The Value of the Mass

The Value of the Mass
Up to our own times, it has been the constant concern of supreme pontiffs to ensure that the Church of Christ offers a worthy ritual to the Divine Majesty, 'to the praise and glory of His name,' and 'to the benefit of all His Holy Church - Pope Benedict XVI, Summorum Pontificum

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Amazing Post

I wanted to share this link with all of you. If you haven't checked out the blog Unam Sanctam Catholicam, you need to. Especially this post. The blogger over there is currently reading "Pope John's Council" by Michael Davis. He does an excellent job of commenting on the first two chapters. Check it out!

Friday, December 28, 2007

New Years Almost Here

Well, 2008 is almost here. We get to look forward to a year of political lies through presidential campaigning. But before we have to deal with all of that, we get to enjoy some parties remembering the good times of 2007. I know that I will.

A big part of these parties is almost always alcohol. To some, drink is a demon. To others, drink is a blessing to enjoy good times. What makes the difference? Well, in one word, abuse. It's important to remember this year that alcohol is only a blessing to a point. Formerly managing a liquor store, I've seen many times when drinking has crossed the line from being a blessing to a curse, from being a friend to lift spirits (no pun intended) to being an agent of death. I'm blogging this simple message to ask all of you out there to drink responsibly and to listen to your friends. If they say you may have a problem, you may want to listen to them, because there are other blessings you can enjoy to ring in the new year besides alcohol.

May God bless you all this year. Cheers!
(BTW, my drink of choice and recommendation: A Martini made with Bombay Sapphire Gin, a drop of extra dry vermouth garnished with a lemon or orange twist)

I Was There

I just found a clip on youtube for the Rorate Mass broadcast on EWTN. I was lucky enough to go to that Mass. I'm not sure if I'm in the clip, but if you haven't seen it yet, enjoy!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Changing the Face of the Liturgy in Rome

I'm not sure how many of you are taking notice, but the face of the high altar at St. Peter's in Rome is quickly changing. These changes include the movement of the altar cross from the edge of the altar to the center as well as the addition of the 7th candle.

"So what?" you might be asking. Well, these changes, although seemingly small at St. Peter's, indicate a whole new mindset at the Vatican concerning liturgy. As a matter of fact, from a liturgists point of view, the Pope has stopped saying Masses versus populum and is now saying Mass ad orientem.

"But Zach, the pope hasn't switched directions when saying Mass!" Well, as far a his physical orientation, no he hasn't. This is because the nave of St. Peter's faces west (when walking toward the altar.) This set up is the same in all of the Roman basilicas. However, the changes the pope has made are the same changes that your parish priest would make if he would start using the high altars. Let me explain. The difference is in emphasis. The versus populum orientation was adopted in the Mass so that people have "access" to the Mass and can see what is going on at the altar. The focus of Mass being said ad orientem is the priest facing God to address him in prayer and to face the rising Son of God. The emphasis has once again been taken up at the Vatican. This is shown by the placement of the candles and altar cross in the traditional layout. The pope is no longer concerned (or at least seems to be) with being able to face the people during Mass or the people seeing the action at the altar. He now seems to be concerned with doing his duty at the altar. Namely, offering sacrifice.

If you still don't understand the significance of these actions by the pope, I would suggest reading the popes book "The Spirit of the Liturgy" as well as the great liturgical treasure "Reform of the Roman Liturgy" by Msgr. Claus Gambier.

God Bless.

Back from a Merry Christmas

Well, the rush of Christmas is over and everything is slowing down again. I got to spend this Christmas with my mom and was able to attend a beautiful Mass a midnight at my former home parish of St. Vincent de Paul in Mt. Vernon, Ohio.

If you ever go through Mt. Vernon, St. Vincent's is quite a church to visit. The current church was built in 1923 and is in English Gothic design. Unfortunately, the high altars suffered the same fate as many others after Vatican II, as well as the votive stands. However, all of our beautiful murals, statues, and windows survived. The windows in the church depict the joyful and sorrowful mysteries of the rosary as well as the death of St. Joseph. The St. Joseph window, in my opinion, is the most beautiful. There are also 8 statues in the church (the Sacred Heart, two of the Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Martin of Tours, St. Theresa, and St. Anthony) as well as 3 statues on the outside lawn of the church (The Sacred Heart, Our Lady of Victory and the Blessed Mother.) The murals are amazing as well, although I can't describe them with words, you'll just have to go see the church!

The Mass at midnight was very good as well. There is a great calming effect at St. Vincent's. The church offers a great silence and place for prayer. Also, to me, there is something special about Mass at midnight on Christmas. I can't think of any good reason to go to another Christmas Mass other than the one at midnight. (I'm not saying other people don't have good reasons to go to others though).

All of these things made for a great Christmas for me. Even without the presents, lights, and candy, just the midnight Mass is the highlight of Christmas for me and makes all of the panic worth it.

May God bless you this Christmas season.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

My dear friends,

I haven't done a lot of blogging lately. With my new job and the joy of Christmas upon us I have been very busy. I have been thinking about this season that is readily upon us. What a great meditation this is. Remember that soon we will remember the day that our creator entered the created world for love of us. A child, so small and meek was almighty God. What a great mystery that the weight of all of creation rested on the shoulders of a babe. As we remember such a joyous day I urge you to give thanks for all God has given you. If He has given you great blessings such as family and friends be sure to spend time with them. If He has given you crosses, remember that those too are blessings, for even the blessed babe of Bethlehem was born to carry a cross.

I wish you all a blessed Christmas season I promise to post more after Christmas. In the meantime I leave you with these tidings of comfort and joy for the season.


Merry and Blessed Christmas

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Tradition: Theology not Novelty

In the last few weeks I have noticed a trend among certain traditionalist circles to love tradition for the "novelty" of it. That is, to dedicate themselves to tradition for the sake of dedicating themselves to something old. This is the wrong attitude to have when committing yourself to the traditional form of the Mass.

Our dedication to the tradition of the Church, especially the Mass, must be a theological one and not a nostalgic or for the sake of something old. These are merely novelties. It is no better, in my opinion, to go to the traditional Mass for this reason than for a priest or parish council to introduce folk, rap, or rock music into the Novus Ordo. The way I look at it there is no difference.

We have to remember that the traditional Mass is the foundation witness to our belief as Catholics. The elements of sacrifice and external reverence serve to remind us and to witness to the world our belief in the redemptive nature of the sacrifice of Calvary, the divinity of Christ and his real and substantial presence in the Eucharist. This is not merely a novelty and should not be treated as such.

Yes, it's easy to romanticize about medieval monks in a great monastery or a knight prostrating himself before a grand high altar and pretend that we still live in that age. This, however, is nothing but fantasy and to treat the Mass as such is a great farce. It is an easy trap that I'm finding more and more people falling into. I'm not saying that it's necessarily an evil to call to mind the pious images of the monk, or knight. It is a reality that at the traditional Mass we do worship with them in mind, body, and spirit. It is the same Mass. However, these images should bring to mind the reasons why these thought are pious. It is because these people believed in Christ, His Church, and the power of His sacrifice on the altar.

In short, it's important to remember why the tradition of the Church, especially in the Mass, is important. It's not because we love novelty, it's because we love our faith.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Back From Thanksgiving (for a while)

Well, it's been a while since I've gotten back from Thanksgiving. I figure I would post about it. I don't think it's any secret now that I've been visiting the seminary for the FSSP in Denton. Thanksgiving made my second trip. I have to say that that seminary is absolutely wonderful. What a place of prayer. Absolutely everything revolves around Christ. The seminarians lives are so filled with inner joy that it's indescribable. Unlike the Josephinum, where seminarians seem to have nothing but contempt for everything they do, the seminarians in Denton know exactly why they're there. Prayer proceeds everything and life is structured to where the seminarians lives revolve around the seminary life and the seminary life revolves around Christ and his church. It was also nice to see priests teaching the classes. The interaction between the priests and the students was a lot different than what I was used to. The seminarians really trust the priests they have contact with. There is great honor given to the sacred priesthood there and thus great honor and trust is given to every individual priest.

I've spent a total of 3 weeks (my first trip and my most recent) with the Fraternity and I absolutely love it. I only hope my application process goes well. I'll leave that one up to God though. Boy, discernment can be difficult.

As for the trip itself, it went wonderful. For anybody who's wondering, the trip from Columbus to Denton is 17 hours one way. On our way back, we stayed in Chicago with the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (see link to side). They were very hospitable and even the short time we stayed with them was very tranquil. The brothers and priest there showed nothing but kindness and hospitality to us.

We also got a chance to go to downtown Chicago. For those of you who have never been to Chicago, it's wonderful and worth the trip. The pizza alone is worth the trip. I would suggest the place near the base of the Sears tower with the famous stuffed pizza. For the life of me, I can't remember the name of that place, but it's gooooooooood! I would also recommend going to the top of the Sears tower. What a view! It's was absolutely awesome! It's also $22 so be prepared.

When leaving we visited St. John Cantius church. It's right outside of downtown and is absolutely breathtaking! Unfortunately we only saw the church (like that's unfortunate!) and didn't get a chance to talk to the brothers or stay there for a Mass.

Lastly, on this trip I'm only left with this last advice... don't go to Toledo. Worst part of the trip!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Off for Thanksgiving

Well, starting Tuesday, I will not be blogging for a bit. I will be out of town on Thanksgiving (at a secret location oooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooo.) I know I haven't been blogging a lot lately, but I'm hoping to pick that up when I get back. I have gotten several books on the various rites of the west that existed before Vatican II that I will be highlighting on this blog. Although they will by no means be exhaustive, I'm hoping that they will be a bit informitave. I hope to see you all when I get back!

+Oremus pro invicem +

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Gloria! Gloria! Gloria!

I just saw this on youtube. This is one of the most magnificant gloria's I've ever heard. Check out these three video's in order to hear it:

Video 1 Video 2 Video3

If I were pope I would so use this for my easter vigil Mass. That's about the only context this makes sense in because the gloria is over 20 min long.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Prayer Request

My dear friends,

Please keep a special friend named John in your prayers for me. He recently underwent a traumatic experience and he is in ICU and is in great need of prayer. His family has set up a blog to update friends and family as to his status. You can view it here. Please pray for him, and let his family know that you're praying for him via their blog. Thanks and God bless.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Lovely Song

I just saw on another blog this video. I think it's pretty cool and I wanted to share it with all of you.

Serious Faith or Mockery

Wow, I haven't blogged for a really long time. I almost forgot I had one! Seriously, though, I've been in a slump about what to blog about. Not to mention, I've been a bit disorganized as of late. Not to disappoint any of my readers (who have probably given up on my blog thinking it was closed) but I won't be posting anything about my trip to Denton last October. My reasons are my own.

I am however going to speak about this video. I saw this on another blog (and subsequently through youtube) and was disgusted. This video is the most absurd thing I have ever seen. I was watching it with a friend of mine and asked him "When did the Catholic Church stop taking itself seriously?" This is an important question. I can say, coming from a background which includes protestantism as well as extreme secularism, that any non-catholic who saw this would never feel any ounce of a pull to become involved in the Church.

This video reminds me of when I was in high school and would see such things. Jesus Jams, Youth Rallies; they're all a bunch of crap. I apologise for the harsh language, but my feelings about such things are coming to a head. This is because the mecca for such patronising crap geared toward young people, the National Catholic Youth Conference, is coming to Columbus. Just before leaving the Josephinum, I got to see the promotional video for this. You can see it here.

I'd like to know who plans these things. Are they seriously trying to convince young people that the Apostles and saints died for this emotional high Mickey Mouse crap!?!

It really is patronising if you think about it, and it isn't going to increase the attractiveness of young people to the Church. I would bet my life that the majority of the young people in the above video will either be in this situation in less than 5 years. They will more than likely not regularly attend Mass and will probably approach a priest within that time asking to be married while cohabiting and using birth control. This isn't the way to approach young people.

I remember when I was young(er than I am now) all I wanted to do was be an adult. I wanted to do what adults did. I wanted responsibility. I wanted my life to be a serious thing heading for a serious good. I would look at these goofy gospel rallies and laugh. I always thought then that, quite obviously, faith was not something people took seriously. It was a game, and that game looked boring to me. I could find 1000 things more fun to do than go to something like that. And I did.

I didn't know that faith could be serious until I met some people who were serious about their faith, and unfortunately, at first, those people weren't Catholic. I only say this as an example to the opportunities that the Church truly has to reach out to young people thrown out the window. Not only that, but I wasn't entirely sure I made the right decision until I saw the faith taken seriously like this , and this. Thank God for faithful priests and bishops who take their faith seriously.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Coming Soon

Coming Soon:

Details on my trip to Denton, Nebraska. If you're wondering why I haven't posted in a while, It's because I just recently made a trip to Denton, NE. I drove and it was a 17 hour road trip. I just got back to Ohio last night after a 17 hour drive. I'm still quite tired and don't feel like going into a lengthy post about it. The short story is I have pictures as well as many details. I should be posting within the next few days about it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Help the Shrine of Christ the King

My dear friends,

The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest have undertaken a great task. That is to restore the Shrine of Christ the King, formally St. Gelasius, in Chicago. Please check out their website for drawings of what they wish to do to the church. Also, they will be on EWTN tonight with their architect, William Heyer, whom I know personally. They really have some great plans in store for this Church, so please consider making a contribution. Also, check out the shrine's website here.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The PCJ on the Blogosphere

Recently the Pontifical College Josephinum caught some attention over on Fr. Z's website. Not wanting to look like a bitter seminarian (because I'm not) I withheld a lot of information. Now that some of this information has been made public by Fr. Z and a seminarian(s) still at the Josephinum, I thought I would go ahead and pass along the information. You can get all the details here. Judge for yourself, but know that I had nothing to do with Fr. Z making the post. The talk in question was given by the rector to theologians only and it was given after I had already been dismissed.

[EDIT: Fr. Z has removed the post due to controversy and immense response to the information contained therein.]

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Video for a Friend

I just saw this video and thought it was amazing. It's a slide show and commentary of the Wyoming Carmalite Monks (see the link in the vocation station). I know of a friend who is interested in these guys, so hopefully he will see this video. Check it out!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Where were you?

The question of our generation! Where were you on Summorum Pontificum day? I was right here, on the right side of the picture with the thurible.

Guide to the Traditional Mass

Since the release of the Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, I have seen a lot of blog posts on how to use a missal or what gestures to follow and various phisical responses in the traditional Mass. I have also seen people constantly say that "active participation" is primarily a contemplitive aspect. These two responces seem directly opposed to each other. On the one hand we say that people should try to enter into contemplation at the traditional Mass and then on the other we tell them every single time one should respond "et cum spiritu tuo."

I'm not saying here that there's anything wrong with making responses or knowing when to stand and kneel. These are important things. What I am saying is that focusing on these things, especially at first, is not the way to foster a contemplitive spirit at the Mass.

So, that being said, here is ZACH'S GUIDE TO ATTENDING THE TRADITIONAL MASS!!!!!!!

If you've never attended a Mass in the Traditional Roman Rite, now called the Extraordinary Use of the Roman Rite, then you have to attend at least 3. Here's why. The first time you attend, typically, you will leave confused and you will have the biggest headache you've ever had. This is especailly true if you attended a solemn high Mass or a pontifical Mass as your first Extraordinary Use Mass. This is because there is so much to take in and combined with the fact that you probably don't know a thing that's going on and your brain just can't absorb it all, so it blows up (or at least feels like it). The second time you attend will be similar, but the headache will be less or non-existant. The third time you go, you will be floored and you will want to know more and more and more about this ancient rite.

So, how does one approach the Extraordinary Use Mass for the first time. Many people will tell you that when you first go to the traditional Mass to find a 1962 hand missal and to shove your nose in it through the whole Mass so you "know what's going on." I'm going to flat out say here that that's a stupid idea. If you go to the Mass with your nose in a missal you will never be able to appriciate the traditional Mass and, despite common belief, you won't know what's going on. Most of the prayers that you would read in a missal are said in silence at the Mass. So while you're busy trying to find where you are in the Mass because you'll have missed a lot of prayers, the Mass will already be about 10 pages ahead of where you think it is. In my opinion, hand missals are a useful thing, but there best use is when you are at home so you can study the Mass and learn what's going on. So, when you go to the traditional Mass for the first time, leave the missal at home.

So, we've established what you don't do. Here's what you should do. Pay attention to what the priest is doing. Pay attention to every action, because every action in the traditional Mass has meaning even if only a symbolic one. Remember also that the Mass isn't about you, so don't get upset if you can't see or understand what the priest is doing. Just remember that he is performing the sacrifice and at that instant is acting in the person of Christ, so at the very least you should be looking at him as you would look at Christ on the Holy Cross. The traditional Mass is as if you are climbing a mountain. The summit of which is the elevation. At the elevation, you have seen God, you have seen the greatest act ever done on Earth. What a mericle. What a priviledge to see God in the flesh appear before you. So you continue toward the summit, and at last, when recieving communion, you have recieved the fullness of all things. The creator of all the universe now approaches you, so you kneel before the altar and recieve this great gift.

Remember to always approach the traditional Mass with humility. You will be immideately struck by the realisation that the Mass is not about you. It is about God. You must submit yourself to it and realise that you are now at the foot of Calvery, looking at our Lord, and He looks at you.

I hope that this little guide and discription helps you the next time you go to a Mass in the Extraordinary Use of the Roman Rite. I hope as you continue to go that you will become more contemplitive in your approach to the Mass in either use and that your love for God will be fostered through uniting youself with the sacrifice of the Mass by being truely active.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


My dear internet friends,

The URL of my blog no longer makes any sense. As of Friday September 14, 2007, I am no longer a seminarian. I was dismissed from the Pontifical College Josephinum on Summorum Pontificum day (The Exhaltation of the Holy Cross.) I won't go into much detail about it here.

I will still continue to blog, although I won't have any posts about seminary live (duh!)

I want to thank you all for your prayers and comments since I started this blog, and I would ask that you still pray for me as I continue to discern what God wants for me in my life.

-oremus pro invicem


Friday, September 14, 2007

Summorum Pontificum!!!

Happy Independence Day!!!

Today, Summorum Pontificum takes the force of Law in the Church. It is a great day worthy of great celebration! How are you celebrating??

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Thank you for your prayers


Thank you all for praying for my friend. He had to have surgery to remove his appendix and everything went fine. He his well on his way to recovery.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Please pray for a friend of mine

My friends,

I just got word that earlear today a friend of mine was taken to the hospital and may have to undergo surgery. Please pray for him.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Greek Fest at Columbus Ohio

Well, yesterday we went to the Greek Fest, a local festival at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral. We had good food, good music, good drinks and got to see an Orthodox vespers service. The priests and the monk present were very nice and cordial and the Cathedral is just breathtaking. Check it out:

Despite being built approx. 10 years ago, the cathedral still retains a very sacred style of architecture. Boy, I wish we could still build them like this again.

One of the first things you notice when entering the cathedral is the breathtaking mosaics. The dominant one is of Christ on the main dome.

The Icon screen was made of pure white marble. You can notice the great mosaics behind it as well.
We were lucky enough to catch a vespers service while we were there. The monk is from a local monastery here in Ohio.
Combined with the cathedral, the food and drinks were awesome as well. I highly recommend a baklava sundae.


I was thinking about my blog the other day and was wondering how many people use the different things on my blog. Specifically, I was wondering about the vocation station. If you use the vocation station (the list of male orders on the right side) comment here and let me know. If it's successful enough, or if I get enough requests, I'll put a female counterpart here.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

New Boston Colonial Fest

Yesterday I went to the New Boston Colonial Fest located near Springfield, Ohio. It really was a great. Souvenirs were relatively cheap (except for period clothing), plus we got to see come cannons fired. The only stupid thing there is that these people seem to be under the concept that the only religion in the 1790's was witchcraft because there were an abundance of tarot card readers, one of which had the audacity to be selling hand made rosaries. I'm guessing she was a misguided Catholic who made her own rosaries and decided that would be a good venue to sell them.

Overall it was pretty great though. Check out these pictures

I need to get me one of those tents for the next time I go camping!

The costumes there (for the most part) were pretty cool.

Dan and Shawn in the stocks. That'll teach them to argue with me!
It was around this time I started smacking Dan in the head because he couldn't do anything about it.Then he did something about it.However, Shawn got a worse punishment for his crime. Because he refused to shower for months at a time he was made to sell flowers in the stocks! Only $1.00!In the end it all seemed to turn out well though. I made my escape and Shawn was in a better mood. It was win/win.

After all was said and done, Shawn and I escaped and had a good beer and a smoke.

Then Shawn got a little bit too drunk and decided to join the local militia.

They decided to put him in charge of the artillery. Notice he's drinking on the job.

I offered to help but all I did was philosophise. I'm not even sure why they let me touch the thing.Then Dan got into the act yelling and screaming "when I was your age I used to use one of these things in the north against the injins!"

Well, that was kind of the last straw. When the Captain saw that Shawn was letting civilians mess with the artillery they threatened to put us in the stocks again. We decided to run instead. After dodging cannon fire for about an hour, we finally made it back to the Josh.

Well, that was our trip. After I patch the bullet holes and wash off the gunpowder I'll get to blogging again. Until then, please pray for me.