Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

Bridegroom Monday: Reflection

JCBrdGrmIn the Eastern Church, last night began the celebration of the Bridegroom which continues through Holy Tuesday. In the Latin Roman Church, today’s Gospel expresses this same sentiment in a more veiled way.

Today’s Gospel not only demonstrates the magnanimous love of Mary Magdelene but also prepares Christ our Bridegroom for His marriage to the Church upon the cross.«Continue Reading»

Encourage & Teach – The Triduum: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

Family gatherings are a particularly joy-filled event for me. I get to catch-up on how everyone is doing (sometimes what they are doing) as well as spending some quality time with family. Inevitably, an aunt or uncle will say, “Remember when……” and all the nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws (and out-laws) will gather around to hear the tale. We laugh, smile, sometimes even cry remembering our loved ones whom we have lost but always, in the end, embrace and give thanks for each other and for…remembering. Holy Week is like that for Christians. In fact, we have a special word for it: anamnesis. (Read more)

Happy Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows!

our_lady_of_sorrows_by_wooferduff-d4hjfj9Happy Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows! Wait?!? You thought it was September 15? Silly Catholic, you are correct. However, prior to the reform of the liturgy at the Second Vatican Council, there were two Feasts of Our Lady of Sorrows…and one of them, was today.

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Passiontide at St. Mary of Sorrows

passiontide.veil4Today commences Passiontide at our parish. Passiontide is the name granted the last two weeks of the Lenten season, beginning on the Fifth Sunday of Lent.  It earned its name due to the Gospel reading that was associated with Passion Sunday’s Gospel in which Jesus “hid himself” from the people. This reading was changed after the reform of the Liturgy at the Second Vatican Council.

Our Pastor, here at St. Mary of Sorrows, has restored the long-standing and honored tradition of veiling the crucifixes, statues and icons commencing Passion Sunday and concluding Holy Saturday. Additionally, Stations of the Cross and «Continue Reading»

Passiontide Veils

St. Leo the Great Fairfax, VA 2014

St. Leo the Great Fairfax, VA 2014

The New Liturgical Movement blog posted a great history and explanation of why we veil our crucifixes and statues on Passion Sunday. The blog post, written in 2010 was entitled, Lenten Veils. Thanks to Gregor Kollmorgen who translated  Fr Joseph Braun’s Die Liturgischen Paramente, 2nd ed., 1924 page 233 ff. Here is an excerpt:

To be distinguished from the Passion veils is the large Lenten veil, which has stayed in use here and there in Sicily and Spain, at some places in Westphalia, as well as in the cathedral of Freiburg im Breisgau. It is a cloth which is hung up during Lent at the entrance to the choir. It is most often white or violet and remains until the Litany is sung on Holy Saturday. The Congregation of Rites has declared the use of this Lenten veil to be admissible on 11 May 1878 (decr. auth. n. 3448).

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Encourage & Teach: April Fools!

noahs_arkApril Fools’ Day is a favorite in my house. The kids and I have always enjoyed playing pranks and poking a little fun at each other. As they grew, the pranks became far more intricate and thus required advanced planning. Is it bad that we sometimes go shopping to prepare for this day? Anyway, a few years ago the inevitable happened. Our youngest asked: “How did April Fools’ Day get started?” I, of course, replied: “Umm, no clue son. Let me research.” (Read more…)

Lenten Lessons: Almsgiving

basilthegreat2The bread you do not use is the bread of the hungry. The garment hanging in your  wardrobe is the garment of the person who is naked. The shoes you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot. The money you keep locked away is the money of the poor. The acts of charity you do not perform are the injustices you commit.

What keeps you from giving now? Isn’t the poor man there? Aren’t your own warehouses full? Isn’t the reward promised? The command is clear: the hungry man is dying now, the naked man is freezing now, the man in debt is beaten now – and you want to wait until tomorrow? “I’m not doing any harm,” you say. “I just want to keep what I own, that’s all.” You own? … You are like someone who sits down in a theater and keeps everyone else away, saying that what is there for everyone’s use is his own … If everyone took only what he needed and gave the rest to those in need, there would be no such thing as rich or poor. After all, didn’t you come into life naked; and won’t you return naked to the earth?

St. Basil the Great

Lenten Lessons: Hospitality

sttheodorethegreatEven if you have only bread and water, with these you can still meet the dues of hospitality. Even if you have not these, but simply make the stranger welcome and offer him a word of encouragement, you will not be failing in hospitality. Think of the widow mentioned in the Holy Gospel by Our Lord: with only two mites, she surpassed the most generous and glittering gifts of the great and mighty.

Accepting the task of hospitality, the Patriarch Abraham’s table was laden for all comers including the impious and barbarians, without distinction. Hence he was found worthy of that wonderful banquet when he received angels and the Master of all, as guests. We too, then, should actively and eagerly cultivate hospitality, so that we may receive not only angels, but God Himself. For in as much as you have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, you have done it unto Me. It is good to be generous to all – especially to those who cannot repay us.

St. Theodore the Great

Lenten Lessons: Redemptive Suffering

padrepioII“When Jesus wants me to understand that He loves me, He allows me to savor the wounds, the thorns, the agonies of His passion…When He wants to delight me, He fills my heart with that spirit which is all fire; He speaks to me of His delights. But when He wants to be delighted, He speaks to me of His sorrows, He invites me — with a voice full of both supplication and authority — to affix my body [to the cross] in order to alleviate His suffering. Who can resist Him? I realize how much my miseries have caused Him to suffer, how much I have offended Him. I desire no other than Jesus alone, I want nothing more than His pains «Continue Reading»

Sex Ed Flawed? You Don’t Say…

birdsandbeesDid you ever read an article that made you want to cheer and face-palm yourself at the same time? That was my experience yesterday morning as I read a Time on-line piece entitled, Put the Sex Back into Sex Ed. I know, the title sounds loaded but there were glimmers of deep insight and, dare I say, hope throughout the piece that made me stick with it. In the end, grave disappointment – but there is a great of truth in this Op-Ed. And who wrote this auspicious Op-Ed? Ms. Camilla Paglia, who currently is a professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Didn’t see that coming did you? Read on…«Continue Reading»