Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Peter and Paul and the Pallium

Today the Universal Church celebrates the great Solemnity of Saints Peter & Paul.  Veneration of these two great Apostles has its roots in the very foundations of the Church.  They are the solid rock on which the Church is built.  They are at the origin of her faith and will forever remain her protectors and her guides.  To them Rome owes her true greatness, for it was under God's providential guidance that they were led to make the capital of the Empire, sanctified by their martyrdom, the center of the Christian world whence should radiate the preaching of the Gospel.

St. Peter suffered martyrdom under Nero, in A.D. 66 or 67.  He was buried on the hill of the Vatican where recent excavations have revealed his tomb on the very site of the basilica of St. Peter's.  St. Paul was beheaded in the via Ostia on the spot where now stands the basilica bearing his name.  Recent archeological  excavations here have also revealed that, under the altar, lies an ancient sarcophagus, the earthly remains of the great "Apostle to the Gentiles." 
Down the centuries Christian people in their thousands have gone on pilgrimage to the tombs of these Apostles.  In the second and third centuries the Roman Church already stood pre-eminent by reason of her apostolicity, the infallible truth of her teaching and her two great figures, Sts. Peter and Paul.
It is owing to these historical facts that today, in Rome, the Holy Father gives the Pallium to all the new Archbishops of the world.  The pallium—a round woolen band with two black-tipped strips—is worn around the shoulders of arch-bishops over their liturgical vestments to evoke the image of the Good Shepherd carrying a sheep back to the fold.

Pope Benedict wears one and, each June 29, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, he places a pallium around the shoulders of bishops who in the past year have been named to head archdioceses.  The liturgical vestment, made from the wool of lambs blessed by the pope each year on the feast of St. Agnes, is a strictly pastoral symbol for those with a flock.

The office in charge of organizing papal liturgies said June 17 that at least 35 archbishops would receive a pallium in 2010; the timing of an archbishop's nomination and installation as well as travel arrangements mean that the list is not finalized until very close to the date of the Mass.

U.S. and Canadian archbishops on the list will include Archbishops Jerome E. Listecki of Milwaukee; Dennis M. Schnurr of Cincinnati; Thomas G. Wenski of Miami; and Albert LeGatt of Saint-Boniface, Manitoba.

Saint Peter: Peter's original name was Simon.  Christ Himself gave him the name Cephas or Peter when they first met and later confirmed it.  This name change was meant to show both Peter's rank as leader of the apostles and the outstanding trait of his character — Peter (in Hebrew Kephas) the Rock.  Peter was born in Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee.  Like his younger brother Andrew, he was a fisherman and dwelt at Capernaum.  Peter's house often became the scene of miracles, since the Master would stay there whenever He was teaching in that locality.  Together with his brothers John and Andrew, Peter belonged to the first of Jesus' disciples (John 1:40-50). 

After the miraculous draught of fish on the Sea of Galilee, Peter received his definitive call and left wife, family, and occupation to take his place as leader of the Twelve.  Thereafter we find him continually at Jesus' side, whether it be as spokesman of the apostolic college (John 6:68; Matt. 16:16), or as one specially favored (e.g., at the restoration to life of Jairus' daughter, at the transfiguration, during the agony in the garden).  His sanguine temperament often led him into hasty, unpremeditated words and actions; his denial of Jesus during the passion was a salutary lesson.  It accentuated a weakness in his character and made him humble.

After the ascension, Peter always took the leading role, exercising the office of chief shepherd that Christ had entrusted to him.  He delivered the first sermon on Pentecost and received the first Gentiles into the Church (Cornelius; Acts 10:1).  Paul went to Jerusalem "to see Peter."  After his miraculous deliverance from prison (Easter, 42 A.D.), Peter "went to a different place," most probably to Rome.  Details now become scanty; we hear of his presence at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:1), and of his journey to Antioch (Gal. 2:11).

It is certain that Peter labored in Rome as an apostle, that he was the city's first bishop, and that he died there as a martyr, bound to a cross (67 A.D.).  According to tradition he also was the first bishop of Antioch.  He is the author of two letters, the first Christian encyclicals.  His burial place is Christendom's most famous shrine, an edifice around whose dome are inscribed the words: Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam.  "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church."

St. Paul: Paul, known as Saul (his Roman name) before his conversion, was born at Tarsus in the Roman province of Silicia about two or three years after the advent of the Redeemer.  He was the son of Jewish parents who belonged to the tribe of Benjamin, was reared according to the strict religious-nationalistic party of the Pharisees, and enjoyed the high distinction of Roman citizenship.

As a youth he went to Jerusalem to become immersed in the Law and had as a teacher the celebrated Gamaliel.  He acquired skill as a tent-maker, a work he continued even as an apostle.  At the time of Jesus' ministry he no longer was at Jerusalem; neither did he see the Lord during His earthly-life.  Upon returning to the Holy City, Paul discovered a flourishing Christian community and at once became its bitter opponent.  When Stephen impugned Law and temple, Paul was one of the first at his stoning; thereafter his fiery personality would lead the persecution.  Breathing threats of slaughter against the disciples of Jesus, he was hurrying to Damascus when the grace of God effected his conversion (about the year 34 A.D.).

After receiving baptism and making some initial attempts at preaching, Paul withdrew into the Arabian desert (c. 34-37 A.D.), where he prepared himself for his future mission.  During this retreat he was favored with special revelations, Christ appearing to him personally.  Upon his return to Damascus he began to preach but was forced to leave when the Jews sought to kill him.  Then he went to Jerusalem "to see Peter."  Barnabas introduced him to the Christian community, but the hatred of the Jews again obliged him to take secret flight.  The following years (38-42 A.D.) he spent at Tarsus until Barnabas brought him to the newly founded Christian community at Antioch, where both worked a year for the cause of Christ; in the year 44 he made another journey to Jerusalem with the money collected for that famine stricken community. 

The first major missionary journey (45-48) began upon his return as he and Barnabas brought the Gospel to Cyprus and Asia Minor (Acts 13-14).  The Council of Jerusalem occasioned Paul's reappearance in Jerusalem (50).  Spurred on by the decisions of the Council, he began the second missionary journey (51-53), traveling through Asia Minor and then crossing over to Europe and founding churches at Philippi, Thessalonia (his favorite), Berea, Athens, Corinth.  He remained almost two years at Corinth, establishing a very flourishing and important community. In 54 he returned to Jerusalem for the fourth time. 

Paul's third missionary journey (54-58) took him to Ephesus, where he labored three years with good success; after visiting his European communities, he returned to Jerusalem for a fifth time (Pentecost, 58).  There he was seized by the Jews and accused of condemning the Law.  After being held as a prisoner for two years at Caesarea, he appealed to Caesar and was sent by sea to Rome (60 A.D.).  Shipwrecked and delayed on the island of Malta, he arrived at Rome in the spring of 61 and passed the next two years in easy confinement before being released.  The last years of the saint's life were devoted to missionary excursions, probably including Spain, and to revisiting his first foundations.  In 66 he returned to Rome, was taken prisoner, and beheaded a year later.  His fourteen letters are a precious legacy; they afford a deep insight into a great soul.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Frances Baker Funeral Today

This morning our parish celebrated the Rites of Christian Burial for one of our parishioners, Frances Baker.  Frances was a resident at Quincy Village and just two days before she died, received Holy Communion (Viaticum) from Father Bateman.

Born April 13, 1931, in Rouzerville, she spent most of her life in the Rouzerville area and attended St. Andrew Catholic School as a child.

She is survived by three children, Douglas F. Zeigler of Waynesboro, Sharon K. Daywalt of Candor, N.C., and Tina M. Hahn of Waynesboro; three stepchildren, Glenn D. “Mike” Baker Jr. of Mont Alto, Pa., Dale A. Baker of Waynesboro and Nancy Phinicie of Mont Alto; four grandchildren; 13 stepgrandchildren; one sister, Mary Kipe of Shippensburg, Pa.; two brothers, Andrew Zeigler of Waynesboro and Ronald Zeigler of Rouzerville; and a number of nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by two stepsons, James E. Baker and Ronald E. Baker; a stepdaughter, Phyllis Kay Baker; an infant sister, Carol Lee Zeigler; and a brother, Robert Zeigler.

Eternal Rest grant unto her, O Lord.  And let perpetual light shine upon her.  May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.  Amen.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ladies Spoil our Fathers

On Father's Day, the Ladies of the parish provided a wonderful breakfast for our Fathers and their sons in celebration of Father's Day.  What a wonderful way for us to gather together and celebrate our Fathers.  Thank you, Ladies!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pope Names New Bishop for Harrisburg

Today at 12 noon, Rome time, it was announced that Pope Benedict XVI has named Bishop Joseph McFadden, auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia, as the 10th Bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg.  We have been praying for a new bishop and the Holy Father has given us a new shepherd.  There will be a press conference at the Diocese today at 10am where Bishop-Designate McFadden will be introduced.  He will then go to the Cathedral of Saint Patrick in Harrisburg to celebrate the 12noon Mass.  I'm sure much more information will be forthcoming about Bishop McFadden.  

He will be installed as our Bishop on Wednesday, August 18 at Saint Patrick Cathedral in Harrisburg.  Stay tuned...

Already, here's more information about Bishop-Designate McFadden:

Joseph P. McFadden was born in Philadelphia on May 22, 1947, the son of Thomas and Ellen (Griffin) McFadden.  He lived with his parents and brother, John, and his two sisters, Jane and Ellen, in West Philadelphia and was baptized at Saint Rose of Lima Parish.  He attended Our Lady of Lourdes elementary school from 1953-1961.  He attended Saint Thomas More High School for Boys from 1961 to 1965. While in high school, he was a member of the Student Council, the Newspaper, the J.V. and Varsity Basketball teams and a member of the National Honor Society.  He was also the Class Valedictorian. Following high school, he matriculated to Saint Joseph University majoring in Political Science.  He graduated in 1969 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Politics. While at St. Joseph, he played on the Freshmen Basketball Team and then embarked on a career of coaching basketball during his remaining years in college, first as the Freshman Coach at St. Thomas More High School and then as the Junior Varsity Coach at West Catholic High School for Boys.

On graduating from Saint Joseph University, Bishop McFadden was hired to teach at West Catholic Boys High School.  While teaching, he also coached the J. V. Baseball Team, the J.V. and Varsity Basketball Teams becoming the Head Coach in 1973 and was Moderator of the Student Council.  In 1972 he was appointed the Director of Athletics for West Catholic and served on the Board of Directors for the Philadelphia Catholic League.

In 1976 Bishop McFadden entered Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary to study for the priesthood and was ordained a Deacon in 1980 and assigned to Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Secane.  On May 16, 1981 he was ordained a Priest in the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul by His Eminence John Cardinal Krol.  Bishop McFadden received a Master of Divinity Degree on completion of his studies at Saint Charles Seminary graduating Summa Cum Laude.

In June of 1981, he was assigned the Parochial Vicar at St. Laurence Parish, Highland Park.  In 1982 he was appointed Administrative Secretary to Cardinal Krol and held that position from 1982 to 1993.  On May 29, 1991, he was named an Honorary Prelate to His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, with the title of Monsignor.

In 1993, Bishop McFadden was named by Cardinal Bevilacqua to be the first President of Cardinal O’Hara High School, Springfield, PA.  During his tenure as President, the school’s enrollment increased from 1540 students to 2000 students and he helped to initiate the innovative computer “Laptops for Learning” program in the school.

In 2001, Bishop McFadden was appointed Pastor of St Joseph Parish, Downingtown, where he ministered until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia in June 2004.  Bishop McFadden was ordained to the Episcopacy by Cardinal Justin Rigali in the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul on July 28, 2004.

In his 29 years as a priest, Bishop McFadden has served on many Archdiocesan Boards and Committees:
Council of Priests, 1988 - 1993 ; 2004 - present
Priests’ Personnel Board, 1988 - 1993; 2004 - present
Archdiocesan Advisory Board for Renewal, 1991 - 1994
Chairman, Subcommittee for Clergy Renewal, 1991 - 1994
Diocesan Priests Continuing Formation Committee, 2002 - present
Archdiocesan Admissions Board for St. Charles Seminary, 2001 - present
Personal Spiritual Director for Seminarians - 2001 - present
Members, Tenth Synod of Archdiocese of Philadelphia, 2001 - 2002
Diocesan Priests’ Compensation and Benefits Committee, 2003 - present
Chairman, Pastor’s Committee for Elementary Schools, 2002 - 2006
Mentor, Pastoral Leadership Institute of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Member, Pastoral Formation Sub-Committee of the Strategic Plan Committee, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary
Member, USCCB Committee on Education - 2006 - present
Member, USCCB Task Force Committee on Faith Formation and Sacramental Preparation - 2008 - present
Advisor, Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs (CEIA)
Member, Episcopal Board of Advisors for the Cause for the Beatification of Archbishop Fulton John Sheen - 2009 - present
Member, Episcopal Advisory Board for Catholic Athletes for Christ - 2010
Member, Board of Directors of the Heritage of Faith~Vision of Hope Campaign - 2010

Honors and Awards
St. Thomas More Golden Bear Award - St. Thomas More Alumni Association, 1992
Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick of Delaware County Man of the Year Award, 2001
Honorary Member, Roman Catholic High School Hall of Fame, 2002
Cardinal O’Hara High School Hall of Fame, 2004
Inducted into Ring of Honor - St. Patrick’s Day Parade - 2007
Named one of the 75 Greatest Living Philadelphians in celebration of the Philadelphia Eagles 75th Anniversary season - 2007
Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa - Neumann College - 2008
Grand Marshall - Springfield Township St. Patrick’s Day Parade - 2008
Recipient of First “Shamrock Award” presented by Alumni of Saint Thomas More and West Catholic High Schools - 2009

Chaplain, Philadelphia Serra Club, 1987 - 1993
Chaplain, Central Delaware County Serra Club - 1993 - 2001
Chaplain, Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 87 - 1986-1991
Chaplain, Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 65, 1993 - 1995
Member, Advisory Board of Bishop Shanahan High School, 2003 - 2007
Life-time Member, The Pennsylvania Society - 2005 - present
Board Member, Hero Scholarship Fund of Philadelphia, 2005 - present
Member, The Union League of Philadelphia - 2005 - present
Member, Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick - 2007 - present

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fr. Larry Richards on Father's Day

WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - The greatest gift a father can give his family is to be a man; and not just any man, but a man after God's own heart. This is the message that Fr. Larry Richards has been taking to men's conferences and retreats around the country for a very long time.

His new book, "Be a Man!" goes into great detail on what that means as a challenge to men who live in a culture that is working hard to remove their masculinity.

"Men are created to be protectors, supporters and providers," Fr. Richards remarked. "We are, by definition, givers. So, the way men relate to God, then, is different from a woman, they are action oriented. I challenge men to give themselves to a higher cause."

Whether speaking to a men's conference or in parishes, Fr. Richards' call to men involves living a life of sacrifice, being willing to do God's will not their own. He warns them that it's not easy, it's going to cost them something and it's going to hurt; but it's for a higher purpose.

"When I work with boys I always ask them, 'Are you man enough to be a priest? Are you willing. when others tell you to do what you want, are you willing to die to yourself and give yourself to a higher cause?

 "My own personal style is to call men to be the best they can be. Too often in the Catholic Church we hear, 'Well, just be who you are because God loves you just the way you are.' Who really wants that?

"What I occasionally say on being a spiritual coach, it's just like when boys want to be good football players, basketball players, what-have-you. they want to be challenged to be the best not 'just keep doing what you're doing, that's good enough for now. Nobody wants that; you'd fire a coach for saying that."

Fr. Richards sees the higher cause as a major focus for men. Like the song "The Impossible Dream," a man's potential can best be seen when he is "willing to march into Hell for a heavenly cause."

The danger he sees is taking this image too far where men see themselves only as workers. To counter-act this action-only stereotype, Fr. Richards turns to St. John Vianney, the Cure of Ars, who wrote, "This is the glorious duty of man: to pray and to love. If you pray and love, that is where a man's happiness lies."

He tells men that this is a very simple two-step approach that we can all apply each day.

First, a man needs to be dedicated to a daily discipline of prayer out of which his service comes. There can be no more excuses for not praying. To be a man of God requires that we spend our regular time before the Lord.

"Scripture tells us to be still and know that he is God. It's hard for a man to be still. to be silent.

"Sure, it's a struggle," Fr. Richards goes on to say. "In that silence we have to deal with our own demons. Just as Jesus went into the desert and encountered the devil, our quiet times are when we confront our issues.

"There, in our own desert, we recognize that we need the Lord. we become vulnerable, which is the key to our surrender and discover that when we are weak, we are strong. At that point we choose to place God in charge of our life.

"Each day I have one hour of adoration. For part of it I pray, I read Scripture, but then I also just sit in silence. It is during this time of adoration that I get filled up so that I can do something."

Just as Jesus was refreshed after his desert and went out to preach and minister, men are called into the world to serve out of love - his love that is expressed as he gives up his life for God and for others.

A man has to come to the point of realizing that when he surrenders himself totally to God, good will come out of it.

"This is ultimately an act of trust," Fr. Richards explains. "That if I surrender myself totally to You, good will come out of it.

"I like to tell people that if they die to themselves every day and they realize that God is blessing them all the time; that ultimately when they have to give their final sacrifice of their own death, if just another day of dying - it is something I've done every day and God has been faithful every day, I can do it eternally as an act of trust.

"And in the process, the Lord blesses you even more abundantly, the more you give your life."

The type of love Fr. Richards is describing here can also be applied to our lives as husbands. In St. Paul's epistle to the Ephesians, he shows us the two sides of the marriage covenant - first he says, "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord."

Then, the apostle states, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her." A woman's call to entrust her life is connect with a unique call for her husband - he must be willing to lay down his life for her. Again, it is his call to sacrifice.

A man's great love for his wife, however, can also be a hindrance if it is not put in proper relationship with a man's love of God. "One time I gave a talk, Fr. Richards said, "where I stated 'Gentlemen, you need to love God more than you love your wives or your kids.'"

"A guy came up to me and said 'Father, I completely disagree with you!' And I said, 'Well, you're completely wrong. You need to completely love God more than your wife and kids. Then you can love them with God's love not just your love. It transforms it."

We live in a world of gender-confusion where masculine behavior has been anathematized and ridiculed as an exhibition of testosterone. In fact, on the same day we honor fathers, New York City will be hosting the Folsom Street East, where homosexuality, debauchery and perversion to the extreme will be on display. Nothing could stand more contrary to God's higher purpose than this celebration of man's lower nature. Truly, we need to hear a clear message for men.

As one who desires to be a man after God's own heart, I am thankful for strong priests and pastors, like Fr. Larry, who can challenge me and encourage me to live a live with a higher purpose.

Fr. Richards' book, "Be a Man!"(available through Amazon) explores how you can become the man God created you to be. With straightforward and often hard-hitting language, he challenges men to be beloved sons of the Father who are strong, loving, courageous and holy; men who want to change the world by first being changed themselves.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Fr. Richards graduated from Gannon University and St. Vincent Seminary

He was ordained to the priesthood in 1989 for the Diocese of Erie, and currently serves as pastor of St. Joseph Church/Bread of Life Community in Erie. He is also the Spiritual Director of the TEC (To Encounter Christ) Retreat Program for the Diocese of Erie and the Founder/President of The Reason for our Hope Foundation (www.thereasonforourhope.org), which is dedicated to preaching and teaching the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Fr. Richards has directed hundreds of retreats, parish missions, and conferences for young and old alike. He is also heard nightly on Relevant Radio as well as through his podcasts.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Raising Ladies and Gentlemen

Because a number of you asked this weekend, here is a copy of my homily from today (please ignore the "type-o's".  

There are also some websites that you might find very helpful to you as parents, trying to raise your children in this culture today.  Here are some great sights - I hope they are helpful: 

And the homily:

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Immaculate Heart of Mary

The link between devotion to Mary's Immaculate Heart and the Sacred Heart of Jesus is shown in the following passage:

"...a short time after Pascal had carried out the first experiments in modern physics and Descartes had perfected the mathematical instruments which would make possible the development of the sciences, Jesus appeared to an obscure nun and, showing her His heart, said to her: 'This is the heart that has so loved men.'

"Then, as men did not listen to the message and the corruption of the world continued, the Virgin Mary appeared to the children at Fatima; she showed them her heart and said: 'The Lord wishes to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world. If what I say is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.' 

"The remedy that God offers for the evils of the world is to show us his heart and that of his Mother.  'We have learned to recognize the love God has in our regard, to recognize it, and make it our belief,' said St John (I John 4.16). 

"The Christian solution to the problem and desperate call of the world will always be to believe in love, to give ourselves up to it and so receive the will and the strength to serve others" (Fr Henri Marduel, "The Christian Pursuit," London, Burns & Oates, 1964, p. 22). 
Historically, devotion to the Heart of Mary grew up in parallel, but at a lesser pitch than that  of devotion to the Heart of Jesus, only starting to become more prominent during the time of St John Eudes.  Even then it was not until after the 1836 Apparitions of Mary to St. Catherine Laboure at Rue de Bac  concerning the "Miraculous Medal" and the establishment of a society dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary that this particular devotion became really well known. 

Since then devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, has gradually grown more widespread in the Church, particularly since the apparitions at Fatima.

The main difference between these two devotions is that the one concerned with Jesus emphasises His divine heart as being full of love for mankind, but with this love for the most part being ignored or rejected, while devotion to Mary's heart is essentially concerned with the love that her heart has for Jesus, for God.

It is not an end in itself, and really the love of her heart is meant to be a model for the way we should love God.  So as in all things Marian, she leads us closer to God, rather than becoming an obstacle in our way.  The fact that her heart is immaculate, that is sinless, means that she is the only fully human person who is able to really love God in the way that he should be loved. 
Honoring Mary's Immaculate Heart is really just another way of honoring Mary as the person who was chosen to be the Mother of God, recognizing her extraordinary holiness and the immense love she bestowed on Jesus as His mother, the person who was called to share in and co-operate in his redemptive sufferings.

The whole aim of this devotion is to unite mankind to God through Mary's heart, and this process involves the ideas of consecration and reparation.  A person is consecrated to Mary's Immaculate Heart as a way of being completely devoted to God.  This involves a total gift of self, something only ultimately possible with reference to God; but Mary is our intermediary in this process of consecration.

There have been some criticisms of the whole idea of "consecration" to Mary, with some arguing that it is improper to speak in such terms, since it obscures the essential consecration to God.  This position, though, seems to go against the traditional approach as exemplified by St Louis de Montfort, one that has been essentially accepted and acted upon by Pius XII and John Paul II in the twentieth century.
If it was unacceptable to consecrate the world to Mary's Immaculate Heart then obviously the above popes would not have done so.  To criticize the principle of Marian consecration is also to lose sight of the central reality of the various Marian apparitions, that they concern Mary rather than Jesus. 

If Jesus had only wanted a consecration to His own Sacred Heart, then clearly He, rather than Mary, would have appeared repeatedly over the last several centuries.  The fact that it is Mary who has appeared in so many places, and that the Church at its highest level has accepted this, indicates that Mary's role is central and that consecration to her is not illogical, providing it is clearly understood that "belonging to Mary is a privileged means of belonging to Christ."

In reality, because of the strong analogy between Jesus and Mary, the consecration to Mary's Immaculate Heart is closely linked to the consecration to Jesus' Sacred Heart, although it is subordinate and dependent on it.  That is, although the act of consecration is ultimately addressed to God, it is an act that is made through Mary. 

This point is also illustrated by the strongly Christocentric nature of both the 1982 and 1984 acts of Consecration made by Pope John Paul II.  Because Mary is so closely linked to Christ, and because she is mankind's spiritual mother, he felt fully justified in carrying out the act of consecration to her Immaculate Heart.  The Pope referred to Jesus' words of self-consecration during the Last Supper, as found in St John's Gospel: "And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth." 

Here the word sanctify has the meaning of "consecrate oneself to God," and Jesus' self-consecration to the Father is taken as the model for the way that we too should be consecrated to God.  This is to be accomplished by a consecration to Mary, since she is wholly consecrated to her Son.  By joining with her we join with Jesus, based on the way that she united herself with Jesus' sufferings on the cross in the most intimate manner possible. 

Mary holds her position as intermediary in the process of consecration by reason of her dignity as Mother of God and her role as spiritual mother of all Christians.  Because love and devotion shown to Mary are referred by her to God, it follows that acts of reparation for sin directed to her also apply to God, especially when we consider how closely united the hearts of Jesus and Mary were and are. 

The theme of the need for reparation for sin, which is very prominent in the various Marian apparitions, has remained central to the preaching of Christianity from the time of the Apostles onwards: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Mt 3:2).

The idea of making reparation, both for our own sins and, because of a common membership of the mystical body of Christ, for those of others, is only an extension of this basic Gospel message, a message that continues to be valid. As St Paul said: "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church ..." (Col 1:24).

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sacred Heart of Jesus

Our new window is certainly an appropriate image as we celebrate today the great solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The heart has always been seen as the "center" or essence a person ("the heart of the matter," "you are my heart," "take it to heart," etc.) and the wellspring of our emotional lives and love ("you break my heart," "my heart sings," etc.) Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is devotion to Jesus Christ Himself, but in the particular ways of meditating on his interior life and on His threefold love -- His divine love, His burning love that fed His human will, and His sensible love that affects His interior life. Pope Pius XII of blessed memory writes on this topic in his 1956 encyclical, Haurietis Aquas (On Devotion To The Sacred Heart).Below are a few excerpts which help explain the devotion:
54. ...the Heart of the Incarnate Word is deservedly and rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that threefold love with which the divine Redeemer unceasingly loves His eternal Father and all mankind.

55. It is a symbol of that divine love which He shares with the Father and the Holy Spirit but which He, the Word made flesh, alone manifests through a weak and perishable body, since "in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily."

56. It is, besides, the symbol of that burning love which, infused into His soul, enriches the human will of Christ and enlightens and governs its acts by the most perfect knowledge derived both from the beatific vision and that which is directly infused.

57. And finally -- and this in a more natural and direct way -- it is the symbol also of sensible love, since the body of Jesus Christ, formed by the Holy Spirit, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, possesses full powers of feelings and perception, in fact, more so than any other human body.

58. Since, therefore, Sacred Scripture and the official teaching of the Catholic faith instruct us that all things find their complete harmony and order in the most holy soul of Jesus Christ, and that He has manifestly directed His threefold love for the securing of our redemption, it unquestionably follows that we can contemplate and honor the Heart of the divine Redeemer as a symbolic image of His love and a witness of our redemption and, at the same time, as a sort of mystical ladder by which we mount to the embrace of "God our Savior."

59. Hence His words, actions, commands, miracles, and especially those works which manifest more clearly His love for us -- such as the divine institution of the Eucharist, His most bitter sufferings and death, the loving gift of His holy Mother to us, the founding of the Church for us, and finally, the sending of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and upon us -- all these, We say, ought to be looked upon as proofs of His threefold love.

60. Likewise we ought to meditate most lovingly on the beating of His Sacred Heart by which He seemed, as it were, to measure the time of His sojourn on earth until that final moment when, as the Evangelists testify, "crying out with a loud voice 'It is finished.', and bowing His Head, He yielded up the ghost."Then it was that His heart ceased to beat and His sensible love was interrupted until the time when, triumphing over death, He rose from the tomb.

61. But after His glorified body had been re-united to the soul of the divine Redeemer, conqueror of death, His most Sacred Heart never ceased, and never will cease, to beat with calm and imperturbable pulsations. Likewise, it will never cease to symbolize the threefold love with which He is bound to His heavenly Father and the entire human race, of which He has every claim to be the mystical Head.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart has two elements: consecration and reparation:
  • We consecrate ourselves to the Sacred Heart by acknowledging Him as Creator and Redeemer and as having full rights over us as King of Kings, by repenting, and by resolving to serve Him.
  • We make reparations for the indifference and ingratitude with which He is treated and for leaving Him abandoned by humanity.
To carry out these general goals of consecration and reparation, there are quite specific devotions authorized by the Church. 

Specific Devotions

From the earliest days of the Church, "Christ's open side and the mystery of blood and water were meditated upon, and the Church was beheld issuing from the side of Jesus, as Eve came forth from the side of Adam. It is in the eleventh and twelfth centuries that we find the first unmistakable indications of devotion to the Sacred Heart. Through the wound in the side, the wounded Heart was gradually reached, and the wound in the Heart symbolized the wound of love." (Catholic Encyclopedia)

St. John Chrysostom (b. ca. 347) in his 85th Homily on the Gospel of St. John wrote:
For "there came forth water and blood." Not without a purpose, or by chance, did those founts come forth, but because by means of these two together the Church consisteth. And the initiated know it, being by water indeed regenerate, and nourished by the Blood and the Flesh. Hence the Mysteries take their beginning; that when thou approachest to that awful cup, thou mayest so approach, as drinking from the very side.
Margaret Mary Alacoque's vision of the Sacred HeartThe waters of Baptism, and the Blood of the Eucharist, pouring forth from Christ's side, brought the Church into existence just as Eve was formed from Adam's side. And just as God took man and "breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul," so at the Pentecost did the Holy Ghost come down over the Church and bring Her to life.

General devotion to the Sacred Heart, the birthplace of the Church and the font of Love, were popular in Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries, especially in response to the devotion of St. Gertrude the Great (b. 1256), but specific devotions became even more popularized when St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690), a Visitation nun, had a personal revelation involving a series of visions of Christ as she prayed before the Blessed Sacrament. She wrote, "He disclosed to me the marvels of his Love and the inexplicable secrets of his Sacred Heart." Christ emphasized to her His love -- and His woundedness caused by Man's indifference to this love.

He promised that, in response to those who consecrate themselves and make reparations to His Sacred Heart:
  • He will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.
  • He will establish peace in their homes.
  • He will comfort them in all their afflictions.
  • He will be their secure refuge during life, and above all, in death.
  • He will bestow abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.
  • Sinners will find in His Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
  • Lukewarm souls shall become fervent.
  • Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.
  • He will bless every place in which an image of His Heart is exposed and honored.
  • He will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
  • Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in His Heart.
  • In the excessive mercy of His Heart that His all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in His disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. His divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.

The devotions attached to these promises are:
  • Receiving Communion frequently
  • First Fridays: going to Confession and receiving the Eucharist on the first Friday of each month for nine consecutive months. Many parishes will offer public First Friday devotions; if they do, you must perform First Fridays publicly. If it isn't so offered in your parish, you can do this privately, going to Confession, receiving the Eucharist, and offering your prayers for the intention of the Holy Father.
  • Holy Hour: Eucharistic Adoration for one hour on Thursdays ("Could you not watch one hour with me?"). Holy Hour can be made alone or as part of a group with formal prayers.
  • Celebrating of the Feast of the Sacred Heart
Note also that June is devoted to the Sacred Heart.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Saint Andrew Corpus Christi Procession

What a beautiful way to celebrate Corpus Christi!  Following the 8am Mass today, Father Bateman, our parish seminarian Steven Arena, our summer seminarian Matthew Larlick, a dozen skilled servers and the People of God publicly witnessed to our belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist.

In a brand new monstrance, with newly purchased vestments and canopy, the Faithful processed out of the church and into the streets amid incense, banners and chants and litanies.  What a beautiful expression of our faith!  Thanks to one and all who worked so hard to make this such a wonderful Corpus Christi Celebration!

You can view LOTS more photos by CLICKING HERE.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Saint Andrew School 6th Grade Gradutaion

Yesterday our 6th graders marked a momentous event in their lives - their graduation from elementary school and moving on to middle school.  During the morning Mass, our students took leadership roles - singing, serving, reading and assisting with ushering.  It was a wonderful tribute to the ways that they have been leaders in the school for some time - especially through the student council.  The photo here was taken immediately after the Mass.

Then, last evening, during a fantastic lasagna dinner (put on by the 5th grade parents), the 6th graders were honored with "Academy Awards" - where each student was recognized for a significant achievement.  Then each gave an acceptance speech.  I was blown away!!!  These 6th graders (11 years old or so), were so articulate and well poised.  It is a testimony to the success of Catholic School system. 

Two of our young graduates were given a very special award: the Christian Service Award for the student who most exemplifies the fruits of the Holy Spirit: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity.  This year, because of a "tie," there were two students who received this honor: Nathan Hays and Sydney Maurer.  Congratulations!

Congratulations, Saint Andrew School Class of 2010!  Ogo Akamelu, Ben Bowling, Hannah Brewer, William Diaz, Juanita Fisak, Chris Hartung, Theresa Hartung, Nathan Hays, Nathan Heibeck, Austin Kassman, Will Manning, Sydney Maurer, Jacob Mnnich, Isabelle Painter, Terese Skehan, Adam Wilhide and Grace Wroblewski.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Corpus Christi

Today is the Solemnity of Corpus Christi - well, at least on the universal calendar of the Church (and in the City of Rome).  Most everywhere else, it has been transferred from today to Sunday (where we will observe the day with a Eucharistic Procession immediately following the 8am Mass).  

Why today?  Why is Corpus Christi celebrated on a Thursday?  One simple reason: to underscore the link between the Eucharist and its institution at the Last Supper.

In the City of Rome today, Pope Benedict XVI will hold the traditional outdoor Mass and Eucharistic procession from Saint John Lateran (the Cathedral Church of Rome) to Saint Mary Major.  If you'd like to watch it, EWTN usually broadcasts it live - beginning at 7pm Rome time (1pm here).  

While we'll wait until Sunday to celebrate the Solemnity, here's a traditional Eucharistic Hymn.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

FATHER Rolling

Congratulations Father Rolling!  We love you back here in Waynesboro!  Whenever you pray Eucharistic Prayer I and say "Andrew" - think of us! 

New photos just posted - thought I'd share them with you - and a link to photos of the Mass of Thanksgiving. 

What a wonderful weekend in Lincoln, Nebraska (except for the flight home, but I'll tell you about that later).  Everything was wonderful - and (then) Deacon Rolling was a LITTLE nervous and anxious about his pending ordination.  Friday evening Bishop Bruskewitz ordained 3 men deacons (and our Deacon Rolling proclaimed the Gospel as he did so often here in Waynesboro).

Saturday morning came and the big hour had arrived.  By chance (which I don't believe in - only Divine Providence), I was seated direcly behind Deacon Rolling during the ceremony - and had a great view of all 4 of the men being ordained as they were renewing their promises of OBEDIENCE and then as they lay prostrate before the altar in the Cathedral of the Risen Christ in Lincoln.  (Remember, this is where I told you I was thinking, "there's still time to run...").  Well, I'm glad I didn't - and I'm glad our dear FATHER Rolling didn't either.  Soon after rising from the cathedral floor, Bishop Bruskewitz laid hands on him (and the other 3 ordanandi), and all of us priests followed.  That is a profound moment of awareness - an awareness of the real brotherhood of the priesthood - all your brother priests laying hands on you, praying for you, pledging their support for you - it's VERY powerful.  Then, after begin vested in the vestments of a priest, his hands were anointed to perform his sacred duties.  Then all us priest welcomed the newly ordained into the priesthood with a sign of peace.
Following the ordination was a reception, during which Father Rolling offered "first blessings" to guests - there is a Plenary Indulgence attached to the first priestly blessing of a newly ordained priest - and the custom is that you kiss the palms of his hands where they were anointed - a sign of the reverence for the Priesthood and those hands that have been consecrated to preform their sacred duties.  Father wore the stole which the Knights of Columbus and the Council of Catholic Women purchased for him as a gift from the them and the people of Saint Andrew the Apostle Parish.  Later that night a reception for family and friends.
Sunday afternoon was the Mass of Thanksgiving (often called the "First Mass" - but the true first Mass is the ordination - when the new priest concelebrates Mass with the Bishop).  It is during this Mass that the new Father Rolling presided for the first time - and it did it like a pro!  I was honored to be asked to take one of the concelebrant parts.  Then after a quick "congratulations" I headed out toward the airport.

Now, the airport story - it was Monday morning, driving nicely from Nebraska toward Kansas City (it was much cheaper to fly there than into Lincoln itself).  Flight was delayed leaving Kansas City due to storms in Chicago.  No problem, I had a 3-hour layover anyway.  But then the problems began - MASSIVE delays and cancellations in Chicago.  After being delayed from 4:30 to 6:30 to 7pm to 8pm - my flight back to Harrisburg was finally CANCELED.  Then the chaos began.  No other flights that night back home - so I was STUCK in Chicago - thinking I'd need to find the airport bench without arms so I could at least stretch out and get a little bit of sleep before my re-scheduled 6:30am departure for Harrisburg.  

In the end, I was able to get a local hotel room and get a FEW hours of sleep before waking up at 3am to get back to the airport for my flight.  Everything today went without a hitch, but... man!  That flying back was not fun!

But being there for Father Rolling made the whole trip worth while!