Father Peter Mottola will offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form also known as the Traditional Latin Mass, at St Vincent de Paul Church in Corning NY on 7 September 2014 at 12:30pm. The mass will be a Missa Cantata, a sung mass, with an accompanying Schola. Come experience this timeless form of the Holy Sacrifice of the mass. This is the second in the three masses scheduled this year. The last one is scheduled for 23 November at the same time and place.
At least 15 years ago, when I was consulting with a prominent chemical company on their growth programs, I presented the familiar planning framework which begins with formulating a corporate mission statement. It is axiomatic in business that a management team doesn’t begin planning its objectives, strategies and tactics until it can articulate the vision and mission for the business; e.g., “What is our unique market niche?” and “What are we committed to accomplish?” When I flipped the usual powerpoint presentation onto the screen, the CEO said “Oh, we have that down pat. We’ve already worked through the mission statement for strategic planning. Let’s move on to the growth strategies.” I smiled because I knew what was coming.
“Fine”, I said. “So let’s begin.” Then I turned to the 25 member management team in the room and said “Everyone take out a piece of paper. You will want to disguise your handwriting. Now write down the corporate mission statement; don’t sign it, and leave it here on the table in front of me, face down, and grab another cup of coffee.” To those who were reaching into their wallets to copy the mission statement from a laminated card, I added: “And don’t take anything out of your pockets until we’re done.” After about 5 minutes, I had a pile of papers in front of me, which I shuffled and gave to the CEO. He read through them during the coffee break, and when everyone returned he said: “We better begin with formulating a mission statement.” Later I learned not a single person had properly articulated the mission statement, so that’s where we restarted the seminar.
After such an experience, and many others, though less dramatic, I think it is not surprising (though it is deserving of a mea culpa) to confess that during the diocesan pastoral planning ordeal of about a decade ago, my pastor at that time asked me to be a resource to him for the strategic planning which the diocese was undertaking. On the subject of mission statements, I gave the same input regarding its importance. The advice wasn’t wrong; but, if we had all been more imbued in the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we would have been able to say: “Yes a mission statement is crucial, BUT WE ALREADY HAVE ONE!” Later, in retrospect, the silliness of months of word-smithing to formulate a mission statement that almost no parishioner knows or can articulate (even though it has been on the front page of the bulletin for years) brings the point home.
Enough time has gone by and, as pastors get reassigned and find themselves with a mission statement which they didn’t formulate, or which they can’t remember, or which doesn’t mean anything anyway, they seem to be quietly dropping the mission statements from the bulletins. But there are still many afloat in the Rochester Diocese and in other dioceses as well. What a waste of time and effort of so many people in so many parishes!
Think this is a wrong conclusion? What is YOUR parish’s mission statement? Does it even have one in the bulletin or has it been quietly dropped without even a mention? Can you write it down, right now, without peeking? Do you understand it? Do you agree with it? And why does your parish need any “mission statement” which is worded differently from Christ’s own commands? Did He not say:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” Matthew 28: 19-20.
And if we really need to add more, could we not remember:
“You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5: 48.
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15.
And if we are really hungry for more words, the Beatitudes provide plenty, and so does Matthew 10:42, and also the Greatest Commandment, and the one “second” to it.
Perhaps one reason why the “new evangelization” seems so challenging at times, is because the “old evangelization” hasn’t been tried enough. Even now, I have begun to hear homilies which basically say it is our lives that evangelize, that we don’t need to do something else. How easy it is to set aside the conscience nagging “Maybe I should be doing more.”
If I were “consulting” today, I would say get rid of those wordy, confusing, and self-serving mission statements, and get back to Christ’s words. Those are enough of a challenge for a lifetime. Self-serving mission statements? Yes. When mission statements are written to describe what we are already doing, or are so nebulous that spiritual success can be claimed, it is fair to call it “self-serving.” And it is fair to ask if such mission statements serve to placate the urge to “do more.”
Now, as a “fun” exercise, here are 15 mission statements right off the Sunday bulletins in the Diocese of Rochester, minus the names of the parish or extreme identifying characteristics. Would you like to take a crack at which church each belongs to? Can you tell the identity of any of them? If you have a mission statement to add to the list, post a comment (without naming the Church, please). Here are the 15, in no particular order::
1. “______________is a Catholic Community committed to the spiritual growth of all people as we share our faith and serve our community.”
2. “The parishes of _________ and ____________ are Roman Catholic Communities that worship and live in faith. Nourished by the Sacraments, Scripture, and a diversity of individual gifts, we understand that our mission comes from Jesus Christ who calls us to teach, to preach, to serve those in need, and to be a presence of Christ in the world.”
3. “We are an urban, Roman Catholic parish that worships and gathers at _______________. Our mission is to reach all in our community and beyond, teach the word of God, and send forth ministers of the Gospel.”
4. “We are a Christ-centered community of Catholic Churches working towards the spiritual renewal of all. As we pursue that hope and dream together, our common Mission Statement calls us: to carry on the work and teaching of Jesus through Imitation, Proclamation, Celebration and Social Transformation.”
5. “The Mission of ____________ Parish in unison with the Universal church is to proclaim and to spread among all peoples the Kingdom of Christ. The mission of the Parish is carried out in Word, Sacrament, and Service to God and neighbor. The continuing vitality of our staff and parishioners, we feel is evidence of the presence and work of the Holy Spirit.”
6. “As disciples of Jesus Christ serving on the Parish Pastoral Council, we collaborate with the Pastor and Staff inviting the people of ___________ to joyfully celebrate the Eucharist, faithfully teach Catholic tradition, and fervently form Catholic spirituality, so that together we may go forth in love to serve the Lord and each other.”
7. “With Mary as our model, __________ seeks to be a welcoming parish. Recognizing that we are made up of diverse rural communities, we strive to live as members of the one Body of Christ, ministering to each other, and working together to nurture our God given talents in order to reach out to others in a caring and compassionate manner that witnesses to our fervent love for God.”
8. “We profess our belief that Christ sent His Spirit to bestow gifts on His followers according to their part in carrying out His mission. We are committed to be visible signs to each other, and to our community, of Christ’s Presence among us: Proclaiming and evangelizing the Gospel, witnessing to God’s love according to the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching, ministering to the needs of all; and fostering the spiritual life and growth among parishioners.”
9. “We, the members of ___________, believe that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. Empowered by this belief, we seek through the celebration of Word and Sacrament to be Christ present in our world. As a community of faith, we strive to build Christian unity through worship and commitment to ________ ministries. We invite all to seek Christ through prayer and provide love and support to those in need.”
10. “We are an inclusive, welcoming, compassionate community united by a faith that is alive and growing. As sisters and brothers baptized in Christ, our mission is to be Christ for one another, our community, and the world by teaching as Jesus did, loving as Jesus loved, serving as Jesus served, and by seeing in every face the face of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
11. “As the Church of _________, we welcome all to our parish family. Guided by the Holy Spirit, rooted in God’s word, we seek to grow in faith through the joyful celebration of the sacraments. Reflecting Jesus Christ through the warmth of our hospitality, we commit to lovingly proclaim the Good News and serve one another.”
12. “__________ is a welcoming Roman Catholic faith community formed from the heritage of _#___parishes in _____. As one parish in Christ, we are committed to continuing His mission to build the Kingdom of God. As Christ’s disciples, strengthened by the sacraments, we enthusiastically engage in vibrant ministries which evangelize, unify and serve others within our parish and beyond. We are dedicated to worship, faith formation and social outreach as expressions of our faith.”
13. “Energized by the Holy Spirit and nourished by the Eucharist, we the parishioners of _________ and ________, in joyful unity embrace our baptismal call to worship God, spread the good news of Jesus Christ, build up a welcoming community of faith and hope, and lovingly serve and comfort those in need.”
14. “_________ Parish seeks to be a community where: ALL ARE WELCOME! ALL are INSPIRED to live the Good News of Jesus Christ where • Worship leads to Service • Service leads to Love • Love leads to Eternal Life •”
15. “We are a Catholic Community, called to be faithful, caring and enthusiastic disciples. We build up the kingdom of God by worshiping and praising God, proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ in word and witness, giving loving service to our neighbor and strengthening the parish community.”
Truly, can the thousands of “person hours” spent doing these statements all over the diocese have made any difference at all? Imagine what fruit could those thousands of hours have yielded if directed to the actual services which were being claimed? And that was just for the mission statement part of planning. Yet those same “leaders” continue to claim a competence which defies defense.
Some sanity at the parish level is beginning to emerge. There are noticeable trends to omit the Mission Statement, to reduce the font to miniscule size, and forget it once in a while. If all pastors were clearly given permission to “drop it,” I wonder how fast all these mission statements would disappear?
Light Under a Bushel?
And regarding church bulletins, another, unfortunate trend is that there is a significant increase in churches/parishes not showing their bulletins on line at all, but rather requiring a subscription in order to access the bulletin content. That doesn’t work at all for travelers, looking for a place to go to Mass when they plan their trips and who don’t want to end up on mailing lists. It doesn’t work for those who need to go to daily Mass in various locations, to accommodate work and family schedules, and need to verify the schedule. It makes a church look closed and insular.
Further, CF occasionally receives inquiries for a recommendation for a parish which is consistent with Church Teaching, with respectful behaviors and dress, and liturgical faithfulness. How can a church be recommended without a relevant link to which to direct the interested party? For example, CF was recently contacted by a family in California, relocating to Ithaca. But most of the churches there don’t have bulletins on line and they require a subscription, so they weren’t referenced, only the one which has its bulletins on line. Makes one think again about all those “mission” words of hospitality, openness and welcoming embrace, doesn’t it?
From The Archdiocese of Washington
…These ‘houses’ (domus ecclesia or domus Dei) were usually rather sizable, with a central courtyard or large room that permitted something a little more formal than Mass “around the dining room table.” I remember being taught (incorrectly) that these early Masses were informal, emphasized a relaxed, communal quality, and were celebrated facing the people. Well, it turns out that really isn’t true. People didn’t just sit around a table or sit in circle—not at all. They sat or stood formally, and everyone faced in one direction: east…
(from the Didiscalia (ca. 250) …Now, in your gatherings, in the holy Church, convene yourselves modestly in places of the brethren, as you will, in a manner pleasing and ordered with care. [So these 'house liturgies' were NOT informal Masses. Good order and careful attention to detail were essential.] Let the place of the priests be separated in a part of the house that faces east. [So even in these early house Masses, the sanctuary (the place where the clergy ministered) was an area distinct from where the…
Read the whole post HERE
Christian, a well-known commenter in the Cleansing Fire Community, has asked for us to “Light Another Candle” regarding the threatened satanic “Mass” in Oklahoma next month. It is sometimes difficult to know when giving attention to evil (which seeks its own attention, and seeks to disturb souls) is the right thing, or the wrong thing, to do. But the call from a Catholic Bishop to pray earnestly on this matter, tips the scale toward publicity for prayer (rather than giving publicity to evil.)
Accordingly, I am moving Christian’s comments regarding this matter to this post, and wish to do so in a way which minimizes sensationalism, avoids attention on individuals seeking their own attention. Thus, we won’t be posting any pictures of any satanic “Mass” and will be calling it a “Mass” in quotes to show it is a mimic, a fake, a “so-called,” as opposed to Holy Mass. (It is why women “priests” and same-sex “marriage” should also be in quotes.) The call is for our prayer to stop the event and to prevent sacrilege. It is a call to honor God, not out of any fear of evil (because we know that Jesus Christ has completely defeated the evil one) but out of our Love for God, the source of all Goodness, Truth and Beauty. We’re just asking that additional comments be kept in that same sense. We will edit if needed to use the above proposed guidelines. Readers comments are most welcome. Prayers are especially welcome!
Here is what Christian wrote:
“I became aware of this event and the appropriate outrage after first clicking on a link that Ben Anderson had given for St. John the Beloved in McLean, Virginia. There is a satanic black “Mass” scheduled for Sunday, September 21st, 2014, 7 P.M. at the Oklahoma City Civic Center Music Hall. There are tickets being sold for this blasphemous, evil event. In a black “Mass”, there is a mockery and inversion of the Holy Mass, and an illicitly obtained consecrated host is desecrated in obscene and vulgar ways – the sponsor states the consecrated host is “corrupted by sexual fluids.” The mockery of the Holy Mass and the desecration of Holy Communion “is designed to receive a blessing from satan.”
The following link is to the PDF of the Letter sent out by Archbishop Paul Coakley. http://www.stjohncatholicmclean.org/home-page-articles/spiritual-battle/call-to-prayer-to-avert-black-mass/ He is asking for Catholics, other Christians, and people of goodwill to help. He has asked us to pray to St. Michael the Archangel as well as lodge complaints to the Mayor of Oklahoma City, the Honorable Mick Cornett. If this black “Mass” is still held, that bishop has asked Catholics, other Christians, and people of good will to join him in a Holy Hour, outdoor Eucharistic Procession, and Benediction at St. Francis of Assisi in Oklahoma at 7 P.M. and for others to hold a Holy Hour of Prayer and Benediction at their parish at the same hour the black “Mass” is scheduled to begin. Oklahoma is one hour behind us, so it would be 8 P.M. our time in the Rochester area. I think we should be holding a Holy Hour of Prayer and Benediction, hopefully at our parishes.
It’s Spiritual Warfare! A satanic black “Mass” was scheduled at Harvard and, after much battle done by Catholics, other Christians, and people of good will, they were eventually able to get it cancelled. Below is a link to an article in National Catholic Register written by Fr. Roger Landry describing the current situation and how he and others were able to stop the May 12th, 2014 satanic black “Mass” from being held on Harvard’s campus.
Parishioners in Oklahoma have already been fasting and praying, and they have been asked to say one decade of the rosary and the prayer to St. Michael daily. Priests are asked to pray the Leonine prayer written by Pope Leo XIII.
Perhaps I should just stay in church all day on Sunday, September 21st, 2014 if the black “Mass” is still taking place. Meanwhile, I will be fasting and praying and I hope others will join me. I hope the Latin Mass Community will do something. I hope the parishes throughout our Diocese will do something.”
Diane adds: If you have never read the short book “The Screwtape Letters” this might be an excellent time to do so. We know that satan can do nothing without God’s permissive will allowing it. We know that Christ has already won the battle. But He gives us opportunities to show how much we love Him through our prayer and concern. It is how He transforms the evil one’s machinations into our praise for God! Isn’t it amazing! What is also amazing is that there would be no black “Mass” and no purpose for one, without the minions of evil believing in the Divine Eucharistic Presence! They can do nothing against God without it being further proof of their belief in God’s omnipotence! Praise God!
St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
During the Apostolic Age Christians continued to attend the synagogues and the Temple. The Eucharist, of course, had to be celebrated in members’ homes as that could not be done at the synagogues or Temple. Like any other group in a similar situation the homes chosen for the Eucharist may have been the largest available, the most convenient, or the ones of members who volunteered to host the group.
We can probably safely assume that the liturgy itself probably looked very much like Jewish domestic worship. In fact, the Book of Acts refers to the saying of “the prayers” as well as “praying” so, no doubt, set Jewish prayers were part of the ritual. The ‘liturgy’ was probably more liturgical than we are usually led to believe as Jewish domestic and public worship was very liturgical in the first century.
At least by the middle of the third century, domestic dwellings were being purchased or converted for use as churches. This is the example we see in this post, at Dura Europos, a domestic building converted into a church around 245. Apparently, the entire house was used as a church center with one room used for the Eucharist and a separate one, across a courtyard, for baptism. Other rooms were used for meetings or instruction, storage, or other needs. The layout was basic and common for urban houses.
It is also known that shops or other commercial buildings were also converted into churches. A bakery in Rome for example, in Trastevere, was transformed into a church. The ‘titular’ churches of Rome all started out as converted houses or partially converted houses..
The earliest known separate building constructed for use as a church was built in 280. But, in the case of this post, we are just looking at an example of a house church (“domus ecclesiae”).
The house church in Dura Europos was in a military town on the eastern frontier of the Roman Empire in what is today, Syria.
In a series of posts we will take a look at the various historical styles of church architecture. This first in the series has little to do with style but does answer the question as to what came before Christians started building church buildings.
For a more detailed history of the development of the earliest churches see my online History of Christian Art here.
Also, an interesting website on the the transformation into a church of Peter’s House in Caparnaum here. That transformation, however, occurred in the 4th century and shows an actual change in the interior architecture of the house. Never-the-less you may find it interesting.
fig. 1: “Dura Europos domus ecclesiae isometric view” by Marsyas – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dura_Europos_domus_ecclesiae_isometric_view.svg#mediaviewer/File:Dura_Europos_domus_ecclesiae_isometric_view.svg
fig. 2: edited - ”DuraEuropos-Church”. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:DuraEuropos-Church.jpg#mediaviewer/File:DuraEuropos-Church.jpg
fig. 3: edited – Yale University
fig. 4: edited - ”Duraeuropusmap” by Map is in the public domain. – Simon James University of Leicester, School of Archeological Studies, after MFSED-H. David realisation. First published in french in 2005.. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Duraeuropusmap.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Duraeuropusmap.jpg
A “spiritual bouquet” is a group of prayers gathered for a particular person or intention. Each prayer is like a flower and the bouquet is mystically offered as a gift to God for that person’s intentions. Those who participate give a certain amount of prayers and devotions for the intention. Sometimes the prayers are promised in advance, and sometimes gathered into a single bouquet from many people.
Here’s how this one will work. Today is August 15th, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven. Beginning today and going to September 15th, which is Bishop Matano’s birthday, many of us will be keeping track of our prayer offerings for him. Masses? Communions? Novenas? Rosaries?Pilgrimages? So many other possibilities! There is no one to whom to report your list and no promises in advance that might be broken. Just what we’ve done.
Just get a birthday card for Bishop Matano, and keep adding to it after each offering is completed (or keep your own list and write the card just before his birthday.) Then send the card to his office to arrive in time for his birthday on Monday, September 15th. Enclose a note from you or your family, and other gestures of appreciation….whatever your heart calls you to do! We have been blessed!
And please tell your friends, church members, neighbors, other parents, co-workers asap so they can begin to do the same thing. Let’s make this a true flower flood!
I had promised in the post on TLM and STA to add my comments to the others. Then I realized that I had more that I wanted to say (and some pictures to share) so here is a post instead. Do look at the Bernie’s beautiful pictures of STA, shown below, and please read the original post which follows further below if you have not already done so. And add your thoughts and comments to the collection basket at St. Stan’s this weekend, as Fr. Bonsignore requested.
RISK OPPORTUNITY CHALLENGE
I’ve been pondering for several days how to comment on this risk, opportunity, and challenge. And, indeed, it is all three! But first I want to share something that happened on Tuesday, July 29th. I was driving from Rochester to Boston on a business trip, and stopped off in Fonda, N.Y., the location of the National Shrine of St. Kateri Tekakwitha. I have a heart for the people of STA, even though I have only been to Mass there a few times. But my own experience under pastoral planning, the suffering of my own community (Our Lady of the Lakes, OLOL) under less than honest leadership, erroneous financial analysis, and soul-rending manipulations which deeply wounded many relationships during diocesan-driven pastoral planning, perhaps give me a better understanding for what the STA community has endured, and a realization of what they would face in re-entering the larger parish at whose hands they’ve suffered. I’ll say more about my own experience when appropriate, but now only share that unless one has walked in these moccasins, one just can’t know the pain.
Arriving in Fonda, I had at first no particular agenda, except to visit where I’d never been and to pray for the people of STA. Somehow, during prayer, I found myself asking St. Kateri to “let go” of STA, that it might be freed and once again become a strong, vibrant and faithful witness to God. It wasn’t that I thought St. Kateri had done anything to “take over” STA, only that the forced, new parish structure is under her patronage. Therefore, there was some legitimacy in asking her for this deliverance. I hadn’t gone to Fonda intending to pray this particular way, it happened during prayer and it felt right and appropriate to me then and now. In learning more of Kateri’s own story, I now know she was treated poorly by her contemporaries due to her conversion to Christianity and her deepening love of Jesus. The faithful of STA have much in common with Kateri, and perhaps she has a heart for them too.
While there, I knew of the TLM meeting, less than two weeks away, but it was far from my consciousness as I prayed for STA. I want to make it very clear that in no way do I think my prayer, simple and short as it was, had any impact except for me. Obviously, the wheels were already in motion by the Lord. But I do think it is a gift when He invites us into the stream of His work, even when we don’t know what we are doing! After Fonda, I got to spend a few hours in Auriesville at the Shrine of the North American Martyrs, another beautiful experience. And I have been carrying the relic card of St. Kateri ever since this trip. Imagine how surprised I was last Sunday when Fr. Bonsignore related Bishop Matano’s proposal to reopen STA in conjunction with the TLM community. Now for some thoughts on risk, opportunity and challenges.
- RISK: TLM community began by taking a major risk 21 years ago. At any moment the prior bishop could have withdrawn permission, which was needed before Pope Benedict gave all priests the right to celebrate Mass in the EF. At any moment, the hospitality of St. Stanislaus community to TLM could have been withdrawn. Without the ability to strongly build community, everything could have eroded and lost vitality. That TLM has survived to this point is, I believe, a testimony to the Holy Spirit’s care and tending. We have never been orphans. Risk? The greatest risk is NOT to flow where the Holy Spirit wants to carry us. But, of course, we must pray mightily to discern if and where He is carrying us. With so much that has been so right in just over 7 months of Bishop Matano’s shepherding, we already have a very strong indication that we can trust where the Holy Spirit is leading this local church.
- OPPORTUNITY: We have the opportunity to be a blessing to others, not only for ourselves. Who would have ever thought that adding TLM would be an answer to the prayers of a Novus Ordo Community? Doesn’t it simply show that we are all one in the Body of Christ? We are Catholics! It is perfectly reasonable that not all plans are in place at this time, cost of roof repairs,
moving the high altar back into place,* financing and so much more. Open and generous hearts should be able to show their gratitude by working out these details. Let us not think too small, too meagerly. Let us not be like Peter who doubted and began to sink, but rather to know that the Lord’s arm is there for us, to bear us up. Sometimes parish communities take on aspects of their patron saints. As Saint Thomas himself showed, it is easy to doubt, but how much greater is the lesson he brought to us about trust. That is what the STA people have done for 4 years, what we have done for 21 years. My Lord and my God! This character of both communities bodes well for working together. We have suffered; we have been blessed. It is impossible to imagine all that could be at this point, but it is an opportunity to show what people rooted in the Faith can do together in Jesus Name when the machinations of the prior farce of diocesan “pastoral planning” is not present in the situation. And that leads me to the challenges, and the practical implications. *deletion is made with apologies for the confusion, and thanks to Monk for calling my attention to it. Apparently there have been no changes to the Sanctuary, and I misunderstood that the “table” altar (my words, just to be descriptive) has been used for both the EF and for the Novus Ordo. On the prior post, further comments on the altar, and other questions, have been added in replying to Monk’s post. dh
- CHALLENGES: And first, another preface. We all have our opinions on these matters, and of course I will express mine as well (never having been good at NOT expressing my opinion!) Opinion is just that, opinion. But I will also venture to offer advice, based on experience and not merely opinion. As background, I’ve spent over 30 years in strategic planning, mergers, financial analysis etc. I can’t ignore what I have learned from that and it would be unjust for me to do so. And having had the personal experience of the wounding of communities and souls in the unfair and manipulative way in which the Rochester Diocese carried out its “pastoral planning” in the past, it is natural to reach some conclusions. I’m going to state these in the way I would if I were consulting with a client, trying to successfully merge organizations or cultures, but applied to TLM and STA.
- Act with timeliness. Time works against successful merging of cultures; i.e. the longer it takes, the less likely it will be successful. GE used to have a formula that required start-to-completion in 100 days or less, credited for much success. On the other hand, the OLOL parish took 36 months of discussion before even having the first set of recommendations! It was a disaster. No plan will be perfect, but most things can be corrected. Loss of time can never be corrected. It has no shelf life. And much else is neglected as time passes.
- Participants need to have a stake. If this merging of TLM into STA is to happen, knowledgeable and focused individuals who have a STAKE IN ITS SUCCESS need to evaluate the information, make decisions and recommendations to Fr. Bonsignore and to Bishop Matano. Many (though not all) of the problems I witnessed in OLOL were related to diocesan staff who seemed poorly equipped and without a strategic bone in their bodies, and who burdened the process with their own personal problems, using trite high-school facilitation methods to build lukewarm consensus that did not reflect the needs or cares of the community. If one of those diocesan facilitators is involved in the TLM/STA process I would predict a very poor outcome. I have seen that those who have only their own meager raises and employee evaluations as a stake in the process have already destroyed much that was good with false financial statements, repeated lies and sham consulting. It is bad enough when church communities and liturgical space are destroyed for the sake of someone’s bragging rights, but injury to souls is beyond calculation.
- Transparency should be the rule of the process. That means transparency in and completeness of financial statements, openly giving input (as we are right now), and fair and honorable communications. What I had witnessed previously failed on all counts. A key question related to STA is to honestly and openly determine to which church the funds taken from STA really belong. If there were any fraud in the transfers, it should be undone. It should be righteously re-distributed.
In my OPINION, the above REALITIES lead to the conclusion that the failed process in so-called pastoral planning (which I experienced elsewhere and which many STA parishioners say they experienced previously in their own community) is a warning sign that St. Thomas the Apostle should be stand-alone from St. Kateri Tekakwitha. The challenges of working with all the St. Kateri parishes (without TLM) would be overwhelmingly difficult. With TLM, perhaps it is impossible. To expect people to come back together again who have participated in an opaque and warped process which ignored them and destroyed their church community is asking too much and an unnecessary burden on TLM. If this were a business situation, I would strongly advise against it. And although we are all called to forgiveness, we are not called to stupidity. We are not called to wasting time and effort and losing the opportunity the Holy Spirit seems to be offering us. (On a more mundane level, as the saying goes, lied to once shame on you; lied to twice, shame on me.)
For example, with multiple churches involved and having similar votes in parish council, parish councils then can veto just about anything. This would be a great danger to TLM as well as to STA . The process and structure has already shown itself untrustworthy. Moreover, and I am being very frank, the fingers from outside STA point to both Basilians, Father Tanck and Father English, as having been obstructive and non-cooperative with the people of STA, ignoring needs and/or taking punishing actions. The story is told, for example, of STA finally getting long-awaited approval to hold a funeral Mass in the (closed) church. So, accordingly, the church was opened, but the bathroom was locked. There are many stories and many injuries. It is not my purpose to reopen old wounds, but four years without healing or restoration, and without any visible CARING about healing, have very likely put achieving reconciliation beyond human reach. Moreover, even if it were achievable, such efforts would dilute the attention needed on the serious merging of STA and TLM, putting that entire endeavor at risk. It seems most logical to leave the current active St. Kateri churches under Fr. English, and provide new pastoring (without the baggage) to someone who can be consistently committed to realizing the opportunity being offered, fair to both communities, and who can build trust.
In conclusion, I hope that all our attention, recommendations and comments won’t just be on the survival and thriving of TLM. The people and parish of St. Stanislaus offered us shelter for these many years and, costs/expenses notwithstanding, we should be grateful for the opportunity we had, and recognize that removing our financial support is bound to create a financial challenge for St. Stan’s. Let’s not leave them out of our prayers.
With Saint Thomas the Apostle Church in the news again, I thought maybe a repeat of a post I did in July 2011 might be appreciated. The old comments (57 of them) have been moved here.
The building itself –the church- is beautiful. Built in a modified Eastern or Byzantine style it has a centralized design or cruciform design with the altar in the crossing. This is a deviation from the Eastern plan which always places the altar in the Eastern arm, in front of an apse. But in St. Thomas, the Eastern arm (‘liturgical East’ in this case) houses the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.
(Click on pictures for larger images)
Also in contrast to Byzantine tradition, which prefers mosaic and painting, St. Thomas deploys stunning stain glass windows. But the glass technique used looks somewhat like mosaic.
All of the windows at the church were a commission of design and fabrication awarded to Philadelphia based Willet Studios of Stained Glass (now Willet Hauser Architectural Glass, Inc.). They were designed by then staff designer Benoit Gilsoul who was born in Belgium in 1914. In 1960, he was commissioned to execute the murals in the Salle de Réception of the Belgian Line in Antwerp. Also in 1960, the Belgian government sent him to the United States on a grant to study the artists’ situation here. He became an American citizen in 1967. He joined the Philadelphia based Willet Studios of Stained Glass in 1963 as a staff designer and glass painter. This lasted until 1968 when he opened his own studio in New York City.1
The glass technique utilized in the windows is 1 inch thick dalles, cut and faceted by hand and then set into epoxy.
Faceted glass, Slab glass or Dalle de verre is a type of art glass which mixes glass work and sculpture in a vibrant and alluring way. This technique is relatively recent and has found its way into many churches since the 1960′s. It is a beautiful alternative to traditional leaded glass and can form large curtain walls of dramatic effect.2
After all pieces are cut to the artisan’s satisfaction, selected pieces are “faceted” or chipped along their edges to give a sparkling effect. The cut glass is laid out on a pattern and 1/2″ of sand is sifted onto the framed panel to fill the spaces between the glass. An epoxy slab glass compound is then poured around the pieces. Just before the epoxy sets, an aggregate of sand or other crushed stone, roofing graduals, marble chips or similar material can be sprinkled onto the tacky surface to give the panel texture. The panel is then allowed to cure for at least 24 hours. The panel is then flipped and the pouring process is repeated. This double pour method produces a panel from 7/8″ to 1″ thick. The epoxy is actually an amalgam of resin binder with silica filler and when set gets a glass like finish.
Faceted glass panels can be combined to form large and elaborate curtain walls by stacking panels on top of each other. Its appearance is often reminiscent of mosaic, but unlike mosaic, the glass jewels glow with light-filled color. This more impressionistic type of window recalls the early glass fabrication of the Persians and Saracens, in which thick, crude glass was set into wood, stucco or stone. French artists in the 1930s revitalized the ancient techniques as they sought a style of stained glass that would complement the architecture of the mid-twentieth century.3
Faceted glass was very popular in the US in the 1970s and 80s. Since that time, faceted glass has fallen out of fashion and slab jobs are now few and far between.
These are truly Catholic windows. They are unambiguously orthodox and naturalistic and they are suggestive of a transfigured state of existence. Their placement –high in the walls and surrounding the entire congregation- make these events and personages present in the liturgy.
Faceted glass is not to everyone’s taste. It usually appears heavy and dark and that does not appeal to some people. Others like the work for those reasons. A work of liturgical art, however, must “only” be beautiful, not necessarily liked. To be beautiful the work must be objectively true. These windows are beautiful –truly Catholic.
August 12, 2014 addendum: Saint Thomas the Apostle Church is a very fine example of the approach to Catholic church architecture of its time in the United States. It shows a respect for tradition and yet explores modern materials and expression. Not too long after this Catholic church architecture went off the rails, tossing off tradition entirely. Saint Thomas the Apostle displays a respect for organic growth rather than radical departure.
1 Information on Benoit Gilsoul provided by Jim Hauser of Willet Hauser Architectural Glass, Inc.
2 Information of the faceted glass technique gleaned from: http://www.bottistudio.com/Default.aspx?tabid=691
3 The comparison to mosaic work and reference to Persian and Saracen fabrication is an observation from : http://www.conradschmitt.com/services/details.cfm/category/stained-glass/sub/new-faceted
Pictures 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 by Willet Hauser Faceted Stained Glass Windows: http://www.willethauser.com/aboutwh/ &
Pictures 1, 2, 7, 9, 10 by Mike, CF staff writer and photographer
For the last several weeks, The Latin Mass (TLM) Community bulletin has announced the following; “At the request of Bishop Salvatore Matano…all attending, participating and contributing members of the St. Stanislaus Latin Mass Community are urged to attend an informational meeting with Father Bonsignore regarding our continued and secure future as a worshiping Family in the Diocese of Rochester… Sunday, August 10, 2014 immediately after the Latin Mass, in the Church….”
Today was the day! The meeting was 1 hour and 40 minutes. After briefly reviewing basic TLM Community finance for the past year, Fr. Bonsignore introduced the very important news, what he called a “providential sequel” to the 21 years since the founding of TLM Community. He said that on June 24th, Bishop Matano had called him into his office and “completely surprised” him. Fr. Bonsignore made sure everyone understood that our Bishop fully supports TLM, and “what we do here.” Then, he said, Bishop Matano made the following “proposal” and asked for TLM Community’s input. Fr. Bonsignore requested all comments in next weekend’s collection basket (1 page, in writing.) He mentioned that Bishop Matano had proposed growing TLM by having a more convenient Mass time (11:15 AM) and in a “suburban” location (St. Thomas the Apostle (STA) !) in order to achieve our “full potential.” At those words, the approximately 100 people in attendance broke into spontaneous and prolonged applause.
Fr. Bonsignore went on to state that the Bishop is concerned “not only for us” but for those STA parishioners who have drifted away from their former parish. STA is described as a “semi-closed” worship site which now belongs to St. Kateri Tekakwitha parish. Fr. Bonsignore noted how the STA parishioners have been praying for a long time and petitioning for the reopening of STA. What Bishop Matano is said to be proposing is two Sunday (only) Masses — the Novus Ordo at 9:00 AM and the Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form) at 11:15 AM. In the current proposal is no provision for any weekday Masses. Fr. Bonsignore described the STA community as orthodox, having a reverent sense of the sacred. The implication is a compatibility between the two communities. These are not separate rites; these are two forms of the Roman rite. The possibility for Holydays of Obligations, Feast Days and even the Triduum are not yet discussed. Catechetical plans need to be established too. We were told that baptisms, weddings and funerals would be done under either (both) of the forms. There are obviously many details to be worked out, including reported repairs needed to STA, which has been effectively closed for several years. There will be a role for volunteers (and some even volunteered before they left today.) Fr. Bonsignore noted the importance of “Charity in Everything” as we approach these matters.
Perhaps not everything hoped for can be achieved at once but it is “a start” he said, what Fr. Bonsignore called “a generous invitation” from Bishop Matano. It would be a step, he said, in moving toward “full parish life” which TLM has not been able to have at St. Stanislaus. Although, this proposal would seem to be the “best opportunity to succeed,” Fr. Condon was quoted as calling it a “3-year experiment” and if it didn’t work out, TLM could move back to St. Stan’s, lowering the risk. Fr. Bonsignore also explained that several accommodations would need to be made for his own chaplaincies, and for priests to serve a newly formed community. There would be an effort to re-rent the empty school building (a source of income), and the Church and Adoration Chapel/Community Center would be accessible.
Before the dismissal, Fr. Bonsignore asked for a preliminary show of hands and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Obviously plans need to be developed, Fr. English may be invited to supply more details on STA to the TLM Community, and a timeline needs to be developed. Fr. Bonsignore expressed the hope that this could happen in the autumn, completed “this year.” Nevertheless, input and reactions and ideas were again solicited, to be added as one page in next week’s collection basket. We were reminded to pray over this matter, and to remember that the final decision belongs in God’s Hands.
Finally, I would mention that there were extreme opinions in both directions and emotional concerns which understandably are a product of individual experience, surprise reactions, even fears. That is not to say they are without merit. But it does the larger community of TLM and STA no benefit to document those on either side at this point, as each person is invited to think, pray, and submit concerns in writing. It is too early in any bonafide process to polarize any part of the community. We were assured of Bishop Matano’s sincerity and concern for both communities. May we receive his gift with grateful hearts.
I invite the Cleansing Fire Community to add thoughts, ideas and information as comments, in the spirit of Charity requested of us. Please correct any errors I may have made in my notes. I will save my own personal thoughts for the comment section. God bless!
I am delighted to say that this is the first week in which I’ve DISCOVERED the reportable news in The Catholic Courier! The information, published in Rochester’s Diocesan newspaper on August 4th (Feast of St. John Vianney!), appeared in Catholic News Service on Friday, August 1st. Kudos to the Courier for the timeliness of what seems to have been missed in many other media, but kudos even more so for publishing what — not so very long ago — would have been ignored, maybe even wished away?
Curbing of Liturgical Abuse in the Pew
This very welcome news is directed at curbing abuses around the liturgical “Kiss of Peace” also known more informally as celebratory glad-handing. That the Courier promulgated content of the Vatican letter so spontaneously is a good sign, in my opinion, that we can hope for the path that we’ve seen emerging so far and so effectively: 1) make people aware of their responsibilities in and outside the sanctuary, 2) remind those of good conscience to humbly obey what they have an obligation to obey, and 3) then take action for the protection and care of souls. We are being made aware. A circular letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship was promulgated to curb the liturgical abuses at the “Kiss of Peace.” Apparently the matter has been under study for about 9 years, including the possibility of moving the KofP to another part of the Mass. The decision is no change in “when” it occurs, but a reminder of due reverence for “how” it occurs.
Here are the highlights of the recommendations in the circular letter:
“… it emphasized that ‘it is completely legitimate to affirm that it is not necessary to invite ‘mechanistically’ to exchange (the sign of) peace.’ The rite is optional, the Congregation reminded, and there certainly are times and places where it is not fitting.” [Note: this rite among the laity is not done in the Latin Mass, e.g.]
‘… as translations are made of the third typical edition of the Roman Missal, bishops’ conference[s] should consider ‘changing the way in which the exchange of peace is made.’ It suggested in particular that ‘familiar and worldly gestures of greeting’ should be substituted with “other, more appropriate gestures.”
“… several abuses of the rite … are to be stopped: the introduction of a “song of peace,” which does not exist in the Roman rite; the faithful moving from their place to exchange the sign; the priest leaving the altar to exchange the sign with the faithful; and when, at occasions such as weddings or funerals, it becomes an occasion for congratulations or condolences.”
“… episcopal conferences [should] prepare liturgical catechesis on the significance of the rite of peace, and its correct observation.”
It would seem, having been informed through the Courier of this development, that little time should be wasted in implementing the practice. Meanwhile, for those whose emails have not been blocked, you might want to go to the Courier site and post your comments: http://www.catholiccourier.com/news/world-nation/sign-of-peace-at-mass-vatican-says-it-stays-put-but-urges-education/
The complete text can be found here: http://www.praytellblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/CL_on_SOP.pdf and was signed by Pope Francis on June 7, 2014, and promulgated in Latin the following day. The English language version was apparently promulgated on July 12th.
Lest we be without a thorn in the side today:
Consider the ill-advised award bestowed upon Nuns on the Bus leader, Sr. Simone Campbell, who scandalized many as she led support for Obamacare, which directly funds abortions, requires employer funding for abortifacients and contraceptives and requires coverage for sterilization. She has been named recipient of the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award, and will receive it on Sept. 21 in Christ the King Chapel at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. That is not to say she hasn’t made efforts in worthwhile areas as well, but she will likely be most remembered for grand-standing actions which oppose Church teaching and authority. See http://globalsistersreport.org/news/equality/simone-campbell-get-peace-award-8371
Toward the end of the 11th century the monastery of Cluny in France had grown to become the most powerful and influential of all monastic houses or monasteries in Europe. Numerous Cluniac monastic houses had spread in every direction across the continent. There were perhaps 815 by 1109. However, originally dedicated to the ascetic life of poverty, prayer and work under the Rule of Saint Benedict, Cluny had gradually become entangled in secular affairs and had grown wealthy.1 Churches that the Cluniacs built for their newly established houses had become large with nave vaults reaching impressive heights. Tall towers graced the exterior of the churches while the interiors were elaborately decorated. The Liturgy (the Office or Liturgy of the Hours2), too, had gradually developed into a rich ceremonial, lengthened to the point where the monks were in church hours on end with little time to do much of anything else.
(Click on pictures to view larger images)
Cluny III represented one type of monastic thinking, the idea that the worship of God required the most beautiful and magnificent building and liturgy that men could create.
In 1098 a group of about 20 monks left the Cluniac abbey of Molesme in order to found a monastery in which monastic life would be lived according to the original, stricter observance of the Rule of Saint Benedict.
The Cistercians3, as the successors of the original twenty monks came to be called, sought a life of real poverty, manual work, private prayer, reading and the study of scripture, simple communal worship, and the development of the personal virtues of humility and simplicity. They established their monasteries away from populated centers –“far from the commerce of men”.
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux is the best known of the Cistercians and while most of the reforming ideas did not originate with him, the power of his personality and his clear articulation and implementation of the reforms stimulated the phenomenal growth of the Cistercians in the 12th century.
Bernard preached an observance of the Rule that minimized worldly distractions and stressed poverty. (“Men of poverty [monks], why is there gold in your sanctuary?”) All artistic imagery and decoration were strictly forbidden. Vestments were unadorned and made of simple material. The Liturgy of the Hours was pruned to its essentials. A simple wooden table served as the altar. Only simple chant was allowed.
Tall churches with towers were forbidden. Architectural expression was reduced to mere functionality and there were to be no colorful windows, only clear glass.4
Worldly things such as beautiful or imaginary art and elaborate decoration were viewed as distractions, impediments to union with God
However, it is important to note that Bernard made an important distinction between what monks should not have in a church and what the rest of Christians perhaps should have in their churches. The monastic restrictions on decoration and art were necessary, according to Bernard, for those who had chosen a life of letting go of worldly things. He noted that such deprivations were not for those whose vocations were lived out in the secular Church, in the world. Regular Christians needed art, decoration and rich ceremonies as an aid to getting closer to God. The monk must let go of the world entirely while other Christians must find their way engaged with the world. They are both valid ways but the monastic one, to Bernard, was ‘more perfect’. The more perfect way could not be for everyone, of course.
…what good are such things to poor men, to monks, to spiritual men? Perhaps the poet’s question could be answered with words from the prophet: “Lord, I have loved the beauty of your house, and the place where your glory dwells” (Ps. 26:8). I agree. Let us allow this to be done in churches because, even if it is harmful to the vain and greedy, it is not such to the simple and devout. But in cloisters, where the brothers are reading, what is the point of this ridiculous monstrosity, this shapely misshapenness, this misshapen shapeliness? What is the point of those unclean apes, fierce lions, monstrous centaurs, half-men, striped tigers, fighting soldiers and hunters blowing their horns? In one place you see many bodies under a single head, in another several heads on a single body. Here on a quadruped we see the tail of a serpent. Over there on a fish we see the head of a quadruped. There we find a beast that is horse up front and goat behind, here another that is horned animal in front and horse behind. In short, so many and so marvelous are the various shapes surrounding us that it is more pleasant to read the marble than the books, and to spend the whole day marveling over these things rather than meditating on the law of God. Good Lord! If we aren’t embarrassed by the silliness of it all, shouldn’t we at least be disgusted by the expense? –“Apology”
Protestants, later, would build churches that seemed to have been influenced by Bernard. Indeed, John Calvin much quoted Bernard on the subject of justification and sola fide, the central tenet of Martin Luther’s theology. Like Bernard, Protestants would place a considerable amount of emphasis on the private study of scripture and a more personal faith, less dependent on ritual and other intermediate practices.
The Protestant Reformers’ views of the physical and material world as totally corrupt and without merit in helping man achieve union with God eventually led to sterile and bare churches in some branches of Protestantism. Bernard had viewed the material world –for monks, anyway—in somewhat a similar way, as a distraction and impediment to the spiritual life and so his churches had also been bare and sterile.
Many Catholic liturgical specialists since the Second Vatican Council have also exhibited, at least to some extent, Bernard’s and the Protestant Reformers’ approach to church architecture and decoration. Renovations and new churches since Vatican II have practically banned imagery and decoration, both iconic and non-iconic, reducing the visual effect to a reliance on light and functionality alone. Even the ever present Catholic crucifix was, for a time, absent from chancels. Imagery, if it was allowed, was disguised as nearly unrecognizable abstractions. Many Catholic churches have come to look more like the stereotypical Protestant church than a traditional Catholic church
Bernard wrote that money spent on tall beautifully adorned churches should have been spent on the poor. That also became a theme of later Protestants who emphasized social justice. Initially, the debasement of churches was a reaction to the wealth displayed in Catholic churches brimming with large paintings and rich liturgical furnishings. The initial stripping of the churches, however, was more an indication of the disgust the Protestants had with the extravagant living style of the Church in Rome. We find a sense of similar disgust of traditional Catholic art and liturgy in the contemporary Catholic liturgists’ desire to impoverish the liturgy through the use of common earthly materials cheaply made, such as ceramic ‘chalices’ or cheap glass goblets. Homemade and non-professional art like felt banners have come to adorn Catholic churches in place of noble –and expensive– professional works of art.
Even Pope Francis seems on board with his expressed desire for a poor church.
So, there is some Catholic tradition behind the iconoclastic or impoverished approach to church architecture of the past 50 years. The tradition is mostly marginal, relegated to the monastic environment, but it is there.
1 Wealth accumulated at Cluny because of its entanglements with feudal rights and commerce in estates. Much of the entanglement was actually the result of the recruitment successes of houses like Cluny. Patrons donated money and land to successful houses, and wealth flowed-in with new recruits from the noble class.
2 The Liturgy of the Mass was controlled, in essentials, by the local bishop. The liturgy the Cistercians reformed was the Office (the Liturgy of the Hours) the seven times a day monastic ritual of praying the psalms and listening to scripture readings and excerpts from the writings of the Church Fathers and saints.
3 The name Citeaux comes from the name of the order’s first monastic house, Citeaux, and from the language spoken near the town where the monastery was located.
4 At the same time, just outside Paris, Abbot Suger was renovating the apse of his abbey church with a new style of architecture (Gothic) that stressed impressive heights and curtain walls of beautiful stained glass windows. Suger considered Bernard something of a threat to his vision of constructing churches in which the experience of beauty became an approach to God.
Gary Krupp, President and Founder of Pave the Way Foundation will be speaking at St. Padre Pio Chapel in Rochester, New York on August 16, 2014. The event will run from 9:30 to 1pm. Please click this link to go to the Google Plus Event. A flyer for distribution can be downloaded here.
To hear an interview with Gary and Meredith Krupp conducted in December 2013 on this topic by Shannon Joy, the host of Talking Back on WYSL 1040AM & 92.1FM, please follow this link.
As a politically aware Jewish teenager in Queens, New York in the 1960’s, Gary Krupp shared the prevailing negative opinion of Pope Pius XII, the controversial leader of the Roman Catholic Church during World War II. Today, he is proud to be one of the pope’s most vocal defenders in the Jewish community. He is determined to right an unjust historical distortion, especially considering how Pius XII has been treated since his death in 1958, by the very people he acted to save. According to tradition, the worst character flaw a Jew can have is that of ingratitude. The conspiracy against Pius XII must be exposed and the record corrected.
The World War II papacy is criticized for not acting to save Jewish lives during the horrors of the Holocaust. Gary Krupp’s work, Pope Pius XII and World War II: The Documented Truth, which is based on original documents from the period, reveals Pope Pius XII to be the courageous, compassionate hero he truly was.
Gary Krupp holds the distinction of being the only Jewish man in history to be invested as a Knights Commander of St. Gregory the Great (by Pope John Paul II) and subsequently honored with the Silver Star (by Pope Benedict XVI.) He has also been invested as an Officer Brother in the Order of St. John, an honor he received by consent of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2005.
And the Holy Father’s prayer intentions for August:
Universal: That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
For Evangelization: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.
Some of our commenters, who aren’t CF staff writers, have valid points of concern, news to share or even questions to ask. But usually their only way to raise such matters for the attention of the wider CF community is to append them to another post. This is not a criticism of those who have introduced additional information or concerns into other posts; rather this is an attempt to make it easier to raise valid matters and get deserved attention. What is sometimes called “hijacking a post” (I’ve used that expression myself, somewhat regretfully) I have come to see as a manifestation of genuine concerns for our attention. I see it now more as lighting a single candle as a witness, and much less like hijacking.
So here is an experiment to air “issues of the moment” rather than disrupting other posts. To begin, I am moving a comment by Ron from the recent post on ending lay preaching. The subject is regarding Mercy High. It reminds me of the outpouring last year regarding two McQuaid boys dating each other for their prom — it received major commentary, and made the national press. Such news may get more attention than it would in the comments attached to an unrelated post. I’ve moved Ron’s comment below, to give it more room, if warranted, for further discussion. And I invite him to add more information, sources etc. SO– please comment on Ron’s news, or add other information, questions or comments in the combox.
If it works, maybe we can have a collective post like this each month for additional information and concerns from other commenters. Here is a link to the beautiful Torchlight Procession at Lourdes. Watching this video helped me to see how important it is to make room for all the candlelight.
Mercy High School has just announced it plans to name its soccer field after Abby Wambach – now out as a lesbian and “married” – and she will be there for the dedication August 8. Why would a Catholic high school honor a person who is clearly violating Church teachings? I don’t know if I’d want my daughters to go to a place that acts like that.
I know the Bishop doesn’t have control over the Catholic high schools, but I wonder how he feels about this?
If you have not already read the article beginning on the front page of today’s Democrat and Chronicle, you might want to do so. It is entitled “Catholic Diocese Upends Custom on Homilies,” by David Andreatta. Here is the link to the full article: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2014/07/19/catholic-diocese-upends-custom-homilies/12863357/ Many readers of Cleansing Fire will be delighted to know that Bishop Matano has been making changes to enforce Canon Law by eliminating lay preaching, and today’s D&C article quotes our Bishop’s committment to continue to follow Canon Law. Praise God!
Shown below are some excerpts and additional comments on the content of the D&C article. But let’s begin by acknowledging that David Andreatta has written a very fair and balanced article. Bishop Matano was willing to speak to the author personally, with a directness that exceeds that of many other bishops. It is so impressive that he actually acts like a Shepherd, and is consistently oriented to the real needs of the local Church, not to his personal defense.
The author notes that the practice of allowing laity to preach was “derided by the faithful for running afoul of church law.” Cleansing Fire folks can be relieved that a position long held by those who post on CF, is now seeing correction. It actually has been in the process of coming to an end; at least since March. Bishop Matano has been handling those relationships one-by-one. Only the most entrenched and stubborn would continue in disobedience to Canon Law and the teaching of a faithful bishop, but don’t be surprised if errant actions happen during the death throes of the unlawful practice of laity preaching during Mass. Andreatta states that the practice “has come to an end”. It certainly appears that it should be ended, given Bishop Matano’s strong words, but it would be unfair not to point out that Holy Spirit Church in Penfield has been mentioned as having had a lay woman homilist today, according to some of my friends who attended.
In an extensive interview, Bishop Salvatore Matano is reported to have said he is “now drafting guidelines to clarify that homilies are reserved for ordained priests and deacons, as prescribed by canon law.” [Canons 767 and 766 are the relevant Canons.]
“It is not a policy shift as regards the universal law of the church,” Matano said. “I am trying to help the faithful understand what is the universal law of the church and how important it is that in the celebration of Mass, we do what the church asks of us.”…. ”Matano said he began addressing the matter in response to complaints from parishioners.” Wonderful. I hope CF commenters were part of the outcry.
Here are four comments in the article, which deserve some expansion (shown in blue).
1. Not surprisingly, Andreatta reports that the enforcement “has been received with disappointment, particularly among women, who made up the majority of lay homilists and viewed the practice as a way to play a more active role in their faith. … “It really enriched me, and I have to say I’m struggling with it,” said Diane Porcelli of Gates, who did not preach but is active at St. Mary’s Church in downtown Rochester. “It’s challenging my faith and I’m struggling with the exclusion.” She should have been struggling with the “inclusion.” Once again, it is all about non-existent personal rights instead of serving souls. “It really enriched me….” she said. So what? “Challenging my faith” … only if obedience isn’t at the heart of that faith. The arguments are a tired echo of the wannabe priestesses, who can’t take “no” for an answer, honoring the authority of neither Pope nor bishop. What is particularly damaging to those souls is when they are indulged in their “wannabe-ness.” The slightest indulgence (let alone major permissiveness) creates an aura of having rights that don’t exist, that have never existed. Then, when the activity is righteously ended, there is complaint and argument. And these kinds of remarks betray the motives of the wanna-be’s, as well as the need to stop the practice. (The lay preaching is a female ghetto…where are similar complaints from the men lay preachers? are there any?)
2. Andreatta writes: “The change comes as Pope Francis is calling for both broader opportunities ‘for a more incisive female presence in the church’ and for priests to spice up their homilies.” (I was amused by this quote. Isn’t Cleansing Fire just such an incisive presence? And what does gender have to do with it anyway?) The author continues: “Last year, Francis lamented that clergy and laypeople suffer through homilies: “The laity from having to listen to them, and the clergy from having to preach them!” The homily has been long limited to about 8 minutes in this diocese, so how boring could it possibly get? Isn’t the reality that many people in the pews simply don’t want to hear anything that challenges them? For example, many don’t want to hear moral preaching against abortion, contraception, same-sex “marriage.” And most lay preachers wouldn’t dare speak out on those issues even if they believed the Church’s teaching. Consider why not. Perhaps because they don’t have the charism of personal courage. How could a “spiced up” homily not touch on such issues?
3. Andreatta reports: “Supporters of lay homilies described them as often being more attuned to modern families than those delivered by priests, who take a vow of celibacy and are prohibited from marrying. “It was a way to have a woman’s voice and a woman’s experience reflect on the readings for the day,” said Gloria Ulterino….” Refer back to #2 above. Same point. Personally, I have no interest at all in hearing Gospel diluted through the women’s agenda. But the comment that minimizes the ability of priests because they are celibate is grossly misleading, a classic “straw man.” When are we going to hear the very valid counter-argument that lay preaching, which is not informed by hearing hours of confessions about the REAL problems of soul (but rather lay preoccupation about everyday complaints) has NO PLACE in the pulpit. It indulges the self-absorption of the laity. It is fascinating that the Holy Spirit chose to include in the New Testament St. Paul’s words about why it is better for a person not to marry (especially a person centered on serving God), how marriage dilutes the time and attention that can be given to God. I’d love to hear Gloria et al give a supportive homily on THAT SUBJECT! (See 1 Corinthians 7, especially 32-34). Actually, if there is anything about which priests might be criticized a little bit, it would be any residual wish or concern that what they do or don’t do will satisfy the women who lobby for their permissions. Many husbands have long ago realized that they just don’t know the answer to the age-old question: “What do women really want?” It isn’t clear that most women know the answer to that question either, so priests should stop worrying about it, as if giving up token assignments or positions were actually going to please, satisfy, or fix the issues. Indulgence only creates an appetite for more indulgence, as parents of many toddlers know.
4. Lay preaching has been characterized as CUSTOM by some opponents to the relevant Canon Law. If something had been in use for 100 years, perhaps an argument might be made, but 40 years is NOT custom. Moreover, even a 100 year old custom cannot acquire any legitimacy when it is specifically against the (Canon) Law. The author writes: “Like other lay homilists, Nancy DeRycke… [says] ‘It’s a 40-year-old custom that’s been part of the tradition of our local church, and people are saddened, people are frustrated and people are asking, ‘Why can’t you do this?’ ” DeRycke said. ‘They’re not satisfied with saying, ‘Because it’s the law.” “ (But I’ve always run that stop sign officer; it’s my custom. How can you interfere with my custom?”) The very quote of not being satisfied that “It’s the Law” is incredibly bad judgment to even articulate. And these are people who would presume to preach to us? Unfortunately, yes. Have they heard that the 10 Commandments are Law too? One wonders.
Click for more information to read Canon 767. It is not rocket science; it is very clear. Read the rest of this entry »
This post is appearing early (last week’s was late) but the reason is that I probably don’t have to see tomorrow’s headlines in order to know this is the most important news story of the week. Why? Because it involves very great danger to souls. LifesiteNews has reported a great offense against our Religious Freedom, handed down by the Supreme Court of the State of Louisiana. What can we do? Pray for Fr. Jeff Bayhi, that the State of Louisiana recind its demand that he testify and break the seal of confession, AND that Fr. Bayhi will be strengthened by the Holy Spirit to endure what he is called to suffer in order to protect the seal of confession. And then spread the call for a boycott of Louisiana, travel, meetings, products. We might even think of sending letters of support to Fr. Bayhi and to his bishop. Please read through to consider the question of whether or not Fr. Bayhi is being victimized by his strong stand against the HHS mandate. Here are excerpts from the story.
Louisiana diocese denounces court for compelling priest to break seal of confession
From the USCCB — an Emergency Call:
Cardinal O’Malley, Archbishop Lori To Senate:
Oppose Bill That Attacks Religious Freedom
WASHINGTON—In a letter sent July 14 to all U.S. Senators, Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore stated their “strong opposition to the misnamed ‘Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act of 2014’ (S. 2578).” Cardinal O’Malley and Archbishop Lori chair the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities and Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, respectively.
“Though cast as a response to the Supreme Court’s narrow decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the bill ranges far beyond that decision, potentially attacking all existing federal protections of conscience and religious freedom regarding health coverage mandates,” they wrote.
The two bishops identified several areas of concern with the bill, including its unprecedented curtailment of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993; its potential for overriding other federal conscience protections, including the Hyde-Weldon amendment on abortion; its application to coverage mandates beyond the HHS contraceptive mandate; its application to employers beyond for-profit businesses; and its denial of religious freedom for employees and their minor dependents, not just employers.
“In short, the bill does not befit a nation committed to religious liberty. Indeed, if it were to pass, it would call that commitment into question. Nor does it show a genuine commitment to expanded health coverage, as it would pressure many Americans of faith to stop providing or purchasing health coverage altogether. We oppose the bill and urge you to reject it,” they wrote.
Full text of the letter is available online: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/07-14-14-S-2578-Cardinal-O-Malley-Archbishop-Lori-to-Senate.pdf
ACLJ reported today that Senate Majority Leader Reid and his pro-abortion allies’ attempt to overturn the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision and create a new abortion-pill mandate failed…. enough Senators stood up to block the bill. …Senator Reids’ bill would have overturned the Supreme Court decision and gutted religious freedom protections in federal law. But … it failed to pass even the pro-abortion Senate.
ACLJ adds: ”Now that we defeated the new abortion-pill mandate, we must also defeat a pro-abortion Senate bill that would strike down over 200 pro-life laws nationwide.”
We need your support to continue these victories for the unborn. Your tax-deductible gift today will be doubled, dollar-for-dollar, through our July Matching Challenge.
by Father Dwight Longenecker
From “Catholic Exchange”
Architects will quibble about the “form follows function” dictum, but assuming that there is at least some truth to it, we can then ask, “What is a church for?” If we are being merely practical about it, a church is for people to gather for divine worship. Therefore the seating should be comfortable. Everyone should be able to see the altar and the pulpit. There should be a good sound system and adequate amenities like air conditioning, heating and toilets and cry rooms and bride rooms. However, is a church simply an auditorium? Many modern Protestant churches are built with this criteria. All that is required is a large, comfortable, efficient space for everyone to meet.
The Catholic tradition offers something greater. When we ask what a Catholic Church is for the answer is more than simply an auditorium. Within the Catholic tradition the Church building has more than a practical function. Therefore if “form follows function” we have to ask what these other functions might be for a Catholic church… Read more here.
July 3rd is the feast day of St. Thomas the Apostle and so yesterday evening Bishop Salvatore Matano celebrated Mass at the saint’s namesake church in Irondequoit. Father Paul English, C.S.B., concelebrated with His Excellency and Deacon Ed Knauf assisted. In choir were Fathers Morgan Rice, C.S.B., Warren Schmidt, C.S.B., and Joseph Trovato, C.S.B. Father Daniel White served as Master of Ceremonies.
I did not hear an attendance figure, but the church appeared to be at least two-thirds full.
Following is a slide show of about 70 images taken at the Mass.
And the Holy Father’s prayer intentions for July:
Universal: That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
For Evangelization: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.