From the Rector: The Ascension of The Lord
May25

From the Rector: The Ascension of The Lord

The Ascension of The Lord After Jesus’ ascension what are we to do? Do we sit around and wait for something to happen or do we go and do something? Sitting around and waiting for something to happen is the mistaken view of some disciples in Luke’s account of the ascension which we heard in the first reading and of some Christians today. Jesus said we are not to sit around and wait, we are to do something, “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) In the Gospel Jesus was even more specific when talking to the Apostles. Before Jesus ascended, he entrusted his mission to the Apostles saying, “Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Matt 28:19) While that mission was entrusted to the Apostles, and to the bishops who are the successors of the Apostles, and their assistants, the priests, you can assist them in their mission to evangelize by praying for them and by giving witness that you follow Christ, especially in those situations where you are the one to witness to Christ. Is Christ relying on you to witness to him where no one else will? Anticipating the Feast of Pentecost, we pray for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, before ascending into heaven, did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign...

Read More
From the Rector: Special Collections
May18

From the Rector: Special Collections

The Catholic Relief Services Collection Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, The weekend of May 20-21, 2017, our diocese will be taking up The Catholic Relief Services Collection (CRSC). By participating in this collection, you are responding to Jesus in disguise in some of the most marginalized communities in our world. The CRSC provides services for immigrants, humanitarian aid in the wake of natural disasters, refuge for the displaced, and advocacy for peace and justice around the world. Let us join together in this collection to support those suffering and on the margins of society. For example, in Niger, changes in climate in western Africa are adversely affecting poor and rural farmers. No matter how hard these farmers work, droughts are shortening the rainy season, leaving harvests too small to support families and communities. Your support of the CRSC is helping connect businesses that provide drought-resistant seeds to these  communities. These new relationships are providing hope to these communities for a sustainable future. Your support of this collection makes a difference for so many around the world. Please prayerfully consider how you can support the collection this year. If you want to learn more about the collection and the who benefit, please visit www.usccb.org/catholic-relief. Support the collection and answer the know of Jesus in disguise. Sincerely yours in Christ, The Most Rev. James S. Wall Bishop of Gallup   Special Collection for the Building Maintenance Fund Several months ago our parish Finance Council discussed and approved a plan to begin a quarterly Building Fund collection to help with the ordinary maintenance expenses of our buildings, as well as to build up our resources for repairs or major expenses that inevitably occur in older buildings.  We will distribute envelopes in the pews and leave them in the entrance of the Cathedral.  The first of the Building Fund collections will take place on the weekend of May 27th and 28th. Your generosity is very much appreciated. One project we’ve been putting off that we will need to address at some point in the not too distant future is the floor tiles in the Cathedral Church. The tile has obviously cracked and lifted over time, and will need to be replaced especially in the Sanctuary. We will also take some guidance from the newly formed Diocesan Building Committee to help us with this project. Also, as most of you know, the parish property on Aztec Blvd which housed the Lowe’s Grocery store has been closed due to safety concerns about the building.  We are currently having the building evaluated by engineers to determine what must be done to correct the reported problems. As...

Read More
From the Rector: Confession Part III
May12

From the Rector: Confession Part III

Confession: Part III Q. Can a priest reveal what he has heard to others? A. No. A priest can never reveal the sins a person has confessed. This is known as the “Seal of confession,” which admits of no exceptions (CCC 1467). If a priest were to violate the seal of confession he would be automatically excommunicated (CIC 1388). Over the centuries several priests have died and many have been imprisoned because they refused, even under threat of torture and execution, to break the inviolable seal of confession. This is one of the most beautiful aspects of the sacrament and of the priesthood: the priest who hears our confession, in order to protect the secrets we have whispered to God through him, will allow himself to be imprisoned, tortured or even killed. That’s how seriously he and the Church take the seal and the sacrament. Q. What if I haven’t been to the sacrament for many years? How do I prepare? What do I say? First, don’t be afraid. Jesus said, “Heaven rejoices more for one repentant sinner than for 99 righteous persons who never needed to repent.” The priest will probably be so happy you’ve returned to confession after many years that you will make all the hours he spends in the confessional seem light. Second, try to prepare with the help of a good examination of conscience sheet, but the priest will know that you cannot remember your sins with the precision of someone who came the previous week. Third, get the largest sins off of your shoulders first. Fourth, don’t be afraid to ask the priest for help; most confessors are experts in leading someone in your circumstances through an examination of the “big stuff” in the confessional. Finally, don’t wait. Come back to be reconciled to your loving Father, set off the celebration in heaven, and share your Father’s joy! Q. What if I’m not comfortable going to confession face-to face? A. If you prefer to go to confession anonymously, that’s fine. Most churches have traditional confessionals or reconciliation rooms with the option to confess either face-to-face or kneeling behind an opaque screen. In Church law, both the priest and the penitent have the right to opt for the screen if for whatever reason they find that more comfortable. Q. May I receive the sacrament if I’m divorced? A. If you are civilly divorced but have not remarried or were validly married in the Church after receiving a declaration of nullity for your first marriage, then, yes, you may receive the Sacrament. If you have remarried outside of the Church or have entered into a...

Read More
From the Rector: Confession: Part II
May04

From the Rector: Confession: Part II

Confession: Part II Continuing with some frequently asked Questions about Confession. Q: What are the qualities of a good confession? A good confession is humble, sincere and complete. It’s humble when we accuse ourselves of our sins with a deep sorrow for having offended the Lord while imploring his loving mercy. It’s sincere when we tell all of our sins honestly and truthfully, without exaggerating or excusing them. It’s complete when we confess all of our mortal sins, including the number of times we have committed each one. Q: What is sin and what sins need to be confessed in the Sacrament of Penance? Sin is an offense against God that ruptures our communion with Him and with His Church (CCC 1440). It is far more than “breaking the rules,” but is a failure to love God and to love others, which causes real damage in all our relationships. There are sins totally incompatible with love for God and others (mortal sins, in which genuine love is “dead”), and ones in which love is less grievously wounded (venial or “easily forgiven”). The Church says that all grave or mortal sins must be confessed as soon as possible (CIC 988). Q: What is a mortal sin? A mortal sin involves an action whose object is a grave matter that is committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent. Grave matter is generally understood to be something that violates the Ten Commandments. Full knowledge means that one is aware that God or the Church he founded considers the act sinful (even if one doesn’t totally understand why it is sinful). Deliberate consent means a consent sufficiently intentional to be a personal choice (CCC 1857-1859). Q: What are the consequences of a mortal sin? A mortal sin “results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God’s forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ’s kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back” (CCC 1861). This is why it is so important for mortal sins to be confessed to a priest as soon as possible. Q: What is a venial sin and what are its consequences? “One commits venial sin when, in a less serious matter, he does not observe the standard prescribed by the moral law, or when he disobeys the moral law in a grave manner, but without full knowledge or without complete consent. Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; it impedes the soul’s progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral...

Read More
From the Rector: Confession-Part I
Apr28

From the Rector: Confession-Part I

Confession Every Saturday we offer 3 hours of Confession time at the Cathedral, but since last weekend was Divine Mercy Sunday, and as it was also First Reconciliation day and preparation for First Holy Communion, we had 7 hours of Confessions! Many people took advantage of the opportunity to “Fulfill their Easter Duty”.  Those of you under the age of 55 are likely asking yourself what exactly is meant by the term Easter Duty.  One of the ongoing duties of Catholics is to participate in the life of the Church.  In order to assist in this, the Church requires as a bare minimum, that Catholics will receive Holy Communion at least once a year during the Easter Season. Now, in order to do that sincerely and well, it will be necessary, or at least helpful, to first approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation to prepare for reception of Holy Communion. Anyone knowingly and aware of having consented to grave sin must first reconcile through the Sacrament of Penance or Confession as we familiarly call it. I’m going to publish an article here in a few installments to encourage you to seek out the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The benefits to you far outweigh any fear or discomfort you may feel about the prospect of Confession. So please, do your Easter Duty, and start with a worthy Confession! Confession FAQ When do I need to go to confession? There are several instances when confession is necessary. First, every Catholic is required to go once a year if he or she has committed a mortal sin. However, this is the bare minimum and will not be enough for most of us to fully live the Christian life. Second, every Catholic should go to confession when he commits a mortal sin since that means he has separated himself from God. Third, every Catholic must go to confession before receiving the Body and Blood of Christ in communion if she is aware of having committed a mortal sin. Fourth, even for people who are unaware of a mortal sin, going to confession once a month is a great spiritual practice, if only to confess venial sins and receive the grace to stay free from mortal sin in the future. Ok then; what is a mortal sin? St. John speaks of sins that lead to death and sins that don’t lead to death (1 John 5: 16-18). Thus, the Catholic Church speaks of mortal (leading to death) and venial sins (not leading to death). Mortal sins cut us off from God and lead to hell (which is a cutting off from God), while venial sins merely weaken charity. In order for a sin to be...

Read More
From the Rector: Easter Candle
Apr20

From the Rector: Easter Candle

Easter Candle: Did you ever wonder why we light the Paschal Candle during Mass all through the Easter Season? The Paschal candle represents Christ, the Light of the World. The pure beeswax of which the candle is made represents the sinless Christ who was formed in the womb of His Mother. The wick signifies His humanity, the flame, His Divine Nature, both soul and body. Five grains of incense inserted into the candle in the form of a cross recall the aromatic spices with which His Sacred Body was prepared for the tomb, and of the five wounds in His hands, feet, and side. During the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night the deacon carries the candle in procession into the dark church. A new fire, symbolizing our eternal life in Christ, is kindled which lights the candle. The candle, representing Christ himself, is blessed by the Bishop who then inscribes in it a cross, the first letters and last of the Greek alphabet, (Alpha and Omega `the beginning and the end’) and the current year, as he chants the prayer below; then affixes the five grains of incense. The Easter candle is lighted each day during Mass throughout the Paschal season until Ascension Thursday. It is also lighted during Baptisms, and at funerals as a reminder of Baptism. (article by CNA)...

Read More
From the Rector: Christ is Risen!
Apr13

From the Rector: Christ is Risen!

Congratulations to everyone who is receiving Sacraments leading up to and during the Easter Season! We want to rejoice with all those who have been Baptized, received Confirmation, First Holy Communion, Holy Matrimony, First Reconciliation, and Holy Orders, and to continue to pray with and for those who received Anointing of the sick during Lent. This pouring out of God’s Grace is especially joyful in connection with the celebration of His Resurrection at Easter. We will be praying this week for all of our young parishioners about to receive their First Reconciliation on Saturday and those who will receive First Holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday. Fifty days from now our young people will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation on Pentecost Sunday. I am so grateful to all of the many volunteers and staff who have worked throughout the school year to help prepare our candidates for their Sacraments.  Also those who have been sponsors for Baptism and Confirmation, and witnesses at weddings. This is a wonderful way to live out your own call to holiness in service of your brothers and sisters in Christ. Easter is the greatest feast in the Christian calendar. On this Sunday, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. For Catholics, Easter Sunday comes at the end of 40 days of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving known as Lent. Through spiritual struggle and self-denial, we have prepared ourselves to die spiritually with Christ on Good Friday, the day of His Crucifixion, so that we can rise again with Him in new life on Easter. Easter is a day of celebration because it represents the fulfillment of our faith as Christians. Saint Paul wrote that, unless Christ rose from the dead, our faith is in vain (1 Corinthians15:17). Through his death, Christ saved mankind from bondage to sin and He destroyed the hold that death has on all of us; but it is His Resurrection that gives us the promise of new life, both in this world and the next. That is why people who are converting to Catholicism traditionally are baptized at the Easter Vigil service, which takes place on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter), starting sometime after sunset. They have usually undergone a long process of study and preparation known as the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). Their baptism parallels Christ’s own Death and Resurrection, as they die to sin and rise to new life in the Kingdom of God. Because of the central importance of Easter to the Christian faith, the Catholic Church requires that all Catholics who have made their First Communion receive the Holy Eucharist  sometime during the Easter season which lasts through Pentecost, 50 days after Easter. (The Church also urges us to take part in the Sacrament of Confession before receiving this Easter...

Read More