Thursday, September 29, 2011

Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, Raphael

O glorious prince St. Michael,
chief and commander of the heavenly hosts,
guardian of souls, vanquisher of rebel spirits,
servant in the house of the Divine King
and our admirable conductor, you who shine with excellence
and superhuman virtue deliver us from all evil,
who turn to you with confidence
and enable us by your gracious protection

to serve God more and more faithfully every day.

Monday, September 26, 2011

To Serve At The Altar of The Lord

On Saturday, September 24th, 2011, my fellow classmates and I were installed as Acolytes. It is a step in our formation for the Permanent Diaconate. The ceremony took place during the celebration of the Eucharist at the Bethany Chapel, in the Archdiocese of Boston’s Pastoral Center. The celebrant was Auxiliary Bishop Hennessy.  Our families and friends were present; I had the opportunity to present the Cup to my mother, so that she could receive the Blood of Christ. Overall, it was a very moving, and grace full day.

The following is a description of the office of Acolyte:

Unless they have already done so, candidates for ordination as deacons or priests are to receive the ministries of reader and acolyte and are to exercise them for a suitable time, in order to be better disposed for the future service of the word and altar.
The acolyte is appointed in order to aid the deacon and to minister to the priest. It is his duty therefore to attend to the service of the altar and to assist the deacon and priest in the liturgical celebrations, especially the celebration of Mass; he is to distribute communion as a special minister.

In the same extraordinary circumstances an acolyte may be entrusted with publicly exposing the Blessed Sacrament for adoration by the faithful and afterward replacing, but not with blessing the people. He may also, to the extent needed, take care of instructing other faithful who on a temporary basis are appointed to assist the priest of deacon in liturgical celebrations by carrying the missal, cross, candles, etc., or by performing other such duties. He will perform these functions more worthily if he participates in the Holy Eucharist with increasingly fervent devotion, receives nourishment from it, and deepens his knowledge of it.

As one set aside in a special way for the service of the altar, the acolyte should learn all matters concerning public divine worship and strive to grasp their inner spiritual meaning; in that way he will be able each day to offer himself entirely to God, be an example to all by his gravity and reverence in church, and have a sincere love for the mystical body of Christ, the people of God, especially for the weak and the sick.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Changes In The Reception of Holy Communion In The Dioces of Phoenix

A story that has been causing some ripples in the Catholic blogosphere, has been the report that the Diocese of Phoenix, AZ, has severely restricted the times reception of Holy Communion under both species, bread and wine, is allowed. It can only be offered during special occasions, and not as part of regular Sunday liturgies. I think Pray Tell broke the story first, which was then picked up by The Deacon’s Bench. Both sites have been inundated with comments, so much so that Deacon Kandra has to close the posting to new comments.

For me, this is a very sad turn of events. For me, receiving Holy Communion through just the Host, or both the Host and the Cup, have both been very meaningful, spiritual experiences for me. I have to be honest though, and say that I prefer to be able to receive both the Body and the Blood of my Lord Jesus. It just makes my experience of Eucharist that much more powerful.

One of the reasons given by the Diocese of Phoenix for the change was that wanted to protect the Eucharist from “profanation.” Now my parish has offered the opportunity to receive the Eucharist under both species for about twenty years; and never have I seen any disrespect for the Sacrament. Now have there been accidents, I am sure there have been, ministers of communion are human, recipients are human. That should not the reason to deny the faithful the regular opportunity to receive both the Body and Blood of Christ. Parishes need to insure that extraordinary ministers of communion are properly trained.

One can speculate how much support Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix has from the laity for this change; or whether he cares. It will be interesting to see if there is any blowback from the Catholics of Phoenix, or will they quietly submit.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Prayer For The Upcoming General Chapter Of The Secular Franciscan Order

Prayer for the Worldwide General Chapter of Secular Franciscan Order, October 22-29, 2011, in Brazil

Our Father,
who has called us to follow your Son in the footsteps of St. Francis, grant that, like Francis, we may be converted completely to You and be conformed to your Son and our Lord Jesus Christ, the Gospel of your love.  Identified with and converted to Christ, pour into us your Holy Spirit to bear witness to the world how much you loved it to the point of giving of yourself totally in him.  Grant us to believe deep inside that, by your grace alone, we are your true children in Jesus, your Son, and, like him, call upon you and experience you as Abba, Father.  Assist our brothers and sisters to be guided by your Spirit to encourage the Secular Franciscan Order and Franciscan Youth to be fearless, as Francis did, in proclaiming your Gospel with the witness of life and word. Help us through the General Chapter to question ourselves with courage to come out of mediocrity, fatigue, and a often empty and repetitive ritual and become, instead, like Francis, effective instruments of your unconditional love.  May Mary, the Mother whom you gave us at the height of your love, be always near us to guide us toward Jesus, with You, Father, who, in union with the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Local Boy Makes Good

Rocco Palmo, who writes the Whispers In The Loggia blog, has reported that Archbishop Daniel Buechlein, OSB, has resigned as head of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, due to health reasons.  Auxiliary Bishop Christopher Coyne has been appointed as the Apostolic Administrator for the Archdiocese, while a successor archbishop is being selected.

Bishop Coyne is originally from the Boston Archdiocese, being ordained a priest almost twenty five years ago.  He served the Archdiocese in various capacities, which included teaching at the St. John’s Seminary, head of the Archdiocesan Office of Worship, and Communications Director.  He became the Archdiocesan spokesperson during the height of the clergy abuse scandal, and the contentious reorganization of the Archdiocese, which lead to the closing of many Greater Boston parishes.  I remember watching Bishop Coyne being interviewed by Emily Rooney, on the local public television program, “Greater Boston,” skillfully giving the Church’s opinion on the crisis.  Before leaving for Indianapolis, he was pastor of St. Margaret Mary parish in Westwood, MA.

Best of luck, Bishop Coyne!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate - Archdiocese of Boston, September 17, 2011

Today was a joyous occasion for the Archdiocese of Boston; thirteen men were ordained as Permanent Deacons.  I knew all thirteen men and their wives, and I rejoice that they, after many years of hard work, and prayer, have reached this day.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A 2011 Reflection On The Tenth Anniversary of 9/11.

“Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight. The vengeful will suffer the Lord’s vengeance, for he remembers their sins in detail. Forgive your neighbor’s injustice, then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven.” (Sirach 27: 30-28:2)

“Peter approached Jesus and asked him, ‘Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times?’” (Matthew 18: 21-22)

Some may say it is ironic, others would say it is the Spirit of God speaking to us; that the above readings were part of the Liturgy of the Word for the Eucharist celebrated today; September 11th.

It has been 10 years since the terrorist attacks on this country, ten years since we saw the World Trade Center in New York, ablaze and then collapsing into a large heap of rubble. Ten years since we saw the Pentagon on fire, with wounded victims walking across its lawn. Ten years since we saw a smouldering hole in a Pennsylvania field, where an airplane whose passengers had struck back against the terrorists, had crashed. And ten years since we saw crowds in the Palestinian territories and other Arab countries dancing in the streets over the attacks.

There was much grief over the deaths of the victims, sadness for the victim’s families, and anger at the terrorists and those who support them. This desire for vengeance; the desire, the need, to strike back has involved us in two wars which are still being fought. It has created an atmosphere of fear and suspicion of anyone who is of different culture or different faith. We live in a country where Arabic-American citizens are looked upon with suspicion, where hate crimes against Muslims are on the rise.
Against this background, we have the above readings ringing in our ears, prodding us, challenging us to let go of our hatreds, to learn to forgive. And this is not easy, but to follow Jesus is never easy. God calls us to forgive, not for the good of those who harmed us, but for our own salvation. The longer we let hatred fester within us, the easier it will be for us to lose the power to love as Christ has commanded us to love.
So let us accept the challenge, let us begin to cultivate forgiveness in our hearts, so that love will ultimately blossom across the world.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Words From St. Francis of Assisi

“The Lord says: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute and blame you (Mt. 5:44). That person truly loves his enemy who is not upset at any injury which is done to himself, but out of love of God is disturbed at the sin of the other’s soul. And let him show his love for the other by his deeds.” (Admonition IX)

Taken from Francis and Clare, The Complete Works, Paulist Press