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
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 Vatican Observatory Research Group
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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