Friday, April 30, 2010

A Prayer for Priests

This past year has been designated the "Year for Priests," and I have been remiss in sharing some resources that have been developed in this "year."

However, a very good resource comes from my friend and colleague from the Archdiocese of Boston, Rev. Austin Fleming, the pastor of Concord MA. Austin has his own blog, and I often borrow from him.

One of the best things he has on his blog is a Prayer for Priests that he posts on Friday mornings. With thanks for his friendship and example, I reproduce his prayer for you:

A Prayer for Priests

Gracious God, loving Father,
font of every gift and good,
make of priests for us we pray:

men of faith, men of love,
humble servants of your Word,
prophets of your Spirit’s grace;

men of hope, men of peace,
strong defenders of the truth,
heralds of your holy gospel;

men of prayer, men of praise,
guardians of our sacred rites,
of the scriptures and tradition;

men of changelessness and change,
men who follow you each day,
when and where your Spirit leads;

men of tenderness and strength,
comfort for the sick and weary,
shepherds leading home the lost;

men of counsel, men of wisdom,
gentle guides for the confused,
lights along the darkened path;

men of mercy, patient men,
understanding and consoling
of the grieving and abused;

men of justice and compassion,
reconciling and forgiving,
men of healing in your name;

men of sacrifice and honor,
single minded in your service,
set apart to do your will;

men of holiness and joy,
men anointed by your grace,
men ordained to serve as Christ.

Make us one with them in faith
and in Christ your only Son
in whose holy name we pray.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

New Info on the Roman Missal

Please be sure to check out the webpage for the U.S. Bishops for up to date information on resources for the implementation.

Here's the first of a series of "Bulletin Inserts" for use in parishes to help in catecesis on the new Roman Missal:

The Worshiping Assembly at Mass
The celebration of Mass is a corporate act, an act of the whole assembly gathered for worship. All the particular ministries serve this corporate function (GIRM, no. 27). In the Mass, the Church is joined to the action of Christ, the high point both of the action by which God sanctifies the world in Christ and of the worship that the human race offers to the Father, adoring him through Christ, the Son of God, in the Holy Spirit (no. 16). We are joined to this divine action through baptism, which incorporates us into the risen Christ. This action, which lies at the center of the whole Christian life (no. 16) is not initiated by us but by God acting in and through the Church as the body of the risen Christ. It becomes our action only to the extent that we give ourselves to this mystery of redemptive worship. The liturgy is designed to bring about in all those who make up the worshiping assembly a participation of the faithful both in body and mind, a participation burning with faithful, hope, and charity (no. 18). To the extent that we are able to participate in this way, the work of redemption becomes personally effective for each of us. By such participation, the General Instruction says, we make the actions and prayers of the liturgy our own; we enter more fully into our personal communion with Christ's redeeming act and perfect worship (see no. 54, 55, etc.).

In the celebration of Mass the faithful are a holy people, a chosen people, a royal priesthood: they give thanks to God and offer the Victim not only through the hands of the priest but also together with him and learn to offer themselves. They should endeavor to make this clear by their deep sense of reverence for God and their charity toward brothers and sisters who share with them in the celebration (no. 95). They should become one body, whether by hearing the word of God, or joining in prayers and liturgical song, or above all by offering the sacrifice together and sharing together in the Lord's table (no. 96).

Because the whole liturgy is a corporate act of the gathered assembly (GIRM no. 34; Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 1144), there are certain parts of the Mass that are to be done by the whole assembly, the congregation of the faithful and all the ministers, in order to express the corporate nature of this act. Through these actions, the entire congregation of the faithful joins itself to Christ in acknowledging the great things that God has done and in offering the sacrifice (no. 78). These acts include:

Listening with reverence to the readings of God's word (GIRM no. 29);

Engaging in the dialogue of prayer through acclamations, greetings, and responses to spoken and sung prayers (no. 34-37) in a tone suitable to the text (no. 38);

Joining in an action through common postures and gestures (no. 42);

Participating in communal silence (no. 45);

Because of their baptismal dignity, letting themselves be included in the offering symbolized by incensation (no. 75);

Participating in the greeting of peace as a sign of ecclesial communion and love for each other (no. 82);

Participating in specific spoken prayers and other texts, namely:

the formula of general confession during the penitential rite (no. 51);

the profession of faith (no. 67-68);

the general intercessions (no. 69);

the Lord's Prayer (no. 81);

the prayer of humility before sacramental communion (no. 84);

Participating in the offering during the Eucharistic Prayer, which is spoken or chanted by the priest, but in which all should join as the Church to offer the "spotless Victim to the Father in the Holy Spirit" and "offer themselves and so day by day to surrender themselves, through Christ the Mediator, to an ever more complete union with God and with each other, so that at last God may be all in all" (no. 79f);

Participating in liturgical song, because singing is a way of expressing both the corporate nature of the act of worship and the intense union to be achieved between God and the Church in Christ through the Holy Spirit. It is a union so intense and total that it is described as a union between lovers whose nature is best expressed vocally in song (no. 39). Singing is also an act which unifies and focuses the individual (no. 39), thus encouraging that "participation in body and spirit that is conscious, active, full, and motivated by faith, hope, and charity" (no. 18). These songs and acclamations are normally to be sung, in whole or in part, by all the participants:

opening liturgical song (no. 48);

Kyrie (no. 52);

Gloria (no. 53);

Responsorial psalm (no. 61);

Gospel acclamation (no. 62);

Song at the preparation of gifts (no. 74);

Sanctus, memorial acclamation, and Amen (no. 79, 151);

The Lord's Prayer (no. 81);

Lamb of God (no. 83);

the optional psalm, canticle of praise, or hymn after communion (no. 88).

For those who are properly disposed (no. 80), full, active, and conscious participation is expressed in partaking in the Holy Communion of the Lord, receiving in the one bread consecrated at this Mass the Lord's body and blood, in the same way that the apostles received them from Christ's own hands (no. 72.3).

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Back from Notre Dame

Back from the meetings of the Alumni Senate at Notre Dame. Good times. I learned lots of great things about the new "Social Media" outlets available today.

Highlight: I got to meet the new Football coach, Brian Kelly! We had a very nice "reception" in the Press-Box of the Football stadium, and in the midst of it, we had a nice talk from Coach Kelly, and then a great question and answer time.

As Coach was leaving, I planted myself in front of the doorway, in my full Roman Collar and black suit. I told coach that we were looking forward to hosting him at the Jersey Shore,....when he asked where the event was going to be. I told him, "In Long Branch."

He says, "I've got a good friend with a restaurant in Long ever hear of 'Avenue?'"

I say: "Hell yeah. It's a great restaurant! The best on the beach in Long Branch."

After that, he got pulled away by Chuck Lennon, the Dir. of the Alumni Association, but I felt that I had made a connection.

Anyway....he'll be here in NJ on Sunday, May 23 at the Ocean Place Hotel/Resort in Long Branch for our annual Universal Notre Dame Night. Cocktails, Dinner, and program with Coach Kelly for $100. Call me if you want/need more info!

Fr. Gene: 732 904 2012

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bread, Wine, Milk and Honey

In the early church, at the Liturgy where new members were initiated, besides bread and wine being blessed and consecrated and given to the newly baptized, St. Hippolytus tells us that a cup of milk mixed with sweet honey would be blessed and given to the neophytes. Apparently, the symbolism was to remind the newbies of the sweetness of life in Christ, their newly-found "Promised Land" that they enjoyed because of their recent baptism.

From St. Hippolytus:

"The deacons then preent the oblation to the bishop. He gives thanks with regard to the bread, which represents the body of Christ; he gives thanks also with regard to the cup, in which the wine is mixed that represents the blood poured out for all those who believe in him. He also gives thanks with regard to the mingled milk and honey, which represents the fulfillment of the promise God made to our ancestors, a promise signified by the land flowing with milk and honey and fulfilled in the flesh of Christ which he gives us and by which believers are nourished like little children, for the sweetness of his word changes the bitterness of our hearts into gentleness. Finally he gives thanks with regard to the water for the oblation, to signify purification, so that the interior and spiritual may receive the same effect as the body. Let the bishop explain all this carefully to those who receive it."

Monday, April 12, 2010

Ah, Bread for the Journey!

"In the act of creating bread, an honest loaf, an object with a presence, a fragrance, a substance, a taste, some would say even a soul, the baker has changed grain and flour and liquid into an entitiy. She or he has taken yeast, a dormant colony of living plants, and released and nurtured them in embryonic warmth, has sprinkled in sugar on which yeast thrives, has sifted in flour that builds the cellular elastic structure that holds the tiny carbon dioxide bubbles that raise the framework of the house called bread. And in that house is love, and warmth, and nourishment, and comfort, and care, and caring, and taking care, and time gone by, and time well spent, and things natural, and things good, and honest toil, and work without thought of reward, and all of those things once had, now lost in a country and a world that has rushed by itself and passed itself, running, and never noticed the loss."


Friday, April 9, 2010

Holy Thursday Homily from Notre Dame

The homilist at the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday at the University of Notre Dame is traditionally the Provincial Superior of the Congregation of Holy Cross. The current superior is the Rev. David Tyson, C.S.C.
I will be back on campus next week for the Alumni Senate meetings, and it will be good to reconnect with my old friend, Fr. Tyson.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Happy Easter to L.A.!

Congratulations to our friends in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles! They have a new coadjutor-Archbishop! The successor to Cardinal Mahony is Archbishop Jose Gomez!

I really admire the process that Cardinal Mahony undertook as he approached his 74th birthday....he asked Rome to name a coadutor Archbishop to be with him in his last days as Archbishop of L.A., and then to succeed him with a real working-knowledge of the archdiocese. Such an action really shows that Mahony truly is a humble man, and a gentleman. Would that we had more bishops in the U.S. like Roger Mahony!

More Easter Reflections

"What a wondrous spectacle we witness each year as nature awakens from her winter slumbers! What transformation in field and forest as the pall of ice and snow is blown aside by spring's warm winds and buds appear on tree and bush. If our gaze could but permeate nature's workshops and see the tremendous activity in every sector, how tiny roots are bursting with life-giving sap, ready at a moment's notice to break forth and form the thick, soft carpet of leaves and flowers upon which spring will make her triumphal entry into the land. Today, as I am writing this, the entire landscape is bleak, gray, dead. But in two months the meadows will be green, the trees will be full of blossoms, the birds will be singing, a sense of joy and happiness and well-being will fill the land. For nature will have come to life again!

It should be one of our objectives to regain this sense of close association with nature. The natural rhythm of the seasons should be a source of constant delight. Every tiny flower, every little animal, the rays of the sun, the chirp of birds, everything that spring brings back to us should inspire sentiments of joy and gratitude over our good fortune.

However, we must not remain on the plane of nature; for us nature is a holy symbol. It is a picture-book given by God to his children in which they may see his beauty and his love; a picture-book which tells of another world which now at Easter is likewise celebrating resurrection, the world of supernatural life within us.

Spring with its transformation of hill and meadow is, accordingly, a great symbol of an event in sacred history and of an event now taking place within the church. Springtime is nature executing her Sprintime liturgy. Neither poverty nor art can even approximate her grand display. In every corner of her vast cathedral a thousand voices are shouting Alleluia, the voices of creatures that have come to life. Yes, nature holy, sinless, eternal, is holding her Easter rites. Oh, that we had eyes to see this mystery!"


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easter Week practices for Families

"So it is right and proper that we celebrate the days of Easter with joy. I will admit to having kept my children out of school on Easter Monday for years. The school holidays before Easter were steeped in preparation and anticipation. Now we needed time for rejoicing. I think the children liked that Monday holiday especially; it was so unlike us to take a "well day" off work and school.

On Easter Monday we have gone to an early Mass to hear the delightful gospel and Alleluias again. Then we have always found a body of water to visit and enjoy -- a river, a lake, a stream, the marshes -- fresh, life-giving waters like that which were blessed at the Easter Vigil, like the waters of our baptism which we remember at this time. The story Emmaus seems to inspire a walk in nature. We see the evidence of transformation all around us in the new green of springtime.

When the children were small we would plan to meet another family or two, usually by the marsh waters near our home. That was the favorite Easter Monday picnic place. The marsh birds were actively expressing their rites of spring and with bird books and field glasses we would identify them and watch them nest. Sometimes there were baby ducks to feed.

Always we got wet. We learned about the traditions of getting wet on Easter Monday first from a favorite children't book which we have read and reread for years especially at Eastertime. The Good Master by Kate Serdy tells of an Hungarian family, and the accounts of their Easter celebrations especially caught our interest. On Easter Monday, the young boys of the Hungarian villages went from house to house, and wherever young girls lived, they came up to the door, recited a blessing and then splashed the girls with water. The girls in turn invited them in and everyone feasted on Easter specialties, and the girsl gave the boys some of their carefully painted eggs to take home. On Easter Tuesday they replayed the whole game in reverse.

Then a Polish friend of mine surprised me one Easter Monday morning with such a wet blessing, and 'it took.' Our children felt so inspired that it has become a part of our Easter Monday rites at the water's edge."


Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Light

"Flame, which is a figure for the soul, is also a figure for the living God; for 'God is light and in him there is no darkness.' As the flame radiates light so God radiates truth, and the soul by receiving truth is united with God, as our eyes by seeing its light are united with the flame. And, as the flame radiates heat, so does God radiate the warmth of goodness; and as the hand and the cheek by perceiving the warmth become one with the flame, so whoever loves God becomes one with him in goodness. But also, just as the candle remains free and disengaged in its place, so does God abide unmoved 'dwelling in unapproachable light.'

Flame, emitting light, emitting heat, is an image to us of the living God.

All this comes very much home to us on Holy Saturday when the Easter Candle, which symbolizes Christ, is lighted. Three times, each time in a higher tone, the deacon (sic) sings 'Lumen Christi'...At once every lamp and candle in the church is lighted from it, and the whole building is alight and aglow with the radiance and warmth of God's presence."


O Splendor of the Father's light
That makes our daylight lucid, bring;
O Light of light and sun of day,
Now shine on us your brightest ray.

True Sun, break out on earth and shine
In radiance with your light divine;
By dazzling of your Spirit's might,
Oh, give our jaded senses light.

The Father sends his Son, our Lord,
To be his bright and shining Word;
Come, Lord, ride out your gleaming course
And be our dawn, our light's true source.

Fourth Century

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Sunday

"Hail thee, festival day!
Blest day to be hallowed forever;
Day when our Lord was raised, breaking the kingdom of death.

All the fair beauty of earth from the death of the winter arising!
Ev'ry good gift of the year now with its master returns.

Rise from the grave now, O Lord, the author of life and creation,
Treading the pathway of death, new life you give to us all.

God the Almighty, the Lord, the ruler of earth and the heavens,
Guard us from harm without; cleasne us from evil within.

Jesus, the health of the world, enlighten our minds, great Redeemer,
Son of the Father supreme, only begotten of God.

Spirit of life and of power, now flow in us, fount of our being.
Light that enlightens us all, life that in all may abide.

Praise to the giver of good! O Lover and Author of concord,
Pour out your balm on our days; order owr ways in your peace."

Sixth Century

Saturday, April 3, 2010

He is RISEN!

This video reminds me so much of my carefree days as a seminarian at Notre Dame! It is Easter for me!

The singing Bishop-celebrant is Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C. of Peoria, IL, who was my religious superior when I was in the seminary. FYI, Bishop Jenky STILL sings as much as possible!

Also, at the end of the video, check out related videos featuring the same hymn!


Friday, April 2, 2010

What the Lord saw from the Cross

James Tissot: What Our Lord Saw from the Cross (Ce que voyait Notre-Seigneur sur la Croix) - Click on image for larger version

In the most memorable, and even notorious, of Tissot’s images, Christ looks out at the crowd of spectators arrayed before him: Mary Magdalene, in the immediate foreground, with her long red tresses swirling down her back, kneels at his feet, which are clearly visible at the bottom center of the composition. Beyond her, the Virgin Mary clutches her breast, while John the Evangelist looks up with hands clasped.

The artist here adopts the point of view of Christ himself. Few painters have conceived a composition this daring. In his audacity, however, Tissot remains true to his artistic vision: ultimately, the image is an exercise in empathy. Its point is to give viewers, accustomed to looking at the event from the outside, a rare opportunity to imagine themselves in Christ’s place and consider his final thoughts and feelings as he gazed on the enemies and friends who were witnessing, or participating in, his death.

Good Friday

"Rejoice, O life-bearing Cross,
The invincible trophy of godliness,
The door of paradise,
The foundation of the faithful,
The protection guarding the chruch, by which
corruption is utterly destroyed and the power of
death swallowed up and we are exalted to heaven
from earth.
The invincible weapon,
The adversary of demons,
The glory of martyrs,
The true beauty of saints,
The haven of salvation which gives great mercy to the world.

Orthodox Liturgy

Rejoice, O Guide to the blind,
The healer of the sick,
The resurrection of the dead.
O precious Cross which raises us who have fallen into corruption,
By which the curse is destroyed and incorruption blossoms forth,
By which we earthen creatures are deified and
the devil utterly destroyed.
We behold you today exalted in the hands of the high priest.
We exalt him who was lifted upon you.
And we venerate you from which we richly draw great mercy.

Orthodox liturgy

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Holy Thursday

Tonight at 8:00 p.m. we will celebrate the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper. Besides the powerful readings, we will celebrate the ancient rite of washing feet. Here at St. Anselm, it is no small, tidy "play" with only 12 people getting their feet washed. We wash everybody's feet...anyone who comes forward to get their feet washed, is then invited to wash the feet of their neighbor. It's a little messy, but that's the power of good symbol!

"Sing, my tongue, the song of triumph,
Tell the story far and wide;
Tell of dread and final battle,
Sing of Savior crucified;
How upon the cross a victim
Vanquishing in death he died.

He endured the nails, the spitting,
Vinegar and spear and reen;
From that holy body broken
Blood and water forth proceed:
Earth and stars and sky and ocean
By that flood from stain are freed.

Faithful Cross, above all other,
One and only noble tree,
None in foliage, none in blossom,
None in fruit your peer may be;
Sweet the wood and sweet the iron
And your load, most sweet is he.

Bend your boughs, O Tree of glory!
All your rigid branches, bend!
For a while the ancient temper
That your birth bestowed, suspend;
And the king of earth and heaven
Gently on your bosom tend."

Sixth Century