From the Rector
Jun22

From the Rector

Father Josh Mayer’s Homily at Vespers before Father Mitchell Brown’s Ordination: “God is rich in mercy; because of His great love for us he brought us to life with Christ when we were dead in sin. By this favor you were saved.” Tomorrow, here at our Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, at 11am, we will have the joy of participating in a great outpouring of God’s mercy, at the Ordination Mass of soon-to-be-Father Mitchell Brown. A great grace will be bestowed not only upon Deacon Brown but also on the whole Church, even on the whole world which the Church is called to serve. And this grace, this incredible divine favor, will come through the same unexpected and paradoxical means that Jesus embraced in order to save the world: through death. Tomorrow, we will witness Deacon Brown lay down… and die. A brief reminder that one of the most recognizable symbols of the Catholic priesthood is that we wear black. The uniform for Diocesan Clergy, us priests and deacons, is all black clothing, either a black cassock or black slacks and a black shirt, with a white collar. The white collar stands for purity and for slavery: we commit ourselves completely to the service of Jesus Christ. What does the black stand for? Death. The black Clerical Uniform is meant to tell everyone who sees us that those of us who wear it have died to ourselves, to our ego, our sinfulness, to our own plans and desires, we have died to the values and machinations and schemes and temptations of our lost and confused world, we no longer live for any of that, but only for Jesus Christ, His Church, His Mission, His Cross, His Heart, His Love. Tomorrow, during one of the most powerful moments of the Rite of Ordination, we will all intercede for Deacon Brown as he prostrates Himself before Christ and offers his life to the Lord. This, too, is a symbol of death. It’s an action of self-emptying, of embracing the Cross of Jesus Christ, of dying with Jesus so that you can rise with Him. In the waters of baptism, we die and rise with Jesus. In the Sacrament of Holy Orders, that death and resurrection is specified: Deacon Brown, this is how you will live out your death in Christ: as His priest. The flock that Jesus entrusts to you are the children you are called to die for, tomorrow and every day of your life from there on out. We will be praying for you. Die well, my brother. Aren’t we supposed to be celebrating? Isn’t this all a little gloomy, a little morbid for an...

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From the Rector: 40 Hours of Adoration-Part II
May29

From the Rector: 40 Hours of Adoration-Part II

40 Hours of Adoration-Part II A Roman Tradition  About 1550, St. Philip Neri introduced the Forty Hours devotion in Rome, and in 1592 Pope Clement VIII became the first pope to give formal recognition to the devotion with his papal decree Graves et diuturnae . Pope Clement’s intention was to use the 40 hours to pray for God’s aid in protecting the Church against all dangers, both internal and external. He also intended the observance to be continuous: “We have determined to establish publicly in this Mother City of Rome an uninterrupted course of prayer in such wise that in the different churches … on appointed days, there be observed the pious and salutary devotion of the Forty Hours, with such an arrangement of churches and times that, at every hour of the day and night, th e whole year round the incense of prayer shall ascend without intermission before the face of the Lord.” The Vatican instructions or rubrics associated with the Forty Hours were issued by Pope Clement XI in 1705 and later in that century revised by Pope Clement XII. These rubrics, known as the Clementine Instructions, provide, with great solemnity, minute details for conducting the devotion and are mostly still followed today during exposure, benediction and reposition of the Blessed Sacrament. All the instructions are designed to focus attention on the sacredness of the Sacrament. For centuries there was little doubt when the devotion was taking place, as a picture or banner depicting the Blessed Sacrament was hung on the church door, the church bells were rung every hour and the Sacrament was surrounded with at least 20 lit candles. While the Clementine Instructions were binding only on the churches in the city of Rome, they were quickly adopted throughout the rest of the world. In 1853, St. John Neumann, fourth bishop of Philadelphia, introduced Forty Hours as a diocesanwide devotion in the United States.   With Greatest Possible Solemnity  At one time all Catholic parishes were obligated to conduct this popular devotion. The 1917 Code of Canon Law prescribed that the Eucharist be annually exposed for 40 hours of adoration, “with greatest possible solemnity,” in all places where the Blessed Sacrament was normally reserved and on dates determined by the local bishop. Today, except in churches where there is Perpetual Adoration, such annual periods of Eucharistic exposure are less common and only “recommended” by the Code of Canon Law that was promulgated in 1983. Guidance from the Vatican’s Sacred Congregation of Divine Worship and the Sacraments, in the document Eucharistiae Sacramentum , issued in 1973, states that the local bishop can approve extended adoration...

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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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