive what is called the “First Clerical Tonsure.” Tonsure is a ceremony in which a man leaves behind his state as a lay person and becomes a cleric, a person consecrated to the service of God and His Holy Catholic Church. This internal transformation is shown externally by the change of dress that takes place during the ceremony. The man begins to wear publically and constantly the roman cassock and white clerical collar, showing his consecration to the service of God and the Church. The transformation takes place when the Bishop cuts five snips of hair in the shape of a cross from the head of the one being tonsured, symbolizing the renunciation of a worldly life and the offering of oneself to God. One is allowed to let the hair grow back, though.
But why all this? Why give one’s life completely to God? Well, God calls everyone to a particular vocation in life. Some He calls to the priesthood, some to the religious life, others to the married life, and still others He calls to remain unmarried. On our efforts to cooperate with God’s will for our lives depends our Eternal Salvation. If God is calling me to the priesthood, I must cooperate with a generous and joyful heart, recognizing the marvelous privilege it would be to serve God and His people as a priest.
Venerable Pope Pius XII, in his hallmark encyclical letter of 1947, Mediator Dei, stated that “Jesus the Son of God quite clearly had one aim in view when He undertook the mission of mercy which was to endow mankind with the rich blessings of supernatural grace” (MD #1). Before Our Lord’s passion and death, He instituted the Catholic priesthood as a way of perpetuating His work upon Earth, particularly in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which is “the supreme instrument whereby the merits won by the divine Redeemer upon the cross are distributed to the faithful” (MD #79).
Pius XII further explains that “By [priests], [the faithful] will be supplied with the comforts and food of the spiritual life. From them they will procure the medicine of salvation assuring their cure and happy recovery from the fatal sickness of their sins. The priest, finally, will bless their homes, consecrate their families and help them, as they breathe their last, across the threshold of eternal happiness” (MD #43). So, we can see that the priesthood is absolutely essential for the salvation of souls.
In order to ensure that the world has good Catholic priests to lead its people to Christ, it is essential that young men studying for the priesthood in seminaries be formed properly that they may grow in the knowledge and holiness that are necessary to become worthy instruments through which Jesus Christ may communicate to the world “the rich blessings of supernatural grace” (MD #1).
As can easily be seen from the above paragraphs, the priesthood is vitally important, and without seminarians, what guarantee do we have of priests for the future?
So, dear parish family, I ask you to please continue to remember me in your prayers. I have enjoyed my first year very much, and I look forward to a great second year and beyond. It has been great to have been home on summer vacation. I will return to the seminary on August 31. I thank you all for your support, most especially for the prayers that you already offer for me. I pray for you all every day.
Please remember that St. John Vianney, the patron of parish priests, once said, “The priest is not a priest for himself; he is a priest for YOU!”
Thank you all very much!
May God bless you and may Our Lady of Guadalupe protect you!
John E. Streff
On the Feast of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Come, and let us drink of that New River,
Not from barren Rock divinely poured,
But the Fount of Life that is for ever
From the Sepulchre of CHRIST the LORD.
All the world hath bright illumination,—
Heav’n and Earth and things beneath the earth:
’Tis the Festival of all Creation:
CHRIST hath ris’n, Who gave Creation birth:
Yesterday with Thee in burial lying,
Now today with Thee aris’n I rise;
Yesterday the partner of Thy dying,
With Thyself upraise me to the skies.
– St. John of Damascus (780)
O that shame, now ended in His glory!
O that pain, now lost in joy unknown!
Tell it out with praise the whole glad story,
Human nature at the Father’s throne!
-From a hymn by St. Joseph of the Studium (the Hymnographer), of the Eastern Church
A few photos from the 3:00 pm Solemn Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion and Death and from the 7:00 pm Stations of the Cross and Devotions in Honor of Our Lord in the Sepulchre and Our Mother of Sorrows:
POPE BENEDICT’S HOMILY AT OPENING MASS
YEAR OF FAITH
“Through Christ, God is the Principal Subject of Evangelization in the World”
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 11, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Here is the translation of the Holy Father’s homily given , at the Opening Mass of the Year of Faith and on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. The mass was celebrated in St. Peter’s Square.
* * *
Dear Brother Bishops,
Dear brothers and sisters!
Today, fifty years from the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, we begin with great joy the Year of Faith. I am delighted to greet all of you, particularly His Holiness Bartholomew I, Patriarch of Constantinople, and His Grace Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury. A special greeting goes to the Patriarchs and Major Archbishops of the Eastern Catholic Churches, and to the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences. In order to evoke the Council, which some present had the grace to experience for themselves – and I greet them with particular affection – this celebration has been enriched by several special signs: the opening procession, intended to recall the memorable one of the Council Fathers when they entered this Basilica; the enthronement of a copy of the Book of the Gospels used at the Council; the consignment of the seven final Messages of the Council, and of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I will do before the final blessing. These signs help us not only to remember, they also offer us the possibility of going beyond commemorating. They invite us to enter more deeply into the spiritual movement which characterized Vatican II, to make it ours and to develop it according to its true meaning. And its true meaning was and remains faith in Christ, the apostolic faith, animated by the inner desire to communicate Christ to individuals and all people, in the Church’s pilgrimage along the pathways of history.
The Year of Faith which we launch today is linked harmoniously with the Church’s whole path over the last fifty years: from the Council, through the Magisterium of the Servant of God Paul VI, who proclaimed a Year of Faith in 1967, up to the Great Jubilee of the year 2000, with which Blessed John Paul II re-proposed to all humanity Jesus Christ as the one Savior, yesterday, today and forever. Between these two Popes, Paul VI and John Paul II, there was a deep and profound convergence, precisely upon Christ as the center of the cosmos and of history, and upon the apostolic eagerness to announce him to the world. Jesus is the center of the Christian faith. The Christian believes in God whose face was revealed by Jesus Christ. He is the fulfillment of the Scriptures and their definitive interpreter. Jesus Christ is not only the object of the faith but, as it says in the Letter to the Hebrews, he is “the pioneer and the perfecter of our faith” (12:2).
Today’s Gospel tells us that Jesus Christ, consecrated by the Father in the Holy Spirit, is the true and perennial subject of evangelization. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor” (Lk 4:18). This mission of Christ, this movement of his continues in space and time, over centuries and continents. It is a movement which starts with the Father and, in the power of the Spirit, goes forth to bring the good news to the poor, in both a material and a spiritual sense. The Church is the first and necessary instrument of this work of Christ because it is united to him as a body to its head. “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you” (Jn 20:21), says the Risen One to his disciples, and breathing upon them, adds, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (v.22). Through Christ, God is the principal subject of evangelization in the world; but Christ himself wished to pass on his own mission to the Church; he did so, and continues to do so, until the end of time pouring out his Spirit upon the disciples, the same Spirit who came upon him and remained in him during all his earthly life, giving him the strength “to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” and “to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Lk 4:18-19).
The Second Vatican Council did not wish to deal with the theme of faith in one specific document. It was, however, animated by a desire, as it were, to immerse itself anew in the Christian mystery so as to re-propose it fruitfully to contemporary man. The Servant of God Paul VI, two years after the end of the Council session, expressed it in this way: “Even if the Council does not deal expressly with the faith, it talks about it on every page, it recognizes its vital and supernatural character, it assumes it to be whole and strong, and it builds upon its teachings. We need only recall some of the Council’s statements in order to realize the essential importance that the Council, consistent with the doctrinal tradition of the Church, attributes to the faith, the true faith, which has Christ for its source and the Church’s Magisterium for its channel” (General Audience, 8 March 1967); thus said Paul VI.
We now turn to the one who convoked the Second Vatican Council and inaugurated it: Blessed John XXIII. In his opening speech, he presented the principal purpose of the Council in this way: “What above all concerns the Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine be safeguarded and taught more effectively […] Therefore, the principal purpose of this Council is not the discussion of this or that doctrinal theme… a Council is not required for that… [but] this certain and immutable doctrine, which is to be faithfully respected, needs to be explored and presented in a way which responds to the needs of our time” (AAS 54 , 790,791-792).
In the light of these words, we can understand what I myself felt at the time: during the Council there was an emotional tension as we faced the common task of making the truth and beauty of the faith shine out in our time, without sacrificing it to the demands of the present or leaving it tied to the past: the eternal presence of God resounds in the faith, transcending time, yet it can only be welcomed by us in our own unrepeatable today. Therefore I believe that the most important thing, especially on such a significant occasion as this, is to revive in the whole Church that positive tension, that yearning to announce Christ again to contemporary man. But, so that this interior thrust towards the new evangelization neither remain just an idea nor be lost in confusion, it needs to be built on a concrete and precise basis, and this basis is the documents of the Second Vatican Council, the place where it found expression. This is why I have often insisted on the need to return, as it were, to the “letter” of the Council – that is to its texts – also to draw from them its authentic spirit, and why I have repeated that the true legacy of Vatican II is to be found in them. Reference to the documents saves us from extremes of anachronistic nostalgia and running too far ahead, and allows what is new to be welcomed in a context of continuity. The Council did not formulate anything new in matters of faith, nor did it wish to replace what was ancient. Rather, it concerned itself with seeing that the same faith might continue to be lived in the present day, that it might remain a living faith in a world of change. If we place ourselves in harmony with the authentic approach which Blessed John XXIII wished to give to Vatican II, we will be able to realize it during this Year of Faith, following the same path of the Church as she continuously endeavors to deepen the deposit of faith entrusted to her by Christ. The Council Fathers wished to present the faith in a meaningful way; and if they opened themselves trustingly to dialogue with the modern world it is because they were certain of their faith, of the solid rock on which they stood. In the years following, however, many embraced uncritically the dominant mentality, placing in doubt the very foundations of the deposit of faith, which they sadly no longer felt able to accept as truths.
If today the Church proposes a new Year of Faith and a new evangelization, it is not to honor an anniversary, but because there is more need of it, even more than there was fifty years ago! And the reply to be given to this need is the one desired by the Popes, by the Council Fathers and contained in its documents. Even the initiative to create a Pontifical Council for the promotion of the new evangelization, which I thank for its special effort for the Year of Faith, is to be understood in this context. Recent decades have seen the advance of a spiritual “desertification”. In the Council’s time it was already possible from a few tragic pages of history to know what a life or a world without God looked like, but now we see it every day around us. This void has spread. But it is in starting from the experience of this desert, from this void, that we can again discover the joy of believing, its vital importance for us, men and women. In the desert we rediscover the value of what is essential for living; thus in today’s world there are innumerable signs, often expressed implicitly or negatively, of the thirst for God, for the ultimate meaning of life. And in the desert people of faith are needed who, with their own lives, point out the way to the Promised Land and keep hope alive. Living faith opens the heart to the grace of God which frees us from pessimism. Today, more than ever, evangelizing means witnessing to the new life, transformed by God, and thus showing the path. The first reading spoke to us of the wisdom of the wayfarer (cf. Sir 34:9-13): the journey is a metaphor for life, and the wise wayfarer is one who has learned the art of living, and can share it with his brethren – as happens to pilgrims along the Way of Saint James or similar routes which, not by chance, have again become popular in recent years. How come so many people today feel the need to make these journeys? Is it not because they find there, or at least intuit, the meaning of our existence in the world? This, then, is how we can picture the Year of Faith: a pilgrimage in the deserts of today’s world, taking with us only what is necessary: neither staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money, nor two tunics – as the Lord said to those he was sending out on mission (cf. Lk 9:3), but the Gospel and the faith of the Church, of which the Council documents are a luminous expression, as is the Catechism of the Catholic Church, published twenty years ago.
Venerable and dear Brothers, 11 October 1962 was the Feast of Mary Most Holy, Mother of God. Let us entrust to her the Year of Faith, as I did last week when I went on pilgrimage to Loreto. May the Virgin Mary always shine out as a star along the way of the new evangelization. May she help us to put into practice the Apostle Paul’s exhortation, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom […] And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col 3:16-17). Amen.
On Sunday, September 9th, following the 12 noon Traditional Latin Mass (which was a Sung Mass), the Altar Society had a going away party for parishioner John E. Streff, who entered his First Year of Studies for the Priesthood with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter at their Seminary in Denton, Nebraska on September 13th. Here are some photos:
Antique Sanctuary Lamp Given to the Glory and Honor of the Eucharistic Christ and in Loving Memory of Lois Hipschman
The late Lois Hipschman (October 26, 1938 – March 30, 2012) was taught as a child that one could always tell a Catholic church from a Protestant church by the Presence of the Lord Jesus in the tabernacle and because of the sanctuary lamp hanging in the center of the sanctuary. As a youngster in 1946, when Msgr. Weber redecorated the church and removed the hanging lamp for the more convenient free-standing sanctuary lamp-stand, she was a little disappointed. When she passed away in March, her family asked if they still made hanging sanctuary lamps and, if one was available, could they donate it and its installation in memory of Lois. Well, the Pastor told them that they are still made….and, yes they could donate one in her memory.
The sanctuary lamp hanging in the center of our sanctuary is an antique, dating from 1890. Now, well-over 60 years later, the sanctuary lamp again hangs in the center of our sanctuary, signifying (along with the tabernacle veil) the True Presence of Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Our Parish would like to thank Lois’ family for their donation, those who installed the lamp…and, of course, our dearly-departed sister, Lois: May the radiant light of Christ, like the light radiating from the sanctuary lamp, guide you to Heaven, the happy home of the saints and the place of eternal light.
Nota Bene: In the last photos, you can see the fleur-de-lis finial at the base of the Sanctuary Lamp. This finial arrived later, and was added just this past Saturday, September 1st. For those who are interested, the Lamp is lowered and raised by way of an electric wench installed in the attic, with a key-operated control behind the Reredos of the Altar. This electric device is designed to raise and lower large chandeliers one would find in large ball rooms or convention centers, thus avoiding the need for scaffolding each time the light bulbs needed to be replaced.