Historic St. Anthony Catholic Church
258 Ohio, Wichita, Ks
2nd St. & Ohio
Two blocks east of Old Town
Sunday Mass at 1:oo
English/Latin missals provided. Join us for coffee and donuts after mass downstairs in the St. Clair/Sunshine room, south exterior basement entrance.
Pastor of St. Anthony Parish: Fr. Ben Nguyen
EFLR Celebrants: Fr. John Jirak, Fr Nicholas Voelker
Master of Ceremonies: Tony Strunk
Choir Director: Bernie Dette


Continuing News

+To submit an article or if you have comments contact me, Mark, at bumpy187@gmail.com.

Fund Raiser for the Carmelites: A Gala “Carmelita” on August 22 will benefit Wichita’s cloistered Carmelite nuns. The nuns are hoping to build a new monastery. The gala will be at The Ville at St. Vincent de Paul Church at 123 S. 160th St. in Andover and will include a Mexican dinner, music by the Picante Band and a silent auction. Dinner will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and dancing from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Wine and beer will be served. Tickets are $30. For more information or tickets, call Nancy Wyant at 316-573-7964 or Jerry Cornejo at 316-305-3051.

Feast Day of the Assumption Verified: Fr. Nicholas Voelker, St. Mary Parish, Newton, has scheduled his first public Traditional Latin Low Mass for Saturday August 15th. at 8:00 a.m. This is the Feast day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and is not a day of obligation in the diocese.

St. Mary Catholic church can be found at 106 E 8th St, Newton, the corner of Main and 8th streets. From Wichita take I-135 North, travel past the Hutchinson exit (south end of town) to the east side of Newton, exit 1st and Broadway streets. Take 1st street west to Main, turn right (north) to 8th street.

Midwest Catholic Family Conference: The Latin Mass Community will host a booth at this years Midwest Catholic Family Conference, August 7-9 at Century II Convention Center.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Post #288

Topics: July 31st: St. Ignatius of Loyola, Confessor...YouTube Video: Life of St. Ignatius of Loyola...Midwest Catholic Family Conference: Latin Mass Community Booth

There's more news on the website: http://venite-missa-est.blogspot.com  and video you cannot see from the email newsletter. If you receive by email be sure and check out the site to get every bit of the information from Venite, including pictures, video, links and more. Here's the link: http://venite-missa-est.blogspot.com/


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The Necessaries.
I am a member of the Latin Mass Community of St. Anthony Parish in Wichita, Ks. While this blog may at times comment on, or allude to, the community and parish, Venite Missa Est! is by no means, in any way an official voice of any particular parish or the Diocese of Wichita. Venite Missa Est! is strictly a private layman's endeavor.


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July 31st: St. Ignatius of Loyola, Confessor- 3rd class 
The Roman Missal (1962) Baronius Press

Ignatius, courtier and knight, was wounded at the siege of Pamplona. During his long convalescence the reading of the lives of the Saints revealed to him that the Church militant needed an army of glorious soldiers to fight the forces combined against it: Pagans, Mohammedans, Protestants, etc. He founded the Society of Jesus and as first General of this new spiritual chivalry he moved to the attack under the motto: "Ad majorem Dei gloriam-T   o the greater glory of God!" He died with the Holy Name of Jesus on his lips A.D. 1556.

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July 31st: St. Ignatius of Loyola, Confessor- 3rd class 
Catholic Online
http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=56

St. Ignatius was born in the family castle in Guipúzcoa, Spain, the youngest of 13 children, and was called Ińigo. When he was old enough, he became a page, and then a soldier of Spain to fight against the French. A cannon ball and a series of bad operations ended his military

career in 1521. While St. Ignatius recovered, he read the lives of the saints, and decided to dedicate himself to becoming a soldier of the Catholic Faith. Soon after he experienced visions, but a year later suffered a trial of fears and scruples, driving him almost to despair. Out of this experience he wrote his famous "Spiritual Exercises". After traveling and studying in different schools, he finished in Paris, where he received his degree at the age of 43. Many first hated St. Ignatius because of his humble Lifestyle. Despite this, he attracted several followers at the university, including St. Francis Xavier, and soon started his order called The Society of Jesus, or Jesuits. There are 38 members of the Society of Jesus who have been declared Blessed, and 38 who have been canonized as saints. He died at the age of 65.


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Life of St. Ignatius of Loyola
YouTube Video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=20&v=gw1zISAgwuY



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Midwest Catholic Family Conference
 Latin Mass Community 

The Latin Mass Community will host a booth at this years Midwest Catholic Family Conference August 7-9, 2015 at Century II Convention Center. Visit http://www.catholicfamilyconference.org for more information on the conference. Holy cards to give out are below.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Post #287

Topics: July 29th: St. Martha, Virgin... The Catholic Gentleman: The Catholic Meaning of Days and Months...Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Low Mass: Verified Time.

If you receive by email be sure and check out the site to get every bit of the information from Venite, including pictures, video, links and more. Here's the link: http://venite-missa-est.blogspot.com/


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The Necessaries.
I am a member of the Latin Mass Community of St. Anthony Parish in Wichita, Ks. While this blog may at times comment on, or allude to, the community and parish, Venite Missa Est! is by no means, in any way an official voice of any particular parish or the Diocese of Wichita. Venite Missa Est! is strictly a private layman's endeavor.


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July 29th: St. Martha, Virgin- 3rd class 
The Roman Missal (1962) Baronius Press

Martha, sister of Mary Magdalene and Lazarus, lived at Bethany a humble and active life. She often gave hospitality to our Lord. According to one account they ended their days at Marseilles--St. Lazarus as a Bishop, St. Mary Magdalene as anchoress, St. Martha as head of a small community of holy women.
Also, Commemoration of SS. Felix, Simplicius, Faustina and Beatrice, martyrs.

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July 29th: St. Martha, Virgin- 3rd class 
Lives of the Saints
https://magnificat.ca/cal/en/saints/saint_martha.html

Saint John tells us that Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus (John 11:5), but only a few glimpses are vouchsafed us of them in the Gospels. First, the sisters are set before us: Martha received Jesus into her house, and was busy in outward, loving, lavish service, while Mary sat in silence at the feet she had bathed with her tears. Then we learn that their brother is ill when they send word to Jesus concerning their brother Lazarus, Lord, he whom Thou lovest is sick. (John 11:3) In His own time the Lord came, and they went out to meet Him; then follows that scene of unutterable tenderness and of sublimity unsurpassed: the silent mourning of Mary; Martha strong in faith, but realizing so vividly, with her practical turn of mind, the fact of death, and hesitating: Lord, by this time he is already decayed! He has been dead four days.

And then once again, on the eve of His Passion, we see Jesus at Bethany, with His resurrected disciple. Martha, true to her character, is serving; Mary, as at first, pours the precious ointment, in adoration and love, on His divine head, as a preliminary to His burial. (John 12:1-4) We do not hear of the beloved family again in the Scriptures, but tradition tells us that when the storm of persecution came, the family of Bethany, with a few companions, were put into a boat without oars or sail, and borne miraculously to the coast of France. Martha assembled a holy company of women, with whom she lived in great austerity of life and admirable sanctity at Tarascon where her tomb is venerated. Saint Mary's tomb is at La Sainte-Baume; Saint Lazarus is venerated as the founder of the Church of Marseilles. It is this family which brought to France the relics of Saint Anne.

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Sanctifying time: The Catholic Meaning of Days and Months 
Excerpt from The Catholic Gentleman PART ONE
Before I was Catholic, there were three significant days in my week: Monday was the much dreaded day school or work began; Wednesday was the hopeful hump day when most of the week was over; and Friday was the glorious final day of the week that ushered us into the weekend.

Since becoming, Catholic, however, I have gained a new appreciation for the sacredness of time. The liturgical cycle gives shape and meaning to the year, and each season brings new significance. But the liturgical year is just the beginning. Did you know Mother Church has also assigned meaning to each day and month of the year? It’s true. Let’s briefly examine the significance of each day and month.
HOLY DAYS

Sunday: The Holy Trinity – Sunday is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. This is entirely fitting as Sunday is the first day of the week and the day when we offer God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit our praise, adoration, and thanksgiving.

Monday: The Angels – Monday is the day in which we remember the angels. Angels are powerful guardians, and each of us is protected by one. Many of the saints had a great devotion to the angels in general and to their guardian angel in particular.

Tuesday: The Apostles – The Catholic Church is apostolic. That is, it is founded on the authority and teaching of the apostles, most especially that of St. Peter to whom Jesus gave the keys of his kingdom. Each bishop is a direct successor of the apostles.

Wednesday: Saint Joseph – Saint Joseph is known as the prince and chief patron of the Church. As the earthly father of Jesus, he had a special role in protecting, providing for, and instructing Jesus during his earthly life. Now that Christ is ascended into heaven, St. Joseph continues his fatherly guardianship of Christ’s body, the Church.

Thursday: The Holy Eucharist – Our Lord instituted the most holy Eucharist on a Thursday, so it is fitting that we remember this greatest of sacraments on this day. The Eucharist is the greatest gift of God to mankind, as it is nothing less than Jesus himself. What gift could be greater?

Friday: The Passion – Jesus was scourged, mocked, and crucified on a Friday. Because of this, the Church has always set aside Fridays of days of penance and sacrifice. While the U.S. sadly does not require abstinence from meat on Fridays, penance is still required in one form or another. This day should always be a day of repentance and a day in which we recall Christ’s complete self-sacrifice to save us from our sins.

Saturday: Our Lady – There are a number of theological reasons Saturdays are dedicated to Our Lady, perhaps the most significant is that on Holy Saturday, when everyone else had abandoned Christ in the tomb, she was faithful to him, confidently waiting for his resurrection on the first day of the week.
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St. Mary Parish: Low Mass Scheduled
Time and date verified.


 Fr. Nicholas Voelker, St. Mary Parish, Newton, has scheduled his first public Traditional Latin Low Mass for Saturday August 15th. at 8:00 a.m. This is the Feast day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and is not a day of obligation in the diocese.

St. Mary Catholic church can be found at 106 E 8th St, Newton, the corner of Main and 8th streets. From Wichita take I-135 North, travel past the Hutchinson exit (south end of town) to the east side of Newton, exit 1st and Broadway streets. Take 1st street west to Main, turn right (north) to 8th street.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Post #286

Topics: July 21st: St. Laurence of Brindisi...July 22nd: St. Mary Magdalen... St. Mary Magdalen: New Advent...Installation Mass: Fr. Ben Nguyen...Benefit:Discalced Carmelite Nuns

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The Necessaries.
I am a member of the Latin Mass Community of St. Anthony Parish in Wichita, Ks. While this blog may at times comment on, or allude to, the community and parish, Venite Missa Est! is by no means, in any way an official voice of any particular parish or the Diocese of Wichita. Venite Missa Est! is strictly a private layman's endeavor.

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 July 21st St. Laurence of Brindisi- 3rd class 
The Roman Missal (1962) Baronius Press

Laurence of Brindisi, a Capuchin friar who for some years ruled his whole Order, acquired a great fame for learning and eloquence, and laboured with remarkable success in most parts of Europe preaching to Catholics, to Protestants and to Jews. When 80,000 Turks invaded Hungary in 1605, he it was who inspired the united Christian armies of 18,000 men to attack and himself led them to c complete victory riding before them bearing a large cross. He died in Lisbon in 1611.

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 July 22nd St. Mary Magdalen- 3rd class 
The Roman Missal (1962) Baronius Press

St. Mary Magdalen, of Magdala in Galilee, was the sister of St. Martha and St. Lazarus. First, a sinner, she converted by our Lord, who raised Lazarus at her prayer. She stood at the Cross "till our Lord, sent forth His Spirit". After His Victory, Christ showed Himself to Magdalen and made her His messenger to announce His Resurrection to the Apostles.

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 St. Mary Magdalen
New Advent

Mary Magdalen was so called either from Magdala near Tiberias, on the west shore of Galilee, or possibly from a Talmudic expression meaning "curling women's hair," which the Talmud explains as of an adulteress.

In the New Testament she is mentioned among the women who accompanied Christ and ministered to Him (Luke 8:2-3), where it is also said that seven devils had been cast out of her (Mark 16:9). She is next named as standing at the foot of the cross (Mark 15:40; Matthew 27:56; John 19:25; Luke 23:49). She saw Christ laid in the tomb, and she was the first recorded witness of the Resurrection.

The Greek Fathers, as a whole, distinguish the three persons:
  • the "sinner" of Luke 7:36-50;
  • the sister of Martha and Lazarus, Luke 10:38-42 and 
  • John 11; and Mary Magdalen.
On the other hand most of the Latins hold that these three were one and the same. Protestant critics, however, believe there were two, if not three, distinct persons. It is impossible to demonstrate the identity of the three; but those commentators undoubtedly go too far who assert, as does Westcott (on John 11:1), "that the identity of Mary with Mary Magdalene is a mere conjecture supported by no direct evidence, and opposed to the general tenour of the gospels." It is the identification of Mary of Bethany with the "sinner" of Luke 7:37, which is most combatted by Protestants. It almost seems as if this reluctance to identify the "sinner" with the sister of Martha were due to a failure to grasp the full significance of the forgiveness of sin. The harmonizing tendencies of so many modern critics, too, are responsible for much of the existing confusion.

The first fact, mentioned in the Gospel relating to the question under discussion is the anointing of Christ's feet by a woman, a "sinner" in the city (Luke 7:37-50). This belongs to the Galilean ministry, it precedes the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand and the third Passover. Immediately afterwards St. Luke describes a missionary circuit in Galilee and tells us of the women who ministered to Christ, among them being "Mary who is called Magdalen, out of whom seven devils were gone forth" (Luke 8:2); but he does not tell us that she is to be identified with the "sinner" of the previous chapter. In 10:38-42, he tells us of Christ's visit to Martha and Mary "in a certain town"; it is impossible to identify this town, but it is clear from 9:53, that Christ had definitively left Galilee, and it is quite possible that this "town" was Bethany. This seems confirmed by the preceding parable of the good Samaritan, which must almost certainly have been spoken on the road between Jericho and Jerusalem. But here again we note that there is no suggestion of an identification of the three persons (the "sinner", Mary Magdalen, and Mary of Bethany), and if we had only St. Luke to guide us we should certainly have no grounds for so identifying them. St. John, however, clearly identifies Mary of Bethany with the woman who anointed Christ's feet (12; cf. Matthew 26 and Mark 14). It is remarkable that already in 11:2, St. John has spoken of Mary as "she that anointed the Lord's feet", he aleipsasa; It is commonly said that he refers to the subsequent anointing which he himself describes in 12:3-8; but it may be questioned whether he would have used he aleipsasa if another woman, and she a "sinner" in the city, had done the same. It is conceivable that St. John, just because he is writing so long after the event and at a time when Mary was dead, wishes to point out to us that she was really the same as the "sinner." In the same way St. Luke may have veiled her identity precisely because he did not wish to defame one who was yet living; he certainly does something similar in the case of St. Matthew whose identity with Levi the publican (5:7) he conceals.

If the foregoing argument holds good, Mary of Bethany and the "sinner" are one and the same. But an examination of St. John's Gospel makes it almost impossible to deny the identity of Mary of Bethany with Mary Magdalen. From St. John we learn the name of the "woman" who anointed Christ's feet previous to the last supper. We may remark here that it seems unnecessary to hold that because St. Matthew and St. Mark say "two days before the Passover", while St. John says "six days" there were, therefore, two distinct anointings following one another. St. John does not necessarily mean that the supper and the anointing took place six days before, but only that Christ came to Bethany six days before the Passover. At that supper, then, Mary received the glorious encomium, "she hath wrought a good work upon Me . . . in pouring this ointment upon My body she hath done it for My burial . . . wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached . . . that also which she hath done shall be told for a memory of her." Is it credible, in view of all this, that this Mary should have no place at the foot of the cross, nor at the tomb of Christ? Yet it is Mary Magdalen who, according to all the Evangelists, stood at the foot of the cross and assisted at the entombment and was the first recorded witness of the Resurrection. And while St. John calls her "Mary Magdalen" in 19:25, 20:1, and 20:18, he calls her simply "Mary" in 20:11 and 20:16.

In the view we have advocated the series of events forms a consistent whole; the "sinner" comes early in the ministry to seek for pardon; she is described immediately afterwards as Mary Magdalen "out of whom seven devils were gone forth"; shortly after, we find her "sitting at the Lord's feet and hearing His words." To the Catholic mind it all seems fitting and natural. At a later period Mary and Martha turn to "the Christ, the Son of the Living God", and He restores to them their brother Lazarus; a short time afterwards they make Him a supper and Mary once more repeats the act she had performed when a penitent. At the Passion she stands near by; she sees Him laid in the tomb; and she is the first witness of His Resurrection--excepting always His Mother, to whom He must needs have appeared first, though the New Testament is silent on this point. In our view, then, there were two anointings of Christ's feet--it should surely be no difficulty that St. Matthew and St. Mark speak of His head--the first (Luke 7) took place at a comparatively early date; the second, two days before the last Passover. But it was one and the same woman who performed this pious act on each occasion.

Subsequent history of St. Mary Magdalen

The Greek Church maintains that the saint retired to Ephesus with the Blessed Virgin and there died, that her relics were transferred to Constantinople in 886 and are there preserved. Gregory of Tours (De miraculis, I, xxx) supports the statement that she went to Ephesus. However, according to a French tradition (see SAINT LAZARUS OF BETHANY), Mary, Lazarus, and some companions came to Marseilles and converted the whole of Provence. Magdalen is said to have retired to a hill, La Sainte-Baume, near by, where she gave herself up to a life of penance for thirty years. When the time of her death arrived she was carried by angels to Aix and into the oratory of St. Maximinus, where she received the viaticum; her body was then laid in an oratory constructed by St. Maximinus at Villa Lata, afterwards called St. Maximin. History is silent about these relics till 745, when according to the chronicler Sigebert, they were removed to Vézelay through fear of the Saracens. No record is preserved of their return, but in 1279, when Charles II, King of Naples, erected a convent at La Sainte-Baume for the Dominicans, the shrine was found intact, with an inscription stating why they were hidden. In 1600 the relics were placed in a sarcophagus sent by Clement VIII, the head being placed in a separate vessel. In 1814 the church of La Sainte-Baume, wrecked during the Revolution, was restored, and in 1822 the grotto was consecrated afresh. The head of the saint now lies there, where it has lain so long, and where it has been the centre of so many pilgrimages.

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 His Excellency Bishop Kemme Installation Mass of Fr. Ben Nguyen Installation  
From the Latin Mass Community Bulletin 7/19/15

Invitation from Fr. Nguyen: Fr. Ben Nguyen introduced himself to the Latin Mass community before Mass last Sunday as the new pastor of St. Anthony’s. He very kindly asked members to contact him if they need anything. He also invited the community to the Saturday night Mass at 5:30 p.m. July 25 during which Bishop Kemme will install him as pastor. The Mass will be in the gym across the street from church and will include English, Vietnamese and Latin in the liturgy to reflect the three congregations at St. Anthony’s. All are invited.

Benefit for Discalced Carmelite Nuns Monastery  
From the Latin Mass Community Bulletin 7/19/15

Fund raiser for the Carmelites: A Gala “Carmelita” on August 22 will benefit Wichita’s cloistered Carmelite nuns. The nuns are hoping to build a new monastery. The gala will be at The Ville at St. Vincent de Paul Church at 123 S. 160th St. in Andover and will include a Mexican dinner, music by the Picante Band and a silent auction. Dinner will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and dancing from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Wine and beer will be served. Tickets are $30. For more information or tickets, call Nancy Wyant at 316-573-7964 or Jerry Cornejo at 316-305-3051.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Post #285

Topics:  A New Beginning for Venite Missa Est!Start anew!...Saturday July 18th: Feast of St. Camillus de Lellis - 3rd class ...Venite Re-Run: Light Bulbs in St. Anthony’s Attic


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The Necessaries.
I am a member of the Latin Mass Community of St. Anthony Parish in Wichita, Ks. While this blog may at times comment on, or allude to, the community and parish, Venite Missa Est! is by no means, in any way an official voice of any particular parish or the Diocese of Wichita. Venite Missa Est! is strictly a private layman's endeavor.


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A New Beginning for Venite Missa Est!
With the establishment of the Wichita Latin Mass Community as a canonically recognized entity (not a parish) in the Diocese of Wichita (Deo Gratias!) complete with Council and official bulletin/newsletter/email I thought it best that Venite Missa Est! divorce itself from any perceived St. Anthony officiality.  I quit blogging to put some space between the blog and the community lest anyone think we were connected.

This blog was originally intended to unite those of us who felt scattered around the diocese and who, perhaps, never met outside of mass on a social level. The original intent was to have everyone submit articles, pictures, prayers as a sort of communal digital gathering. It really never did work that way though many people did contribute.

Now that we are maturing and progressing  as a community I wanted to continue, on my own, to be a solo voice for those who seek information on the liturgy, news, mass times, the calendar and perhaps some stories from readers, pictures. A new beginning! I have missed blogging and feel enough time has past to start anew. Feel free to contribute if you wish. This is a fun blog not to be taken seriously at all!

If you receive this blog as an email and don't want to receive further, email me at bumpy187@gmail.com and I will remove you or, there may be an unsubscribe link in the email.

Remember, this is my blog...not to be confused with any authority or official relationship.

God bless
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Saturday July 18th: Feast of St. Camillus de Lellis
American catholic.org

Humanly speaking, Camillus was not a likely candidate for sainthood. His mother died when he was a child, his father neglected him, and he grew up with an excessive love for gambling. At 17 he was afflicted with a disease of his leg that remained with him for life. In Rome, he entered the San Giacomo Hospital for Incurables as both patient and servant, but was dismissed for quarrelsomeness after nine months. He served in the Venetian army for three years.
Then in the winter of 1574, when he was 24, he gambled away everything he had–savings, weapons, literally down to his shirt. He accepted work at the Capuchin friary at Manfredonia, and was one day so moved by a sermon of the superior that he began a conversion that changed his whole life. He entered the Capuchin movitiate, but was dismissed because of the apparently incurable sore on his leg. After another stint of service at San Giacomo, he came back to the Capuchins, only to be dismissed again, for the same reason.

Again, back at San Giacomo, his dedication was rewarded by his being made superintendent. He devoted the rest of his life to the care of the sick, and has been named, along with St. John of God, patron of hospitals, nurses and the sick. With the advice of his friend St. Philip Neri, he studied for the priesthood and was ordained at the age of 34. Contrary to the advice of his friend, he left San Giacomo and founded a congregation of his own. As superior, he devoted much of his own time to the care of the sick.

Charity was his first concern, but the physical aspects of the hospital also received his diligent attention. He insisted on cleanliness and the technical competence of those who served the sick. The members of his community bound themselves to serve prisoners and persons infected by the plague as well as those dying in private homes. Some of his men were with troops fighting in Hungary and Croatia in 1595, forming the first recorded military field ambulance. In Naples, he and his men went onto the galleys that had plague and were not allowed to land. He discovered that there were people being buried alive, and ordered his brothers to continue the prayers for the dying 15 minutes after apparent death.

He himself suffered the disease of his leg through his life. In his last illness he left his own bed to see if other patients in the hospital needed help.

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Light Bulbs in St. Anthony’s Attic
This is a re-run from a 2009 Venite blog post

Peppered throughout life are those times when one realizes just how fragile human existence is. For me it was in the attic of St. Anthony Catholic church as I observed the Thompson brothers change the light bulbs in the ceiling above the sanctuary (most will remember the Thompson brothers as servers at Latin Mass).


Bob Wells, life long parishioner and sacristan asked that I go up with the brothers to learn how to change the bulbs. You see, there is no fancy pole with a grabber thing on the end, no safe enclosed lift to take us up…the bulbs have to be accessed from above and this is a little more complicated then one might imagine.


The journey to near certain death began intriguingly enough through the left side of the sacristy (NE corner of the church). There in the small room off of the altar is a small narrow staircase of old wood that abruptly turns as it goes upward. Once above you enter into a second story room, perhaps 13 by 10 feet with planked floors and dusty storage. But what’s this? There in the corner is a foreboding figure of darkness and gloom. It is what I can only describe as, The Ladder of Death! (or extreme hurt anyway).


This ladder is as old as the church. Now, I am prone to sensationalism, but I believe this ladder extends at least 25 feet upward into a square opening in the ceiling. It‘s rungs are (very) thin wooden dowels, my thought being that men in 1904 were smaller in stature all around. Its only anchor to anything resembling solid is at the top. It proves to be one of those special, fun ladders that bounce and shake precariously as you climb it…which normally I might find amusing, but the thought of a broken leg kind of put a knot in my gut. As I mutter something to this affect Mr. Wells chuckled and said “well it’s better than the original…which is to your left.” At this point, with white knuckles clinging and my stomach pressing through the rungs on the other side (imagine that), I glance over to notice boards nailed to the studs on the wall. Indeed, thank God for THIS ladder.
Once through the hole in the ceiling I find myself on a bit of flooring that I suppose can be described as a third (or fourth) story. It holds the AC units and duct work and forms a squarish U shape around the ceiling above the altar. In the middle of the U shape are the rafters, bare exposed under two feet of sprayed insulation. This is what kind of freaks me out…knowing that one misstep and I fall forty feet down onto the sanctuary floor. Ok, I will admit, that is a bit over the top…most likely I would catch myself in the rafters by my broken neck and swiveling cranium…so that is a small measure of comfort. There is a board laid across this vast sea of certain death (yes, I said a board …the kind you fall off of and meet your Maker...see picture) that inclines towards the rafters of the church and the bell tower. This leads to a catwalk…or more accurately…more boards that extend all the way to the choir loft…I don’t imagine anyone of any sound mind or sense would attempt to use this as you would have to duck below other rafters as you walked. Again, below the insulation lie more rafters and plaster…so this is not a practical or safe walkway and was probably left by the original workman.


Going back to my original starting point are two big windows and a good view of the rear parking lot(look up from the rear parking lot and you can see into the attic). Without gratings on the windows this lends a certain vertigo to the atmosphere. Between these windows are a small series of steps that hug the east wall…these lead to another catwalk that runs parallel above the aforementioned catwalk except this one has railings (see picture) and leads directly into the bell tower. It is much wider and safer, though one of the boys does comment “Oh, by the way…hold on at all times and trust nothing….!”

To change the lights is a two (or three) man operation. One man is on firm ground below to actually switch out the bulbs…that’s the safe part. The other guy(s) walk out onto the rafters of the ceiling, hidden in insulation, to access the “buckets” that the bulbs sit inside of. The Thompson brothers were absolutely fearless as they stepped onto the rafters, lean over and go straight to work.
Procedure:
  1. Grab the “bucket” securely (connected by a chain to heavy beams). The buckets are fastened to a cross board by a long bolt and wing nut. This is the apparatus that keeps it from falling though the ceiling.
  2. Unscrew the wing nut and hold the bucket tightly
  3. Remove the cross board.
  4. Very gently, commences to lower the bucket downward to the man waiting below, being very careful to not let the chain swing as this acts just like a saw in the fragile plaster ceiling.
  5. Man below changes bulb.
  6. Unit is pulled back up and secured.
  7. Mutter prayer of thanks for another chance at life.
Once the work was done we explored a bit. Here and there is graffiti from workmen gone passed…a date scrawled in paint from 1932, scribblings, and markings. Once on the catwalk you can see just how solid the building is with huge timbers and iron “hangers” down the middle (see picture). Off to the sides are mini catwalks that extend to the small roundish windows in the roof. You can see these from street level, though I cannot imagine what purpose the little windows serve, save the small amount of light they let in. These old catwalks, extending laterally over the pews below, look unsteady and I don’t imagine anyone has ventured out onto them in years (you can see these in the foreground in the picture above right).

Once down the catwalk you step up into the bell tower which is flooded in light. This is probably the most vulnerable part of the church as the pigeons can attest . There are multiple levels of the tower with another wobbly ladder that leads higher to the actual bell. I am too chicken to climb since I am worried about the small patches of dry rot in the floor (old water damage) but over all, as a testament to old school construction, the tower looks pretty good especially considering the fact that there is not a steel beam in the whole thing.

The Thompson brothers, or as I think of them: the Fearless Thompsons, clamber up and take pictures of the bell (see…picture of the bell).
We make our way back across the catwalk and I clawed my way down the Ladder of Death to terra firma. The look on my face elicits a chuckle from Mr. Wells.
Hysterics aside I really was in no danger, though by cowering in the corner with my hands over my eyes I could have fooled most anyone. It was the idea that forty feet below me, hidden by a few inches of plaster and insulation, lay much pain should one fall through.

If you use common sense, as in any attic, there is no more danger than say, falling off a roof…wait a minute…I hate roofs!