Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Padre Pio, Priest and Victim

"O rex, dona mihi animam meam pro qua rogo et populum meum pro quo obsecro" [O King, let my life be given me at my petition and my people at my request] (Esther 7:3).

"Souvenir of my first Mass.

"Jesus, my heart's desire and my life, today as I raise you up in trembling hands, in a mystery of love, may I be, with you, for the world, Way, Truth and Life, and for you a holy priest, a perfect victim." ( P. Pio, Capuchin.13)

Visit "Padre Pio, Priest and Victim" for most highly recommended reading
for the Feast of Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, Italy.

From Padre Pio, recounting the words of Christ to him in a vision:

"On Friday morning [28 March 1913] while I was still in bed, Jesus appeared to me. He was in a sorry state and quite disfigured. He showed me a great multitude of priests, regular and secular, among whom were several high ecclesiastical dignitaries. Some were celebrating Mass, while others were vesting or taking off the sacred vestments. The sight of Jesus in distress was very painful to me, so I asked him why he was suffering so much. There was no reply, but his gaze turned on those priests. Shortly afterwards, as if terrified and weary of looking at them, he withdrew his gaze. Then he raised his eyes and looked at me and to my great horror I observed two tears coursing down his cheeks. He drew back from that crowd of priests with an expression of great disgust on his face and cried out: "Butchers!" Then turning to me he said: "My son, do not think that my agony lasted three hours. No, on account of the souls who have received most from me, I shall be in agony until the end of the world. During my agony, my son, nobody should sleep. My soul goes in search of a drop of human compassion but alas, I am left alone beneath the weight of indifference. The ingratitude and the sleep of my ministers makes my agony all the more grievous.

"Alas, how little they correspond to my love! What afflicts me most is that they add contempt and unbelief to their indifference. Many times I have been on the point of annihilating them, had I not been held back by the Angels and by souls who are filled with love for me. Write to your (spiritual) father and tell him what you have seen and heard from me this morning. Tell him to show your letter to Father Provincial ...45"

Sacred Heart Church, "rich in vocations" and altar boys

A server takes the place of one who formerly participated in the minor order of the Acolyte. Although this order has been retained while others have been suppressed and primarily relates to the role of distributing Communion and otherwise assisting the Priest-Celebrant, the boy who volunteers for this position in the Church’s Liturgy must realize the religious character of his undertaking. He is offering himself in God’s service and his lifestyle must reflect his closeness to the Sacred Mystery of the Holy Eucharist. His conduct must be as exemplary off the altar as it is while serving.

Any boy in Sacred Heart Parish in the fourth grade or above is eligible to be a server. After a period of training, he will be inducted into the program at a public Mass and begin a two-year period of probation. During the first year, he will wear a white robe. During the second year, he will wear a wooden Cross with his white robe. After that he will be privileged to wear the cassock and surplice, indicating his full membership.


I think we have some 105 altar boys at Sacred Heart and a parish rich in vocations as we also pray for vocations after the prayer to St Michael after every Mass.

(Thanks to Gerry and wdtprs.com where this post originally appeared.)

Friday, September 19, 2008

An all-too-rare Catholic sight

One of our readers sent in a link to the Arlington Catholic Herald drawing attention to a most Catholic sight that has been all but banished from our Catholic parishes. One should ask "why?"

When an option becomes, in practice, enforced as if mandatory, the eclipse of such beautiful and venerable traditions becomes all too inevitable. And a clear preference of the universal Church is discarded in the process.

Recommended for your viewing:

Altar boys in procession at the Church of the Holy Trinity, Gainesville, Va.

(Many thanks to the Herald and to Debbie R.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Parish priest and Pope

As recounted at Rorate Caeli, Pope Saint Pius X, pictured here as a young parish priest, remains a marvelous example for all those who have the "cure of souls".

Rorate Caeli illustrates the connections between this great Pope and the Patron of parish priests, Saint John Vianney:

"His life was mysteriously and providentially connected to the patron of parish priests, St. John Vianney, the Curé d'Ars.

"In the last year of Vianney's life, the young Sarto was ordained to the sacred priesthood - exactly 150 years ago, on September 18, 1858. While Fr. Sarto was a parish priest, Vianney was declared venerable. On the very anniversary of the Venerable John Vianney's death, Cardinal Sarto was elected the Successor of Peter. And it was Pope Pius X who beatified Fr. Vianney. Both were members of the Third Order of Penance (Secular Franciscans)."

Pope Saint Pius X shows us that in holiness of life are kept in balance both the "medicine of mercy" and the severity necessary to condemn evil. As Vicar of Christ he wrote: "the condemnation of error is itself a work of mercy since by pinning down error, those labouring under it are corrected and others are preserved from falling into it." (Iota Unum)

As this society seeks a renewed sincerity and single-mindedness in the apostolate of increasing priestly vocations on the part of the whole Church, so this saintly Pontiff is commended to all as a heavenly patron whose intercession will increase the flood of divine graces in this regard.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

"the priesthood is indispensable"

It is never too often said that the priesthood is indispensable to the Church, in the very own interest of the lay faithful. Priests are a gift from God to the Church. Priests must never delegate to the faithful [those] functions which are related to their own mission. Dear Brothers in the episcopacy, I ask you to remain desirous to help your priests live in intimate union with Christ. Their spiritual life is the foundation of their apostolic life. You shall exhort them gently to daily prayer and to a dignified celebration of the Sacraments, particularly of the Eucharist and of Reconciliation, as Saint Francis de Sales did with his priests. Every priest should be able to feel glad to serve the Church. At the school of the Curé d'Ars, son of your land and patron of all priests of the world, do not cease to repeat that a man can do no greater deed than to give the Body and the Blood of Christ to the faithful, and to forgive sins. ...

The Pope to the Bishops of France, 14 September 2008

Nothing will ever replace priests!

"Christ has willed that His Sacrifice be renewed, in a bloodless manner, every time that a priest repeats the words of the Consecration over the bread and over the wine. ... Millions of times over the last two thousand years, in the humblest chapels and in the most magnificent basilicas and cathedrals, the risen Lord has given himself to his people, thus becoming, in the famous expression of Saint Augustine, 'more intimate to us than we are to ourselves' (cf. Confessions, III, 6, 11). ... The Mass invites us to discern what, in ourselves, is obedient to the Spirit of God and what, in ourselves, is attuned to the spirit of evil. ... [Christ] alone teaches us to shun idols, the illusions of our minds.

"Do not be afraid! Do not be afraid to give your life to Christ! Nothing will ever replace the ministry of priests at the heart of the Church! Nothing will ever replace a Mass for the salvation of the world! Dear young people, and those not so young who are listening to me, do not leave Christ’s call unanswered!"

Benedict XVI
Mass at the Esplanade des Invalides, Paris
September 13, 2008

(Thanks to rorate-caeli.blogspot.com friends for inspiration and photo.)