Sunday, March 30, 2008
Finally, after the busiest Holy Week I think I have ever experienced, I was able to have a couple of days off, visiting old friends of my family, which was a most welcome respite. The frantic pace was not just the experience of the Triduum; sadly the parish has lost a number of parishioners through Holy Week and the Octave - all those I anointed through those days have now died - but what a beautiful time for believers to go home! My impression of the Holy Week ceremonies was of a deep peace and joy for all concerned - the high point being the Baptism, Reception and Confirmation of nine adults and one child at the great Vigil. We had a good attendance at all the services and the neophytes still seem to have a glow a week later! That is surely one of the most satisfying aspects of priestly ministry - to see the deep joy and peace of those who have come to faith in Christ and His Church. In the midst of so much death in the parish, it is a great blessing to see the new life - and it puts some of the struggles with those who are never happy unless they are expressing some concern or complaint - into some perspective - they will probably have a problem with Heaven too! Then two of the three signs that Spring is on the horizon have been seen: the Canada geese are flying back, in their thousands - and a Creamee Stand has opened in nearby St. Albans (for English readers, a Creamee Stand, if that's how you spell it, is what we would call a Mr. Softy ice-cream stand - sadly though, no Flake chocolate over here to stick in your ice-cream - they were 99 pence whenI was a teenager, I wonder what they are now?) Today is also a very special day because of the Feast of the Divine Mercy, surely one of the great gifts of John Paul the Great to the Church. Different parishioners from both the parishes have given an image of the Divine Mercy for the two confessionals - I will be burying the dear lady who gave the image for the big Church this Tuesday - she was anointed on Good Friday and was enthusiastic about meeting Her Maker!
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
A kind parishioner took this shot of the Owl (no face revealed!) wearing the beautiful new red vestment from Luzar Vestments. It was kindly donated by a number of donors in memory of a recently deceased parishioner. It is a most fitting way to remember a loved one by giving something in their memory that will be used in the celebration of the Divine Mysteries.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Holy Father, St. Joseph, Guardian of the Church and Protector of Priests, pray for us!
Tomorrow is the transferred Solemnity of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, Terror of demons and Protector of Priests. Priestly readers may want to check out the wonderful blog Vultus Christi, where Father Mark has some beautiful prayers to St. Joseph for priests.
Some thoughts of the Saints and Popes on St. Joseph:
"Would that I could persuade all men to have devotion to this glorious Saint; for I know by long experience what blessings he can obtain for us from God. It is now some years since I have always on his feast asked him for something, and I have always received it. Those who practise prayer should have a tremendous devotion to him always."
St. Teresa of Avila
"Saint Joseph is an incomparable example for us. He is the most blessed of saints because of his communion with Christ and Mary in service and love."
"Although it is not defined dogma, we are free to believe that Jesus honoured his adopted father in the same way as he honoured his Blessed Mother. In the same way that Mary was to be assumed into Heaven, Jesus, it is thought, deigned to glorify Joseph on the day of Resurrection. In this way all of the Holy Family - Jesus, Mary and Joseph - who lived together on earth would reign together in Heaven."
St. Bernadine of Siena
"The glorious patriarch had earned a tremendous reward in Heaven for all that he done for the Son, preparing the way for his heavenly mission....How could Jesus deny his gift of eternal bliss to the person whom he had obeyed so faithfully on earth?"
St. Francis de Sales
"St. Joseph can therefore be compared to Our Lady in his great docility to the will of God as revealed to him by an angel."
John Paul the Great
"St. Joseph is the model of those humble ones that Christianity raises up to great destinies;.....he is the proof that in order to be a good and genuine follower of Christ, there is no need of great things - it is enough to have the common, simple and human virtues, but they need to be true and authentic."
"Love St. Joseph a lot. Love him with all your soul, because he, together with Jesus, is the person who has most loved Our Blessed Lady and has been closest to God....He deserves your affection, and it will do you good to get to know him, because he is the Master of the interior life, and has great power before the Lord and before the Mother of God."
St. Josemaria Escriva
His "patronage must be invoked as ever necessary for the Church, not only as a defence against all dangers, but also, and indeed primarily, as an impetus for her renewed commitment to evangelization."
John Paul the Great
"Saint Joseph, protect us always. We pray that your spirit of peace, of interior silence, of work and prayer, of service to the Holy Church, will bring us life and happiness in union with our Most Blessed Mother. So we shall arrive at an abiding love for Jesus, Our Lord."
Blessed John XXIII
Thursday, March 13, 2008
For all those with their head in the sand in the UK who think the persecution of the Church is over, and will never happen in "civilized Britain" - sadly, the body of the kidnapped Chaldean Rite Catholic Bishop of Mosul, Bishop Paulos Rahho, has been found murdered. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of holiness.
Martyr Bishop Paulos, Pray for us!
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
"Good Lord, set in thy Church strong and mighty pillars that may suffer and endure great labours, which also shall not fear persecution, neither death but always suffer with a good will, slanders, shame, and all kinds of torments, for the glory of thy Holy Name.
By this manner, good Lord, the truth of thy Gospel shall be preached throughout the world.
Therefore, merciful Lord, exercise thy mercy, show it indeed upon thy Church.
I am afraid I am going to have to stick my neck over the parapet, and probably finally convince at least one or two of my quorum of readers, that I have finally lost the last of my remaining marbles. For some considerable time I have believed that a severe persecution of the Church is imminent, and that it will begin in Britain. However, it will spread quickly throughout Europe - the re-election of the extremely anti-Catholic Zapatero government in Spain is but one sign of this. I am not quite as insane as I may sound; in recent weeks I have spoken or corresponded with priests in the UK who believe exactly the same. I recently spoke with a leading Catholic journalist who told me that he believed it was only a matter of time before priests and bishops are jailed for preaching the Catholic Faith. Legislation, introduced by the Labour government in recent years (and happily promoted by recent Catholic convert, the Rt. Hon Anthony Blair) has already resulted in a number of unpleasant incidents. Now, a Catholic Bishop, the Rt. Reverend Patrick O'Donoghue, has been 'summoned' to appear before a Parliamentary Committee this Wednesday to answer for the terrible crime of stating that the Catholic Faith should be taught in Catholic schools. The Chairman of the Committee has spoken of "fundamentalism" and its dangers. This from a government that has made it a crime to mention anything about the evils of Islam - one cannot even refer to Islamic terrorists. This is precisely why it is so important who is appointed as the new Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster. We will need the equivalent of a Blessed Clement Von Galen, the "Lion" Bishop who stood up to Hitler. As previously posted, it is believed that Pope Benedict regards this appointment as one of the three most important of his pontificate. The new Cardinal may have to close all the Catholic schools - or he may follow the example of all but one of the episcopate during the time of that verminous apostate and odorous wretch, Henry VIII, and give way. I do not think things are anything like as bad over here - it is more of a "white" persecution compared to what I fear will soon be a "red" persecution in Britain. I would suggest that we pray for Bishop O'Donoghue - using the prayer of St. John Fisher - a true example of what a Bishop should be - the prayer is posted above.
Finally a few words from "Old Thunder" on the irony of a decayed society forcing its vision of "tolerance" on the Church:
"For there comes a time - it is brief, as must be all final moments of decay - but there comes a time in the moral disruption of a State when the mere utterance of a plain truth laboriously concealed by hypocrisy, denied by contemporary falsehood, and forgotten by the moral lethargy of the populace, takes upon itself an ironical quality more powerful than any elaboration of special ironies could have taken in the past."
Pope Benedict's homily yesterday at a Youth Centre in Rome included the comment: "the Fathers of the Church called the Eucharist the drug of immortality."
My headline is, of course, how the BBC, the most impartial of all news organizations, will report it.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
New Papal MC - Monsignor 'the Enforcer' Marini
Interesting news about the US visit of BXVI's new MC - known as the "enforcer," the "real Marini", or "Marini 2 - No Surrender." Known to sweep away dancing nuns from the sanctuary with a casual flick of his steel-sided zuccetto, it is believed that Sammy Davis Junior originally meant his famous signature tune "The Candyman" to be called "The Candleman" in honour of Monsignor Marini. Old 'seven candles,' as he is known in Native American circles, was in the US to do a preliminary heretic burn for Papa Benedetto - and to make sure there was no soft-rock/blue vestment nonsense of the type encouraged by his namesake, Archbishop Piero 'Kenny G" Marini, when the Boss or "Big Ben" arrives next month. Taking no prisoners, any US Bishop who allows anything approaching a Mahoney-fest will soon find himself the Apostolic Nuncio in Uzbekistan - it will just take a word from the "enforcer" - the Candleman can, oh the candleman can.
Friday, March 7, 2008
Cardinal Hinsley broadcasting on the BBC during World War II.
According to the great historian and writer, Christopher Dawson, who was Vice-President of the 'Sword of the Spirit,' founded by the wonderful Cardinal Hinsley, the aim of the movement was a "return to the foundations on which Western civilization and our own national life were built and therefore opposed alike to the deliberate apostasy of the totalitarian state and the superficial materialism of our own secularised culture." Sounds like we need a new 'Sword of the Spirit' movement in 2008! I believe I am right in saying that Churchill was almost convinced to become a Catholic by the example and leadership of Cardinal Hinsley.
"The world is now the stage of a conflict between those who genuinely believe in a Divine Creator and those who avowedly or implicitly deify man."
E. I. Watkin.