From the Rector: 40 Hours of Adoration-Part I
May25

From the Rector: 40 Hours of Adoration-Part I

40 Hours of Adoration-Part I For over 500 years one of the most beautiful of all Catholic devotions has been the one known as Quarant Ore, or Forty Hours. The Blessed Sacrament is solemnly exposed for 40 hours outside the tabernacle and continuously adored by the faithful. In past centuries, especially in the late Middle Ages, people turned to the Blessed Sacrament, the Body and Blood of Christ, during times of crisis. Bishops frequently ordered exposition of the Sacrament for “serious and general need.” The faithful would come in shifts before the Sacrament seeking God’s intercession during events threatening the local community, such as war, epidemics, drought or famine. Calamities faced in our own era, such as terrorist attacks, the Iraq war and natural disasters, would have likely resulted in Forty Hours of prayer. In recent centuries, devotion before the exposed Sacrament has become less a community prayer for intercession in times of darkness (although certainly such times are not excluded) and more an individual time to make reparations for sin or offer thanksgiving, or perhaps general adoration or contemplating the majesty of Our Lord. Milanese Beginnings  There is evidence that 12th-century Christians prayed a 40-hour vigil before the tabernacle during the Easter Triduum. Whether or not the Blessed Sacrament was exposed as part of those early Holy Week devotions is unclear. During the 12th and 13th centuries Christian worship increasingly accentuated the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist; this was in large measure a response to various groups who condemned this belief. The faithful sought to acclaim publicly their convictions about the Real Presence, and processing the Blessed Sacrament through city streets, such as on Corpus Christi Sunday, became popular. Also, this era introduced the custom of elevating the Host at the consecration during Mass for the faithful to adore. Over the next 200 years, the concept of combining public exposure of the Blessed Sacrament with 40 hours of prayer evolved. During the 1520s and ’30s, in the Archdiocese of Milan, Italy, this prayer devotion was extended beyond Holy W eek and often added to Pentecost, the feast of the Assumption and at Christmas. About 1529, an invading army confronted Milan; the faithful were called to 40 hours of prayer and soon thereafter the threat subsided. Almost simultaneously a fever or plague struck the city and again the people sought God’s intercession through 40 hours of prayer. At the prompting of a Capuchin priest, Joseph of Fermo, the devotion was conducted on a continuous basis, rotating between Milanese churches. It was at this time that the Eucharist was taken outside the tabernacle and placed on church altars throughout the 40...

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From the Rector: Discernment of God’s Will and Abandonment to God’s Will
May18

From the Rector: Discernment of God’s Will and Abandonment to God’s Will

Discernment of God’s Will and Abandonment to God’s Will The Catechism of the Catholic Church on discernment and the Will of God. 2826 By prayer we can discern “what is the will of God” and obtain the endurance to do it. Jesus teaches us that one enters the kingdom of heaven not by speaking words, but by doing “the will of my Father in heaven.” 1835 Prudence disposes the practical reason to discern, in every circumstance, our true good and to choose the right means for achieving it. 2706 To meditate on what we read helps us to make it our own by confronting it with ourselves. Here, another book is opened: the book of life. We pass from thoughts to reality. To the extent that we are humble and faithful, we discover in meditation the movements that stir the heart and we are able to discern them. It is a question of acting truthfully in order to come into the light: “Lord, what do you want me to do?” 2677 Holy Mary, Mother of God: With Elizabeth we marvel, “And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Because she gives us Jesus, her son, Mary is Mother of God and our mother; we can entrust all our cares and petitions to her: she prays for us as she prayed for herself: “Let it be to me according to your word.” By entrusting ourselves to her prayer, we abandon ourselves to the will of God together with her: “Thy will be done.” Helps to discernment: Looking for God’s Will in the needs of our neighbors Looking for God’s Will in the needs of the Church Looking for God’s Will in our current obligations Looking for God’s Will in His expressed Commands Looking for God’s Will through the events that He permits to occur for the greater good. Asking in a given situation what would seem to be more pleasing to God.   Helps to abandonment: Desiring to do God’s Will in all things big and small Accepting that God’s Will may not be to our liking Loving God’s Will even when we don’t understand it Believing Jesus’ words that only the one who does the Will of His Father will enter the Kingdom. Promptly and cheerfully doing what we know to be God’s Will.   Pitfalls which keep us from abandonment: Wanting to serve God on our own terms Attachment to sin, worldly things, or our own plans Letting fear keep us from accepting God’s Will Demanding signs Wanting exhaustive knowledge of God’s plan and His timing Insisting on knowing why...

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From the Rector: The Annunciation
May11

From the Rector: The Annunciation

Mary’s May Crowning: Part 1 By Dr. Andrew Swafford The Annunciation Mary stands here at the turn of salvation history, embodying the faithful of Israel and making way for the Messiah. In fact, the angel’s greeting “Hail” (χαῖρε) is the exact same as that given to Daughter Zion in the Greek version of Zeph 3:14. This is significant because “Daughter Zion” in the prophets generally refers to the eschatological people of God—that is, the people of God as God has called them to be; Mary, then, embodies this glorious radiance which God has always destined for his people. And the Zephaniah passage continues: “The King is in her midst” (Zeph 3:15); indeed, in the Annunciation the King is in her midst, in the womb of the Blessed Virgin (cf. Ratzinger, Daughter Zion, 42-3). Annunciation Moreover, the angel doesn’t address Mary by name, but rather astonishingly as: “Hail, full of grace.” This breathtaking greeting offers a glimpse of the grandeur of the Incarnation, as seen from Heaven’s vantage point. Further, the phrase “the Lord is with you,” used by the angel with reference to Mary, occurs throughout the Bible in order to indicate God’s presence and support for accomplishing his mission, as for example with Moses (Ex 3:12), Joshua (Josh 1:5, 9), Gideon (Judg 6:12), and Jeremiah (Jer 1:8). This means that Mary, too, stands on the cusp of some great moment in salvation history. And Mary responds with unflinching faith: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). In a sense, God’s plan hinges on the faith and obedience of the Virgin Mary; and for that, all generations call her “blessed” (Lk 1:42). Sometimes much is made of the distinction between Jesus’ physical family and his spiritual family—the latter marked by those who “hear the word of God and do it” (Lk 8:21; cf. 11:27-28). But a distinction need not entail a separation; and in fact, St. Luke portrays Mary as the one who quintessentially “hears the word of God and does it” (cf. Lk 1:38-39; cf. 2:19, 51); in other words, she goes before us as model disciple and embodiment of the Church; and in Luke’s sequel (Acts of the Apostles), she is there persevering to the end with the disciples (Acts 1:14). May we follow Mary’s path of saying “yes” to the Lord from beginning to end: “For with God nothing will be impossible” (Lk 1:37). Read Luke 1:26:38 Discussion In what way have you said yes to God lately as Mary did at the Annunciation, allowing his grace to flow into your life?...

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From the Rector: 31 Days of May
Apr27

From the Rector: 31 Days of May

31 Days of May For the month of May, each day, consider one aspect of Mary’s life and pray that you might be able to follow her motherly example. Faith: Lord, I believe. I want to believe as the one who believes most. Lord, increase my faith! Hope: Lord, I hope. I want to hope as the one who hopes most. Lord, increase my hope! Charity: Lord, I love. I want to love as the one who love most. Lord, increase my love! Love for God the Father: Hail Mary, Daughter of God the Father, teach me to live as a child of God. For God, all the glory. Deo omnis Gloria! Love for God the Son: Hail Mary, Mother of God the Son, teach me to love Jesus. Love for God the Holy Spirit: Hail Mary, Spouse of God the Holy Spirit. Humility: Mary knows herself to be nothing before God: Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to your word. (Lk 1:38) Fortitude, strength of character: Holy Mary, our refuge and our strength. Fidelity: Mary is ever faithful: Most sweet heart of Mary, keep us on the safe way. Purity, chastity: Mother of the Fair Love, help you children. Mater Pulchrae Dilectionis, filios tuos adiuva. Poverty, detachment: Lord, set my heart free from all earthly ties. Obedience to the divine will: Not my will, but yours be done. (Lk 22:42) Cooperation with God’s plan of Redemption: Mary, let it be. Life of prayer: Mary, teach me to pray more and better all the time. Care for little things: Mary, may I put greater effort in everything. Spirit of service: Lord, like Mary, I will serve you! Serviam! Wholehearted dedication to God: Mary, I’m all yours. Totus Tuus (JPII) Patience: Holy Mary, Queen of Peace, teach me to be patient. Perseverance: Most Sweet Heart of Mary, prepare us a safe way. Cor Mariae dulcissimum, iter para tutum. (St. Josemaria Escriva) Love for Jesus and St. Joseph: Jesus, Mary and Joseph, may I always be with you. Jesus, Maria y Jose, que este siempre con los tres. (St. Josemaria) Sense of Responsibility: Mary, teach me to be in the little things of each day. Love for souls, apostolic zeal: Jesus and Mary: souls! Apostolic souls! They are for you, for your glory. (Cf. The Way, n 804, St. Josemaria) Gratitude to God: Thanks be to you, O Lord, thanks be to you. Love for the Cross: Mary, may your love bind me to your Son’s cross. (Cf. The Way, n 497, St. Josemaria) Order: Most Sweet Heart of Mary, make my heart burn with...

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From the Rector: Confirmation Interview
Apr20

From the Rector: Confirmation Interview

Those seeking the Sacrament of Confirmation were recently given this interview. I invite you to renew your Baptismal promises. Do you reject Satan? And all his works? And all his empty promises? [Rite of Baptism] V. Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth? [Rite of Baptism] V. Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father? [Rite of Baptism] V. Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting? [Rite of Baptism] In order to assist you in declaring  your belief in the Gospel, I ask you: Do you believe with firm faith, everything contained in the Word of God, whether written or handed down in Tradition, which the Church, either by a solemn judgement or by the ordinary and universal Magisterium, sets forth to be believed as divinely revealed? [Oath of Fidelity] Do you also firmly accept and hold each and everything definitively proposed by the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals? [Oath of Fidelity] In regard to the Sacraments,  Do you believe that Christ instituted the sacraments of the new law, and that there are seven: Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony? [CCC 1210] Do you believe that the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace, because “by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed”? [CCC 1285] Concerning the Most Holy Eucharist: Do you believe that because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood? [CCC 1376] Concerning Holy Matrimony V. Do you believe that the matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring, has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament between the baptized? [CIC 1055,...

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From the Rector
Apr12

From the Rector

To many of us, this story from the Gospel of Luke is very familiar.  But have we stopped to ponder its meaning and the effects Mary’s faithful fiat (submission to God) has on our lives?  Many times, I simply think of Mary saying yes to God in this one particular moment.  While this one “yes” was very self-sacrificing, I tend to forget she also had duties like us.  She continued to live out her faith each and every day “in the simplicity of the thousand daily tasks and worries of every mother, such as providing food, clothing, caring for the house…. It was precisely Our Lady’s normal life which served as the basis for the unique relationship and profound dialogue which unfolded between her and God, between her and her Son,” reminds Pope Francis during his General Audience, October 23, 2013.  Her uncountable yeses each and every day ultimately prepared her for the pain and suffering of watching her son brutally die a criminal’s death on a cross. While we might not be given signs such as an aged relative’s pregnancy to confirm an announcement by an angel, we are no less called to say “yes” to God’s callings in our lives so we can grow in holiness. As we have recently celebrated the Feast of the Annunciation, we should ponder what God is calling us to say “yes” to. How is God calling you to live out your faith in your daily life?  Is He asking you to say yes to doing the tasks that seem mundane, like folding laundry, mowing the yard, and cooking dinner with cheerfulness?  Is He calling you to say yes to mental prayer for ten minutes each day?  Or, is He calling you to say yes to giving up your latte each week so you can give alms to the poor?  Just like Mary, these little “yeses” can help us grow in holiness and hopefully lead us to heaven. Growing in the ability to say yes also allows us to follow in the footsteps of Mary, who following her “yes” to God, was able to give voice to the faithfulness of God in her famous, beautiful Magnificat: My soul magnifies the Lord And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; Because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid; For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed; Because He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name; And His mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear Him. He has shown might with His arm, He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart....

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From the Rector: General Remarks on Indulgences
Apr05

From the Rector: General Remarks on Indulgences

General remarks on Indulgences The following “General remarks on Indulgences” from Gift of the Indulgence summarizes the usual conditions given in the Church’s law (cf. Apostolic Penitentiary, Prot. N. 39/05/I): This is how an indulgence is defined in the Code of Canon Law(can. 992) and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church(n. 1471): “An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints”. In general, the gaining of indulgences requires certain prescribed conditions(below, nn. 3, 4), and the performance of certain prescribed works ….. [in this case, those granted for the Feast of Mercy] To gain indulgences, whether plenary or partial, it is necessary that the faithful be in the state of graceat least at the time the indulgenced work is completed.  [i.e. one must be a Catholic, not excommunicated or in schism.] A plenary indulgencecan be gained only once a day. In order to obtain it, the faithful must, in addition to being in the state of grace: a) have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin; b) have sacramentally confessedtheir sins; c) receive the Holy Eucharist(it is certainly better to receive it while participating in Holy Mass, but for the indulgence only Holy Communion is required); d) pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff. It is appropriate, but not necessary, that the sacramental Confession and especially Holy Communion and the prayer for the Pope’s intentions take place on the same day that the indulgenced work is performed; but it is sufficient that these sacred rites and prayers be carried out within several days (about 20) before or after the indulgenced act. Prayer for the Pope’s intentions is left to the choice of the faithful, but an “Our Father” and a “Hail Mary” are suggested. One sacramental Confession suffices for several plenary indulgences, but a separate Holy Communion and a separate prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions are required for each plenary indulgence. For the sake of those legitimately impeded, confessorscan commute both the work prescribed and the conditions required (except, obviously, detachment from even venial sin). Indulgences canalways be applied either to oneself or to the souls of the deceased, but they cannot be applied to other persons living on earth. And so the Supreme Pontiff, motivated by an ardent desire to foster in Christians this devotion to Divine Mercy as much as possible in the hope of offering great spiritual fruit to the...

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