On March 15, 1994, a virtual tsunami struck the Liturgy of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. Cardinal Antonio Ortas wrote a document to the Episcopal conferences announcing that the Vatican had, for the first time, permitted altar girls. Over 20 years later, many question the impact of this decision as the Church continues to reap a desperately meager harvest of young men responding to God’s call to the Priesthood.
Born in 1997, I was blissfully unaware of the damage being wrought in the Eternal City. By the grace of God I was destined to remain ignorant of the fact for many years. Thinking back on my childhood, I remember instead the first time I heard the call. It must have been winter, because I can recall pushing the heavy comforter off my five-year-old self and sitting up in bed, compelled by a startling thought. I tiptoed into my mom’s room and told her the news.
“Mom, God wants me to become a priest.” Continue Reading
There are two saints called Oswald in England: one was a king, the other a monk.
The king lived in the 7th century in Northumbria: he brought St Aidan to Lindisfarne and his feast is on 5th August.
The monk, of danish origin, lived in the 10th century and became bishop of Worcester, and later archbishop of York; his feast is on 28th February. It is about the latter that Patrick Duffy writes here.
A monk of Danish family
Oswald was of a Danish family and was brought up by his uncle Oda, who sent him to the Benedictine abbey of Fleury-sur-Loire to become a monk.
Bishop of Worcester
When Oswald returned to England as a priest in 958/9, he worked for another Danish patron, Oskytel, who had recently become archbishop of York. His activity for Oskytel attracted the notice of Saint Dunstan, then bishop of Worcester and in the process of moving to become archbishop of Canterbury. Dunstan persuaded King Edgar to appoint Oswald bishop of Worcester in his place in 961. Continue Reading
St. Gabriel of the Seven Sorrows, born in 1838 at Assisi, the little Italian town made famous by St. Francis, was miraculously guided by our Blessed Lady into the Passionist Congregation, and during his short life upon earth he became a veritable apostle of her Sorrows. His spirit of penance and self-denial, his heroic humility, and his true devotion to our Lord’s Sacred Passion quickly raised him to a high degree of sanctity. In 1862, only in the twenty-fourth year of his age, his heavenly patroness came to call him to eternal happiness. The many miracles that bore witness to his holiness, led to his speedy canonization by Pope Benedict XV (1920) and Pope Pius XI extended his feast to the whole Church (1932). Continue Reading
ST. GEORGE, S.C. (Feb. 22, 2015) – For the second time in less than a month, South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Diane S. Goodstein rejected arguments by The Episcopal Church and its subsidiary, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, that the two groups are rightful owners of the churches, symbols and other assets of the Diocese of South Carolina.
In her Order denying the motion for reconsideration she stated, “Large portions of the motion are simply the proposed orders previously submitted to the Court or reiterations of the Defendants’ positions at trial.” Continue Reading
The following was written in 1688 by Bishop Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells, as a letter to all his clergy preparing them for Lent. We posted this before in 2009. It is valuable to read each year early in this season. Continue Reading
When I spent a lot of time hanging around the Toronto Oratory, lo! these ten years ago, I was always hearing from the good fathers about St. Philip Neri, his spiritual approach and his programme of the spiritual life. Five years of weekly spiritual direction later, and I can say that I at least remember a great deal of that Oratorian way of thinking.
At this time of year, all over the Internet, and especially on blogs and on Facebook, I see people talking about their intentions for Lent, and I recall the many times I was cautioned by an Oratorian, “Don’t lose the merit.”
This was one of the many little expressions that went to form a way of thinking about spirituality that I came to take for granted. It meant, simply, “Don’t talk about your interior life, or you will defeat the very purpose of your good works.” You will undo in your soul the work you are trying to accomplish. Keep your inner life — including your ascetical works — private. As private as the day-to-day intimacies of a marriage. As Gandalf said about the Ring of Power, “Keep it secret; keep it safe.” Continue Reading
Ember days (corruption from Lat. Quatuor Tempora, four times) are the days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence. They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) for the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after 13 December (S. Lucia), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday, and after 14 September (Exaltation of the Cross). The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy. The immediate occasion was the practice of the heathens of Rome. The Romans were originally given to agriculture, and their native gods belonged to the same class. At the beginning of the time for seeding and harvesting religious ceremonies were performed to implore the help of their deities: in June for a bountiful harvest, in September for a rich vintage, and in December for the seeding; hence their feriae sementivae, feriae messis, and feri vindimiales. The Church, when converting heathen nations, has always tried to sanctify any practices which could be utilized for a good purpose. Continue Reading
St. Peter Damian showed remarkable piety from his childhood. Having, by chance, picked up a coin, he gave it to a priest requesting him to offer up the divine sacrifice for the soul of his father. He added to his name that of Damian his brother out of gratitude, because it was by his brother’s generosity that he was able to pursue his studies. “Despising earthly riches” (Collect), he entered a monastery of Camaldolese of the Benedictine observance and soon became its abbot (Communion). Continue Reading
To honour the dignity of the “prince” (Introit) to whom Jesus has committed the power of the keys (Collect), the Church instituted the feast of the “Chair of St Peter,” which is found in the Roman calendar at this date since the year 354.
As it often falls in Lent, certain churches celebrated it at an earlier date, in January. Hence the two feasts of the Chair of St Peter, which the Church distinguished by connecting the more ancient one [Rome, until the sixteenth century, only celebrated this date], on February 22nd, with the Chair at Antioch, and the one on January 18th with the Chair of Peter at Rome. St Peter indeed resided for some time at Antioch about the years 51-52. Continue Reading