WDTPRS – 4th Ordinary Sunday: Billy loves bugs

bugsToday’s Collect prayer was not in the post-Tridentine editions of the Missale Romanum but it does have its origin in the ancient Veronese Sacramentary.

Were you to hear this prayer intoned in Latin, or at least in an accurate translation, you would be thereby transported back 1500 years to our most Roman of Catholic roots.

Concede nobis, Domine Deus noster,
[et (in Ver.)] te tota mente veneremur,
et omnes homines rationabili diligamus affectu

Lord our God,
help us to love you with all our hearts
and to love all men as you love them.

Is this what the Latin really says?

Grant us, Lord our God,
that we may honour you with all our mind,
and love everyone in truth of heart

Grant us, O Lord our God,
that we may venerate you with our whole mind,
and may love all men with rational good-will

“Affection” just doesn’t cut it for affectus and something more pointed than “love” is needed too.  I came up with “rational good-will”.  We mustn’t reduce all these complicated Latin words to “love”.  Why not?  Note in the prayer the contrast of the themes “reason” and “mood”, the rational with the affective dimension (concerning emotions) of man; in short, the head and the heart.   The fact is, a properly functioning person conducts his life according to both head and heart, feelings under the control of reason and the will.  The terrible wound to our human nature from original sin causes the difficulty we have in governing feelings and appetites by reason and will.

Today’s prayer aims at the totality of a human person: our wholeness is defined by our relationship with God.

We seek to know God so that we may the better love Him and His love drives us all the more to know Him.  Furthermore, possible theological and Scriptural underpinnings of this prayer are Deuteronomy 6 and Jesus’ two-fold command to love God and neighbor: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets” (cf. Matthew 22:36-38; Mark 12:2-31; Luke 10:26-28).  In Deut 6:5-6 we have the great injunction called the Shema from the first Hebrew word, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD; and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might….” Jesus teaches the meaning and expands the concrete application of this command in Deuteronomy 6.

There is no space here for the subtle relationships between the Latin words St. Jerome chose in his translations and the Greek or Hebrew originals of these verses.  Suffice it to say that in the Bible the language about mind, heart, and soul is terrifically complex. However, these words aim at the totality of the person precisely in that dimension which is characteristic of man as “image of God”.  Heart, mind and will distinguish us from brute animals.  We are made to act as God acts: to know, will and love.  Thus, “mind” and “heart” in man are closely related faculties and cannot be separated from each other.  Mind and heart are revealed in and expressed through our bodies and thus they point at the “real us”.

Love is at the heart of who we are and it the key to our prayer today.

We are commanded by God the Father and God Incarnate Jesus Christ to love both God and our fellow man and God the indwelling Holy Spirit makes this possible.

But the word and therefore concept of “love” is understood in many ways and today, especially, it is misunderstood.  “Love” frequently refers to people or stuff we like or enjoy using.  Bob can “love” his new SUV. Besty “loves” her new kitten.  We all certainly “love” baseball and spaghetti.  But “love” can refer to the emotions and affections people have when they are “in love” or, as I sometimes call it, “in luv”.

Luv is usually an ooey-gooey feeling, a romantic “love” sometimes growing out of lust.  This gooey romantic “love” now dominates Western culture, alas.   The result is that when “feelings” change or the object of “luv” is no longer enjoyable or usable, someone gets dumped, often for a newer, richer, or prettier model.

There some other flavors of “love” you can come up with, I’m sure.  But Christians, indeed every image of God in all times everywhere, are called to a higher love, the love in today’s prayer, which is charity: the grace-completed virtue enabling us to love God for His own sake and love all who are made in His image.  This is more than benevolence or tolerance or desire or enjoyment of use.

True love is not merely a response to an appetite, as when we might see a beautiful member of the opposite sex, a well-turned double-play, or a plate of spaghetti all’amatriciana.

True love, charity, isn’t the sloppy gazing of passion drunk sweethearts or the rubbish we see on TV and in movies (luv).  Charity is the grace filled adhesion of our will to an object (really a person) which has been grasped by our intellect to be good.

The love invoked in our prayer is an act of will based on reason. It is a choice – not a feeling.

Charity delights in and longs for the good of the other more than one’s own.  The theological virtue charity involves grace.  It enables sacrifices, any kind of sacrifice for the authentic good of another discerned with reason (not a false good and not “use” of the other).  We can choose even to love an enemy. This love resembles the sacrificial love of Christ on His Cross who offered Himself up for the good of His spouse, the Church.  St. Augustine, as a matter of fact, taught that “enemy love” is the perfection of the kind of love we can have in this earthly life.  Rationabilis affectus reflects what it is to be truly human, made in God’s image and likeness, with faculties of willing and knowing and, therefore, loving.

Knowledge and love are interconnected.

The more you get to know a person, the more reason you have to love him (remember… love seeks the other person’s good in charity even if a person is unlikable).  Reciprocally, the more you love someone or (in the generic sense of love) something, the more you want to know about him and spend time getting to know him.

For example, Billy is fascinated by bugs.  From this “love” for bugs Billy wants to know everything there is to know about them.  He works hard to learn and thus launches a brilliant career in entomology.  Given Our Creator’s priority in all things, how much more ought we seek to know and love God first and foremost of all and then, in proper order, know and love God’s images, our neighbors?  He is far more important that the bugs He created.  Even spouses must love God more than they love each other.  Only then can they love each other properly according to God’s plan.

We also have a relationship with the objects of both love and knowledge.  What sort of relationship?  With bugs or spaghetti it is one thing, but with God and neighbor it is entirely another.

In seeking to understand and love God more and more we come to understand things about God and ourselves as his images that, without love, we could never learn by simple study.  The relationship with God through love and knowledge changes us.  St. Bonaventure (+1274) the “Seraphic” doctor wrote about “ecstatic knowledge”. This kind of knowledge is not merely the product of abstract investigation or analytical study (like Billy with his bugs).  Rather, it comes first from learning and then contemplating. According to Bonaventure, by contemplation the knower becomes engaged with the object. Fascinated by it, he seeks to know it with a longing that draws him into the object.

Consider: we can study about God and our faith, but really the object of study is not just things to learn or formulas to memorize: the object of our study and faith is a divine Person in whose image and likeness we ourselves are made.  To be who we are by our nature we personally need the sort of knowledge of God that draws us into Him.  Knowledge of God (not just things learned about God) reaches into us, seizes us, transforms us.  To experience God’s love is to have certain knowledge of God, more certain than any knowledge which can be arrived at by means of mere rational examination.

Bring this all with you back to the last line of our prayer and the command to love our neighbor, all of them made in God’s image and all individually intriguing – fascinating, in a way that resembles the way we love God and ourselves.  This we are to do with our minds, hearts, and all our strength.

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250 kneeling students sing Gregorian chant for ‘ad orientem’ Mass in motel bar

By now we have all heard about the March For Life pilgrims in the snow, the buses in the snow, the Masses in the snow, etc.

Here is an interesting article at Catholic Pop:

Stranded Pro-Life Group Holds Sung Ad Orientem High Mass in Motel Bar


You’ve probably already heard of the Great Turnpike Mass of 2016, but they weren’t the only ones to have Mass while stranded. Another pro-life group stuck on the Pennsylvania Turnpike was able to make it to a nearby motel where 250 kneeling students sang Gregorian chant and celebrated an ad orientem high Mass in the motel’s bar room! (Pictures at the end of this article.)

“They knelt on the floor for the duration of the Mass,” Fr. Joshua Caswell, SJC, one of the group’s leaders, told ChurchPOP. “Tears could be seen on many faces—tears of gratitude, I think.” He added: “I have never seen a more reverent scene.”

Fr. Caswell is a priest at St. John Cantius Parish in Chicago, IL. […]

Like many groups, their buses got stuck on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Thankfully, they were near a small town and were able to all walk to a nearby motel.

“The first morning assembly there,” Fr. Caswell said, “Fr. Nathan announced we would be starting ‘Our Lady of the Snow Monastery.’ And come to think of it, all we did was work and pray (ora et labora)!”

It was the students’ who got the idea to try to have Mass at the motel. “I doubted if it were possible,” Fr. Caswell said, “but I promised I would look into it.”

He called a nearby parish to try to get supplies. “Amazingly a priest answered, and he found Catholic couple who risked a drive through the blizzard to bring us the things needed!

[…]The only place big enough to hold Mass in the motel happened to be the bar area. The motel owners graciously let them take over the space and the students did what they could to get it ready for Mass.

“The youth cleaned the bar room as best as they could and found whatever they could to beautify the space,” Fr. Caswell explained. “Furniture was rearranged. A small crucifix over a clean bed sheet could be used as a raredos. A hotel desk bell would ring out the consecration.  [What do you ring when you want someone to show up and help you?] Br. Matthew Schuster gave a music practice to the youth. The Rosary was recited as Confessions were heard. The newly purchased linen-scented candles were lit for Mass.”

Not only did the Dominican sisters’ group come, but other people from the motel joined them, including the motel owners! “Word spread, and by the time Mass happened, there were as much as 250 people in the bar.”

Fr. Caswell describes how the Mass was celebrated: “We celebrated a sung Mass in the ordinary form ad orientem. Latin and English were used. This Mass on Saturday evening would fulfill our Sunday obligation, presuming we would travel home on Sunday (we were wrong). We certainly might have celebrated Mass in the extraordinary form, but altar cards and other necessary items could not be found in the snow stranded hills of Pennsylvania.” [They needed the wonderful travel altar cards from SPORCH!]

They also sang beautiful music: “The students, many of whom are enrolled in our choirs, sang the Gregorian Chant ordinaries from the Missa de Angelis—and with gusto! The youth also sang some motets, including one in four parts. I think the whole experience of finding some comfort and solace in the Sacred Liturgy in this hardship really focused them. I have never seen a more reverent scene.” [I just have to wonder if some of those people went back to their regular parishes and, as the guitars started up, wished they could have something else.  “Those kids could do that in a bar. But we… get this?”]


Read the rest there.

We must be Catholic everywhere.

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D. Marquette: New liturgical music legislation

I received word that the Diocese of Marquette, Michigan, is getting a liturgical music overhaul.   Based on the work of the previous bishop, now-Archbp. Alex Sample in Portland, Oregon, Bp. John Doerfler has issued a document that requires all the parishes to adopt a single diocesan-produced hymnal and that all parishes will learn to sing chants in both English and in Latin.

Someone sent the document to me, but since I didn’t see it on the diocesan website, I’ll not post it here… yet.  Most of the document pertains to the development of the diocesan hymnal, but there is this:

“All parishes and schools will learn to chant the Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus Dei from the Missa Iubilate Deo, and they will be sung by the congregation some of the time throughout the year.”

It seems that Bp. Doerfler takes seriously what the Council Fathers mandated in Sacrosanctum Concilium 54, namely:

54. …[S]teps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.

I can hear the liberal candy-rearends whining even now.  “It’s tooo haaard!”

Frankly, I think that what was mandated could have been a bit more far-reaching.  They should also have a Gloria and Creed.  Furthermore, what’s to keep them from adding a Mass setting each year or so?

At my home parish in my native place, there is a K-12 school.  All the students, for the all school Masses, sing the parts that pertain to them, alternating, without blinking or thinking anything of it, in English and the Latin.  No one told them they couldn’t do it.  There is also a student choir that sings polyphony and settings of orchestral Masses.  Also, on Saturday mornings there was always a Novus Ordo Mass sung in Latin: the whole congregation sang the Ordinary.  The cantor would announce something like, “Mass IV, today”, because it happened to be a feast of an Apostle, and everyone sang, either from memory or from the Kyriale provided in a basket by the door.  Easy peasy.

Sure, there might be a few bumps on the way, but in time it’ll be no problem.  We don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good and we strive always to do our best when it comes to our liturgical worship of God.

Fr. Z kudos to Bp. Doerfler.

Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, "How To..." - Practical Notes, Fr. Z KUDOS, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , , | 31 Comments

PHILIPPINES: Card. Zen celebrates TLM during Eucharistic Congress

During a Eucharistic Congress held in the Philippines, His Eminence Joseph Card. Zen Ze-Kiun, Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, celebrated Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form.


Cardinal Zen: Traditional Latin Mass ‘nourishes faith, inspires adoration’

CEBU City (Jan. 28, 2016) – Delegates to the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) flocked to the beautiful chapel of Asilo de la Milagrosa on Jan. 26 to assist at the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) offered by Hong Kong Bishop Emeritus Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-Kiun, who called for the preservation of the old rite.

Because it inspires a “sense of adoration” and keeps the Eucharist’s “sense of mystery,” the TLM is a tradition worth keeping, said Cardinal Zen, who offered the Votive Mass of the Blessed Sacrament in what has been called the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite since the liberalization of the old rite in 2007.

Latin is no longer the lingua franca, acknowledged Zen. “But the whole ceremony inspires majesty, solemnity.”

“In this way of saying the Mass, you don’t even hear the priest pronouncing the words. But you know what this means, because so many times, we hear, we pray … So we understand what is going on,” he added.


Through an announcement at the IEC Pavilion, congress delegates were invited to the Mass organized by Societas Ecclesia Dei Sancti Ioseph (Ecclesia Dei Society of St. Joseph)-Una Voce Philippines.

Old rite strengthens

An outspoken critic of the Beijing’s tight grip on Chinese Catholics, Cardinal Zen, recalled how the “Tridentine” Mass had nourished the faith of his compatriots amid upheaval in China. Zen, 85, was among those who fled Communist rule in the mainland for Hong Kong, where he joined the Salesians.

“The Mass offered in this fashion nourished our faith, nourished our vocation. And so many people in my native town Shanghai were fortified … by receiving the faith from this Mass, and during the time of persecution, they were so strong,” he said.



Read the rest there.


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Communion given to Lutherans in St. Peter’s Basilica – The Wrap Up

There was a kerfuffle about some Lutherans who visited Pope Francis and then – horribile scriptu – were somehow invited to receive Holy Communion during a Mass. Frankly, I didn’t follow this too closely, though the very thought irritated me in the extreme.

Now, some clarity comes from Ed Pentin.   It seems that this wasn’t part of some gruesome plot of ecumenical indifferentism.  In the end, it seems that the priest was just dumb.  Read on.

Finnish Catholic Spokesman: Communion for Lutherans at the Vatican Was a Mistake [D’ya think?]

The distribution of Holy Communion to a group of Finnish Lutherans in St. Peter’s basilica last week was a mistake and not a sign that the Church is changing its practice on access to the Sacraments, a spokesman for the Finnish Catholic Church has asserted. [Would there also be a statement of some kind from the Holy See?]

In a statement issued Jan. 20, Marko Tervaportti, director of the Catholic Information Centre in Helsinki, stressed that only members of the Catholic Church “in a state of grace” may receive the Eucharist, with some “special exceptions”. [The Code of Canon Law states that there is a narrow set of circumstances in which a non-Catholic may be admitted to Holy Communion.  In this case only the diocesan bishop can give permission for this to happen, not the pastor of a parish, not an individual priest, not a deacon, not a lay minister, not a nursing home administrator.  The question is: Who invited them to Communion?  Of course the Roman Pontiff could make this decision, but someone else… not.]

Tervaportti was referring to reports last week that a Lutheran group from Finland, led by their bishop, Samuel Salmi of Oulu, had received Holy Communion in St  Peter’s basilica, despite indicating to the priests present that they were ineligible to do so. According to Finnish news agency Kotimaa, the priests celebrating the Mass were aware that they were Lutherans.  [Good grief. It is in moments such as these that I am inclined to set up special “Reeducation Camps”.]

In his statement, Tervaportti rejected talk of a “new ecumenical attitude” at the Vatican, reiterating that the Church’s doctrine and practice in this regard “has not changed in recent years and decades”, and if it does change, it will do so through “alteration of Church law and additions to teachings.” [“additions to teachings”… ummm… how about “non-Catholics embrace Catholics teachings and become Catholics”?]

He also said a so-called “new mindset” of Pope Francis “is not a sign that the Catholic Church is going to change its practice with regard to the distribution of the Holy Eucharist,” but rather it is a “sign” for Catholics to be more careful in examining their conscience.

“For Catholics the Eucharist is the ‘source and summit’ of our Christian life,” Tervaportti explained. “It is, as it were, our credo. We carefully prepare to receive it, and confess our serious sins and fast (even shortly) before receiving it.

“We adjust our lives so that we might receive the Lord’s Supper worthily,” he continued, “knowing that ‘Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord’ (1. Cor. 11:27).”

He said “not every person distributing the Holy Eucharist knows every point of teaching and practice of the Church” and so “mistakes” can happen. [It seems to me that before a priest is given faculties to say Mass, he should know about that whole “Catholics in the state of grace” thing, or at least “Lutheran ministers… no, I can’t give them Communion” thing.  Too much to ask?]

But he said “creating communion” between the churches “on one’s own authority” makes the “true efforts of the churches to draw closer more challenging.” It would therefore “be good to respect the approach of each church in this matter,” he concluded.

So, I guess the take away here is that those priests were simply dumb, not loony.

Gosh, that’s reassuring.

I’d would, however, like to know that priest’s name, or their names.

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PODCAzT 141: Two Prayers of St. Thomas Aquinas

In the post-Conciliar, Novus Ordo calendar today is the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas (+1274).  Let’s hear two prayers from the Angelic Doctor, his Prayer Before Mass and Communion and his Prayer After Mass and Communion in both Latin and English.

Some of the music came from the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.  

As a bonus, here is my 1st class relic of the saint.


Posted in Our Catholic Identity, PODCAzT, PRAYERCAzT: What Does The (Latin) Prayer Really Sound L, Saints: Stories & Symbols | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Fr. Finelli’s podcasts about the Extraordinary Form

I direct the readership’s attention to the page of our friend and frequent commentator here Fr. Jay Finelli, iPadre.

Fr. Finelli has a series podcasts about his experience of learning and saying Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

Gosh… he’s up to Episode #340.  I feel like an underachiever.

His first podcast on the Extraordinary Form is HERE.

Go spike his stats!

Posted in HONORED GUESTS, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM | Tagged , | 1 Comment

ASK FATHER: Father says funerals without a pall on the coffin

From a reader…


I attended at funeral mass at a parish recently and I found it strange that the funeral pall was not draped over the casket for the mass. The priest wore purple vestments and used the paschal candle, but for some strange reason, the funeral pall was not used. The priest who said the Mass has a reputation to be very traditional in his ways. From being at funeral Masses at this parish in the past, this priest does not use the funeral pall in both the Traditional Requiem Mass and in the Novus Ordo. Is the funeral pall necessary, is this a liturgical abuse?

For the Novus Ordo, The Order of Christian Funerals states:

38. If it is the custom in the local community, a pall may be placed over the coffin when it is received at the church. A reminder of the baptismal garment of the deceased, the pall is a sign of the Christian dignity of the person. The use of the pall also signifies that all are equal in the eyes of God (see James 2:1-9). . . . Only Christian symbols may rest on or be placed near the coffin during the funeral liturgy. Any other symbols, for example, national flags, or flags or insignia of associations, have no place in the funeral liturgy.

132. Any national flags or the flags or insignia of associations to which the deceased belonged are to be removed from the coffin at the entrance to the church. They may be replaced after the coffin has been taken from the church.

So, in the Novus Ordo, a pall may be used and it is not, strictly speaking, obligatory.  Gosh! It’s an option!  An option? In the Novus Ordo?  I’m shocked!

That said, I believe there could be particular law in a diocese for the use of the pall.  That should be easy to verify where you are.  I imagine that particular law in a diocese would pertain to the Novus Ordo and wouldn’t mention the Extraordinary Form at all.  The Extraordinary Form is hardly noticed by diocesan liturgy offices, is it.

From what I can tell by consulting liturgical manuals for the older, traditional Requiem Mass, as often happens auctores scinduntur… authors are divided.  I’m not shocked by that at all.

From what I make out in Reid/O’Connor/Fortescue for the Extraordinary Form the pall may be used but it is not, strictly speaking, obligatory.   “A black pall is usually laid over the coffin…” (p. 461)  I think that, if one is available, it should be used.  On the other hand, Trimeloni says (my translation), “Things to prepare. In the middle of the Church: the CATAFALQUE which consists of a riser painted black or covered with a black drape….  When the body isn’t present, upon the catafalque there is placed a litter, that is, a raised level in the form of a mortuary casket covered with a drape.”  Trimeoni also says that it is permitted to place on it coats-of-arms, other insignia, flags, etc.  It seems that the older, traditional form of Mass was more flexible than the option-laden Novus Ordo.

So, much depends on local custom.

Is it an abuse not to use a pall in either Form of the Roman Rite?   Strictly speaking, I don’t think it is.

However, I believe that in most places these days – certainly in these USA at least – a pall, black in the traditional Requiem and white in the Novus Ordo, is indeed customary.  They should be used, lest their absence cause wonder… as it has in this case.

I suspect this will prompt fervent suggestions, additions and corrections from the gallery.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Four Last Things, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged | 12 Comments

Do small communities (e.g., TLM) have a future?

A while back, a conversation was initiated by a post by my friend Msgr. Charles Pope about the number of people attending the Extraordinary Form.  My post about it HERE.

At the UK’s best Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald, there is a offering by a young priest, Fr. Matthew Pittam, who has been serving a small rural parish.  What he says has something to offer to the discussion of the numbers (growing numbers) of people attending mostly or only the Traditional Latin Mass at legitimate churches and chapels.

What future is there for small communities within the Catholic Church? [I think most will agree that TLM communities are small communities.]

Rural parishes like mine are struggling because of a drop in vocations and a lack of imagination

For almost the last five years I have ministered in a small rural parish in the Midlands. Twelve villages, outlying farms and countryside comprise the parish and many people travel long distances to attend Mass.  [That applies to TLM communities too.] If you were a bishop planning for Catholic provision today you probably wouldn’t open a church here, but thanks to the historic conversion of Rudolph Fielding, 8th Earl of Denbigh, the parish was endowed and established.  [“endowed”… I assume this means that lots of money was provided to see to the parish’s future.]

Today the parish is lively and vibrant, although a normal Sunday would see attendances at Mass which are just below 100. [This probably describes many TLMs.] We have a choir, full serving team, an active (and youthful) Union of Catholic Mothers and regular young peoples activities. [Sound familiar?] There is a daily Mass, weekly adoration and the full cycle of the liturgical year is celebrated in all its fullness. Our musical tradition is flourishing and unusually for a Catholic parish, everyone sings. There are good links with the local village communities and other churches, as well a longstanding relationship with the village C of E school and care homes. The school is probably unique in that there is a regular Mass for Catholic children and a Catholic teacher is employed to provide catechesis. In many ways the parish punches well above its weight.

When the secular Parish Council recently published its Parish Plan, St Joseph’s was regarded as a valuable and important community asset. This is in a community where so many assets, such as the shop, have long since disappeared.

The challenge
Whilst our parish may be active and full of life, when it comes to numbers of parishioners we could easily be seen as non-viable. The Catholic news is full of stories of church closures, amalgamations of parishes and reorganisation. I know of parishes nearby which are much larger than we are, where Masses have been lost and where they now share a priest with a neighbouring community. What future is there then for small communities within the Catholic Church?

Bishops have an unenviable job when faced with declining numbers of clergy. It would be sad however if they were they were to see the future solely in terms of financial viability and the ability of the faithful to travel to Mass at other centres. A church such as mine is a community at the heart of the community. We have a strong visible and emotional presence in the villages that we serve and this would be lost if local Catholics were expected to travel to a larger church in a neighbouring town.

The Supermarket Model
Over the last thirty years supermarket chains have established larger and larger stores on out of town sites away from local communities. [A priest friend, deceased at too young an age, once had the nearby parishes of St. Martin and St. Walburga.  He thought that if they were forced to merge he would call it St. Walmart.] Each time a new branch was opened it seemed to be bigger and better than the last. However, the tide has now begun to turn and many large out of town sites remain undeveloped. The big six chains have recognised again the value of local convenience stores and this has represented a massive growth in the sector over the last few years. This is also coupled with a desire amongst consumers to buy produce with local provenance.

[NB] It appears that in seeking to amalgamate parishes and create bigger centres, the church is adopting a model of ministry just at the point when the commercial and retail world is abandoning it.

Should we therefore think again about the value of smaller churches and the missional possibilities that local communities present in the work of The New Evangelisation?


Read the rest of the piece over there.  And, please do read it, especially if you are going to comment here.

I saw a connection.  I bring it to your attention.


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“Mercy, not magic”. Year of Mercy Doors are NOT a substitute for confession

From CNS:

Mercy, not magic – Archdiocese of Bombay clarifies Holy Doors and the Jubilee

.- The Archdiocese of Bombay issued a clarification last week after WhatsApp users in Maharashtra were circulating a ‘misleading’ message which promoted a superstitious understanding of the Year of Mercy.

The archdiocese’s Jan. 19 statement noted that the text “gives the impression that merely walking through the Doors of Mercy will result in the forgiveness of sins.

These doors are not magical doors and we need to understand that to experience and obtain the indulgence, the faithful are called, as pilgrims, to avail themselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, to participate in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist with a reflection on mercy, make a profession of faith, and pray for the Holy Father and for his intentions for the good of the Church and of the entire world.”  [GO TO CONFESSION!]

The archdiocese’s noted added, “It must be understood that walking through the Door of Mercy indicates the desire for the forgiveness of sins, and walking through it symbolises a leaving behind of the past and entering into a new life through Christ, who is the door.”

Please note that walking through the Holy Doors is not a substitute for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.”

[…]Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay opened the Doors of Mercy at Mumbai’s Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount on Dec. 20, 2015. He   reminded the faithful: “This is the Lord’s Gate: let us enter through it and obtain mercy and forgiveness.” The doors were then opened, using the Bible as the key, with the following invocation, “Open the Gates of Justice; we shall enter and give thanks.”

The cardinal in his homily at the Mass explained the characteristics and significance of the Holy Year and urged the faithful to “fix your eyes on Jesus”   and to be “agents of God’s mercy.”

“No one should say that it is difficult to reach God and difficult to obtain mercy, for the Church is indeed the vehicle of mercy,” Cardinal Gracias said. “We are the Church and it becomes our Christian duty to spread the message of God’s mercy and reconciliation.”

“With the corporal and spiritual acts of mercy, we have direction; with the example of our religious leaders, we have motivation; and with God’s mercy through Jesus himself, we have a straight path.”



Posted in GO TO CONFESSION, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, The Drill, Year of Mercy | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments