Your Easter Sunday sermon notes

I am sure that you have good points to share from the sermon you heard for the Easter Vigil and for Easter Sunday Mass.

Let’s bring out those good points and share them around.

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WDTPRS Easter Sunday: “Be what you see and receive what you are.”

We observed the Sacred Triduum: the priesthood was celebrated, the Eucharistic Christ was reposed and the altar stripped, the Passion was sung and the Cross was kissed.  Our liturgical death was complete.  Then in the evening, in some places even at midnight, the Easter Vigil began.  Flowers, instrumental music, white and gold vestments returned after a long drought of ornamentation.  The Exsultet rang out next to the Christ-like Paschal candle, burning brightly in the shadows.  Baptismal water was blessed.  At last we again sang Alleluia.  Catechumens were received or baptized, some also being confirmed.  They received Christ for the first time in the Eucharist.

On Easter day we now hear the Sequence Victimae paschali laudes about Christ the “Victor King” and His duel with Death.  Holy Church and her children are renewed in the promise of the resurrection.  Since Christ has risen, we too may rise.

Here is the Collect for Mass “during the day” which has its roots in the ancient Gelasian Sacramentary:

Deus, qui hodierna die, per Unigenitum tuum, aeternitatis nobis aditum, devicta morte, reserasti, da nobis, quaesumus, ut, qui resurrectionis dominicae sollemnia colimus, per innovationem tui Spiritus in lumine vitae resurgamus.

I like the repeated “re-“ sounds in reserasti… resurrectionis… resurgamus as well as “-er-“ sound: hodierna… per… aeternitatis… reserasti.  Read it aloud. In the second part listen to the assonance on the vowel i, pronounced like the English double e as is “see”.

Latin colo, means “cultivate” as in “to cultivate, take care of a field”, and also “to regard one with care, i.e. to honor, revere, reverence, worship.”  It is used in both agricultural and religious contexts.  Latin cultus, means “worship”.


O God, who today, once death was conquered, unbarred for us the gateway of eternity through Your Only-begotten, grant to us, we beg, that we who are reverently observing the solemn annual rites of the Lord’s resurrection, may through the renewing of Your Spirit rise again in the light of life.


O God, who on this day, through your Only Begotten Son, have conquered death and unlocked for us the path to eternity, grant, we pray, that we who keep the solemnity of the Lord’s Resurrection may, through the renewal brought by your Spirit, rise up in the light of life.

At Easter we Christians renew our profession of faith as one transformed people.  In the waters of baptism, we passed through death to new life.

In ancient times, catechumens had a long period of preparation before their admittance to the sacred mysteries of the Mass.  They were permitted to attend the reading of Scripture and the sermon but they were sent out before the Eucharistic part.  At the Easter Vigil the catechumens stood before the congregation and recited their profession of faith.  The doors were then opened to them.  Anointed, baptized, clad in white linen robes, they were permitted to stand within the sanctuary and to participate in the Eucharist for the first time.

The newly baptized were called infantes, the “new born children” of the Church. With them, St Augustine of Hippo (d 430) used agricultural imagery when comparing the sacred area the basilica’s sanctuary to a threshing floor where grain and chaff are separated.

Augustine taught the white-robed infantes that not only are bread and wine transformed, people are too.  Bread is made from many kernels of wheat, wine is from many grapes.  Grain and grapes are changed by us and wine and bread are changed by God.  In turn, the transformed bread and wine are given back to transform us.  Augustine was especially concerned that they see themselves as a transformed people deeply, intimately connected to the Eucharist: “Estote quod videtis, et accipite quod estis… Be what you see and receive what you are” (s. 272,1).  He compared the new Christians to wheat, grown, harvested, ground, formed, baked through the agency of others, prepared for the Eucharist.  God plants new Christians to be wheat sprigs (spicas) not thorns (spinas). The newly baptized were now new tender shoots in the fields of God, “irrigated by the fountain of Wisdom, drenched with the light of justice.”

Can we recapture something of the joy and zeal of converts in our participation in Holy Mass?

A Church-wide liturgical catechesis could help.  So will Holy Mass celebrated in such a way that we can sink into it, grow from it, rest in it, be nourished by the mysteries our Church sacramentally re-presents in it for us.  Mass is not just play-acting or simple remembering: it is about Life itself.   Everything we do and say during Mass has meaning, sometimes plain, often veiled.

The Octave of Easter extends our opportunity to pray and worship within the mystery of Our Lord’s resurrection.

May you and yours have a blessed and grace-filled Eastertide.

Posted in EASTER, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, WDTPRS | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

How the great have fallen.

A priest friend in my native place forwarded to me an email from the School Sisters of Notre Dame with their Easter greetings.   Get this:

Easter Blessing . . .

Let us thank the Earth that offers ground
for home and holes our feet firm to walk
in space open to infinite galaxies.

Let us salute the silence and certainty of
mountains; their sublime stillness, their
dream-filled hearts.

The wonder of a garden trusting the first
warmth of spring…the humility of the
Earth that transfigures all that has fallen
of outlived growth.

The kindness of the Earth,
opening to receive our worn forms
into the final stillness.

Let us remember within us the ancient clay,
holding the memory of seasons,
the passion of the wind, the fluency of water,
the warmth of fire, the quiver-touch of the sun.

May the spirit of hope that Easter brings help you find peace.
May all the beauty and glory of this blessed season fill our hearts with praise.

School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province

Anything missing from this?

I suppose their heads were still spinning to much from walking their labyrinths to remember THE POINT of Easter.

This is just one indicator of why the CDF got involved with the LCWR.

Meanwhile, I will fill in what the Sisters couldn’t bring themselves to say:

The Lord is risen!  Alleluia!

Posted in Liberals, Magisterium of Nuns, Women Religious, You must be joking! | Tagged , | 51 Comments

Fortissimo in the Faith: two bloggers (I one) looking back

John Sonnen, of Orbis Catholicus (who will be handling traditional liturgy Roman pilgrimages), was once a little altar boy at my home parish of St. Agnes in St. Paul, Minnesota, where once the legendary Msgr. Schuler was pastor.

Today I found on his blog a mention, nostalgic, of the old days, the hay days.  Indeed I, today, in listening to the monks of Le Barroux sing Tenebrae, was able to sing along for many of the antiphons and even readings, which I myself have sung many times.

Thus, John:

Lots of fine memories there from my youth.  It was a great way to grow up, attending Tenebrae in choir to learn the chants of the Church.  And H.H.H., our deacon, always timed our Tenebrae each year, and it was almost always to the minute the same.    [HHH is the late, great Harold Hughesdon, born in London, of the Westminster School, in the RAF during the Battle of Britain, eventually permanent deacon at St. Agnes, who recreated there the liturgical style of Westminster of the 30's.]

There were many colorful personalities.  The great Fr. Z would arrive from Rome.  ["The great"!  I'm still waiting for Monsignor.] I miss the old holy cards he often had printed every Triduum.  [RIGHT!  I did that.  I would put "Tenebrae factae sunt" on the back.] They added a lot to the solemnity of the week.  The cards always made nice book markers in a Liber Usualis.  Was always kind of fun to look for cards from previous years kept away in the pages of old Libers on the sacristy shelf.  I always looked for the old Liber of Mons. Bandas to carry and hold and pray from during Tenebrae.  Mons. Bandas was one of the tallest trees in the forest before, during, and after the 1960s.  He evinced eminent priestly qualities one rarely encountered during the turbulent conciliar period and its immediate aftermath.  A prophet, really.   [Msgr. Rudolph Bandas had been a peritus at all the sessions of the Council.  He came back to St. Paul and implemented in the parish, St. Agnes, the reforms of the Council as they were actually written.]

Fortunate is the youth who gets to grow up being involved in a parish that is fortissimo(very loud) in the  Faith.


The Late Rev. Mr. Hughesdon snuffing a candle during Tenebrae! Fr. Z, celebrant.

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Saturday Stroll

Today I have done some reading and listened to the monks of Le Barroux sing the Tenebrae office.

For lunch I found a great pastrami sandwich and went to the Park.


Okay… here’s a better shot of the pastrami.   I was told, back home, to post food photos.  Yes, it is as good as it looks.


Right now the cherry trees are blooming. Stand under a grove of them and you catch their fragrance.


I walked across to the Frick Collection to see the fine exhibit of Renaissance and Baroque bronzes from a private owner.

I couldn’t take photos of the exhibit, but here is a detail of a painting by El Greco.


Back to the Park for a bit and a sit down just to watch life go by before going to the Met, which is open late.

I am listening these days to Dante’s Divina Commedia, the action of which, as you know, takes place during the Sacred Triduum.

How wonderful it is to sit outside and feel the sun and not be cold.

Busy comes back soon enough. Right now there is time for refreshing otium. Otium in negotio.

Here is Manet’s Dead Christ with Angels.


Manet got a couple things wrong about the Lord, as in the wound from the lance is on the wrong side, but he captures well the lifelessness of Christ’s Body… awaiting resurrection.

Awaiting resurrection and the defeat of this thing!


Posted in On the road, What Fr. Z is up to | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

An anniversary

Today is the anniversary of the election of Pope Benedict XVI, in 2005.


Posted in Benedict XVI, Linking Back, SESSIUNCULA | Tagged | 19 Comments

¡Vaya lío! Great idea for diocesan New Evangelization!

Here is an encouraging “¡Vaya lío!” example.

You all know about, or ought to know about, the great Benedictine monks in Norcia, Italy.  Here is something from their web page:


[NB] The Bishop has asked the monks of Norcia to celebrate a series of solemn Masses in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite as part of his effort to expose the faithful of his diocese to the traditional form. The Bishop usually attends the Mass himself and sits in choir, thus giving a personal witness to the importance of this “treasure of the Church”, as Pope Benedict calls it.


The bishop has asked these monks to make the Extraordinary Form better known to people in the diocese entrusted to him.  Excellent.  This is, for sure, was Benedict XVI was thinking about when he gave us the provisions of Summorum Pontificum.

I hope that many other diocesan bishops take such initiative.

This is New Evangelization.

Fr. Z kudos to the Bp. of Foligno, Most Rev. Gualtiero Sigismondi.

¡Vaya lío!

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Brick by Brick, Fr. Z KUDOS, Just Too Cool, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, ¡Vaya lío! | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Easter, customs, food and you!

It is a beautiful custom today to bring special foods to church for the priest’s blessings before Easter. Back at my home parish in my native place, people would bring things and, lined up at the Communion rail, we would go along with our Rituale Romanum and bless all sorts of good looking, appetizing stuff. People of different ethnic backgrounds had their favorite things, of course.

Today in the New York Post there is an article about different traditional foods for Easter from around the world.

Do you have any special customs for Easter?

In the meantime, remember this?

No matter what, you need lots of

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LENTCAzT 46 Holy Saturday

Please use the sharing buttons?  Thanks!

Today is Holy Saturday of the Sacred Triduum. This is the penultimate podcast.

Examine your consciences.

Have you made your good confession?

Today we hear something from the wonderful  CD of music for Lent by the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles.

These daily podcasts for Lent are intended to give you a small boost every day,

This project during Lent has been a token of thanks to my donors.

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Foot-washing, law, journalists, liberal activists, and Bp. Morlino

In the Left-leaning Wisconsin State Journal columnist Doug Erikson offered a piece on 16 April called “In the Spirit: Bishop Robert Morlino’s foot-washing policy draws national press, petition effort”. Erickson’s bias against Bp. Morlino in favor of a liberal activist group is thinly veiled; he is their cheerleader.  Erickson cribbed a piece by David Gibson from RNS.   He credulously accepted several unsupportable premises asserted by people quoted in the Gibson piece.  NB: Gibson’s article wasn’t wholly bad!  He presented more than one side and drill into the central question.  Erickson did something else.

I’m involved in this, since I have now been widely quoted.  Thus, I will weigh in a little deeper.

One important fact that neither Erickson or Gibson detailed was that Bp. Morlino’s note to priests about the two licit options for washing feet on Thursday (wash the feet of men only or exclude the optional rite) was sent out in 2011. Erickson did mention in a piece in March that Bp. Morlino’s letter about foot-washing was “three years ago”.  That important bit was left out this time.  It could be that Erickson, and Gibson, wanted people to think that Morlino issued this letter after Francis became Pope, after Francis decided for himself to derogate from the Church’s liturgical law.

Here is Erickson’s cribbing of Gibson’s piece that contains his promotion of a radicalized liberal petition against Bp. Morlino.  My emphases and comments:

Religion News Service, a national news-gathering organization with press offices in Washington, D.C., has a good primer this week on the debate in the Roman Catholic Church over whether women should be included in the church’s foot-washing ritual on Holy Thursday. [Do not accept automatically that the RNS piece was a "good" primer.  It had some good information in it, but it had its problems as well.]

Madison Catholic Bishop Robert Morlino gets top billing in the article along with Pope Francis.

Last year, the pope washed the feet of both men and women. Morlino has said his priests must wash only men’s feet or forgo the ritual entirely.  [Yes, he said that.  In 2011!  So, why dredge this up now?  It's called yellow journalism.  If you look in an illustrated dictionary for yellow journalism, you might find this column. Erickson wanted to stir problems for the bishop.]

“So who’s correct?” reporter David Gibson asks in the article. “Is the pope a dissenter? Or are Morlino and others being legalistic? What does the foot washing ritual represent, anyway?”

Gibson goes on to explore those issues. Ultimately, he writes, “there are no simple answers to those questions, though the weight of history and custom — not to mention authority — seems to be on the pope’s side.” [Those claims are not entirely true.  First, don't simply accept the premise that there is a Most Wonderfullest Ehvur Pope Side and a Legalistic Meanie Morlino Side.  Also, it simply defies history and common sense to claim that history and custom support the washing of the feet of women during Holy Thursday Mass.]

But Morlino gets his share of support in the article, too. Here’s the Rev. John Zuhlsdorf, a blogger popular with the Catholic right, [I think even more from the Left read me.] on Morlino’s approach:

“The church’s law says that only men may be the recipients of this foot washing. Morlino’s guidelines — that his priests must wash the feet of 12 men or not do the foot washing at all — do nothing but reiterate the church’s laws, which bishops and priests are obliged to follow.” [Problem.  I haven't written that the guidelines refer to "12 men".  The actual rubrics in the post-Conciliar Missale Romanum do not specify a number.  But that is a small point.  The above is substantially correct.  There are two options according to the Church's liturgical law: the foot-washing rite is, itself, an option.  It can be legitimately omitted.  If it is done, then only mature males are to be selected for the rite.  The Latin word is "viri", which means "men", and not in the sense of Facebook's 57 genders.  It really does mean grown up male and it doesn't mean anything else.  Latin has perfectly good words for "people... anyone... 'man' in the generic sense... women... anyone", etc.]

[Here is the writer in his biased, activist mode] UPDATE: Faithful America, an online community of Christians, has started a petition urging Morlino to allow the washing of women’s feet.  [When you go HERE to look at their site, take a look at the "About" page.  Who are these people?]

“It’s unfortunate that during Christians’ most holy week, Bishop Morlino is ignoring Pope Francis’ inspiring example of love and inclusion, and instead clings to a sexist and exclusionary policy,” ["policy" is code language.  Policy seems more ephemeral, more personal, than a law.  Policies don't need much of a procedure to change.  Laws do. So, call it a policy and you distort people's understanding of the reality of the situation.] Michael Sherrard, Faithful America’s executive director [of... what exactly?  Three people and a laptop?], says in a press release. [Who is this fellow?  In this article HERE it says he has worked for move  He as a coveted MDiv from a Lutheran seminary. Beyond that.  He seems to be interested in sticking his nose into many places.]

More than 15,000 people have signed the petition so far, according to the organization.

Will either Erickson, or Gibson, write about the visit Bp. Morlino made on the busy Holy Thursday to a nursing home for two hours to anoint people and bring them Holy Communion?

I will also point you to a piece at Laetificat Madison:

Christmas morning 1998 in Scranton Pennsylvania, a priest who has recently admitted having a “foot fetish” gave a 13 year old girl alcohol and touched her feet and legs creepily. She now (16 years later) has made a police complaint, and the priest has been charged with molestation.


Meanwhile, the annual ritual bashing of Bishop Morlino for simply holding local priests to the Church’s liturgical discipline according to which the optional Holy Thursday footwashing rite, which recalls an episode at the Last Supper with Jesus and the 12 Apostles, involves the priest washing the feet of adult males (viri).

Local religion journalist Doug Erickson felt the devilish urge to dress this up as if it were news: “Three years ago, Madison Catholic Bishop Robert Morlino issued guidelines that gave priests the option of either using only men or not celebrating the ritual at all. Given the heightened attention to foot-washing last year, some parishioners thought Morlino might re-evaluate his position. This has not happened.”


The story of Fr Altavilla of Scranton is perfectly timed to underscore why the wise do not undermine, scorn, mock, or subject to media harassment those bishops who, exercising the prudence which is theirs to exercise, do not give special permission to priests to run their hands over the bare feet and legs of girls and women during Holy Thursday Mass, nor at other times.

Bishop Morlino understands that, when the Pope decides to derogate for himself from the liturgical law,  that derogation doesn’t abolish the law for everyone else.  The law remains. We priests and bishops must obey the liturgical law which we do not have the authority to break or change on our own authority.  The Church is not lawless.  The Church is not merely a display case for people’s passing whims and changing fashions.

When and if the Holy Father wants the law to change for everyone, he will make sure that it is changed for everyone in the proper way and he will let everyone in the world know about it.  Until them, the law stands.

Finally: People talk, inaccurately, about Morlino imposing a “ban” on the washing of the feet of women.  That’s isn’t true.  If it is a “ban”, then it is Pope Francis’ own ban, for he is now the supreme legislator in the Church.  It is Francis’ ban until he decides to change the law.

Get back to us after Francis changes the law.

Posted in Biased Media Coverage, Liberals, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, Pò sì jiù, The Drill, The future and our choices | Tagged , , , , , | 54 Comments