Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Pastoral Letter: Our Greatest Threat is in Abandoning the Practice of our Catholic Faith

Dear Catholic Parents,

I write to you in charity as a family that has been at one time, or is now, associated in any way with the Lord’s faith family at Saint Francis de Sales Parish.

We are in the midst of a terrible crisis. It is not one of wars or terrorism that threaten only our bodies and it is not an economic one, for we are able to eat and find shelter for which we thank God daily. The crisis of which I speak is one of a failure of faithful leadership on the part of many of our parents, those to whom Almighty God has entrusted our children, His greatest treasures.

We are saved by grace through faith. Our most terrifying thought should not be inspired by fear of anything in this world, but rather of losing our Catholic faith and, with it, our salvation. No one can replace parents in the role of educating our children in the faith and no one is given more power by God to serve as witnesses for our young people. This role cannot be abdicated or delegated to anyone else.

“We have here no lasting city” and the worst sort of idolatry by which the Evil One separates us from God and destroys our souls is the placing of idols in our lives where only God should be. This is what happens when we choose to replace worship of God on the Lord’s Day at holy Mass with anything else. If we do this we lose the state of grace imparted for the first time at Baptism and built up by reception of the Eucharist because if we break any one of God’s Commandments we break all of them.

To the many families who do not believe they can commit to anything beyond what is absolutely required for their children to receive Baptism, Communion or Confirmation we say with Christ, “Put out into the deep.” What are the signs of a soul open with hope for conversion and new life in Christ? Surely this means doing more than the mere minimum that others can see such as attending Sunday Mass but it is certainly a start.

Certainly there is the daily walk of faith than includes personal prayer but there is also the Sacrament of Confession so as to return to a state of grace after mortal sin and receive the Eucharist worthily, parish community life which offers learning and prayer beyond Sunday through adult faith formation, daily Mass and Eucharistic adoration to deepen personal faith formation.

Together we can bring an end to the widespread phenomenon in which, by default, Confirmation becomes in effect a “graduation” from full practice of the Catholic Faith.

Will you begin to take the steps today to stop the scandal of so many of our young people falling into mortal sin after Confirmation? I see them as they sadly walk away from Christ at Christmas and Easter unable to receive the Eucharist, unable to rely even on the loving encouragement of their parents to attend Sunday Mass weekly. We need prayer and action. If you or your children have indeed been away from Sunday Mass please help: be a true “friend” to your children by being a parent first through supporting and accompanying them to Sunday Mass weekly.

Jesus Christ is the sole savior of the world. The worst kind of climate change is that of the soul when we lose the state of grace through mortal sin. But God is ever merciful and through infinite love forgives us when we return to Him once again through the sacrament of Confession.

Thank you for reading my letter.

In prayer through the Lord’s saving mercy and infinite love,



Father Kevin M. Cusick
Pastor
Saint Francis de Sales Catholic Church
Benedict, Maryland

A Pastoral Letter: Our Greatest Threat is in Abandoning the Catholic Faith

more and more ‘experts’ who pretend to occupy the role of parents, who are relegated to second place,

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Addiction to images and virtual reality

Dear friends,

One of you recently messaged me about a sordid situation arising from an association based on a Facebook "friend" so I am writing to all of you about a Catholic practice for the sake of protecting chastity and peace of soul called "custody of the eyes".

Custody of the eyes is a protection of the heart, intellect and the will based on awareness of the false glory of the world and of the sometimes misleading nature of appearances.

Except for people I know personally outside of Internet context I use social networks under an operating assumption that images may not faithfully represent the identity of the person using them and that they may not intend for such to do so. Some parents use images of their children, for example. Some persons use images that portray themselves at a younger age.

The most egregious case of sinful use of images is pornography but that is not the only way that images can be misused for deception or manipulation of others.

When you friend someone in reality you can see the real person and make judgments, such as whether a continued friendship will be beneficial or not to your salvation. On Facebook and other social media such a judgment is impossible due to the fact that images can be manipulated. falsified or stolen.

Given this reality we must protect ourselves from potential moral danger either by assuming all images are not truly faithful to reality or by friending only those people that we know. Thus a decision and action is necessary.

Failing that, there is always the option of preserving peace and heart of mind and soul, as well as a state of grace, by foregoing Facebook altogether.

Salvation first.

Ad Iesu per Mariam,

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Veterum Sapientia Latin Conference hosted at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. this August 2-8

Salvete in Domino,

I wish to inform you of the third annual 
Veterum Sapientia Latin Conference hosted this year at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. this August 2-8 for priests, deacons, religious (male and female), and seminarians.

The program is called Veterum Sapientia, named after the Apostolic Constitution Saint John XXIII signed on the high altar of St. Peter's defending and promoting the study of Latin by seminarians.

VS is intended for intermediate to advanced students of Latin, the minimum being two semesters of seminary Latin. It will also be conducted entirely in Latin (or almost, depending on the skill level of participants). Through activities, conversation, and games the full-immersion experience helps participants transition from a passive knowledge of Latin to an active command, helping one to enter into the language more completely.  For us priests, that means entering more deeply into Latin prayers, sacraments, and ecclesial texts, helping us “sentire cum Ecclesia.”

Naturally, many are nervous about speaking Latin, especially at first.  Noli timere!  We are offering two tracks:  those speaking Latin for the first time and a more advanced group.  Many are amazed how quickly they find themselves beginning to hold conversations entirely in Latin just after a few days.
Cost is $150.  More information and registration can be found here:  www.veterumsapientia.com <http://www.veterumsapientia.com/>

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Parents: Our young people need your selfless love for their salvation, not another "friend"

The pastoral plan in our parish is to hand on the Faith to be lived for the whole of life. The reason that this is our plan is because it is God’s plan. Individuals and families are called to learn the tools and skills for the daily following of the Gospel. This requires conversion and new life for all of us. The daily following of the Gospel is not for a time but until death so as "to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth", a knowledge based upon the evidence of seeing God face to face forever in heaven.

For many families who do not believe they can commit to anything beyond what is absolutely required for their children to receive Confirmation we say with Christ, “Put out into the deep.” What are the signs of a soul open with hope for conversion and new life in Christ? Surely this means doing more than the mere minimum that others can see such as attending Sunday Mass.

Certainly there is the daily walk of faith than includes personal prayer but there is also the Sacrament of Confession so as to return to a state of grace after mortal sin and receive the Eucharist worthily, the opportunities for community life beyond Sunday such as adult faith formation, daily Mass, Eucharistic adoration and other opportunities for formative growth through learning and prayer. Together we can bring an end to the widespread phenomenon in which, by default, Confirmation becomes in effect a “graduation” from full practice of the Catholic Faith.

Will you begin to take the steps today to stop the scandal on the part of so many of our young people who fall into mortal sin after Confirmation? I see them as they sadly walk away from Christ unable to receive the Eucharist, unable to rely even on the loving encouragement of their parents to attend Sunday Mass. We need prayer and action. Please help. Meeting Christ in the Liturgy: Our young people need your selfless love for their salvation

Thursday, April 30, 2015

LOURDES AND THE INTERNATIONAL MILITARY PILGRIMAGE

The history of Christian pilgrimages to Lourdes began with Bernadette Soubirous, who was born at the Boly Mill in Lourdes to François Soubirous and Louise Castérot on 7 January 1844. The eldest of nine children, Bernadette lived at the mill with her siblings and parents for ten years. After facing dire financial circumstances, the family moved to an unused prison, known as the Cachot, where they lived in considerable poverty.

On 11 February 1858, 14-year-old Bernadette was sent to collect firewood at the nearby river, Gave de Pau. Noticing a strange wind, she looked up from the riverbank and saw a beautiful lady dressed in white appearing in a hollow of a rocky cave. Bernadette received 18 such visions of this woman in white, who eventually identified herself as the Immaculate Conception, a Marian title solemnized less than five years earlier by Pope Pius IX. During the apparitions, Our Lady shared with Bernadette the message of the importance of faith, prayer and repentance. She guided Bernadette to uncover an underground stream, whose waters have long been a source of spiritual and physical healing to pilgrims throughout the world.

In 1866, Bernadette entered the Convent of the Sisters of Charity in Nevers, where she died on 16 April 1879, at the age of 35. Recognized for her humble simplicity and devout faith, Bernadette was declared a saint of the Church by Pope Pius XI on 8 December 1933.

Responding to Our Lady’s call for prayer and repentance, pilgrims — including members of the armed forces — have flocked to Lourdes for more than 150 years. During the Second World War, members of the French military visited the site of St. Bernadette’s apparitions, where they offered prayers for peace. On 10 December 1944, U.S. military personnel joined British, Belgian, French and Russian military representatives for a Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, which had been built in 1901 to accommodate the large number of worshipers visiting the apparition site.

In 1947, a German military chaplain — who had been held as a prisoner of war in France since 1944 — was invited to participate in a military pilgrimage held in September that year. By the next year, German and Belgian soldiers began participating in larger numbers, followed by soldiers from many other countries.

In 1958, the year of the 100th anniversary of the apparitions, the first official International Military Pilgrimage (Pèlerinage Militaire International or PMI) took place. In 2014, Bishop Luc Ravel of the Diocese of the French Armed Forces presided over the pilgrimage, welcoming military chaplains, service men and service women from various delegations throughout the world. This year’s pilgrimage, which marks the 57th anniversary of the PMI, focuses on the theme “I Am My Brother’s Keeper.”

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Cardinal Brandmüller: Advocates for changing Catholic teaching on marriage are ‘heretics’ – even if they are bishops

April 14, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Cardinal Walter Brandmüller has been among the leading voices critical of proposals stemming from the Vatican’s Synod on the Family that risk subverting Catholic teaching on the sacraments and morality. He was one of five cardinals who contributed to the book Remaining in the Truth of Christ, which focused on criticizing Cardinal Walter Kasper’s proposal to open up Communion to those in irregular sexual unions.
LifeSiteNews contributor Dr. Maike Hickson interviewed Cardinal Brandmüller last month.
LifeSiteNews: Could you present once more for our readers clearly the teaching of the Catholic Church, as it has been consistently taught throughout centuries concerning marriage and its indissolubility? 
Cardinal: The answer is to be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 1638-1642.
Can the Church admit remarried couples to Holy Communion, even though their second marriage is not valid in the eyes of the Church?
That would be possible if the concerned couples would make the decision to live in the future like brother and sister. This solution is especially worth considering when the care for children disallows a separation. The decision for such a path would be a convincing expression of the penance for the previous and protracted act of adultery.
Can the Church deal with the topic of marriage in a pastoral manner that is different from the continual teaching of the Church? Can the Church at all change the teaching itself without falling herself into heresy?
It is evident that the pastoral practice of the Church cannot stand in opposition to the binding doctrine nor simply ignore it. In the same manner, an architect could perhaps build a most beautiful bridge. However, if he does not pay attention to the laws of structural engineering, he risks the collapse of his construction. In the same manner, every pastoral practice has to follow the Word of God if it does not want to fail. A change of the teaching, of the dogma, is unthinkable. Who nevertheless consciously does it, or insistently demands it, is a heretic – even if he wears the Roman Purple.
Is not the whole discussion about the admittance of remarried to the Holy Eucharist also an expression of the fact that many Catholics do not believe any more in the Real Presence and rather think that they receive in Holy Communion anyway only a piece of bread?
Indeed, there is an indissoluble inner contradiction in someone who wants to receive the Body and Blood of Christ and to unite himself with Him, while in the same time he disregards consciously His Commandment. How shall this work? St. Paul says about this matter: 'Who eats and drinks unworthily, is eating and drinking his judgment...' But: You are right. By far not all Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the consecrated host. One can see this fact already in the way many – even priests – pass the tabernacle without genuflection.
Why is there nowadays such a strong attack on the indissolubility of marriage within the Church? A possible answer could be that the spirit of relativism has entered the Church, but there must be more reasons. Could you name some? And are not all these reasons a sign of the crisis of Faith within the Church herself?@MCITLFrAphorism: Cardinal Brandmüller: Advocates for changing Catholic teaching on marriage are ‘heretics’ – even if they are bishops https://t.co/pLgoale3P5

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