I’ve heard of “flying bishops”, but … not this

I saw at katholisches.info via the curiously-named Eponymous Flower an … what’s the word … oddity, hopefully unique.   Not my translation:

The new Archbishop of Palermo, recently appointed by Pope Francis, Msgr. Corrado Lorefice, swung himself in a bicycle and drove through the presbyterium of his Cathedral.


“Palermo. Primatiale Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption, Wednesday, April 27, 2016: Feast of the Athletes. Image: His Excellency Most Reverend Monsignor Corrado Lorefice, Archbishop-Metropolitan, Primate of Sicily, on a bicycle in the chancel of his cathedral..

The Archbishop was given a bike that he didn’t want to try outside the church. Instead, he rose immediately and in full regalia as celebrant,  chasuble and miter,  got on the bike  and drove it through the presbytery of his episcopal church. The Cathedral of Palermo is not only where lay the Stauferkaisers Henry VI. and Frederick II. and the Norman King, Roger II. It is above all one of the oldest Christian places of worship in Europe. The area of ??the Cathedral was secret at the latest  in the second century gathering of Christians in underground tunnels. Here the martyrs of the persecution of Christians were buried. The Christians gathered at their graves. In the early fourth century, the construction of the first cathedral was carried out. Under Pope Gregory the Great, the second cathedral was built around 600.


The Bicycling Bishop?

The Peddling Prelate?

The Cycling Overseer?

The Velocipedal Vescovo?

Your Excellencies, please don’t do this… in the sanctuary your Cathedral?  Or anywhere else in your Cathedral?  Or in any church?  Or anywhere at all while wearing Mass vestments?  Please?

The moderation queue is definitely ON, especially for the immoderate.

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Bright flash of light marks the moment of conception

Many think that the image on the Shroud of Turin is of Christ and that the image formed when a great burst of light occurred at the moment of His resurrection.

How about a burst of light at the beginning of human life?

The following item raises a great many moral questions, but the discovery that there is a burst of light at conception is utterly fascinating.

From The Telegraph:

Bright flash of light marks incredible moment life begins when sperm meets egg

Human life begins in bright flash of light as a sperm meets an egg, scientists have shown for the first time, after capturing the astonishing ‘fireworks’ on film.

An explosion of tiny sparks erupts from the egg at the exact moment of conception.

Scientists had seen the phenomenon occur in other animals but it is the first time is has been also shown to happen in humans.

Not only is it an incredible spectacle, highlighting the very moment that a new life begins, the size of the flash can be used to determine the quality of the fertilised egg.  [Ummm… How were the ‘materials’ obtained?  What happens to the ‘fertilized egg’ (= person) now?]

Researchers from Northwestern University, in Chicago, noticed that some of the eggs burn brighter than others, showing that they are more likely to produce a healthy baby. [No, that’s not at all a slippery slope towards eugenics.]

The discovery could help fertility doctors pick the best fertilised eggs to transfer during in vitro fertilisation (IVF).  [Did I mention eugenics?]

“It was remarkable,” said Professor Teresa Woodruff, one of the study’s two senior authors and an expert in ovarian biology at Northwestern.

“We discovered the zinc spark just five years ago in the mouse, and to see the zinc radiate out in a burst from each human egg was breathtaking.

“This means if you can look at the zinc spark at the time of fertilization, you will know immediately which eggs are the good ones to transfer in in vitro fertilization.

“It’s a way of sorting egg quality [?] in a way we’ve never been able to assess before. “All of biology starts at the time of fertilization, yet we know next to nothing about the events that occur in the human.”

Currently around 50 per cent of fertilised eggs do not develop properly and experts believe that faulty genetic code could be responsible.

Some clinics take videos of the egg developing to try pick up problems early, [?] while others check for genetic mutations, but that is an invasive procedure which can damage the tiny egg. Often it is just down to a clinician decided which eggs look the healthiest.

But the new findings could give and extra indication that an egg is flourishing. A video of nine human eggs coming into contact with sperm enzyme showed two flashed much brighter than the rest.


[…]The bright flash occurs because when sperm enters an egg it leads to a surge of calcium which triggers the release of zinc from the egg. As the zinc shoots out, it binds to small molecules which emit a fluorescence which can be picked up by camera microscopes.

Over the last six years this team has shown that zinc controls the decision to grow and change into a completely new genetic organism.  [And then there’s God….]



Again, there are many and serious moral issues at play here, but the discovery is still amazing.

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Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Was there a good point made in the sermon you heard for your Mass of Sunday Obligation?

Let us know!

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WDTPRS – 6th Sunday of Easter (OF): We are risen, rising, and about to rise all at the same time

Here is this week’s Collect, for the 6th Sunday of Easter in the Ordinary Form:

Fac nos, omnipotens Deus, hos laetitiae dies, quos in honorem Domini resurgentis exsequimur, affectu sedulo celebrare, ut quod recordatione percurrimus semper in opere teneamus.

This is glued together from bits and pieces gleaned from prayers in the ancient Veronese and Gelasian Sacramentary.

Affectus means “a state or disposition of mind, mood” or “affection” in the sense of “love, desire, fondness” etc. Sedulus, is “busy, diligent, careful”.  There is also an adverb, seduloTeneo has connotations of “to grasp”, both in the physical and intellectual senses.  Recordatio is “a recalling to mind”.  It betokens bringing something back to the heart (cor).


Almighty God, cause us to celebrate these days of joy, which we are carrying out in honor of the rising Lord with zealous affection, so that we may grasp in deed what we are traversing in remembrance.

We could even say something like “busy love” for that affectus sedulus.


Grant, almighty God, that we may celebrate with heartfelt devotion these days of joy, which we keep in honor of the risen Lord, and that what we relive in remembrance we may always hold to in what we do.

In our Collect we call up from memory and call to mind (heart – cor) gifts that are so important that they must summon forth concrete responses from here and now.  Certainly this is true during Holy Mass, when the priest does what Our Lord commanded us as a Church to do: “Do this in memory (commemoratio) of me.”

Allow me to digress a little about the concept of “memory”.

St. Augustine of Hippo (+430) makes a connection between recordatio and memoria in a letter to his childhood friend and fellow convert Nebridius (ep. 7).  For Augustine, memory was the place of encounter between the self and God in what he calls beata vita, the “blessed life”, which refer to the happiness that comes from unity with God.

When looking for ways to explain the Trinity and to recognize Its reflection mirrored in man himself, Augustine personifies (hypostasizes) memory, intellect and will, having memory correspond to God the Father.  For Augustine, memory was both the locus of the self as well as the faculty that connects the here and now with the past and future.  Memory is therefore a sort of “vanishing point”, constantly slipping away into the past.  It also where the self and God and are found together. God keeps us from vanishing into something even less than a memory.

Our liturgical commemoration during Mass is more than a simple “remembrance of things past.”  The rising of the Lord (which some say is symbolized by the reuniting of Christ’s Body and Blood when the priest drops the small particle broken from the Host back the chalice) means that we also, even in this earthly life, are rising in Him.

We are risen, rising, and about to rise all at the same time.

We must respond in concrete ways with gratitude for the gift of life, the gift of being in God’s image, the gift of the dignity this image gives us, the gift Our Lord gave us when He opened again the way to communion with the Trinity and the Beatific Vision.  Good works performed by the baptized in charity and in conscience unity with Christ, are simultaneously our acts and His acts.  In works of mercy performed in true charity, we experience a liberation, a freeing from the past, present, and even the future. Christians remind and remember who they are by submitting to Christ in the service of others.

Commemorate the mysteries of Easter with busy love.

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1 May: St. Joseph the Worker

In the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, on Sunday 1 May we celebrate the Feast of St Joseph, Opifex or Worker.  We don’t ignore the 5th Sunday after Easter, of course (6th Sunday of Easter in the Novus Ordo): prayers from the Sunday formulary are added after those for Joseph.

Joseph the Worker is a modern feast.  Celebration of his principle feast on 19 March goes back to at least the 10th century.  In 1870, Bl Pius IX declared Joseph to be the Patron of the Universal Church and gave him a feast on the Wednesday of the 2nd week of Easter.  In 1955, however, Ven Pius XII abolished that feast and instituted St Joseph The Worker on 1 May.  This was a response to Communist celebrations of “May Day”, which in part commemorated a bombing, riot, and massacre in Chicago in 1886 called the Haymarket Affair, the consequences of which are, according to some, still felt today around the globe.

St Pope John Paul II wrote about work in his 1981 Encyclical Laborem exercens and about Joseph in his 1989 Apostolic Letter Redemptoris custos.  Of work, he wrote that it is an essential part of human nature, an activity that gives us dignity, while toil is a consequence of sin.  Of Joseph, he wrote,

“Human work, and especially manual labour, receive special prominence in the Gospel. Along with the humanity of the Son of God, work too has been taken up in the mystery of the Incarnation, and has also been redeemed in a special way. At the workbench where he plied his trade together with Jesus, Joseph brought human work closer to the mystery of the Redemption.”

Joseph didn’t perform miracles that we know of. He didn’t go forth and preach boldly or offer himself in bloody martyrdom, as some did.  Instead, in his quiet way, Joseph is as a model for how we should work.  That is, he worked with God and for God.  He worked with God in that he worked with Jesus and for Jesus as carpenter and bread-winner and then as a teacher of carpentry to His Son.  Joseph worked with love.

He was blessed to see the Man God with his physical eyes.  That is, he literally had God before his eyes as He worked.

We don’t have the Lord physically before our eyes as we work, but by Faith we can keep him before our inner eyes, the eyes of our hearts, as we work, even in the most menial of tasks.

As a good Jewish man and father he would have prayed many times a day and taught the Lord His prayers as worked.  Praying as we work is something we should do as well.

Take Joseph as your model, both you men and women, and also teach your children to do the same.  When you work or do chores, however unpleasant you might think they are, remember to do them for God and with love for Him.  Begin your day along with your other prayers by saying “Lord, all that I do today, I do for love of you and for your glory.”  You can say that all during the day.

Never forget, in all your works, to think of God and perform them for love of him.  As we are in the state of grace, those works which are done for God and for the love of him will be rewarded in eternity.  The smallest act will be rewarded before the throne of the divine Judge if it is done with love.

Many saints were very humble and worked hard in small jobs for their whole lives, they were not great nobles or flashy public people.  They were farmers like St. Isidore, soldiers, manual laborers, craftsmen, servants.  How did they save their souls and become saints?  Through the good intention with which they worked, which rendered the small tasks they performed meritorious before God.

Again, the most insignificant actions, such as walking, washing, and working, can win for us the joys of heaven. Do all that you do for God and He will crown your works as His own.

The Latin Church approves 6 litanies for official, public prayer, including one for St Joseph.  Look it up and pray it. Ask your priests to lead you.

And today, especially, beg the help of Joseph for the unemployed.

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Nuns mapped stars for the Vatican

I spotted a cool article at CNS about four Italian sisters who helped to map a half million stars for the Vatican’s part in a vast mapping project.

Mapping with the stars: Nuns instrumental in Vatican celestial survey

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Of the many momentous or menial tasks women religious perform, one of the better-kept secrets has been the role of four Sisters of the Holy Child Mary who were part of a global effort to make a complete map and catalog of the starry skies.
Up until recently, the women were no more than nameless nuns whose image has long been preserved in a black and white photograph that showed them wearing impeccably ironed habits and leaning over special microscopes and a ledger.
But now their identities have been pulled out of obscurity by Jesuit Father Sabino Maffeo, assistant to the director of the Vatican Observatory. He stumbled onto their names as he was going through the observatory archives, “putting papers in order,” he told Catholic News Service April 26.
Sisters Emilia Ponzoni, Regina Colombo, Concetta Finardi and Luigia Panceri, all born in the late 1800s and from the northern Lombardy region near Milan, helped map and catalog nearly half a million stars for the Vatican’s part in an international survey of the night sky.
Top astronomers from around the world met in Paris in 1887 and again in 1889 to coordinate the creation of a photographic “Celestial Map” (“Carte du Ciel”) and an “astrographic” catalog pinpointing the stars’ positions.
Italian astronomer and meteorologist, Barnabite Father Francesco Denza, easily convinced Pope Leo XIII to let the Holy See take part in the initiative, which assigned participating observatories a specific slice of the sky to photograph, map and catalog.


Read the rest there.

The piece mentions Fr. Francesco Denza. There is more about him HERE. And interesting fellow and one of many priest-scientists… just to show how much the Church hates science, right?

Frankly, many women religious would do better to do things like this than the antics they are up to these days.

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St. Paul, MN – St. Agnes Church: Month Mind for Mother Angelica with Mozart, Mass in Latin

At my home parish of St. Agnes in St. Paul, MN, there are orchestral Masses (Mozart, Schubert, Haydn, Beethoven, etc.) on 30 Sundays of the year, along with Gregorian chant Propers.

This year they added a Mass to the repertory.  The Mass is offered for Mother Angelica, recently deceased.  R.I.P.


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NEW MUSIC CD from the Benedictines of Mary! – UPDATE – AUDIO SAMPLES

UPDATE:  All proceeds from the CD will go to building projects that the nuns have.  HELP THEM BUILD!

At CRUX there is a piece about the sisters.  Check it out.


Many of the nuns, ranging in age from 18 to 92, don’t even know of the commercial success of their albums.

The mixture of silence and song is part of the 1,500-years-old Benedictine way of life. It is a spiritual path born out of the Catholic faith that has given the church many saints, including its founder, St. Benedict.

The nuns in Gower milk cows, gather eggs, make vestments and nurture the souls of weary priests. One of their particular specialties is hand-making church vestments.


ORIGINAL: Published on: Apr 27, 2016

I hope that you have all obtained and enjoyed the music CDs from the wonderful Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles.  These nuns can sing!  They have music discs for Lent and Advent, Easter, for Mary, etc.  Now..

Let’s have a listen to a few samples…

USA HERE  and UK (not yet)

And while you listen, wash up with SOAP from the nuns in Summit (they are building too) and drink COFFEE AND TEA from the monks in Wyoming (and, yes, they also are building)!  Then make donations to our vestment project and, maybe also to me!


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Of weasles, egg salad, broken teeth, blessed salt, and YOU

A weasel can chew through a cable and knock out a particle accelerator, but I can’t chew through an egg salad sandwich.

I had what might be called a “dental emergency”.  I knocked off the distal cusp of a mandibular molar.  Thus, pulling the priest card, I contacted a dentist friendly to clergy, who promptly opened his office, called a staffer, numbed a bunch of nerves (pretty obviously branching of the trigeminal, one of the cranial nerves), and repaired me.  They were super helpful and I’m grateful.

I was then told to rinse in the evening with salty water and asked to bless the dental office… which I did… both.  I might have also rinsed with a little rye… medicinally, of course, and to balance the humors, wry and other.

Which brings me to the next point.   Our relationship with salt.

Saline solutions are used to replenish our bloodstream.  We wash our eyes out with saline, our sinuses, our mouths.  Salt flavors our food and helps our bodies to work properly.

Saline solution, blessed, Holy Water, shoos away the Devil when we make the Sign of the Cross with it.  We splash it around before Mass in the Asperges and, during Paschaltide, the Vidi aquam.  We add it in the blessing of Epiphany Water.  We bless objects and sprinkle it.  The Lord used salt as a metaphor for our zeal and love in the Faith.

Bringing body and soul together in a single beautiful instant, in the traditional rite of Baptism, we put a little salt into the mouths of baptizandi before they are led into the church.  “Accipe sal sapientiae: propitiatio sit tibi in vitam aeternam…. Receive the salt of wisdom: may it be for you a token that foreshadows life everlasting.”

Symptoms of corporal salty deficiency (hyponatremia) include nausea and vomiting, headache, short-term memory loss, confusion, lethargy, fatigue, loss of appetite, irritability, muscle weakness, spasms or cramps, seizures, and decreased consciousness or coma.  Hmmm… sort of like what sin does to us.  No?  Translated into spiritual terms, if we lack what the Lord describes in being ourselves salty in the Spirit, we might say that sin makes us stupid and spiritually sick… until we die from the lack of habitual saving grace and wind up in Hell.

When a priest blesses Holy Water he exorcises the salt, addressing it personally, as if it were a living thing.

Blessed salt can be used for spiritual purposes alone or also for consumption!  The prayer in the traditional manner says:

O you creature of salt, I purge you of all evil by the living + God, by the true + God, by the holy + God, who commanded by the Prophet Elisha that you be put into water in order that the sterility of the water would be healed: so that you might be rendered a purified salt for the salvation of believers, and so that you might be a healthiness of soul and body to all who consume you, and so that you may put to flight and drive out from a place in which you will have been scattered every phantom and wickedness, and cunning trap of diabolical deceit, and every unclean spirit be solemnly banished by command through Him Who shall come to judge the living and the dead, and the world by fire.  R. Amen.

Consume!  Health of soul and of body!

As you can see, blessed salt is for the blessing of holy water, for sprinkling in places, and for consumption.  And the Devil hates it.

We really need salt, for our bodies and for our souls.

In nearly 25 years as a priest (anniversary coming in May) I have only… only…. used the older Rituale Romanum to bless salt and Holy Water.  I will not change in the next 25 years, if I am granted them.

Blessed salt and Holy Water.

Obtain them.  Use them.

Hell’s minions and the catch-farts who help them do not like blessed salt!


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“Even if the Pope were Satan incarnate, we ought not to raise up our heads against him” – St. Catherine of Siena

Today is the – in the post-Conciliar, modern, non-traditional – Ordinary Form – Novus Ordo Calendar – Feast of St. Catherine of Siena, Patroness of Europe and named by Paul VI as Doctor of the Church. Thus, her life and works reflect something of the Church’s own role as Teacher.  Her head may be venerated in Siena and the rest of her in Rome in the Church Santa Maria sopra Minerva (near the ecclesiastical tailor Gammarelli where we are having vestments made – PLEASE CONTRIBUTE!)

I warmly recommend this volume containing Benedict XVI’s General Audience series on the Doctors of the Church.

Benedict XVI gave a wonderful general audience address about here.  HERE

During my recent exile/sojourn in New York City, and during one of my visits to the Met, I spotted three little paintings depicting moments in the life of this great saint.  These panels, tempera and gold leaf on wood, were part of an altarpiece commissioned after Catherine was canonized in 1460.  They are based on her biography by Bl. Raymond of Capua (+1399), who was Catherine’s spiritual director.  Think about that, Fathers!  There are two more of these panels in another part of the Met, but it was closed off the day I was there.


This panel shows a common theme for Catherine, her “mystical marriage” with the Lord, as he places a ring on her finger.


According to Bl. Raymond, Christ appeared to Catherine holding a human heart in his hand. He opened her side and put the heart into her saying, “Dearest daughter, as I took your heart away from you the other day, now, you see, I am giving you mine, so that you can go on living with it for ever”.  Thus, Catherine experience what St. Paul wrote, “And I live, now not I; but Christ liveth in me. And that I live now in the flesh: I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered himself for me.” (Gal 2:20).  She has the mystical-cloud, floating-above-the-rooftops thing going on and, from His gestures, you can tell that the Lord is talking to her.  For her part, she gestures to herself, as if to say, “Unworthy me?”


Again according to Bl. Raymond:

“For the seven year period prior to her death, Saint Catherine of Siena took no food into her body other than the Eucharist. Her fasting did not affect her energy, however. She maintained a very active life during those seven years. As a matter of fact, most of her great accomplishments occurred during that period. Not only did her fasting not cause her to lose energy, but became a source of extraordinary strength, she becoming stronger in the afternoon, after having received our Lord in His Eucharist.

In Rome there is a chapel where Catherine received Communion in this manner and priests can say Mass there.

NB: Talk about “turning your back to the people!”  I always enjoy these old depictions of Mass.  You can see interesting details, such as vestments, etc.


So, there is a little touch of Catherine for you today.

I will also call to your minds something she wrote about Popes.

Even if the Pope were Satan incarnate, we ought not to raise up our heads against him, but calmly lie down to rest on his bosom. He who rebels against our Father is condemned to death, for that which we do to him we do to Christ: we honor Christ if we honor the Pope; we dishonor Christ if we dishonor the Pope. I know very well that many defend themselves by boasting: “They are so corrupt, and work all manner of evil!” But God has commanded that, even if the priests, the pastors, and Christ-on-earth were incarnate devils, we be obedient and subject to them, not for their sakes, but for the sake of God, and out of obedience to Him.
— Saint Catherine of Siena in St. Catherine of Siena, SCS, p. 201-202, p. 222.

And, to Florentines, who were rebelling against Pope Gregory XI:

“He who rebels against our Father, Christ on earth, is condemned to death, for that which we do to him, we do to Christ in heaven – we honor Christ if we honor the pope, we dishonor Christ if we dishonor the pope… I tell you that God will and has so commanded that even if the priests and the pastors of the Church and Christ on earth were incarnate devils, it is seemly that we are obedient and subject to them, not for their sake, but for the sake of God, out of obedience to Him, for He wills that we should act thus.
“Know that the son is never in the right against the father, even if the father is ever so evil and unjust, for so great is the good which he has received from the father, that is, life itself, that he can never repay him for it. And we have received the life of grace from the Church, which is so great a benefit, that we can never, by any kind of homage or gratitude, pay the debt we owe.”
From Anne Baldwin’s Catherine of Siena: A Biography. Huntington, IN: OSV Publishing, 1987, pp.95-6

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