Thursday, April 29, 2010
St. Catherine of Siena on Priests
"...no greater dignity exists in this life. They are My anointed ones, and I call them My Christs, because I have given them the office of administering Me to you, and have placed them like fragrant flowers in the mystical body of the holy Church. The angel himself has no such dignity, for I have given it to those men whom I have chosen for My ministers, and whom I have appointed as earthly angels in this life. " ~ Dialogue
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
In case you were wondering
This was one of the best couples I have worked with in prepping for Marriage, and they are expecting their first child soon, prayers for a safe delivery would be appreciated, I think.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Fun with Numbers
Monday, April 26, 2010
Exercise this Delicate and Demanding Ministry
12. The priest who fully experiences the joy of sacramental reconciliation will find it altogether normal to repeat to his brothers and sisters the words of Paul: "So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God" (2 Cor 5:20).
The crisis of the Sacrament of Reconciliation which I mentioned earlier is due to many factors from the diminished sense of sin to an inadequate realization of the sacramental economy of God's salvation. But perhaps we should also recognize that another factor sometimes working against the Sacrament has been a certain dwindling of our own enthusiasm and availability for the exercise of this delicate and demanding ministry.
Conversely, now more than ever the People of God must be helped to rediscover the Sacrament. We need to declare with firmness and conviction that the Sacrament of Penance is the ordinary means of obtaining pardon and the remission of grave sins committed after Baptism. We ought to celebrate the Sacrament in the best possible way, according to the forms laid down by liturgical law, so that it may lose none of its character as the celebration of God's mercy.
BXVI: Priests, Practice Asceticism!
The Holy Father continued: "On this day of special prayer for vocations, I particularly encourage ordained ministers, stimulated by the Year for Priests, to feel a commitment 'to interior renewal for the sake of a stronger and more incisive witness to the Gospel in today's world'; to remember that the priest 'continues the work of redemption on earth'; to pause 'frequently before the tabernacle'; to remain 'completely faithful to their vocation and mission through the practice of an austere asceticism': to make themselves available for listening and forgiveness; to undertake the Christian formation of the people entrusted to their care; and to cultivate 'priestly fraternity'".
I'll do it, do I have to like it, too?
Edward Schulte Churches in Cincinnati
On April 17th, Dennis McNamara of Creative Minority Report fame, keynoted a lecture of Church architect Edward Schulte and his work in Cincinnati. The above video was presented at the conference, which I was sadly unable to attend.
I've celebrated Mass at several of these parishes, and the scale that he presents is usually epic, but I may be thinking almost exclusively of the Cathedral. To stand at the High Altar and celebrate Mass is to preside at something other-worldly. To go from that sanctuary to other Churches, in which the furthest pew from the altar is still closer than the nearest in the Cathedral, takes some adjustment!
As a side note, one of my classmates is pastor at St. Cecilia's, and he has worked to bring in some of the traditional elements back to the sanctuary and the Church. Another priest friend is at St. Bernard's, a truly marvelous little gem of a parish at the intersection of I-74 and I-275 on Cinci's westside.
Anyway, read the comments at CMR, too, as DMac weighs in on the 'Devolution of Church Architecture.' Anyone interested in a further discuession on the topic would be wise to pick up a copy of his book, too.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Andrew Dinner Report
We are averaging over 20 young men attending per dinner.
One current seminarian attended the initial Andrew Dinner last spring and began the application process a few weeks later.
5 of the men currently in application for college seminary this fall (some of whom are already accepted) have attended Andrew Dinners either this spring or last fall.
Last night, at the conclusion of our dinner in West Milton, north of Dayton, one of the attendees approached and said the words every vocation director wants to hear: 'What do I have to do to enter this fall?'
I will call him today!
Thanks for all the prayers, please keep them coming!
(He puts us at a progected 39 seminarians for this fall, one more.......)
UPDATE: One more puts us at 40, my target for this year. Anything over is Gravy.
Oh, they are renovating more rooms at Mount St. Mary's to bring the total student rooms to 65. I really want to have to send guys elsewhere (or come up with alternative housing)....
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Chant Tones and Solemnity
Does the fact that the chant tones will be provided indicate that we will be expected to use them, or will they just kind of be "there"?
Well, I am not an expert, but I think the general feeling is that they should be used regularly, and that they will provide a good basis for increased solemnity, but much of it will depend on the facility of the preist with chant. (My point: even the most tone deaf man can learn to carry one note, if not just two simple notes.)
Increased Solemnity would be that the 'higher' the feast, the more musical notation and chant should be included. Therefore, Easter Sunday Mass could be sung, in its entirety, start to finish. And because Easter is our highest feast day, there should be a marked increase to singing on that day, with a joyful noise unto the Lord. Lent should be sung, but in more minor tones to reflect the tenor of the season, etc.
However, let's say it is Wednesday, July 28, and there is nothing, nothing, on the calendar. While the Mass parts should be chanted, and the '4 Hymn Sandwich' and/or introits and antiphons should be chanted, to chant the Eucharistic Prayer just because I can, well, that doesn't necessarily reflect 'increased solemnity.'
Then again, I work in the Vocation Office, not the Worship Office. I know Fr. Geoff Drew lurks here every once in a while, he might offer a clarification or comment....
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Review of the Roman Missal Workshop
(If you look at my Twitter Feed you will find some of the links, posted below. This one was my favorite.)
I have to admit that I was plesantly surprised and enjoyed the workshop, as Msgr. Schirman (I think is how he spells his name, exec director of BCDW) lead most of the sessions.
#1: A History Lesson. When working with teens, if you do something three times, 'We've ALWAYS done it this way!!!' Well, when it comes to the Mass, we haven't. It is important to stress that the Mass that we pray is found, originally, in Latin, not English. In the development of vernacular texts, primarily in non-IndoEuropean families and smaller language family sets, there was difficulty in finding translators from Latin into whatever language. Instead, they used the English translation. Well, let's just say that didn't work out so well. Every translation is to obscure the text, and to take it two or three steps from the original..... Ever play the Telephone Game around a campfire? This was a good session giving the background and helped concretize the importance of a good translation.
#2: Overview of the Revised Roman Missal. Monsignor walked us through the process of how and why certain translations were chosen, given us a quick, down and dirty, lesson in Latin along the way. Also noting that the guiding principals for translation were changed, now the Latin syntax takes a priority over the vernacular syntax, so we get sometimes awkward phrasing in English which will take some time to truly understand. Another guiding point: everything (as much as possible) that is in the Latin should be present in the vernacular. Admittedly, (especially if you read Fr. Z's blog) the current English prayers are weak (not universally), and the updates should be good.
#3: Music in the New Missal: simply, chant tones will be throughout, including settings for the readings and Gospel, all the dialogues, etc. Two basic tones will be included: Simple and Solemn. I know this will come back to bite me, but the Solemn Tone seems simpler than the Simple Tone, huh? (It's based on the Latin settings.) Again, the Latin priority comes across, as the tones in English will have a similar feel and tone to the Latin tones, think, for example, of the Latin Agnus Dei chant and how easy it is to switch that over to the English setting. This is something that I, in particular, am looking forward to. To have an English and Latin setting of all the Mass parts that people should readily know will be very advantageous, I think.
#4: Leading change. This was admittedly the weakest session of the workshop, and we had quite a game of Buzz Word Bingo going on. Ok, yes, be positive, ok, yes, it is a 'transition', ok, yes, how we lead our people through this will have a great impact, I get it. 45 minutes on this: too much.
#5: Roman Missal Implementation: this was perhaps the most useful of sessions, for the resources given out were of particular importance to help guide this whole process. 'They' have asked for a year after the recognitio from Rome, and there is a suggested schedule starting this whole shebang at least a year out, so again, Advent 2011 looks like the most likely date of implementation, but don't quote me on that, just yet.
Roman Missal page from the USCCB
Become One Body, One Spirit in Christ out of Leeds, UK
FDLC has a 'Parish Kit' for sale
Monsignor read extensively from LTP's 'Understanding the Revised Mass Texts'
I just received in the mail a copy of Jeff Pinyan's 'Praying the Mass; The Prayers of the People' which looks like it explains some of the reasons behind the changes (and with your spirit) I'm gonna delve into this the next few days.
I think that's all, and remember: If you think it is going to be hard on the laity, it's going to be worse on the preists!
For Your Vocation
BISHOPS LAUNCH NATIONAL WEBSITE TO PROMOTE VOCATIONS TO PRIESTHOOD AND CONSECRATED LIFE
'ForYourVocation.org' offers resources for people in discernment
Includes info for parents, teachers, catechists, vocation directors
Efforts respond to Pope Benedict XVI's call to use social media
WASHINGTON-The U.S. Bishops' Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations is initiating a new website on April 25 to be a resource for both laity and clergy in the promotion of vocations. The launch date is both the World Day of Prayer for Vocations and Good Shepherd Sunday.
The site has two goals:
To help individuals hear and respond to the call by God to the priesthood or consecrated life, and
To educate all Catholics on the importance of encouraging others through prayer and activities to promote vocations.
The Vocations Website can be found at www.ForYourVocation.org. A Spanish-language site will be available this fall at www.PorTuVocación.org.
Site elements include discernment resources for men and women, respectively, aids for promoting a vocation culture within the home, and a range of tools for educators, youth leaders and vocation directors including prayers, videos, best practices, lesson plans and vocation awareness programs.
In response to Pope Benedict XVI's 2010 Theme for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Witness Awakens Vocations, the site also hosts videos of priests and religious men and women giving witness to their vocations, as well as testimonies from family members.
ForYourVocation.org exemplifies the Vatican's embrace of new communications media. In his message for the 44th World Day of Communications, Pope Benedict XVI challenges clergy to employ the "latest generation of audiovisual resources (images, videos, animated features, blogs, websites)" to put the media "ever more effectively at the service of the Word."
The launch of the site will be promoted through social media forums. Facebook users can become "eVangelizers" for the cause. By becoming an eVangelizer, one can connect others to the Website's blog posts.
Dioceses and organizations may link to ForYourVocation.org by following the instructions at http://foryourvocation.org/web-resources.cfm.
Father David L. Toups, S.T.D.
Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Music in the New Missal
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
ICEL Tones for the New Translation
Simple, easy, yet added solemnity.
Why Clerical Celibacy
In my stop at the studios of Sacred Heart Radio this morning, I left a gift for news lady Anna Mitchell. She's always cold, so I thought I would help.
I will be speaking at Theology on Tap - Cincinnati this week, tomorrow in fact! Topic: The Real Men in Black: A Biblical Perspective on the Priesthood. Join us at 7:00 pm at Ticket's Sports Cafe in Covington, across from Mother of God Catholic Church, for what is to be an inspiring talk! (I hope)
Other than that, keep prayers for our applicants coming, two new phone calls in the last week with a 'It's time to go' to the seminary, putting us firmly into double digits of new men for the Fall!
Monday, April 12, 2010
The Vatican joins St. Blogs!
I think I'm outta the will
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Just to clarify...
This week, the pastor whom I'm in residence with is taking the week off to catch up after the Lenten/Holy Week grind.
Well, this morning, since I had the 6:15 Mass, it fell to me by lot to open the Church by 5:30 for the faithful to be able to come and pray, hence a prior to 5:00 alarm setting. (Seriously, GOD isn't up at that hour!)
I realized after walking around Church for 30 minutes, opening doors, turning on lights, getting vessels prepared, yada yada yada; I walked past a mirror and didn't see the white tab in my collar. Yep, plain old black staring back at me. argh.
Is there a way to get coffee directly into one's veins instead of having to waste time actually drinking it?
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Reflections on Easter
As always, there is no better week to be a priest than Holy Week, even though we are all glad that it is only once a year!
I had two Palm Sunday Masses at the parish where I am in residence, preaching on which crowd do we belong to: the one welcoming Christ into Jerusalem or the crowd the yells out 'Crucify Him!' We all like to think that we're in the first, but do our actions put us in the latter?
Monday of Holy Week found me hearing 4 hours of confessions at a parish pastored by a seminary classmate. We got an hour break for dinner and chatting, but a great tone to set for the start of Holy Week.
Tuesday was the Chrism Mass in the diocese. Prior to the Mass, Archbishop Schnurr has continued Archbishop Pilarczyk's tradition of having dinner with our college seminarians. I remember these dates from my own time in college seminary and how intimidated I always was during this particular dinner. I think it continues, but hopefully the guys enjoyed themselves.
Wednesday, I covered a funeral at the parish in addition to a few other obligations for the parish.
Thursday, I took the day off from the office, availed myself of confession as well, and presided/celebrated the Mass of the Lord's Supper at the parish. I focused on Jesus, Priest of the New Covenant for my homily. It was great to preside at this particular liturgy again, as it had been 4 years since last I was up to bat.
Friday morning, I joined in the peculiarly Cincinnati tradition of 'Praying the Steps' up to Immaculata in Mt. Adams. 300 some odd steps lead from the Ohio River to the front door of 'Mary's Church' overlooking downtown Cincinnati. For the last 150 years, the faithful have gathered on Good Friday to pray their way up these steps, imitating Jesus' climb to Calvary and preparing for Easter in their own way. I think it is about as close as anything that we get in the States to a 'pilgrimage,' as we pray one prayer per step: rosary, office and morning prayer, meditations on the penitential psalms, etc. I had to hurry a bit, though, as I was scheduled to hear more confessions, 2.5 hours worth, at the Church. Wow, folks were really disposed to God's grace and mercy on this particular day. It was perfect, weather wise, and the crowds were impressive. The five of us hearing Confessions could have been there all day, really. Alas, I had to depart to make the evening celebration of the Lord's Passion at the same parish I heard confessions on Monday.
Holy Saturday is the day of waiting. It always strikes me as a wierd day, everything comes screeching to a halt and we are forced into silence. I led the prayer vigil at Murder, Inc., that morning, before returning to the recotry to await the Resurrection. The pastor and I had an anticipatory Easter Dinner and he led the celebration of the Great Vigil. Six years, still haven't had that priviledge, but it is great to sit back and enjoy this most wonderful liturgy.
Easter Morning, I had Mass at a Nursing Home, whose residents would have otherwise been deprived of receiving Our Lord that day. Glad to help them out. I crashed three parties afterwards at friends' houses (or relatives of friends), I am very grateful for their hospitality, as I was unable to make it home to Mom and Dad's this year. :(
Easter Monday saw another uniquely Cincinnati tradition: Opening Day! As we have the oldest professional baseball team in the country, the Reds have the unique status as the only team guarenteed to open at home. With a parade, concerts, floats, flyovers, bands, etc; this is another unique Cincinnati event. Alas, we lost the game to the hated St. Louis Cardinals, but it was still great to attend the game. (Strangely enough, with two seminarians from Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis, at least they had a good feeling to start the drive back for classes the next day.) A few buddies and I are going tonight, so we are hoping to even the record and get back at those silly little redbirds.
And with that, we're off to the Easter Octave and Season. Applications are finishing up for next year, and we are anticipating a substantial increase in our number of seminarians for this fall. (A good consequence of only ordaining two men to the priesthood.)
A Blessed and Joyous Easter to all!
Monday, April 5, 2010
Don't Leave it on the Desk
There was a certain Professor of Religion named Dr. Christianson, a
studious man who taught at a small college in the western United States.
Dr. Christianson taught the required survey course in Christianity at this
particular institution. Every student was required to take this course
their freshman year, regardless of his or her major.
Although Dr. Christianson tried hard to communicate the essence of the
gospel in his class, he found that most of his students looked upon the
course as nothing but required drudgery. Despite his best efforts, most
students refused to take Christianity seriously.
This year, Dr. Christianson had a special student named Steve. Steve was
only a freshman, but was studying with the intent of going onto seminary
for the ministry. Steve was popular, he was well liked, and he was an
imposing physical specimen. He was now the starting center on the school
football team, and was the best student in the professor's class.
One day, Dr. Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk
"How many push-ups can you do?"
Steve said, "I do about 200 every night."
"200? That's pretty good, Steve," Dr. Christianson said. "Do you think you
could do 300?"
Steve replied, "I don't know.... I've never done 300 at a time"
"Do you think you could?" again asked Dr. Christianson.
"Well, I can try," said Steve.
"Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I have a class project in mind and I need
you to do about 300 push-ups in sets of ten for this to work. Can you do
it? I need you to tell me you can do it," said the professor.
Steve said, "Well... I think I can...yeah, I can do it."
Dr. Christianson said, "Good! I need you to do this on Friday.. Let me
explain what I have in mind."
Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room.
When class started, the professor pulled out a big box of donuts. No,
these weren't the normal kinds of donuts, they were the extra fancy BIG
kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited
it was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going to get an
early start on the weekend with a party in Dr. Christianson's class.
Dr. Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked,
"Cynthia, do you want to have one of these donuts?"
Cynthia said, "Yes."
Dr. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do ten
push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?"
"Sure!" Steve jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten. Then Steve
again sat in his desk. Dr. Christianson put a donut on Cynthia's desk.
Dr. Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, "Joe, do you
want a donut?"
Joe said, "Yes." Dr. Christianson asked, "Steve would you do ten push-ups
so Joe can have a donut?"
Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut. And so it went, down the first
aisle, Steve did ten push-ups for every person before they got their donut.
Walking down the second aisle, Dr. Christianson came to Scott. Scott was
on the basketball team, and in as good condition as Steve. He was very
popular and never lacking for female companionship..
When the professor asked, "Scott do you want a donut?"
Scott's reply was, "Well, can I do my own push-ups?"
Dr. Christianson said, "No, Steve has to do them."
Then Scott said, "Well, I don't want one then."
Dr.... Christianson shrugged and then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve,
would you do ten push-ups so Scott can have a donut he doesn't want?"
With perfect obedience Steve started to do ten push-ups.
Scott said, "HEY! I said I didn't want one!"
Dr.. Christianson said, "Look! This is my classroom, my class, my desks,
and these are my donuts. Just leave it on the desk if you don't want it."
And he put a donut on Scott's desk.
Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He just stayed on
the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and
down. You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his
Dr. Christianson started down the third row. Now the students were
beginning to get a little angry. Dr. Christianson asked Jenny, "Jenny, do
you want a donut?"
Sternly, Jenny said, "No."
Then Dr. Christianson asked Steve, "Steve, would you do ten more push-ups
so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn't want?"
Steve did ten....Jenny got a donut.
By now, a growing sense of uneasiness filled the room. The students were
beginning to say, "No!" and there were all these uneaten donuts on the
Steve also had to really put forth a lot of extra effort to get these
push-ups done for each donut. There began to be a small pool of sweat on
the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red
because of the physical effort involved.
Dr. Christianson asked Robert, who was the most vocal unbeliever in the
class, to watch Steve do each push up to make sure he did the full ten
push-ups in a set because he couldn't bear to watch all of Steve's work for
all of those uneaten donuts. He sent Robert over to where Steve was so
Robert count the set and watch Steve closely.
Dr. Christianson started down the fourth row.. During his class, however,
some students from other classes had wandered in and sat down on the steps
along the radiators that ran down the sides of the room. When the
professor realized this, he did a quick count and saw that now there were
34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to
Dr. Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next.
Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time. He was
taking a lot more time to complete each set.
Steve asked Dr. Christianson, "Do I have to make my nose touch on each
Dr. Christianson thought for a moment, "Well, they're your push-ups. You
are in charge now. You can do them any way that you want." And Dr.
Christianson went on.
A few moments later, Jason, a recent transfer student, came to the room and
was about to come in when all the students yelled in one voice, "NO! Don't
come in! Stay out!"
Jason didn't know what was going on. Steve picked up his head and said,
"No, let him come."
Professor Christianson said, "You realize that if Jason comes in you will
have to do ten push-ups for him?"
Steve said, "Yes, let him come in. Give him a donut."
Dr. Christianson said, "Okay, Steve, I'll let you get Jason's out of the
way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?"
Jason, new to the room, hardly knew what was going on. "Yes," he said,
"give me a donut."
"Steve, will you do ten push-ups so that Jason can have a donut?"
Steve did ten push-ups very slowly and with great effort. Jason,
bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down.
Dr Christianson finished the fourth row, and then started on those visitors
seated by the heaters. Steve's arms were now shaking with each push-up in
a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity. By this time
sweat was profusely dropping off of his face, there was no sound except his
heavy breathing; there was not a dry eye in the room..
The very last two students in the room were two young women, both
cheerleaders, and very popular. Dr. Christianson went to Linda, the second
to last, and asked, "Linda, do you want a doughnut?"
Linda said, very sadly, "No, thank you."
Professor Christianson quietly asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so
that Linda can have a donut she doesn't want?"
Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow push-ups for Linda.
Then Dr. Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan. "Susan, do you want
Susan, with tears flowing down her face, began to cry. "Dr. Christianson,
why can't I help him?"
Dr Christianson, with tears of his own, said, "No, Steve has to do it
alone; I have given him this task and he is in charge of seeing that
everyone has an opportunity for a donut whether they want it or not.. When
I decided to have a party this last day of class, I looked at my grade
book. Steve here is the only student with a perfect grade. Everyone else
has failed a test, skipped class, or offered me inferior work. Steve told
me that in football practice, when a player messes up he must do push-ups.
I told Steve that none of you could come to my party unless he paid the
price by doing your push-ups. He and I made a deal for your sakes."
"Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Susan can have a donut?"
As Steve very slowly finished his last push-up, with the understanding that
he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 push-ups,
his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.
Dr. Christianson turned to the room and said, "And so it was, that our
Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross, plead to the Father, 'Into thy hands I
commend my spirit.' With the understanding that He had done everything
that was required of Him, He yielded up His life. And like some of those
in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten. "
Two students helped Steve up off the floor and to a seat, physically
exhausted, but wearing a thin smile.
"Well done, good and faithful servant," said the professor, adding, "Not
all sermons are preached in words."
Turning to his class, the professor said, "My wish is that you might
understand and fully comprehend all the riches of grace and mercy that have
been given to you through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus
Christ. He spared not His Only Begotten Son, but gave Him up for us all,
for the whole Church, now and forever. Whether or not we choose to accept
His gift to us, the price has been paid."
"Wouldn't you be foolish and ungrateful to leave it lying on the desk?"