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.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Post #101

Topics: All Souls Day Mass: St John Catholic Church, Clonmel....All Souls Day: Indulgences....Sunshine Room Grand Opening: Dedication...Sunshine Room Religious Art Show: Jennnifer Walterscheid, Lynda Beck and Raphael Robles....USCCB: Nationwide Bulletin....Quote and Illustration: Blessed Anna Katherina Emmerich....Evolution and Church Teaching: Finally Explained....Video: Confession, Search Your Heart


Wow!, lots of local news flying through the offices of Venite Missa Est! The clerks and secretaries are busy sorting news and running through the building in a frenzy!

The Sunshine Room, in the basement of St. Anthony's in Wichita, will re-open with a grand dedication and religous art show. Details are below. See you there! I will repost all this information again next week just in case you forget.

If you can make it, the Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form for All Souls Day will be celebrated at St. John's in Clonmel by Father Jarrod Lies on November 2nd at 8:00 a.m.

There will be a eucharistic procession to the adjacent graveyard. If the word "cool" can be applied to Mother Church, seeing this ancient liturgy spread and getting masses on Holy Days is.....very COOL!

I am so excited!!!!!

p.s. Hee Hee. I confess...there are no Venite Missa Est offices or secretaries. Trick or treat!

and now the Necessaries

Please note: St. Anthony Catholic Church is the only local church celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass (EFLR) in the Wichita area. Though this blog is loosely centered around this parish and it's members, Venite Missa Est! is by no means, in any way an official voice of, or for, St. Anthony Parish or the Diocese of Wichita. Venite Missa Est is strictly a private layman's endeavor.


All Souls Day Mass

There will be an All Souls Day Mass celebrated by Fr Jarrod Lies in the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite (Traditional Latin Mass) this coming Monday, Nov 2 at 8 AM at St John Catholic Church, Clonmel.
Clonmel is located on highway 42 (Southwest Blvd out of Wichita) at about W. 71st Street south.


All Souls Day Indulgences
By Larry Bethel

1. On All Souls' Day (Nov. 2) a plenary indulgence, applicable only to the Poor Souls, is granted to those who visit any parish church or public oratory and there recite one Our Father and one Credo.

2. On all the days from November 1 though November 8 inclusive, a plenary indulgence, applicable only to the Poor Souls, is granted to those who visit a cemetery and pray, even if only mentally, for the departed.

Conditions For Above Indulgences

1. Only one plenary indulgence can be granted per day.

2. It is necessary to be in the state of grace, at least by completion of the work.

3. Freedom from attachment to sin, even venial sin, is necessary; otherwise the indulgence is only partial. (By this is meant attachment to a particular sin, not sin in general.)

4. Holy Communion must be received each time the indulgence is sought.

5. Prayers must he recited for the intentions of the Holy Father on each day the indulgence is sought. (No particular prayers are prescribed. One Our Father and one Hail Mary suffice, or other suitable prayers.

6. A sacramental concession must he made within a week of completion of the prescribed work. (One confession made during the week, made with the intention of gaining all the indulgences, suffices.)


St.Clare Sunshine Room Grand Opening Dedication and Religious Art Show
St. Anthony Church, Wichita Kansas

St. Anthony Church in Wichita announces the Grand Opening Dedication and Religious Art Show and Sale of the newly remodeled St. Clare Sunshine Room. The Grand Opening will be Sunday, November 8, from 1pm to 5pm.

Tours of the restored Church interior will be given at 2pm and 4pm. Art from three local artists who worked on the recent restoration will display, and have for sale religious art work. Lynda Beck, Raphael Robles and Jennifer Walterscheid will feature their paintings, artifacts and religious icons.

Gino Salerno and his daughter Martina will be playing music for the St Clare Sunshine Room Reception. Mr. Salerno is known for his work in turning dead trees around the city into sculpture. Many of his wood sculptures grace Newman U, Mt. St. Mary's Convent, and several Catholic Churches around town. See http://ginosalerno.com/2001.html

Refreshments will be served and the public at large is invited. Blessing of the meeting room will be at1:05pm.


Sunshine Room Religious Art Show
Raphael Robles
Bloggers note: At the upcoming Sunshine Room Grand Reopening and Dedication, Religious Art Show, Raphael Robles is one of the featured artists. Unfortunately I haven't any information on Mr. Robles and his work at (this) posting time. I will feature Mr. Robles in the next week's post.


Sunshine Room Religious Art Show
Jennifer Walterscheid

Bloggers note: At the upcoming Sunshine Room Grand Reopening and Dedication, Religious Art Show, Jennnifer Walterscheid is one of the featured artists. St. Anthony parishioners will know her work from the beautiful watercolor paintings she made of the stain glass windows at St. Anthony though she is not limited to watercolor.

Artist's Statement

"Religious imagery in the Christian church has always had an influence in my life. Over time, I have become more inspired by the symbolism and the history of Christian art.

Most often, my art reflects a personal connection I have made with historical sacred Christian images. One of my childhood memories is of being in church and watching the play of light and color from the stained glass of the windows. This fascination with stained glass resurfaced when I used watercolor to paint the Mary Queen of Heaven window located at St. Anthony dedicated to my husband’s ancestor, Johann Walterscheid. The recreation of this window in using the transparency of watercolor became a captivating project for me, leading to a commission from the church to paint all seven of the large windows in the church. Painting with watercolor allowed me to use the translucent quality of the paint to translate the effect of light flowing through the beautiful glass of the windows into the sacred interior of the church.

Not long after I began the

paintings of the windows, I discovered enameling. Like watercolor, the transparency of the enamel over copper and the light flow

ing through layers of color created a transparent quality in a different media. Enamel and its use in Christian art throughout history became a source

of inspiration for many of my enameled pieces. My

sense of detail and meticulousness has found harmony with the enamel technique cloisonné."

Jennifer Walterscheid



Sunshine Room Religious Art Show
The Iconography of Lynda Beck
From Original Post #80, June 5, 2009

Bloggers note: At the upcoming Sunshine Room Grand Reopening and Dedication, Religious Art Show, Lynda Beck is one of the featured artists. The following article is from Post #80, June 5, 2009.

I recently received a beautiful rough draft copy of a St. Michael icon from Ms. Lynda Beck, local

artist/ icon writer and St. Anthony parishioner. While our email conversation was on a totally different subject (Pilgrimage USA- Kansas Prairie Tour of Sacred Worship Spaces....I will feature this in a near future post) it was this copy of her icon that really caught my attention.

The icon she sent me (to chase away spam in my email) was a very masculine St. Michael the Archangel defeating the Evil One.

Venite Missa Est! will explore iconography in future posts and, when Ms. Beck has a little more time to participate, we will do a full story on her art, studio and aspirations both personal and for the local art scene. Venite will also, at Ms. Beck's suggestion, feature the sacred art of Jennifer Walterscheid (she did the watercolor renderings of the Church windows) and also Raphael Robles as well as others.

We look forward to exploring this subject and the artist more in depth but for now I present a preview of sorts of the art of Lynda Beck.

Artist Statement

"The word iconography literally means “image writing”. I am attracted to the entire process of

Icon painting which involves elements of theology, aesthetics and of course technique. Though I do maintain an adherence to the rules of the Tradition, residing under the grace of God also affords me the privilege to exercise my artistic license. The ground rules of traditional Icon painting/writing guarantee a spiritual continuity and doctrinal unity that are valid beyond all national and cultural boundaries."

-Lynda Beck



USCCB Nationwide Bulletin Insert
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Tell Congress: Remove Abortion Funding & Mandates from Needed Health Care Reform

Congress is preparing to debate health care reform legislation on the House and Senate floors.
Genuine health care reform should protect the life and dignity of all people from the moment of
conception until natural death. The U.S. bishops’ conference has concluded that all committee approved bills are seriously deficient on the issues of abortion and conscience, and do not provide
adequate access to health care for immigrants and the poor. The bills will have to change or the
bishops have pledged to oppose them.

Our nation is at a crossroads. Policies adopted in health care reform will have an impact for good or ill for years to come. None of the bills retains longstanding current policies against abortion funding or abortion coverage mandates, and none fully protects conscience rights in health care.
As the U.S. bishops’ letter of October 8 states:

“No one should be required to pay for or participate in abortion. It is essential that the
legislation clearly apply to this new program longstanding and widely supported federal
restrictions on abortion funding and mandates, and protections for rights of conscience.
No current bill meets this test…. If acceptable language in these areas cannot be found,
we will have to oppose the health care bill vigorously.”

For the full text of this letter and more information on proposed legislation and the bishops’ advocacy for authentic health care reform, visit: www.usccb.org/healthcare.
Congressional leaders are attempting to put together final bills for floor consideration. Please contact your Representative and Senators today and urge them to fix these bills with the pro-life amendments noted below. Otherwise much needed health care reform will have to be opposed. Health care reform should be about saving lives, not destroying them.

ACTION: Contact Members through e-mail, phone calls or FAX letters.
  •  To send a pre-written, instant e-mail to Congress go to www.usccb.org/action.
  •  Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121, or call your Members’ local offices.
  •  Full contact info can be found on Members’ web sites at www.house.gov & www.senate.gov.

“During floor debate on the health care reform bill, please support an amendment to
incorporate longstanding policies against abortion funding and in favor of conscience rights.
If these serious concerns are not addressed, the final bill should be opposed.”

“Please support the Stupak Amendment that addresses essential pro-life concerns on abortion
funding and conscience rights in the health care reform bill. Help ensure that the Rule for the
bill allows a vote on this amendment. If these serious concerns are not addressed, the final bill
should be opposed.”

WHEN: Both House and Senate are preparing for floor votes now. Act today! Thank you!


Blessed Anna Katherina Emmerich
Tip o' the hat to The Heremaneutic of Continuity for the quote and ilustration

"I saw a Pope who was at once gentle and very firm... I saw a great renewal, and the Church rose high in the sky." Blessed Anna Katherina Emmerich.

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (September 8, 1774 – February 9, 1824) was a Roman Catholic Augustinian nun, stigmatic, mystic, visionary and ecstatic. She was born in Flamschen, a

farming community at Coesfeld, in the Diocese of Münster, Westphalia, Germany and died in Dülmen, aged 49. She was beatified on October 3, 2004, by Pope John Paul II.

In 1802, aged 28, she entered the Augustinian convent at Agnetenberg, Dülmen. Her sisters came to believe that she had received supernatural favors, mostly as a result of multiple ecstasies she appeared to experience. When Jerome Bonaparte, King of Westphalia suppressed the convent in 1812 she found refuge in a widow's house. There, the sick and poor came to her for help, and according to contemporaries she supernaturally knew what their diseases were, and prescribed cures.

In 1813 she was confined to bed, and stigmata were reported on her body. Her life and the claims regarding her miraculous signs were examined by an episcopal commission. The vicar-general, the Overberg, and three physicians conducted the investigation. They were reportedly convinced of her sanctity and the genuineness of the stigmata.

At the end of 1818 Emmerich stated that God granted her prayer to be relieved of the stigmata, and the wounds in her hands and feet closed, but the others remained, and on Good Friday all were wont to reopen.

In 1819 Emmerich was investigated again. She was forcibly removed to a large room in another house and kept under strict surveillance day and night for three weeks, away from all her friends except her confessor.

Anne Catherine Emmerich said that as a child she had had visions, in which she talked with Jesus, had seen the souls in Purgatory, for whom she prayed, and also the core of Holy Trinity in the form of three concentric interpenetrating full spheres - the biggest but less lit sphere represented the Father core, the medium sphere the Son core, and the smallest and most lit sphere the Holy Spirit core. Each sphere of omnipresent God is extended toward infinity beyond God's core placed in Heaven.

Anne Catherine Emmerich died on 9 February, 1824 in Dülmen and was buried in the graveyard outside the town. In 1975, after her beatification proceedings were reopened, her bones were moved to the crypt of nearby Church of the Holy Cross.


Evolution and Church Teaching Finally Explained


Confession: Search Your Heart

Friday, October 23, 2009

Post #100

Topics: Pope St. Pius V: By James Spencer...Vestments: The Mantelletta...St. Alphonsus Liguori: On Prayer...Have It The Way You Like It : A Church of Convenience?...All Souls: Indulgences...Just a Beautiful Picture: Picture...Sacred Heart Catholic Church: Halstead Kansas


We are old. Venite Missa Est! is 100 posts old today! Strike up the band, pop the champagne corks, light the candles and cue the dancing girls!!!

A hearty and heartfelt thanks goes out to those who have contributed to this blog including the original writer (he really IS a writer) James Spencer, original inspiration from Larry Bethel (The Inspirator...[yes I know that's not a word]) and those who have contributed in submission, emails, comments, best wishes and prayer.

I really don't know if this blog has provided any thing of any sort to any individual but it has been fun. Should we continue? Do we serve any purpose? I would like to hear from you, good readers, comments positive or likewise. Feel free to comment at the end of each post by clicking on the little pencil icon.
This past Monday, October 19th, Father Jarrod Lies celebrated Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form in Clonmel. Tony Strunk and Luke Headley assisted. I am told that there was a great turnout and many dusted off their mantillas and 1962 missals to attend. Thanks be to God!

We welcome to the team of altar servers Brody Flavin! Brody (and his bride of course) were married last year at St. Anthony in the Extraordinary Form of mass. It is always good to have new servers.

The Necessaries

Please note: St. Anthony Catholic Church is the only local church celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass (EFLR) in the Wichita area. Though this blog is loosely centered around this parish and it's members, Venite Missa Est! is by no means, in any way an official voice of, or for, St. Anthony Parish or the Diocese of Wichita. Venite Missa Est is strictly a private layman's endeavor.


Pope St. Pius V
(1566 – 1572)
by Jim Spencer

In 1556, when Michael Ghislieri (1504 – 1572) became Pope Pius V, the outlook everywhere was grim. The Moslems’ navy controlled the Mediterranean and their armies were ravishing the Mid-East, slaughtering thousands of Christians, taking thousands of prisoners (men for slavery, women for harems or prostitution). Protestantism was ripping Western Europe asunder. And internal abuses had long been damaging the Church: Absentee bishops abounded; poorly-formed priests were the rule; the liturgy was in disarray; and the laity was largely ignorant of the Faith.

Granted, the Council of Trent (1545 – 1563) had proposed sweeping reforms, but their implementation had only begun. So, completing them fell to the new 62-year old Pontiff.

And complete them he did!

Clergy and Hierarchy

Per the Council of Trent, he ordered absentee bishops to return to their dioceses and become shepherds for their flocks. Those who refused, he replaced. In all, during his six-year reign, he consecrated 314 new bishops, only a few as replacements for recalcitrants. He selected new bishops judiciously, thereby improving the hierarchy’s overall spirituality.

Also per the Council, he initiated the establishment diocesan seminaries to form new priests properly. Thus began the seminary system we so take for granted today.


The Catechism the Council had ordered for teaching the Faith to the laity had been started, but not completed. Pius assigned this project to Cardinal (St.) Charles Borromeo, who completed it during the Pope’s first year in office.

Interestingly, this Catechism of the Council of Trent is addressed not to the laity, for whose instruction it was created, but to parish priests, who were to do the instructing. Was this a subtle hint from St. Pius V and St. Charles to priests that they should study this book to upgrade their own formation? Hmm.


Since Pope St. Gregory I (the Great) had issued the Missale Romanum, the liturgy of Mass had suffered dissimilar and unauthorized “revisions” in many dioceses. Similarly, since Pope St. Gregory VII had revised the Breviarium Romanum (Divine Office), it too had suffered many such “freelance” revisions. The Council of Trent had directed that these two liturgical books be restored to their original Church-approved forms.

Pius V promulgated the restored Breviarium Romanum in 1568. He promulgated the restored Missale Romanum 1570. By his Papal Bull, Quo Primum, he mandated that the all priests in the Latin Rite (with certain exceptions) were to use this restored missal. The exceptions were those using other missals that had initially had Church approval and had been in continuous use for at least 200 years. Thus, for example, the Milan Diocese continued using the Ambrosian Rite until 1970. (See Note on Quo Primum below.)


Pius V sent many missionaries into Protestant lands and they did have great success in some areas, especially Southern Germany and Poland.

To inform English Catholics that Elizabeth I and her “church” were in heresy, he excommunicated her. This decision has been widely questioned and criticized ever since, but always on political/diplomatic grounds, never on doctrinal grounds.

Papal White

St. Pius V, originally a Dominican monk, wore his white Dominican habit throughout his life, even after becoming Pope. Because of his immediate successors’ great respect for him and his accomplishments as Pope, they also wore white. Thus “papal white” became a tradition all subsequent popes have honored.


With the Ottoman Turk navy dominating the Mediterranean and harassing Catholic ports at will, Pius patched together a far-less-than-adequate fleet, and put Don Juan of Austria in command. The flag ship’s banner was a replica of the St. Juan Diego’s tilma with its picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This replica that had actually been touched to the original. Every sailor was given a rosary, and they recited the rosary in common every day. Pius V fasted for several days and prayed the rosary several times a day. He also requested that the faithful everywhere recite the rosary daily for the success of this naval expedition.

On October 7, 1571. Pius’ fleet (out-numbered by 80 ships!) routed the Turkish navy at Lepanto, destroying most of their vessels and freeing many Catholic galley slaves. The Turkish navy never recovered from that disaster, so the Mediterranean was thereafter free of Moslem domination.

At the precise moment of that victory, far away in Rome, Pius had a vision of it. He announced victory to his staff and had all the church bells in Rome rung for hours. (And, Folks, that’s a lot of bells!) H attributed this triumph, rightly, to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and to commemorate it, he established the “Feast of Our Lady of Victory” for October 7. Gregory XIII later changed the title to the “Feast of the Most Holy Rosary” and moved it to the first Sunday of October. Clement III still later extended it to the universal Church.

Last Words

Privately, Pius V always lived the austere life of a Dominican Monk, even when he was Pope. He prayed constantly, fasted often, and meditated every day. He abstained from meat for the last fifty years of his life. In spite of this austerity, or perhaps because of it, he was unusually effective in his short but very active reign on the Chair of St. Peter.

Like all saints, he gladly embraced all the suffering our Lord offered him throughout his life on earth. On his death-bed, after a long and excruciating illness, Pius he was heard to whisper, “Lord, increase my suffering, but if it is Your will, please also increase my patience.”

Note on Quo Primum

Over the years, I’ve heard many claim that Pius V’s Bull, Quo Primum, was an infallible statement mandating that all priests in the Latin Rite use the restored Missale Romanum (now known as the “Extraordinary Form”) forever. However much I may wish that this were true, it’s not even possible for a liturgical mandate to be infallible. According to the Vatican Council I, these are the requirements for an infallible papal statement:

1.) The pope must speak ex cathedra, that is, as the Supreme Pontiff of the entire Church.

2.) He must speak to the entire Church.

3.) He must speak on a matter of faith and morals.

Quo Primum fails on at least two of those three requirements. Although Pius V was speaking as pope, he was not addressing the entire Church, but only the Latin Rite. Furthermore, he was speaking about liturgy, not faith and morals. In other words, he was speaking, not as supreme teacher, but as supreme governor of the Church. Of course, his governance ended with his death.

One out of three jest ain’t good enough! Yeah, hey, I’m sorry too, but we have to stick to the truth even when it doesn’t coincide with our hopes and wishes.

Source Books for this article:

St. Pius V, by Robin Anderson;

Ten Dates Every Catholic Should Know, by Diane Moczar

Islam at the Gates, by Diane Moczar.



The Mantelletta
Submitted by Larry Bethel
Dappled Photos

The mantelletta was once even more common than the mozzetta. It is a sleeveless, knee-length, vest-like garment, fastened at the neck and open in the front. Like the mozzetta, its color varies according to
the status of the wearer. It, too, is worn over the rochet. Once upon a time, it was worn instead
of the mozzetta over the rochet by any bishop outside his place of jurisdiction, as well as by cardinals (together with the mozzetta) in the City of Rome. It was likewise ordinary
choir dress for several classes of monsignori. Now, it is reserved to the very highest class of monsignor (protonotaries apostolic de numero), auditors of the Sacred Roman Rota, a few other high functionaries of the Vatican, and certain chapters of canons who have been granted the vestural privilege.


St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)
On Prayer

"…to save one’s soul without prayer is most difficult and even…impossible, according to the ordinary course of God’s providence. But by praying our salvation is made secure…What does it cost us to say, ‘My God, help me! Lord, assist me! have mercy on me!’ Is there anything easier than this? And this little will suffice to save us, if we will be diligent in doing it…

…let us understand, that if we do not pray, we have no excuse, because the grace of prayer is given to everyone. It is in our power to pray whenever we will…God gives to all the grace of prayer, in order that thereby they may obtain every help, and even more than they need, for keeping the divine law, and for persevering until death. If we are not saved, the whole fault will be ours; and we shall have our own failure to answer for, because we did not pray.


Have It The Way You Like It
Our Church of Convenience
December 2005By Paul A. Wagner
The New Oxford Review

Blogger's note: The byline of the title of this article, taken from the new Oxford review, kind of alarmed me when I first read it but the article resonated with me in a very personal way. A parish I have loved over the years has become increasingly "friendly". By that I mean that personal introductions, handshakes, hugs and big soft eyes, have become de rigueur before, during and after the liturgy. This touchy feely approach has almost taken over any sense of the sacred and it hurts me deeply.

Paul A. Wagner is Director of both the Institute for Logic and Cognitive Studies and the Project in Professional Ethics at the University of Houston -- Clear Lake.

As a philosopher and ethicist, I have only once before written anything of direct interest to Christian thinking. Moreover, never once have I written anything Catholic in tone. I suppose I figured the Church could take care of herself over the past thirty years. But I've heard less and less theology and morality from the pulpits and more and more psychology and secular sociology.

Incense and organs seem to have faded away from churches, and in their place are guitars, drums, cymbals, trumpets, and even electric guitars. Seldom are people quiet during Mass. Chatter about dress, politics, or upcoming festivals and barbecues are common. And, when walking to and from Communion, I see people greet each other and chat about weekend festivities. Once, at a charismatic Catholic church I rarely attend, I watched as children ran up and down the aisles playing during Mass, one falling into a very large baptismal font. Fortunately, people were able to react quickly to this mishap since few were paying attention to the altar (more fashionably referred to as the "table").

Long ago, I taught Sunday school classes. Now I find from talking to many Sunday school teachers that they ignore the Catechism of the Catholic Church and teach almost exclusively about capital punishment, abortion, the environment, and sex education. Moreover, the content of the curriculum is indistinguishable from that of the public schools (except for abortion). So, what is the point of sending children to Sunday school?

Evidently, the only thing children, especially teens, get in Sunday school or its equivalent is the same as they get from television or the public school classroom -- save for the condemnation of abortion. Opposition to abortion is seemingly all that sets CCD instruction apart from the rest of "pop" society.

Church has become a place of convenience. Parishioners greet people at the beginning of Mass and again at the handshake of peace. Catholics have become very good at the fashionable "air kiss" and the robust handshake. Parishioners are often treated throughout Mass to warmed-over folk and pop music. Once during the collection of gifts at a Catholic church in Chicago, I watched as the celebrant and deacons sat on the side of the altar talking, smiling, and bobbing their heads to the beat of the music. On occasion I have found Catholic churches in both San Francisco and Houston that dismiss this "muzak" and boogie down to a heavy metal rock 'n' roll. The performers lap up the approval showered upon them, which sometimes comes in the form of spontaneous clapping from the congregation and sometimes in the form of accolades from the celebrant. In the midst of such jubilation, parishioners endure a brief politicized homily and then go home feeling -- feeling what?

When I ask parishioners what exactly it is they feel when going to Mass, the most frequent response I get is that they feel "positive." A few times I have been so indelicate as to ask what it means to feel "positive," and I am usually told things like, "I feel positive about me," or "I feel positive because I know that regardless of what I have done God still loves me." So there you have it. Catholicism has become a feel-good Church like so many other Christian-lite denominations.

It is true that Catholic doctrine makes clear that God forgives and loves us regardless of what we have done wrong -- provided we repent. Moreover, Catholic doctrine does not condone whatever wrongs one intends to do in the future. This seems to be a point glossed over in these days of perpetual comfort and convenience.

The clergy officiating at such celebrations (the Mass) justify the party atmosphere by reference to the Psalms, in particular to the Psalmist's reference at times to celebration with harp, timbrel, cymbal, and even dance (Pss. 81, 149, 150). If my memory serves me right, the Psalms were written before the time of Christ, before the Last Supper, before the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, and before the Crucifixion. In short, before there was ever reason for a solemn sacrifice of the Mass.

The Psalms are a type of prayer service. And they continue with Compline. Nevertheless, as beautiful and devotional as the Psalms are, they are not a substitute for sacramental devotion.

For example, one could argue that the Last Rites represent a cause for celebration. And why not? The dying are about to be blessed, their chance for eternal bliss enhanced. Even so, I haven't heard of any requests by the dying for some heavy metal accompaniment to the Sacrament or even a request for a bit of jazzy pop. Indeed, most regard this beautiful moment as much too solemn for an ostentatious demonstration of revelry.

Partying is fun. But when does partying become too much in the religious context? When does it promote negligence toward the Lord or, worse yet, disrespect?

Practitioners of Catholicism-lite don't fancy anything "negative." When their vocabularies were bigger they used to say they didn't like "fire and brimstone" homilies. Now they say they don't like guilt-trips. It's just better to be positive! Clergy now seem to agree.

In concert with this more "positive" approach to Church life, I have heard more than one priest explain in sympathy, "I can't imagine the Apostles were solemn men. They must have been wildly joyous because they knew the Lord!" I wonder, have these clerics ever read the New Testament? Where was the joy when the Apostles feared they were about to drown in turbulent seas? What do these clerics make of the scorn the Apostles at times shared with Christ? What do they make of the Apostles' mindset at the time of the Crucifixion?

These clerics of the "Church of Catholic Convenience" made their understanding of New Testament history patently clear on American television when, for example, following Pope John Paul II's approval of Mel Gibson's traditional Catholic movie The Passion of the Christ, they apologized for the Pope and condemned the movie. Many Catholic priests went on to speak against the movie from the pulpit, on television, and in written editorials. Evidently, these priests found the movie not joyful enough, as too much of a "bummer."

The followers of Catholicism-lite don't like anything that is in any way a downer. The idea of a Final Judgment is abhorrent to them. This dismissal of a final call to Judgment is surprising since the Bible contains numerous verses referring to a Day of Judgment by Christ Himself.

Catholicism-lite is deliberately kept free of anything uncomfortable. To remember Bible accounts of responsibility or judgment are felt to be -- well, depressing and anachronistic. There are other consequences to think about as well. If parishioners become gloomy on occasion when attending Mass, they may not come as often. That would mean their financial contributions would diminish. Fewer contributions would certainly be an inconvenience to the American Church now that there are so many lawsuits to pay.

Oddly enough, even with all the pandering to remove inconvenience from the Church, I still come across former Catholics who loathe the Church because they remember how she did once inconvenience them. Because of such admitted inconvenience they left the Church in search of a community that would welcome them for "being who they are." They want a religion that fills them with boundless self-affirmation.

An example here can be educative. I recently ran into a professional colleague who holds a Ph.D. and works for a large medical school. She is a former cradle Catholic who now loathes the Catholic Church. It is not clear why she feels this way, although she has been divorced twice. Even though she has never sought an annulment, it seems her dismissiveness of the Church runs deeper than her resentment of Church policies regarding marriage, divorce, Communion, and annulment. She claims to disavow not just Catholicism but all formal religions as well. She explains that she now belongs to a "spiritual group" that carries the incorporated name "You Deserve a Miracle!" She finds her participation in the group a very "positive" experience. So, alas, where church was once a place for her to come to grips with her relationship to God, the point now seems simply to find some positive experience of self.

Many clergy are sympathetic to this spin on positive thinking on the part of parishioners. As a result, religious ceremonies, including even the Mass itself, have been turned into a form of entertainment. The draw is no longer God, but is now "community" and "celebration." The prevailing theme is that Christians are gloriously happy people. God is no longer the God who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

Practitioners of Catholicism-lite claim unrelenting joyousness as seemingly something of a duty. When questioned about their single-minded focus on celebration, many are quick to point to Jesus' participation in the marriage feast at Cana, the party for the prodigal son's return, and so on. God loves us and wants us to have fun. That, they explain, is the essence of spiritual enlightenment.

Unfortunately, in contrast to this unrelenting promotion of personal exuberance, the God of the Bible and of Catholic tradition has made it known that He is vulnerable to being rejected by humanity. And that is surely nothing to celebrate. Moreover, those who do reject Him run the risk of that rejection setting in permanently and separating them from Him forever. This is the spiritual reality the Bible describes. There are ups and there are downs. There is good and bad. There is reward and punishment. And lastly, there is consolation -- and for the eternally lost, despair.

The biblical God participates in humanity. But surely people can't expect God to be a participant in some of the wrongs in which they freely engage.

God made it clear that the people who reject Him and His ways are not with Him now and will not be with Him later. Is this a cause for celebration? Or for sacrifice and repentance?


All Souls Day Indulgences
by Jim Spencer

Mr. Jim Spencer sent this in an email but, like a lot of smart folks, his common every day thought is worth sharing. I hope you don't mind that I posted this Jim!

Good Folks:
The current issue of the Fraternity Newsletter explains in detail the indulgences for the poor souls the Chruch makes available on All Souls Day and on all days between November 1 and November 8. I'm sure you'll read about them in some publication, but if you don't, I'll show this newsletter to anyone in the rosary group who is interested next Monday evening.
Back in the bad old days, All Souls Day was the only day in the year in which the Church granted "toties/quoties" (as many . . . as often) indulgences for the poor souls. On that day, a person could gain a plenary indulgence for the poor souls every time he stepped inside a Catholic Church and said certain prayers for the poor souls (I've forgotten what those prayers were, but they were minimal). People would walk back and forth in and out of a church repeatedly for long periods of time to free as many poor souls from purgatory as they had time for. This may seem silly today, but getting a poor soul out of purgatory was and is a significant work of charity.
Purgatory ain't no fun. The souls there suffer constantly, 24/7/52. No naps. No coffee breaks. No meals. No TV. No books, magazines, or newspapers. In fact, nuttin' 'cept sufferin'. Of course, these souls can and do pray for people on earth, but other than that life in purgatory is totally unpleasant monotony. Can you imagine how grateful such a soul is to the person who springs him via an indulgence so he can go to heaven?
Gaining indulgences for the poor souls is surely the best way on earth to gain very good friends in very high places. Why not try it?


Sacred Heart Catholic Church
Halstead Kansas

While visiting Halstead Kansas, 8 miles west of Newton on highway 50, I stopped in at Sacred Heart Church. What a beautiful little church this is, almost untouched by modern(ist) hands. It almost looks like the original paint is still in place. Renovations are planned though I hope they don't mean a "wreckovation".
My apologies for the cell phone pictures, they are not of the best quality.


Just a Beautiful Picture

Friday, October 16, 2009

Post #99

Topics: Sunshine Room Grand Opening: Dedication and Religious Art Show...Carmelites: Building New Monastery...Devotion: The Seven Sorrows... Joke: An Irish Funny...Stars and Stripes: FR. Emil Kapaun Recommended for Medal of Honor...Pop Culture: Must the Liturgy Embrace Rock?...God's Easy Work: DNA Replication...Dancing Priest: iConfess....After 40 Years: A Solemn High Mass in St. Peter's Basilica


Well the sun has finally come out and cooler weather is here to stay. What a wonderful time of year and with baited breath we await the coming Holy season.

Let us pray that we will have an All Souls day mass at St. Anthony and, while we are at it, for every Holy Day.

A little birdie informs me that there are several (more than two) priests in the Wichita diocese boning up on their Latin and the EFLR. Yay!

The Sunshine Room is scheduled to re-open soon and along with the grand opening and dedication will be an art show (see post below). Nice! Go. Spend (are they selling?). Pray. Support. Mingle.

Upcoming: I have an interview planned with Bernie Dette, St. Anthony choir director. What an amazing voice and service he provides. At that time I plan to take pictures of the choir for a future post and hopefully interview them as well. What heavenly sounds they bring to the mass. This continues one of my original plans for this blog: to further familiarize those who make up this parish with others.

The Necessaries

Please note: St. Anthony Catholic Church is the only local church celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass (EFLR) in the Wichita area. Though this blog is loosely centered around this parish and it's members, Venite Missa Est! is by no means, in any way an official voice of, or for, St. Anthony Parish or the Diocese of Wichita. Venite Missa Est is strictly a private layman's endeavor.


St.Clare Sunshine Room Grand Opening Dedication and Religious Art Show
St. Anthony Church, Wichita Kansas

St. Anthony Church in Wichita announces the Grand Opening Dedication and Religious Art Show and Sale of the newly remodeled St. Clare Sunshine Room. The Grand Opening will be Sunday, November 8, from 1pm to 5pm.

Tours of the restored Church interior will be given at 2pm and 4pm. Art from three local artists who worked on the recent restoration will display, and have for sale religious art work. Lynda Beck, Raphael Robles and Jennifer Walterscheid will feature their paintings, artifacts and religious icons.

Refreshments will be served and the public at large is invited. Blessing of the meeting room will be at1:05pm.


Carmelites Building New Monastery Near Wichita
By Christopher M. Riggs
The Catholic Advance

This is an artist’s rendering of the proposed new Carmelite monastery north of Wichita. Changes will likely be made before it is completed, however. (Art courtesy Randall Steiner.)

Construction of a Carmelite monastery has begun north of Wichita.
Mary DeGraffenreid, a member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Wichita, said a basement has been poured for the monastery for the 10 Carmelites who will live on 40 acres near Woodlawn and 77th Street North.

DeGraffenreid, who has been assisting the cloistered nuns since their arrival in the Diocese of Wichita in 2001, said Bishop Michael O. Jackels asked the nuns to relocate from their temporary Clearwater monastery, The Monastery of Divine Mercy and Our Lady of Guadalupe, to a location near the Catholic Life Center so that priests living in the Priest Retirement Center would be able to celebrate daily Mass for the nuns. The Clearwater monastery has also been flooded through the years, is in ill-repair, and will likely be demolished.

The contemplative nuns moved to the diocese from Gallup, N.M., at the request of Bishop Emeritus Eugene J. Gerber. His successor, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, was head of the diocese when the nuns moved to Kansas.

Robl Commercial Construction will build the monastery. Sam Gerena, a Robl employee, said no time frame for completion has been set. He said construction is in its first phase which will allow the nuns to move into a temporary, manufactured double-wide home. Randall Steiner of Wichita is the architect.

DeGraffenreid said the nuns are planning a golf tournament to raise money for the new monastery.

Msgr. Robert Hemberger, vicar general for the diocese, said in a news release that the diocese wishes to help raise awareness and money for the monastery because “the nuns are not tied to the diocese financially or by assignment. The nuns live a cloistered life, a life they choose in order to offer themselves as a form of prayer for others and to be united as much as possible with God.”

The nuns are dedicated to a life of prayer and loving self-sacrifice through obedience and labor. Their superior, Mother Mary of the Angels, said, “We live with an indescribable happiness, make daily sacrifices, and are here for the love of God and for the love of souls. Our mission is to pray for the Holy Church, the priests, and the world, and to be the heart of our Church because without the heart, the body cannot live.”

To help support themselves, the nuns have raised vegetables and fruit in a large greenhouse and fish in tanks. They are best known for their granola which they bake and sell for $15 for a three pound bag. They also sell salsa, relish, and almonds, and religious cards, tea towels, and other items. Their work provides a modest income for the growing monastery, which now includes a sister from St. Anthony Parish, Wichita, and a mother and daughter from Oklahoma.

Bishop Emeritus Eugene J. Gerber said in a statement that the nuns hardly ask for anything for themselves. “They just depend on Divine Providence. Their presence is a strong witness, it’s a countercultural witness, it’s a religious witness, and beyond that, they’re praying and sacrificing for the church, especially for the diocese they are in.”

Golf tournament to raise money for monastery
A golf tournament is planned for noon Monday, Oct. 26, at the Willowbend Country Club, to help finance a new monastery for the Carmelite nuns of Wichita.

The fee is $100 per person. To register or sponsor the tournament, contact Mike Flores at 3202 W. 13th St. Suite 4, Wichita,KS 67203, (316) 393.5614, or at flo1919@msn.com..
Donations may be mailed to: Discalced Carmelite Monastery, P.O. Box 278, Valley Center, KS 67147.


The Seven Sorrows Devotion

The Blessed Virgin Mary grants seven graces to the souls who honor her daily by saying seven Hail Mary's and meditating on her tears and dolors [sorrows].
The devotion was passed on by St. Bridget.


1. I will grant peace to their families.
2. They will be enlightened about the divine mysteries.
3. I will console them in their pains and I will accompany them in their work.
4. I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of
my divine Son or the sanctification of their souls.
5. I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them
at every instant of their lives.
6. I will visibly help them at the moment of their death, they will see the face of their Mother.
7. I have obtained from my divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears
and dolors, will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness since all their sins
will be forgiven and my Son and I will be their eternal consolation and joy.

Mater Dolorosa

1. The prophecy of Simeon. (St. Luke 2: 34, 35)
2. The flight into Egypt. (St. Matthew 2:13-14)
3. The loss of the Child Jesus in the temple. (St. Luke 3: 43-45)
4. The meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross.
5. The Crucifixion.
6. The taking down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross.
7. The burial of Jesus.

The Angelic Salutation (Hail Mary)
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. Salutatio Angelica (Ave Maria)
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum; Benedicta tu in mulieribus et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

1. The prophecy of Simeon: "And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother: Behold this child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed." – Luke II, 34-35.

Meditation: How great was the shock to Mary's Heart at hearing the sorrowful words, in which holy Simeon told the bitter Passion and death of her sweet Jesus, since in that same moment she realized in her mind all the insults, blows, and torments which the impious men were to offer to the Redeemer of the world. But a still sharper sword pierced her soul. It was the thought of men's ingratitude to her beloved Son. Now consider that because of your sins you are unhappily among the ungrateful.

Say one Ave Maria (Hail Mary)

2. The flight into Egypt: "And after they (the wise men) were departed, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise and take the child and His mother and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy Him. Who arose and took the child and His mother by night, and retired into Egypt: and He was there until the death of Herod." – Matt. II, 13-14.

Meditation: Consider the sharp sorrow which Mary felt when, St. Joseph being warned by an angel, she had to flee by night in order to preserve her beloved Child from the slaughter decreed by Herod. What anguish was hers, in leaving Judea, lest she should be overtaken by the soldiers of the cruel king! How great her privations in that long journey! What sufferings she bore in that land of exile, what sorrow amid that people given to idolatry! But consider how often you have renewed that bitter grief of Mary, when your sins have caused her Son to flee from your heart.

Say one Ave Maria (Hail Mary)

3. The loss of the Child Jesus in the temple: "And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the Child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and His parents knew it not. And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day's journey, and sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking Him." Luke II, 43-45.

Meditation: How dread was the grief of Mary, when she saw that she had lost her beloved Son! And as if to increase her sorrow, when she sought Him diligently among her kinsfolk and acquaintance, she could hear no tidings of Him. No hindrances stayed her, nor weariness, nor danger; but she forthwith returned to Jerusalem, and for three long days sought Him sorrowing. Great be your confusion, O my soul, who has so often lost your Jesus by your sins, and has given no heed to seek Him at once, a sign that you make very little or no account of the precious treasure of divine love.

Say one Ave Maria (Hail Mary)

4. The meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross: "And there followed Him a great multitude of people, and of women, who bewailed and lamented Him." – Luke XXIII, 27.

Meditation: Come, O ye sinners, come and see if ye can endure so sad a sight. This Mother, so tender and loving, meets her beloved Son, meets Him amid an impious rabble, who drag Him to a cruel death, wounded, torn by stripes, crowned with thorns, streaming with blood, bearing His heavy cross. Ah, consider, my soul, the grief of the blessed Virgin thus beholding her Son! Who would not weep at seeing this Mother's grief? But who has been the cause of such woe? I, it is I, who with my sins have so cruelly wounded the heart of my sorrowing Mother! And yet I am not moved; I am as a stone, when my heart should break because of my ingratitude.

Say one Ave Maria (Hail Mary)

5. The Crucifixion: "They crucified Him. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, His Mother. When Jesus therefore had seen His Mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, He saith to His Mother: Woman: behold thy son. After that he saith to the disciple: Behold thy Mother." – John XIX, l8-25-27.

Meditation: Look, devout soul, look to Calvary, whereon are raised two altars of sacrifice, one on the body of Jesus, the other on the heart of Mary. Sad is the sight of that dear Mother drowned in a sea of woe, seeing her beloved Son, part of her very self, cruelly nailed to the shameful tree of the cross. Ah me! how every blow of the hammer, how every stripe which fell on the Saviour's form, fell also on the disconsolate spirit of the Virgin. As she stood at the foot of the cross, pierced by the sword of sorrow, she turned her eyes on Him, until she knew that He lived no longer and had resigned His spirit to His Eternal Father. Then her own soul was like to have left the body and joined itself to that of Jesus.

Say one Ave Maria (Hail Mary)

6. The taking down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross: "Joseph of Arimathea, a noble counselor, came and went in boldly to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. And Joseph buying fine linen, and taking Him down, wrapped Him up in the fine linen." – Mark XV, 43-46.

Meditation: Consider the most bitter sorrow which rent the soul of Mary, when she saw the dead body of her dear Jesus on her knees, covered with blood, all torn with deep wounds. O mournful Mother, a bundle of myrrh, indeed, is thy Beloved to thee. Who would not pity thee? Whose heart would not be softened, seeing affliction which would move a stone? Behold John not to be comforted, Magdalen and the other Mary in deep affliction, and Nicodemus, who can scarcely bear his sorrow.

Say one Ave Maria (Hail Mary)

7. The burial of Jesus: "Now there was in the place where He was crucified, a garden; and in the garden a new sepulcher, wherein no man yet had been laid. There, therefore, because of the parasceve of the Jews, they laid Jesus, because the sepulcher was nigh at hand." John XIX, 41-42.

Meditation: Consider the sighs which burst from Mary's sad heart when she saw her beloved Jesus laid within the tomb. What grief was hers when she saw the stone lifted to cover that sacred tomb! She gazed a last time on the lifeless body of her Son, and could scarce detach her eyes from those gaping wounds. And when the great stone was rolled to the door of the sepulcher, oh, then indeed her heart seemed torn from her body!

Say one Ave Maria (Hail Mary)


An Irish Funny

Blogger's note: This joke may be a little racy so if your easily offended don't read it. Fair warning! ;-)

An Irish daughter had not been home for over 5 years.

Upon her return, her father cussed her. "Where have ye been all this time?
Why did ye not write to us, not even a line? Why didn't ye call? Can ye
not understand what ye put yer old mum thru?

The girl, crying, replied, "Sniff, sniff....dad....I became a prostitute...."

"Ye what!!? Out of here, ye shameless harlot! Sinner! You're a disgrace to this family."

"OK, dad-- as ye wish. I just came back to give mum this luxurious fur coat, title deed to a ten bedroom mansion plus a $5 million savings certificate. For me little brother, this gold Rolex and for ye daddy, the sparkling new Mercedes limited edition convertible that's parked outside plus a membership to the country club....(takes a breath)... and an invitation for ye all to spend New Years Eve on board my new yacht in the Riviera and ... "

"Now what was it ye said ye had become?" says dad.

Girl, crying again, "Sniff, sniff....a prostitute dad! Sniff, sniff."

"Oh! Be Jesus! Ye scared me half to death, girl! I thought ye said a Protestant'.

Come here and give yer old man a hug!"


Beloved Chaplain Recommended for Medal of Honor
By Jennifer H. Svan
Stars and Stripes

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Chaplain (Capt.) Emil Kapaun has received many military honors since he died a prisoner of war in Korea more than 58 years ago.

There was the Bronze Star Medal with "V" device, the Legion of Merit and the Distinguished Service Cross.

In 1955, the Army named Kapaun Barracks — now Kapaun Air Station — in Kaiserslautern after him.

But Korean War veterans who told stories of a calm and courageous foot soldier who stole food for others from his captors and tended to the wounded thought he was due one more accolade: the Medal of Honor.

After years of campaigning, they might just get their wish.

A congressman from Kapaun’s home state of Kansas learned earlier this month that in one of his final acts as Army secretary, Pete Geren recommended Kapaun for the Medal of Honor, the military’s highest decoration.

In a news release, Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., posted a portion of the letter Geren wrote to him about his decision: "After giving this request careful, personal consideration, I have determined that Chaplain (CPT) Kapaun’s actions in combat operations and as a prisoner of war in Korea warrant award of the Medal of Honor … This brave Soldier clearly distinguished himself by his courageous actions."

Tiahrt’s press secretary, Wendy Knox, said Tiahrt has petitioned the Army since at least 2001 on behalf of Kapaun.

Army officials at the Pentagon said that, typically, the Army secretary’s recommendation would next be forwarded to the secretary of defense, then to the president for a final decision.

Army officials, however, would not confirm whether Geren forwarded Kapaun’s Medal of Honor recommendation to Defense Secretary Robert Gates because the service does not comment on the status of awards during the approval process.

Knox said Tiahrt’s office was not given a timeline of when to expect a decision from President Barack Obama.

Helen Kapaun, Emil Kapaun’s sister-in-law, said she hopes it’s soon.

"We had been praying for it, to be able to see the day that he could get the Medal of Honor," Helen Kapaun, 80, said by phone Wednesday from Wichita, Kan. She was referring to herself and her husband, Eugene Kapaun, 85, who is Emil’s younger brother.

Kapaun was captured by the Chinese in the fall of 1950, when Communist forces overran the 1st Cavalry Division in northern Korea near the Chinese border. American commanders had ordered their forces to retreat, but Kapaun, a Catholic priest with the 3rd Battalion, refused and stayed to care for the men who couldn’t flee.

Story has it that Kapaun was administering the last rites to a dying soldier when he was captured, while huddled with a group of more than 50 wounded people he had helped gather in an old dugout. Fellow prisoners told of how Kapaun continued to care for his men even though he was weakened and sick himself. He died seven months later in a prison hospital in Pyoktong.

According to the Army, at a memorial service honoring Kapaun in 1954, Army Chief of Chaplains Patrick J. Ryan relayed the feelings of former prisoners:

"Men said of him that for a few minutes he could invest a seething hut with the grandeur of a cathedral. He was filled with the spirit of Christ. In that spirit he was able to inspire others so that they could go on living — when it would have been easier for them to die."


Must the Liturgy Embrace Rock?
The New Liturgical Movement

Here is an interesting article from the New Liturgical Movement on popular music (rock) in the liturgy. It is of a timely manner considering an anonymous comment someone left on Venite two weeks back concerning the Bluegrass Mass at the Winfield Music festival and they're opposition to my attitude that it was an abomination: "The spirit of Vatican II might indeed be expressed by the activity and initiative of the laity to request and organize the Mass." Laity indeed. Comments dear readers?

As if it is 1966, Tom Beaudoin (Theology, Fordham University) and Brian Robinette (Theology, St. Louis University) make the case for rock music in America magazine this month, and you are free to enjoy their blast from the past online.

Predictably, they write that because people love rock, the liturgy should embrace it. That's pretty much the whole story.

They add only a strange historical myopia to the argument. "Evaluative distinctions like 'high' and 'low' art seem increasingly anachronistic in a secular age and suggest a suspicion of life’s more visceral dimensions, which rock music explores."

It always amuses me when people write as if our age is somehow different from any previous age. The supposition in this case is that the Church has never before dealt with the ubiquity of popular forms of art - as if the Greeks just sat around listening to unmetered plainsong all the time.

The truth is otherwise: popular music has always been with us. Dances, drums, and the "compulsive rhythms, hard-driving bass lines, shimmering guitars and piercing vocals" that the authors celebrate were also features of popular music in the early Church too. The Christians rejected these forms for their worship. Popular music didn't go away. It has a steady tradition from the ancient world to today. No surprise there.

The question has always been whether and to what extent should it be imported to Christian worship. Actually, it's not a question at all. Papal legislation from the beginning until very recently has been very clear on this subject: sacred music belongs in Church; secular music belongs outside Church. That's the essential model, and it's not hard to follow. How and why this argument keeps reappearing is beyond me.

Now, I must say that these authors don't make a very good case. In fact, their writing even seems inadvertently to make the opposite case. One needs only to quote their own article:

"Listeners can also rediscover a rootedness in the body, while at the same time experiencing the body’s expansion as it seems to fuse with the music. Many report a deeper awareness of their own bodies, as they take pleasure in moving to an arresting sound, beat and melody. This is similar to the way many people feel during peak religious experiences—taken out of themselves and welcomed into something greater, in a way they remember long after the event itself. Enjoying rock, then, is one way many people reconnect with their bodily existence. It provides a visceral form of transcendence."


God's Easy Work
DNA Replication (Animation)

Dancing Priest
iPod video created by Tom P Meyers for WSFK

While pondering those parts of popular culture that encroach on Catholicism and has made its way into the liturgy (pop, bluegrass music, liturgical dance) I thought of this odd little piece of animation. It is a spoof on the commercials by Apple advertising the iTunes application and their products the iPod and the iPhone. It features the silhouette of a dancing priest which, at first glance, made me wince and brace myself for the inevitable anti-Catholic harangue.

Much to my surprise this little slice of pop culture had an edifying message which, in my mind, makes it a valid use of common imagery in it's approach to a Catholic message.


After 40 Years
A Solemn High Mass in St. Peter's Basilica
Inside the Vatican Magazine
Tomorrow morning, for the first time in 40 years, a solemn High Mass according to the old rite will be celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica. The celebrant: American Archbishop Raymond Burke.

By Robert Moynihan, reporting from Rome

Passages referring to the long wandering of Israel in the desert after the Exodus from Egypt:
"Your children will be shepherds here [in the Sinai desert] for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness..." —Numbers 14:33

"For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: unto whom the LORD sware that he would not shew them the land, which the LORD sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey." —Joshua 5:6
"If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the LORD, yea, return unto Me; and if thou wilt put away thy detestable things out of My sight, and wilt not waver; And wilt swear: 'As the LORD liveth' in truth, in justice, and in righteousness; then shall the nations bless themselves by Him, and in Him shall they glory. —Jeremiah 4:1-2

An afternoon phone call

I was on my way this evening toward Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, walking, when my Italian friend and colleague, the Catholic writer Alberto Carosa called me on my cell phone.
There was a bit of traffic on the street along the Tiber, and I couldn't hear him clearly.
"Bob!" he said. "...Tomorrow... (garbled words)... St. Peter's... (garbled words)."
That was all I could hear.
"What?' I said.
A car whooshed past me and I ducked down a stairway to get away from the main street.
"Alberto, I couldn't hear you. Non potevo sentirti..."
Alberto slowed down and spoke louder.
"Tomorrow morning at 10 am there will be a solemn High Mass according to the old rite celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica," he said. "It will be the first time that a solemn High Mass in the old rite has been celebrated in the Basilica in 40 years, since 1969..."
"Are you sure?" I asked.
"Sure, sure," he said. "It was announced this morning at the Summorum Pontificum conference I have been attending..."
"No," I said, "I mean, are you sure it is the first solemn High Mass according to the old rite to be celebrated in the Basilica since 1969?"
"I'm sure," he said. "At least, so we were informed this morning. We were told that the last High Mass according to the old rite in the Basilica was in 1969..."
"Wow," I said. "Hmm, that seems something special. If what you tell me is true, I think it's historic. Like the end of the 40 years of wandering in the desert of the Jewish people after the Exodus from their captivity in Egypt..."
Alberto laughed.
"You know," he said, "I hadn't thought of it that way, but you are right: the wandering in the desert was 40 years, and it is exactly 40 years that we have not had the old Mass in the Basilica..."
"Who is celebrating the Mass?" I asked.
"Archbishop Raymond Burke," he said.
"And what time will it be, and where exactly? Will it be at the main altar?"
"No, it will be at 10 am, in the Chapel of the Most Holy Sacrament, where the Eucharist is always present for adoration. But you should come early, as lots of people will be coming. If you're not there by 9:45, you may not get in."
"I'll be there at 9:30," I said. "And Alberto, could you send me an email right now explaining a bit of the background to this Mass, so I can post it tonight?"
"I can't send it now, as I'm not by my computer, but I'll send you something later this evening," he said.
Implementing Summorum Pontificum
When I returned home, I found an email from Alberto waiting for me. Here it is:
"Normally conferences and symposiums are relevant for the message their organisers intend to convey to the public through the speeches and lectures of their speakers, but in the case of the 2nd Conference on the Motu prorio Summorum Pontificum (16-18 October 2009), entitled The Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum by Benedict XVI: A Great Gift for the Whole Church, the reality was a bit different.
"The three-day event, which was held in the religious institute Bonus Pastor in via Aurelia not far from the Vatican walls, was significant not only for what its speakers said, mostly focused on the sacredness and beauty of the pre-Vatican II liturgy, but especially for the announcement that the proceedings will be capped by a solemn pontifical Mass in the old Latin rite in St. Peter’s Basilica.
"The announcement was made by Dominican Father Vincenzo Nuara from the Dominican Sicilian province of Acireale-Catania, during his introduction of the conference proceedings the second day, Saturday morning, October 17th, 2009.

"Father Nuara is the founder and spiritual leader of the group organizing the conference, Giovani e Tradizione (Youth and Tradition), an association of young people based in Acireale in Sicily.
"The symposium saw the participation of many hundreds of clergy, nuns and faithful interested in the traditional liturgy, including senior representatives of traditionalist religious and lay organisations, such as the Fraternity of St Peter, the Institute Christ the King Sovereign Priest, the Fede&Cultura publishing company, Centro Culturale Lepanto, and many others.
"Among the speakers were Monsignor Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary bishop of Karaganda in Kazakhstan; Monsignor Valentino Miserachs, the chief of the Pontifical Institute for Sacred Music; Abbot Michael John Zielinski, deputy president of the Pontifical Commission for the Church’s Heritage and Sacred Archaeology; Monsignor Professor Brunero Gherardini, dean emeritus of the faculty of Theology at the Lateran University; and Father Stefano Manelli, founder and superior of the Franciscans of the Immaculate.
"The pontifical High Mass will be celebrated by His Excellency Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, at 10:00 am in the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel, for the first time after 40 years. In fact, the last celebration of such a solemn pontifical Mass in the Basilica took place in 1969.
"After the Mass, the faithful who have participated in the conference and attended the Mass will move to St. Peter’s Square for the Pope's Angelus prayer. It is hoped that they will be graced by the Pope’s encouragement for their staunch support of the papal motu proprio allowing the old rite to be more widely celebrated."