Saturday, June 27, 2009

Anointing of the Sick at all Masses this weekend

This weekend, after all of the Masses, we celebrate the Anointing of the Sick. The liturgical readings for this weekend's masses all speak of healing and restoration. A great weekend to celebrate this healing Sacrament!
Come, let the Lord touch you, and heal your brokeness!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

We've been hit!

Last Friday evening, as I was walking from the church to the Parish House, after catching up on emails and phone messages, as I passed the Peace Garden, I noticed a very large bird taking off from the Peace Garden. When I say large, I mean a wingspan of over 7 feet! I noticed a flappy chin, so I thought that it was a pelican or something. It took off directly from the little pond within the Peace Garden.

Now, a few days later, I find out that the large pelican may have actually been a heron.

Apparently, this heron was very hungry. Apparently, the heron attacked the small pond in the Peace Garden, and wiped out ALL of the little fish that were there. ALL of the little fish are gone! We've been wiped out!

I wonder why the Heron didn't hit the main pond about 10 feet away! Maybe because there are more hiding places for small fish! Who knows?

So, don't be surprised if you see no small fish in the little pond...but the big fish are still in the main pond!

Who knew that Herons were such tough hunters?

Friday, June 19, 2009

U.S. Bishops on the Roman Missal Project

Thanks to Catholic News Service for this update on the U.S. Bishops recent meeting in Texas:

Liturgy translations fall short of two-thirds; mail balloting needed

By Patricia Zapor
Catholic News Service

SAN ANTONIO (CNS) -- The U.S. bishops will have to poll members missing from their spring meeting in San Antonio before it's known whether they have approved liturgical prayers, special Masses and key sections of an English translation of the Order of the Mass.

Five texts being prepared for use in English-speaking countries failed to get the necessary two-thirds votes of the Latin-rite U.S. bishops during the June 18 session of the bishops' meeting.

With 244 Latin-rite bishops in the United States eligible to vote on the questions, the required two-thirds would be 163. With 189 eligible bishops attending the meeting, only 134 voted to accept the first section, Masses and prayers for various needs and intentions.

On four subsequent translations, the votes also failed to reach two-thirds, meaning the 55 bishops not present will be polled by mail on all five parts. That process is expected to take several weeks.

The items that failed to pass contain prefaces for the Mass for various occasions; votive Masses and Masses for the dead; solemn blessings for the end of Mass; prayers over the people and eucharistic prayers for particular occasions, such as for evangelization or ordinations.

The section receiving the highest level of approval -- with a 159-19 vote, with three abstentions -- was the Order of the Mass II, with its prefaces, blessings and eucharistic prayers.

The bishops did have enough votes to approve a sixth action item from the Committee on Divine Worship, a Spanish-language Lectionary. After that vote of 181-2, with three abstentions, the bishops' conference president, Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, joked: "Ahora, vamos a continuar en espanol," or "Now we will continue in Spanish."

Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson, N.J., chairman of the Committee on Divine Worship, warned that delaying approval or failing to send the Vatican guidance by the end of November will risk shutting the U.S. bishops out of the English-language translation approval process.

Bishop Donald W. Trautman of Erie, Pa., had several times raised questions about the timetable for submitting the liturgical texts and voiced frustration with their grammar, sentence structure and word choices that he said were not suited to contemporary worship.

"I say yes to more accurate Latin translation ... yes to a more elevated tone," Bishop Trautman said from the floor. "But a resounding no to incomplete sentences, to two and three clauses in sentences, no to 13 lines in one sentence, no to archaic phrases, no to texts that are not proclaimable, not intelligible and not pastorally sensitive to our people."

In an interview with Catholic News Service Bishop Trautman singled out for example a phrase included in the translations for votive Masses and Masses for the dead: "May the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Lord, cleanse our hearts and make them fruitful within by the sprinkling of his dew."

"What does that even mean?" he asked, citing frustration also with phrases such as "the sweetness of your grace."

"I don't think the word 'sweetness' relates to people today," at least not in the way the translation intends, he told CNS.

Bishop Serratelli, a member of the International Committee on English in the Liturgy, known as ICEL, told the meeting that ICEL members pray the texts aloud as they draft the English versions. ICEL is made up of representatives of 11 main English-speaking bishops' conferences.

He also emphasized that after an eight-year process to get to this point, the Vatican is waiting on the U.S. bishops to weigh in with their approval.

"We're at the end of the process," Bishop Serratelli said. Of the missal text, he said it's "a very, very good text. ... It's not perfect, but we're at the end of a long, healthy process."

In June 2008 the Vatican granted its "recognitio" or confirmation to the translation of the main parts of the Mass, which the U.S. bishops had voted to approve in June 2006.

Bishop Serratelli told reporters at a news conference that he expects enough votes among the bishops being polled by mail to approve all of the texts. If any fail to get two-thirds support, those pieces will come back to the bishops as a whole at their November meeting.

Typically, attendance is higher at the November meeting, which is where the USCCB conducts most of its conference business.

In November 2008 the U.S. bishops signed off on another section, the Proper of the Seasons, which includes the proper prayers for Sundays and feast days during the liturgical year.

Yet to come for approval by the U.S. bishops are new translations of the Proper of the Saints, propers for the dioceses, antiphons, eucharistic prayers for Masses with children, introductory material and appendices. The propers are expected to be taken up by the U.S. bishops at their regular business meeting in the fall.

When the material was introduced a day earlier, among a handful of questions raised was Bishop Trautman's about the timetable for sending the finished missal changes off to the Vatican and what he found to be too short a time for review.

Noting that the text came to the bishops at a very busy time of year, close to Holy Week and Easter, he said its 812 pages -- 406 each of English and Latin -- meant few bishops had time to do detailed reviews.

Bishop Serratelli disagreed that time was too short, saying the material went to the bishops for review in March.

"The Holy See wants it in November," he said.


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Coming back from Notre Dame....

I have to make a confession....

This was a great week. I loved the Liturgy Confernece at Notre Dame. I really enjoyed seeing old friends from the Congregation of Holy Cross. I had some great visits with some of the older members of the Congregation....old friends and mentors from years ago....teachers and spiritual directors.

As I drove home to NJ today....I have to confess that I felt I was leaving my heart on a campus in South Bend, IN.

Lots of mixed emotions, to say the least.

Let's all get some rest!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

When at Notre Dame....

This evening, after joining a good friend for a great dinner and some time catching up, we returned to the Notre Dame campus, and went to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart to help hear confessions. I have to tell you, it was a real thrill to join about 15 other priests in hearing confessions and reconciling almost 400 young people who were on campus as part of the NDVISION experience.

Ostensibly, I'm on campus as part of the Annual Liturgy Conference, and that's going very well....the speakers have all been awesome, and very insightful. But after a day of sitting in workshops and talks, I was getting itchy do "do something" priestly. When my friend asked if I'd be interested in hearing confessions of some of the young people, I of course jumped at the chance.

I think that I was more moved by the experience of the beautiful music, the environment of the basilica, and the chance to reconcile those young people than they were. At one point, the choir starting singing one of my favorite songs by Steve Warner and the Notre Dame Folk choir, "Lead, Kindly Light", and I got very emotional. It's a wonderful tune, with wonderful text by John Henry Cardinal Newman, and it always touches my heart and is a great song for a reconciliation service.

Looking forward to a full day tomorrow, and concelebrating the closing Mass of the conference, I'll be back in Jersey on Friday. But first, I have to make a visit to the Grotto, the CSC Cemetary, the Seminary, and then Holy Cross House tomorrow to see some old friends like Fr. Ted, Fr. D'Alonzo, and others. At Notre Dame, my heart is back at St. Anselm. Peace!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Silence at Mass

One of the most forgotten parts of the renewed liturgy of Vatican II is the role of silence in the liturgy. In several spots in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (what used to be called the Rubrics) the Church asks the celebrants and people to observe some substantial times of silent prayer.

These times come at the Opening Prayer of the Mass, the Prayer after Communion, after the first reading, the Psalm, the second reading, the homily, and after receiving Holy Communion.

I believe that American Catholics don't like a lot of silence. We get fidgety. We have a hard time concentrating on what we're supposed to be doing. We wonder, "Why is Fr. Gene being so quiet? Is he mad at something? Did he fall asleep? Did he have a stroke or something?"

Listen to the song above, and just be quiet with it. You'll see that silence and quiet can be a powerful time for prayer.

Notes on the new translation of the Roman Missal

As you may know, the Roman Missal is being retranslated into English, and there will be several changes in some of the prayers and responses of the Mass. Below is an article from the Bishop's Committee on Divine Worship, which gives us some insight into some of the changes that are coming.

Notes on the New Translation of the Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia
(from the August 2005 Newsletter – © 2008 USCCB)

While there are many and complex elements of the translation yet to be decided by the Bishops, the translation of several phrases in the Order of Mass have been previously decided by the instruction Liturgiam authenticam. Among these are “certain expressions that belong to the heritage of the whole or of a great part of the ancient Church, as well as others that have become part of the general human patrimony…” Therefore, the response Et cum spiritu tuo is “to be respected by a translation that is as literal as possible."1 Commentaries for a popular understanding of these two elements of the Liturgy are provided here and may be reproduced freely with the customary copyright acknowledgement by our readers.


Perhaps the most common dialogue in the Liturgy of the Roman Rite consists of the greeting :

Dominus vobiscum
et cum spiritu tuo

Since 1970, this has been translated as:

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

As a part of the revised translation of the Roman Missal, now taking place, the translation of this dialogue has been revised, to read:

The Lord be with you.
And with your spirit.

Latin Text
1970 Translation
New Translation

Dominus vobiscum.
Et cum spiritu tuo.

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

The Lord be with you.
And with your spirit.

Since it is clear that the change to “and with your spirit” is a significant and wide ranging change in a longstanding liturgical practice, the following questions are provided to clarify the reasons for the change and the meaning of the dialogue itself.

1. Why has the response et cum spiritu tuo been translated as and with your spirit?
The retranslation was necessary because it is a more correct rendering of et cum spiritu tuo. Recent scholarship has recognized the need for a more precise translation capable of expressing the full meaning of the Latin text.

2. What about the other major languages? Do they have to change their translations?
No. English is the only major language of the Roman Rite which did not translate the word spiritu. The Italian (E con il tuo spirito), French (Et avec votre esprit), Spanish (Y con tu espĂ­ritu) and German (Und mit deinem Geiste) renderings of 1970 all translated the Latin word spiritu precisely.

3. Has the Holy See ever addressed this question?
In 2001, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments published an instruction entitled, Liturgiam authenticam, subtitled, On the Use of Vernacular Languages in the Publication of the Books of the Roman Liturgy. The instruction directs specifically that: “Certain expressions that belong to the heritage of the whole or of a great part of the ancient Church, as well as others that have become part of the general human patrimony, are to be respected by a translation that is as literal as possible, as for example the words of the people’s response Et cum spiritu tuo, or the expression mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa in the Act of Penance of the Order of Mass.”2

4. Where does this dialogue come from?
The response et cum spiritu tuo is found in the Liturgies of both East and West, from the earliest days of the Church. One of the first instances of its use is found in the Traditio Apostolica of Saint Hippolytus, composed in Greek around AD 215.

5. How is this dialogue used in the Liturgy?
The dialogue is only used between the priest and the people, or exceptionally, between the deacon and the people. The greeting is never used in the Roman Liturgy between a non-ordained person and the gathered assembly.

6. Why does the priest mean when he says “The Lord be with you”?
By greeting the people with the words “The Lord be with you,” the priest expresses his desire that the dynamic activity of God’s spirit be given to the people of God, enabling them to do the work of transforming the world that God has entrusted to them.

7. What do the people mean when they respond “and with your spirit”?The expression et cum spiritu tuo is only addressed to an ordained minister. Some scholars have suggested that spiritu refers to the gift of the spirit he received at ordination. In their response, the people assure the priest of the same divine assistance of God’s spirit and, more specifically, help for the priest to use the charismatic gifts given to him in ordination and in so doing to fulfill his prophetic function in the Church.

8. What further reading could you suggest on this dialogue?
For those who wish to pursue this issue from a more scholarly perspective, they might consult:

J.A. Jungmann, S.J., The Mass of the Roman Rite: its Origins and Development, trans. F.A. Brunner C.Ss.R. (Westminster, MD: Christian Classics, 1986), 363.
Michael K. Magee, The Liturgical Translation of the Response “Et cum spiritu tuo”: Communio 29 (Spring 2002) 152-171.
W.C. Van Unnik, “Dominus Vobiscum:” The Background of a Liturgical Formula: A.J.B. Higgins (ed.), New Testament Essays (Manchester, University Press, 1959) 270-305.

1 Liturgiam authenticam, no. 56.
2 Liturgiam authenticam, no. 56

Monday, June 8, 2009

Tonight, we had a Parish Council meeting. I reported to the Council and the parish about the recent parish mergers in Long Branch. John Boyko, our representative to Pope John 23 school, reported on the Diocesan decision to close the failing school. I'd like to personally thank John for his willingness to serve on the Advisory Board of Pope John 23 school, which labored so well to keep the school open and to improve it's services.

We heard reports from our Liturgy Committee about our efforts to share our resources with our Twin Parish in Jamaica...we packed up a significant amount of vestments, albs, altar cloths and linens to send to Jamaica. Thanks to Ellie and John Cosgrove for packing them up and sending all of those items through Food for the Poor to make sure it arrives safely in Jamaica, and actually gets to Fr. Francis.

Speaking of Fr. Francis, he will be visiting us here at St. Anselm the first weekend of August! To celebrate his presence among us, we're planning a Jamaican-style picnic for the Sunday afternoon of his visit. We'll have Jamaican foods and drinks and have a great afternoon with Fr. Francis. We'll also have a special collection to send with him.

The Council also endorsed my decision to withdraw from volunteering to be on call for Monmouth Medical Center on Mondays. Since there are now a very significant number of priests in the city of Long Branch, it makes little sense for me, 20 minutes away, to be on call with the beeper on Mondays. We will continue to train and support Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion who will take the Sacrament to the hospital on Mondays, but I will no longer volunteer to cover on a regular basis.

The Council expressed some concern about the fact that we still have not heard anything from the results of the Deanery Study, as to the future of our parish and the parishes in our area. I would like to again thank the Council and the entire parish for your incredible patience in this matter. Once again, I'd like to thank all of you for your willingness to share the good things here at St. Anselm with other parishes: our practice of Stewardship, our ecumenical outreach, our outreach to the poor and needy, our commitment to outreach to the Missions, our outreach to the addicted, the marginalized, and to those suffering with illness.

Tonight's Council meeting reminded me of the documents of the Second Vatican Council (pictured above). That Council showed the world that the Catholic Church could change, that it is open to people of other faiths, that the Church is more than the Bishops, that the Church is called to be the living presence of Christ in the world today, that all of the baptized are called to ministry, and to leadership in the Church.

Thanks for a great meeting tonight!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Two Weddings at St. Anselm today

Today was a very busy day at St. Anselm. Besides having 3 babies baptized, and the regular course of evening confessions and the vigil mass, we had two weddings here today!

Both celebrations were joyous events, and the couples and their friends and families were all beautiful. I'm sure the whole parish joins me in wishing every good blessing upon Wayne and Megan Boyle, and David and Kristen Levine. A special word of thanks goes to the Levine family for leaving such beautiful floral arrangements which will help us to celebrate Trinity Sunday in joy and beauty!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ordinations 2009

This past Saturday morning, Bishop John M. Smith ordained three men as priests for the Diocese of Trenton. Our prayers and best wishes go with Tom, Jack, and Joel as they begin their presbyteral ministry. The parishes to which they are assigned are indeed lucky to get them. Each man is very talented and will bring some great gifts to each parish.