Pentecost Friday: You are our stretcher bearers.

The Pentecost Friday – it’s an Ember Day – Roman Station is Dodici Apostoli, Twelve Apostles, because that’s where Friday Ember Day Stations are. Believe me.  It was pulled to Dodici Apostoli from its original place Ss. Giovanni e Paolo on the Coelian Hill.

The texts of the Mass today are calming, as befits summery pursuits. Crops are planted. Early harvest of first fruits and grains are in. Other plantings and fruits are maturing. The days are long, warm, languid. There is always something to be done, but there is long daylight for leisure.

Leisure and praise of God.  As the Introit says and the other joyful antiphons echo today:

“Let my mouth be filled with Your praise, alleluia: that I may sing, alleluia. My lips shall shout for joy as I sing Your praises, alleluia, alleluia.”

The reading from Joel is about the harvest, and grain and wine and the gifts of God.   Here it is, but including v. 25 which had been excluded.

“Be glad, O sons of Zion,
    and rejoice in the Lord, your God;
for he has given the early rain for your vindication,
    he has poured down for you abundant rain,
    the early and the latter rain, as before.

24 “The threshing floors shall be full of grain,
    the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
25 I will restore to you the years
    which the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
    my great army, which I sent among you.

26 “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
    and praise the name of the Lord your God,
    who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
27 You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
    and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is none else.
And my people shall never again
    be put to shame.

Alleluia!  As the Holy Spirit moved on the waters and brought forth good things from the earth at the beginning of Creation, so too does He move and work now and in us.

If it is by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that our Alleluias are inspired, formed, charged and launched on high, it is also under the influence of the Spirit that our good works – fruits – are performed.

The Gospel today is about the man whose friends lower him through the roof to get him to Jesus, who heals him. It’s a great moment, one of my favorites, in the Gospels.  Imagine the sheer chutzpah of the man’s friends, ready to go up on top of the house where Jesus was and tear a hole in the roof to let their friend down on ropes on his stretcher.

Out of the chaos that must have ensued… do you think perhaps there maybe some shouting and protests and maybe even tussles? … order emerged, physical and spiritual.  The result was praise.

Set the image of the friends in the Gospel against the image in the Collect, which returns to the them of “the enemy”.

Grant to Your Church, we beseech You, almighty God, that, united by the Holy Spirit, she may in no way be harmed by any assault of the enemy.

In the midst of the joyful antiphons there is this stark reminder that, because I am in Brooklyn as I write, “It ain’t over, ’till it’s over.”  Okay, okay, Yogi was a Yankee rather than a Dodger (aka Traitorous Dogs).  And, yes, this was a check to see if you were still reading.

The Postcommunion seems to echo what happened in the Gospel, thus tying our minds in the moment of Communion to the healing, strengthening effects of the Eucharist:

“We who have received the gift of Your Blessed Sacrament, O Lord, humbly pray that what You have taught us to do in commemoration of You, may profit and help us in our weakness.”

As I write, I think of all your priests being the friends who tear a hole in the roof to get you to the Lord. The friends lowered the man. The priests bring the Lord to you. The fabric of the roof, Heaven, is torn open. The division of heaven from earth is ripped asunder and Christ is called down, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity for your healing and joy.

We must turn this sock inside out. you lay people pull that roof apart and get us priests to the Lord. You do the heavy… lowering. We would be lost without you, frozen, unable to move.

You are our stretcher bearers.

This brings up the situation of many priests today, who have been canceled in serious ways, or mistreated and subjected to enduring moral injury.

St. Ambrose of Milan (+397) has this in his Commentary on Luke:

What is this bed/pallet which [the paralytic] is commanded to take up, as he is told to rise?  It is the same bed which was washed [with tears] by David every night, the bed of pain on which our soul lay sick with cruel torment of conscience.  But if anyone has acted according to Christ’s teaching, it is already not a bed of pain but of repose.  Indeed, though the compassion of the Lord, who turns for us the sleep of death into the grace of delight, that which was death begins to be repose.  Not only is he ordered to take up his bed, but also to go home to his house, that is, to return to Paradise. That is our true home which first fostered man, lost not lawfully, but by deceit.  Therefore, rightfully is the home restored, since he who would abolish the obligation of deceit and reform the law has come.  (Exp Luca 5.14)

The healing of the paralytic results in the paralytic being able to “go home”.

In a similar way, Christ in His Holy Church causes us to rise when we are paralyzed in our sins.

Not just in our sins, but also the memory of those sins.

Not just the memory of sins, but the memory of injury by others.

I want consciously here to connect for you the healing of the paralytic, with the help of his friends and the creative breaking of barriers, to the process and the results of purification of memory.

A first step is, of course, thorough examination of conscience.  Also,…


One of the effects of the Sacrament of Penance is strengthening again sin.

For most of us, most of the time, the confessional is palette from which the Lord causes us to arise, freed from sorrow, bondage, and new life.

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ROME 06/1 Day… My View For Awhile

The Ave Maria Bell won’t be heard at 2100.

While I did see the Roman sunrise at 0535 I won’t see the 2041 sunset.

I’ll be chasing the sun as I wind westward.

Here is the last home cooked meal with the last bunch of flowers. Not that I’m feeling melancholy or anything.

Fresh tomato, peas, cappers, tuna, hot and black pepper.

Last night a last short stroll. Of course the so-called connection won’t let me upload. Later.

The altar where I have been saying Mass for benefactors and donors.

The 16th c. Organ has arrived and it is being tuned. Exciting.

Which last breakfast is mine?


And here I am again. Security was weird. At a couple points I was the only traveler! I’m not complaining!

Great pizza in the lounge. Horrible for connectivity. Trying to write and post this has given me a headache.

More later.



Pentecost Thursday: When there is no joy in “dustville”.

Pentecost Thursday.

The Roman Station is really St. Lawrence outside the walls, which is where it would have been in the Easter Octave on Wednesday.

However, given that yesterday was an Ember Day, and Ember Wednesdays are at S. Maria Major… there it is. Things give way. On early lists, the Stations of Pentecost week seem to have followed those of Easter. But Ember Days were reestablished, as mentioned yesterday, by Gregory VII, Hildebrand.

So, today we have a trace of the more ancient connection with the Easter Thursday Station of the Church of the Twelve Apostles.

In the Gospel from Luke 9, Jesus sends the Apostles out with authority to heal and cast out demons. In the Epistle from Acts 8, Deacon Philip is in Samaria doing the same. Perhaps there was some confusion about the Deacon and the Apostle, since the Apostle Philip’s tomb is at Twelve Apostles. Oh well.

For the rest, the remaining Mass propers are like those of Pentecost Sunday.

I note in the Epistle, “And the crowds with one accord gave heed to what was said by Philip… So there was great joy in that city.”

I note in the Gospel, “And whatever house you enter, stay there, and do not depart from thence. And whosoever will not receive you – go forth from that town, and shake off even the dust from your feet for a witness against them.”

A common thread here is docility and acceptance of the Good News.

Where there is acceptance there is healing.

Where there is not, there is no joy in “dustville”.

The Lord Himself established the attitude that the Apostles (bishops and priests today?) should have.

In Latin, “étiam púlverem pedum vestrórum excútite in testimónium supra illos“. The Greek says, “kai koniortos“. In Greek, kai is a conjunction, a copulative like “and”.   It is also a form of karate associated with a particular kind of snake practiced in the Receda area of L.A. where the vampires pass by on Ventura Boulevard. Sometimes I just want to see if anyone really reads this stuff.  However, kai, the Greek particle, not the karate, can also lend greater force to what follows, which is how we get that Latin etiam that comes into English as ” don’t just leave that town but even shake the dust off your feet”. Leave it and forget it and the dust – whence all of them were made and to which they will return – will remain there as a reminder of what they lost: life, joy.

When dust is in the picture, something is up. Or rather, down.

This points to consequences for all of us when we reject something from God.

What pops into my mind is the rejection of a vocation.

For example, say someone has a vocation to marry, but… won’t. That person will be restless. Say someone doesn’t have the vocation to marry, but… does… and then abandons the marriage. Sorry, can’t do that.

Say the same about religious life or about priesthood.

Yes yes, there are ways to deal with “being in the wrong place”.

In canon law there is acknowledgement that marriages at times don’t work. The innocent one of the couple could in, for example, cases of infidelity, adultery, seek a separation from the other (not divorce, mind you).  Canon Law even states that the bishop can be involved in this decision.  This can be misunderstood by the poorly informed as asking a bishop to grant something so there can be a civil divorce, which clearly is a misunderstanding of the law: bishops aren’t going to be involved in divorces. Or they shouldn’t be. Similarly, there are paths for clerics to be relieved of the obligations of the clerical state.

However, both of these are exceptions and exceptions are … well… exceptions. They, by definition, are not the norm.

In most cases the better path forward is to bear the crosses that flow from the obligations one has chosen, that come from choosing that fork in the road rather than the other, and apply oneself with humble perseverance for the sake of saving one’s soul.

Life is short and eternity is long.

This pretty much flies in the face of the squishy messaging in certain documents with infamous footnotes that present the hard aspects of vocations as nearly impossible “ideals” that no one can be expected to be able to reach. Hence, there ought to be even greater and multiple paths “out” of whatever hard situation one finds oneself in.  It’s a manifestation, I think, of a Christian-lite, one without the Cross, and maybe a dose of … wokey confusion about reality.

It is an aspect of fallen human nature to tend toward the easy path and to avoid the crosses life brings. We should be wary of this tendency. I do NOT mean that must always choose the way of greater suffering. But I think it is good to double-check oneself, even to consult, to determine what God wants.

Going back to Luke 9, when the Lord sent the Apostles out with His authority, He also told them not to take those things along by which they could possibly make a living or easily obtain creature comfort: they were to rely only on “the sending” … which was from Jesus alone. That probably entailed hunger and thirst during their mission. Not to mention anxiety and danger.

It was a harder path. But it was one which brought them their joy later.

It also provided an opportunity for people to be generous to them when the Apostles instruction, healing and freedom.

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Pentecost Wednesday: another ranting reflection

Pentecost Wednesday: Ember Day

Another Octave ramble which might have a couple of surprises.

Back in the day, 5th c or so, Pentecost was enriched with an Octave, thus extending the festal character of the great feast. For a while they were bumped. In the 11th c. St. Pope Gregory VII, Hildebrand, reinstated them while keeping the festive tone of the Octave.

If the Octave of Pentecost can be abolished for the Novus Ordo calendar, it can be reinstated, just as Benedict XVI John Paul II reinstated “Prayers over the people” during Lent.

If the Ember Days can be de facto suppressed through lack of interest and ignorance, they can be reinstated.

Oh Lord, please send us another Hildebrand?

Consider what his approach to “Eucharistic consistency” (or is it “Eucharistic coherence”…)  might be.  Consider what he would do about prelates who waffle on morals, who do nothing about schlock worship, etc.

Today’s Roman Station is St. Mary Major, the place traditionally for scrutinies of candidates for ordination.     If I had my way, we would call some back for scrutinies.  In my day in Rome, before ordination to the diaconate and to the priesthood we had pretty thorough “scrutinies”.  We went around a big room from table to where there was a priest scrutineer who would interrogate us about the material of which he was an expert.  These guys were usually professors from the Pontifical Universities.

Because this is an Ember Day, we have, first, two readings from Acts 2 and Acts 5, with a “Flectamus genua” for good measure, and then a Gospel pericope from the Bread of Life discourse in John 6.

Acts 2 relates the descent of the Holy Spirit and then Peter’s preaching with the conversion of many. Peter talks about the wonders people will see.

Acts 5 opens with the sad case of Ananias and Sapphira. Later the Apostles are imprisoned, but angels let them out. When the big shots started to freak out, Gamaliel counseled patience to see if what the Apostles were doing was from God. In this reading, the Apostles work many signs, many cures. Even Peter’s shadow cured. Many believed.

Two points spring to mind on this beautiful Roman morning, my last full day in Rome.

First, Gamaliel counseled patience.  If what the Apostles were doing was from God, it would endure and produce good things.  If it was not, that would become clear. Would that today our Whatevers High Atop The Thing would have even a hair’s breadth of such wise patience when it comes to something that really doesn’t need to prove itself because it already had a track record of centuries.

The Vetus Ordo has a track record and the Novus Ordo does not.  Rather, the NO’s incipient track record isn’t that impressive.

On the contrary. Ratzinger said, way back in the day, and I’ve been saying picking up on him that the two Rites (that’s what they are, let’s not kid ourselves) should be freely offered in the best way, most faithful way possible, side by side.  People will show us the way forward.  But progressivists, you see, the catholic Left, liberals (from the Latin “free”, meaning for a liberal you are only “free” to agree with liberals), are afraid of freedom when it comes to that which stands as a bulwark against erosion of doctrine and – wait for it – morals.  There is nothing to fear from the Vetus Ordo and the people who want it, unless, that is, you fear large, happy, devout families with many children who participate in the life of the Church, which they love.

Second, Peter’s shadow healed.  John was the voice and Christ the Word.  “He who hears you hears me”.  “Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven…”.  “This is my Body…”.    The farther we get from the light source, the weaker and fuzzier the shadow.  TRADITION keeps us close to the light source.   Hence, Tradidi quod et accepi.

The Mass texts today shift to different themes. Pentecost and Monday and Tuesday (before Ember Days) all contained protection from harm by the enemy.

Something about the Descent of the Spirit has always twitched at my mind. Acts 2:1 says “they were all together in one place”. But there were quite a few believers at the time, at least 120. All in one place? The upper room wasn’t big enough. BUT… this is the Feast of Weeks, Shavuot!

They were not in the Upper Room.  They were in the TEMPLE.

Males were to go to the Temple for the Shavuot – Pentecost – spring harvest festival celebration involving the wave offerings in the Temple of the harvest fruits, loaves baked from the first sheaves.  The Temple was certainly “big enough” for all the disciples.  And that is where they were!   Acts 2:2 says a wind came (the Holy Spirit) and “filled the house”, Greek oikos. Oikos can be house, of course, but it can also mean any building, including the Temple, the house of God (Matthew 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46; John 2:16f, (Isaiah 56:5, 7); cf. Luke 11:51; Acts 7:47, 49).  Jesus refers to His Body as a Temple using “house”.

Remember what we read at the end of Luke 24:50-53 and the account of the Ascension of the Lord?

Then [Jesus] led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven. And they returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.

They were continually in the Temple. Why? Among other reasons, Shavuot. When Acts says they were in the “house”, they were in the Temple.  Jewish festivals looked back to historical events and they looked forward to something yet to be fulfilled.  Shavuot looked back to the descent of God on the mountain in the fiery presence cloud, shekinah, when God gave the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments.  Shavuot looked forward to the return of the fiery “presence cloud” to the Temple which had departed with the destruction of the first Temple.  That’s Pentecost: Shavuot fulfilled.  The first fruits this time being the 3000 baptized.

What happens after the mighty wind and tongues of fire? A huge crowd hears Peter’s sermon. Where was that? In the Temple. When did it take place? At 9:00 in the morning. Remember the line about drunkenness?

This was the 3rd hour of the morning and the time of the tamid, the sacrifice of the first of the two daily lambs.

To baptize all those people they would have needed a place with a lot of water. There was such a place nearby, pools for ritual cleansing before going to the Temple.

I am reminded of Ezekiel 6:26:

“A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

A new SPIRIT I will put within you. I will take away this TEMPLE of STONE and give you a TEMPLE of FLESH.

This took place in the Temple which lost the glory cloud of fire of the presence of God. The presence of God as fire returns and settles not in the Holy Holies where the Ark was, but rather on the New Ark, Mary and on the Apostles and, through baptism in the hearts of the new believers, new Temples of the Holy Spirit.

In the Introit of today’s Mass we pray: “O God, when You went forth at the head of Your people, making a passage for them, dwelling in their midst…” A reference to the fire cloud that led the people. In the Collect we pray something that echoes that image of the guiding freedom-bringing fire: “May the Paraclete Who proceeds from You, enlighten our minds, we beseech You, O Lord, and guide us to all truth, as Your Son has promised.”

In the Second Collect, remember it is an Ember Day with two first readings, we get this. See if it doesn’t bind together my thoughts, above:

Grant, we beseech You, almighty and most merciful God, that the Holy Spirit may come to dwell in us, graciously making us a temple of His glory.



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ROME 23/05 – Day 31: Last full day and an “If only…”.

In the Novus Ordo calendar it is the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary whereupon the sun rose at 0536 and will set at 2040.

The Ave Maria Bells is still fixed at 21 for a while longer.

It is Ember Wednesday in the Octave of Pentecost. I have something more about that in another post today.

In these last days in Rome, I’ve been saying Mass for my benefactors of the Roman Sojourn.

On a “benefactor” note, I write email thank you’s each day, but some of them get kicked back as “undeliverable”.  If you are a regular donor and you haven’t gotten a note from me, please please please let me know.  HERE  Even more importantly, if you would like to be a donor, let me know!   That sort of email is always welcome.

A lovely sight in church after Mass on this Ember Day.

Which of these breakfast pairings is mine?  And why?

The elevator where I live is one of those that has the pair of inner doors and an outer door. If someone leaves one of then a little ajar – they must be closed manually and completely – the elevator is your pair of shoes and your pairs of legs and lungs.

When I move in an out of the elevator I am mindful never to be holding something important, like my phone or my keys. It would be exactly my luck that, were one of them to fall, it would go exactly into the gap. Mind the gap.

Use FATHERZ10 at checkout

“Yes, yes, Father, that’s all well and good.  Where’s the CHESS NEWS?!?”

In Norway, Fabiano Caruana beat (#1) Magnus Carlsen and Gukesh D beat (#2) Alireza Firouzja Round 1, the classical portion, and they lead the tournament with 3 points each. My guy Wesley So (Go Wesley!) beat Hikaru Nakamura in an “armageddon” to gain 1.5. Norway Chess continues on Wednesday 31 May 11:00 EDT and 17:00 CET.

The last part of Wesley’s and Hikaru’s game was fun. As the player got squeezed by the clock, things got pretty hairy. We start here with about a minute on the clock. Watch what happens.

Give CHESS as a gift. Maybe even for Father’s Day. In the OTB group I belong to when not in Rome there are a number of men and women who well after retirement have learned to play. They get beaten a lot but they are having fun, getting out of the house and interacting with people their own age and younger. It’s win and win. Chess as a beginner is not just for the young! As I mentioned, one lady in her 70’s comes regularly and gets beaten but she has fun and she is getting better.


And “NO! You are NOT too old!” I’m getting back into it. It was on my bucket list … to which I was rather forced somewhat early. Chess is hard, but it’s fun and it is keeping my head nimble. There’s a lot to that.  Chess fun… well… I was playing blitz against a bot yesterday and made a blunder so stupid I almost hurled my mouse through the window. But… never mind.  Chess is fun!

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White to move and mate in 2.  Not easy.

NB: I’ll hold comments with solutions ’till the next day so there won’t be “spoilers” for others.

Priestly chess players, drop me a line. HERE It would be fun to have a small league.

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Finally… the “If only” moment.

Yes, OF COURSE I want to stay in Rome longer, but would that this were real. I think I would stand in a line.


Pentecost Tuesday: Wherein Fr. Z rants

Tuesday in the Octave of Pentecost.   Another little ramble.

The Octave has Roman Stations. As the last two days honored St. Peter at churches bearing his name, one would expect now that St. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles should be acknowledged with a trip to St. Paul’s outside the walls. However, because it usually quite hot in the sun at this time of year – the Station was fixed at the important St. Anastasia, a church of the imperial court in the Greek and Byzantine section of the City near the markets and below the Palatine Hill.

The Octave was developed in Rome when there was strong Greek, Byzantine presence. So, it makes a measure of sense that the Introit would be from a Greek apocryphal book 4 Esdras.

In Acts 8 we read that Saul was still ravaging the Church, even going house to house and dragging people off to prison. Deacon Philip, in Samaria, was preaching and exorcizing and healing: remember that curing illness went hand in hand with exorcism. Philip baptized, but it was necessary for Apostles, Peter and John, to come to confer the Holy Spirit.

This is when a certain Simon tried to buy the power to confer the Holy Spirit, thus giving rise to the term “simony” for the selling and buying of spiritual goods.

Then in Acts 8 Deacon Philip gets a directive from an angel to go find the Ethiopian Eunuch, thus giving rise to the great image found in the traditional blessing of vehicles. Thereafter, Philip gets whipped away by the angel to Azotus, bringing chapter 8 to a close.

Yesterday Mass ended with a prayer for protection against the fury of enemies. The chapter of Acts we hear from today doesn’t begin with the first verses, but people knew their Scripture well. They knew what was going on in Acts 8 and that Saul was ravaging the Church.

Today the Church is being ravaged from without and from within.  Bloody ways from without, moral damage and secular-minded cruelty from within.  Both stem, probably, from cowardice, to a certain extent, because the oppression of what is good and true, what is stable and traditional, numbs the conscience and makes it easier for the pursuit of other immoral things.

The worst manifestation of the fury of enemies is the active erosion by priests and bishops of the church in the belief and practice of sound Christian morals on the part of their flocks. It is one thing to slay the body. It is another to endanger the soul.

Good shepherds?

Curiously, there is a good shepherd parable in the Gospel. In the traditional lectionary for Mass, there are various “Shepherd Masses”, as it were, and they pop up around the beginning of new seasons, for example, Monday after the 1st Sunday of Lent, Second Sunday after Easter, third Sunday after Pentecost. The Gospel today is from John 10.

Our Lord says today, ““Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber;…”

I can’t help but think that those who put together the ancient Lectionary (0f the Vetus Ordo Mass) knew the context of Acts 8 and Simon and his “simony”. The Gospel concludes with the ominous: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Again, the emphases on an enemy at this happy time of the Octave.

The Collect today:

Adsit nobis, quaesumus, Dómine, virtus Spíritus Sancti: quæ et corda nostra cleménter expúrget, et ab ómnibus tueátur advérsis.

Let the power of the Holy Spirit be present within us, O Lord: that It may graciously cleanse our hearts and guard us from all adversaries.

Guard us.

That’s what a good shepherd does. A good shepherd protects the sheepfold, gives them good water, good pasturing for nourishment.

Before Christ ascended He said He would send not just an advocate, a parakletos, but another parakletos.

A parakletos is someone who stands by you, protects you under fire, counsels and guides, in fact shepherds you through perils.

Christ is the 1st parakletos and the Holy Spirit is 2nd, showing how the work of the Trinity is present in each of the Persons, though for our understanding it is “teased out”.

Pray for an abundant outpouring of the parakletos on your priests and bishops, perhaps even to covert the hearts and illumine their minds so that they leave their enervating appearance of action in the Church and move to concrete work consonant with the Tradition handed down to us by true men of action in our forebears.

Pray for a softening of the rigidity of hatred for the ways of our forefathers especially in liturgical practice.

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WDTPRS – Pentecost Monday: from bondage, freedom – from anxiety, peace

Today is Pentecost Monday, during the Octave of Pentecost.  It is also called Whit Monday, a reference to the white garments of the newly baptized.

We observe the Octave in the Traditional Roman calendar.  It was tragically, ridiculously, foolishly eliminated in the post-Conciliar calendar.

The Roman Station is S. Peter in Chains.

Listen to a PODCAzT for the days of the Octave of Pentecost which I made some years ago.

Octaves are mysterious times during which the liturgical clock stops.

We have an opportunity to rest in the mystery, reflect on it during the 8th day – an echo of God’s rest continuing after the Creation and foreshadowing of the eschatological rest we will have in the Beatific Vision.

For Mass we sing the Pentecost Sequence, and use the Preface of the Holy Spirit, as well as a proper Communicantes and also Hanc igitur, as for Easter since Pentecost was also a time of baptism.

Let’s have a look at the Collect for today’s Mass of Pentecost Monday.


Deus, qui Apostolis tuis Sanctum dedisti Spiritum: concede plebi tuae piae petitionis effectum; ut, quibus dedisti fidem, largiaris et pacem.

I found this prayer in the 8th c. Liber sacramentorum Gellonensis.

I like that elegant splitting of Spiritum Sanctum with dedisti.

Our trusty Lewis & Short reminds us that effectus, us, (efficio) means basically “a doing, effecting; execution, accomplishment, performance; with reference to the result of an action, an operation, effect, tendency, purpose”.  Blaise & Dumas offers that effectus has to do with the “realization of a prayer”.


O God, who gave the Holy Spirit to Your Apostles, grant to Your people the realization of their dutiful petition, that you may bestow also peace upon those whom you have given faith.

What immediately jumps into my mind are the references to peace in the ordinary of the Mass and also in the modern form for sacramental absolution.

Allow me to stretch to a connection, in view of the Roman Station.

Christ is our Lord and Liberator.  After His Ascension he sent our Counselor and Comforter.  Our Com-forter, who is our Strengthener.

Together, under the eternal aegis of the Father, the Son and the Spirit bring us from bondage to freedom, anxiety to peace.  We need not fear our judgment.

This is accomplished through the ministry and mediation of the Church.

As a People who are members of Christ’s Body the Church we approach God’s mercy with a sense of filial duty, petitioning both the immediate effect of Christ’s merits and also the long-term effect of heavenly peace.

In the words of the Church’s worship, Christ Himself strikes from our limbs the heavy chains of our oppression.

True oppression is from sin.  True freedom comes from grace.

As we hear today in the Gospel from John 3:

God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that those who believe in Him may not perish, but may have life everlasting. For God did not send His Son into the world in order to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

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ROME 23/05 – Day 29: Monday in the OCTAVE OF PENTECOST

The day saw sunrise at 05:37 and sunset will perhaps dazzle this evening at 2039. As my days decrease in number, which makes me sad, at least they are longer and brighter. The Ave Maria Bell, would that it would ring at 2100.

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In the Novus Ordo calendar today it is the Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church and it is also, incredibly, the Feast of Paul VI (+1978). I find it ironic that his feast day falls on MONDAY of the OCTAVE of PENTECOST, given that he deleted the Octave of Pentecost from the Roman Calendar for the Novus Ordo. And, yes, I know all about the story of how Paul VI arrived at the chapel to say Mass on this day and was surprised to find GREEN vestments. I know about how he asked the cerimoniere why there there GREEN vestments because it was the Octave of Pentecost. It is entirely familiar to me how the MC responded that there was no more Octave of Pentecost, that it was abolished in the reform. Too well I know Paul’s shocked question: “Who did that?” and how the MC responded, “You did, Holiness”. I know that Paul VI wept. I know all those things because I am the origin of that story, which was told to me back in the 80s by an old papal ceremoniere who was present and saw it. I recounted the story in The Wanderer for which I wrote for years and, before that, in the Catholic Online Forum of Compuserve of which I was the administrator (since 1992!). The story rapidly made the rounds but, in the English speaking world at least, I’m the source. Take it or leave it, up to you.

I sometimes ask myself about the likelihood that, say, a father of a family who, in his decisions or waffles, allows his family to fall apart when he might have held things together could in any way be thought to be manifesting heroic virtues, in particular the virtue of prudence.

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Last night I was strolling along and the various evening smells of the City would tickle my nose… garlic here… wood smoke there… and then… JASMINE.  And I don’t mean the famous Jesuit.   Jasmine!  It’s really going to work right now.   Anyway, I looked around and didn’t see any.  Then I looked up. WAAAAY up there was a Jasmine plant on a balcony.  You see, in the evening as air cools it convects its way around the streets and the scent of the jasmine from high above diffuses below.  It’s lovely and intoxicating with memories for me.

In this pic you can sort of see how Jasmine wreathes many doors along the street.  This is the beginning of the Via dei Cappellari, where there is a shop and apartment that would be great for a Chess Cafe.

I have found a couple of good places here in Rome, but it is going to take a lot more money than I have.  I shall start asking God about His money.  He has a lot of money.  Please, Lord, I need quite bit.

Happy rondini were really going at it this morning outside the church.  Along with rondini you can hear someone pulling luggage and there is a hated seagull nearby.  I hate seagulls, by the way.

Here is a puzzle.

White to move.  Mate in 2.

NB: I’ll hold comments with solutions ’till the next day so there won’t be “spoilers” for others.

Wine from traditional Benedictines in France. Benedictines are sure doing great things right now, even in death, like Sr. Wilhelmina!

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ROME 23/05 – Day 28: Pentecost Sunday

Roman sunrise was a long time ago at 0537.

Roman sunset was also quite a while ago at 2038.

The Ave Maria Bell: still 2100.

It is Pentecost Sunday.

So much to say about the day. I am really tired.

There was a lovely Mass in church. Here is taste.

In the afternoon we had Vespers and Benediction. Here’s a shot before the moment.

Don’t you wish you had this in your parish? You should.

After sweating through two shirts and cassocks, dodging around vehicles covering the Giro d’Italia,…

I headed to the Suburra – stomping ground of the juvenile Julius Caesar – for snails.

As one does.

If you are wondering.  You use toothpicks to get the critters out.

This is Romano di Roma.

With that, I make a plea for prayers for my mother.  You benefactors… my last Masses in Rome are to be offered for my Roman Donors.  Thank you.

What? No chess?

No chess today.  Except… just… buy some chess stuff.

Stay tuned for news about the incredible antique organ that is about to be unveiled!


WDTPRS – Pentecost Sunday: Holy Church’s fabric, the warp and the weft

The Fiftieth Day Feast, Hebrew Shavuot or Greek Pentekosté, for the Jews commemorated the descent of God’s Law to Moses on Mount Sinai, wreathed in fire, fifty days after the Exodus.  But Jewish feasts also looked forward even as they looked back to an historic event.  At Shavuot they looked forward to the return of the fiery glory cloud of God’s presence in the Temple.

Fifty days after Our Lord’s Resurrection, the tenth (the number of perfection) from His Ascension, the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles and first disciples to breathe grace-filled life into Christ’s Body, the Church.

The Spirit descended as “tongues of fire”, on the very day they memorialized the descent of God like fire on Mount Sinai.

The Jews at that time would also have thought of the vision of the temple in the Book of Enoch, made of tongues of fire.

Hence, this Pentecost event would have really got the the attention of the multitudes, perhaps a million people, thronging Jerusalem for the feast.  Jewish Pentecost, Shevuot, was one of the three great pilgrimage festivals when men were obliged to go up the Jerusalem to offer their sacrifices.

This magnificent Sunday in the Roman Rite’s Vetus Ordo retains its Octave along with the special Communicantes and Hanc igitur.

In the Ordinary Form a lot was chopped out.  However, the Collect is rooted in the ancient Gelasian Sacramentary.

Deus, qui sacramento festivitatis hodiernae universam Ecclesiam tuam in omni gente et natione sanctificas, in totam mundi latitudinem Spiritus Sancti dona defunde, et, quod inter ipsa evangelicae praedicationis exordia operata est divina dignatio, nunc quoque per credentium corda perfunde.

I like that defunde and perfunde.  Spiffy.

Cor is “heart” and corda “hearts”.  Sacramentum translates Greek mysterion.  Sacramentum and Latin mysterium are often interchangeable in liturgical texts.  Defundo means “to pour down, pour out”. Perfundo, is “to pour over, moisten, bedew”, and “to imbue, inspire” as well as “to dye”.

Exordium means “the beginning, the warp of a web”. Exordium invokes cloth weaving and selvage, the cloth’s edge, tightly woven so that the web will not fray, fall apart.

Exordium, also a technical term in ancient rhetoric, is the beginning of a prepared speech whereby the orator lays out what he is going to do and induces the listeners to attend.

From Pentecost onward Christ the Incarnate Word, although remote by His Ascension, is the present and perfect Orator delivering His saving message to the world through Holy Church. “He that heareth you, heareth me”, Christ told His Apostles with the Seventy (Luke 10:16).

Much hangs on exordia.


O God, who by the sacramental mystery of today’s feast do sanctify Your universal Church in every people and nation, pour down upon the whole breadth of the earth the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and make that which divine favor wrought amidst the very beginnings of the preaching of the Good News to flow now also through believers’ hearts.


God our Father, let the Spirit you sent on your Church to begin the teaching of the gospel continue to work in the world through the hearts of all who believe.

Really?   REALLY?  Year in and year out the perpetrators and defenders of this dreck made the English-speaking Church stupider and weaker.

Moving on…


O God, who by the mystery of today’s great feast sanctify your whole Church in every people and nation, pour out, we pray, the gifts of the Holy Spirit across the face of the earth and, with the divine grace that was at work when the Gospel was first proclaimed, fill now once more the hearts of believers.

Unity and continuity are keys to this Collect.

The Holy Spirit pours spiritual life into the Body of Christ.

The Holy Spirit wove the early Church together through the preaching of the Apostles and their successors and, in the Church today, extends their preaching to our own time.

The Holy Spirit guarantees our unity and continuity across every border and century.

The Holy Spirit imbues and infuses, tints and dyes the fabric of the Church as He flows through it.

When the Holy Spirit’ fire poured over the Apostles, they poured out preaching in public speeches to people from every nation.  I think they were not in the “upper room” but in the Temple, as the Law required Jewish men.  In Greek, oikos can mean “temple” or “house of God”, not just “house”.

That makes greater sense of the immediate reaction they received.

The Holy Spirit, in the preaching of the Apostles, began on Pentecost’s exordium to weave together the Church’s selvage, that strong stable edge of the fabric, through the centuries and down to our own day.

Also, for Shavuot, Pentecost, the Jews at harvest were commanded by God to leave the edges of the fields unharvested for the sake of the poor.

The bonds of man and God symbolically unraveled in the Tower of Babel event, when languages were divided (Gen 11:5-8).

Ever since the Pentecost exordium’s “reweaving”, though here and there and now and then there may be rips and tatters, Holy Church’s warp and weft hold true.

Let our hearts and prayers be raised for unity. Sursum corda!

In the Collect we pray that our corda may be imbued with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Sacrum septenarium!

Let them be closely woven into, knit into Holy Church and even over-sewn with her patterns, not ours.

Let our hearts be bounded about by her saving selvage, dyed in the Spirit’s boundless love.

Let us also pray for the unwitting agents of the Enemy of the soul, hanging onto Holy Church’s edge but in such a way that they tear at and fray the Church’s fabric.

Pardon my homographs, but though they be on the fringe, they endanger necessary threads, precious souls of our brothers and sisters who through their work of unraveling can be lost in the fray.

When we mesh with the Holy Church and remain true in the Faith and charity, our holy selvage and our salvation will not be undone.


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Your Sunday Sermon Notes – Pentecost Sunday 2023

It’s Pentecost Sunday in the Vetus Ordo.  It’s Pentecost Sunday in the Novus Ordo, though I’m surprised they didn’t just turn it white or green and call it the 8th Sunday after Easter.

Was there a GOOD point made in the sermon you heard at your Sunday Mass of obligation?

Share the good stuff.

Tell about attendance especially for the Traditional Latin Mass. Pretty much everywhere it seems to be growing.

Any local changes or (hopefully good) news?

I have some thoughts about the Sunday reading HERE.

In John 20:19-23 when the Risen Christ appeared in the locked room to the Apostles, He breathed on them – in Hebrew both “spirit” and “breath” are ruach – and said, “Receive the calling forth from the community.” No. Wait. “Receive the spirit of synodality.” Hmmm… again. “Receive the HOLY Spirit!” That’s it.


ROME 23/05 – Day 27: I can’t help it.

The sun is now high over Rome and it rose at. It will be less high soon, for I write near noon, and it will set at 20:37.

The Ave Maria Bell is still pegged at 2100.

Today is the Vigil of Pentecost, at long last. It seems like a long time that we started with the pre-Lent Sundays. On the other hand, Paschaltide has really flown. For me, at least.

What shall we look at today?

First, I had a nice bowl of spaghetti with clams yesterday evening.

I’ve gotten this one down.

Shall I show you some views of the beautiful flowers in church right now? What a difference they make.

I know. I know.

“There goes old Fr. Z again, raving about the parish.  Let’s get on to more CHESS NEWS!  That’s what we really want!”

If only in these Roman churches in the Centro the priests or brothers would get off their lazy asses and start sweeping and cleaning and putting things into right order for a Roman church! Instead, they put non-sensical and usually banal idiocies, lots of junk, use the side chapels for anything other than a sacred purpose. It’s maddening.

If you are going to put some flowers on an altar, do it right!

Clean the floors! Take out the junk! DRESS THE ALTARS! Get some LIGHTS on!

Do something that people will long to see and experience again, rather than the same ol’ same ol.

In the background is the veiled baptismal font that some of you readers helped to pay for!

It isn’t rocket science.  Make sure there is something going on!  Make sure there is something beautiful to attract the heart and mind when eye rests upon it.

Our eyes.   We tend to desire what we see.  That’s why it is important for us to guard our eyes from what we should not want and direct them to things through which we can encounter goodness and truth.

And now for chess.

I’ve been talking about getting your kids (yourselves) into chess. This is a great story.

In chess news, Nodirbek Abdusattorov won Division I of the Champions Chess Tour ChessKid Cup on Friday.  Going into game 4 of the Grand Final with black and an even score, he defeated Fabiano Caruana. Whew.

Here’s a puzzle.

White to move.  Mate in TWO.

NB: I’ll hold comments with solutions ’till the next day so there won’t be “spoilers” for others.

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Also, your chess needs will be met here.

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25 May 2023: Litany of St. Philip Neri and Prayer of Card. Baronio – VIDEO

I wanted to add the scrolling text but, sigh, I just couldn’t get it done. Sorry.

Here is a rough… rough… version. Maybe I can get the PDF someday.

Litanie di San Filippo Neri

Kyrie eleison. Christe, eleison. Kyrie, eleison. Christe, audi nos. Chrise, exaudi nos.

Pater de coelis, Deus, miserere nobis. Fili, Redemptor mundi, Deus, miserere. Spiritus Sancte, Deus, miserere. Sancta Trinitas, unus Deus, miserere.

Sancta Maria, ora pro mobis. Sancta Dei Genitrix, Sancta Virgo virginum,

Sancte Philippe, Vas Spiritus Sancti, Apostolus Romae, Consiliarius Pontificis, Vox fatidica, Vir prisci temporis, Sanctus amabilis, Heros umbratilis, Pater suavissimus, Flos puritatis, Martyr charitatis, Cor flammigerum, Discretor spirituum, Gemma sacerdotum, Vitae divinae speculum, Specimen humilitatis,

Exemplar simplicitatis. Lux sanctae laetitiae Imago pueritiae. Forma senectutis. Rector animarum. Piscator fluctuantium. Manuductor pupillorum. Hospes Angelorum. Qui castitatem adolescens coluisti. Qui Romam divinitus petiisti.

Qui multos annos in catactumbis delituisti. Qui ipsum Spiritum in cor recepisti. Qui mirabiles ecstases sustinuisti. Qui parvulis amanter serviisti.

Qui peregrinantium pedes. Qui martyrium ardentissime sitiisti. Qui Verbum Dei quotidianum distribuisti. Qui tot corda ad Deum allexisti.

Qui sermones dulces cum Maria contulisti. Qui emortuum ab inferis reduxisti. Qui domos tuas in omni regione constituisti. Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, parce nobis.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, exaudi nos, Domine. Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

Ora pro nobis, sancte Philippe.
Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.

Oremus. DEUS, qui beatum Philippum Confessorem tuum Sanctorum tuorum gloria sublimasti; concede propitius, ut cuius commemoratione laetamur, ejus virtutum proficiamus exemplo. Per Christum, Dominum nostrum.
N. Amen.

Illo nos igne Spiritus Sanctus inflammet
quo sancti Philippi cor mirabiliter penetravit.

RESPICE de caelo, Sancte Pater, ex illius montis celsitudine in huius vallis humilitatem, ex illo quietis et tranquillitatis portu in calamitosum hoc mare, et vide illis benignissimis oculis quibus huius saeculi discussa caligine clarius omnia intueris et perspicis, et visita custos diligentissime, vineam istam quam posuit et plantavit dextera tua tanto labore, sudore, periculis. Ad te itaque confugimus, a te opem petimus; tibi nos penitus totosque tradimus; te nobis patronum et defensorem adoptamus suscipe causam salutis nostrae; tuere clientes tuos. Te ducem omnes appellamus; rege contra daemonis impetum pugnantem exercitum. Ad te, pientissime rector, vitae nostrae deferimus gubernacula. Rege naviculam hanc tuam, et, in alto collocatus, averte cupididtum scopulos, ut te duce et directore incolumes ad illum aeternae felicitatis portum pervenire possimus. Amen.

Preghiera a san Filippo Neri

O san Filippo Neri, glorioso fondatore dell’arciconfraternita della Santissima Trinita dei Pellegrini e Convalescenti, angelo di costumi, maestro di virtu, serafino di carita, apostolo di Roma e patrono della gioventii, io sotto la vostra protezione raccomando la vita mia. Ottenetemi la grazia di camminare per la strada retta del Vangelo e di star sempre vigilante e cauto, percio la mia coscienza non si addormenti mai nella falsa e perniciosa pace dei peccatori. Assistetemi finalmente nell’ora della mia morte; scacciate da me, in quel passo terribile, it maledetto insidiatore, e accompagnate l’anima mia in Paradiso.


“Oh people will come, Reverend Mother. People will most definitely come….”

With major league help from a friend in Kansas City…


“Reverend Mother. People will come, Mother. They’ll come to Gower, Missouri for reasons they can’t even fathom. …

“They’ll turn into your driveway, not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door, as innocent as children, longing for the past. People will come, Mother. …

“The one constant through all the years Mother, has been The Roman Catholic Church. The world has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But the Church has marked the time….

“This traditional abbey, this apparent miracle with Sister Wilhelmina, is a part of our past, Mother. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. …

“Oh people will come, Reverend Mother. People will most definitely come….


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ROME 23/05 – Day 26: Truly precious

On this 146th day of the year, we come to the Feast of St. Philip Neri (+1595), a great saint whose impact on the Universal Church was momentous.

It still is momentous, especially through the grace-ripples emanating from the parish where he was (and is still) active in Rome.

On this feast the Ave Maria Bell should tonight be run at 2100.

The sun should set at 20:26.

The sun rose shortly before the photo, below, at 05:39.

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In church I found things ready for Mass.  Very nice.



This cloth of gold is truly precious.

After a quick standing breakfast with friends I went to the Campo for supplies for meals today, since I have nothing else on my plate. See what I did there?

After obtaining fresh mozzarella, off to the fishmonger for clams, a spur of the moment choice.   I ran into these critters, which were not so familiar to me in this phase.  These are called “gobbetti”.  Note the blue spots.



On closer inspection, the blue are eggs.

Gobbetti can be eaten either cooked or raw. Yum.


Such a plethora of gifts from God in this place.

Along the way I stopped at my veg and fruit stand and chatted with the folks, I got waved at from the door of the butcher shop, the cheese monger called me over to sample some mixed Robbiola (goat, cow), the manager of one of the bar/resto/cocktail places came over to say hi after the veg stand, happy Pippo de’ Fiori gave me a white rose because one of the Trinità priests told him of my anniversary (50 went to Mary at her altar in church), Daniela of the corner bakery was particularly pleasant, even the usually growly guy at the register smiled, and on the next street over I ran into one of the owners of a fine trattoria (Sicilian) that I send friends to and enjoy myself.

I got back to my place and started the clams to soak, and gave the rose some water. In that moment I was overwhelmed with the desire never to leave. I think it was in one of the Rocky movies someone says that once you’ve been in a place for a long enough, you are that place. The way things are right now, its the only place I really can be me.  Thanks for what you all do for me.  Each day is precious.

Clams are transported home in paper here. If you are going to keep them for a while, and that is possible, you have to wrap them tightly together in a moist towel which prevents them from opening and getting into all sorts of mischief around the place. Clams! Can’t take your eyes off them for a moment.

Salty water. For several hours. They say they are purged. I purge more.

Last night after the Litany and Prayer of Card. Baronius to St. Philip – I’ll be posting a video when it is done processing – I encountered a priest of a certain Society and long time reader who says the traditional Mass. We stopped over at the new place I’ve been going to for supper – you are not going to find better classics in Rome. I started with fiori di zucca, the fried zucchini flowers stuffed with a little mozzarella or other and a bit of anchovy. In many place when you get these they are nasty undercooked oil sponges. These, however, were perfect, fried exactly right, crispy and not a bit over oily.

I think God, knowing about Rome head of time, made sure that zucchini would produce so very many blossoms every day so that we could really enjoy them in season.  It is a crime to take His wonderful gifts and make bad food out of them when it is so easy to make excellent food simply and gratefully.

Anyway, long chat over food and back home.  I was constrained to see this on my walk, poor me.

Please remember me when shopping online. Thanks in advance.  US HERE – UK HERE

Here’s a puzzle.

White to move.  Mate in 2.

Magnus won the Warsaw Rapid and Blitz.  He is a force of … something. My guy Wesley So and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave tied for third. Second was Jan-Krzysztof Duda who had finally fallen to the No. 1 in the World (though not official World Champ). In the Champions Chess Tour ChessKid Cup Fabiano won two Armagedon’s to go on to play Nodirbek Abdusattorov in the Final.

Get your chess stuff and start in, friends.  Make sure your children learn.

The idea of that chess cafe in Rome will NOT go away.  I renew my plea to San Pippo and San Giuseppe.  Help me, dear saints, figure all of this out.  I feel like I am on the edge of something that I can’t quite make out.

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WDTPRS: Mass Prayers “Pro seipso sacerdote – For the priest himself” (1962MR)

This time of year many new priests are being ordained and, consequently, many priests observe their own anniversaries.

In the traditional, Vetus Ordo of the Roman Rite a priest can add orations for himself, Pro seipso sacerdote, on the anniversary of his ordination.

The 2002MR has three formularies Pro seipso sacerdote while the 1962MR has but one (which really is enough).

Let’s look at the prayer in the Vetus Ordo, the Roman Rite:


Omnípotens et miséricors Deus, humilitátis meae preces benígnus inténde: et me fámulum tuum, quem, nullis suffragántibus méritis, sed imménsa cleméntiae tuae largitáte, caeléstibus mystériis servíre tribuísti, dignum sacris altáribus fac minístrum; ut, quod mea voce deprómitur, tua sanctificatióne firmétur.


Almighty and merciful God, kindly hark to the prayers of my humility: and make me, Your servant, whom, no merits of my own favoring me, but by the immense largess of your indulgence, You granted to serve the heavenly mysteries, to be a worthy minister at the sacred altars; so that, that which is called down by my voice, may be made sure by Your sanctification.

The prayer focuses on priest’s self-awareness of his lowliness.  Who he is and what he does is from God’s grace and choice, not his own.

It also emphasis the relationship of the priest to the altar, that is, the bond of the priest and Holy Mass.  Priests are ordained for sacrifice.

No priest, no sacrifice, no Mass, no Eucharist.

In the older form of Holy Mass, after the consecration during the Roman Canon at the Suppplices te rogamus… the priest bends low over the altar. He puts his hands on it.  They, his hands and the altar, were anointed with Sacred Chrism.  He kisses the altar.  Then he makes signs of the Cross over the consecrated Host on the corporal, over the Precious Blood in the chalice, and over himself.

Christ is Victim.  Christ is Priest.  The priest is victim and priest as well.

This moment during Holy Mass reveals his mysterious bond with the altar, where the priest sacrifices the victim.  Sacrificial victim and sacrificing priest are one. At the altar he is alter Christus, another Christ, offering and offered.

In regard to the Sacred Chrism and ordination, a few years ago I heard the sermon of His Excellency, Most Rev. Robert C. Morlino of Madison – deeply missed, rest in peace – at the ordination of priests.  He made the recommendation that, in hard times, the men should put a drop of Chrism on their hands, and rub it in, to remind them of who they are.

What also comes to mind, in considering the bond of priest and altar and victim upon it, is the Augustinian reflection of the speaker of the Word and the Word spoken, and the message and reality of the Word and the Voice which speaks it.

The voice of the priest and the priest himself are merely the means God uses in the sacred action, the sacramental mysteries at the altar, to renew in that moment what He has wrought.

Finally, this is done through mercy.  The words misericors, clementia, largitas, benignus all point to the mercy of God.

The priest speaks and God makes what he speaks reality.

He takes the priest’s insubstantial words and makes them firm and real.

He takes unworthy men, priests, and gives them His own power.

The priest must get himself out of the way when he is at the altar, where the True Actor is in action, Christ the Eternal and High Priest.

This is why ad orientem worship is so important.

I think that there is little chance of a renewal of Eucharistic faith and piety in the Church without ad orientem worship and without the slow but sure elimination of Communion on the hand.

SECRET (1962MR):

Huius, Dómine, virtúte sacraménti, peccatórum meórum máculas abstérge: et praesta; ut ad exsequéndum injúncti offícii ministérium, me tua grátia dignum effíciat.


O Lord, by the power of this sacrament, cleanse the stains of my sins: and grant; that it may make me worthy by Your grace unto the performance of the ministry of the office that has been imposed.

Priests are sinners in need of a Savior just like everyone else.

They confess their own sins and receive absolution from a priest like everyone else.

They, too, must do penance for past sins like everyone else.

They, while coming to the altar as alter Christus, come to the altar as sinners.  There is only one perfect one.

In the older Vetus Ordo of Holy Mass, the priest is constantly reminded about who he is and who he isn’t.  The newer form?  Not so much.

In this Secret, spoken quietly, the priest prays for what only God can do: remove the stains of sins from his soul.

The prayer brings also to mind the burden of the yoke of the priesthood, symbolized by the priestly vestment, the chasuble.  Whatever its shape, the chasuble is a sign of the priest’s subjugation.

As the priest puts on this most visible of his vestments, he traditionally prays, “O Lord, Who said: My yoke is easy and My burden light: grant that I may bear it well and follow after You with thanksgiving. Amen.”   The yoke is the ancient sign of subjugation. The ancient Romans caused the conquered to pass under a yoke, iugum.

This attitude of the priest at the altar, formed by the prayer and the very vestment he wears, can teach us a great deal about the nature and design of all the things that we employ for the celebration of Mass.


Omnípotens sempitérne Deus, qui me peccatórem sacris altáribus astáre voluísti, et sancti nóminis tui laudáre poténtiam: concéde propítius, per hujus sacraménti mystérium, meórum mihi véniam peccatórum; ut tuae majestáti digne mérear famulári.


Almighty eternal God, who desired me, a sinner, to stand at the sacred altars, and to praise the might of Your Holy Name: propitiously grant, through the mystery of this sacrament, the forgiveness for me of my sins; so that I may merit to wait upon Your majesty.

On the day of ordination the priest lies down upon the floor.

He is, in that moment, part of the floor.

He is the lowest thing in the church.

Consider two sets of contrasts.

First, there is the contrast of the low state of the servant sinner and the majesty of God.

Second, there is the present moment contrasted with the future to come.

Majestas is like gloria, Hebrew kabod or Greek doxa, a divine characteristic which – some day – we may encounter in heaven in such a way that we will be transformed by it forever and forever.  When Moses encountered God in the cloud on the mountain and in the tent, he came forth with a face shining so brightly that he had to wear a veil.  This is a foreshadowing of the transformative power of God’s majestas which he will share with the saints in heaven.

The priest waits upon majestas.

He waits on it, in that he awaits it.  And he waits upon it.  He serves it, like a waiting waiter, he serves it out as well.  He also desires it for his own future.  But in the present moment he waits upon it as a servant.  He is an attendant, in every sense.  He is one who waits and he is one who waits.

May God have mercy on all priests, sinner servants, attendant on the unmerited grace and gifts of the Victim Priest and Savior.  May God have mercy on me, a sinner.  Pray for me, a sinner.

Daily Prayer for Priests

O Almighty Eternal God, look upon the face of Thy Christ, and for the love of Him who is the Eternal High Priest, have pity on Thy priests. Remember, O most compassionate God, that they are but weak and frail human beings. Stir up in them the grace of their vocation which is in them by the imposition of the bishop’s hands. Keep them close to Thee, lest the Enemy prevail against them, so that they may never do anything in the slightest degree unworthy of their sublime vocation.

O Jesus, I pray Thee for Thy faithful and fervent priests; for Thy unfaithful and tepid priests; for Thy priests laboring at home or abroad in distant mission fields; for Thy tempted priests; for Thy lonely and desolate priests; for Thy young priests; for Thy aged priests; for Thy sick priests, for Thy dying priests; for the souls of Thy priests in Purgatory.

But above all I commend to Thee the priests dearest to

 me; the priest who baptized me; the priests who absolved me from my sins; the priests at whose Masses I assisted, and who gave me Thy Body and Blood in Holy Communion; the priests who taught and instructed me, or helped and encouraged me; all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way, particularly N. O Jesus, keep them all close to Thy Heart, and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity. Amen.

+Robert C. Morlino, Bishop of Madison, 6 September 2018

Posted in Cancelled Priests, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Priests and Priesthood, Save The Liturgy - Save The World, Seminarians and Seminaries, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices | Tagged , ,
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26 May 1991: 32nd anniversary of ordination

Booklet for the Mass

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

It is my anniversary of ordination today, 32 years ago, by St. John Paul II in St. Peter’s Basilica.  That might make me a 2nd class relic.

When this date rolls around, I usually say to myself:

“Well… I made it this far.”

On 26 May 1991, the Feast of St. Philip Neri, it was also Trinity Sunday.   It is a wonderful synchronicity that the parish in Rome to which I am so attached, is both the place of St. Philip Neri’s great work and also in honor of the Most Holy Trinity.

It was a perfect Roman May day.

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

Since we were 60 in number, and from many countries, the basilica was absolutely jammed with people from all over the world who had come for the ordinations, probably some 50k.

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

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

I often wonder what happened to the other men with whom I was ordained. I only knew a few of them personally, since I had been at the Lateran University with them.

It was the first year that the Iron Curtain was raised a bit.  A few men were permitted out Romania to come to Rome to be ordained by the Pope. There were some Opus Dei guys ordained with us.  Another of the group was John Corapi of the SOLT group, though I didn’t know him at the time. Pray for him.  One priest was ordained for the Archdiocese of Southwark in England. I know that one fellow is now a bishop in Haiti.

This day, especially when I review some of these videos and think about what has happened between then and now, underscores the fact that God doesn’t choose men who are worthy. He chooses those whom it pleases Him to choose.

I ask for your prayers today and in an ongoing way for my cares, my health, and my future.  Pray for canceled priests.  And please, in a special way, pray for the mother of a priest, my own.

The sermon from the Mass. The sermon is in Italian and the text is HERE.

I really miss him.

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

Imposition of hands.


Posted in Linking Back, Priests and Priesthood |

23 May 2023 – Reinstallation of St. Philip Neri’s altarpiece – VIDEO

St. Philip is home again.   The painting for the altar in the chapel dedicated to him at the parish has been restored and put back in its place.

Music from Musica Al Tempo Di Guido Reni

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Just Too Cool, Saints: Stories & Symbols | Tagged ,
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From “The Private Diary of Bishop F. Atticus McButterpants” – 23-05-21 – Cufflinks

May 2st, 2023

Dear Diary,

Yesterday and that “passionate” question got me thinking about my cufflinks.  They’ve almost all have great memories for me because they were mostly given.  Anyway, I went to look at them and counted 50 pairs.  A couple favs are those nice ones with black onyx when I was ordained a priest. When I made bishop, I got ones with amethysts, and one set with my coat of arms on them because that’s what the other guys get.   There’s shop in Rome where they make these things.  Who knew?  Thinking ahead – maybe a over optimistical – I think Jack “Daniels” got those ones with red garnets. I have some fun ones with dice that I used to wear at those Vegas nights. I have ones with ducks when I hang out with those rich guys who always go hunting. I also put them on when Jude’s around or I have to go over to Black Duck.  HA!   And he’s seen them.  I have some simple gold ones with tiny little diamonds – I wear those when I have to talk about the diocesan fundraiser or any budget stuff or when I visit the soup kitchens since they’re the not too flashy. I really think they’re all beautiful.  They make me happy.

I remember Msgr. Gilligan in the seminary told us once that all men tend to collect things as they get older. Married men have wives to keep them from getting too weird, but we don’t. He told us “find something you’re really interested in and collect that, but don’t be too weird.” Cufflinks. Why not?  That’s a passion and I don’t think that’s too weird.

Posted in Diary of Bp. McButterpants | Tagged

ROME 23/05 – Day 25: Picture show

Sunrise in Rome today was at 05:39 and sunset will be at 20:35 on this Feast of St. Gregory VII (+1085).

Welcome registrant:


In the traditional calendar it is also the Feast of St. Urban I who got a commemoration.   His Collect is interesting

Deus, qui Ecclésiam tuam, in apostólicæ petræ soliditáte fundátam, ab infernárum éruis terróre portárum: præsta, quæsumus; ut, intercedénte beáto Urbáno Mártyre tuo atque Summo Pontífice, in tua veritáte persístens, contínua securitáte muniátur.

O God, Who firmly established Your Church upon the rock of the apostle and delivered her from the dreadful powers of hell, grant, we beseech You, that through the intercession of blessed Urban, Your Martyr and Supreme Pontiff, she may remain faithful to Your truth so as to be always safe under Your protection.

That’s a mighty powerful prayer.   Can you imagine hearing such a prayer in any Mass of the Novus Ordo?  Doesn’t it seem out of step with our present day representation of the Apostolic See and College?

Something about Gregory VII (Hildebrand) is in order.  Here is Card. Schuster:

The story of this most valiant of the Popes (Hildebrand), at one time a most zealous Abbot of the monastery of St Paul at Rome, has many points of resemblance to that of the great Athanasius, for, if the latter in the fourth century was the invincible champion of the divine nature of the Word, in the eleventh, at a time, that is, when the Church lay degraded at the foot of the imperial throne of Germany, to which it had been enslaved by the ineptitude, the weakness, and the venality of many of its ministers, [Plus ça change,…] Gregory rose up fearlessly and, placing his trust in God, fought courageously, one against all, for the divine character of the mystical Spouse of Christ. Athanasius was forced to wander through the world with-out being able to find a safe spot to which to withdraw himself from the snares that the whole world seemed to have laid for him ; Gregory, in his turn, hated by his enemies, misunderstood by his friends, deprived of means and of all human help, rested calmly on the wings of his faith in God, and thus endured, unshaken, the burning of his pontifical metropolis, the anger of the populace, and even death in exile (1085). The last words of this determined Pontiff reflect the energetic temper of his mind : “I have loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore I die in exile.” He does not regret the past ; on the threshold of eternity his judgement of men and of events does not differ from that which he had formed during his life. Gregory blesses those who bow to his pontifical position, but at the very moment when he is about to pass through the gates of heaven, he resolutely closes those gates in the face of the Emperor Henry IV and his ministers, and of all who refused to submit to his apostolic authority.

Breakfast this morning. Since I always think of donations in concrete terms, I’ll simply pick at random from one of yesterday’s contributors, 24thers, to thank. Thanks KC! Un cappuccio e un cornetto semplice.  So good.

Yesterday, the newly restored altar piece of the St. Philip Neri altar of Ss. Trinità dei Pellegrini was put back into place.

Before they reinstalled the painting, I thought I’d leave a little trace of my affection, in the style of the youths of Rome.   Can you find it?  I tried to be subtle.


And so it went.

One of the priests literally supervising.

What I would like to see next is a super hi def photo with professional lighting of that portrait of St. Philip made while he was alive.  The parish would be able to sell copies, I think, and make a little dosh.

Yesterday they were also fixing a space for a recently restored reliquary of the great Saint for his day.

On the way home I saw this sight at one of the butcher shops and couldn’t help but be impressed at the application of the old phrase agere sequitur esse.

Yeah, pal.  I know the feeling.

Speaking of which, the altar of St. Philip today in church was lovely.

My dear readers, my dear benefactors, donors.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making it possible to be back here in situ, in my Roman environment.  If there are “rescue dogs” or “rescue horses” or whatever, there are also “rescue priests”.  Here is an example of my agere sequitur esse.

Yesterday in chess news, at the second leg of the Grand Chess Tour, the Warsaw Rapid and Blitz, now the Blitz phase, Magnus Carlsen won five straight games including one again the leader Jan-Krzysztof Duda of Poland. My guy Wesley So also did well. He beat Magnus with the Scandi opening.

People have asked why I like So so much. Firstly, he’s a devout and open Christian, whose past is, I believe Catholic, having grown up in the Philippines and having attended Catholic schools. He has a kind personality which comes out in his interviews. He lives now in my native place, the Twin Cities in Minnesota! He is also a super solid and consistent player. An admirable young man and super chess player. BTW… Magnus went on his winning streak after losing to Wesley.

Here is So V. Carlsen from yesterday (this has all the games so scroll down).  Animated GIF of the game HERE

Meanwhile, it’s white to move and mate in 2.  Can you find it?  This isn’t the easiest puzzle.

NB: I’ll hold comments with solutions ’till the next day so there won’t be “spoilers” for others.

Priestly chess players, drop me a line. HERE

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