VARIA: Concrete parish project of reparation (PDF); Fighting back in Chicago; Disasters, death and YOU!; a little Latin (AUDIO); some super Catholic trivia.

Some various notes.

Today I received the PDF of a booklet made for Sacred Heart parish in Grand Rapids, MI (the city in which you find the HQ of ACTON INSTITUTE).    This is what one parish is doing to respond to and to combat spiritually The Present Crisis.  It is a Parish Booklet of Reparation to be used over the next 9 months.  After I looked it over, I asked if I could make it more widely available.  It is a model for parishes on how to address today’s sin-infested chaos.  HERE  There are explanations, prayers, suggestions for penitential practices.  There are events scheduled at the parish for the whole of the nine months, including a “town hall” style meeting, during which serious issues were addressed.  I’m told that the meeting was… plain spoken.   Moreover, during the whole time, except for Christmas and Easter, they will drape the doors of the church in black.   These folks are doing what they can, and what they can is great.  Quantum potes, tantum aude.  It is a concrete program that could serve as a model for parishes and, indeed, dioceses.

Next, speaking of Acton, those of you in or near or able to get to Chicago in December, you will want to “save the date” for a Gala Dinner celebrating the Reclaiming of Western Civilization initiative of Acton Institute.  P.J. O’Rourke will speak at what looks to be an amazing event on 7 December at the Peninsula.  Visit or contact Nick Porter at (616) 454-3080.  This isn’t going to be a “walk in” event, I think.  One of the organizers tells me that they are aiming at “black tie” (I will have to make sure my ferraiuolo is in good shape).  There may even be… may.. be skating at the top of the Peninsula.  There are different levels of sponsorship and participation.   This looks exactly like the sort of thing that, right now, Chicago really needs to combat the… you know.

As Hurricane Michael barrels down on the Florida panhandle, I channel my inner Casandra to remind you that disasters always strike other people… until it’s your turn.  Two things about this.  Some disasters are pesky, some are lethal.  In view of a lethal crisis, GO TO CONFESSION.   Nothing scares me more than the thought of a “sudden and unprovided death”.  This is precisely the sort of death that we Catholics prayed about… when Catholics still prayed serious prayers instead of fumbling around with a lot “walking together”  and vain “discernment”.  In the great Litany we pray to God to save us from a “sudden and unprovided death”, unprovided in the sense that we don’t have the chance to receive the last sacraments or even to make an Act of Contrition.  Think about that.  RIGHT NOW, think about that.  It does happen to real people.  But it’s always someone else, right?    So, GO TO CONFESSION.

Together with the spiritual issues of facing disaster, some of you would perhaps like to live through disasters and some of you have the obligation to shepherd your families through to survival.   On this note, there are all sorts of preparations you can make.  The usefulness of “preparation” is found in that “pre”… before hand.  Waiting until something is coming is probably too late.   You have to have plans and prepositioned tools and goods.  We know about this.  However, there is another element of preparation that must be part of your work now.   In last month’s issue of Concealed Carry (August/September) there is an article about how fast things breakdown during a crisis.  It focuses on the “burbs”.  The writer makes the point that part of your preparation must include getting to know your neighbors, networking with them and even reconciling with them if there has been friction.  He cites how, in one place where supplies and groceries and power was lacking, people were stealing from each other within 48 hours.  They hadn’t even experienced true hardship, and yet things were already breaking down.

Next, since the Devil hates Latin, as do libs, it seems good to pray in Latin as often as possible.  A friend of mine who has a really high pressure job in the highest pressure of environments imaginable, asked me for some help with the pronunciation of the Angelus in Latin.  I cobbled up a quick recording, wherein I say the prayers slowly, according to the Roman fashion which includes the 3 Gloria and the prayers for the dead at the end.

In Rome and other places – such as here at the Cupboard Under The Stairs – you can hear the Angelus rung.  Ideally we ring it at 0600 – 1200 – 1800.  The pattern of the bells can vary.  Sometimes there will be three sets of three (or an ascending number) strikes followed by peeling.  Many parish churches still have an “Angelus bell” in their towers, though it may not be used for that purpose any longer.  What a shame.   Only people with bad consciences are bothered by the sound of bells.

On a related note.  Besides the Angelus in Rome, once upon a time you could hear the ringing of the “Ave Maria” bell, especially around the Roman Curia.

This is a relic of time calculation from when accurate clocks were not simply everywhere.

The Ave Maria sounded a single bell struck 3 times, then 4 times, 5 times, and then 1 time.  The Ave Maria indicates the change of the religious day from day to night.

The Ave Maria is rung half an hour after sunset. If the Ave Maria is rung at 1800, as it is from 4-13 October, therefore today, then 1700 starts the 23rd hour of the day and 1900 is the 1st hour of the next day.  (From 13-22 Oct, it’s at 17:45)

When there were large religious communities in Roman churches and chapters of canons, Vespers would be sung an hour before the Ave Maria Bell. Today, for example, they would be sung at 1700.  However, in the Roman Curia, Cardinals and other officials would still receive people in audience for the hour after the Ave Maria Bell rang. An hour after the Ave Maria, a single bell would toll, thus ending all business for the day, since it was the first hour of night.

Thus, the Roman Ave Maria Bell.

There may be some parallels with the naval watches.  I have a ship’s bell that merrily chimes the nautical hours in their pairs of little tones.  It would be fun to have a clock set to ring the ecclesial hours.  It could be programmed also to toll at 3 PM on Friday and, on Saturday evening, to ring for a while to remind us of the coming Sunday.   Nice to think about.

Tempus autem fugit.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Malta says:

    I told my Spiritual Adviser of my concerns for the world–possibly the fulfillment of Akita, and “fire falling from the sky.” He sort of agreed, and said it will take great destruction to renew everything. But, he gave me the story of the Monk who was gardening, and knew the world as we know it was going to end, and fellow Monks asked him what he was going to do the next day, an the holy Monk replied, “keep gardening.”

    I read that the super-rich are building bunkers in New Zealand fearing social chaos. For me, I have a specially built AR-15 with a military scope; but I know that won’t save me, nor a stockpile of food. Only the Rosary can save me, if God even wants me saved in the troubled days ahead.

  2. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    The parish in Concord, MA, held a “Lamentation” service to allow people to share their feelings about the current abuse scandal — not reparation exactly, but community building. It began with pastor and parishioners gathering in the church with lights dimmed; the pastor speaking on the Biblical practice of lamentation; a hymn, “In a Time of Pain” by Fr. Fran O’Brien (friend of the pastor). A high point was then a woman from the parish council proclaimed the gospel, and gave a long homily.

    An extended quote from the pastor: “After the homily we heard Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise, offered by our pianist and cantor… Following Vocalise there was an opportunity for individuals to come forward to a microphone and standing before the altar and crucifix, pray their own lament. As “starters” we offered these phrases in the worship aid: O God… I lift up the pain of… I grieve… I’m angered by… I cry for justice for… my heart is broken by… I plead for… We provided index cards and pens for those who did not choose to come to the mic and invited them to place their written laments in a basket on the altar…”

    Full post on the service is here:

  3. ChrisP says:

    Malta: the super rich purportedly building bunkers here in New Zealand will find out the pantheist society that we are will easily destroy any bunker and pillage it if and when things go pear shaped. Plus, we’re due a good 8M earthquake + a possible volcanic eruption in the next 20-30yrs, so it’s not such an easy paradise for them.

  4. ex seaxe says:

    Happy to report that our Angelus Bell has been restored, a couple of years ago. It seems much louder inside the church than outside, I nearly jumped out of my skin last week during Exposition when it automatically sounded at 18:00, evidently I was not clock watching.

  5. Philmont237 says:

    I don’t mind the silence of not hearing bells, but I spent six months in the deserts of Allah hearing the Adhan sung over loud speakers five times a day. When I got back to Christendom and heard bells for the first time again, I wept for happiness.

  6. APX says:

    Our church doesn’t have actual bells, just electronic recorded bells, but they do ring for the Angelus at noon and can be heard from quite a distance. Meanwhile church bells (and wind chimes)have been silenced by city hall in the city I grew up in. Too many complaints from an seniors’ complex having nap time interrupted by bells and too many neighbour disputes over the wind chimes. First world problems.

  7. FrCharles says:

    Thanks for this, Fr. Z.! I have seen the Ave Maria time on my Roman Curia daily calendar but I had not understood it properly until now.

  8. HighMass says:

    Oh to hear His Voice again, Our Dear Pope Benedict. How much he is missed, Jesus knows what we all have in our hearts, and we beg Jesus to straighten out this mess the church is in. Sure is sad the wrong Pope is retired would highly recommend retirement to Berglio. A good house cleaning is in order Liberal Cardinals and Bishop’s need to move on also.

    Let us Pray for an Orthodox Pope in the next conclave.

  9. KateD says:

    I taught my children to pray the Angelus in Latin by purchasing the Daughters of Mary album “A Day In The Cloister” on iTunes. I then set an alarm on my iPhone to play their version of the Angelus at 6am, Noon and 6pm while we sang along.

    They picked it up quickly, by singing it and *BONUS* our home is filled with their beautiful little voices lifted up in prayerful chant to God. My husband and I, being post Vatican II Catholics left bereft of our heritage during our childhoods, used the crutch of taking a photo (on said iPhone) of the Angelus prayer in Latin and read along until we finally got it down pat.

    It is a special treat when we can get over to the church to sing it….occasionally the children have been given permission to ring the bells as we pray it, which is great fun. (Never hurts to ask….they might just say okay. Right?)

  10. maternalView says:

    Thanks for the PDF. I’m sharing it. It’s helpful to have all that in one handy booklet.

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