Thursday, November 29, 2012

The first to follow Christ; the Feast of an Apostle

St. Andrew

St. Andrew
St. Andrew
Feastday: November 30
Patron of Fisherman

Andrew, like his brother Simon Peter, was a fisherman. He became a disciple of the great St. John the Baptist, but when John pointed to Jesus and said, "Behold the Lamb of God!" Andrew understood that Jesus was greater. At once he left John to follow the Divine Master. Jesus knew that Andrew was walking behind him, and turning back, he asked, "what do you seek?" When Andrew answered that he would like to know where Jesus lived, Our Lord replied, "Come and see." Andrew had been only a little time with Jesus when he realized that this was truly the Messiah.
From then on, he chose to follow Jesus. Andrew was thus the first disciple of Christ. Next, Andrew brought his brother Simon (St. Peter) to Jesus and Jesus received him, too, as His disciple. At first the two brothers continued to carry on their fishing trade and family affairs, but later, the Lord called them to stay with Him all the time. He promised to make them fishers of men, and this time, they left their nets for good. It is believed that after Our Lord ascended into Heaven, St. Andrew went to Greece to preach the gospel. He is said to have been put to death on a cross, to which he was tied, not nailed. He lived two days in that state of suffering, still preaching to the people who gathered around their beloved Apostle. Two countries have chosen St. Andrew as their patron - Russia and Scotland.

The reality of the Permanent Deacon

On this Thursday night, watching the New Orleans Saints on the tube, it's kind of nice to relax for a change.  I don't know if people understand this but even in my relaxing, doing something as secular as fooball gazing, I'm still a Deacon.  Just like the Priest is always a Priest; so too the Deacon.  The Deacon does share in the Sacrament of Holy Orders, in a distinct and seperate ministry from the Priest and the Bishop.  None the less, by virtue of his ordination, he indeed receives the Sacrament of Holy Orders, thus he is sealed with an indelible mark.

I often say on these pages that it is not what we do, it's who we are.  Yet in the ministry of the Permanent Deacon, you encounter me the most in my "doing".  As in anything in life, we have among our community those Deacons that balance ministry with the real and important responsibilities of family and work, others who are out of balance because they say yes to too many ministry opportunities and can find themselves overwhelmed and finally those who, sadly, find little time to carry out the mission of the Deacon.  Sometimes, Deacons can reach a point where they find themselves no longer involved in the ministry of charity but still want to vest on Sunday at Mass.  Here, I'm not talking about a Deacon who may be dealing with health or age issues, to be clear.  As I appreciate my ministry of the Deacon, I vest on Sunday because I minister on Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday, etc.

Where do I fall?  Much of the time, especially lately, I'm that guy who says yes a bunch.  Sometimes I regret this but only when my eagerness to respond can result in less than quality service to the Church and the people of God.  When I serve He, and His people, deserve my best.  More times than I can count, even when overloaded, I can feel the presence of the Holy Spirit getting me through, providing me strength, spirtually and physically.

Consider the recent days and days to come.  After assisting at two Masses last weekend, one on a Saturday and one on Sunday morning, I faced at least 4 hours of paperwork to finalize pending weddings and baptisms.  Monday evening after a usual work Monday, I met with our diaconate director and assistant director to review required paperwork on a large group of deacon candidates.  At least that meeting wrapped up by 9:30 as in p.m.  Tuesday, I was able to exercise my first service vocation(that would be marriage) in a special way as I escorted my wife through a long morning of medical tests and then running the appropriate errands after her procedure.  Of course there were prayers of thanksgiving as all turned out well for her!  Once settled in, I was off to parish staff and ministry meetings, filling out final paperwork for weekend weddings, then off on an hour long drive to New Orleans to be present for the rehearsal for ordination for our 2012 candidates who become Deacons Saturday.  Rehearsal and the drive home meant walking in the house at 10:30 p.m.  Just don't ask me what I ate on a crazy busy day like Tuesday.  On Wednesday, after coordinating a visit of my pastoral team to Rayburn prison, I fulfilled a long ago commitment to conducting an Adoration and Benediction for both evening sessions for our PSR students.  That is always a wonderful experience; deeply moving as I see young people "get it" that Jesus is truly present in the Blessed Sacrament.  By the way, I put in a full day at work too!  So even though tonight I am home, I have finished paperwork on two weddings, helped schedule another baptism and soon need to pack for the day ahead.

Here is what is pending.  Friday I leave for New Orleans, my bride along for the ride, as we check in to a downtown hotel to be close to the action.  What action?  Tomorrow night it is a wedding rehearsal uptown for Saturday nuptials.  When that is over, we drive across the river to be present to those 20 men and their wives who will be completing their very intimate, very spiritual prayer vigil with their Archbishop; who happens to be my Archbishop too.  This prayer vigil, in part, really helps the soon to be ordained understand the unique relationship he soon will enjoy with his Ordinary.  Then the big day: Ordination of 20 new Permanent Deacons at 10 a.m. inside historic and sacred St. Louis Cathedral.  Thanks to the kindness of this class, I am privileged to be the Deacon of the Gospel for the Ordination Mass.  I am so joyful to share their special day in such an awesome way.  Not much time to celebrate as I hope to drive across the river to at least visit with one newlywed couple at their reception; a couple I prepared over the past six months.  Then it's off to preside at the wedding of another couple in uptown New Orleans.  That wedding will be very special as I've known the groom since his CCD days at St. Jane's.  After another night in the city, my bride and I return to the Northshore for my regular duties assisting at the altar at the 9 a.m. Mass and then the 11 a.m. Mass in support of our newly ordained and assigned Deacon, who will assist at his first Mass.

So I offer this not to say, wow look at all the Deacon does or to even have some well intentioned folk feel sorry for me.  As I pointed out long ago when I started this blog, as often as I could, let me share with you the nature of the Permanent Diaconate; a glimpse into the reality of the Permanent Deacon!

Pray for all vocations always; and say a pray from time to time for all the many Permanent Deacons who, like Christ the Servant, serve and seek not to be served!

Angels throughout Salvation History

Read the Catechism in a Year

Read the Catechism: Day 50

Christ "with all his angels"
331 Christ is the center of the angelic world. They are his angels: "When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him...." They belong to him because they were created through and for him: "for in him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities — all things were created through him and for him." They belong to him still more because he has made them messengers of his saving plan: "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?"
332 Angels have been present since creation and throughout the history of salvation, announcing this salvation from afar or near and serving the accomplishment of the divine plan: they closed the earthly paradise; protected Lot; saved Hagar and her child; stayed Abraham's hand; communicated the law by their ministry; led the People of God; announced births and callings; and assisted the prophets, just to cite a few examples. Finally, the angel Gabriel announced the birth of the Precursor and that of Jesus himself.
333 From the Incarnation to the Ascension, the life of the Word incarnate is surrounded by the adoration and service of angels. When God "brings the firstborn into the world, he says: 'Let all God's angels worship him.'" Their song of praise at the birth of Christ has not ceased resounding in the Church's praise: "Glory to God in the highest!" They protect Jesus in his infancy, serve him in the desert, strengthen him in his agony in the garden, when he could have been saved by them from the hands of his enemies as Israel had been. Again, it is the angels who "evangelize" by proclaiming the Good News of Christ's Incarnation and Resurrection. They will be present at Christ's return, which they will announce, to serve at his judgement.
The angels in the life of the Church
334 In the meantime, the whole life of the Church benefits from the mysterious and powerful help of angels.
335 In her liturgy, the Church joins with the angels to adore the thrice-holy God. She invokes their assistance (in the funeral liturgy's In Paradisum deducant te angeli...["May the angels lead you into Paradise..."]). Moreover, in the "Cherubic Hymn" of the Byzantine Liturgy, she celebrates the memory of certain angels more particularly (St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, and the guardian angels).
336 From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. "Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life." Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.

Those permanent Deacons just keep on growing

Catholic World News

US: number of religious sisters declines by over 2,000 in one year

Thanks to Deacon's Bench
CWN - November 29, 2012
The number of religious sisters in the United States fell from 57,113 to 55,045 in a one-year period, according to data in the 2011 and 2012 editions of The Official Catholic Directory.
During the same period:
  • the number of priests fell slightly from 40,271 to 40,203
  • the number of seminarians fell from 5,247 to 5,015, with most of the decline occurring among religious-order (and not diocesan) seminarians
  • the number of religious brothers fell from 4,650 to 4,518
  • the number of permanent deacons rose from 17,436 to 17,816 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bishop, Preacher, Martyr, Saint

St. Saturninus

St. Saturninus
St. Saturninus
Feastday: November 29

St. Saturninus Bishop of Toulouse and Martyr November 29 A.D. 257 St. Saturninus went from Rome by the direction of pope Fabian, about the year 245, to preach the faith in Gaul, where St. Trophimus, the first bishop of Arles, had some time before gathered a plentiful harvest. In the year 250, when Decius and Gratus were consuls, St. Saturninus fixed his episcopal see at Toulouse. Fortunatus tells us, that he converted a great number of idolaters by his preaching and miracles. This is all the account we have of him till the time of his holy martyrdom. The author of his acts, who wrote about fifty years after his death, relates, that he assembled his flock in a small church; and that the capitol, which was the chief temple in the city, lay in the way between that church and the saint's habitation. In this temple oracles were given; but the devils were struck dumb by the presence of the saint as he passed that way. The priests spied him one day going by, and seized and dragged him into the temple. declaring that he should either appease the offended deities by offering sacrifice to them, or expiate the crime with his blood. Saturninus boldly replied: "I adore one only God, and to him I am ready to offer a sacrifice of praise. Your gods are devils, and are more delighted with the sacrifice of your souls than with those of your bullocks. How can I fear them who, as you acknowledge, tremble before a Christian?" The infidels, incensed at this reply, abused the saint with all the rage that a mad zeal could inspire, and after a great variety of indignities, tied his feet to a wild bull, which was brought thither to be sacrificed. The beast being driven from the temple, ran violently down the hill, so that the martyr's scull was broken, and his brains dashed out. His happy soul was released from the body by death, and fled to the kingdom of peace and glory, and the bull continued to drag the sacred body, and the limbs and blood were scattered on every side, till, the cord breaking, what remained of the trunk was left in the plain without the gates of the city. Two devout women laid the sacred remains on a bier, and hid them in a deep ditch, to secure them from any further insult, where they lay in "wooden coffin" till the reign of Constantine the Great. Then Hilary, bishop of Toulouse, built a small chapel over this his holy predecessor's body Sylvius, bishop of that city towards the close of the fourth century, began to build a magnificent church in honor of the martyr, which was finished and consecrated by his successor Exuperius, who, with great pomp and piety, translated the venerable relics into it. This precious treasure remains there to this day with due honor. The martyrdom of this saint probably happened m the reign of Valerian, in 257.

Angels explained

Read the Catechism: Day 49

325 The Apostles' Creed professes that God is "creator of heaven and earth". The Nicene Creed makes it explicit that this profession includes "all that is, seen and unseen".
326 The Scriptural expression "heaven and earth" means all that exists, creation in its entirety. It also indicates the bond, deep within creation, that both unites heaven and earth and distinguishes the one from the other: "the earth" is the world of men, while "heaven" or "the heavens" can designate both the firmament and God's own "place" — "our Father in heaven" and consequently the "heaven" too which is eschatological glory. Finally, "heaven" refers to the saints and the "place" of the spiritual creatures, the angels, who surround God.
327 The profession of faith of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) affirms that God "from the beginning of time made at once (simul) out of nothing both orders of creatures, the spiritual and the corporeal, that is, the angelic and the earthly, and then (deinde) the human creature, who as it were shares in both orders, being composed of spirit and body."
The existence of angels — a truth of faith
328 The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls "angels" is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition.
Who are they?
329 St. Augustine says: "'Angel' is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is 'spirit'; if you seek the name of their office, it is 'angel': from what they are, 'spirit', from what they do, 'angel.'" With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they "always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven" they are the "mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word".
330 As purely spiritual creatures angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Saint of the Miraculous Medal

St. Catherine Laboure

St. Catherine Laboure
St. Catherine Laboure
Feastday: November 28
Beatified By: May 28, 1933 by Pope Pius XI
Canonized By: July 27, 1947 by Pope Pius XII

St. Catherine Laboure, virgin, was born on May 2, 1806. At an early age she entered the community of the Daughters of Charity, in Paris, France. Three times in 1830 the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Catherine Laboure, who then was a twenty-four year old novice.
On July 18, the first apparition occurred in the community's motherhouse. St. Catherine beheld a lady seated on the right side of the sanctuary. When St. Catherine approached her, the heavenly visitor told her how to act in time of trial and pointed to the altar as the source of all consolation. Promising to entrust St. Catherine with a mission which would cause her great suffering, the lady also predicted the anticlerical revolt which occurred at Paris in 1870.
On November 27, the lady showed St. Catherine the medal of the Immaculate Conception, now universally known as the "Miraculous Medal." She commissioned St. Catherine to have one made, and to spread devotion to this medal. At that time, only her spiritual director, Father Aladel, knew of the apparitions. Forty-five years later, St. Catherine spoke fully of the apparitions to one of her superiors. She died on December 31, 1876, and was canonized on July 27, 1947. Her feast day is November 28.

Ordination rehersal; check!

Ordination retreats behind them, all the classes and seminars in the past, the signing of their oaths and pledges done, all that remains are the events of ordination week and the ordination itself.  The big events of ordination week are the rehersal and the prayer vigil the night before ordination.

Tonight was the rehersal.  All twenty men, with their wives were present in historic St. Louis Cathedral for this important walk through of the Mass and ordination rite.  Nothing was left to chance.  Every aspect of the Mass and the the actual rites were played out.  The candidates got to feel that which will happen to them Saturday; the pledging of obedience to the Archbishop, the laying on of hands, the receiving of the Book of the Gospels, the laying prostrate on the marble floor during the litany of Saints!  The men also practiced being Deacon as some will move to service at the altar during the liturgy of the Eucharist.  Others will be ministers of the cup.  Even the wives had to practice bringing up the gifts and receiving the handoff from their husbands of their new Book of the Gospels.

Now ordination rehersal is not without its pain points but I've never experienced this.  You see for my own rehersal, a freak December snow storm made the roads in my area impassable to New Orleans.  Yes, I missed my own ordination rehersal.  Somehow I made it through ordination and tonight, got to feel all the nuances of the rehersal.  I'm not just an interested bystander; I had to rehearse too.  This fine class of 2012 has asked me to proclaim the Gospel.  I am simply honored and humbled by this opportunity.  At least tonight I only had to rehearse the first and last lines of the Gospel.

For these twenty men and their wives, they now will gather again at the diaconate center, across the river from the Cathedral, and meet in an intimate prayer setting with their Archbishop.  They will prayerfully anticipate the grace of ordination in the Sacrament of Holy Orders to be bestowed the next morning.

Please keep these men, their wives and families, and all Permanent Deacons in your prayers.  May our 2012 brothers join the larger diaconate community in a life of serving and not being served in imitation of Christ the Servant!

Catechism lessons rolling right along

Read the Catechism: Day 48

315 In the creation of the world and of man, God gave the first and universal witness to his almighty love and his wisdom, the first proclamation of the "plan of his loving goodness", which finds its goal in the new creation in Christ.
316 Though the work of creation is attributed to the Father in particular, it is equally a truth of faith that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit together are the one, indivisible principle of creation.
317 God alone created the universe, freely, directly and without any help.
318 No creature has the infinite power necessary to "create" in the proper sense of the word, that is, to produce and give being to that which had in no way possessed it (to call into existence "out of nothing") (cf DS 3624).
319 God created the world to show forth and communicate his glory. That his creatures should share in his truth, goodness and beauty — this is the glory for which God created them.
320 God created the universe and keeps it in existence by his Word, the Son "upholding the universe by his word of power" (Heb 1:3), and by his Creator Spirit, the giver of life.
321 Divine providence consists of the dispositions by which God guides all his creatures with wisdom and love to their ultimate end.
322 Christ invites us to filial trust in the providence of our heavenly Father (cf. Mt 6:26-34), and St. Peter the apostle repeats: "Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you" (1 Pet 5:7; cf. Ps 55:23).
323 Divine providence works also through the actions of creatures. To human beings God grants the ability to cooperate freely with his plans.
324 The fact that God permits physical and even moral evil is a mystery that God illuminates by his Son Jesus Christ who died and rose to vanquish evil. Faith gives us the certainty that God would not permit an evil if he did not cause a good to come from that very evil, by ways that we shall fully know only in eternal life.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Benedictine Abbot and Saint

St. Virgilius of Salzburg

St. Virgilius of Salzburg
St. Virgilius of Salzburg
Feastday: November 27
700 - 784

Benedictine bishop, also called Vergilius, Virgil, Ferghil, and Feargal. A native of Ireland, he entered a monastery and probably served as abbot of Aghaboe before setting out on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He then spent two years in France, later going to Bavaria, Germany, where he assisted St. Rupert, the Apostle of Austria. He was elected abbot of the Benedictine abbey of St. Peter at Salzburg and bishop of the city about 765. A noted intellectual, he believed that the earth was a sphere, which brought him into conflict with St. Boniface of Mainz who twice denounced him to Rome. Both times Virgilius was exonerated, and his reputation as an Apostle of Carinthia (modern southern Austria), where he conducted missionary labors, was unblemished. Besides rebuilding the cathedral of Salzburg, he encouraged a vast missionary venture into Carinthia. Virgilius died after returning from one such mission on November 27, in Salzbwg. He was canonized in 1232.

Monday morning's Catechism lesson

Read the Catechism: Day 47

Providence and the scandal of evil.
309 If God the Father almighty, the Creator of the ordered and good world, cares for all his creatures, why does evil exist? To this question, as pressing as it is unavoidable and as painful as it is mysterious, no quick answer will suffice. Only Christian faith as a whole constitutes the answer to this question: the goodness of creation, the drama of sin and the patient love of God who comes to meet man by his covenants, the redemptive Incarnation of his Son, his gift of the Spirit, his gathering of the Church, the power of the sacraments and his call to a blessed life to which free creatures are invited to consent in advance, but from which, by a terrible mystery, they can also turn away in advance. There is not a single aspect of the Christian message that is not in part an answer to the question of evil.
310 But why did God not create a world so perfect that no evil could exist in it? With infinite power God could always create something better. But with infinite wisdom and goodness God freely willed to create a world "in a state of journeying" towards its ultimate perfection. In God's plan this process of becoming involves the appearance of certain beings and the disappearance of others, the existence of the more perfect alongside the less perfect, both constructive and destructive forces of nature. With physical good there exists also physical evil as long as creation has not reached perfection.
311 Angels and men, as intelligent and free creatures, have to journey toward their ultimate destinies by their free choice and preferential love. They can therefore go astray. Indeed, they have sinned. Thus has moral evil, incommensurably more harmful than physical evil, entered the world. God is in no way, directly or indirectly, the cause of moral evil. He permits it, however, because he respects the freedom of his creatures and, mysteriously, knows how to derive good from it:
For almighty God..., because he is supremely good, would never allow any evil whatsoever to exist in his works if he were not so all-powerful and good as to cause good to emerge from evil itself.
312 In time we can discover that God in his almighty providence can bring a good from the consequences of an evil, even a moral evil, caused by his creatures: "It was not you", said Joseph to his brothers, "who sent me here, but God... You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive." From the greatest moral evil ever committed — the rejection and murder of God's only Son, caused by the sins of all men — God, by his grace that "abounded all the more", brought the greatest of goods: the glorification of Christ and our redemption. But for all that, evil never becomes a good.
313 "We know that in everything God works for good for those who love him." The constant witness of the saints confirms this truth:
St. Catherine of Siena said to "those who are scandalized and rebel against what happens to them": "Everything comes from love, all is ordained for the salvation of man, God does nothing without this goal in mind."
St. Thomas More, shortly before his martyrdom, consoled his daughter: "Nothing can come but that that God wills. And I make me very sure that whatsoever that be, seem it never so bad in sight, it shall indeed be the best."
Dame Julian of Norwich: "Here I was taught by the grace of God that I should steadfastly keep me in the faith... and that at the same time I should take my stand on and earnestly believe in what our Lord shewed in this time — that 'all manner [of] thing shall be well.'"
314 We firmly believe that God is master of the world and of its history. But the ways of his providence are often unknown to us. Only at the end, when our partial knowledge ceases, when we see God "face to face", will we fully know the ways by which — even through the dramas of evil and sin — God has guided his creation to that definitive sabbath rest for which he created heaven and earth.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The patron Saint for all altar servers

St. John Berchmans

St. John Berchmans
St. John Berchmans
Feastday: November 26
Patron of Altar Servers
1599 - 1621

Eldest son of a shoemaker, John was born at Diest, Brabant. He early wanted to be a priest, and when thirteen became a servant in the household of one of the Cathedral canons at Malines, John Froymont. In 1615, he entered the newly founded Jesuit College at Malines, and the following year became a Jesuit novice. He was sent to Rome in 1618 to continue his studies, and was known for his diligence and piety, impressing all with his holiness and stress on perfection in little things. He died there on August 13. Many miracles were attributed to him after his death, and he was canonized in 1888. He is the patron of altar boys. His feast day is November 26.

New Orleans Saints take huge step backwards

Today was a bad day for the New Orleans Saints and their die-hard fans.  A huge opportunity to seriously be entertained as a playoff contender, after a horrendous 0-4 start, is now gone.  Technically, playoff hopes are still alive.  Today's effort, however, should give us plenty of evidence why that will not be the case.  One caveat to this dire prediction: if the rest of the NFC continues to play equally lousy football, maybe 3 or 4 wins would do it.  But when the Saints line up to play their next five opponents, they face two additional opponents: the NFL referees under some type of orders from the Godell Gestapo and their fiercest opposition: THEMSELVES.

First things first.  Today's loss to San Francisco, a powerful opponent, was the THIRD time this year that the Saints failed to defend the dome.  To be a champion you can't have mediocre performance at home.  Just one more home loss makes them a .500 home team and you just ain't gonna win anything with that type of home record.  Unacceptable.  Next, we know well in advance of this game that we have a horrible defense.  With some recent incremental improvement, the defense can only still be classified as horrible.  We get by with a powerful offense; and an offense that recently found its running legs.  Today, our offense stunk and when Drew Brees throws not one but two interceptions that result in pick six instant touchdowns, you are doomed.  Add to that the  pitiful offensive line play, exacerbated by injuries to first, second and third string tackles, and a lack of a running game and the offense is not that good.

Let me expand on Drew Brees because I am but one lone voice concerned about the big contract.  I surely wanted Drew back and leading this great offense, but I think the organization paid a dear price, both in dollars and talent lost.  Simply said, Drew cannot possibly perform like he did today with Saints fans expecting victory.

The Saints find themselves at 5-6 with 5 games left starting with a short week road trip to Atlanta.  The Falcons will be favored and rematches don't always bode well for the Saints.  If they find themselves at 5-7, pretty much stick a fork in playoff hopes.  After that game the Saints still have to face the Giants, also on the road, Tampa, Dallas on the road and Carolina.  Only Carolina is bad, and they beat the Saints.  7-9 is looking like a best case scenario, with 8-8 not out of the question.  To expect the Saints to bounce back from today's butt whipping and win 2 on the road against the Falcons and Giants is a bit much.

Sean Payton is still the X factor in all of this.  How much of this is directly attributable to his not being present.  Not present on the sideline is bad enough, but all week long too is obviously more than even a good team can overcome.  Speaking of overcoming, one need only to watch the Saints season, game by game, and not wonder if the NFL really wants to teach them a lesson from an officiating point of view.  Now I know this sounds like I'm a "homer"and trying to deflect from the Saints.  I am not giving the Saints any cover here.  Someone simply watch the film today and tell me how one offensive and two defensive pass interference calls were missed; rather blantantly.

A huge step backwards; thats all I can say.  Strap it on for Thursday; the Saints must line up against the Falcons.  We can hope!

Beautiful essay about Real Presence

Why don’t you join our church?.........Thank you for the invitation to visit your church, I enjoyed the visit. Walking into the door the aroma of fresh Starbucks coffee and fresh baked cookies and donuts was very welcoming. The brightness of the lighting, the new paint, new carpet and the general remodeling of the building was impressive (I used to work in that building when it was a “big box” ...
grocery store) The Christian band onstage that played for 45 minutes was very impressive. Very talented musicians played and sang very good and inspiring Christian based songs in pop, rock, and indie genres. The Minister gave a stirring and Holy Spirit filled sermon. His Bible references were superb, the congregation was uplifted. The air was electrified. Everybody was smiling, laughing, waving, and enjoying the Holy Spirits gifts of praise as best they could in the worship of our God and our savior, his son Jesus Christ. Something was wrong with me though. I was lonely. Even though several hundred people were with me in the sanctuary. I was by myself. The person who I most wanted to be with was not there in flesh and blood. Jesus was there in spirit and all present praised Him to the fullest I can attest to that. I like your church and congratulate you on your witness to Christ and your praise of God the Father. But, I miss Him so. I am sorry but I cannot abandon Jesus’s Body and Blood on the Altar in the earthly forms of bread and wine consecrated by a priest following in Apostolic succession all the way back to St. Peter whom Jesus in person entrusted the “Keys to the Kingdom” and was present when Jesus instructed all of his Apostles “Do this in memory of me”. I also miss my Heavenly Mother looking down on me and remembering the instructions she gave to the servers at the wedding in Cana. “Do whatever He tells you”. If every mother who ever existed on the planet earth only had 1 instruction and 1 instruction only to give to their children in their whole lives it should be this. “Do whatever Jesus tells you”. So sadly my friends I must go back “Home” where it all started from. Where I belong, to the Catholic Church. I extend an invitation to you to visit us in our worship. I am sad to say we are not as audio or visually inclined as your church. Our Parish Hall may have only store bought cookies and brewed in the pot coffee. But Jesus will be present in the real Flesh and Blood as well as Holy Spirit. I can promise you that.

>>>I found this gem on facebook by Micahel Tusa who gave permission for me to reprint.

Divine Providence in today's Catechism lesson

Read the Catechism: Day 46

302 Creation has its own goodness and proper perfection, but it did not spring forth complete from the hands of the Creator. The universe was created "in a state of journeying" (in statu viae) toward an ultimate perfection yet to be attained, to which God has destined it. We call "divine providence" the dispositions by which God guides his creation toward this perfection:
By his providence God protects and governs all things which he has made, "reaching mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and ordering all things well". For "all are open and laid bare to his eyes", even those things which are yet to come into existence through the free action of creatures.
303 The witness of Scripture is unanimous that the solicitude of divine providence is concrete and immediate; God cares for all, from the least things to the great events of the world and its history. The sacred books powerfully affirm God's absolute sovereignty over the course of events: "Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases." And so it is with Christ, "who opens and no one shall shut, who shuts and no one opens". As the book of Proverbs states: "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will be established."
304 And so we see the Holy Spirit, the principal author of Sacred Scripture, often attributing actions to God without mentioning any secondary causes. This is not a "primitive mode of speech", but a profound way of recalling God's primacy and absolute Lordship over history and the world, and so of educating his people to trust in him. The prayer of the Psalms is the great school of this trust.
305 Jesus asks for childlike abandonment to the providence of our heavenly Father who takes care of his children's smallest needs: "Therefore do not be anxious, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?"... Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well."
Providence and secondary causes
306 God is the sovereign master of his plan. But to carry it out he also makes use of his creatures' co-operation. This use is not a sign of weakness, but rather a token of almighty God's greatness and goodness. For God grants his creatures not only their existence, but also the dignity of acting on their own, of being causes and principles for each other, and thus of co-operating in the accomplishment of his plan.
307 To human beings God even gives the power of freely sharing in his providence by entrusting them with the responsibility of "subduing" the earth and having dominion over it. God thus enables men to be intelligent and free causes in order to complete the work of creation, to perfect its harmony for their own good and that of their neighbors. Though often unconscious collaborators with God's will, they can also enter deliberately into the divine plan by their actions, their prayers and their sufferings. They then fully become "God's fellow workers" and co-workers for his kingdom.
308 The truth that God is at work in all the actions of his creatures is inseparable from faith in God the Creator. God is the first cause who operates in and through secondary causes: "For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure." Far from diminishing the creature's dignity, this truth enhances it. Drawn from nothingness by God's power, wisdom and goodness, it can do nothing if it is cut off from its origin, for "without a Creator the creature vanishes." Still less can a creature attain its ultimate end without the help of God's grace.

Praying the Litany to Christ the King

Lord, have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us,
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

God, our Heavenly Father, Who has made firm for all ages your Son's Throne,
Have mercy on us.

God the Son, Jesus, our Victim-High Priest, True Prophet, and Sovereign King,
Have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit, poured out upon us with abundant newness,
Have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, Three Persons yet One God in the Beauty of Your Eternal Unity,
Have mercy on us.

O Jesus, our Eternal King,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, Most Merciful King,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, extending to us the Golden Scepter of Your Mercy,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, in Whose Great Mercy we have been given the Sacrament of Confession,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, Loving King Who offers us Your Healing Grace,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, our Eucharistic King,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, the King foretold by the prophets,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King of Heaven and earth,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King and Ruler of All Nations,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, Delight of the Heavenly Court,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Most Compassionate toward Your subjects,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King from Whom proceeds all authority,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, in whom, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, we are One,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Whose Kingdom is not of this world,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Whose Sacred Heart burns with Love for all mankind,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Who is the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Who has given us Mary, the Queen, to be our dear Mother,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Who will come upon the clouds of Heaven with Power and Great Glory,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Whose Throne we are to approach with confidence,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Who made Mary the Mediatrix of All Graces,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Who made Mary Co-Redemptrix, Your partner in the Plan of Salvation,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Who desires to heal us of all division and disunity,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King wounded by mankind's indifference,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Who gives the balm of Your Love with which to console Your Wounded Heart,
Reign in our hearts.
O Jesus, King Who is the Great I AM within us, our Wellspring of Pure Delight,
Reign in our hearts.

Jesus, King of All Nations, True Sovereign of all earthly powers,
May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, subjecting under Your feet forever the powers of hell
, May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, the Light beyond all light, enlightening us in the darkness that surrounds us,
May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, Whose Mercy is so Great as to mitigate the punishments our sins deserve
, May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, recognized by the Magi as the True King,
May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, the Only Remedy for a world so ill,
May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, Who blesses with Peace those souls and nations that acknowledge You as True King,
May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, Who Mercifully sends us your Holy Angels to protect us,
May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, Whose Chief Prince is Saint Michael the Archangel,
May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, Who teaches us that to reign is to serve,
May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, Just Judge Who will separate the wicked from the good,
May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, before Whom every knee shall bend,
May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, Whose Dominion is an everlasting Dominion,
May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, Lamb who will Shepherd us,
May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, Who after having destroyed every sovereignty,
May we serve You. authority and power, will hand over the Kingdom to Your God and Father,
Jesus, King of All Nations, Whose Reign is without end,
May we serve You.
Jesus, King of All Nations, Whose kindness toward us is steadfast, and whose fidelity endures forever,
May we serve You.

Eternal Father, Who has given us Your Only Begotten Son, to be our Redeemer, One True Mediator, and Sovereign King,
We praise and thank You. Loving Jesus, Sovereign King, Who humbled Yourself for Love of us and took the form of a servant, , We praise and thank You.
Holy Spirit, Third Person of the Trinity, Love of the Father and the Son, Who sanctifies us and gives us Life, We praise and thank You.

Mary, our Queen and Mother, who mediates to Jesus on our behalf,
Pray for us.

Mary, our Queen and Mother, through whom all Grace come to us,
Pray for us.

Mary, our Queen and Mother, Singular Jewel of the Holy Trinity,
We love You.

Holy Angels and Saints of our Divine King,
Pray for us and Protect us.


Christ the King Novena

Virgin, martyr and Saint

Catherine of Alexandria
St. Catherine of Alexandria
St. Catherine of Alexandria
Feastday: November 25

St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr whose feast day is November 25th. She is the patroness of philosophers and preachers.
St. Catherine is believed to have been born in Alexandria of a noble family. Converted to Christianity through a vision, she denounced Maxentius for persecuting Christians. Fifty of her converts were then burned to death by Maxentius.
Maxentius offered Catherine a royal marriage if she would deny the Faith. Her refusal landed her in prison. While in prison, and while Maxentius was away, Catherine converted Maxentius' wife and two hundred of his soldiers. He had them all put to death.
Catherine was likewise condemned to death. She was put on a spiked wheel, and when the wheel broke, she was beheaded. She is venerated as the patroness of philosophers and preachers. St. Catherine's was one of the voices heard by St. Joan of Arc.
Maxentius' blind fury against St. Catherine is symbolic of the anger of the world in the face of truth and justice. When we live a life of truth and justice, we can expect the forces of evil to oppose us. Our perseverance in good, however, will be everlasting.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Our celebration this weekend: Christ the King

Ordinary Time: November 25th

Solemnity of Christ the King

The Feast of Christ the King was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 as an antidote to secularism, a way of life which leaves God out of man's thinking and living and organizes his life as if God did not exist. The feast is intended to proclaim in a striking and effective manner Christ's royalty over individuals, families, society, governments, and nations.Today's Mass establishes the titles for Christ's royalty over men: 1) Christ is God, the Creator of the universe and hence wields a supreme power over all things; "All things were created by Him"; 2) Christ is our Redeemer, He purchased us by His precious Blood, and made us His property and possession; 3) Christ is Head of the Church, "holding in all things the primacy"; 4) God bestowed upon Christ the nations of the world as His special possession and dominion.Today's Mass also describes the qualities of Christ's kingdom. This kingdom is: 1) supreme, extending not only to all people but also to their princes and kings; 2) universal, extending to all nations and to all places; 3) eternal, for "The Lord shall sit a King forever"; 4) spiritual, Christ's "kingdom is not of this world". — Rt. Rev. Msgr. Rudolph G. Bandas 
Christ the King as Represented in the Liturgy
The liturgy is an album in which every epoch of Church history immortalizes itself. Therein, accordingly, can be found the various pictures of Christ beloved during succeeding centuries. In its pages we see pictures of Jesus suffering and in agony; we see pictures of His Sacred Heart; yet these pictures are not proper to the nature of the liturgy as such; they resemble baroque altars in a gothic church. Classic liturgy knows but one Christ: the King, radiant, majestic, and divine. With an ever-growing desire, all Advent awaits the "coming King"; in the chants of the breviary we find repeated again and again the two expressions "King" and "is coming." On Christmas the Church would greet, not the Child of Bethlehem, but the Rex Pacificus — "the King of peace gloriously reigning." Within a fortnight, there follows a feast which belongs to the greatest of the feasts of the Church year -- the Epiphany. As in ancient times oriental monarchs visited their principalities (theophany), so the divine King appears in His city, the Church; from its sacred precincts He casts His glance over all the world....On the final feast of the Christmas cycle, the Presentation in the Temple, holy Church meets her royal Bridegroom with virginal love: "Adorn your bridal chamber, O Sion, and receive Christ your King!" The burden of the Christmas cycle may be summed up in these words: Christ the King establishes His Kingdom of light upon earth! If we now consider the Easter cycle, the luster of Christ's royal dignity is indeed somewhat veiled by His sufferings; nevertheless, it is not the suffering Jesus who is present to the eyes of the Church as much as Christ the royal Hero and Warrior who upon the battlefield of Golgotha struggles with the mighty and dies in triumph. Even during Lent and Passiontide the Church acclaims her King. The act of homage on Palm Sunday is intensely stirring; singing psalms in festal procession we accompany our Savior singing: Gloria, laus et honor tibi sit, Rex Christe, "Glory, praise and honor be to Thee, Christ, O King!" It is true that on Good Friday the Church meditates upon the Man of Sorrows in agony upon the Cross, but at the same time, and perhaps more so, she beholds Him as King upon a royal throne. The hymn Vexilla Regis, "The royal banners forward go," is the more perfect expression of the spirit from which the Good Friday liturgy has arisen. Also characteristic is the verse from Psalm 95, Dicite in gentibus quia Dominus regnavit, to which the early Christians always added, a ligno, "Proclaim among the Gentiles: the Lord reigns from upon the tree of the Cross!" During Paschal time the Church is so occupied with her glorified Savior and Conqueror that kingship references become rarer; nevertheless, toward the end of the season we celebrate our King's triumph after completing the work of redemption, His royal enthronement on Ascension Thursday. Neither in the time after Pentecost is the picture of Christ as King wholly absent from the liturgy. Corpus Christi is a royal festival: "Christ the King who rules the nations, come, let us adore" (Invit.). In the Greek Church the feast of the Transfiguration is the principal solemnity in honor of Christ's kingship, Summum Regem gloriae Christum adoremus (Invit.). Finally at the sunset of the ecclesiastical year, the Church awaits with burning desire the return of the King of Majesty.We will overlook further considerations in favor of a glance at the daily Offices. How often do we not begin Matins with an act of royal homage: "The King of apostles, of martyrs, of confessors, of virgins — come, let us adore" (Invit.). Lauds is often introduced with Dominus regnavit, "The Lord is King". Christ as King is also a first consideration at the threshold of each day; for morning after morning we renew our oath of fidelity at Prime: "To the King of ages be honor and glory." Every oration is concluded through our Mediator Christ Jesus "who lives and reigns forever." Yes, age-old liturgy beholds Christ reigning as King in His basilica (etym.: "the king's house"), upon the altar as His throne. Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius ParschThings to Do:
  • Traditionally there would be a procession for Christ the King on this feastday. The Blessed Sacrament would be carried and the procession would end with a prayer of consecration to Christ the King and Benediction. Try to participate if your parish has a Christ the King procession. If not, try having one at home (minus the Blessed Sacrament).
  • Read Pope Pius XI's encyclical Quas primas (On the Feast of Christ the King) which shows that secularism is the direct denial of Christ's Kingship.
  • Learn more about secularism - read the Annual Statement of the Bishops of the United States released on November 14, 1947.

Early Church Martyr and Saint

St. Chrysogonus

St. Chrysogonus
St. Chrysogonus
Feastday: November 24
Patron of Zadar

St. Chrysogonus Martyr November 24 Fifth century The name of this holy martyr, who was apprehended at Rome, but beheaded at Aquileia in the persecution of Dioclesian, occurs in the canon of the mass, and is mentioned in the ancient Calendar of Carthage of the fifth century, and in all Western Martyrologies since that time. The church in Rome of which he is titular saint, is mentioned in a council held by pope Symmachus, and in the epistles of St. Gregory the Great; it gives title to a cardinal priest. The head of St. Chrysogonus is shown there in a rich case, but his body is at Venice.
from Wikipedia
Saint Chrysogonus (Italian: San Crisogono) is a saint and martyr of ancient Rome venerated by the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.


Chrysogonus was martyred at Aquileia, probably during the Persecution of Diocletian, was buried there, and publicly venerated by the faithful of that region. He is the patron saint of Zadar. His name is found in the Martyrologium Hieronymianum on two different days, 31 May and 24 November, with the topographical note "in Aquileia".[1]
Very early indeed the veneration of this martyr of Aquileia was transferred to Rome, where in Trastevere a titular church bears his name. This church ("Titulus Chrysogoni") is first mentioned in the signatures of the Roman Synod of 499,[2] but it probably dates from the 4th century.[3] It is possible that the founder of the church was a certain Chrysogonus, and that, on account of the similarity of name, the church was soon devoted to the veneration of the martyr of Aquileia, In a similar way the veneration of Saint Anastasia of Sirmium was transplanted to Rome. It is also possible, however, that from the beginning, for some unknown reason, it was consecrated to Saint Chrysogonus and does take its name from him.
About the 6th century arose a legend of the martyr that made him a Roman and brought him into relation with Saint Anastasia, evidently to explain the veneration of Chrysogonus in the Roman church that bears his name. According to this legend, Chrysogonus, at first a functionary of the vicarius Urbis, was the Christian teacher of Anastasia, the daughter of the noble Roman Praetextatus. Being thrown into prison during the persecution of Diocletian, he comforted by his letters the severely afflicted Anastasia. By order of Diocletian, Chrysogonus was brought before the emperor at Aquileia, condemned to death, and beheaded. His corpse, thrown into the sea, was washed ashore and buried by the aged priest Zoilus who is also the patron saint of Zadar. In the legend the death of the saint is placed on 23 November. The Roman Catholic Church celebrates him on 24 November, the anniversary of the dedication of the church that bears his name.[4] The Orthodox Church celebrates his feast day on 22 December together with his spiritual daughter Saint Anastasia the Roman.
St Chrysogonus is one of the saints mentioned during the Commemoration of the Living in the Roman Canon.

Homily for the Solemnity Christ the King

Soon and very soon we are going to see the king...soon and very soon we are going to see the king...soon and very soon we are going to see the king...alleluia.alleluia we are going to see the king! 

I must admit, I had never heard this great Gospel tune until I arrived at prison.  Let me refresh your memories, I arrived at prison not as a prisoner but as a chaplain; just to make sure.  But I digress; this is simply a hymn of great joy and anticipation sung in many faith traditions that serves as a reminder that, we too, at the end of our lives, can go and see the king!  And live with Him forever!  Can I get a great big amen!

Here in these parts of Lousiana if someone told me we were going to see the king I would surmise we are off to a Mardi Gras Ball or Mardi Gras parade.  With the big super krewes selecting entertainment royalty as their kings it would make sense that we might go and see for free our favorite actor or singer or TV star.  On Mardi Gras Day we wait for the arrival of Rex, whose very name means king.  Perhaps we worship  from time to time at our grand Cathedral in the French Quarter, St. Louis Cathedral.  No, this historic place of worship is not named for the city to the north that shares the Mississippi River with us; it is named for St. Louis, the King of France!

As people of faith, we are called today to always remember that we have but one King.  He is the King of Kings: Jesus Christ!

Some how, some way, we have arrived at the end of the liturgical year.  All of our Sunday's in ordinary time are over and next week we arrive at Advent.  Where did our liturgical year go?  As a universal Church community, we end our liturgical year with today's Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King of the Universe!

The Church, in Her sublime wisdom, weaves together three wonderful readings from the Holy Scriptures to help us celebrate the Feast of the King.  In Daniel we hear of a vision of the coming of one like the Son of man coming to receive kingship!  In John's spiritual vision contained in the Book of Revelation we hear that Jesus is the faithful witness and the ruler of all the kings of the earth!  Glory and power belong to this King as we are reminded by good St. John.

But to understand the true meaning of Jesus' kingship, the Church gives us the dialogue between Jesus and Pilate, in St. John's Gospel, as the King stands condemned, about to die for us.  Wait a minute; we are to believe that this great and glorious King, the King of all Kings once stood condemned to die and did die on that Cross for us?  This mighty and powerful King shed His blood, for us?  Indeed we do believe this and not only do we believe it, we are proud to profess it.  Since we know the rest of the story, that Jesus indeed died and rose again, then ascended to the Father to sit at His right hand in Heaven, Holy Mother Church declares Jesus is King of the Universe!

This solemnity is more than a date to mark on the calendar and yes, it is more than a link between the end of the liturgical year and the start of Advent.  This solemnity should give each of us pause in the week ahead to reflect and prepare.  Most of us do not remember this but at our very Baptism, after the water is poured and the Trinitarian formula declared, the newly baptized is anointed with sacred chrism, holy oil, and we are told that just as Jesus was priest, prophet and king, so are we.  Yes, in our Baptism we share in the kingship of the King of Kings, Jesus the Christ.  In this week ahead, can we reflect on the gift of Baptism in our own lives?  Perhaps we can remember our Baptismal promises this week and remember we pledge to reject Satan and sin and profess our faith in the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit and the one, holy, apostolic and catholic Church. May that be part of our prayer time this week.  To prepare for the coming Advent season, we can also recall our shared kingship with Jesus.  Remember that Jesus was the type of King that came to serve and not be served.  In this week ahead, reflect on our lives of service to the Church by the way we serve one another.  Can we each make an effort this week to be of service to someone who truly has a need?  It may be a simple act of kindness or even a profound act of charity; either way, we put our own kingship into action as we imitate the kingship of the King.

Soon and very soon we are going to see the King!  Soon and very soon we are going to see the King!  Soon and very soon we are going to see the King!  And to that we can all say Alleluia!!