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

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Home sweet Home

I wanted to share this picture with all of you. This is a picture of Wheeling, West Virginia. I absolutely love this town. Most of my family is from here and I think it is the best little town in the world. The scenery is beautiful. It a big, little city in the middle of God's country. Entertainment includes a casino, a small classical theater and all the mountains, fishing, and camping anybody could want. This town is really where my heart is. It's an old Irish and Slovic coal mining town so there are a lot of beautiful catholic and orthodox churches in the city as well. If you're ever in the northern panhandle of West Virginia, make sure to spend some time in this quaint little town.

EDIT: I just found out that Wheeling is an Indian word that means "Place of the Skull." How cool is that? Golgotha? Hmmmmmmmmmm

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Different Era, Same Ideal

A short wile ago I posted about the Cathedral of Christ the Savior church in Moscow. Here is a short video of its destruction. I find a frightening comparison to the destruction of our Churches in this modern era. Both the destruction of Christ the Savior and the distruction of Churches in today do not have God as their source.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Look Back at the Good Old Days

Here's a video I made with pictures of my various adventures at the Josephinum. Enjoy!

Take a good look

Take a good look at the above picture. It's a picture of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. The church is absolutely breathaking. It's worth a second glance though because the church you are looking at was built within the last 10 years. The original Cathedral of Christ the Savior was destroied by the communists. With the fall of communism, the church was comissioned to be rebuilt. Who says we can't build 'em like we used to?

Friday, January 25, 2008

From Trent to Today

Recently I just purchased a copy of the Catechism of the Council of Trent (CCT). I found the work so profound and clear that I felt I had to share it and, of course, comment on its application today. Lets begin with the pinnacle of our faith, the Holy Eucharist.

Pt. II Chapter IV Question I:

"Why the Mysteries of the Eucharist ought to be treated and received with the deepest reverence."

"As of all the sacred mysteries bequeathed to us by our Lord and Saviour as most unfailing instruments of divine grace, there is none comparable to the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist; so, also, for no crime is there a heavier punishment to be feared from God, than for the unholy or irreligious use by the faithful of that which is full of all holiness, or rather which contains the author himself and source of holiness. This the Apostle wisely saw, and of it he has openly admonished us; for when he had declared the enormity of their guilt, 'who discerned not the body of the lord', he immediately subjoined: 'Therefore are there many infirm and weak among you, and many sleep.' That the faithful people, therefore, aware that to this heavenly sacrament are due divine honours, may derive therefrom abundant fruit of grace, and escape the most just anger of God, pastors will explain, with the greatest diligence, all those things which may seem calculated more fully to display its majesty."

The article begins immediately by emphasizing the absolute Holiness of the Eucharist. It draws the equation between belief and action. The Eucharist is God Almighty and thus should be feared as such. It explains that "for no crime is there a heavier punishment to be feared from God." This passage instantly draws to mind the acts of sacrilege in the Church today. When parishes and clergy treat the Eucharist as a joke (clown masses, barney masses, etc.) or as if what happens at the altar as nothing, they are in fact giving such treatment to God.

One of the things that struck me is how this catechism admonishes pastors of souls. Question I states that "pastors will explain, with the GREATEST diligence, all those things which may seem calculated more fully to display its [the Eucharistic mystery] majesty."

Do we see this today? With modern church designs and contemporary liturgy? Is this great mystery properly presented to the faithful? Is the majesty of God properly displayed when the Mass is said on a bare table in a room with whitewashed walls? Is the solemnity of the moment of God coming amongst us once again on the altar really displayed by a pastor having everybody act like yahoos? I think not. Perhaps all of this comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of God, creating the image of a "buddy Jesus." I think this may be partly to blame and thus most of the responsibility falls on the bishops to make sure that their priests are properly formed.

Even though the brunt of responsibility does fall on the bishop, some also falls on priests and seminarians. They must realise that intellectual assent in not enough, according to the CCT. Beyond mere intellectual realization, they must properly display such majesty and glory to their parishioners in their churches, sermons, and liturgical practices.

There is some weight to be given to pastoral implementation of some things. Although immediate implementation of proper pious practices into a previously impious parish would be like thrusting Judas into the arms of Christ after betraying him thus causing him to flee, one should still not make changes slowly. After all, we're talking about peoples souls. I think it is inevitable that some people leave because of proper changes to the building, liturgy, or sermon content, but doing so, they reject the notion that proper majesty is due to God.

Many may be asking by now in this post "If people are going to church in such a bad parish, why ruffle feathers? At least they are going to Mass." Well, as the Catechism says "That the faithful people, therefore, aware that to this heavenly sacrament are due divine honours, may derive therefrom abundant fruit of grace, and escape the most just anger of God." We see here that this is not just about aesthetic tastes. If people are not brought to realize the majesty in the reality of Christ being present transubstantially in the Eucharist they are deprived from the grace of God. Not only that, but they risk committing sacrilege and angering God.

Of course, I think it goes without saying that in my opinion the traditional liturgy (of any rite) solves such dilemmas.

A Return to Greatness

With the recent events, liturgically, at the Vatican I can't help but hope that some day our Holy Father will celebrate a Papal Mass in the Extraordinary Form. The video above shows the Canon during a Papal High Mass of John XXIII. It's interesting to note that the Masses of the Pope were greatly different from even that of a normal Pontifical Mass. You'll also see some similarity to the way the altar is set up. As I have said before, what Benedict XVI did at the Sistine Chapel was of no surprise to me. In my opinion, the Pope began saying Mass ad orientem the minute he rearranged the altar in St. Peters. He seems to be making logical steps to me with the end point being obvious. Long live the Pope!

This ones for Shawn

This one's for Shawn. He'll know what it means. Free at last!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Monday, January 21, 2008

Traditional Mass in PA

Somebody just sent this video to me of a small parish celebrating the traditional Mass. It immediately struck me because of the "smallness" of the parish and yet the great enthusiasm that is manifested in the video for the traditional Mass.

I imagine that the situation for this parish is similar to that of my home parish just based on the way the altar is set up (freestanding with the tabernacle on another surface). Still, the video shows that the faith is still alive and strong.

Testing a new tool

I just saw this little device over on the Cafeteria is Closed blog and I thought I would give it a try. This is just a test so feel free to help me see if it works!

Better Late than Never!

Wow, I hadn't realised how long I have been blogging. It's almost been a year now.

I was just going through some of my older posts and was reminiscing about my trip to St. Louis. I was taking a look at this post about St. Francis de Sales Oratory and realised that I NEVER POSTED THE PICTURES OF FR. TALARICO'S FIRST MASS!!!!

Well, here they are. I think a lot of these pictures turned out well. Plus, the Institute was taking advantage of their indult to use blue vestments. It's all pretty awesome. Please remember Fr. Talarico in your prayers as he is now out at the ICRSS oratory in New Jersey.

(BTW, the pictures are extremely out of order. They're still cool though)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Septuagesima Sunday!

I just thought I would post some pictures of the vestments we used today, Septuagesima Sunday. These beautiful violet vestments were made by the good Benedictine Nuns at House of Ephesus. All of their vestments are always worth getting. Beautiful!

Friday, January 18, 2008

My Title Picture

I've had a couple of people ask me for a copy of the title picture on my blog. I'm making it available here for download. Just simply right click and save. I can't remember if I gave any information about it either. The picture is of a Solemn High Mass in a bombed out church in Germany in 1945 to celebrate the end of the war. I think it goes without saying how powerful this image is.
I should proabably give credit where credit is due as well. I got this picture from my friend over at St. Louis Catholic. Check his blog out. It's a great thing!

More from the Sacristans Closet

If many of you out there want to get a solemn high vestment set for your priest, or if you're a priest who wants a solemn high vestment set, but you can't take the time for a great deal of shipping or custom manufacturing, here is a set for you! If I remember correctly, this set is either made by the Almy or R.J. Toomey company. These vestments are a good quality, and if I had to guess were made from a combination of silk and some man made fiber.
Although they aren't the fanciest of vestments, the brocade is noble enough and the set is downright functional. The set is also durable. The Chasuble, seen above, is used quite often here at Holy Family.
The biggest benefit to this set is the fact that it's made by a manufacturer (Toomey or Almy) that is usually carried by your local Catholic supply store, so the shipping trouble can be handled by your local store.

Longing for Return

I have had many discussions in the past with my friends regarding my attitudes toward the Orthodox churches. Although we have roadblocks that seperate us, I personally enjoy the company of an orthodox over a modernist any day.

Of all the Orthodox churches that I long to come back into communion with Rome is the one the seems the farthest away. That is the Orthodox church of Russia. In my opinion, they have the most beautiful churches and traditions of all of the orthodox churches. They are also a strong willed people (part of what keeps them from unity with the Pope) forged by decades of oppression. While I continue to lament their seperation from us, I constantly look to their art as sources of beauty in my life. I hope you will enjoy some as well.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New Website for the Carmel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

I just thought that I would pass along some information about the Carmelites in Wyoming. I've had their link on my blog for some time now and if you haven't taken a look at their website lately, it has changed. I have to say that this is a pretty awesome website!

For Charismatics

I want to start by saying that I have nothing against charismatics, but just that I think that the charismatic movement is patronising to young people.
That being said, I would like to share these pictures of a traditional parish in Nigeria. So much for the charismatic movement being the force of strength in Christian Africa.

What surprises me is that the African people get sold short when it comes to the way Christianity is portrayed. I recently heard of a conversation between a priest friend of mine and an African bishop and, according to my friend, the bishop commented that the Motu Proprio was the greatest thing to happen for Africa. This is because African priests, sent to western seminaries, go away with great spirituality and then return with these ideas of "how African Catholics are supposed to be." They bring back things lie wacky liturgical dance and the like.

The African people, at least the ones that I have met, are extremely contemplative, and they have a great history of being so in a Christian context. A case in point is the Ethiopian Orthodox (once Catholic) Church.

In short, true African Christian spirituality is a very beautiful thing. St. Augustine of Hippo, pray for us and especially for Africans.

A Visit from the Superior

This past week has been pretty cool for me. The new district superior for the North American District of the FSSP visited Holy Family. While he was there, I got to speak with him albeit briefly. I have to say that he was a very humble man who seemed to love being a priest. I'm happy to say that he is also a child of the Columbus diocese and at one time was assigned to Holy Family as a seminarian for the diocese! I'm glad that I was able to meet him. I think that the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter is in good hands here in North America.

More from inside the sacristy

I thought I would post some more pictures of vestments from the sacristy of Holy Family.

This first vestment is one of my favorites. Although it doesn't have a lot of fancy embroidery, it does display the somberness of its use, namely Requiem Masses!

Am I weird because I think black vestments are cool?