WDTPRS – Trinity Sunday: Are you beautiful at Mass?

At some point we wind up taking a stab at explaining the Trinity to someone.  Results vary.

Today, to get at the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, let’s use the final prayer at Holy Mass in the venerable, traditional form of the Roman Rite as a crowbar.

Here is the Postcommunio of the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity in the 1962MR.

POST COMMUNION (1962 & 2002MR):

Proficiat nobis ad salutem corporis et animae, Domine Deus noster, huius sacramenti susceptio, et sempiternae sanctae Trinitatis eiusdemque individuae Unitatis confessio.

There is a pleasant rhyme herein of susceptio and confessio, three syllable words preceded by words of four syllables and both deserving a little closer inspectio.

The indomitable Lewis & Short Dictionary indicates that a susceptio is “a taking in hand, undertaking” and “an acceptance”. This is a substantive derived from the verb suscipio. The deponent verb confiteor gives us the noun confessio, which means in its basic meaning “a confession, acknowledgment” and thus also “a creed, avowal of belief” and more specifically in the Latin Vulgate “an acknowledgment of Christ” (Rom 10:10, Heb 3:1) and therefore in the early Church “an acknowledgment of Christ under torture; and hence, “torture, suffering for religion’s sake” (Lactantius, De mortibus persecutorum 1).

A review of vocabulary is important, and can provide new insights into the deeper meaning of a prayer.  The structure or word order can give clues as well.

Today we have one main verb proficiat, coming from proficio (“to profit, derive advantage” and “to be useful, serviceable, advantageous, etc.,”) an old friend of WDTPRS vets. This verb has two subjects, susceptio and confessio. Susceptio is further specified by huius sacramenti (“reception of this sacrament”) and confessio is delineated in two ways, Trinitatis (“of the Trinity”) and Unitatis (“of the Unity”).

Often in Latin we will have a sentence structure of noun and then, frequently at the very end, main verb, with many other clauses and material in between which can be pealed open like layers of an onion. Here, the verb is out front as the very first word and the final subject noun is the last word.

For me, this structure emphasizes the nouns susceptio and especially confessio and the intimate relationship between them as well as the concepts that are attached to them, that is, the intimate bond at the moment of Communion between our reception of Christ’s Body and Blood with our confession of a God who is Triune – Three distinct divine Persons having one indivisible divine nature.

Furthermore, the theme of distinct elements in indivisible unity is even carried into the effect we hope for from the act of Communion in Mass: “health” of both “body and soul”. Latin salus is “a being safe and sound; a sound or whole condition, health, welfare, prosperity, preservation, safety, deliverance” and also in Christian contexts such as the Vulgate “salvation, deliverance from sin and its penalties. It can be rendered as both “health” and “salvation”.


Lord, God,
we worship you, a Trinity of Persons, one eternal God.
May our faith and the sacrament we receive
bring us health of mind and body


May the reception of this sacrament, O Lord our God, and also the confession of our faith in the holy everlasting Trinity and of the undivided Unity of the same, profit us for the salvation of body and soul.


May receiving this Sacrament, O Lord our God,
bring us health of body and soul,
as we confess your eternal holy Trinity and undivided Unity

Hmmmm…. you decide.

We have pairs of terms in this Latin prayer which underscore relationships: corpus and anima, susceptio and confessio, Trinitas and Unitas. Each element is necessary for and balances the other.

Humans are by God’s design persons comprised of both body and soul (corpus et anima). By contrast, angels are persons having only a soul but no body. The temporary separation of our body and our soul results in death. Their reunion at the end of time produces the resurrection of the flesh.

God loves us so much that he provides sustenance for both constituent elements.

In Holy Communion we have a food which our body transforms into what it is (flesh and blood) and which transforms our souls in to what It is (more perfect images of the Triune God after the Person of the Risen Christ).

For us to participate in this mysterious exchange of transformations we must both inwardly and outwardly conform to the transcendent reality we seek to embrace and be embraced by.

HENCE, before we can receive the transformed and transforming Host in Communion, we must be in an authentic communion of faith both with a larger group of believers and partakers (called the Church) and we must be interiorly disposed to receive the invisible benefits that the outward signs and actions portend. We must make a true confession and profession of faith consistent with our interior landscape. We must also be physically disposed, which is why we are asked to fast before receiving the Eucharist.

And now the moment you’ve been waiting for….

In the mystery of the Unity and Trinity of God we believe that, from all eternity and before material creation and even outside of time itself, the One God who desired a perfect communion of love expressed Himself in a perfect Word, containing all that He is. The Word God uttered was and is a perfect self-expression, also perfectly possessing what the Speaker possesses: being, omniscience, omnipotence, truth, beauty, and even personhood. So, from all eternity there were always two divine Persons, the God who spoke and the Word who was spoken, the God who Generates and the God who is Generated, true God with and from true God, Begetter and Begotten, Father and Son. There was never a time when this was not so. These two Persons eternally regard and contemplate each other. From all eternity they knew and loved each other, each offering the other a perfect gift of self-giving. Since the self-gift of these perfect and divine Persons, distinct but sharing one divine nature, can be nothing other than a perfect self-gift, perfectly given and perfectly received, the very Gift between them also contains all that each of the Persons have: being, omniscience, omnipotence, truth, beauty, and even personhood. Therefore, from all eternity there exist three distinct divine Persons having one indivisible divine nature, Father, Son and the perfect self-gift of love between them, the Holy Spirit.

This is a foundational, saving doctrine we believe in as Christians. At the core of everything else we believe in and hope for, we will find this mysterious doctrine of divine relationship, the Triune God.

By baptism we images of God are brought into a new relationship with this Triune God.

We become the adoptive children of the heavenly Father, members of the Son our Lord Jesus Christ in the Mystical Person of the Holy Church which He founded. The Holy Spirit makes of us His dwelling so that all the divine Persons are present to us and in us, informing all that we are, do and say. Our membership in the Church opens the way to an eternal relationship of glory and praise with the Trinity.

The promise and token of this eternal reward is how we, as members of a Church of believers professing a common Faith, can take into our bodies, and thus into our souls, the already transformed Body and Blood of the Second Person, the one who unites in His divine Person both the eternity divinity of God and the finite two-fold nature of man.

For this to have taken place, and to make it possible for us to “return back” to the Father, the Second Person “went forth” from the Father in a new way, this time in the context of time and space.

In taking us up in our human nature, He made an act of self-empyting. In filling us with divine gifts in Holy Communion, Christ renews (not re-sacrifices) His Sacrifice, His giving forth and His taking back up again.

In Holy Mass we are asked to “take up and give forth” (susceptio et confessio). In our confessio we make an exterior expression, giving forth outwardly what we are within.

“I confess (confiteor) to almighty God…” is just a scratching of the surface, though an important one.

BotticelliFor St. Augustine, in his great prayer and autobiographical “giving forth” (The Confessions), the word confessio carried layers upon layers of meaning. As we learn from the magisterial Augustinus Lexicon, for Augustine confessio simultaneously, and in a fluid way, bore three main concepts: confession of sin, praise of God, and profession of faith.

For Augustine all created things in the universe, even inanimate things, both give witness to God and give Him glory:

Respondent tibi omnia: Ecce vide, pulchra sumus. Pulchritudo eorum confessio eorum… All things respond to you, O God: ‘Behold! See! We are beautiful!’ Their beauty is their hymn of praise/demonstration that you are God/admission that they are not God” (s. 241, 2 – PL 38: 1133).


Are we beautiful at Mass?

What we do outwardly in our bodies, and what we do interiorly in our souls, must conform to the Trinity in whose image we are made.

Receiving Holy Communion is a profound statement of who we are and what we hope to be. The act of reception must be consistent with who we are and what we are about in life. That act of reception must inform and transform all other acts which, in their turn, are a living “confession”, bearing witness, giving praise, and recognizing our true status before God which can often involve confession of sins.

Similarly every act of praise and testimony of the Church in her liturgy should reflect beautifully and accurately all that the Church professes and longs for.

Every liturgical gesture, church building, vestment, and musical prayer, must be like a gift simultaneously coming forth from the Sacred Heart of the Son and given to us for our benefit as well as a response we make to the glory of the Triune God who gives them.

“Their beauty is their praise.”

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Did the catholic Left and homosexualists ignore Pope Francis’ words about seminarians?

The other day Pope Francis told the Italian bishops not to admit homosexual men as seminarians.    I wrote a post about it HERECNA also reported it.   Reuters had it.

“If there’s a doubt about homosexuality, it’s better not to have them enter the seminary.”

Can you readers help me out?

I am looking for reportage on the Holy Father’s admonition on the part of the liberal catholic outlets, such as Fishwrap, Commonwelt, Amerika, The Bitter Pill and so forth, and the usual homosexual and homosexualist suspects.  You know who they are.

For example, at Jesuit-run Amerika, which harbors Jesuits homosexualist activist James Martin, SJ, I found an article about Italian archbishop’s slobbering preface to the Italian edition of Martin’s ambiguous book.  HERE  But, I did not find an article about the Pope’s remarks to all the Italian bishops.

I admit that I may have missed it.

I may have missed the report and supportive commentary by Massimo Faggioli, Robert Mickens, Michael Sean Winters, etc.

Aren’t we supposed to hang on every single thing this Holy Father says?

The Tablet (aka The Bitter Pill aka RU-486) seems not to have covered it. Again, I may have missed it.  However, there is a story about a dog being a saint.

Fishwrap (aka National Sodomitical Reporter) posted something from Catholic News Service about the audience of the Italian bishops with the Pope, but it omitted the comment about homosexuals.  HERE  However, I wonder if it was included in the original CNS story HERE.  I don’t know because the CNS story is behind a paywall.

CRUX had something about it the Pope meeting with the bishops and about his concerns.  HERE  However, their piece didn’t cite the Pope speaking about the doubt about a prospective seminarian’s orientation and exclusion from the seminary and it spun ti to stress homosexual acts.

I found a single tweet from homosexualist activist James Martin SJ:

First, he turns that on heterosexual men who present “problems”.  That is to admit that homosexual orientation is a “problem”.  And then he changes the topic.  The Pope was talking about seminarians.  Martin shifts it to men already ordained and then quotes the Pope’s often misused words, “Who am I to judge?”  The Pope was talking about admission of men to seminary, to about men already ordained.  The Pope was saying that these men should not be ordained.

Italian born Massimo “Beans” Faggioli was certainly able to read the Italian language account of the Italian Bishops plenary, just the sort of thing to which he would pay massimo attention.  But there’s nothing in his tweets on that day or after.  He does slobber a bit over Martin’s book, now in Italian.

Look.  I’m not saying that the usual suspects have purposely avoided this interesting and newsworthy story.  I’m saying that I may have missed what they said.

Hence, I am asking for some of you readers to dig around and help us learn what they thought.

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Bp. Morlino’s clear commencement address: “let’s be politically incorrect”

There is a plentiful lack of clarity these days.  How refreshing it is when we hear or read something that is faithful, true and clear.

I offer for your attention a commencement address given at Thomas Aquinas College in California by the Extraordinary Ordinary, Most Rev. Robert C. Morlino, Bishop of Madison.  LifeSite has a summary.

A huge attack is mounting against the teachings of Humanae vitae.  This address is timely.

The whole text is HERE.  There is a link to the AUDIO.


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LIVE VIDEO of FSSP priesthood ordinations

As a treat on my anniversary, I am watching the live stream of the the FSSP ordinations to the priesthood.   My old friend Archbp. Sample is doing the honors.  HERE


It is hard to find the right balance of providing commentary for these videos.  Very hard.   Verrrrry hard, indeed.  Comment or allow silence – and the moment – to prevail?

Very hard.

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ORIGINALLY Published on: May 25, 2018

All, please pray today for the Irish people.

UPDATE: 26 May

I suppose you’ve heard the news by now.

I was just reading a piece by Phil Lawler about the bishops in Chile. Ireland came up:

Pope Benedict XVI learned from the American experience, and when the scandal exploded in Ireland several years later, he did address the bishops’ failures. In a pastoral message released in March 2010he told the Irish bishops that they had “failed, at times grievously,” in their duties. He initiated an apostolic visitation of the Church in Ireland, and called for a program of repentance and reform.

The need for a thorough reform of the Church in Ireland should be especially evident this week, as pro-life activists fight a desperate uphill battle to stop a constitutional amendment that would allow abortion on demand in a country that remains, on paper, overwhelmingly Catholic. The spectacular collapse of Ireland’s Catholic culture shows that the abuse scandal did not arise ex nihilo. When Pope Benedict called for a “rebirth of the Church in Ireland in the fulness of God’s own truth,” he had dramatic changes in mind. Unfortunately, dramatic changes were not forthcoming.

Now other dramatic changes have slithered forth.

Will this wake some people up in that sad country?  I doubt it.

What did Benedict XVI call for?  They were coming up to Lent at the time:

 I now invite all of you to devote your Friday penances, for a period of one year, between now and Easter 2011, to this intention. I ask you to offer up your fasting, your prayer, your reading of Scripture and your works of mercy in order to obtain the grace of healing and renewal for the Church in Ireland. I encourage you to discover anew the sacrament of Reconciliation and to avail yourselves more frequently of the transforming power of its grace.  [Did the bishops and priests urge and push these things?  I doubt it.]

Particular attention should also be given to Eucharistic adoration, and in every diocese there should be churches or chapels specifically devoted to this purpose. I ask parishes, seminaries, religious houses and monasteries to organize periods of Eucharistic adoration, so that all have an opportunity to take part. Through intense prayer before the real presence of the Lord, you can make reparation for the sins of abuse that have done so much harm, at the same time imploring the grace of renewed strength and a deeper sense of mission on the part of all bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful.  [Did the bishops and priests urge and push these things?  I doubt it.]

I am confident that this program will lead to a rebirth of the Church in Ireland in the fullness of God’s own truth, for it is the truth that sets us free (cf. Jn 8:32).  [Is that what happened in Ireland?]

What Benedict XVI urged then seems to have been mostly ignored in Ireland.

Perhaps bishops elsewhere might take up that call.  If it would have been good for Ireland, it would be good for everywhere else as well.

Germany?  France?  Italy?  These USA?

Where are our bishops?

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Fr. Z’s 27th Anniversary of Ordination

Well… this is it.  I made it this far.  That’s what I say to myself when this date rolls around.

Booklet for the Mass

Many priests observe the anniversary of their ordination at this time of year. It is a common time for ordinations, probably because Ember Days were common times for ordinations and Ember Days fall during the Pentecost Octave.

It is my anniversary of ordination today, 27 years ago, by St. John Paul II in St. Peter’s Basilica.  I suppose that might make me a 2nd class relic.

It was not only the Feast of St. Philip Neri, 26 May, but it was also Trinity Sunday. A beautiful sunny day.

I got up that morning, ate breakfast, said my prayers, and walked alone across town to the basilica, where I entered through the main doors with the rest of the crowd. After that, however, I went to the right, to the nave near the Pietà, where we ordinands vested and waited for the Holy Father. My family members came separately from a different part of town. They had special tickets which brought them very close to the altar.

Since we were 60 in number, and from many countries, the basilica was absolutely jammed with people from all over the world who had come for the ordinations. The number of people, probably some 50k since it was packed to the gills with families and friends and whole colleges and the inevitable tourists, made the responses during the Litany of Saints flow over us palpably as we lay on the floor.

You have not experienced the Litany of Saints until you have heard it sung by that many people in a space like that.

St. Theresa of Calcutta was there, just in front of where my folks sat.

I had arranged for my grandmother, a convert to Catholicism in her 80’s, to receive Communion from the Holy Father.

I often wonder what happened to the other men with whom I was ordained. I only knew a few of them personally, since I had been at the Lateran University with them. I know that one fellow is now a bishop in Haiti. Also, it was the first year that the Iron Curtain was raised enough in Romania so that a few men were permitted out of the country to come to Rome to be ordained by the Pope. There were some Opus Dei guys ordained with us. Another was the sad, so very sad John Corapi of the SOLT group. One priest was ordained for the Archdiocese of Southwark in England. It would be great to meet with him during some trip. I reached out to a few some years ago and got a few responses. I may try again some day, perhaps by writing to their dioceses or institutes and asking that my letter be forwarded.


God doesn’t choose men who are worthy. He chooses those whom it pleases Him to choose. In regard to myself, it’s all a great mystery to me. I probably won’t get it until I die.

The sermon from the Mass. My old plugin doesn’t work for the videos, so I uploaded them to youtube.  The sermon is in Italian and the text is HERE.

I really miss him.

Here is some excerpts from the broadcast of the ordination, which was on national television in Italy.  We have the interrogation, litany and the prayer (form).

Imposition of hands.

Anecdote: After our ordination we lined up, new priests on one side of the side nave, all the cardinals and various prelates on the other. The Holy Father came and greeted us all.  To my shock, my boss, the late and great Augustine Card. Mayer who had joined the recessional, came across the nave and, in front of the Roman Pontiff, knelt down and asked for my blessing. It was one of several startling lessons Card. Mayer gave me.


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MADISON 31 May – Corpus Christi – Pontifical Mass at the Throne and Procession

On Thursday, 31 May at St. Norbert’s Church in Roxbury, WI at 6 PM, His Excellency, Most Rev. Robert C. Morlino, Bishop of Madison – the Extraordinary Ordinary – will celebrate a Pontifical Mass at the Throne in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite for the Feast of Corpus Christi.  A traditional Eucharistic Procession will follow.

All the lay faithful are welcome and clerics are invited to participate in choir dress (cassock, surplice and biretta).

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Concerning innovations

In The Heresy of Formlessness: The Roman Liturgy and Its Enemy (US HERE – UK HERE), Martin Mosebach writes of the offended sensibilities of a rock that has been shifted from its perennial, traditional, place.   It might require centuries for the rock to settle down.

There is a great deal to be said for flexible stability.  It’s the essence of RomanitasNB: The Latin term for revolution (always bad, in the Roman mind) is res novae… new thingsWe might add: Nihil innovetur nisi quod traditum est… and non nova sed noviter.

I just read a piece by David Warren at The Catholic Thing about the death of the son of Marshall McLuhan, Eric, who had picked up his father’s baton.  And now, apparently, the grandson Andrew is doing the same.

The McLuhans were solidly Catholic and traditional:

Like father [Marshall], like son [Eric] – both, incidentally, highly traditional old-Mass Catholics, whose first resort was to their Latin missals.

“I am resolutely opposed to all innovation, all change,” said Marshall more than half a century ago, in a television interview with the (still living!) Canadian cultural journalist, Robert Fulford.

“But I am determined to understand what’s happening, because I don’t choose to sit and let the juggernaut roll over me. Now many people seem to think that if you talk about something recent you’re in favor of it. The exact opposite is true in my case. Anything I talk about is almost certain to be something I’m resolutely against, and it seems to me the best way to oppose it is to understand it, and then you know where to turn off the button.”

Consider, in passing, the use of the “rearview mirror.” As Eric would explain, it does not show things moving backwards. It shows things moving forward. It orients us not to where we were, but to where we are. Only men with the ability to “read” it can have an idea of what might hit them. For the rest, there is the dead-fish stasis, of unreflective movement in the traffic stream.

I am reminded of the moment in the movie The African Queen when Humphrey Bogart explains that they have to get the propeller working because, in order to steer the boat through the dangerous rapids, they have to go faster than the current.  I would add that the propeller simultaneously roots the boat in the past while giving us the option of where to go in our future.

Marshall McLuhan famously said “the medium is the message”.  This is why sometimes a well-placed, well-chosen photo has more impact than a 1000 words, or why McLuhan could argue that it was the genesis of the microphone and electric amplification that killed Latin and liturgy in the Church.  In 1974 he wrote in The Medium and the Light: Reflection on Religion:

Latin wasn’t the victim of Vatican II; it was done in by introducing the microphone. A lot of people, the Church hierarchy included, have been lamenting the disappearance of Latin without understanding that it was the result of introducing a piece of technology that they accepted so enthusiastically. Latin is a very ‘cool’ language, in which whispers and murmurs play an important role. A microphone, however, makes an indistinct mumble intolerable; it accentuates and intensifies the sounds of Latin to the point where it loses all of its power. But Latin wasn’t the mike’s only victim. It also made vehement preaching unbearable. For a public that finds itself immersed in a completely acoustic situation thanks to electric amplification, hi-fi speakers bring the preacher’s voice from several directions at once. So the structure of our churches were obsolesced by multi-directional amplification. The multiple speakers simply bypassed the traditional distance between preacher and audience. The two were suddenly in immediate relation with each other, which compelled the priest to face the congregation.

The microphone killed Latin, enervated preaching and paved the way for Mass “facing the people”, innovations all.  Microphones were in use long before the Council.  But their cumulative effect, with the liturgical changes, were deadly.  There are times when we should simply turn them off… and go ad orientem and use Latin.

How do people put it today?

Drop the mic.




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ASK FATHER: Deacons vesting in dalmatics for concelebrations

From a reader…


Father, I know priests are allowed to vest for Mass (chasuble, stole, etc.) together and concelebrate. It’s not a good thing, but it makes theological sense because many priests can consecrate one host as St. Thomas Aquinas says.

However, at an ordination and chrism Mass (OF), all of the Diocesan deacons vest. Why are they vested? Is there some theology behind this, a concelebration of deacons of sort, or is it a bunch of liturgical hodgepodge?

Without getting into the question of concelebration (which I think should be safe, legal and rare), deacons are deacons and deacons have their proper vestment, which is the dalmatic.

What’s with the vestimentary and liturgical stinginess when it comes to deacons?  Deacons are clerics, but NO! they can’t wear clerical clothing unless its gray or in some other way altered.   Deacons are liturgical ministers, ordained for service at the altar, but NO! they can’t put on their proper vestments.

This is absurd.  Deacons should be able to wear the dalmatic when serving at the altar.

Consider this outside of the context of concelebration.  In the traditional way of doing things, when there is a procession, as for example in the case of the upcoming Corpus Christi, priests and deacons would wear, respectively, their chasuble and dalmatics over their choir dress.  You put on an amice and you put on the chasuble or dalmatic and off you go!

Let’s not be pusillanimous when it comes to our deacons.

As far as deacons at a concelebration are concerned, if they don’t have specific liturgical roles as sacred ministers, then in the Roman way of doing things they should – just as priests or bishops would – attend in their proper choir dress, which is cassock and surplice with biretta.  They would need a stole (worn in the manner of a deacon) if they are going to receive Holy Communion.    Priests and deacons don’t wear their stoles if they are in choir, unless they are going to have something to do with the Blessed Sacrament (e.g., receive or distribute or translate). This is not to pick on deacons, of course.  As I wrote, that would apply to priests and bishops as well: proper choir dress.

We must bring back these distinctions of roles as sacred ministers in the liturgical action and as otherwise “full, conscious and active” participants in the action.  Both modes of participation have their proper place in the sanctuary and their proper garb.

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ASK FATHER: How do we get the TLM where we are?

From a reader…


I hope you can help. How do I approach my Bishop in ___ to have us have a TLM. I run from one church to another just before Consecration. Thank you.

I am puzzled as to why you would run from one church to another like that.  Back in the day, people would hurry from church to church in Rome for the moment of the elevation.  There were even special pieces of music written for the elevation.  Then off they’d go to another church for the elevation.

But, to the real point.

Please take this to heart: Don’t approach the bishop for the TLM except as a last resort.

Always… always… always… work with a friendly priest who is willing and able to celebrate the TLM for you, especially pastors of parishes.

According to the present legislation, pastors of parishes are the one’s who decide now.

Another point: One person asking for the TLM isn’t very compelling.  A lot of people asking for it is much more convincing.   Get organized.

An important point: Be willing to sacrifice your time and money to be there, open doors, set things up, tidy up after, buy vestments and books and other useful objects, provide Father with necessary items, etc.  You can’t just expect – as so many do – everything to be done for you for free.

A really important point: Be diplomatic while being persistent.

A seriously important point: Be involved in the other things that the parish does.  Make yourselves indispensable to the pastor and his efforts for the whole parish.  Always be ready to volunteer.  Be the first one’s up and the last one’s there.

And here’s an Elevation Sonata by the great Domenico Zipoli, SJ. Yes… SJ. He was a musician missionary of the Baroque era in the reductions of Paraguay.

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