Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Feast of St. Andre Bessette, CSC

St. Andre Bessette, whose feast we celebrate, as St. Joseph interceded for you so may you intercede for us to the glory of God.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sacred Music Colloquium at Notre Dame...

This colloquium poses tremendously interesting questions which whirl around points of theology and beauty, between personal taste and communal beliefs.   As I research the concept of formation and specifically liturgical formation, I wonder what is it about music that is formative?  Style is less important, substance is essential.  Can all styles hold and convey the depth of substance which is the Faith?  I look forward to this colloquium and wish it great success.

More from the organizers:

What constitutes great sacred music? Should we prefer the historical repertories of chant, polyphony  and baroque cantatas that have been recognized for their beauty and spiritual refinement? Or do we embrace the music of the people and of the times?  Do we judge the quality of sacred music on the basis of its intrinsic beauty or for its capacity to promote congregational participation? Should liturgical music have a separate style than music for everyday life?  Can we question the role of contemporary popular styles and of publishers' anthologies if they appeal to the congregation?
A distinguished group of composers, scholars and conductors will examine these topics from their individual perspectives, to ascertain if the beauty and spiritual inspiration of sacred music can emerge from different models, practices and performance contexts.

The discussions will be complemented by readings of new works of sacred music proposed by emerging composers and conductors registered in the colloquium. Young composers will be able to discuss their scores privately with the master composers of the conference.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Aquinas on Feast Days...

By St. Thomas Aquinas (Decalog. 17)
Trans. by Philip Hughes, 1937
Man is bound to keep feast days holy. Now a thing is said to be holy in one of two ways, either because the thing is itself unspotted or because it is consecrated to God.

We must say something then of the kind of works from which we should
abstain on such days and also of the kind with which we should occupy ourselves.

First, by offering sacrifices.  In chapter 28 of the Book of Numbers God commanded that everyday, in the morning and again in the evening, a lamb should be offered up, but that on the Sabbath this offering should be doubled. This teaches us that we too ought on the sabbath to offer a sacrifice, a sacrifice taken from all that we possess.

We make this sacrifice in three ways:

First, we ought to make an offering of our soul, lamenting our sins and giving thanks for the benefits we have received. Let my prayer, Lord, be directed as incense in your sight, Psalm 140 says.  Feast days are instituted to give us spiritual joy, and the means to this is prayer.  Hence on such days we should multiply our prayers.

Second, we should offer our body. I beseech you therefore brothers and sisters, says St. Paul to the Romans, by the mercy of God, that you offer your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God.  And we should give praise to God. Psalm 50 says, the sacrifice of praise shall glorify me.  Therefore on feast days hymns should be numerous.

And third, we should offer our goods, and this by giving alms by giving on feast days a double amount, for these are times of universal rejoicing.

 Let us turn to the second way we ought to occupy ourselves on a feast day - by study of the Word of God.  This indeed was the practice of the Jews, as we read in the 13th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.  The voices of the prophets, which are read every sabbath.  Christians therefore,……ought on such days to meet together for sermons and for the Church s office.  And likewise for profitable conversation. Here are two things truly profitable for the soul of the sinner, sure means to his amendment. For the word of God instructs the ignorant and stirs up those that are lukewarm.

And the third way to occupy ourselves on a feast day is the direct occupation with the things of God.  This is done by those who are perfect. In Psalm 33 we read, Taste and see that the Lord is sweet, and this because He gives rest to the soul. For just as the body worn out with toil craves for rest, so too does the soul. Now the soul’s place is God. Be thou unto me a God, a protector and a place of refuge, Psalm 30 says.

But before the soul can attain to this peace, it must already have found peace in three other ways.

First, it must have peace from the uneasiness of sin.  The heart of the wicked man is like a raging sea, which cannot rest , the Prophet Isaiah tells us.

Second, it must have peace from the attractions of bodily desires. For the flesh lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh (Gal. v. 17).

And lastly, it must have peace from the cares of everyday life. Martha, Martha, you are careful and are troubled about many things (Luke x. 41). But after these are attained the soul shall truly rest in God. If you call the sabbath delightful, then shall you be delighted in the Lord (Is. Iviii. 14).

 It is for this that the saints have left all things, for this is that treasure which a man having found, hid it, and for joy thereof goes and sells all that he has, and buys (Matt. xiii. 44).  For this is the peace of eternal life and of the joy that shall last forever, This is my rest for ever and ever: here I dwell, for I have chosen it (Ps. cxxxi. 4).

Monday, August 05, 2013

Profession of First Vows...

With joy and thanksgiving
the Congregation of Holy Cross,
United States Province of Priests and Brothers,
announces the First Profession of Vows of:
Christopher W. Brennan, C.S.C.
Michael P. Eardley, C.S.C.
Brian D. Kennedy, C.S.C.
Brendan J. McAleer, C.S.C.
Brendan T. Ryan, C.S.C.
Timothy R. Weed, C.S.C.
on Saturday, August 3, 2013
at Sacred Heart Church, Colorado Springs, CO.

Praised be God for the gift of their religious vocations.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

The Immaculate Heart of Mary

We can never, in view of all this, comprehend the merit of the heart of Mary.  We can but begin to imagine the holiness of that heart in which the Eternal Father prepared a dwelling for His only Son, and in which the Holy Ghost celebrated His ineffable espousals.  God must needs have united therein all the purity of the heart of Susanna, all the fortitude of the heart of Judith, all the piety of the heart of Esther, all the faith of the heart of Abraham, all the hope of the hearts of the prophets, all the zeal of the hearts of the Apostles, all the heroism of the hearts of the martyrs, all the innocence of the hearts of the virgins.

In olden times when infidels menaced the Christian peoples, the Sovereign Pontiffs, to encourage pious knights, dictated to them some invocation to Mary, which would serve as a motto and countersign.  Then the soldiers went to combat full of confidence and victory was granted their arms.  We need such a Christian word today. They are no longer barbarians who declare war on us today, it is true, but Christians, brothers who are divided and who destroy one another.  Nations are shaken, rulers unite against the Lord and His Christ, and peoples plan vain conspiracies, To whom shall we have recourse? To the heart of Mary.  Let others trust in their horses, arms, and chariots (Ps. 19:8)  As for us, strong in our faith and strength from on high, we cry to the heart of Mary.  She will have pity on us for she is compassionate and will not permit that we perish.

 --- Blessed Basil Moreau, CSC

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Habemus papam...

Let us pray for our Holy Father, Pope Francis.

May the Lord preserve him,
give him a long life,
make him blessed upon the earth,
and may the Lord not hand him over
to the power of his enemies.

May your hand be upon your holy servant.

Upon your son whom you have chosen for this ministry.

Let us pray.

O God,
the pastor and ruler of all the faithful,
in your mercy look upon your servant, Francis.,
whom you have appointed to preside over your Church.

Grant, we beseech you,
that by word and example
he may edify all those under his charge
so that, with the flock entrusted to him,
he may arrive at length unto life everlasting.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

---- Directory of Devotional Prayer, Congregation of Holy Cross

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ratzinger Prize...

Heart-felt congratulations to Fr. Brian Daley, SJ for receiving the 2012 Ratzinger Prize.  He is a man of sincerity and dedication and I am quite grateful to have had him as professor, spiritual director [don't blame him], and now a priest to minister alongside.

The Holy Father addressed these words at the awarding.

"I warmly congratulate Prof. Daley and Prof. Brague, who by their personalities illustrate this initiative in its second edition. And here I mean “personality” in the full sense: the character of the research and the whole scientific endeavor; the precious service of teaching, which both have undertaken for many years; but also their being, naturally in in different ways – one a Jesuit, the other a married layman – working in the Church, active in offering their qualified contribution to the Church’s presence in today’s world.

In this regard I noted something that led to some reflection, and that is that this year’s two recipients are competent and engaged in two matters that are decisive for the Church of our times: I am referring to ecumenism and the encounter with other religions. Father Daley, studying the Fathers of the Church in depth, has placed himself in the best school for knowing and loving the Church one and undivided but in the richness of her different traditions; thus he carries out a service of responsibility in relations with the Orthodox Churches. And Prof. Brague is a great scholar of the philosophy of religions, particularly the medieval Jewish and Islamic."

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Bishop Teaches...

Bishop Daniel Jenky, CSC, of the Diocese of Peoria, has issued the following letter upon which we might reflect and act.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Our Lady of Sorrows, Patroness of the Congregation of Holy Cross...

Having celebrated yesterday the great solemnity of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the Church situates the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows next to it, just as she stood next to the Cross upon which her Son brought redemption to the world.

Mary, under the title of Our Lady of Sorrows, is the patroness of the Congregation of Holy Cross.  Our founder, Blessed Basil Moreau, entrusted his new community to her protection.

Fr. Molinaro, CSC offers a reflection upon the significance of this feast.

Last night, the New York based ensemble Pomerium performed a selection of Renaissance pieces in honor of Mary.   One such piece was the sequence Stabat mater composed by Josquin Desprez.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Conference reminder....

A reminder to attend the upcoming conference sponsored by Sacred Music at Notre Dame and featuring composer James MacMillan.  More information can be found at MSM.

Friday, August 17, 2012

MacMillan at Notre Dame...

I highly encourage participation in the upcoming "Modes of Mary and the Cross" music festival.  Along with several musicians will be the presence of Scottish composer James MacMillan.  Sponsored in-part by the Notre Dame Sacred Music program, the three day festival will surely be worthwhile.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Kolbe the Saint...

To his  parents he was called Raymund.
To his fellow Franciscans he was called Maximilian Maria.
To the Nazi guards of Auschwitz he was called #16670.
To the Church, he is called a saint.

And to husband and father Franciszek Gajowniczek, for whom St. Maximilian Kolbe laid down his life, he is called a friend and brother.

When others chose to see lives as faceless numbers, St. Maximilian put his face forward.

In the presence of hatred, he chose love.

In the presence of revenge and violence, he chose mercy.

Praised be God for his example and intercession.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

"....of the deepest..."

"Have you ever thought about the community of suffering?  Have you considered that one man transmits to  another not only the force of example, speech and instruction, not only the superflux of grace and the efficacy of prayer and intercession, but also the power of suffering?  Have you ever contemplated a truth of awe-inspiring  profundity: that whenever one member offers his suffering to God for others in the community of Christ's Passion, that suffering becomes a life-giving and redeeming force for those for whom it has been offered up, and where nothing else could bring them help at any distance in space and in spite of any barriers intervening.

Not one of us knows to what extent he is living by the power of grace which flows into him through others - by the hidden prayer of the tranquil heart, the atoning sacrifices offered up by persons unknown to him, and the satisfaction made on his behalf by those who is in silence offer themselves for their breathren.  It is a community of the deepest and most intimate forces.  They are silent, for nothing noisy can produce these substantial effects.  But it cannot resist them because their source is God."
                        -- Romano Guardini, The Church and the Catholic, 1935, p 103.

My recent encounter with this moving passage coincided with the personal encounter of a beautiful soul who is a local hermit - sanctioned and blessed by the diocese.  The eremitical life, generally thought of as a sort of past legend, is a profound life that has always existed and always will.  "It is a community of the deepest and most intimate forces."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

First Profession of Vows 2012

Congratulations to and blessings upon our novices who will make their first profession of vows in the Congregation of Holy Cross this Saturday, July 28th.

"We accept the Lord’s call to pledge ourselves publicly and perpetually as members of the Congregation of Holy Cross by the vows of consecrated celibacy, poverty and obedience. Great is the mystery and meaning within these vows. And yet their point is simple. They are an act of love for the God who first loved us. By our vows we are committed to single-hearted intimacy with God, to trusting dependence upon God and to willing surrender to God. We wish thus to live in the image of Jesus, who was sent in love to announce God’s rule and who beckons to us to follow him."   --Constitutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross, 43.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

St. Benedict, Pray for Us....

Town square of Norcia (Nursia), Italy where Sts. Benedict and Scholastica were born.
Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Benedict, founder of Western Monasticism and author of the Rule of St. Benedict which for centuries and to this very day has guided men and women in the spiritual life.

God's blessings to the Benedictine Sisters of Holy Angels Convent in Jonesboro, AR who taught thousands of families including my own. 

God bless the Benedictine monks of St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, MN who assist students in all matters liturgical. 

And to the Benedictine community of Sant'Anselmo on the Aventine Hill in Rome, may God's blessings be with you all.

Prayers for Peace....

God save us and the Christian people of Nigeria.  From the Associated Press:

JOS, Nigeria, JULY 10, 2012 - Today Boko Haram, an extremist Islamic group, claimed responsibility for attacks over the weekend that killed many people in villages near the central Nigerian town of Jos.

Christians "will not know peace again" if they do not accept Islam, said a statement from the Boko Haram sect, according to the Associated Press.

According to the Associated Press hundreds of assailants armed with guns and machetes stormed a dozen Christian villages on Saturday. Estimates of the numbers killed vary, but one report put it at 65.

In a press release written in a local dialect of Hausa and signed by Boko Haram leader Abul Qaqa, the group said, "We thank God for our success in the attack on Christians at Barikin Ladi and Riyom, whereby security agents, Christians and two state and national assembly members were killed,” according to Reuters.

Gunmen, divided into five groups, attacked 10 villages, killing mostly women and children on Saturday night, according to a report by a Nigerian newspaper, The Nation.

According to the report the attackers came back as the bodies from the initial attack were being buried. Among those killed in the second attack were some local legislators.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Some Summer Reading....

With multiple flights back to the States and then to my hometown for Masses and a baptism, I picked up a book that had been highly recommended to me by friends of the author, Thomas Hibbs.  Originally published in 1999 and revised this year, Shows About Nothing explores the presence of Nihilism in American society through the lens of both film and television.

If you are the sort who has never heard of or just has a casual understanding of nihilism, the influence of Nietzsche, or the ongoing effects of Romanticism, then Shows will not only explain them, but will also cause surprise as it effectively reveals how influenced we Americans are by these ubiquitous traits.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus....

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus which is a Titular Feast for the priest society in the Congregation of Holy Cross.

This Spring the Congregation for Clergy at the Vatican encouraged a renewal of sanctity among all Christians and particularly among priests. 

And so we join our prayers with that of St. Faustina.

O my Jesus, I beg You on behalf of the whole Church:
Grant it love and the light of Your Spirit,
and give power to the words of Priests
so that hardened hearts might be brought to repentance and return to You, O Lord.

Lord, give us holy Priests;
You yourself maintain them in holiness.

O Divine and Great High Priest,
may the power of Your mercy
accompany them everywhere and protect them
from the devil's traps and snares
which are continually being set for the soul of Priests.

May the power of Your mercy,
O Lord, shatter and bring to naught
all that might tarnish the sanctity of Priests,
for You can do all things.

My beloved Jesus,
I pray to you for the triumph of the Church,
that you may bless the Holy Father and all the clergy;
I beg you to grant the grace of conversion
to sinners whose hearts have been hardened by sin,
and a special blessing and light to priests,
to whom I shall confess for all of my life.

-- Saint Faustina Kowalska

Saturday, June 09, 2012

The University of Portland will host the delegates to the 2012 Chapter of the United States Province of Priests and Brothers of the Congregation of Holy Cross. 

Let us keep the delegates and their deliberations in our prayers as they meet from June 10 - 22.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of our delegates to the Chapter and kindle in them the fire of your love.  Inspire them with Your sevenfold gifts;

The gift of wisdom that they might desire all that is right and good;

The gift of understanding that they might penetrate deeply into the mysteries You have revealed;

The gift of counsel that they might hear and be guided by Your voice as spoken through Chapter;

The gift of knowledge that they might discern Your truth;

The gift of fortitude that they might be ever faithful and vigilant to the needs of the Church and the works of the Province;

The gift of piety that they might witness true holiness of heart;

And the gift of fear of the Lord that they might trust in Divine Providence and grow always stronger in virtue.

Guide the discernment of our delegates as they consider our vowed life and mission.  Fill them with zeal for the apostolates.  May their decisions further strengthen our brotherhood in Holy Cross as together we shape a future faithful to Your will.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray  for us!

Saint Joseph, pray for us!

Blessed Basil Moreau, pray for us!

Saint Andre Bessette, pray for us!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

May: The Month of Mary

MAY is Mary’s month, and I
Muse at that and wonder why:
   Her feasts follow reason,
   Dated due to season—

Candlemas, Lady Day;
But the Lady Month, May,
   Why fasten that upon her,
   With a feasting in her honour?

Is it only its being brighter
Than the most are must delight her?
   Is it opportunest
   And flowers finds soonest?

Ask of her, the mighty mother:
Her reply puts this other
   Question: What is Spring?—
   Growth in every thing—

Flesh and fleece, fur and feather,
Grass and greenworld all together;
   Star-eyed strawberry-breasted
   Throstle above her nested

Cluster of bugle blue eggs thin
Forms and warms the life within;
   And bird and blossom swell
   In sod or sheath or shell.

All things rising, all things sizing
Mary sees, sympathising
   With that world of good,
   Nature’s motherhood.

Their magnifying of each its kind
With delight calls to mind
   How she did in her stored
   Magnify the Lord.

Well but there was more than this:
Spring’s universal bliss
   Much, had much to say
   To offering Mary May.

When drop-of-blood-and-foam-dapple
Bloom lights the orchard-apple
   And thicket and thorp are merry
   With silver-surfèd cherry

And azuring-over greybell makes
Wood banks and brakes wash wet like lakes
   And magic cuckoocall
   Caps, clears, and clinches all—

This ecstasy all through mothering earth
Tells Mary her mirth till Christ’s birth
   To remember and exultation
   In God who was her salvation.

--- The May Magnificat by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Sunday, April 29, 2012

49th World Day of Prayer for Vocations

The Congregation of Holy Cross and the Universal Church invite you to pray this day in particular for the gift of discernment of Christian vocations.

God our Father,
we thank you for having called us to be your son and daughters,
to work together as brothers and sisters for the mission of Christ.
Transform our minds and hearts,
and guide us along the pathways of Truth.

Lord Jesus,
let us experience the peace and joy
of your presence in our midst.
Make us faithful disciples,
educators in the faith,
servants who are sensitive to the poor and needy.

Holy Spirit of God,
enlighten and strengthen us
in living and proclaiming the good news of salvation,
so that the witness of our lives as disciples
may inspire young men and women today
to lay down their lives in service of you
especially as priests, brothers, and sisters in Holy Cross.

Hear this prayer,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.