Saturday, October 18, 2014

Synod 2014: The Pope's Speech



Here is the Holy Father's address at the close of the 2014 Synod.   Below it, I'll add other links about the final report and related.

This text is all over the web now, but here it is from Catholic News Agency, which says Pope Francis received a 5 minute standing ovation from the bishops.  This is quite good.


Dear Eminences, Beatitudes, Excellencies, Brothers and Sisters, 

With a heart full of appreciation and gratitude I want to thank, along with you, the Lord who has accompanied and guided us in the past days, with the light of the Holy Spirit. 

From the heart I thank Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod, Bishop Fabio Fabene, under-secretary, and with them I thank the Relators, Cardinal Peter Erdo, who has worked so much in these days of family mourning, and the Special Secretary Bishop Bruno Forte, the three President delegates, the transcribers, the consultors, the translators and the unknown workers, all those who have worked with true fidelity and total dedication behind the scenes and without rest. Thank you so much from the heart. 

I thank all of you as well, dear Synod fathers, Fraternal Delegates, Auditors, and Assessors, for your active and fruitful participation. I will keep you in prayer asking the Lord to reward you with the abundance of His gifts of grace! 

I can happily say that – with a spirit of collegiality and of synodality – we have truly lived the experience of “Synod,” a path of solidarity, a “journey together.” 

And it has been “a journey” – and like every journey there were moments of running fast, as if wanting to conquer time and reach the goal as soon as possible; other moments of fatigue, as if wanting to say “enough”; other moments of enthusiasm and ardour. There were moments of profound consolation listening to the testimony of true pastors, who wisely carry in their hearts the joys and the tears of their faithful people. Moments of consolation and grace and comfort hearing the testimonies of the families who have participated in the Synod and have shared with us the beauty and the joy of their married life. A journey where the stronger feel compelled to help the less strong, where the more experienced are led to serve others, even through confrontations. And since it is a journey of human beings, with the consolations there were also moments of desolation, of tensions and temptations, of which a few possibilities could be mentioned: 

- One, a temptation to hostile inflexibility [trans:rigidity], that is, wanting to close oneself within the written word, (the letter) and not allowing oneself to be surprised by God, by the God of surprises, (the spirit); within the law, within the certitude of what we know and not of what we still need to learn and to achieve. From the time of Christ, it is the temptation of the zealous, of the scrupulous, of the solicitous and of the so-called – today – “traditionalists” and also of the intellectuals. 
- The temptation to a destructive tendency to goodness [it. buonismo], that in the name of a deceptive mercy binds the wounds without first curing them and treating them; that treats the symptoms and not the causes and the roots. It is the temptation of the “do-gooders,” of the fearful, and also of the so-called “progressives and liberals.” 
- The temptation to transform stones into bread to break the long, heavy, and painful fast (cf. Lk 4:1-4); and also to transform the bread into a stone and cast it against the sinners, the weak, and the sick (cf Jn 8:7), that is, to transform it into unbearable burdens (Lk 11:46). 
- The temptation to come down off the Cross, to please the people, and not stay there, in order to fulfil the will of the Father; to bow down to a worldly spirit instead of purifying it and bending it to the Spirit of God. 
- The temptation to neglect the “depositum fidei” [the deposit of faith], not thinking of themselves as guardians but as owners or masters [of it]; or, on the other hand, the temptation to neglect reality, making use of meticulous language and a language of smoothing to say so many things and to say nothing! They call them “byzantinisms,” I think, these things… 

Dear brothers and sisters, the temptations must not frighten or disconcert us, or even discourage us, because no disciple is greater than his master; so if Jesus Himself was tempted – and even called Beelzebul (cf. Mt 12:24) – His disciples should not expect better treatment. 

Personally I would be very worried and saddened if it were not for these temptations and these animated discussions; this movement of the spirits, as St Ignatius called it (Spiritual Exercises, 6), if all were in a state of agreement, or silent in a false and quietist peace. Instead, I have seen and I have heard – with joy and appreciation – speeches and interventions full of faith, of pastoral and doctrinal zeal, of wisdom, of frankness and of courage: and of parresia. And I have felt that what was set before our eyes was the good of the Church, of families, and the “supreme law,” the “good of souls” (cf. Can. 1752). And this always – we have said it here, in the Hall – without ever putting into question the fundamental truths of the Sacrament of marriage: the indissolubility, the unity, the faithfulness, the fruitfulness, that openness to life (cf. Cann. 1055, 1056; and Gaudium et spes, 48). 

And this is the Church, the vineyard of the Lord, the fertile Mother and the caring Teacher, who is not afraid to roll up her sleeves to pour oil and wine on people’s wound; who doesn’t see humanity as a house of glass to judge or categorize people. This is the Church, One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and composed of sinners, needful of God’s mercy. This is the Church, the true bride of Christ, who seeks to be faithful to her spouse and to her doctrine. It is the Church that is not afraid to eat and drink with prostitutes and publicans. The Church that has the doors wide open to receive the needy, the penitent, and not only the just or those who believe they are perfect! The Church that is not ashamed of the fallen brother and pretends not to see him, but on the contrary feels involved and almost obliged to lift him up and to encourage him to take up the journey again and accompany him toward a definitive encounter with her Spouse, in the heavenly Jerusalem. 

The is the Church, our Mother! And when the Church, in the variety of her charisms, expresses herself in communion, she cannot err: it is the beauty and the strength of the sensus fidei, of that supernatural sense of the faith which is bestowed by the Holy Spirit so that, together, we can all enter into the heart of the Gospel and learn to follow Jesus in our life. And this should never be seen as a source of confusion and discord. 

Many commentators, or people who talk, have imagined that they see a disputatious Church where one part is against the other, doubting even the Holy Spirit, the true promoter and guarantor of the unity and harmony of the Church – the Holy Spirit who throughout history has always guided the barque, through her Ministers, even when the sea was rough and choppy, and the ministers unfaithful and sinners.
And, as I have dared to tell you, [as] I told you from the beginning of the Synod, it was necessary to live through all this with tranquillity, and with interior peace, so that the Synod would take place cum Petro and sub Petro (with Peter and under Peter), and the presence of the Pope is the guarantee of it all. 

We will speak a little bit about the Pope, now, in relation to the Bishops [laughing]. So, the duty of the Pope is that of guaranteeing the unity of the Church; it is that of reminding the faithful of their duty to faithfully follow the Gospel of Christ; it is that of reminding the pastors that their first duty is to nourish the flock – to nourish the flock – that the Lord has entrusted to them, and to seek to welcome – with fatherly care and mercy, and without false fears – the lost sheep. I made a mistake here. I said welcome: [rather] to go out and find them. 

His duty is to remind everyone that authority in the Church is a service, as Pope Benedict XVI clearly explained, with words I cite verbatim: “The Church is called and commits herself to exercise this kind of authority which is service and exercises it not in her own name, but in the name of Jesus Christ… through the Pastors of the Church, in fact: it is he who guides, protects and corrects them, because he loves them deeply. But the Lord Jesus, the supreme Shepherd of our souls, has willed that the Apostolic College, today the Bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter… to participate in his mission of taking care of God's People, of educating them in the faith and of guiding, inspiring and sustaining the Christian community, or, as the Council puts it, ‘to see to it... that each member of the faithful shall be led in the Holy Spirit to the full development of his own vocation in accordance with Gospel preaching, and to sincere and active charity’ and to exercise that liberty with which Christ has set us free (cf. Presbyterorum Ordinis, 6)… and it is through us,” Pope Benedict continues, “that the Lord reaches souls, instructs, guards and guides them. St Augustine, in his Commentary on the Gospel of St John, says: ‘let it therefore be a commitment of love to feed the flock of the Lord’ (cf. 123, 5); this is the supreme rule of conduct for the ministers of God, an unconditional love, like that of the Good Shepherd, full of joy, given to all, attentive to those close to us and solicitous for those who are distant (cf. St Augustine, Discourse 340, 1; Discourse 46, 15), gentle towards the weakest, the little ones, the simple, the sinners, to manifest the infinite mercy of God with the reassuring words of hope (cf. ibid., Epistle, 95, 1).” 

So, the Church is Christ’s – she is His bride – and all the bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter, have the task and the duty of guarding her and serving her, not as masters but as servants. The Pope, in this context, is not the supreme lord but rather the supreme servant – the “servant of the servants of God”; the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church, putting aside every personal whim, despite being – by the will of Christ Himself – the “supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful” (Can. 749) and despite enjoying “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church” (cf. Cann. 331-334). 

Dear brothers and sisters, now we still have one year to mature, with true spiritual discernment, the proposed ideas and to find concrete solutions to so many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront; to give answers to the many discouragements that surround and suffocate families. 

One year to work on the “Synodal Relatio” which is the faithful and clear summary of everything that has been said and discussed in this hall and in the small groups. It is presented to the Episcopal Conferences as “lineamenta” [guidelines]. 

May the Lord accompany us, and guide us in this journey for the glory of His Name, with the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of Saint Joseph. And please, do not forget to pray for me! Thank you!


Now, the final report is out in Italian and according to Edward Pentin at the National Catholic Register, we should see the official English translation early next week.  You can read Edward's report, where he breaks down some voting members where the 2/3 majority was not reached.

Here's the Associated Press version on Yahoo from Nicole Winfield.  Some of the press headlines are rather interesting.  "Pope suffers setback…" (on the controversial issues).  In reality, it wasn't the Pope who suffered a setback; rather, the media suffered a setback in what in believed was happening, that Church teaching was going to conform itself to the world.  In the end, their setback consisted of learning the Catholic Church is still Catholic, and so is the Pope!

I've been sharing most things on social media the last few days. It's far less time and effort to share a link to Twitter, Facebook or Google+ (I use the latter far less than the previous two).  Those following me there, will have seen things I was sharing.  But here are a few items from today.

Robert Royal has been doing a great job at The Catholic Thing in his coverage of each day of the Synod.  Here is Day 12, probably written before the vote.  If I see Day 13, I'll edit it in here.

Cardinal Raymond Burke discusses with Catholic World Report, the Synod, and rumors of his expected transfer from the position he holds as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura to the Knights of Malta (shortened name).

Yesterday, a report with a wild headline came out from Buzzfeed on Cardinal Burke's expected transfer  and so many wanted to see the transcript, they first released a partial, then early this morning, the complete transcript.   I recommend sticking with the latter.

There were some bumps along the way.  I may have more to say about that in a separate post.




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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
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- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

St. Teresa of Avila




“The truly humble person will have a genuine desire to be thought little of, and persecuted, and condemned unjustly, even in serious matters. For, if she desires to imitate the Lord, how can she do so better than in this? And no bodily strength is necessary here, nor the aid of anyone save God.”  
― Teresa of ÁvilaThe Way of Perfection



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- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Don't socialize with others in church; socialize with God



One of the most beautiful experiences I have every time I go to Assumption Grotto is the sweetness of the silence inside the parish church.  It is more than sweet; this silence is a necessary part of the spiritual life.  It is also hard to find in many parishes today, and even entire dioceses can be devoid of such opportunities in churches.

Noise


Our fast-paced, news-now, instant-message-filled world has led us to find silence difficult to bear. We avoid it at all costs.  Life has become an endless chat session, if not with others in social media, then with ourselves as we look for ways to not be in silence. Many of us can't even fall asleep without a TV running.  We not only cheat others of our time; we cheat God, and we owe every breath we take to Him.

Multi-media enables us to watch sports, movies, and listen to music and discussions, and to interact on topics of interest, including Catholicism. I think it would be hard to argue against the thought that noise - both audible and non-audible has risen in the information and technology age.

Noise isn't just what we hear; it's what has our attention.  Workers have the necessary noise that goes with concentrating on the job; and parents with watching over children.  Many today are tending to an aging or sickly parent.  Students must read and write what is required of them.  These are necessary noises in life that we must put up with. Some tasks are mundane enough that they allow us to connect with God silently, but it is not always the case.  Peeling potatoes or fixing something in a tool shop might lend itself well to giving God our ear, unless we turn on one of the many gadgets to kill the quiet.

Silence, the language of God


If our work, school, caregiving - and the like - all require mental attention, then how do we give to God our attention?  There's no doubt when we are doing those things required of our state in life, we give glory to God.  However, we still need to provide opportunities to hear Him if we are to grow spiritually.  St. John of the Cross says, "God works His Divine operations in silence."

Luke 17:21 tells us that the Kingdom of God is within.

St. Augustine, in his Confessions wrote:

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you.

If God is within, then finding Him involves making time for silence in our lives.  Some are blessed with the ability to go to an Adoration chapel weekly, or even, daily.  We can choose to ride to work without any music or radio; or do the laundry and cut the grass, likewise, in silence.  This is all good.  But many are missing something very precious - that silent time before and after Mass.

Looking for silence in church…


There's been a public debate over silence in parishes before and/or after Mass, and lack thereof, for as long as I've been discussing Catholicism online (almost 10 years now).

I never experienced silence before and after Mass until I got to Assumption Grotto in Detroit.  The silence was deafening.  It shocks the casual visitor who comes, leaving them with the mistaken impression that people there are anti-social, unfriendly, and downright cold.  I somewhat felt that when I got there in 2005, but something inside peacefully nudged me to suspend judgment and just observe for a time.  I'm glad I did because God taught me something: When in God's house, give Him an ear.

People coming to any weekday or weekend Mass at Assumption Grotto can come an hour early and right up until Mass starts, might hear a cough, or footsteps, or a kneeler folding down, or a confessional door opening an closing.  What they won't hear, in most cases, is casual conversations. (Weddings, baptisms, and funerals are usually the exception, but often involve people who are not regulars, and some who are not even Catholic, so I am talking mainly of regular Masses).

I often take for granted this precious nugget we have there, and I am reminded of it any time I go to Mass outside of Grotto, with the exception of a select few other parishes in the area.  The noise levels in some places before and after Mass can rival that of a mall on Saturday morning, measured in decibels.

But, it's uncharitable not to socialize in church...


This is a common argument against silence before and after Mass.  People have not seen one another in a week and it is charitable to let them catch up with one another, especially the poor elderly person who lives alone and is finally able to connect with others at Mass.

My response to this is quite simple.  If we really cared that much about our neighbor - the one for whom church has become their primary social outlet - we wouldn't wait for Sunday to socialize with them.  We would pick up the phone during the week and call them. We would visit them or invite them out to dinner.   We might even ask them to join us for a meal after Mass.  Now that's charity in action.  That is how we go forth into the world and put on Christ!

But, most churches don't have a place to socialize after Mass…


This is another common argument - that there is no place but in church for people to greet and meet.

Well, my thinking changed on this after spending time at Assumption Grotto, which is a commuter parish.  There are very few Catholics left in the neighborhood (but the Legion of Mary is working on that).  It's an old church building so there is no parish center connected to it.  This is not uncommon for older parishes, and even newer ones.  It has a small vestibule in the back with two restrooms - hardly a place for conversations. There are two smaller vestibules at the side doors, also unsuitable talking.

Seeing a need to allow people to socialize outside of the parish church, some parishioners began a weekly social some nine years ago that has been very successful. It happens in an old school building on the property, and is a short walk from the church.  It's run mainly by one family, but the local Knights of Columbus step in and has a monthly pancake breakfast (after 9:30 and before the Noon).  There are 52 weeks out of the year, and I can count on one hand how many times we do not have some kind of social in connection with the two biggest Masses. Each Sunday we hot dogs, hamburgers, and sausages in addition to the usual coffee and donuts.  Even after the 6:30 a.m. Mass, there is a small group that gets together in the school for coffee and donuts just inside the gift shop. It does taking walking across that parking lot, but no one seems to mind.

Bottom line: We don't socialize in the church because that is where we pray. It is also where we let others pray, by taking our conversations elsewhere. People visiting may think it is one of the most anti-social churches, yet what I learned there is that people don't socialize with one another in church because they are busy socializing with God. Charity means enabling one another to have that conversation with Him.

Those who want to defend the practice of the pre-Mass social in the church could perhaps do a real service in getting others together and finding a way to help people connect around weekend Masses. What works at Grotto won't work in other places, but there are lots of solutions.

Unintended consequences of chit-chat in church...


Band-aids aren't cures; they cover wounds. The real problem is people not seeing to one another's social needs outside of our Sunday obligations.  When we make people who socialize with others in church the sole object of our charitable thinking, who gets cheated?

God

When we get into church 15-30 minutes early and use the time to chat with our neighbor, we have lost an opportunity to give to God that precious time.  Maybe we have nothing to say to Him; but he might have something to say to us. The greatest hindrance is not giving Him our ear in silence.  Sometimes all that God wants is for us to rest quietly in Him as a small child rests under the arm of a loving parent. We deny God that when we won't sit quietly with Him.  We are always asking something of him in prayers of petition, but how often do we spend time thanking him?  There is so much sin in the world, we could use the time to make acts of reparation (an that probably requires catechesis for people to understand).

Our fellow parishioners

For some people, that 15 or 30 minutes before Mass might be the only opportunity they have to be silent so they can hear God's voice above all others.  Among those looking for silence might be a mother with a terminally ill child who knows no human touch or words can help her the way God's love can. Perhaps it is a man who has just lost his wife of several decades and who is reconciling with his loss; or the family breadwinner dealing with the inability to find employment; or a couple having marital problems.  There are those who are discerning a vocation and those who are in secular orders fulfilling their obligations for mental prayer.  The list could go on.  Each time we talk in Church we hinder people like these in the only place they may have for a moment of silence. 

Ourselves 

Yes. We cheat ourselves when we socialize with others in church.  Being still and silent is one of the greatest ways to predispose ourselves to worship and prayer.  It is the most efficacious way to enter holy Mass.  It's not a celebration; it's a Sacrifice.  It's only fitting that we make a small sacrifice of fixing our eyes entirely on Christ so that when we leave, we can be authentic witnesses to the Gospel.  

I should mention that in some places, including Assumption Grotto, there is a public Rosary recited after the Mass. In our case, it is led by the priest after he removes his chasuble.  People are free to stay or leave.  Most remain.  But, it's over in 15 minutes.  From there, some continue with other prayers. The 9:30 a.m. Mass, and Rosary, are done about 10:50 and until the Noon Mass begins, it's the kind of silence I described earlier.  People truly cherish and respect that holy silence.  Where I struggle with public prayers in church is when they are before AND after Mass, leaving no opportunity for silent prayer.

How do we fix it?


Let's start by addressing how we can't fix it.  I've witnessed, over the years, many frustrated priests trying to correct a congregation from talking in church, to no avail, then giving up and literally joining them.  We can't fix the problem of chit-chat in church by telling people to knock if off, telling them off, or simply telling them it's inappropriate to talk in church.   That is because people, including priests and bishops, have been conditioned for decades to accept this as being "charitable."  I hope I've provided enough considerations in this post to show that this is false charity. I've summed things up below.

It's not just a behavior we need to change, it's a mind-set.  In other words, we need to make use of reason and not make demands. I'm convinced it's the only way it will ever change, but it has to start with the parish priest praying about these things.  If the parish priest understands it, and prays to God for assistance, he will be blessed with the necessary words of reason. God will then grace his people with understanding.

Here are some main points summed up:


  • Parishioners should desire to be silent before God, whether they have anything to say to Him or not; He might have something to say to them.  

  • Parishioners need help in empathizing with the kinds of situations people might be in where silence might help them (parents dealing with terminally ill child; unemployed; those with marital issues, people discerning vocations, etc). They can't get silence at home, school, or work and there is no better place than near the Blessed Sacrament.  Not everyone has access to an Adoration chapel, or the time to be there even if that access is there.

  • Parishioners need help seeing how holy silence should be part of their spiritual development. What do we learn from the Church, from Mary, the angels, and saints about silence and the spiritual life? 

  • Help parishioners to see that real charity for lonely people comes not in defending their right to chat in church; it comes from giving them time outside of church:  Ite Missa est!  Invite them out to dinner; call them during the week to see how they are doing and catch up on what is happening in their life.  What kind of charity waits for 15 minutes before Mass on Sunday, and  limits it to that?





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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Letter from one dying woman to another: A powerful appeal to let God choose time of death




By now you have probably heard about Brittany Maynard, who was given six months to live after receiving a terminal diagnosis, and who just moved to Oregon to commit physician assisted suicide.
Kara Tippetts is a wife and mother of four, who is also terminal, with breast cancer that has broken the blood and brain barrier. She is choosing to let God determine when her life will end.  She writes a letter to Brittany, and it was hosted at another blog. I think it's the most powerful living witness in support of choosing life, I've seen.

Everyone has God-given free will.  Kara Tippetts appeals to Brittany's free will with an open letter.  Let's pray she discovers it and considers the appeal to choose life.  I pray also that others in similar situations can benefit from Kara's appeal.

Go read Kara Tippett's letter to Brittany at the blog of Ann Voskamp.  The background story and the letter are all there.




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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Update on Church History Course at Assumption Grotto - The First Night


Last week I made a post announcing a Church History Course that was beginning at Assumption Grotto on Wednesday nights between 6-7 PM in the school lounge. I wanted to provide an update on this after going tonight for the first class.  There had to be at least 40 people the class and I suspect not everyone who planned on coming got there tonight, for any number of reasons.

The instructor, parishioner Harry Wisniewski, explained that he has a degree in history and has pondered doing this kind of course at the parish for some time.  Harry met with Fr. Perrone, discussed some things, they looked through a number of books and settled on one from the Didache Series from the Midwest Theological Society, and here we are.

If you wanted to come and did not make the first class, contact Harry at the email listed in the flyer to inquire about joining in late.  He said this is a course that will run beyond the posted dates in the flyer - more like a two year course.  Harry wants this to proceed in a way that allows for discussion.

Before I go on, I want to clarify which version of the book we are using. It turns out there is more than one version of this textbook (the "complete," the "semester," and "parish" version). The one we are using is the complete version.  Here are some images from the correct book.











What I did not take photos of are some of the great maps.  This book is being sold through the Grotto gift shop.  As of Sunday, all 24 books sold out and more are being ordered, but possibly only in the quantity of raised hands. It can be purchased online.

Everyone there was quite enthusiastic with the course.  Harry spent some time asking what interested us in Church History to make sure he covers those things.  He discussed our history being that of a  "pilgrim church" and how our view of history isn't limited strictly to facts.   What little he explained of it, seemed to affirm a thought I formed some years ago, but I'l leave to hold that thought while the course develops.  

One of the authors Harry recommended we supplement our reading with are books by Christopher Dawson (1889-1970).  He specifically suggested reading, "The Christian View of History."  He mentioned that full text PDF's could be found online.  After a quick search, I did find one here, but I would not suggest just hitting a print button as it is long.   Save it to your computer and read it on screen, or print a little at a time.

He also mentioned Thomas Molnar and The Church, Pilgrim of Centuries, saying this might be a little more difficult reading compared to Dawson.


I'm repeating here what Fr. Perrone recently wrote in the Grotto News...

I continue to write to you about the Church History Course that is being offered to you. The knowledge of Church history significantly aids our understanding of the Church itself, her doctrines, her laws and her customs. In sermons we priests have precious little time to speak about Church history, except by an oblique reference which is often little appreciated since it may not be comprehended in the context of the whole development of Church history. 
The teacher for the course, Harry Wisniewski, is offering a series of classes at no cost to you except for the purchase of a book. These classes, held in our school, will be held on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 7 p.m., a time that should be open to most people, even the busiest. The first class will be October 8.  I plan of attending myself (it’s been a long time since I studied the subject). Consider taking what promises to be a mentally stimulating journey through the ages of faith. It is a significant offering that you should highly prize. I hope many families will avail themselves of this special opportunity to learn in greater depth the history of the Catholic Church.


Here's the flyer that was stuffed into a recent bulletin.  There's a typo for next week's class.  Wednesday falls on 10-15, not 10-14.






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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
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- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Requiescat in pace, David Pardington [Updated October 7]



Update 3:  The funeral home was packed beyond packed.  There was a persistent line wrapping around the hallway leading into the viewing room all day.  I knew Dave had one of those magnetic personalities, but wow.  

Here is a link to a print out you can make to follow along in the "Tridentine" Requiem Mass.  We don't have booklets with the full Mass, but most 1962 missals have them. So, if you are coming, bring your missal.  Otherwise, you can print this out if you get it in time or view it on a mobile device if you have web access.  http://missale.heliohost.org/requiem.html

Update 2: Here is the official obituary at Mandzuik Funeral Home.  Note also, there is a Go Fund Me account started by his daughter Catherine.  Anything not needed for funeral and other immediate expenses can go towards college for the girls.  It's near the target, but it would be great to see this pushed well beyond. I know from my time spent with David, college for the girls was of great importance to him.  


********
Original Post

Please pray for the repose the soul of my friend, and fellow parishioner,David Pardington. Pray also for God to bless his family with consolation and courage in their time of grief. Dave passed around 2 a.m.  Saturday, of a heart attack. He leaves behind a wife and four young daughters.

Dave lived his vocation as a husband and father in the most joyful way. His love for his family was manifest. He put his family and others ahead of himself.  His life revolved around his faith; not his faith around his life.  The Grotto family is also grieving his loss. He was active in so many ways: Knights of Columbus, Ushers, many fundraisers, occasionally in the choir, and so much more. David always showed great concern for others, and whenever he was aware of someone who was sick or going through some difficulty, would include them in his prayers and especially his daily Rosary and the wearing of his Brown Scapular. Many of us found it striking that he would pass away on a First Saturday, which is significant to devotees of the Rosary. 

You will be missed very much, Dave! May you rest in peace. 

UPDATE: a Go Fund Me page has been set up for the Pardington family. Please considering offering your support. http://www.gofundme.com/fgp2jc


His oldest daughter posted wake and funeral information last night. For now, I'll pass along the death notice when it is available.

The Wake is going to be Tuesday, October 7th from 3pm-9pm. The rosary for dad will be at 8pm. 
The funeral home is called E.J. Mandziuk & Son and is located at 3801 18 Mile Road, Sterling Heights, MI 48314. 
The Funeral will be Wednesday, October 8th with a 9:30-10am viewing and a 10am-11am Mass. 
The church is called Assumption Grotto, and is located 13770 Gratiot Ave., Detroit, MI 48205 (secured parking). 
Those who wish can proceed on their own to Resurrection Cemetery and meet at Noon at 18210 Clinton River Road, Clinton Twp., MI 48038



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Saturday, October 4, 2014

St Francis on being at peace with the clergy - words to ponder in these times



Today, on his feast day, I want to share a quote from St. Francis of Assisi and how he instructed his brothers to handle difficult priests.

I'm quoting from a great resource on all things Francis in the book:  St. Francis of Assisi: Writings and Early Biographies: English Omnibus of the Sources for the Life of St. Francis.

This quote comes from the Mirror of Perfection - one of the many classic texts within the above mentioned omnibus (emphasis mine in bold; added emphasis underlined; comments bracketed in red, mine).

54. On perserving humility, and on being at peace with the clergy.   
Blessed Francis wished his sons to be at peace with all men and to behave themselves humbly to everyone, but he showed them by his own words and example to be especially humble to the clergy. For he said, 'We have been sent to help the clergy in the salvation of souls, so that we may supply whatever is lacking in them.  But men will not be rewarded according to their office, but their work. Remember, my brothers, that winning of souls is what pleases God most, and we can do this better by working in harmony with the clergy than in opposition. [Pay attention here] But if they obstruct the salvation of the people, vengeance belongs to God, and He will punish them in His own time. So obey your superiors, and let there be no wrongful jealousy on your part. If you are sons of peace, you will win both clergy and people, and this will be more pleasing to God than if you were to win the people alone and alienate the clergy. Conceal their mistakes and make up for their many defects; and when you have done this, be even more humble than before.' 

While St. Francis is obviously addressing religious brothers who took a vow of obedience when he refers to obeying superiors, there is nothing in the rest of that counsel which does not apply to lay people.

Just think, that was quoted from the 13th century.  The advice is timeless.


Painting at top: Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy by Carravaggio, 1595




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Friday, October 3, 2014

Church History Course Offered at Assumption Grotto on Wednesday Nights



Starting this coming Wednesday is a Church History class taught by a parishioner.  I plan to attend this class which runs from now through March on Wednesday nights.  As many times as I've sat down to read Church history, I think this is the best way to learn it - in a classroom setting, and at a pace such as this.  It comes right before choir practice and there is an opportunity to go to the 7:00 PM Mass, which is a low Mass in EF.

In a recent Grotto News, Fr. Perrone wrote:

I continue to write to you about the Church History Course that is being offered to you. The knowledge of Church history significantly aids our understanding of the Church itself, her doctrines, her laws and her customs. In sermons we priests have precious little time to speak about Church history, except by an oblique reference which is often little appreciated since it may not be comprehended in the context of the whole development of Church history. 
The teacher for the course, Harry Wisniewski, is offering a series of classes at no cost to you except for the purchase of a book. These classes, held in our school, will be held on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 7 p.m., a time that should be open to most people, even the busiest. The first class will be October 8.  I plan of attending myself (it’s been a long time since I studied the subject). Consider taking what promises to be a mentally stimulating journey through the ages of faith. It is a significant offering that you should highly prize. I hope many families will avail themselves of this special opportunity to learn in greater depth the history of the Catholic Church.

This class is for personal enrichment.  Some readers may wonder if this qualifies for any kind of credit, say for certificates required of catechists, etc.  This is something you'll have to direct to Fr. Perrone.


Here's the flyer that was stuffed into a recent bulletin.






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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Of Saints and Guardian Angels



With what humility should we assist at Mass, if we realized that our Guardian Angel was kneeling beside us, prostrate before the majesty of God! With what eagerness should we not ask him to offer our prayers to Jesus Christ ! (St. John Vianney)

If you live locally, consider going to the 7:00 PM Mass at Assumption Grotto on this Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels.  Exposition begins immediately after Mass (around 7:45) and leads into the Passio Domini - a Holy Hour for the Sanctification of the Priesthood, led by a priest of the Holy Cross.

Here is a brief sermon by St. John Vianney discussing the guardian angels:

Although the good God is sufficient to Himself, nevertheless He makes use of the ministry of the angels to govern the world... When we see God taking such care of our lives we conclude that our souls are something truly great and precious if He is to employ all that is greatest in his court for its preservation and sanctification. He has given us his Son to save us; this same Son... gives to each of us one and even several angels, who are solely occupied in asking on our behalf the graces and helps to our salvation that we need... Oh, how little people know what they are and what they were made for! In Holy Scripture we read that the Lord said to his people: “See, I am sending an angel before you, to guard you on the way” (Ex 23,20)…

We should often pray to our guardian angels, carefully respect them and, above all, try to imitate them in all our actions. And the first thing we need to imitate in them is the thought of the presence of God... Surely, if we were completely penetrated with God's presence, how could we do evil? How much more pleasing to God would be all our good deeds!... God said to Abraham: “Would you be blameless? Walk in my presence” (Gn 17,1). How could we possibly forget God so easily when we have Him always with us? Why are we not full of respect and gratitude towards our angels, who accompany us day and night?... Perhaps you will say: “I'm too unworthy to merit it.” My brethren, not only does God not lose sight of you for an instant but He gives you an angel who never ceases to guide your steps. Ah, happiness too great, yet too little known!  (Source)


Here are some additional quotes by St. John Vianney
  • After thanking our Guardian Angel who has remained by our side during our sleep, we should ask him for his protection during the day.
  • Ah! if we had the eyes of angels with which to see our Lord Jesus Christ present on the Altar and looking at us, how we should love Him! 
  • The first thing about the angels that we ought to imitate, is their consciousness of the Presence of God. 

You can find those and many other quotes by saints on the angels on this page at the OA site.

Yesterday was the Feast of the Little Flower, St. Therese of Lisieux.  You can read here about this saint and her devotion to her guardian angel.

Last year, I shared with you one of Padre Pio's letters from 1913 which showed his devotion to his guardian angel.

On this day I would like to also draw attention to a book newly released, "The Angels in the Diary of Saint Faustina Kawalksa."  It is authored by Fr. Titus Kieninger, ORC, who is well known to many Grotto-goers.  Those local can get the book from the Grotto Gift Shop, but you can buy it online direct from the OA site.  



Saint Faustina (1905-1938) bestowed upon the Church a wonderful spiritual legacy, her Diary. It is significant that there are more than a hundred references to the holy angels and at least seventy to the fallen angels in this work. This rich source offers an introduction into the world of the angels, both faithful and fallen.


*I took the photograph at top on a visit to St. Sava Orthodox Church in Merryville, IN



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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fr. John Hardon on St. Therese



I found this piece by Fr. Hardon on St. Therese quite interesting.  I'm going to copy parts of it here and add some thoughts.  This comes with thanks to the Real Presence site which houses many of Fr. Hardon's writings and talks.

When I comment within a text, I'll put it in brackets and in red.

First, he speaks on the importance of St. Therese:

As we reread the papal documents on Therese's virtues, certain features stand out. They may correctly be called the distinctive qualities of spiritual childhood, which the faithful are recommended to imitate. Thus spiritual childhood
  • Knows nothing of spiritual pride. It never glories in whatever graces it receives from God, but acknowledges them as sheer gift of His love. 
  • Realizes that natural means cannot achieve sanctity. Without prayer, the sacraments, and cooperation with graces received, holiness is a mirage. [It is easy to believe our spiritual progress is an achievement we ourselves make, when in reality, it happens only by the grace of God.]
  • Has no illusions of self-reliance in danger and temptation. Immediate petition for divine help is the only guarantee of being able to overcome the surges of passion or the instigations of the evil one. 
  • Presupposes a lively faith in God's existence. In fact, as a person grows in spiritual childhood, there is a keen awareness of God's presence in everything that touches one's life. [At the bottom of this post, I'll add a link to a great explanation of childlikeness by Fr. Hardon]
  • Has a practical confidence in God's power and mercy. Thus the virtue of hope becomes so strong that no matter how humanly impossible the future way seem, there is peaceful trust that God will provide loving care. [We need to ask God for this grace of hope, especially during this period in which it seems so many Catholics are becoming unglued for this reason or that. Our times are not the worst of times; our times are not the only times when Catholics have been persecuted; we are not the only Catholics in history to see members of the clergy and hierarchy engaged in dissent and scandal.]
  • Has confident recourse to Divine providence. It sees the hand of God behind every so-called happening, and believes there is no such thing as chance. [What God doesn't will, He permits, often for reasons known only to Him. One only needs to read the Book of Job and it is in Job 2:10 that we see his response to the horrible illness he suffered. Everyone around him insisted he must have offended God and deserved the boils with which he was covered.  But, he was innocent.  His response to this temptation to despair was to say, "We accept good things from God; should we not accept evil?"]

Fr. Hardon concludes this section (emphasis mine in bold):
If we look still closer at St.Therese's importance for our times, it becomes even more clear as we see the virus of pride infecting so many people in our day. As the popes are at pains to explain, whatever else the modern world needs, it is a rediscovery of the meaning of Christ's teaching about becoming like little children. He could not have been more solemn than when He warned us, "Amen I say to you, unless you turn and become like little children, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3). This injunction was always necessary but it is crucial today when human achievements in the material world have intoxicated millions with self-conceit and widespread oblivion of God.

And that was written in 1997. How much more does that hold true today.  I wonder what Fr. Hardon would think today, of this "age of sarcasm and snark" that has become the norm.  Rudeness is almost a "virtue" and people seem to keep score on just how well they tell someone else off.  TV and radio are filled with shock-jocks.  The Catholic cyber-sphere is no different.  I've lost interest in so many sites I once followed because people have adapted to the sarcastic language habits of our times.  We have really reduced ourselves to a terrible form of factionalism because we have gone beyond responding to other people's positions with charity, to outright attacks on their persons.


Getting back to Fr. Hardon, The next section is on the historical setting of her autobiography.  He writes:

Unlike the great Catholic books of history, the Autobiography of St.Therese of Lisieux hardly has a historical setting that occasioned its publication or shaped its composition. Its author lived only twenty-four years, and nine of those were spent in the obscurity of a Carmelite cloister. [Just think, Therese became a saint, and probably saved more souls without following every word, action, and move of the hierarchy in various parts of the world. Therese shows us that our salvation doesn't come from a steady diet of spiritual junk food found in the Catholic cyber-sphere; but from putting our hand to the plow in the basics of our faith: Sacraments, work, prayer, spiritual reading, and tending to others in our lives.]

Yet there is a deep sense in which we can speak of the historical circumstances in which the book was written. Two French writers, who were contemporaries of St.Therese, give us some insight into the devastating ideas that began to plague Christianity in her day. Ernest Renan, the ex-seminarian of Brittany, repudiated the divinity of Christ, portrayed Him as a charming Galilean preacher, and denied that He had ever worked any miracles. Alfred Loisy, a priest from Lorraine, denied that Christ ever founded a Church or instituted any of the sacraments.

No contrast could be more startling than to compare, for example, Renan's Life of Jesus or Loisy's Gospel and the Church, with the Autobiography of St. Therese. She is writing in a spirit of deep faith, especially faith in the Divinity of Christ, Time and again she speaks to Jesus, as "My God"; whereas Renan and Loisy abandoned the faith they once had, and then studiously contradicted what they had formerly believed. [So, if you think what we see of dissenters is something new, think again.  You can find them in every era of the Church, but you will find that the approach Therese took was to pray and make sacrifices for them, and their followers.  She didn't go out on a street corner and complain any more than she would kvetch online if she lived today].

What should be emphasized, however, is that St.Therese's faith was severely tested. An essential part of her sanctity, therefore, was her courageous profession of faith in spite of the serious temptations against the faith that God allowed her to experience. [This goes back to the book of Job.  God can permit us to experience trials, or send them to us directly, if he is trying to correct the course we choose to be on; or, if he wants us to grow in deeper holiness.]

The latest publication of Therese's sayings reveals this side of her life which many commentators have overlooked. She was not only plagued with trials about the faith, but she saw the sufferings that God sent her as a providential means of obtaining or restoring faith for unbelievers. "I offer up," she confided to her superior, "these very great pains to obtain the light of faith for poor unbelievers, for all those who separate themselves from the Church's beliefs." [Colossians 1:24. This is definitely something we miss today and it is something we need our priests and bishops to teach us - how to pray and sacrifice for others.  If we have no need of the graces that come, our prayers and sacrifices will benefit others, if we hand them over to God.  In fact, we can especially hand  these things to Mary and simply let her direct the graces where needed most. Complaining about problems in the Church, or about certain bishops, has far less effect than praying for them, but this requires an act of faith.]

Keeping this in mind will give an entirely new dimension to St.Therese's practice of spiritual childhood. She was an extraordinarily gifted person, with a penetrating intellect. Yet she believed and grew in the faith almost because her faith was so sorely tried by the Lord.
What Fr. Hardon gives next on this piece about St. Therese is a list of five things that he says makes up the core of the spirituality of the Little Flower.  Go read them here:  St. Therese of Lisieux by John A. Hardon, S.J. 

More from Fr. Hardon on St. Therese




I also mentioned that Fr. Hardon wrote a great explanation on Childlikeness.  For those who think this is soft stuff and only for some people, Our Lord didn't direct his words to be like children to just some of the disciples.



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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Lake Orion, Michigan: Bravehearts Catholic Men's Conference



 
 
"Nobody looking at the numbers describing the state of the Church in America would be optimistic about our future. But the Church of Jesus Christ is built on the Resurrection of Christ. In other words, we are a people who don’t believe dead men necessarily stay dead. Why should the Church he founded die in the land of the free and the home of the brave where we still have the freedom to preach the gospel. It is time to reach those millions of Catholics who have been sacramentalized but not evangelized. It is time to evangelize the baptized."
 




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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
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- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Saint Thérèse and her spiritual maturity in praying for priests...



Indignant at the actions of some priests and bishops?


We learn from many of the saints that spiritual maturity involves praying for others and not venting about them.  For Thérèse, this was especially true about clerics for whom she felt particularly moved to pray, recognizing they must also fight the effects of Original Sin and are in need of grace.  Helping one priest this way helps his entire flock.  Helping one bishop this way helps an entire diocese.

It's hard to  imagine that,  had the Little Flower had lived today, with all of the technology we have, that she would choose to take to the internet to complain about priests and bishops rather than to take her concerns to Our Lord, begging for graces to convert and strengthen them.  The worldly approach to vent is part of the 'gospel of feel good', as it gives us relief. But venting has no basis in Scripture. The chance of actually changing imprudent and wayward clerics this way is quite small.  Time and again, the saints have shown us that praying for others and making sacrifices for them can do the greatest good, especially when it comes to priests.  Saint Thérèse is among them.

This is not to say we cannot respectfully voice disagreement where we feel there is a danger to the faith, but so much of what is out there hardly respectful. We have lost a sense of what is considered respectful disagreement and castigating others in a rage-filled online vent.

Pray for the Sanctification of the Priesthood


The Order of the Holy Cross has been holding a Holy Hour every Thursday night at 8:00 for the sanctification of the priesthood at Assumption Grotto.  I know of other parishes who hold holy hours with Exposition on Thursday nights - the night of Our Lord's Passion.   Can you give one hour every week in prayer for priests at an Adoration Chapel near you, or in a parish that is open, or in your home if those are not options?  Can you pray daily, the prayer by Saint Thérèse at the top of this page? Fathers - can you begin a Holy Hour for the sanctification of the priesthood and for priestly vocations every week? Bishops - can you arrange for a weekly holy hour in your cathedral for this purpose?

Below this line is the beginning of a conference that took place on May 17, 2000 and is found on the Vatican's website.  A link to continue reading is at the bottom.







Wednesday 17 May – The Saints speak to the Priests
CONFERENCE BY FR ANTONIO MARIA SICARI, OCD

SAINT TERESA OF THE CHILD JESUS AND THE PRIESTHOOD


It was a Sunday in July 1887.

Teresa Martin, an adolescent, shut her prayer book at the end of Mass, and suddenly she saw an image of Crucified Jesus on the margin: it was only the nailed hand of Jesus, and the drops of wine seemed to fall into emptiness…

Later on she told how much sorrow she had experienced in that moment, «at the thought that blood had fallen on the ground and nobody had paid any attention about collecting it…», and that was when she promised to spend her life at the foot of the Cross to collect the precious blood of Christ and give it to souls.

Thus began the ecclesial mission of Theresa of Lisieux.

However, there is a very interesting note, which she added to this episode: « Even the cry of Jesus on the Cross continuously echoed in my heart: «I am thirsty!» These words aroused in me a very strong burning never experienced before…I wanted to give my Lover to drink and I myself felt devoured by the thirst of souls. These were not yet the souls of priests who drew my attention, but the ones of great sinners – I was burning with the wish to pull them away from those eternal flames…» (Ms A. 45v).

When Theresa was about fourteen years of age, she thought of the great sinners, and implored for the salvation of a well-known criminal who was about to be hung.

She was not even thinking of priests at that time, because she was absolutely convinced of their holiness.

We know that as a child she simply identified them with Jesus.

Writing about her first confession, she said:

«Beloved Mother, how careful you were in preparing me by saying that I was telling my sins not to a man, but to the good Lord. I was really convinced of this. Hence I said my confession with a strong spirit of faith and even asked you whether I should say to Don Ducellier that I loved him with all my heart since I was talking to the good Lord through his person…» (Ms A 16v).
But when she took part in the pilgrimage to Rome organised by the dioceses of Coutances and Bayeux (one hundred and ninety-five pilgrims of whom seventy-three priests), her apostolic anxieties began to turn in particular towards priests.

She explained that change by simply saying the following:

«Praying for sinners fascinated me, but praying for the souls of priests, whom I thought were purer than crystal, seemed strange to me! Ah! I understood my vocation in Italy: it was not going too far to have such useful knowledge… I lived with many holy priests for one month and understood that, if their sublime dignity lifts them above the angels, this does not mean that they are not weak and fragile. If holy priests, whom Jesus calls in His Gospel «Salt of the Earth» show by their behaviour great need for prayer, then what must one say about the ones who are lukewarm? Did Jesus not also say: «If the salt lost its taste, what could one use to make it salty?» Oh Mother! How beautiful is the vocation to preserve that salt destined for souls! This is the vocation of Carmel, because the only purpose of our prayers and our sacrifices is to be anapostle of the apostles, to pray for them whilst they evangelise souls by words and above all by example…» (Ms A 56r).

Hence something deeply struck her during the pilgrimage: if even the most «holy» priests did not hide their weakness and fragility, and «showed by their behaviour to have great need of prayer»…Then what happened to the «lukewarm» people who spoilt «thsalt destined for souls»?


The question did not scandalise that young maiden who was going to Rome to ask Pope Leo XIII the grace to be able to enter the Carmelites at eighteen years of age. On the contrary: she threw a dazzling light on her vocation which so many people considered too immature.

Continue reading Saint Thérèse on praying for priests...



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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
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- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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