Thursday, February 28, 2013

A 6th Century Archbishop is our 1st Saint for the month of March

St. David

St. David
St. David
Feastday: March 1

According to tradition, St. David was the son of King Sant of South Wales and St. Non. He was ordained a priest and later studied under St. Paulinus. Later, he was involved in missionary work and founded a number of monasteries. The monastery he founded at Menevia in Southwestern Wales was noted for extreme asceticism. David and his monks drank neither wine nor beer - only water - while putting in a full day of heavy manual labor and intense study. Around the year 550, David attended a synod at Brevi in Cardiganshire. His contributions at the synod are said to have been the major cause for his election as primate of the Cambrian Church. He was reportedly consecrated archbishop by the patriarch of Jerusalem while on a visit to the Holy Land. He also is said to have invoked a council that ended the last vestiges of Pelagianism. David died at his monastery in Menevia around the year 589, and his cult was approved in 1120 by Pope Callistus II. He is revered as the patron of Wales. Undoubtedly, St. David was endowed with substantial qualities of spiritual leadership. What is more, many monasteries flourished as a result of his leadership and good example. His staunch adherence to monastic piety bespeaks a fine example for modern Christians seeking order and form in their prayer life.His feast day is March 1.

The Church and Her members are not paralyzed: No!

If you were to believe the mass media hysteria over the Church being "popeless" and read some well-intentioned facebook and twitter posts, along with more than a few not so well-intentioned comments, you would think the Catholic Church is in worldwide paralysis.  No, not even close.  How misunderstood the Church truly is.  The Catholic Church is alive and well and while we indeed paused today to watch Pope Benedict, now the Pope Emeritus, leave the Vatican, dramatically flying off in a white helicopter to Castel Gondolfo, she thrives, she excels, she grows, she continues to be the Body of Christ.  Today across the globe, the Catholic Church fed more hungry people, ministered to more marginalized people, educated more young people, prayed for more souls, both on earth and in purgatory, visited men & women in prison, and worshipped God in the prayer par excellence, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!!  Today, the Catholic Church was open, and active and at work about the business of God's work on Earth, just like she is every day of the year.  Yes, it was a different day.  Yes, it was ok to pause and watch as the Pope said farewell.  Yes, it was another historic day among many, many historic days for Holy Mother Church!

I can attest to this just bringing it back to a local level.  First of all, we remember that we are indeed in Lent's third week.  Mass attendance is high, Reconciliation Services are being offered across the Archdiocese and Lenten retreats are in full swing or being planned for the remaining weeks of Lent.  And yes, just like the last many Lenten seasons, RCIA programs are preapring another record breaking number of Catechumens and Candidates to become new Catholics at the Easter vigil.  Across this globe, even with the Pope now properly retired, the Catholic Church will soon welcome tens of thousands of new members.  Indeed, the Church is not paralyzed.

Staying local I marveled this week just at home at my parish, Most Holy Trinity, the sheer number of meetings and ministries that remarkably went forward.  I guess the media missed it that we at MHT were moving forward this week.  Just tonight we were busy with an active training and social for our amazing altar servers while 3 other events were taking place.  Just last night, I ventured north to the Rayburn Prison with 2 diaconate candidates to minister at the prison.  The men knew all about the events about the Pope, still they came to pray and share the Gospel and receive Communion!  I guess they did not get the message that we should be paralyzed.

We Catholics that allow the world to get us in a tizzy should recall that the secular media, the entertainment industry, politicians of all stripes and just downright nasty folk have been coming after Holy Mother Church for 2 milenia now; announcement: SHE still stands!  Even when we, the indivdual members of the Body do her damage by our own failings and sin; SHE still stands.

Now our collective focus must be on the Church, the future and soon a new Vicar on Earth in the next Pope.  And our focus remains on Jesus Christ, as Benedict said, He who must be the centre of your(our)life!    I'm going to borrow a phrase I saw last night from a local Catholic Priest that sums it up:
We may be Popeless, but we are not Hopeless!!

A Prayer for the Church via Knights of Columbus Supreme Chaplain Bishop Lori

Prayer for the Church

Prayer for the Church

O Lord Jesus Christ, Supreme Pastor of Your Church,
we thank you for the ministry of Pope Benedict XVI
and the selfless care with which he has led us
as Successor of Peter, and Your Vicar on earth.
Good Shepherd, who founded Your Church
on the rock of Peter’s faith
and have never left Your flock untended,
look with love upon us now,
and sustain Your Church in faith, hope, and charity.
Grant, Lord Jesus, in Your boundless love for us,
a new Pope for Your Church
who will please You by his holiness
and lead us faithfully to You,
who are the same yesterday, today, and forever.

"I'll fly away O Glory" The Pope Emeritus at the time of his departure from the Vatican

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How fitting tomorrow's Saint of the Day is a Pope; any bets on a Hilary the 2nd?

St. Hilary, Pope


St. Hilary, Pope
St. Hilary, Pope

Feastday: February 28
Died: 468

Pope from 461-468 and guardian of Church unity. He was born in Sardinia, Italy, and was a papal legate to the Robber Council of Ephesus in 449, barely escaping with his life from this affair. Hilary was used by Pope St. Leo I the Great on many assignments. When Leo died, Hilary was elected pope and consecrated on November 19,461. He worked diligently to strengthen the Church in France and Spain, calling councils in 462 and 465. Hilary also rebuilt many Roman churches and erected the chapel of St. John Lateran. He also publicly rebuked Emperor Anthemius in St. Peter’s for supporting the Macedonian heresy and sent a decree to the Eastern bishops validating the decisions of the General Councils of Nicaea, Ephesus, and Chalcedon. Hilary consolidated the Church in Sandi, Africa, and Gaul. He died in Rome on February 28.

What should happen tomorrow as soon as the Papal Resignation occurs; 1 PM Central Time here in New Orleans!

• Tomorrow at 1 p.m. Central Time, Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation becomes effective. At that time, he ceases to hold the Petrine Office and therefore is not named in the Eucharistic Prayer:

o Eucharistic Prayers I and III: delete the words, “your servant N. our Pope and”;
o Eucharistic Prayer II: delete the words, “N. our Pope and”;
o Eucharistic Prayer IV: delete the words, “your servant N. our Pope”.

• It is fitting that the Prayer of the Faithful include a petition for Pope Benedict XVI’s blessing in retirement.

• Benedict XVI will be known Pope Emeritus or (Roman) Pontiff Emeritus. The style before his name is "His Holiness," and he may be addressed as "Your Holiness."

• Photos or portraits of Pope Benedict XVI placed as to suggest he is the reigning Supreme Pontiff (e.g., in churches, parish halls, schools and on websites) should be moved or reconfigured upon his resignation’s becoming effective.

• Forms/documents/templates that mention Benedict XVI as Pope, Supreme Pontiff, etc., should be modified after February 28 to reflect the interregnum.

• Prayers for the College of Cardinals, who will elect Pope Benedict XVI’s successor, may also be added to the Prayer of the Faithful at Mass (see below for examples).


During the Conclave:

A conclave ordinarily begins 15-20 days after the Apostolic See becomes vacant, though the College of Cardinals may move up the date of its starting.

• It is fitting that prayers for the College of Cardinals, who will elect Pope Benedict XVI’s successor, be added to the Prayer of the Faithful. Here are three possible prayers:

o That God, our eternal Shepherd and Guide, will in his mercy grant the Church a shepherd who will walk in God’s ways and whose watchful care will bring us the Lord’s blessing. Let us pray to the Lord.
o That the Holy Spirit will grant the Cardinal Electors concern only for the salvation of souls and the light needed to choose a Pope to shepherd the Church with wisdom, courage, and love. Let us pray to the Lord.
o That the Lord may enlighten the Cardinal Electors and make them so likeminded in their task that a speedy, harmonious, and fruitful election of the Pope may take place, as the salvation of souls and the good of the whole People of God demand. Let us pray to the Lord.

• During the conclave the Mass from the Roman Missal, Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions / 1. For Holy Church / 4. For the Election of a Pope or a Bishop may be celebrated, provided that in the Ordo there is a V1, V2, or V3 next to the date. Readings may be taken from the Lectionary, Vol. IV, I. For the Holy Church / 3. For the Election of a Pope or a Bishop, nos. 833-837.

Upon election of a new Pope:

• As soon as it is announced, the name of the new Pope begins to be included in the Eucharistic Prayer.

• Church bells may be rung to announce the election of a new Pope and church signs with changeable letters can announce his election (e.g., “Habemus Papam! Pope .”).

• Church doors may be draped in white and gold/yellow bunting. White and gold/yellow fabric is available in local stores and online. An internet search of “pope election bunting” will provide websites with specially-designed bunting available as well as images of how the bunting is draped.

o In honor of the new Pontiff, please leave the bunting up until his installation/ coronation or for a minimum of one week, whichever is longer.

• The Mass from the Roman Missal, Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions / 1. For Holy Church / 2. For the Pope (Especially on the Anniversary of Election), may be celebrated if there is a V1, V2, or V3 next to the date in the Ordo. Readings may be taken from the Lectionary, Vol. IV, The Common of Pastors, nos. 719-724.

• Photos or portraits of the new Pope should be obtained to display in appropriate places (e.g., in churches, parish halls, schools and on websites).

• Forms/documents/templates that mention the Pope, Supreme Pontiff, etc., should be revised to include the name of the new Pope.

Thanks to Msgr. Dominick Fullam

All that needs to be said!

Amidst all the garbage that some(like most of the media) wish to spew, this is all that needs to be said!  Thank you Pope Benedict for your ministry and thank you for your promise of intense prayers for the Church, and the World.  I for one am comforted by this promise!

So in turn, I pray for you and your successor and those leaders of the Church who will elect your successor.

Holy Mother Church; the immemorial Bride of Christ; the office of the Pope, the successor of St. Peter and Christ's Vicar on Earth!

And for this we say Deo Gratias!!

A fond Wednesday farewell from Papa Benedict

Thousands flock to bid farewell at Benedict's final papal audience

By Laura Smith-Spark and Barbie Latza Nadeau, CNN

Pope: 'Deeply grateful for prayers'

Rome (CNN) -- In front of rapt crowds, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of moments of joy and struggle Wednesday during his final public address from a stage set up in St. Peter's Square.
Dressed all in white and looking serene, the pope used his last general audience to call for a renewal of faith and speak of his own spiritual journey through eight years as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
As he finished, cheers erupted from the tens of thousands gathered in the square -- acknowledged by Benedict with an open-armed embrace.
As well as calling for a renewal of faith, he discussed his experience as pontiff and his almost unprecedented decision to resign the role starting Thursday.
Pope: 'My strength has diminished'
Pope emotional in final public audience
Pope Benedict arrives for final audience
How the next pope will be chosen
Benedict recounted how when he was asked to be pope eight years ago, he had prayed for God's guidance.
"And the Lord has really driven, I was close, I could feel his presence every day," he said.
"It was a part of the journey of the church that has had moments of joy and light, but also moments that were not easy."
The church is like a boat that passes through stormy seas, but God will "not let her sink," he said.
Those words will be seen by many as a reference to the series of child sex abuse scandals and corruption claims that have rocked the Roman Catholic Church in the course of his pontificate.
Benedict thanked the cardinals, the clergy in Rome, Vatican officials and priests worldwide, as well as their congregations, saying "the heart of a pope extends to the whole world."
He had taken the step of resignation well aware of its gravity and novelty, but also "with a deep peace of mind," he said.
"In recent months, I felt that my strength had decreased, and I asked God earnestly in prayer to enlighten me with his light to make me take the right decision not for my sake, but for the good of the church," he said.
"Loving the church also means having the courage to make tough choices," he said, as he called on the faithful to pray for him and the new pope.
Benedict gave an insight into the life of the pontiff, describing it as without any kind of privacy, with his time devoted entirely to the church -- perhaps particularly difficult for a man known for his love of scholarship.
His life in retirement will be "simply a return to the private place. My decision is to forgo the exercise of active ministry, not revoke it. In order to return to private life, not to a life of travel, meetings, receptions, conferences and so on," he said.
The final days of Benedict's papacy
What's next for Pope Benedict?
Pope Benedict XVI waves from the altar as he arrives on St Peter's square for his last weekly audience on February 27, 2013 at the Vatican.Pope Benedict XVI waves from the altar as he arrives on St Peter's square for his last weekly audience on February 27, 2013 at the Vatican.
Benedict's final papal audience
 Benedict's final papal audience Benedict's final papal audience
Vatican officials said 50,000 tickets had been handed out for Benedict's last general audience -- but authorities said they had prepared for as many as 200,000 people to show up to witness the historic moment in person.
Benedict, who spoke first in Italian, also gave greetings in French, German and English, among other languages, reflecting the church's global reach.
Those lucky enough to have tickets listened from seats in front of St. Peter's Basilica. Among them were many of the Roman Catholic Church's senior clergy.
Others packed around the edges of the square and surrounding side streets, hoping to catch a final glimpse of the pontiff.
Among the crowds are groups of pilgrims, who've traveled to Rome for the special and emotional occasion, as well as local residents and curious visitors keen to share in the moment.
Benedict arrived and left in his Popemobile, allowing him to pass close by many people in St. Peter's Square.
Standing in the open, glass-topped vehicle, flanked by security, he waved as he slowly made his way along pathways through the crowds. Some waved flags and banners as they stood under cold but clear skies.
Normally in winter, the pope would give his weekly Wednesday general audience inside a hall within Vatican City, but the event was moved outside because of the anticipated huge crowds.
The pope won't give the usual brief personal greetings to people afterward, but will meet delegations of heads of state in Vatican City later.
Benedict, who stunned the world's Catholics when he announced his resignation just over two weeks ago, will leave office at 8 p.m. local time Thursday.
At that point, a transition period will begin, as around 115 cardinals gather in Rome to pick a successor in a secretive election known as a conclave.
The Vatican has been rewriting the rules to cope with an almost unprecedented situation -- Benedict is the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years.
He will meet with the cardinals Wednesday and Thursday, before being flown by helicopter to the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo.
There, from a balcony, he will greet crowds one last time before his resignation takes effect and the Swiss Guards, who by tradition protect the pope, ceremonially leave the residence's gate.
More details were given Tuesday of how the 85-year-old's life in retirement will play out.
He will keep the papal title Benedict XVI, rather than reverting to the name Joseph Ratzinger, and will be referred to as "his holiness," said the Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman.
He will also go by the title his holiness "pontiff emeritus" or "pope emeritus."
Pope Benedict XVI wearing red shoes.
Living out of the public eye in a small monastery within Vatican City, Benedict will wear a simple white robe, without the papal red cape, and will swap his red shoes for brown ones. He is expected to devote his time to prayer and study.
Catholic author Michael Walsh told CNN he was unsurprised by Benedict's desire for more privacy.
"He's a rather private man, he wants to get back to his books and his cats, he wants to get back to prayer," he said. "He's obviously coming towards the end of his life -- he's 85 -- so I understand that."
But, Walsh added, "what I don't understand is that he says he wants to be part of it all, which could be disastrous if you take it at face value," referring to Benedict's promise not to abandon the church.
"The notion that you have two people that claim to be pope, in a sense, is really going to be very confusing," Walsh said.
Vatican officials have said they don't anticipate any interference from Benedict as a new pope takes office.
However, his influence will be felt in as much as he appointed 67 of the cardinals who will enter the conclave.
Whoever his successor may be will have plenty on his plate, from allegations swirling in the Italian media that gay clergy may have made themselves vulnerable to blackmail by male prostitutes -- a claim vehemently denied by the Vatican -- to the festering issue of the church's handling of child abuse by priests.
The Vatican said Monday that a report by three cardinals into leaks of secret Vatican documents, ordered by Benedict last year and seen only by him, would be passed on to the new pontiff.
Meanwhile, the cardinals who must elect the new pope are already gathering in Rome, Lombardi said.
The dean cardinal will on Friday summon the cardinals to a general congregation, Lombardi said. That could come as soon as Monday, although the date is not yet fixed.
The cardinal-electors will then decide exactly when to hold the conclave, during which they pick a peer via paper ballot. The voting process ends when only when one cardinal gains two-thirds support.
Special prayers will be said during the "sede vacante," or empty seat period, seeking guidance for the election of the new pope. The cardinals will lead the prayers.
After his resignation, Benedict, who cited the frailty of age as the reason he resigned, will no longer use the Fisherman's Ring, the symbol of the pope, Lombardi said. The ring will be destroyed, along with Benedict's papal seal, after his departure from office.