ASK FATHER: Can priests serve as and vest as deacons in the Novus Ordo?


I’ve received quite a bit of mail about my response.  The preponderance says that I was right in my argument, but also that the Caerimoniale‘s directions do NOT prohibit priests from vesting as deacons.  Here is an example:

When the GIRM speaks of priests acting as deacons, it only speaks of concelebrants. Yet, the document doesn’t prescribe, “A priest acting as a deacon must concelebrate”. Rather, the prescription is that if it is a case that a CONCELEBRANT fill this role, he should still wear chasuble. The understanding being that priests at the time of the council might have legitimately been confused on this point and wondered if they continued with an already accepted and common practice but desired to concelebrate would they need to wear a different vestment. [That makes sense.] The implication I take from this is that priests who fill this role, but do not concelebrate, need not worry. Such a practice was far too common to receive mention in the instruction. [True.] I am confident the document would be more clear if the reformers wanted to do away with the practice. [Maybe.]

What, then, can be made of the prescription in the Ceremonial? Well the ceremonial is aware of practices such as the vicar general serving as deacon for diocesan Masses. [!] It is suggesting that since deacons are present at these functions, they themselves should fill the role while the priests concelebrate with their bishop. [Right.]

Okay, I’m sold.  YES.  Priests who are not concelebrants can vest in the dalmatic and function as deacons in the Novus Ordo.

Of course, it goes without saying that if there are deacons present, they should take the diaconal roles.  Let deacons be deacons when deacons are there.

___ Originally Published on: Feb 9, 2017 ___

From a reader…


Can priests (or bishops) serve as deacons in the Ordinary Form, analogous to how (as I understand it) this is sometimes done in the Extraordinary Form?

Yes.  Priests and bishops can serve as deacons in the Ordinary Form.

First, here are a couple shots of bishops vested as deacons, serving as deacons at a pontifical, papal Mass with Pope Francis, one on Peter and Paul, and another on Palm Sunday.  These are Cardinals, by the way.

17_02_09_cardinal_deacons 17_02_09_cardinal_deacons_02

So, that’s the Ordinary Form.  Those are bishops vested and acting as deacons.  Hence, yes, bishops can act as deacons in the Ordinary Form.  Now… just try to make that happen outside a Mass with the Pope of Rome.

Next, priests.  Yes, priests can act as deacons in the Ordinary Form.   GIRM 208 states:

GIRM 208. If a Deacon is not present, the functions proper to him are to be carried out by some of the concelebrants.

So, priests can act as deacons in the sense that they take diaconal functions.  But those are priest concelebrants and that is not what you mean.  You are talking about priests dressing in the dalmatic and acting as deacons without being concelebrants.

In the Extraordinary Form, clearly, yes, they can and they do.  It is common.  It has been the Church’s tradition for a looooong time that they do this.  A priest is still, after all, a deacon.  That’s one of the reasons why bishops put on the dalmatic under the priestly chasuble when they vest properly. That’s also why in the Ordinary Form a bishop will divest himself of his chasuble and wear the dalmatic when consecrating altars and when washing feet for the Mandatum: he wears the vestment most symbolic of his ministry of service.

Pope Benedict XVI once spoke about the ministry of deacons during one of his meetings with the clergy of the Diocese of Rome. HERE  Benedict said:

“On this occasion a small experience noted by Paul VI springs to mind – although it may not be quite relevant to our subject. Every day of the Council the Gospel was enthroned. The Pontiff once told the masters of ceremonies that he himself would like to be the one who enthroned the Gospel. They said: No, this is a task for deacons and not for the Pope, the Supreme Pontiff, or the Bishops. He noted in his diary: But I am also a deacon, I am still a deacon, and I too would like to exercise my diaconal ministry by enthroning the Word of God. Thus, this concerns us all. Priests remain deacons and deacons clarify this diaconal dimension of our ministry in the Church and in the world.”

This is a good reason for priests to serve as deacons once in a while.  It is good for priests to serve Mass once in a while, too.  I once had a cardinal serve Mass for me, by the way.  It was a humbling experience which taught me a lot.  But I digress.

Moving on, I note that the 2003 CDW document Redemptionis Sacramentum says:

[125.] The proper vestment of the Deacon is the dalmatic, to be worn over an alb and stole. In order that the beautiful tradition of the Church may be preserved, it is praiseworthy to refrain from exercising the option of omitting the dalmatic.

Given that

  1. sacred ministers at Mass should wear the prescribed vestments for their ministry,
  2. the vestment proper to the deacon is the dalmatic
  3. the priest and bishop both remain, in a sense, deacons
  4. bishops wear dalmatics and act as deacons in the Ordinary Form,
  5. the use of the dalmatic is encouraged,
  6. the functions of the deacon can be fulfilled by priests who aren’t the main celebrant,
  7. there is a centuries long tradition of priests acting as deacon before the Ordinary Form,

…I would say YES, a priest could put on the dalmatic and take the diaconal role at Mass in the Ordinary Form.

Sed contra

In the 1995 Caerimoniale Episcoporum for the Novus Ordo we find:

22. Presbyteri, qui celebrationes episcopales participant, id solum quod ad presbyteros spectat agant; (SC n. 28) absentibus vero diaconis, aliqua diaconorum ministeria suppeant, numquam tamen vestibus diaconalibus induti.

Presbyters [I dislike that “presbyters” thing.  Let’s say “priests”.] taking part in a liturgy with the bishop should do only what belongs to the order of presbyter; in the absence of deacons they may perform some of the ministries proper to the deacon, but should never wear diaconal vestments.”

Some argue that the Caerimoniale is prescriptive for the Missale Romanum as used also by priests.

It seems to me that there are strongly competing values here.

First, there is the value of more solemn liturgical worship, with defined roles.  There is also our Roman liturgical tradition.  Moreover, there is the value of distinguishing the Holy Order of Deacon from the Holy Order of Priest.

This is one of those ways in which there should be a correction of the Novus Ordo by way of contact with and recovery of values from the traditional Roman Rite.  Call it “mutual enrichment”.    If it is going to “mutual”, then the Novus Ordo must be enriched by the traditional Rite, and not just the traditional by the newer Rite.  Right?  As a matter of fact it is far more urgent to enrich the Novus Ordo with tradition than it is to enrich the traditional form with innovation.  Sacrosanctum Concilium 23 forbade innovations in the liturgy, “unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing”.

It seems to me that the Ordinary Form should recover vesting priests as deacons.  That would mean that some would have to stop forcing incessant concelebration by priests.  But if a priest has already said Mass, or he is going to say Mass later in the day, why couldn’t he take the role of a deacon when there is no deacon present?

Why the stingy restriction?

In any event, even if common sense and tradition and a generous reading of most of the rubrics, etc., suggest that a priest can put on the dalmatic and serve as a deacon in the Novus Ordo, the Caerimoniale says no.  If the Caerimoniale applies to Mass when there is no bishop in sight, then, no, a priest can’t do that.

Would it be an abuse to do it?   Not much of one, I think.  And, hey!, isn’t this the age of mercy?  We don’t want to be restrictive doctors of the law, do we?  Dalmatics for priests!  Heck, make it blue dalmatics for priests!  ¡Hagan lío!

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Such was SNAP

While we abominate the abuse of children by anyone, and even more strongly abhor by clergy, I also scorn those who used the horrid scandal to tear at the fabric of the Church.

Such was the group SNAP.

I read now that their chief operatives have gone down in disgrace.

Catholic League HERE

I haven’t seen much coverage of the story at the National Schismatic Reporter (aka Fishwrap).  Could that be because their aims were the same?  Fishwrap will use any means to break down the Church’s institutions and doctrine.  Maybe they have covered it.  Maybe I’m wrong.

There is an interesting commentary on the SNAP development by Fr. Gordon Macrae, improperly accused and imprisoned.  He has a blog called These Stone Walls.   Macrae has quite a bit of information and analysis of the situation.

You might have a look.

The moderation queue is ON.

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Singing nuns… they’re back!

Every month I get a small donation from the Marian Sisters of Santa Rosa.  They are great! And they sing.

Singing nuns… they’re back!

Have a look at this. On 7 Feb 2017, the sisters sang the National Anthem at a ball game.

Marian Sisters of Santa Rosa National Anthem 2-7-17 from rich hextrum on Vimeo.

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Concerning some bad ideas about how to “enrich” the traditional, Extraordinary Form


Another reaction at NLM.


Be sure to read a response posted at CWR by a priest who wrote his thesis on Universae Ecclesiae.  HERE


___ Originally Published on: Feb 8, 2017 ___

old and new massWhen I was around the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei“, in its early days, I had the opportunity fairly frequently to chat with the Prefect of the CDF (our offices were in the same building and our Cardinal and that Cardinal were friends).  Card. Ratzinger had ideas about the organic development of liturgical worship which touched on the interplay of the older form of the Roman Rite and the Novus Ordo.  Even then he wrote and spoke, though not always in the more current phrase, of a “mutual enrichment” of the rites.   Ratzinger held – correctly – that there was a rupture in our worship through the imposition on the Church of an artificially cobbled-up “new order” of Mass.  That rupture must be healed.  That will take time.  He thought it would be beneficial to have wide-spread (with the Novus Ordo) celebrations of Holy Mass using also the pre-Conciliar form.  The contact of the two rites would jump-start the slow, organic development of worship which had been so harmfully interrupted.

Back in the day, I think that Ratzinger believed that logical priority in the mutual enrichment should be with the Novus Ordo.  However, as time passed I had the impression that he shifted to the view that logical priority should be given to the older, traditional form.  That’s my impression from our conversations.

In Summorum Pontificum he was able to issue legislation for the universal Church that would, inter alia, effect that contact and that mutual enrichment.  Benedict’s Motu Proprio effected a juridical solution.  It did not solve or resolve the other questions, for example, is the Novus Ordo really in continuity with the traditional Roman Rite?  That is a matter for historians and theologians and liturgists.  Summorum Pontificum made an elegant juridical determination: For juridical purposes the two rites are the same and, hence, if a priest has faculties to say Mass, he can use either Missal.  Other questions remain.

The above serves to set up the following.

Fr. John Hunwicke has written at his blog Mutual Enrichment (sound familiar?) his brief comments on a proposal made by Fr. Peter Stravinskas at Catholic World Report about how the Novus Ordo, the Ordinary Form, should change the traditional, Extraordinary Form.   At the time it came out, I simply shook my head and moved on.  I disagreed with virtually everything he wrote and I wasn’t going to waste my time on it.

Fr. Hunwicke, on the other hand, did offer some reactions.  Here are a few of his points:

Enriching the EF
I am afraid that there is an immensely silly article in the CWR by a Fr Peter Stravinskas. He asks how the Ordinary Form could enrich the Extraordinary Form. [NB: no “mutual” involved.  It’s one way.]

The problem with his piece is that he goes on and on … and on … and on … having yet more bright ideas. One thing leads to another. You start off considering his ideas … but by the time he has finished with you he is proposing a completely new rite.

More to the point, and most disturbingly, he is apparently unaware of a large amount of work, academically, which has been done in the last twenty or so years. The 1960s changes were based on shabby and shallow scholarship. The last thing we want to do to the EF now is to make precisely the same blunder!

“The riches of prayers in the OF should be brought into the EF.” BUT it has been demonstrated that even where OF prayers have a pedigree in the old Sacramentaries, their selection and their conceptual bowdlerisation in the OF has made them very suspect.
“The OF Lectionaries should be brought into the EF.” BUT it has been demonstrated that, although the OF gives more Bible, it goes easy on certain Biblical themes, and so in fact it is something of an impoverishment; a censorship of Holy Scripture.
“The OF Calendar should be brought into the EF … for example, by shifting Christ the King to November.” BUT the (Evangelical Anglican) Bishop NT Wright has demonstrated what a very flawed move that was.


Fr Stravinskas’s proposed massive revision of the EF would provide a sort of intermediate use between the EF and the OF. His desires would much more easily be achieved by authorising certain optional changes in the OF[In other words, give logical priority to the older, traditional form.  Duh.  Right?]  for example, the silent Canon, disuse of the Acclamations after the Consecration, the restoration of the historical Roman Words of Consecration, and the authorisation of the old Offertory Prayers of the celebrant. These would all be a good thing, and could be done very simply by a decree which need hardly occupy more than one sheet of paper.

I’m with Ratzinger and Hunwicke in this.  Also, Fr. H mentions some things that can be done with the Extraordinary Form (e.g., introduce some more recently canonized saints to the calendar – today, for example, is the Feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, a marvelous saint who could be included in the older form’s calendar).  The changes Hunwicke would admit are discrete and would in no way affect the integrity of the Rite.

We need a period of long stability of the use of the older Rite, side by side, with the newer.  Stability.

There is nothing to be afraid of, by the way.  Let the two forms be offered side-by-side on an even field of play.  Let market forces work.  If, as some think, the Novus Ordo is so very superior to the traditional form, then people will choose to go to the Novus Ordo.  Right?  But let the playing field be even.  If the Extraordinary Form is relegated to 7 AM or 2 PM every time a 5th Sunday in a month occurs… that’s not a level playing field.  However, libs are terrified of the older, traditional form.  And because libs view the world and the Church through the lens of the zero sum game, they use brutal power to suppress whatever  (whomever!) competes with their progressivist notions.

Again, on the note of stability, some people inadvertently – alas! – allow Novus Ordo tinkeritis to take root in them.  Tinkeritis seems to be part and parcel of the Ordinary Form: don’t just let the rite be!  Provide option after option.  The effect is that the rite is ever fluid, always malleable, conformable to our desire and imagination.  Over decades the results have been disastrous for Catholic identity.

We need more and more celebrations of the older, traditional Roman Rite.  We need a period of stability.  It takes longer to build than it takes to demolish.

Brick by brick on a stable foundation.

The moderation queue is ON.


At NLM Peter Kwasniewski systematically demolishes the 14 Theses which Fr. Stravinskas nailed to CWR.


At CWR there is another response to Fr. Stravinskas’ ideas. HERE Fr. Albert P. Marcello, III gets to the core:

It would seem that if this entire article were to be put into practice, then the EF would not merely be “enriched by” the OF, but with a few minor exceptions, it would in fact become the OF.

Rem acu.

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Will you bury your “Alleluia” this year? – FOLLOW UP

alleluiaUPDATE 7 Feb 2017:

Well, we’re gonna do it.   On Septuagesima Sunday we will bury the Alleluia right after the Asperges.

Also, we will have a Solemn Mass.

7:30 AM 12 February at St. Mary’s in Pine Bluff, WI.

Be there, or be … somewhere else!

Originally Published on: Jan 24, 2017 ___

The first of the Pre-Lent Sundays, Septuagesima, is rapidly approaching.  Rather, we are rapidly approaching Septugesima.   In pre-Lent we get ourselves in order for a fruitful and serious Lenten fast, more works of mercy, greater introspection, and a stem to stern holy stoning.

You might consider, in your parishes, preparing to “bury the Alleluia”.

As you know, we don’t sing “Alleluia” from Septuagesima onward.  Of yore there were ceremonies to mark the exemption of the “A-Word” including an entombment a decorated, symbolic word.

Here is one pic from a while back of a parish digging the dirt and sending the A-Word six feet under.

And the wonderful singing, vestment making nuns, the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles in Missouri (they have a great music CD for Lent, by the way), also sent “Al” on his way.

16_01_24_Alleluia_01 16_01_24_Alleluia_02  16_01_24_Alleluia_04

C’mon.  Be trads!  Get your parish priests up to speed, make plans, offer to do all the work and preparations and bury your Alleluia!


(I just thought I’d get that in there in case you haven’t gone lately.)

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Doctrine of Ordination now under attack by Jesuits (who else?)

First, an amuse bouche, something light to work into something seriously wrong.

Here is an oldie but goody. We had this tacked up on the bulletin board in the rectory at St. Agnes in St. Paul for years.

This iteration is from NLM: a Jesuit reworking of the Roman Breviary.



“A very brief rite of reciting the Breviary. First Pater and Ave are said, then
a. b. c. d. (etc.)
V. By this complete alphabet, alleluia.
R. The complete Breviary is composed, alleluia.
Let us pray. O God, who from the twenty-four letters didst will that all the Sacred Scripture and this Breviary be composed, join, loose, make, dispose and receive from this twenty-four letters Matins with Lauds, Prime, (Terce?), Sext, None, Vespers and Compline. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.”

I’m sure that the Alleluia was omitted at Septuagesima.   Or… who knows… Jesuits just probably omitted it all year.

Jesuits are legendary in their seeming lack of interest in liturgical prayer.   An old phrase to describe someone who is clueless is “As lost as a Jesuit in Holy Week”.

And now you see what Jesuits are doing to the Church’s doctrine on the ordination of women.   Jesuits run the publication La Civiltà Cattolica, a semi-official publication of the Holy See, reviewed by the Secretariat of State before publication.

Magister explains HERE

A real gem from the piece:

In the judgment of “La Civiltà Cattolica,” therefore, not only should the infallibility and definitiveness of John Paul II’s “no” to women priests be brought into doubt, but more important than this “no” are the “developments that the presence of woman in the family and society has undergone in the 21st century.”

Unreal. They will leave not a single thing standing in their wake.  Apply this principle what we will have left will be only smoking, salted ruins where there was once a serious Church, with clear doctrine.

Lord, have mercy on us.

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Your Good News

Do you have good news to share with the readership?

I think we all need some.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 25 Comments

Fr. Z’s Voice Mail: Forty Hours Feedback and a Candle-Mass in CA

z-voice-mailI very much appreciate reader feedback by email and it is great to get voicemail.

Here are a couple voice mails.  First, please know that I had a deuce of a time getting the audio off the computer and on to the blog.  Since Skype updated something or other (when aren’t they?) the application I use to get the voicemail shows an audio file, but it doesn’t have sound.  Grrrr.   So, I went through a few gyrations to do this.

Any way, here is a reaction from a young man who came to Masses for Forty Hours Devotion when I was in Colorado recently.

So… double feedback!  Sermon and blog.  Thanks.

Also, alas my tech problems prevented me from posting this earlier.

Kudos for their Mass!   Brick by brick in California.

Please leave me voice mail. I don’t call back, but I listen to it. You have three options:


 020 8133 4535


TIPS for leaving voice mail.

  1. Don’t shout!  If you shout, your voice will be distorted and I won’t be able to understand you.
  2. Come to your point right away.
  3. Let me know at the onset if I can use it on the blog.  I may be able to anonymize it a little by editing if need be.
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Reality Check – Clear, Liberating Truth


I’ve been busy, so I missed this, almost a week ago, at the increasingly valuable Crisis.

Here are a couple extracts to tease you into reading the whole thing.  (Hint: There are quotes from Plutarch, Seneca and St. John Chrysostom!)

What To Do About Honey Baby Dolly?

In 7th grade, I started acting up. My father died suddenly near the end of 6th grade and when he was gone, my behavior changed. One fine day in 7th grade, Mr. Mac, my language arts teacher, whose first name was Harry, came into my social studies class to convey something to our teacher, Mrs. Gooding. When he entered the classroom, for reasons I still don’t understand, I blurted out, “How’s it hangin’, Harry?” Mr. Mac conveyed his message to Mrs. Gooding, then flicked his finger at me and said, “You.” I immediately panicked. The most serious disciplinary action I’d received during my grade school years was being sentenced to sitting on my hands during story time in Kindergarten (I couldn’t resist the girls’ pony tails). We turned a corner into an outdoor corridor. Suddenly, Mr. Mac stopped, grabbed me by the collar and shoved me against the warm brick wall. His face was ruddy and grave as he pushed it a half-inch from mine. “You will never disrespect me like that again.” He half-breathed, half-growled the words. I nodded my head frantically in agreement and he released me.

In high school, I had a hard-nosed, ex-marine priest as an English teacher. Fr. Lukan, still sporting a buzz cut, as gray as the ashes piled in the ashtray on his desk, explained to us bewildered freshmen that he expected all graded essays returned to him. “The reason for this,” Fr. Lukan explained, “is so that when mommy and daddy come complaining to me because Honey Baby Dolly got a bad grade on his report card, I can show them your work and tell ’em, ‘Honey Baby Dolly got a bad grade because Honey Baby Dolly can’t write worth a damn.’” The truth was clear, and liberating.

At my first job out of college, I worked at a small business owned by the father of a classmate. This man came from Arkansas and, though a devout Catholic, was as hard as the Ozarks. Every day, without exception, he wore a plain button-down long-sleeve shirt (tan or gray), the kind you find at Goodwill, sleeves rolled up carelessly, jeans held up with a brown belt clasped with a big silver buckle adorned with chunks of ivory and turquoise. He wore the same boots every day. He chewed constantly on toothpicks and his idea of a great “supper” (lunch) was Furr’s all-you-can-eat cafeteria. He constantly grumbled that the federal government should issue belts to Americans with their names on the back, “so they know who they’re screwin’.” I once suggested an improvement or two to my work area, such as a vent for AC. It got pretty warm in the cramped space in the back of the building where my workbench was, especially during the sultry summers in Dallas. My boss looked me straight in the eye with an unblinking, manly certitude and said in his deep, sonorous voice, thickly imbued with a southern drawl, “You know where to find sympathy don’tcha? In the dictionary, between sh*t and syphilis.”

I was reminded of these episodes from my youth when I heard about universities offering psychological support to students suffering anxiety after the election results last November. […]


The Snowflake Reich is on the march.   Resist and Defeat!

¡Hagan lío!

Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Be The Maquis, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Semper Paratus, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices | Tagged | 14 Comments

ASK FATHER: Liturgical jam up – Lenten Sunday, St. Joseph, Pope Francis’ Anniversary on same day

13 March 2013

From a reader…


19 March [3rd Sunday of Lent] is the anniversary of our Holy Father Francis’ “coronation”. In the 1962 Missal, this is to be commemorated. I am confused about the date, however: The Una Voce directory and Divinum Officium website both say to do it on 20 March, which is the transferred 1st Class feast of St Joseph. The actual anniversary is on a Sunday in Lent. From what I can find in the rubrics, there’s nothing that prohibits the commemoration on a Sunday in Lent.

It is quite the liturgical traffic jam, isn’t it.

First, Francis was elected Pope on 13 March.  This is a Monday in Lent (3rd Class).  So, there is a Commemoration Pro Papa under one conclusion at Low, Sung, and Solemn Mass.  Otherwise, the Votive Mass In die coronationis Papae et in eius anniversario can be read.

This is my understanding of what is to be done on Sunday, 19 March and following.  Pope Francis official ministry began on 19 March, his “installation” Mass.  It is also the Feast of St. Joseph.

  1. Sunday, 19 March – 3rd Sunday of Lent (1st Class) – St. Joseph is bumped forward to Monday and Pope Francis Anniversary is bumped forward to Tuesday.  A Commemoration of St. Joseph is added at 2nd Vespers of the Sunday.
  2. Monday, 20 March – transferred St. Joseph (1st Class) – Pope Francis’ Anniversary would have been today, but for St. Joseph, liturgically outweighs the anniversary.  Francis’ Anniversary is therefore bumped forward to Tuesday.
  3. Tuesday, 21 March – Father reads the Mass for the Monday, feria in Lent with a commemoration Pro Papa under one conclusion.  Otherwise, Father can read In die Coronationis Papae.  However, in a cathedral you use the Votive Mass In die Coronationis Papae. – Of St. Benedict, Abbotnihil fit, except that he gets a commemoration at Lauds.  However, if you are in a religious order that raises St. Benedict’s feast to a higher class, or it is a patronal feast of your parish, diocese, etc.).  I imagine that the Abbey of Le Barroux, or Fontgombault, or Clear Creek, or the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles would be able to shed light on Tuesday.  Would they bump Francis to Wednesday because they have to raise up Benedict, their patron?  I’m guessing, yes.

That’s how I untie the knot.

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Please use the sharing buttons! Thanks!

Registered or not, will you in your charity please take a moment look at the requests and to pray for the people about whom you read?

Continued from THESE.

I get many requests by email asking for prayers. Many requests are heart-achingly grave and urgent.

As long as my blog reaches so many readers in so many places, let’s give each other a hand. We should support each other in works of mercy.

If you have some prayer requests, feel free to post them below.

You have to be registered here to be able to post.

I still have two pressings personal petitions.  No, I actually have THREE now.  I can’t get a break, it seems.  Ut Deus….


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ASK FATHER: Septuagesima and pre-Lent preparation?



From a reader…


As you know, the season of Septuagesima starts next Sunday. How can I make the most of it to help prepare for a successful Lent? My understanding it was originally used to ease in to the rigorous fast we once had, but how can we use it to prepare now?

Good question.

First, for those who don’t know, in the traditional Roman calendar, going all the way back before St. Gregory the Great (+604), there have been “pre-Lent” Sundays, celebrated in violet. The Church ceases in Mass and Office to sing “Alleluia” until Easter.  They are nicknamed Septuagesima, Latin for the “Seventieth” day before Easter (the number, 70, is more symbolic than arithmetical) Sexagesima (“sixtieth”) and Quinquagesima (“fiftieth”) before Ash Wednesday brings in Lent (called in Latin Quadragesima, “Fortieth”).  These pre-Lenten Sundays prepare us for the discipline of Lent, which once was far stricter.  The Sundays have Roman Stations.   In ancient times, catechumens were taken to the Station Masses where they heard tough readers and tougher prayers.

In the Novus Ordo of Paul VI there is no more pre-Lent.

A terrible loss.

We are grateful that with Summorum Pontificum the pre-Lent Sundays have regained something of their ancient status.

That said, sure, pre-Lent can be a time to “ease in” to Lenten discipline.  That means you have to start thinking about Lent NOW and not the day after Ash Wednesday.

We plan about all sorts of important things, like vacations, and birthday parties.  Shouldn’t we give as much if not more attention to our annual spiritual boot camp?

I like to think of pre-Lent as a time to map out what Lent is going to look like.  That way, when Ash Wednesday rolls around, you are ready, with a plan in hand.  You can hit the ground running.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , | 14 Comments

GUEST POST: I typically go to confession “when needed”…

confession of sinFrom a reader…


I know of your constant preaching about the need for confession, and so I thought to share my experience today.

I typically go to confession “when needed,” meaning when I perceive I have sinned in a grave matter, or on a monthly basis otherwise. I
(unfortunately) had such a need today and whilst traveling used the MassTimes website to locate a parish with scheduled confessions.

I traveled almost an hour out of my way to be there, and then stood in the freezing cold outside a locked church for ten minutes past the confession time. The bulletin, rectory phone service, and diocesan website all listed this as a time for confessions. After 20 minutes a janitor of some sorts informed me, through the locked door, that there would be no confessions but I was welcome to wait for mass in an hour when I could ask Father if he had time – I just had to wait outside.

I ended up driving to another parish with confessions an hour later, hoping for better luck. At this parish I came in 45 minutes early, and found Father sitting alone in the confessional. I was SO thankful I could receive the sacrament and SO thankful that confessions were available (and early!) that I’ve resolved to add this priest to my prayers for now – and of course the priest that disappointed me as well.

In any case, I have no question for you, I just wanted to share my confession anecdote since I read your blog daily. Many prayers.



Posted in GO TO CONFESSION | Tagged , | 36 Comments

Your Sunday Sermon Notes

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

I, for one, will review the ways in which we can cooperate in the sins of another.


Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 24 Comments

Meanwhile… SSPX news

We are watching closely the development of a possible – indeed increasingly likely – Personal Prelature for the SSPX.

Meanwhile, in a communication from the SSPX today we read that for Candlemas new seminarians received were tonsured and received their cassocks.  HERE

They wrote.

Those seminarians enrolled in the Year of Spirituality (first year) received the cassock, and those seminarians in the Year of First Philosophy (second year of studies) received the clerical tonsure. In the Society of St. Pius X, the present custom is to receive the cassock one year before becoming a cleric.  [Well…no.  The clerical state now begins with diaconate, but let that pass.]

Here they are all lined up at their new seminary in Virginia.

The seminary looks interesting.

Also, a while back I received a mailing from them with a questionnaire about the things I would want in a retirement community.  They are creating one in the NW of these USA.

They seem to be pretty serious about staying around for awhile.

Posted in SSPX | Tagged , , , | 31 Comments