Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A further note for Friday....

It's getting closer, and the nerves are acting up already!

(Eric, I'm practicing, but don't think I can make 5,000/day!)

For those who have not been to Old St. Mary's, a few notes:

There is parking on Clay Street next to OSM, just south of 13th.

If the main doors are locked, the side entrance between the Church and the School will be open.

We are celebrating 1st Friday Solemn High Mass in Honor of the Sacred Heart.  I have not yet heard who will be serving as Deacon and Sub-Deacon.

This is being sponsored by Una Voce, Cincinnati.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Glory Cloud

A tradition we have with Theology on Tap, Cincinnati, is to gather after the talk at a nearby parish for some time of adoration.  In the past few years, we've gathered at the Cathedral Basilica in Covington, Kentucky, but with a move to Cincinnati's Hyde Park and The Pig and the Whistle, we now gather at Oakley's St. Cecilia Parish, where a classmate of mine is pastor.

Last night, the air was rather think with some humidity and a bit high temperature, so there was some 'weight' to the proceedings.  However, as happens under those circumstances, the incense did not rise to the heavens, but rather stayed in a cloud right near the altar.  (I have to admit, I did load up the thurible with copious amounts of incense as we started.  You know how to tell if there is enough incense being used?  If you can't see the back wall, you might have enough.)

As more and more smoke poured out of the thurible, the cloud hovered right above the Altar, growing thicker and thicker.  Slowly, whisps of smoke drifted further out into the Nave of the Church, but for the most part, a big cloud hoevered there.  Ocassionally, an updraft would surge through the 'cloud' and lift slightly further afield, yet it would hit that heavier layer up above and slowly sink back into the mass of smoke.  From where I was kneeling to the side of the Altar, I could see a smaller pillar of cloud rising with the heat of the candles which surrounded the Monstrance, Jesus certainly lifiting our prayers to His Heavenly Father.

However, what struck me in the imagery were two-fold:

1) The Glory Cloud, the Shekenah (sp?) that lead the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land, you know: the pillar of fire by night, cloud by day, from Exodus.  A sign of God's Providence and leadership of the People, He was the one leading them through their wanderings in the desert.  Symbolically, here, last night, He continues to lead us through our pilgrimage of life, not to an eartly paradise, but to a heavenly one.

2) The opaqueness of the Cloud: If I turned to my right to look into the nave from my perch int he sanctuary, I could see clearly.  However, as I gazed across the Altar, everything was obscured, hazy, distant almost.  This is a second 'end' of using incense in the liturgy.  Our physical eyes are obscured, veiled from seeing, so that our spiritual eyes might grasp the deeper reality.  When Christ is present on the Altar, we peer into the Heavenly reality.  But because we are limited by physical sight, we cannot see things as they truly are, but under the physical appearance so that we might have some insight.  By using incense to obscure the physical, our spiritual eyes are allowed to take dominance and we see through the veil the separates this world from the heavenly.  We are drawn to our final goal: Eternal Life with Him.

Thank you, Lord, for such a wonderful vision of Your Eternal Banquet!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Note to Cincinnati readers

Next week, June 3, for First Friday, I will be the main celebrant for the 7:00 pm Solemn Mass in the Extraordinary Form at Old St. Mary's in Over-the-Rhine. Hope to see you there.

For those not coming to Theology on Tap to hear Mother Seraphina on Discernment, there is a Solemn High Mass in honor of St. Philip Neri on his feast in honor of the new Oratory there.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Praying with and for the Pope

for an increase in priestly vocations, from the USCCB:

WASHINGTON (May 26, 2011)—Catholics worldwide are asked to mark the sixtieth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s ordination to the priesthood with sixty hours of Eucharistic prayer for vocations.

The pope will celebrate his anniversary June 29, the Solemnity of St. Peter and Paul. In honor of his anniversary, the Vatican Congregation for Clergy suggested Catholic clergy and faithful be invited to participate in Eucharistic Adoration with the intention of praying for the sanctification of the clergy and for the gift of new and holy priestly vocations.

Dioceses nationwide are planning special prayers before the Blessed Sacrament in June, offered continuously or across various days in the month. Celebrations might conclude July 1, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the World Day of Prayer for Priests.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, highlighted the importance of this celebration.

“An increase in number and sanctity of the priests in service to our dioceses is a sign of health and vitality in the Church,” he said. Prayer for vocations is “a worthy intention” and an appropriate spiritual sacrifice “in gratitude for the example and service of Pope Benedict XVI,” he wrote in a May 17 letter to bishops.


Going from commercial airline pilot, to seminary, to priesthood, to parish work, to vocation director, to seminary work, to rector of a Cathedral to Bishop.

Congrats to Bishop Elect Gruss

I'm not sure where he crossed over from the frying pan and into the fire, but it's there somewhere!

p.s. the new Auxiliary in Milwaukee is the local sem rector, too.

this is getting a little too close for comfort!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Quick Trivia Question

With the news yesterday that Cincinnati Native Bishop Daniel Conlon is being moved from Steubenville to Joliet, IL; and with the impending ordination of Bishop-elect Joseph Binzer, I ask:

Who was the last bishop to be ordained in the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains?


Good luck!


Dr. Dan gets the prize!  Bishop Jack Kaising is so far the last bishop to actually be ordained in the city of Cincinnati.  A priest for Cincinnati, he spent most of his career as a chaplain with the Army.  When he retired from there, he took a parish on Cincinnati's westside, but was called shortly thereafter to take up the post as an Auxiliary for the Archdiocese of the Military Service.  He was ordained in the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains on April 11, 2000.  Unfortunately, he passed on to his eternal reward a mere seven years later: 13 January, 2007.  May he rest in peace.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More Prayers

This coming weekend, three men from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati will be ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Schnurr.  The Catholic Telegraph features their bios, as well as their classmates from Toledo and Youngstown.  If you could, stop and offer a prayer for them as they finish their pre-ordination retreat over these last few days.  Then offer another prayer that they might be good and worthy ministers of the Gospel as priests of Jesus Christ.  They will learn of their assignments at the end of the Ordination Mass.

A second request: I have a bit of a project coming to fruition on Friday, if you could please offer a prayer that all goes smoothly, I would greatly appreciate it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

To say I'm excited about this

is an understatement.

'It's just more, ummm...., poetic.'

Last night, I was at a meeting of self-identified 'Catholic Geeks.'  (One of whom boasts that she can identify every bishop in the line-up processing into the Mass for Life, that's right up there!)

What did we do for fun?  Compare the new translations of the Missal with the existing ones.  Reading through some of the prayers and new texts, I nearly had tears in my eyes in the way they convey the meaning and significance of the mystery being celebrated on a particular day.

For instance, the Preface for Advent II (which can be found in this PDF):

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Christ our Lord.
For all the oracles of the prophets foretold him,
the Virgin Mother longed for him
with love beyond all telling,
John the Baptist sang of his coming
and proclaimed his presence when he came.
It is by his gift that already we rejoice
at the mystery of his Nativity,
so that he may find us watchful in prayer
and exultant in his praise.
And so, with Angels and Archangels,
with Thrones and Dominions,
and with all the hosts and Powers of heaven,
we sing the hymn of your glory,
as without end we acclaim:
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts…

The current translation says: 'John the Baptist was his herald and made Him known when at last he came.'

Now, he 'sings' of his approach.  wow.

Also, that ending: 'And so, with Angels and Archangels...we acclaim' is now the normative ending for the preface to lead into the Sanctus.  It's always been there, in the Latin, but is an easy highlight to show how the original translators mashed things together in an effort to simplify things.

These new prayers, I think, really do lift the heart.  Are there tongue twisters?  Yes.  The line above: 'It is by his gift that already we rejoice' strikes a bit odd, but it certainly makes one think, no?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Little help goes a long way

A young woman from Cincinnati has been accepted to a religious community and needs help covering funds.

more here

Monday, May 9, 2011

What We Already Knew

My latest runs in this week's Catholic Telegraph:

Every year, the Center for the Applied Research and the Apostolate releases the results of a survey of all the men to be ordained to the priesthood for the coming year. (For those interested, it can be found online here: www.usccb.org/vocations.) For those who work in the efforts of building a culture of vocations in the Catholic Church, the results both confirm the work we are doing and add additional challenges to spur us on further.

While the survey contains enough statistical data to make numbers people go over the moon, there are a few pertinent details that I would like to pull out for further reflection here, and how they reflect the current situation of vocations here in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

As has been the case for the last several years, the average age of the men being ordained to the priesthood is 34, while the median age is 31. This has come down slightly over the last few years and reflects a growing desire on the part of our young people to give back to Christ and to the Church who have given them so much. There is a great passion and zeal on the part of our young people, which I see on an almost daily basis in working with high school, college and post-college men and women, both among those discerning a priestly or religious vocation, as well as among those discerning married life and a secular career. Over the last few years in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, we have striven to increase our numbers of college seminarians, as well as reaching out to current college students, resulting in a significant drop in average age, from the upper 30s when I was ordained in 2004, to now about 30, even.

Interestingly, despite the younger age of men both entering seminary and being ordained, still nine in ten men being ordained to the priesthood this year report some type of full-time employment prior to entering seminary formation, primarily in education. Again, this reflects on the desire of so many of our young people to ‘give back’ to those who have provided so much. There is a willingness to sacrifice, there is an openness to seeing the larger picture than just getting on the corporate grind that those in my generation, just 10 years older, seemed to embrace.

A final point from the data concludes, ‘on average, responding ordinands report that they were about 16 when they first considered a vocation to the priesthood.’ Among those who were major supporters of their discernment were priests (66%), while 71% had support of a friend, parent, grandparent, or fellow parishioner. These influences were much greater factors than any other tool in discernment: websites, videos, radio or television advertising. This stresses that the work of promoting vocations is too great a responsibility to leave to a two-man office in downtown Cincinnati; it is the responsibility of every Catholic!

What this reports stresses, a point which anyone who works with seminarians and those in formation already know well, is that these are regular men, men with many options in the world, yet men willing to give their lives in service to Christ and to the Gospel. They love the Church, they love life, and they wish to pour out themselves in imitation of Christ on the Cross. This report, once again, gives great encouragement to continue the work of the Lord in being fishers of men, but also stresses the need to continue to go out and fish for a larger, richer catch of men who will take up the call to lay down their lives so that others might live.

For more on promoting vocations to the priesthood and religious life among your parish and home, visit http://www.cincinnativocations.org/ .

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Transitional Deacons Ordained

The story is up at The Catholic Telegraph on last weekend's ordination of four men to the transitional diaconate for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Crazy weekend, eh?

So, how did you spend your weekend?

Let's see:

The Royal Wedding.  I watched it a bit while getting ready Friday morning, because, really, could you miss it?

Saturday, four men were ordained to the Diaconate for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.  What a great celebration, I'll post the Telegraph article when it comes available.

Saturday night, I spent time with my Grandmother, God-Father, Aunt, Uncle (x2), Cousin and her husband and two children; it was a nice relaxing evening.

Sunday morning was the Beatification.  I didn't get up to watch it, but mom and dad had DVR'd it, so we watched it a bit later.  I was asked to give my reflections on the life and impact of Blessed John Paul to the Little Sisters of the Poor for their blog, which is found here.  Fr. Sunberg, whom I live with, poor guy, and I watched it again last night on EWTN.  Amazing, wish I could've been there.

Sunday afternoon, my niece made her First Communion, which it is always an honor to give to the nieces and nephews.  I've lost track of whom I have all given it to, but I think I am up to about 7 of mom and dad's grandchildren.

Later on that day, my Grandmother had wanted to see the Reds play in person, but had only ever been once before, 20 years ago.  I arranged for her and my uncles to go to the game.  I just talked to my Uncle who reported she had a fabulous time.  Many thanks to the Reds for making it happen, a truly classy operation who know what it takes to win on and off the field.

Late last night, word about the Usama Bin Laden.  Amazing, doesn't seem real.  As other parishioners of St. Blogosphere's have mentioned, it is right that we pray for him.  Difficult, yes; but do it anyway.

Today sees the Vatican Blognic, wishing I was there.

Alas, a full weekend, now back into the Mondays!