From the Rector: The Holy Family
Dec29

From the Rector: The Holy Family

The Holy Family The Feast of the Holy Family is not only about the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, but about our own families as well. The main purpose of the Feast is to Honor the Holy Family and present them as the model for all Christian families, and for domestic life in general. Our family life becomes sanctified when we live the life of the Church within our homes. This is called the “domestic church” or the “church in miniature.” St. John Chrysostom urged all Christians to make each home a “family church,” and in doing so, we sanctify the family unit. Just how does one live out the Church in the family? The best way is by making Christ the center of family and individual life. Ways to do this include: reading scripture regularly, praying daily, attending Mass at least on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, imitating the actions of the Holy Family, going to confession frequently, and so forth, all done together as a family unit. In addition to cultivating positive actions, the Church understands that various actions and behaviors are contrary to God’s Divine plan for the family. These include abortion, contraception, embryonic stem-cell research, divorce, spousal abuse, child abuse, among other things. Catholic Teaching is that a marriage must be open to children. Anything artificial that prevents this is contrary to divine law, although spacing births for a just reason is permitted (and may be accomplished through “natural family planning”). Also, poverty, lack of health care, rights violations, government intrusion in the life of communities and families, and other justice concerns must be addressed by faithful Christians because of the negative effect these conditions have on the family unit. St. Paul gives us some advice on family life in Colossians 3:12-21: Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Wives, be subject to your...

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From the Rector: Merry Christmas
Dec19

From the Rector: Merry Christmas

As we approach the holy and joyful celebration of the birth of Our Lord Jesus, may your families share deeply in the saving mystery of His Life. I want to extend a warm welcome to all who are visiting or returning home to us during the holidays. Also, I am so grateful for everyone who participates in the life of our Cathedral parish! There are so many people who work to make this a place where God is worshipped and His people can come to experience His Love and Mercy. On Behalf of Bishop Wall, the Priests and Deacons, and all the staff of Sacred Heart Cathedral, we want to wish you and yours a Blessed, Holy, and Merry Christmas. In Christ the newborn King, -Fr. Keller...

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From the Rector: Third Sunday of Advent
Dec13

From the Rector: Third Sunday of Advent

Third Sunday of Advent The third Sunday of Advent is known as “Gaudete Sunday.” In the readings, we hear about miracles associated with the Messianic age, its coming, and what we need to do to prepare. We also learn about the doubts of John the Baptist, how he dealt with them, and the blessing that makes us even more fortunate than John was. Here are some things to know and share . . . 1) Why is the third Sunday of Advent known as Gaudete Sunday? Its name is taken from the entrance antiphon of the Mass, which is: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near. This is a quotation from Philippians 4:4-5, and in Latin, the first word of the antiphon is gaudete (Latin, “rejoice”; it’s also pronounced with three syllables: gau-de-te) 2) What significance does this have? Advent is the season of preparing for the arrival of the Lord Jesus (both his first coming and his second coming), and by the third Sunday of Advent, we are most of the way through the season. On Gaudete Sunday, the season of Advent shifts its focus. For the first two weeks of Advent, the focus can be summed up in the phrase, “The Lord is coming.” But beginning with Gaudete Sunday, the summary might be, “The Lord is near.” This shift is marked by a lighter mood, and a heightened sense of joyous anticipation. 3) What is the appropriate liturgical color for this day? According to the rubrics: In this mass the color violet or rose is used. It can thus be either one. It doesn’t have to be rose; it can also be violet. 4) How many candles are lit on the wreath? Three candles are lit this week, two purple and the one rose candle to signify the 3rd Sunday of Advent. 5) Is this the same as Laetare Sunday? Gaudete Sunday is often compared to  Laetare Sunday which  is the fourth Sunday in Lent. Like Gaudete Sunday, Laetare Sunday has a more light-hearted, celebratory mood relative to Lent’s usually strict mood....

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From the Rector: Origin and History of Advent
Dec07

From the Rector: Origin and History of Advent

Origin and History of Advent The exact time when the season of Advent came to be celebrated is not precisely known, the earliest evidence shows that the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord was established within the later part of the 4th century. There are homilies from the 5th century that discuss preparation in a general sense, but do not indicate an official liturgical season. A Synod held in 590 established that Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from November 11th until the Nativity would be offered according to the Lenten rite. This and other traditions, such as fasting, show that the period of time now established as the Advent season was more penitential (similar to Lent) than the liturgical season as we know it today. A collection of homilies from Pope St. Gregory the Great (whose papacy was from 590-604) included a sermon for the second Sunday of Advent, and by 650 Spain was celebrating the Sundays (five at the time) of Advent. So it seems the liturgical season was established around the latter part of the 6th century and first half of the 7th century. For the next couple of centuries, Advent was celebrated for five Sundays; Pope Gregory VII, who was pope from 1073-85, reduced the number to four Sundays. Advent Today The themes and traditions of the Advent season have evolved throughout the history of the liturgical season. As mentioned, the early Advent season was mainly penitential, close to the theme of the Lenten season. Today a penitential theme still exists, but it is not as intense as in 7th century. Also, it is blended with the theme of prayerful, spiritual preparation for the second and final coming of the Lord, as well as the joyful preparation for the annual festive remembrance of the Incarnation and Christ’s birth. Violet, or purple, is the appropriate vestment color, as noted in paragraph 346 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, in the section which discusses the prescribed colors for liturgical vestments: Violet or purple is used in Advent and Lent. It may also be worn in Offices and Masses for the Dead. Rose may be used, where it is the practice, on Gaudete Sunday (Third Sunday of Advent) and on Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent). Advent Traditions Advent celebration and traditions can vary from place to place, influenced by culture. However, some traditions have come to be common throughout the Catholic Church. The Advent wreath is likely the most popular tradition, and wreaths are typically present in both the parish church and in the home. It is often circular, representing God’s eternity, and it includes 4 candles – one for each Sunday of Advent. Many families have a wreath in the home, and will light the candles...

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From the Rector: The meaning of the Advent wreath and candles
Dec01

From the Rector: The meaning of the Advent wreath and candles

The meaning of the Advent wreath and candles. Darkness and Light The Advent candles readily demonstrate the strong contrast between darkness and light. In the Bible, Christ is referred to as the “Light of the World” contrasted with the darkness of sin. Human history spanned long ages before our prophesied Savior would finally make his appearance, and God’s promise to make all things new through him. As his Advent, or “coming,” draws nearer another candle is lit, with each candle dispelling the darkness a little more. Thus, the Advent wreath helps us to spiritually contemplate the great drama of salvation history that surrounds the birth of God Incarnate who comes to redeem the human race. The Four Weeks of Advent During the first two weeks of Advent we light the first two purple candles. The Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday. On this day we celebrate that our waiting for the birth of Jesus on Christmas day is almost over. Rose is a liturgical color that is used to signify joy, so we light the single pink candle on the third Sunday of Advent. Then on the fourth Sunday of Advent, the final purple candle is lit to mark the final week of prayer and penance as we wait expectantly for the soon-coming birth of the King of Kings. Traditionally, each of the four Advent candles have a deeper meaning The 1st Sunday of Advent symbolizes Hope with the “Prophet’s Candle” reminding us that Jesus is coming. The 2nd Sunday of Advent symbolizes Faith with the “Bethlehem Candle” reminding us of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. The 3rd Sunday of Advent symbolizes Joy with the “Shepherd’s Candle” reminding us of the Joy the world experienced at the coming birth of Jesus. The 4th Sunday of Advent symbolizes Peace with the “Angel’s Candle” reminding us of the message of the angels: “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men.” Color Violet is a liturgical color that is used to signify a time of prayer, penance, and sacrifice and is used during Advent and Lent.  Advent, also called “little Lent,” is the season where we spiritually wait in our “darkness” with hopeful expectation for our promised redemption, just as the whole world did before Christ’s birth, and just as the whole world does now as we eagerly await his promised return....

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From the Rector: Feast of Christ the King
Nov21

From the Rector: Feast of Christ the King

Feast of Christ the King The Feast of Christ the King is, as Catholic feasts go, a relatively recent one. It was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925, to remind Catholics (and the world generally) that Jesus Christ is Lord of the Universe, both as God and as Man. Pius XI announced the feast in his encyclical Quas Primas, which was delivered on December 11, 1925. At the end of the encyclical, he declared that he expected three “blessings” to flow from the celebration of the feast: first, that “men will doubtless be reminded that the Church, founded by Christ as a perfect society, has a natural and inalienable right to perfect freedom and immunity from the power of the state”; second, that “Nations will be reminded by the annual celebration of this feast that not only private individuals but also rulers and princes are bound to give public honor and obedience to Christ”; and third, that “The faithful, moreover, by meditating upon these truths, will gain much strength and courage, enabling them to form their lives after the true Christian ideal.” HOW IS THE DATE OF THE FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING DETERMINED? In Quas Primas, Pius XI established the celebration of the feast “on the last Sunday of the month of October—the Sunday, that is, which immediately precedes the Feast of All Saints.” He tied it to All Saints Day because “before celebrating the triumph of all the Saints, we proclaim and extol the glory of him who triumphs in all the Saints and in all the Elect.” With the revision of the Church’s liturgical calendar in 1969, however, Pope Paul VI moved the Feast of Christ the King to the final Sunday of the liturgical year—that is, the last Sunday before the First Sunday of Advent. As such, it is a moveable feast; the date changes every year. From what Jesus said about His Father’s kingdom, some interesting facts emerge: It is an eternal Kingdom. It existed in THE PAST. Jesus warned the Pharisees: “There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out.” [LK 13;20] It exists in THE PRESENT. He said: “The Kingdom of God is among you.” It is a universal kingdom; not territorial or national, but worldwide. Jesus said: “People will come from the east and the west from north and south to sit at table in the kingdom of God.” [LK 12;30] It certainly is not a political kingdom. Jesus said to Pilate: “My kingdom is not of this world.” (Jn. 18;36] It is a hidden kingdom. Jesus said:...

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From the Rector: Indulgences for the Holy Souls in Purgatory
Nov16

From the Rector: Indulgences for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

Indulgences for the Holy Souls in Purgatory An indulgence can either be partial or plenary. It is partial if it removes only part of the temporal punishment due to sin, or plenary if it removes all punishment. To be able to gain an indulgence, one must have the intention to gain them, and perform the works at the time and in the manner prescribed. The traditional conditions to attain a Plenary Indulgence: A Plenary Indulgence can be gained only one per day. The faithful must be in the state of grace and these three conditions must accompany the prescribed act: -the faithful must receive the sacrament of confession, either eight days before or after the pious act is performed, -receive Holy Communion on that day -and recite prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father (one Our Father and one Hail Mary is the minimum, but any other additional prayers may be added). All attachment to sin, even venial sin, must be absent. If one’s disposition is less than perfect or if some of the above conditions are not fulfilled, the indulgence becomes partial. In the Year 2000 Jubilee Year the Apostolic Penitentiary relaxed the conditions for confession and communion: In order to obtain a plenary indulgence (only one per day), the faithful must, in addition to being in the state of grace: -have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin; — have sacramentally confessed their sins; -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); -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. Although this was given for the Jubilee Year, these “remain in effect, since it was contained under the “General remarks on indulgences,” and not under those specific to the Jubilee Indulgence.” See Indulgences – General Conditions for further explanation. Indulgenced Acts for the Poor Souls: A partial indulgence can be obtained by devoutly visiting a cemetery and praying for the departed,...

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