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.

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Did You Know

Mass Propers, the readings that change everyday, can be found in the red missalettes at the entrance of church?

Fr. Nicholas Voelker celebrates Low Mass Saturdays at 8:00 a.m., St. Mary's Catholic Church, 106 East 8th street, Newton. There is no mass this Saturday, January 30, 2016.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Post #85

Topics: John the Baptist:Unborn Witness to Christ....Father Emil Kapaun: Vatican to Continue....Relic of St. Therese: Will Travel to Space....St. Anthony: Brief i.e., "Letter"....Litany of the Week: For the Faithful Departed....His Holiness: Another Motu Proprio This Summer?....Polish Catholics: Auschwitz Survivors....Vatican: Cardinal Newman Miracle Accepted


John the Baptist, Unborn Witness to Christ

Human Life International e-Newsletter

The touching story of the two unborn children who were present at the Visitation should give us a reason to rejoice with Elizabeth and Mary at the dawning of our salvation. While the mothers basked in the overwhelming grace of the moment, the older of the two children was already working for our salvation in the way decreed for him by the Almighty from all eternity. That little baby was announcing the coming of the Savior even from the womb!
One has to marvel at the life of St. John the Baptist whose feast we celebrate each year on June 24th. Perhaps we take him for granted because his story is so familiar to us, but his vocation to holiness is beyond comparison with any other saint in history. With the exception of Jesus' most holy Mother, never has there been a human being so perfectly united to the Person of Christ than John. He was so perfect a man that Jesus Himself said that there was "no man born of woman greater than John." Great men of the world exalt themselves over their subjects as a way to assert their grandeur; yet, John's greatness was precisely in lowering himself to the depths of the earth (i.e., the Dead Sea, geographically the world's lowest point on land) and turning the attention of men away from himself onto Another. What worldly man does that? A man who lives in the desert and wears camel hair garments is hardly going to be accepted among the movers-and-shakers of society, but it was this greatest of men who said that he actually had to decrease if he were to fulfill his essential mission. Truly John's was a life of striking paradoxes which, when examined closely, point out the holiness of the man whose whole existence was to bear witness to Holiness Himself.
John's greatest witness was not in his words, however. It was in his actions. We know of only two actions outside of his baptizing and preaching that give us a window into this man's pure soul: his joyful leap in the womb of Elizabeth and his ultimate act of self-sacrifice in martyrdom. In birth and death he was the Lord's, as in every other moment of his existence. His pre-natal rejoicing at the Christ Child wordlessly proclaimed that all children, no matter the circumstances of their conception or birth, are unqualified blessings to us, joyful additions to the human family of which God never repents. We have the testimony of the "greatest man born of woman" as our witness to the sanctity of each and every human life!
John also valiantly embraced the multiple crosses of his life: penitence, suffering, imprisonment and beheading before the Perfect Sacrifice of the Cross was consummated. No wonder the scriptures tell us that even the wicked Herod, "felt the attraction of his words." John had that rare integrity of life that filled his words with grace. It was his life, his appearance, his humility, his mission and his gift of self that make John attractive to all generations, especially those who suffer injustice for the cause of righteousness.
I have no doubt that if John the Baptist were alive today he would be standing in front of abortion clinics witnessing to the unborn Christ in each child, calling people to account for their promiscuity, challenging the powers that keep this immoral industry in business, healing the wounded souls victimized by abortion, washing men clean of their sins that lead to death, teaching us to find joy even in our suffering and ready to lay down his own life so that others could live.
Truly there is no greater man born of woman than John the Baptist. He is the Unborn Witness to Christ who shows us the way out of the culture of death; if only we will listen to the silent eloquence of that little baby leaping in his mother's womb.

Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,

President, Human Life International


Father Emil Kapaun: Investigator for Vatican Finds Enough to Continue

The Wichita Eagle By Roy Wenzl

The Vatican found enough evidence of a miracle in the survival of Chase Kear of Colwich that it intends to keep studying his survival, with an eye toward declaring it an official miracle, church officials say.

Declaring it a miracle would help determine whether Father Emil Kapaun of Pilsen will be canonized as a saint of the Catholic Church.

Andrea Ambrosi, a lawyer and investigator for the Vatican, visited family members and doctors for two Wichita-area families on Friday who believe the survival of their children during nearly lethal medical crises recently should qualify as miracles.

One of them involved Chase Kear, a 20-year-old Colwich athlete severely injured in October.

The Rev. John Hotze, judicial vicar for the Wichita diocese, is not allowed to say who or what families are being investigated for miracles. But he said there was one other "alleged miracle" in the Wichita area that Ambrosi studied during his time here.

With both families, Hotze said, Ambrosi met with the doctors involved and studied medical reports and X-rays.

"Afterward, the Vatican investigator said that in years of investigating miracles, he had never seen doctors who made such a compelling case for miracles occurring," Hotze said.

Ambrosi came as a skeptical questioner to determine whether thousands of prayers made to Kapaun by Kear's family and friends might have created a miracle. He met with Chase Kear at the family's home in Colwich.

"He had a nice long talk with Chase, and I didn't get the feeling that he thought this was all a lot of malarkey," Chase's mother, Paula, said Monday.

Ambrosi also met with Chase Kear's doctors, including his neurosurgeon, Raymond Grundmeyer, Hotze said.

Kear survived a catastrophic head injury in October 2008 during pole vaulting practice at Hutchinson Community College. His family said they believe his life was saved by his neurosurgeon and other doctors, but also by thousands of prayers to Kapaun.

Grundmeyer, who operated to save Kear's life, said in a brief interview with The Eagle earlier this month that he considers Kear's survival a miracle.

If the miracle is proven, it will significantly advance the chances that the church will declare Kapaun a saint, decades after he died a hero in a North Korean prison camp in 1951. The church requires miracles to elevate a person to sainthood.

Hotze has investigated Kapaun's proposed sainthood for eight years, which is only a fraction of the time the church has been considering whether to elevate Kapaun to sainthood.

American soldiers came out of prisoner-of-war camps in 1953 with incredible stories about Kapaun's heroism and faith. They said that in the fierce winter of 1950 and 1951, when 1,200 out of 3,000 American prisoners starved to death or died of illness in Camp 5 along the Yalu River, Kapaun kept hundreds of survivors alive by stealing food and by force of will.

Across Kansas, his memory is kept alive at Wichita's Kapaun Mount Carmel High School, in his hometown of Pilsen and elsewhere.

Only two American-born people — St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. Katharine Drexel — have ever been canonized as saints. For sainthood, the church will require at least one and possibly two miracles be proven on Kapaun's behalf, depending on whether he died a martyr, something the church is also trying to determine. Several soldiers say the Chinese prison camp guards deliberately starved Kapaun to death to stop the religious services he conducted in defiance of camp rules.

Kapaun, a priest in the Wichita diocese, was born near Pilsen in 1916 and volunteered for Army chaplain duty in the Korean War.

Kapaun was assigned to the U.S. Army's Eighth Cavalry regiment, which was surrounded and overrun by the Chinese army in North Korea in October and November 1950. He stayed behind with the wounded when the Army retreated. He allowed his own capture, then risked death by preventing Chinese executions of wounded Americans too injured to walk.

Reach Roy Wenzl at 316-268-6219 or rwenzl@wichitaeagle.com.


Astronaut to Carry Relic of St. Therese to Space

Catholic News Agency

Rome, Italy, Jun 25, 2009 / 11:57 am (CNA).- U.S. astronaut Ronald Garan, who brought a relic of St. Therese of Lisieux with him on the Discovery space shuttle during his last trip to space, attended Pope Benedict XVI’s Wednesday audience this week and was greeted by the Pontiff.

In 2011, Garan plans to bring another relic of the saint with him on a mission to the international space station.

According to L’Osservatore Romano, the idea of bringing “a relic came to fruition because of his spiritual bond with the Carmelites of New Caney, Texas.”

Garan and his family founded the Manna association, a NASA entity which has developed a system for generating potable water for Rwanda and has provided solar panels for schools and hospitals in the country.


St. Anthony's Brief

In the 13th century, a Portugese woman who'd been demonically oppressed resolved to do the unthinkable by taking her own life by drowning herself in the Tagus River. On her way to the river, she passed a shrine erected in honor of the great orator and miracle-worker, St. Anthony of Padua. She stopped to pray, one last time. As she prayed, she saw St. Anthony standing before her, saying, "'Arise woman, and take this paper, which will free you from the molestations of the Evil One." Then he gave her a parchment inscribed with what is now known as the "Brief (i.e., "Letter") of St. Anthony," and she was now free from demonic oppression and the desire to do away with herself.

News of this miracle spread, even to the King who asked the woman for the Brief. He placed it with the Crown Jewels of Portugal, which was fine for the King, but bad for the woman. After the Brief was no longer with her, she began to weaken and lapse, so the King made a copy for her that restored her to her healed state. Other copies of the Brief were spread to help the faithful fight the Evil One and remind them that Christ has conquered.

The Brief consists of a depiction of a Cross, and words which, forming a rhyme in the Latin, hearken back to Apocalypse 5:5, "And one of the ancients said to me: Weep not: behold the lion of the tribe of Juda, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book and to loose the seven seals thereof." The words of St. Anthony's Brief are:

Ecce Crucem Domini,
Fugite, partes adversae,
Vicit Leo de Tribu Juda,
Radix David, alleluia.

English version:
Behold the Cross of the Lord!
Flee ye adversaries!
The Lion of the Tribe of Juda,
The Root of David has conquered, alleluia!

The exorcizing proclamation is carried on the person or placed in homes. It is also used in more specific situations, such as that encountered by the French seamen who found their ship tossed by an angry sea during a storm off Brittany's coast in 1708. One of the men wrote the words of St. Anthony's Brief, and threw it into the sea with a prayer to the Saint. Immediately, the seas calmed and the sailors were saved.

The words of this Brief are good ones to use when feeling tempted by evil, oppressed by demons, and in general spiritual warfare.

As an aside, part of these words from the Apocalypse are also inscribed at the top of the obelisk that sits in St. Peter's Square. The obelisk had been in Rome since A.D. 37, set up in what is believed by many to have been the site of the divisional wall (spina) of Caligula's Circus, where Nero's massacre of Christians took place in A.D. 67. Pope Sixtus V moved the obelisk to its present position in a move that

...celebrated the triumph of the Faith of Christ, St Peter and the apostles over pagan superstition. The proximity of the obelisk to the old basilica had always been resented as something of a provocation, almost as a slight to the Christian religion. It had stood there like a false idol, as it were vaingloriously, on what was believed to be the center of the accursed circus where the early Christians and St Peter had been put to death. Its sides, then as now, were graven with dedications to Augustus and Tiberius. On its summit was a bronze sphere believed to contain the ashes of Julius Caesar. When taken down, the sphere proved to be solid. Nevertheless, Sixtus had a bronze cross put in its place (in 1740, after repairs, a piece of the True Cross was inserted in one of the arms). Solemnly the pope had the heathen spirit of the obelisk exorcised. 'Impio cultu dicatum' he carved upon the base as a reminder of what the needle once represented, and 'Ecce Crux Domini fugite partes adverase' in proud defiance of Luther and the reformed Churches.


Litany of the Week

Litany of the Faithful Departed

Recently while visiting a cemetery I found, in my mother's old 1950's Marian Missal, a beautiful Litany for the Faithful Departed which I prayed for my parents, my relatives and all lying in repose. Note that the missal stated that this litany was for private use only (and is not one of the official litanies). Ever since blog contributor Larry Bethel urged us to pray the Litany of Saints for Rogation Days (see Post #78) I have been fascinated with the different Litanies. I find them to be beautiful, meditative and edifying. Venite Missa Est! will feature the various litanies over the coming weeks. Enjoy (and pray!)


Litany of the Faithful Departed

for private use only

Lord have mercy on us.
Lord have mercy on us.
Christ have mercy on us.
Christ have mercy on us.
Christ hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven, have mercy on the souls of the faithful departed.
God the Son, Redemmer of the world, have mercy on the souls of the faithful departed.
God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on the souls of the faithful departed.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on the souls of the faithful departed.
Holy Mary, pray for the souls of the faithful departed.
Holy Mother of God, &c.
Holy Virgin of virgins,
St. Michael,
All ye angels and archangels,
All ye orders of blessed spirits,
St. John the Baptist,
St. Joseph,
All ye holy patriarchs and prophets,
St. Peter,
St. Paul,
St. John,
All ye holy apostles and evangelists,
St. Stephen,
St. Lawrence,
All ye holy martyrs,
St. Gregory,
St. Ambrose,
St. Augustine,
St. Jerome,
All ye holy bishops and confessors,
All ye holy doctors,
All ye holy priests and levites,
All ye holy monks and hermits,
St. Mary Magdalene,
St. Catherine,
St. Barbara,
All ye holy virgins and widows,
All ye saints of God,
Be merciful, spare them O Lord.
Be merciful, graciously hear us O Lord.
From all evil, O Lord, deliver them.
From Thy wrath, &c.
From the rigor of Thy justice,
From the power of the devil,
From the gnawing worm of conscience,
From long-enduring sorrow,
From eternal flames,
From intolerable cold,
From horrible darkness,
From dreadful weeping and wailing,
Through Thy admirable conception,
Through Thy Holy Nativity,
Through Thy most sweet name,
Through Thy baptism and holy fasting,
Through Thy most profound humiliation,
Through Thy prompt obedience,
Through Thine infinite love,
Through Thy sorrow and anguish,
Through Thy bloody sweat,
Through Thy bonds,
Through Thy scourging,
Through Thy crowning with thorns,
Through Thy carrying of the cross,
Through Thy most cruel death,
Through Thy five holy wounds,
Through Thy most bitter cross and passion,
Through Thy holy Resurrection,
Through Thine admirable Ascension,
Through the coming of the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete,
In the day of judgement,
We sinners, we beseech Thee, hear us.
Thou Who forgavest Magdalen and didst hearken to the prayer of the thief, &c.
Thou Who savest freely Thine elect,
Thou Who hast the keys of death and hell,
That Thou wouldst be pleased to deliver the souls of our parents, relations, friends, and benefactors from the pains of hell,
That Thou wouldst be pleased to have mercy on those whom no special remembrance is made on earth,
That Thou wouldst be pleased to grant them all the pardon and remission of their sins,
That Thou wouldst be pleased to fulfill all their desires,
That Thou wouldst be pleased to recieve them into the company of the blessed,
King of awful Majesty,
Son of God,
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Grant unto them rest.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Grant unto them rest.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Grant unto them rest everlasting.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
From the gates of hell,
Deliver their souls, O Lord.
O Lord hear my prayer.
And let my cry come unto thee.

Let us pray - O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all faithful, grant unto the souls of Thy servants departed the remission of all their sins; that, by pious supplication, they may obtain that pardon which they have always desired. Grant this, O God, Who livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.

O eternal God, Who besides the general precept of charity, hast commanded a particular respect to parents, kindred, and benefactors, grant, we beseech Thee, that, as they were the instruments by which Thy Providence bestowed on us our birth, education, and innumerable other blessings, so our prayers may be the means to obtain for them a speedy release from their excessive sufferings, and free admittance to Thine infinite joys. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Eternal rest give them, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace.


New Motu Proprio on the SSPX This Summer?

Catholic Church Conservation

From the paleo-left-liberal, more Tablet than the Tablet, French magazine Golias.

According to our information, and on the eve of the SSPX ordinations on 27 June in Germany, the Pope wishes to write a second motu proprio in the coming months. The document to be issued this time is not only about the liturgy in Latin, but a more comprehensive reintegration of the SSPX into the Church. This will mean demanding, of course, conditions, but also by engaging the whole Church in this process. Serious!

In other words, the bishops will no longer be entitled to express in a too overt manner open reluctantance and even less to slow the return of the traditionalists. One should understand that representatives of these currents regularly complain to the Pope posed about the obstacles placed to their reinstatement by the bishops and their entourage. Until now, Rome and the Ecclesia Dei commission have been bypassing bishops without, however, in general, openly disavow their views.

Thus, in 1988, the Commission regularised very quickly and in a very caring manner the Benedictine abbey of Barroux, without informing or consulting the Archbishop of Avignon at the time, Archbishop Raymond Bouchex. More recently, Rome proceeded in the same way with respect to the Institut du Bon Pasteur, without informing the Archbishop of Bordeaux, in whose Diocese it was located. Recently, another signal was given by the Vatican when restoring a traditional parish priest in dissent with his bishop in Calvados, just so as to remind the bishops. Following this Motu proprio, a bishop considered too reluctant to welcome the fundamentalists will certainly have his knuckles rapped.

The bishops will no longer be able to express their reservations

Benedict XVI and his advisers intend to enjoy the quiet summer to advance along the path of reconciliation. After the authorisation allowing celebration according to all the old liturgical books (Motu proprio of 2007), after the lifting of the excommunication of the four schismatic bishops ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre, a new stage is opening up, more delicate however: one on divisive theological ground in particular with regard to Vatican II and the Magisterium of the recent Popes. One should know that the Pope has chosen the new secretary of the International Theological Commission, the Dominican Father Charles Morerod, precisely because of his sensitivity towards traditionalist interlocutors. In fact Morerod is the author of a doctoral thesis submitted to the faculty of theology at the University of Freiburg, Switzerland, on the master general of the Dominicans, commentator on St Thomas Aquinas, Thomas de Vio Cajetan (1469-1534) and his polemic debate with Luther.

Father Morerod for theological agreement

But Father Morerod is especially noted for his work Tradition and Christian unity. Dogma is made a condition for the possibility of ecumenism (Word and Silence, Paris, 2005), and he kicks hard against more liberal ecumenism (fron theologians such as Fries, Rahner or Tillard) in emphasizing the essential nature of a true Catholic thought, which must be truly theological and philosophical.

Hence, it accentuates the difference between Catholicism and Protestantism in a way that does not displease the most "tradi" circles. The same Father Morerod sought to comb the thought of a British Liberal Protestant, John Hick and in which work he specifically attacks the relativist spirit. Oh, this reminds us of someone else ... the choice of Father Morerod is therefore not by chance! In very concrete terms, the Ecclesia Dei commission will report to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (cf. Golias Hebdo n ° 85). There was a question at one time of whether it should be joined to the Congregation for Divine Worship, but this would be to forget that the problem is not solely or primarily liturgical. The new Motu Proprio to come, which will be prepared by the principal drafter of the Motu proprio of 2007, Monsignor Nicola Bux, professor of theology at Bari and advisor of Joseph Ratzinger will justifies the importance accorded to the doctrine of the fundamentalist controversy. The role of Don Nicola cannot be stressed enough.

The Italian prelate Nicola Bux for the new Motu Proprio

Consultor to the Congregation for the doctrine of the faith and waiting for a promotion strategy, Msgr Bux, an Italian priest of 63 years is friendly and discreet, but frighteningly conservative and accurate in his argument, being the determined and tireless craftsman not only of moving towards the integrists but of a restoration of traditional Catholicism as a whole. He drafted the 2007 Motu Proprio on the Mass in Latin. In his latest book, released last October in Italy, The Reform of Benedict XVI, prefaced by Vittorio Messori, Msgr Bux said that rebuilding the essence of the "sacred and divine liturgy”, will not be done with the hands of humanity. Otherwise, it "would serve no purpose other than to represent himself and specifially it does not save the man or the world, it does not sanctify it." He is convinced that the Liturgy of Saint Pius V honours to a greater degree the sense of the sacred than that of Pope Paul VI. He criticizes also quite fiercely the reform named after the Montini, a true "decomposition" of the liturgy according to him, and exacerbating what the theologian Louis Bouyer called the "decomposition of Catholicism."

Indeed, Msgr Bux is not confined solely to the liturgical domain. He denounced the opening to the world that defiles the Christian mystery and censures the relaxed life of priests in particular with regard to private life (célibat. ..). He is also against the fundamental deviance according to him of contemporary theology, which uses an "anthropological turn" (which he also denounced, following Cornelio Fabro, in Karl Rahner). He counter-poses a new turning towards the theocentric and Christocentric as symbolized by the celebration back to the East, his back turned to the faithful. It is easy to imagine the content and tone of the Motu Proprio of the near future with such a writer. Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, who besides health problems is distressed, frustrated and demoralized, no longer has the power to oppose such an ultra-conservative regression. Far from appearing as a defence of the Council, the Motu Proprio will propose a minimalist reading, erasing the new and challenging spirit. In sum, a council "in the spirit of tradition" as Archbishop Lefebvre recognized can be accepted! Is this still the Council whose importance Paul VI proclaimed in 1976 in the face of traditionalist dissent? Nothing is less certain.


Polish Catholic Survivors Recall Day Auschwitz Began


Brooklyn, N.Y. … June 14th was observed as Flag Day in America. In Poland, the date was remembered as the day in 1940 that Hitler and his Nazis opened the gate of Auschwitz to receive the first inmates – 728 Polish prisoners they transported from Tarnów, Poland.

Rev. Janusz Lipski of St. Hedwig’s Church in Floral Park and Chaplain of the Long Island Chapter of the Polish American Congress joined three former

Auschwitz prisoners to mark the infamous anniversary.

Mr. Kolodziejek was one of the earliest prisoners condemned to Auschwitz arriving there in August, 1940, just two months after the first transport of Poles. Mr. Preisler came in October, 1941 and Mr. Garczynski in 1943.

Mr. Kolodziejek was also one of the first prisoners to be used by Auschwitz doctors for human experiments.

By the time Auschwitz was liberated in 1945, Jews represented the largest group murdered there. Polish Christians were the second largest.

It was ironic that, just a week earlier, a Holocaust Memorial Park in Brooklyn honoring only Jews added five more groups as the other victims of the Holocaust: homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the disabled, political prisoners and Gypsies. Polish Catholics were disregarded.

That came as no surprise to Michael Preisler who helped form the

Holocaust Documentation Committee of the Polish American Congress because of repeated refusals to acknowledge the Polish and Catholic victims.

“Unfortunately, there’s an ugly anti-Polish and anti-Catholic bias that keeps on showing up among a lot of Holocaust writers and people in the media. They twist the Holocaust as a way to express their prejudice," he said.



177 Kent St., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11222 – (718) 349-9689


Cardinal Newman Miracle Accepted by Vatican

Catholic News Agency

London, England, Jun 22, 2009 / 05:32 pm (CNA).- The Holy See has recognized the miracle necessary for the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, the nineteenth-century British theologian who left the Church of England to enter the Roman Catholic Church.

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints has attributed the cure of Jack Sullivan, a permanent deacon from the Archdiocese of Boston, to the intercession of Cardinal Newman. Sullivan, 70, works in both parish and prison ministry, and had suffered from “extremely severe spinal problems.”

Sullivan told The Times Online that he began praying to Cardinal Newman after learning of the favorable recommendation of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

“If it wasn’t for Cardinal Newman’s intercession … it would have been virtually impossible to complete my diaconate formation and be ordained for the Archdiocese of Boston,” said Sullivan. “Nor would I have been able to continue in my chosen profession as a magistrate in our court system to support my family.”

Sullivan says that he has experienced “a very deep sense of the reality of God’s love for each one of us, especially during times of immense difficulties and suffering.” He added, “I have developed a very real relationship with Cardinal Newman in frequent prayer and I try to pass on what marvelous gifts I have received to those I meet.”

Five doctors appointed to a medical commission by the Congregation voted unanimously in April 2009 that Sullivan’s cure had no medical explanation, the spokesman for the order founded by Cardinal Newman reports.

The Congregation is now working on a document about the life of Newman, to be presented to the Holy Father, who alone can sign the promulgation of the decree authorizing the miracle.

Once beatified, Newman will need one more miracle to be canonized a saint. It is currently unknown whether the beatification ceremony will take place in Rome or Westminster Cathedral in London.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Post #84

Topics: Pray for Farmers: Wheat Harvest....Sacramentals: Scapulars...Catholic Church is Anti Science?: Vatican Observatory....Fr. Kapaun: On Latin in the Liturgy....Maronite Patriarch: Confronts Hezbollah....Relic of St. Therese of Lisieux: Stolen....Litany of the Week: Litany of Saint Anthony of Padua...Video: A New Generation Speaks Out
Pray for the Farmers

"For I Was Hungry and You Gave Me Food" (Mt 25:35)

Blogger's note: The harvest is in full swing once again...enjoy this rerun from last year from Post #39.

Too often, and especially as city bound folks, we forget about those who work to bring food to our tables, namely farmers. While making my way home last night, very close to midnight, I passed a wheat field (in my small town the farm fields extend right up to the city limits) where several combines and other harvest vehicles were busy in the dusty night, lights blazing, gleaning and gathering the wheat. This would not be unusual but what struck me was that in the background, perhaps not more than a couple of miles away were huge thunderheads, flashing bright and angry with lightning and rain.

It occurred to me what a precarious undertaking farming as a profession is. So many uncontrolled variables at work: damaging hail, lightning, too much or not enough rain, tornadoes, disease, fungus…bushels per acre, wheat quality, test weights.

It is too late to pray for a good crop, but we can still pray for a successful harvest and that the rains stay away long enough for farmers to get into their fields

Prayer for Fair Weather
The Roman Missal (1962), Baronius Press

Almighty God, we beseech thy clemency, be pleased to check these heavy rains and show to us a cheerful sky. Through our Lord…


A scapular is a sacramental that looks like two small pieces of wool cloth connected by string that is worn over the neck, either under or over one's clothing (typically under the clothing), such that one piece of cloth hangs over the chest, and the second piece of cloth hangs over the back .

They derive from the scapulars which make up part of monastics' religious habits -- that ankle-length (front and back), shoulder-wide, apron-like part of the habit that basically consists of a long rectangular piece of material with a hole for the head (some of them have hoods and some had ties under the arms).

Monastic scapulars came, over time, to be called jugum Christi (the yoke of Christ), and receiving the scapular (becoming "invested") took on solemn meaning. Abbreviated forms of the full monastic scapulars were to be worn even at night. In addition to regular monastics of the First Order (i.e., friars) and Second Order (cloistered nuns), laity attached themselves to various religious orders, too, in what are called "Third Orders." Some say members of Third orders -- "tertiaries" -- are "Third Order Religious" who live in a monastic community and generally take vows; most others are "Third Order Secular" who live in the world and generally make solemn promises.

In the beginning, many of these lay people were invested with the full habit; later, they came to wear only the very small scapulars under their clothing. In addition to these Third Orders, Confraternities of lay-people (married or single -- just "regular Catholics") developed whose members were invested with Scapulars of Religious Orders to which they were attached. It is these scapulars for lay people belonging to a Confraternity or a Third Order that one generally thinks of when one hears the word "scapular."

Some scapulars have privileges and indulgences attached to wearing them, but like any sacramental (holy water, blessed candles, etc.), scapulars are not magic; their efficacy depends on the proper intentions and faith of the wearer. Only by following through on the promises one makes when becoming invested can the benefits associated with them be had. They are best thought of as signs of a commitment to do certain things and of one's being a part of a religious community. They act as reminders, too, of these things they signify and of the Saints who are parts of the religious community in question. They are reminders to behave with holiness.


The Catholic Church is Anti Science?
The Vatican Observatory Research Group

The Vatican Observatory Research Group (VORG) operates the 1.8m Alice P. Lennon Telescope with its Thomas J. Bannan Astrophysics Facility, known together as the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT), at the Mount Graham International Observatory (MGIO) in southeastern Arizona where sky conditions are among the best in the world and certainly the Continental United States.

In its historical roots and traditions the Vatican Observatory is one of the oldest astronomical institutes in the world. For the first foreshadowing of the Observatory can be traced to the constitution by Pope Gregory XIII of a committee to study the scientific data and implications involved in the reform of the calendar which occurred in 1582. The committee included Father Christoph Clavius, a Jesuit mathematician from the Roman College, who expounded and explained the reform. From that time and with some degree of continuity the Papacy has manifested an interest in and support for astronomical research. In fact, three early observatories were founded by the Papacy:

the Observatory of the Roman College (1774-1878) (illustrated), the Observatory of the Capitol (1827-1870), and the Specula Vaticana (1789-1821) in the Tower of the Winds within the Vatican. These early traditions of the Observatory reached their climax in the mid-nineteenth century with the researches at the Roman College of the famous Jesuit, Father Angelo Secchi, the first to classify stars according to their spectra. With these rich traditions as a basis and in order to counteract the longstanding accusations of a hostility of the Church towards science, Pope Leo XIII in 1891 formally refounded the Specola Vaticana (Vatican Observatory) and located it on a hillside behind the dome of St. Peter's Basilica.

Several religious orders contributed personnel and directors to the Observatory. These included Barnabites, Oratorians, Augustinians, and Jesuits.

Both observing time and responsibility for VATT are shared with the University of Arizona on a 75% VORG, 25% Arizona basis. Limited resources prevent VATT from being a visitor observatory, but collaborations are welcomed by VORG, especially when suitable instrumentation is provided for shared use at VATT.

For instance, a three-year agreement was made by the Vatican Observatory with the University of Notre Dame, Indiana (UND), for an Association which provided the UND Department of Physics with 20 nights on VATT per annum.

continue to Vatican Observatory website


Fr. Kapaun on Latin in the Liturgy

(An excerpt from the book, A Shepherd in Combat Boots, by William L. Maher.)
submitted by James Spencer


At last free to worship publicly again, the citizens of Ansong hurriedly tidied up their disheveled church and joined some of the American soldiers at Mass. To Kapaun’s profound joy two Korean youths served as altar boys and recited the traditional prayers in Latin in front of the altar.

Saying Mass before these devout Koreans stirred the young chaplain. “As I said the prayers at the foot of the altar I could not help but think I could not speak the language of these people nor could they speak mine, but at the altar we had a common language. I imagine the people felt the same way,” he wrote to Bishop Carroll. 


Maronite Patriarch Confronts Hezbollah
Rorate Caeli

The Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and the Whole Levant, Mar Nasrallah Boutros Cardinal Sfeir, has denounced in no uncertain terms the threat posed by the extremist Shiite group Hezbollah to Lebanon's identity, in the process facing the wrath of the Hezbollah -- which insults Christians even as it demands respect for its "religious sentiments"
Pray for the ancient Christian communities of Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Jordan and the Holy Land, that they will continue to be steadfast in the face of oppression and fanaticism


Relic of St. Therese of Lisieux Stolen From Toronto Church
Ottawa Citizen
A Catholic Church in Toronto is hoping for a miracle — that the thief who stole a saint's relic will have a change of heart and return the holy object.

The relic of St. Therese of Lisieux, patron saint of missions, is a small piece of her body — about the size of a quarter — which could have easily fit in the pocket of the thief.

Jane Fleming, spokeswoman for St. Michael's Catholic Church, said the thief may have pretended to be praying at the saint's shrine while he or she removed the relic's Plexiglas cover and stole it between services on Sunday.

"Because the church is open every day, all day, we have lots of people who come in and they kneel at the statue and say prayers," she said Wednesday. "Some will put their hand up to touch the statue at the same time, so you can't really see what they're doing."

"If someone took on that posture, we would never go over and ask them to move along," she added.

While the thief got away with the relic — estimated to be worth between $3,000 and $5,000 — he or she left behind the small, silver broach-like piece that had contained it.

The thief also didn't get the relic's Vatican-issued certificate of authenticity, which is kept in an office in the church, so Fleming doesn't know how the thief will be able to prove the relic's worth to prospective buyers.

"I don't think a pawnshop would understand what it is and want to buy it," she said. "It's not like taking a solid gold chalice."

St. Michael's is the mother church of the diocese of Toronto and an active historical building, so at noon mass on Sundays there can be more than 1,000 people present, said Fleming.

Since the theft was discovered, a valuable relic of St. Anthony has been removed from the public section of the church and is now stowed in a locked showcase in a private area of the rectory.

St. Therese of Lisieux, known as the Little Flower, was a nun who died in 1897 at the age of 24 and was canonized in 1924.

She spoke candidly in her journals about difficulties in choosing her vocation, struggles in her relationships and her family life, and Fleming says these everyday troubles make her easy to relate to.

"And when there's also a relic, it enhances the worship experience," said Fleming.

The theft is not the first loss of a relic at St. Michael's.

In 2000, a relic of the True Cross, which Catholics believe Jesus Christ was crucified upon, was stolen from the church. It was never returned.

Fleming hopes that whoever took the relic of St. Therese of Lisieux will realize that it has significance for Catholics and return it to the church.

According to the website Saints and Relics, relics come in three classes: first-class relics, such as that of St. Therese of Lisieux, are parts of a saint's body or a fragment of the True Cross; second-class relics are objects owned by a saint; third-class relics are made by touching an object against either a first- or second-class relic.

Catholics have for hundreds of years, venerated relics for inspiration and guidance, the website says.


Litany of the Week
Litany of Saint Anthony of Padua
Recently while visiting a cemetery I found, in my mother's old 1950's Marian Missal, a beautiful Litany for the Faithful Departed which I prayed for my parents, my relatives and all lying in repose. Note that the missal stated that this litany was for private use only (and is not one of the official litanies). Ever since blog contributor Larry Bethel urged us to pray the Litany of Saints for Rogation Days (see Post #78) I have been fascinated with the different Litanies. I find them to be beautiful, meditative and edifying. Venite Missa Est! will feature the various litanies over the coming weeks. Enjoy (and pray!)

Litany of Saint Anthony of Padua

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary,
Saint Anthony of Padua,
Saint Anthony, glory of the Friars Minor,
Saint Anthony, ark of the testament,
Saint Anthony, sanctuary of heavenly wisdom,
Saint Anthony, destroyer of worldly vanity,
Saint Anthony, conqueror of impurity,
Saint Anthony, example of humility,
Saint Anthony, lover of the Cross,
Saint Anthony, martyr of desire,
Saint Anthony, generator of charity,
Saint Anthony, zealous for justice,
Saint Anthony, terror of infidels,
Saint Anthony, model of perfection,
Saint Anthony, consoler of the afflicted,
Saint Anthony, restorer of lost things,
Saint Anthony, defender of innocence,
Saint Anthony, liberator of prisoners,
Saint Anthony, guide of pilgrims,
Saint Anthony, restorer of health.
Saint Anthony, performer of miracles,
Saint Anthony, restorer of speech to the mute,
Saint Anthony, restorer of hearing to the deaf,
Saint Anthony, restorer of sight to the blind,
Saint Anthony, disperser of devils,
Saint Anthony, reviver of the dead.
Saint Anthony, tamer of tyrants,
From the snares of the devil, Saint Anthony deliver us.
From thunder, lightning and storms, Saint Anthony deliver us.
From all evil of body and soul, Saint Anthony deliver us.
Through your intercession, Saint Anthony protect us.
Throughout the course of life, Saint Anthony protect us.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

V. Saint Anthony, pray for us.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

O my God, may the pious commemoration of Saint Anthony, your Confessor and Proctor, give joy to your Church, that she may ever be strengthened with your spiritual assistance and merit to attain everlasting joy.

Through Christ our Lord.



Veni, Creator Spiritus

(Come Holy Spirit, Creator Blest)

One of the most widely used hymns in the Church, Veni, Creator Spiritus, is attributed to Rabanus Maurus (776-856). It is used at Vespers, Pentecost, Dedication of a Church, Confirmation, and Holy Orders and whenever the Holy Spirit is solemnly invoked. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who recite it. A plenary indulgence is granted if it is recited on January 1st or on the feast of Pentecost.

COME, Holy Spirit, Creator blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

O comforter, to Thee we cry,
O heavenly gift of God Most High,
O fount of life and fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.

Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts are known;
Thou, finger of God's hand we own;
Thou, promise of the Father, Thou
Who dost the tongue with power imbue.

Kindle our sense from above,
and make our hearts o'erflow with love;
with patience firm and virtue high
the weakness of our flesh supply.

Far from us drive the foe we dread,
and grant us Thy peace instead;
so shall we not, with Thee for guide,
turn from the path of life aside.

Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow
the Father and the Son to know;
and Thee, through endless times confessed,
of both the eternal Spirit blest.

Now to the Father and the Son,
Who rose from death, be glory given,
with Thou, O Holy Comforter,
henceforth by all in earth and heaven.


A New Generation Speaks Out

Video Interview with Young People atthe Society of St. Pius X Ordinations in Winona

June 19, 2009

Catholic Fmaily News

While at the SSPX ordinations in Winona, I interviewed a number ofyoung people asking them why they attended the event, why the only attend the Tridentine Mass and why they never attend the New Mass." - John Vennari

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Post #83

Topics: Untitled Poem: by Emmet Kaufman ....Please Pray: For Priests...Pius X Society: Restructuring of Ecclesia Dei Imminent...Jubilee Year for Priests Announced by the Vatican: Father Corapi...Vatican: Sainthood Cause of Father Kaupin


(Untitled) by Emmet Kaufman

submitted by James Spencer

Bloggers note: Mr. James Spencer emailed this to me and writes "I first heard this poem in a sermon by Fr. Ivan Eck many years ago. He was kind enough to send me a copy, which I've had posted in my office ever since."

Forty nine years ago today Marian Llamas gave birth to a puny little boy (that's me!)...and the rest is history! In honor of that occasion, I thought this post was appropriate.

I think my soul is a tame old duck,

dabbling around in the barnyard muck,

Fat and lazy with useless wings,

But sometimes when the north wind sings,

And the wild ones hurtle overhead,

It remembers something lost and dead,

And cocks a wary bewildered eye,

And makes a feeble attempt to fly.

It's fairly content with the state it's in,But it isn't the duck it might have been.

Please Pray for Priests

Dear Lord,
we pray that the Blessed Mother
wrap her mantle around your priests
and through her intercession
strengthen them for their ministry.

We pray that Mary will guide your priests
to follow her own words,
“Do whatever He tells you” (Jn 2:5).

May your priests have the heart of St. Joseph,
Mary’s most chaste spouse.

May the Blessed Mother’s own pierced heart
inspire them to embrace
all who suffer at the foot of the cross.

May your priests be holy,
filled with the fire of your love
seeking nothing but your greater glory
and the salvation of souls.


Saint John Vianney, pray for us.


Pius X Society: Restructuring of Ecclesia Dei Imminent

Faces Threat of New Excommunications in Germany

By Kris Dmytrenko
June 15, 2009

TORONTO, Canada, JUNE 15, 2009 (Zenit.org).- An announcement that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will now oversee discussions with the Society of St. Pius X is imminent, says the society's general superior.

Bishop Bernard Fellay revealed to ZENIT that the congregation told him to expect the publication of a statement issued "motu proprio" (on his own initiative) by Benedict XVI on the new structure of Ecclesia Dei before June 20.

The bishop confirmed that he met June 5 with Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. During a visit today to Toronto, the general superior explained that the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, established precisely to oversee the process of healing the society's separation from the Church, will remain a distinct entity within the Church's dicastery for doctrinal matters.

"According to what we have heard," noted the bishop, "most probably, one of the monsignors of the congregation will be the executive head of Ecclesia Dei. So it will be very tightly united with the congregation."

Along with three other bishops ordained by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1988 without Vatican approval, Bishop Fellay had been automatically excommunicated, only to have the penalty lifted in January by Benedict XVI.

The Society of St. Pius X still lacks the canonical status required for the legitimate exercise of ministry, which, according to the Pontiff in a letter sent in March to all the Church's bishops, will only be granted when the society accepts the authority of the Second Vatican Council, along with the magisterial teachings of popes since the council.

Since 2000, the pontifical commission has been led by Cardinal Dario Castrillón Hoyos, whom Bishop Fellay describes as "very friendly" to the society. The bishop shared that, even after his June 5 meeting with Cardinal Levada, he remains unsure how the expected changes will affect negotiations with the Vatican.

"I don’t know [Cardinal Levada] enough to really answer the question. […] When we were received it was very courteous. He was gentle. […] I don’t frankly know what and if there will be a real change."

New excommunications

Most pressing for the new Ecclesia Dei leadership will be averting a new series of excommunications. On June 27, Lefebvrite Bishop Alfonso de Galaretta is scheduled to ordain three priests and three deacons in the society's Zaitzkofen seminary in Bavaria, Germany. Bishop Gerard Muller of Regensburg has warned the society that, until the issue of canonical status is resolved, the ordinations lack proper authorization and would thus merit disciplinary action.

"Our bishop is waiting for Rome to advise on how to respond," said diocesan spokesperson Jakub Schotz earlier this month. "But it will almost certainly result in excommunication for these priests and the bishop who ordains them."

Bishop Fellay counters that the Society of St. Pius X already delayed subdiaconate ordinations in Regensburg earlier this year, and that he believes that the Vatican now "has no basic problems" with the upcoming priestly ordinations.

"We cannot just now say, 'stop breathing,'" he argues in defense of the society's continued administration of the sacraments. "We need to breathe. And, definitely, if the Pope was so good to take away the excommunications, that mean he doesn’t want us now to die."

The society is planning to proceed with the ordinations, despite Bishop Fellay’s concern that new excommunications could "jeopardize everything" and derail the society’s discussions with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Central to those talks will be the society's unambiguous condemnations of the Second Vatican Council, particularly in reference to the council’s affirmations of religious liberty, ecumenism and the separation of Church and state.

While the Swiss-born superior general prefers to resolve these doctrinal issues before he accepts canonical status in the Church, he insists that he is open to reaching a provisional compromise position with the Vatican.

"If Rome gives us enough guarantee, so to say, of survival, I think probably we would certainly consider it," he said. "We have no problem with the Church recognizing us, of course."


Jubilee Year for Priests Announced by the Vatican


Pope Benedict XVI announced that the universal Church will celebrate a Jubilee Year of the Priest, beginning June 19th, 2009, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and celebrating the 150th anniversary of the death of the saintly Cure D’Ars.

It is my personal experience of 25 years this month living inside of the Church in novitiates, seminaries, pontifical universities, parishes, and chancery offices that we are always in need of renewal and energizing in every vocation, more so than ever in the priesthood. The Holy Father knows this, as do a great many of us priests. So, beginning June 19, 2009 we’ll try to move toward this goal of strengthening and energizing the priesthood. This happens one priest at a time. Holiness is an individual work in process for all of us, the priest included.

The patron saint of parish priests, St. John Mary Vianney, should be used as a model in principle, remembering that every man or woman must be a person of their time. Nonetheless, there are principles and practices that transcend time and space. These we should know and exercise. The preeminence of prayer and the spiritual life must come first for the priest—or any practicing Catholic for that matter.

St. John Vianney prayed long hours before the Blessed Sacrament. That was the “secret” of his “success.” Jesus in the Eucharist must be the heart of the priest’s life, the Holy Spirit is the breath that breathes life into his ministry. A simple life, not unfamiliar with penance and sacrifice is also fundamental for apostolic fruitfulness.

Jesus, the High Priest, gave us all his own Mother to be our spiritual mother. Every priest that would bear fruit that endures must accept the gift of Mary the Mother of Priests as his own spiritual mother. This cannot be over emphasized. A failure to do it in these times results in almost certain failure for the Catholic priest.

Pray for your priests more than ever this Year of the Priest. In many cases there is poor morale, little camaraderie, isolation, and loneliness in the life of the priest. Encourage your priests and remember a little kindness and understanding goes a long way. Priests are human beings, like other human beings, with the same weaknesses and strengths. This year think about the life of priests and how you can contribute to their perseverance and holiness in a most noble vocation. Help your priest get to Heaven by your kindness and your prayers. You will never be sorry that you did.

God bless you,
Fr. John Corapi


Vatican to Investigate Possible Miracle for Sainthood Cause of Father Kaupin

Kansas Catholic


Sunday's Wichita Eagle has a story about an apparently miraculous recovery of a young Kansan man after a pole vaulting accident last October.
After the man's accident, a great many people quickly prayed for the intercession of Father Emil Kapaun, a priest who served in the Korean War. Fr. Kapaun's cause for sainthood was opened in 2008. The priest was a native of Pilsen, Kansas. (More information about Father Kapaun here).
Highlights from the story:
Colwich, KS--People in Colwich like to touch Chase Kear's arm or his shoulder with their fingers. Or they hug him. "Miracle Man," they say. "Let me touch the miracle." With anybody else in Colwich, this would be just talk. But it's not just talk to the Vatican. Prompted in part by what the Kear family has said publicly, and partly by a preliminary investigation begun by the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, a Vatican investigator named Andrea Ambrosi will arrive from Italy in Wichita on Friday.
He will investigate on behalf of the church in Rome whether 20-year-old Chase Kear's survival qualifies as a miracle; whether he survived a severe head injury last year in part because his family and hundreds of friends successfully prayed thousands of prayers to the soul of Father Emil Kapaun, a U.S. Army chaplain from Pilsen, Kan., who died a hero in the Korean War.
[ . . .]
Soldiers came out of prisoner-of-war camps in 1953 with incredible stories about Kapaun's heroism and faith. Across Kansas, his memory is kept alive at Wichita's Kapaun Mount Carmel High School, in his hometown of Pilsen and elsewhere.
Kapaun is so well-known and so highly regarded by area Catholics that the diocese has received other reports of miracles involving Kapaun, Hotze said. Ambrosi on Friday will consult area physicians in at least three such cases, including Chase's, Hotze said.
Only two American-born people have ever been canonized as saints. For sainthood, the church will require at least one and possibly two miracles be proven on Kapaun's behalf, depending on whether he died a martyr, something the church is also trying to determine.
Among people that Ambrosi will consult on Friday will be Chase's neurosurgeon, Raymond Grundmeyer, who said in a brief e-mail last week that he considers Chase's survival a miracle.
If Ambrosi's report concurs, more church officials would still have to evaluate the case, but it would further a cause that Kapaun's fellow prisoners of war and Catholic Church officials have carried on for years: to persuade the church to declare Father Kapaun a saint.

[. . .]
[The neurosurgeon] said last week, it was "a miracle."
The family agrees. Only a few weeks after Chase broke his skull, he walked out of a rehabilitation hospital, shaken but alive.
His near-complete recovery stunned all the doctors involved, Paul and Paula Kear said.
"Chase survived in part because hundreds of people prayed to Father Emil Kapaun to intercede on his behalf," Paula Kear said.
"It was absolutely a miracle."
Chase himself says he has little memory of what happened. For interested visitors, he will calmly part his thick hair with his fingers and show the long semi-circular scar that traverses much of the right side of his scalp.
He's working a summer job and plans to coach the pole-vaulters at the Hutchinson Community College. He misses vaulting; he's grateful to Grundmeyer [the neurosurgeon] and Kapaun.
"So how does it feel to be a miracle?" his mother asked him last week.
"It feels pretty cool," he said.
[. . .]
Kapaun was a chaplain assigned to the U.S. Army's Eighth Cavalry regiment, which was surrounded and overrun by the Chinese army in North Korea in October and November 1951.
Kapaun became a hero, rescuing wounded soldiers from the battlefield and risking death by preventing Chinese executions of wounded Americans too injured to walk.
He became a hero again in prison camp, stealing food for prisoners, ministering to the sick, saying the rosary for soldiers, defying guards' attempts to indoctrinate soldiers, making pots and pans out of roofing tin so that soldiers could boil snow into drinking water and boil lice out of their filthy clothing.
Hundreds of American prisoners died in the camp of exposure or starvation or illness that first winter. The Chinese guards did nothing to tend Kapaun when he became sick; he died in May 1951, two years before the war ended.
Soldiers who survived have praised Kapaun for decades; some of them have said he deserved not only sainthood but the Medal of Honor, in addition to the lesser Distinguished Service Cross the Army awarded him after his death.
Father Kapaun, ora pro nobis.

Breaking News
June 18, 2009

Formerly of the Wichita diocese, His Excellency Bishop James D. Conley of Denver CO. will celebrate Holy Mass at St. Anthony, Wichita, this Sunday June 21 at 8:00 a.m. in the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite.

Previously as Monsignor, Bishop Conley served St. Anthony as both celebrant (alternating with Fr. Jarrod Lies) and as liaison for the EFLR community of St. Anthony to Bishop Jackels.

Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M Cap., ordained the Most Rev. James D. Conley as the new auxiliary bishop on May 30, 2008 the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, at Denver’s Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Bishop Conley has chosen as his episcopal motto, “Heart speaks to heart.” As auxiliary bishop, he  assists Archbishop Chaput in the pastoral care of the diocese. He resides at Mother of God parish in Denver.

Bishop-elect Conley, 53, is a native of Overland Park, Kan., a suburb of Kansas City, and a convert to Catholicism. He has been a Catholic for 33 years and a priest for 23 years. His most recent assignment has been as pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in the Diocese of Wichita. He previously served the Holy Father for 10 years as an official in the Vatican Congregation for Bishops in Rome. Pope Benedict XVI appointed him auxiliary bishop on April 10, 2008.

Please plan on attending this special day (bring your fathers...it will be Father's day!)and invite family and friends to show Bishop Conley our love, support and gratitude for all he has done for St. Anthony, those attached to the Traditional Latin Mass, Catholics in Denver and our faith in general.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Post #81

Topics: Clear Creek Monastary: 2009 Ordination.... Reformation Martyrs: Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More, by Stephanie Mann...Relics: Classification....Relics in Altar Stones: St. Anthony Part II....Light of the East: EWTN Radio....The Roman Missal....Notes on the New Translation....Email: A Traditional Catholic Postcard...Random Thoughts: Rerun....Our Lady of Mantara: Lebanon

Blogger's note: The Blogspot application can at times be very buggy and today was one of those "bad blog" days. The following post contains extra spaces between lines and unfixable page justification (centered text as opposed to left edge orientation) that I just can't seem to overcome. Accept my apologies for the unorthodox appearance.


Clear Creek Monastary
2009 Ordination

Larry Bethel, brother of Fr. Bethel of Our Lady of the Annunciation of Clear Creek (Benedictine monastery) in Oklahoma, sent these beautiful pictures of the June 2009 ordinations at the monastary. Follow this link to view all pics.


Reformation Martyrs
Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More
By Stephanie Mann

Discussing the lives and careers of John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester and Sir Thomas More, Knight in my book Supremacy and Survival: How Catholics Endured the English Reformation I highlight both what they had in common and what distinguished them from one another.

One thing they certainly have in common is their June 22nd memorial on the universal Roman Calendar. In England it is celebrated as a Feast, in honor of their importance to English Catholics. On June 22 in 1535 Bishop John Fisher was beheaded, having been found guilty of treason. Thomas More was beheaded 14 days later for the same reason. As an example of fine historical irony, the Church of England honors Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher on its Calendar of Saints--on July 6, the date of More’s execution--as “Reformation Martyrs”.

They both demonstrated firm defense of Catholic doctrine against the reformers on the Continent presenting systematic apologetics, referring to the Fathers of the Church and Sacred Tradition to defend the role of the Church in salvation, the ordained priesthood, the Seven Sacraments, the primacy of the Pope, prayer for the Poor Souls in Purgatory, and devotions like intercessory prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints in heaven.

They were both scholarly humanists at the forefront of learning. They were friends of the famed classicist Erasmus of Rotterdam and John Colet, the Dean of St. Paul’s in London. More was famous for his Utopia and renowned for educating his daughters just as well as his sons in the Liberal Arts. Fisher founded Colleges at Oxford and Cambridge to improve the education and formation of priests and invited Erasmus to teach Greek at Cambridge.

Although they shared a common call to personal holiness, demonstrated through prayer, asceticism, and charity, they had different vocations. Those different vocations explain their different responses to the crucial issue of their times: Henry VIII’s desire for a legitimate male heir. To achieve this goal Henry was convinced that he needed to be released from his first marriage to his brother Arthur’s widow Catherine of Aragon so that he could marry Anne Boleyn, a noble woman whom he desired, but who refused to become his mistress like her sister had been. Henry petitioned Pope Clement VII to revoke the dispensation he had received in order to marry Catherine and declare that marriage null.

John Fisher was an ordained bishop of the Catholic Church; pastor of his diocese, teacher of the Truths of the Catholic Faith. Thomas More, although he’d considered a vocation as a cloistered religious among the Carthusians of the Charterhouse in London, was a married man and a father, active in the secular sphere as a lawyer, judge, diplomat, and government official.

So when Henry VIII, having exhausted his efforts for an annulment from Rome, decided to make himself the Supreme Head and Governor of the Church in England, thus appropriating the power to annul his own marriage, Bishop Fisher opposed him. Alone among the bishops, whom Henry threatened, fined, and harassed, he would not accept Henry’s new role. Furthermore, he took Catherine of Aragon’s side, serving as her counselor and comparing himself to John the Baptist in his role of defending the sanctity of marriage. If he was John the Baptist, Henry was Herod and Anne Boleyn was Herodias--not very complimentary comparisons!

Thomas More was not open about his opposition to Henry’s actions. He accepted the position of Chancellor after the removal of Thomas Wolsey, Archbishop of York, on the grounds that he would not be involved in Henry’s “Great Matter”. It is surely a sign of Henry’s respect for him that he accepted More’s terms. Thomas Cromwell, who would eventually succeed him as Chancellor (and follow him to the chopping block) did Henry’s bidding.

As Robert Bolt depicts in A Man for All Seasons, More was careful never to tell anyone, even his wife, what he thought about the divorce and remarriage. He resigned as Chancellor when it was clear his efforts in that office and his influence on the king had come to naught; he went into retirement and kept his peace, hoping to be left in peace.

But Henry was not content just with achieving his goals--divorcing Catherine, marrying Anne, taking over the Church, dissolving the monasteries--he wanted assent to what he had done, requiring bishops, abbots, nobles and officials to swear oaths assenting to his supremacy in the Church and the nullity of his first marriage. When Fisher and More refused they were imprisoned in the Tower of London, enduring discomfort and constant pressure to take the oaths. They were both tried and found guilty of treason through the trickery and perjury of one Richard Rich.

They benefited from a sort of mercy from Henry VIII, as their sentences to being hung, drawn, and quartered were commuted to mere beheading. They shared a calm and prayerful attitude on the scaffold. Their executions permanently damaged Henry’s reputation at the time and throughout history.

One final distinction needs to be addressed: Although Thomas More is better known through Bolt’s play and the award-winning 1966 movie, John Fisher deserves our attention. His efforts to refute Luther and his eloquence as a preacher should be studied more intently. (Ignatius Press offers his Exposition of the Seven Penitential Psalms as a good starting point.) St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, pray for us.

Stephanie A. Mann is author of Supremacy and Survival: How Catholics Endured the English Reformation. She will be on the “Son Rise Morning Show” heard on KAHS, at 6:20 a.m. Central time, Monday, June 22 to discuss Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More on their memorial. Check her website for a link to the pod cast after the show.



Relics of Christian Saint’s fall into categories: the First Class Relic is the body or a portion of the body of a Saint (bone, flesh, or hair). These are considered so precious that they are rarely entrusted to individuals, but are placed in Faith Communities.

The Second Class Relic is an item or piece of an item used by the Saint while on the body (clothing, Bible, Breviary, Mass vestments, and so on). Again, Second Class Relics are considered so precious that they are rarely entrusted to individuals, but are placed in Faith Communities.

Third Class Relics typically fall into 2 categories. The first category is a piece of cloth touched to a First or Second Class Relic of the Saint. The second category, in cases where there is no known existing relic of a saint, the cloth has been touched to the shrine of the saint. Generally, the Third Class Relic is a piece of cloth, but it need not be, as long as the item so touched conveys Holiness and is touched with the intent that it be a Third Class Relic. Third Class Relics may be given to individuals, and may be sold. Fourth Class Relics are virtually the same as Third Class Relics and may be sold also.

The Third Class Relics on the Medals we use are the same Third Class Relics you would purchase if you traveled to the Shrine of the Saint and purchased a Third Class Relic there. On the back of each medal you will find the small piece of cloth set in red, which is the relic itself. Around the relic is engraved “EX INDUMENTIS” Latin for touched cloth. These medals are all made in Italy.

Relics, when properly reverenced can be powerful Sacramentals and they are not to be taken lightly. These precious gifts from our Holy Saints can afford us much protection from harm. However, these Relic Medals should always be blessed by a Deacon or Priest of the Roman Catholic Church in order for them to become Sacramentals.


Relics and Altar Stones at St. Anthony Church Part II
Recently while changing out the statues (the Risen Christ statue and St. Anthony) above the altar (see Post #79 ) the conversation came around to the altar stones and their embedded relics in the altars at St. Anthony . I wondered if information existed as to whose relics were in the altar stones.

Being the curious sort, and history buff, I started making inquiries and was eventually directed to Camilla Hartman, Parish Historian.

Her response:

"Unfortunately we cannot have concrete answers, as the majority of our old historical information stored in our Franciscans' rectory was thrown out after Fr. Faran and Fr. Bernard were transferred out in 1988 and the rectory was taken over by the Shelter. Thus, most of our primary sources of information were irretrievably lost. Without those, validating the presence of relics would have to rely on memory or tradition exclusively, neither a totally reliable basis for valid historical facts.

But you raise an interesting question, one I asked of Fr. Faran, our last Franciscan pastor, when working on the 1987 Centennial Book. My recollection from Fr. Faran's response was that there was a St. Anthony relic in the old altar stone. When the new altar was built for the 2005 Restoration, the old altar stone was encased beneath it. (Fr. Pham has stated that the new rule no longer requires us to encase the holy stone.) I also remember that Fr. Bernard told me that "in the old days" relics were often placed in cornerstones. We have two cornerstones in our church on the NW corner; the first (facing First Street) is from the original St. Boniface church. Our originally German parish was first named St. Boniface in 1887, then the name changed to St. Anthony sometime in the 1890's once the Franciscan Order took charge of the parish. I would like to think there may be a relic of St. Boniface also in that old cornerstone; but without any primary sources to verify that, it is only conjecture. There is also a 1902 St. Anthony cornerstone at the same location. Whether there is another St. Anthony relic there can only be conjecture.

I had emailed Fr. Pham(Pastor of St. Anthony) your questions and am also copying this answer to him, so if I misstate anything he can correct it. He did state that "I believe relics are in both the cross and the 'golden relic case' used for the blessing after the Novena to St. Anthony every Tuesday." So there is definitely that tradition in the parish.


Light of the East
EWTN Radio

Blogger's note: Every Sunday after Mass on my 30 to 45 minute drive home, I tune into KAHS 1360, EWTN Catholic Radio on my AM dial and listen to Light of the East, an hour long show on the Eastern Rite Catholic Church. I love this show as it showcases and teaches all about the beautiful Eastern Church and Divine Liturgy. Unfortunately I am not sure what time it actually starts...I think at 10:00 a.m. (though EWTN lists show times as 4:30a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Sundays and 11:30 p.m. on Wednesdays).


Join our hosts Fr. Michael Sopoliga and Fr. Joseph Bertha, two Ruthenian priests, as they explore the Eastern churches of the Catholic Church. Through discussion, photos and chant we will better be able to follow the Holy Father in his expressed desire that the Church breathe with "two lungs."

"The light of the East has illuminated the universal Church, from the moment when a ‘rising sun’ appeared above us (Lk 1:78): Jesus Christ, our Lord, whom all Christians invoke as the Redeemer of man and the hope of the world." -Orientale Lumen

Read Pope John Paul’s Apostolic Letter: "Light of the East
" Orientale Lumen in the EWTN Document Library.


The Roman Missal
Notes on the New Translation of the Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia
(from the August 2005 Newsletter – © 2008 USCCB)

As you may know, the Roman Missal is being retranslated into English, and there will be several changes in some of the prayers and responses of the Mass. Below is an article from the Bishop's Committee on Divine Worship, which gives us some insight into some of the changes that are coming.

Perhaps the most common dialogue in the Liturgy of the Roman Rite consists of the greeting :
Dominus vobiscum
et cum spiritu tuo

Since 1970, this has been translated as:
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

As a part of the revised translation of the Roman Missal, now taking place, the translation of this dialogue has been revised, to read:
The Lord be with you.
And with your spirit.

Since it is clear that the change to “and with your spirit” is a significant and wide ranging change in a longstanding liturgical practice, the following questions are provided to clarify the reasons for the change and the meaning of the dialogue itself.

1. Why has the response et cum spiritu tuo been translated as and with your spirit?

The retranslation was necessary because it is a more correct rendering of et cum spiritu tuo. Recent scholarship has recognized the need for a more precise translation capable of expressing the full meaning of the Latin text.

2. What about the other major languages? Do they have to change their translations?

No. English is the only major language of the Roman Rite which did not translate the word spiritu. The Italian (E con il tuo spirito), French (Et avec votre esprit), Spanish (Y con tu espíritu) and German (Und mit deinem Geiste) renderings of 1970 all translated the Latin word spiritu precisely.

3. Has the Holy See ever addressed this question?

In 2001, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments published an instruction entitled, Liturgiam authenticam, subtitled, On the Use of Vernacular Languages in the Publication of the Books of the Roman Liturgy. The instruction directs specifically that: “Certain expressions that belong to the heritage of the whole or of a great part of the ancient Church, as well as others that have become part of the general human patrimony, are to be respected by a translation that is as literal as possible, as for example the words of the people’s response Et cum spiritu tuo, or the expression mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa in the Act of Penance of the Order of Mass.”

4. Where does this dialogue come from?

The response et cum spiritu tuo is found in the Liturgies of both East and West, from the earliest days of the Church. One of the first instances of its use is found in the Traditio Apostolica of Saint Hippolytus, composed in Greek around AD 215.

5. How is this dialogue used in the Liturgy?

The dialogue is only used between the priest and the people, or exceptionally, between the deacon and the people. The greeting is never used in the Roman Liturgy between a non-ordained person and the gathered assembly.

6. Why does the priest mean when he says “The Lord be with you”?

By greeting the people with the words “The Lord be with you,” the priest expresses his desire that the dynamic activity of God’s spirit be given to the people of God, enabling them to do the work of transforming the world that God has entrusted to them.

7. What do the people mean when they respond “and with your spirit”?The expression et cum spiritu tuo is only addressed to an ordained minister. Some scholars have suggested that spiritu refers to the gift of the spirit he received at ordination. In their response, the people assure the priest of the same divine assistance of God’s spirit and, more specifically, help for the priest to use the charismatic gifts given to him in ordination and in so doing to fulfill his prophetic function in the Church.

8. What further reading could you suggest on this dialogue?For those who wish to pursue this issue from a more scholarly perspective, they might consult:

J.A. Jungmann, S.J., The Mass of the Roman Rite: its Origins and Development, trans. F.A. Brunner C.Ss.R. (Westminster, MD: Christian Classics, 1986), 363.

Michael K. Magee, The Liturgical Translation of the Response “Et cum spiritu tuo”: Communio 29 (Spring 2002) 152-171.

W.C. Van Unnik, “Dominus Vobiscum:” The Background of a Liturgical Formula: A.J.B. Higgins (ed.), New Testament Essays (Manchester, University Press, 1959) 270-305.

1 Liturgiam authenticam, no. 56.

2 Liturgiam authenticam, no. 56


Email A Traditional Catholic Postcard to Your Loved Onesfisheaters.comhttp://www.fisheaters.com/postcards.html#send

At Fisheaters.com you can send a traditional Catholic E-card free of charge! You can personalize it and include music if you'd like. Very nice!

Random ThoughtsPersonal Reflection:The Promise RERUN
Blogger's note: Well it's time for a janitor to varnish the floors again. I hope you enjoy this rerun from 2008, Post #38.

The smell was the first thing I noticed, then the darkness. Both stopped me in my tracks and I waited while my eyes adjusted and I breathed in the smell of the building. I knew that smell from long ago…it was the smell of wood, plaster, brick and mildew. It was the smell of decades old varnish and chalk dust…of spilt milk and rubber balls....of dirty sneakers and teacher's sweet perfume...It was the smell of St. Mary's Catholic school and I found it not unpleasant.

On this particularly glorious June day it was my job, as a part time janitor, to varnish the 100 year old wood floors of St. Mary's school and it was very early morning. The sun was already reflecting on the cross atop the steeple, but as I stepped into the hallway of the school it was silent and dark with shadows of dark brown and faded white…like an old photo on your grandmother’s dresser.Immediately out of instinct, or a childhood of forged manners, I quieted myself...softened my stride, turned off my iPod and closed my phone and the text message I was sending.I had not been in the school in 41 years.

I hadn't attended class here, but I spent time here in catechism and in preparation for my first communion in the church next door. Hello old school.I set my equipment down, my mops and handles, and the backbreaking bucket of goo I was to spread on the old tattered floor, and looked around curiously. The dark wainscoting rose to nearly my height as it stretched upward towards the 12 foot ceilings...high ceilings to displace the summer heat. I flipped the old light switch and it made that old mechanical click that one never hears anymore. It echoed down the quiet hallway into the four big classrooms divided by the central hall and a smaller perpendicular hall that led to the restrooms. Above the doors the old vent windows were open, or more accurately, stuck open by time and stubbornness and the single bulbs glowed dim in the hall above original glass domes...the kind of light fixtures you see on antique shows.

I entered each classroom, turning the metal knobs above the skeleton key holes, two creaky doors to each room, pulled the long chains to the ceiling fans and was generally not interested in starting work.

I sat on the bucket of goo in the hall (gee a cup of coffee would be nice) and thought of the long day ahead...moving entire classrooms contents to one side of the room to varnish, then moving it all back to the other side to varnish, was a daunting task. So I dawdled some more and thought I heard the sound of children laughing ("nah, that had to be outside"), then I imagined I heard the rustling of skirts and soft shoes ("no way, that's just the ceiling fans") and I strained to hear what I really only imagined...but only heard car doors slamming at the courthouse across the street, rolling trains, and the occasional conversation of passersby. But as I sat, somewhere in the soft breeze of the ceiling fans and the floating dust in the soft light, the old school seemed to whisper to me, somehow beckoning me.

Childhood memories of sweet innocence, scraped knees, Schwinn bicycles and white undershirts (t-shirts nowadays) flooded my brain, neurotransmitters dancing crazily with memories of 13 oz. Levis, Romper Room and baseball caps. In my imagination the old school had recognized me ("I remember you...do you remember me?...why don't you see if that sweater you left here in 1966 is still hanging on the hook?...boy your Mom was mad, it was a brand new sweater, the second one you lost that year!...remember when you made your first confession and had to makeup sins because you couldn't think of any? Do you still have that dog..?")

As I sat on the bucket I realized that the school and I were getting re-acquainted...or rather, I was being re-acquainted with my childhood self…and it was good.I thought of myself as a boy, a little Catholic in training, full of exuberance for life and love and Mom and Dad and Jesus and the Saints. I thought of those lessons from the catechism we learned, or rather was drilled into us.....on life and God's grace, Jesus' sacrifice and Mary Our Mother. We learned scary things such as consequence and hell, sin and virtue (yes it was scary to think of the work it took to be good!).
Most notably I remember the original promise...the original promise of eternal love of Holy Catholic Church and her bridegroom, our Savior Jesus Christ. It was a promise of always being there in protection and salvation, of judgment and punishment...being there when the lights were turned off at night...when the peacocks down the street would let loose their mournful cries in the evening (I always thought they were crying in their drawn out way "help, help").

"The promise" would be there in my mothers loving arms when I would wake in the morning and in the French toast I got for breakfast. That promise of love and guardianship would accompany us when we walked the brick streets downtown for vanilla phosphates and returned with us as we walked the Santa Fe tracks home. And it would be there when I stole the neighbor girl’s ice cream and got whipped for it.That original promise was with me as I knelt at the communion rail at seven years old and got sprinkled with the ice cream scooper (!), marveled at the priest in his vestments and received my first communion...and yes I did make up sins at my very first confession.

But oh how foolish we become when we grow up. Along the way I had forgotten the promise and more importantly I had abdicated my role in the promise....the responsibility of reciprocating in the covenant, the promise between God and his people in which God makes certain promises but requires certain behavior in return.

I thought of these things through the morning as I heaved and labored, grunting and sweating, mopping the finish on the old worn floors.

The Blessed Virgin looked down in each classroom; eyes filled with eternal love...hands folded in supplication or open to her children. Her son hung in passion along her side...forever entreating the Father for mercy towards us...and forever awaiting next year’s class of first graders.

The promise was always there...it was always here, and as I performed my humble work I was being reminded of that promise… in the quiet way God whispers to children.I took several water breaks throughout the afternoon, the high ceilings and fans proving to be less and less effective against the heat. As I waited for floors to dry I thought of the thousands of children who had passed these halls...and how the saints who lined the corridors had been silent witness to all of them.

Here was St. Francis holding a bird. There was St. Joseph with the Christ child... a curious shock of gray hair on his head. There...the infant of Prague all grown up (ok, so I really don't kow his name). Here, an odd picture from 1942 of Christ as a child embracing the globe with his finger landing on Greenland. To his European side are Old World buildings, and on his North American side are modern skyscrapers....are those WWII bomber planes flying overhead? A gorgeous old lithograph of Mary our Mother, sitting upon a throne with her beloved son in one hand and a rose in the other. Above her cherubs fly…I note the one with the receding hairline.

Many times throughout life I was to reflect on these very Saints and on the lessons I had heard as a child, but for many, many years I chose to ignore them as I drifted further and further away.

One gets a certain false sense of pride in manliness and intellectualisms, in money and its pursuit...in material desires and lust, in worldliness and vanity. I had committed much sin and had suffered greatly, yes I had found happiness but it always was temporal and the church never seemed to offer any answers. Funny enough, I would always tell people that I was Catholic even if I hadn’t stepped in a confessional in 30 years.

It was about seven years ago that I attended a confirmation mass for my girlfriend. About a month later, something sparked in my conscience…”Mass starts at noon…you should go”…so I did. I couldn't remember when to kneel, stand or spit…and it was nothing but curiosity…until a few days later when that little voice whispered to me again. And I went again, but it would be a long time until I fully gave in…it was a long time till I finally let go….I only fully re-entered the deep end with great trepidation.

The deep end for me took the form of the Traditional Latin Mass (EFLR). I don’t really remember the old liturgy …but I do remember incense and silence, my father in his suit and my mother beating her breast. I remember communion rails and whispered prayers, scarves on women’s heads and mothers white gloves.

Now as an adult had I found it or had it found me? Had it spoke to me in hushed tones like I imagined this old school had been?

The Latin Mass has proven to be my glorious falling…the kind of fall when you step off a diving board …so high up and so scary. But the entry is wonderful and joyful: when you swim you really are just letting go and giving yourself up to the power of the deep water…never really conquering it, just floating on top. You only surrender to the water, you don’t fight it, and in doing so the symbiotic relationship forms…is that not a sort of covenant? Isn’t this like that unspoken original promise?

Post supper and the day is waning; the shadows have crept from one side of the building to the other and now are merging silently…slowly…into twilight. I was backing down the main hallway so as not to paint myself in a corner. As I retreated I shut doors, turned off lights and fans and strained to see…the single bulbs in their fancy globes served only as transitional technology in 1908 over gaslight and lanterns.

As I passed each statue they whispered goodbye in my imagination with their own special message: St. Joseph; “Your father prays for and misses you…keep praying for him…take it easy on the kids…right now they’re acting dumb, but they’ll grow out of it…..

St. Francis; “I like your dogs and chickens!”

Mother Mary; “Say many prayers my child and pray the Rosary often, I am always with you as is my Son”.

Grown up Infant of Prauge; “Um, that’s not my name. Were you NOT paying attention in class?”

Christ on the Cross; “I love you”

The last statue on the way out is not a Saint but an ordinary boy, an altar boy. I can tell that he is the oldest and probably the only original (to the shool) statue left, with glass eyes that seem to twinkle in the dim light. His attire is extremely old fashioned; his surplice has fancy lace adorning the bottom, his sleeves hang low with scalloped edges and his neck line is tied together in a bow. He stands reverently, holding a crucifix in his hands, his eyes gazing in adoration at the crucified Christ.

I like him the best because he is most like me…just an ordinary boy…and sometimes in my heart, especially before God, I am just a boy. I don’t imagine he would say much to me…except this; “do what you can, whatever your station in life to love, serve and adore…in this you hold up your end of the promise”.

Smart kid that altar boy.

I finish my task and pack it all up. The stars are twinkling in the darkening sky and the town is settling in for the night. I wave to Father M. as I load up my equipment. His day is ending as well.

I re-enter the hallway to say goodnight. Again I notice the smell and the darkness and it makes me pause…in one day I have come full circle…a microcosm of the life cycle played out in hours, beginning to end with the promise of another day on the lips of the Almighty. My faith has come full circle as well, from the innocence of childhood, as this old school reminds me, to the “letting go” I have found in the old Latin Mass….I have let go and let the waters of my baptism take me once again……and as I lock the doors and walk away the 100 year old altar boy, from high atop his pedestal, reminds me that God’s promise has and always will stand.

Post Script: "The Promise" in no way reflects official Catholic doctrine but serves only as personal reflection.

Our Lady of Mantara in Lebanon
The Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Mantara is located in the Greek-Melkite-Catholic Archbishopric of the Diocese of Saida and Deir-El-Kamar, in Lebanon. The word "Mantara" comes from the Arabic root word "Natar" which means to wait.

According to tradition, Mantara is the cave where the Virgin Mary waited for Jesus while he was preaching in Sidon (today's Saida), because Jewish women were not allowed to enter pagan villages. The Gospels testify to the coming of Christ to Sidon, where he healed the daughter of the Canaanite woman (Mt 15: 21-28 and Mk 7: 24-31).

By a stroke of luck the cave was rediscovered by a shepherd who was keeping his flock in the vicinity. While he was sitting under an oak tree, playing his flute, he suddenly heard the squeal of one of his young goats. He ran in the direction of the squeal and found that a kid had fallen into a well (the hole is in the roof of the cave over the altar). He took out his knife to clear the area and open the way through the bramble bushes. He was happy to discover a narrow path leading to the back of a cave! He crawled inside on his hands and knees. His anxiety turned into joy when he found an icon of the Virgin Mary on an ancient altar. Then he rushed out, leaving his flock, and ran to announce the good news to the villagers of Maghdouche.