Monday, May 27, 2013

On 30 May at Saint Francis de Sales, Benedict, MD: Missa cantata and procession for feast of Corpus Christi

The parish of Saint Francis de Sales in Benedict, Maryland, will celebrate the Solemnity of Corpus Christi with a Missa cantata in the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, on Thursday 30 May 2013, at 7 pm. The customary Eucharistic procession and benediction will immediately follow the Mass.

The church is located at 7185 Benedict Avenue, Benedict, Maryland 20612.
Cibavit eos ex adipe frumenti, alleluia: et de petra, melle saturavit eos, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Ps. Exsultate Deo adjutori nostro: jubilate Deo Jacob.

Gloria Patre, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper et in saeculae saeculorum, Amen.

Cibavit eos ex adipe frumenti, alleluia: et de petra, melle saturavit eos, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Oculi omnium in te sperant, Domine: et tu das illis escam in tempore opportuno.
Aperis tu manum tuam: et imples omne animal benedictione. Alleluia.

Sequentia: Lauda Sion
Click here for Latin text and English translation at Wikipedia

Sacerdotes Domini incensum et panes offerunt Deo:
et ideo sancti erunt Deo suo, et non polluent nomen ejus, alleluia.

Link for MP3 Chant recording

Quotiescumque manducabitis panem hunc, et calicem bibetis, mortem Domini annuntiabitis, donec veniat: itaque quicumque manducaverit panem, vel biberit calicem Domini indigne, reus erit corporis et sanguinis Domini, alleluia.

Link for MP3 Chant recording

Ad processionem

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

“Heather Has Two Mommies” And Goes To Catholic School


Change agents are turning up the temperature of the societal pressure-cooker on the family and on marriage as its source. News reports that a father “isn’t very happy” about the fact that his wife is carrying twins after a $10,000 invest­ment in IVF treatment is the latest in the annals of the manipulation of life and the context for new life within the family.

Other signs of the rejection of God and His plan for marriage and family life are the appearance within our Catholic schools and parishes of the enrollment of children who have two legal guardian mothers or two fathers by choice.

Observers are quick to comment that any action or conduct on the part of the school, the staff, or the pastor is inappropriate if, as a result of it, a child may feel hurt. This must be quickly corrected to recognize that the two mothers or the two fathers of the child involved must be charged with the consequences of what was their decision only.

No Catholics in this scenario should ever tolerate being made to feel respon­sible for any negative feelings or experiences suffered by the child as a result of faithfulness to Catholic mission and teaching. As well, the parental decision to enroll the child in a Catholic school must be brought to the attention of anyone who places pressure on the school or the teacher in the classroom to modify their words or behavior in order to “tiptoe” around the child and his or her feel­ings.

The common good comes first and the common good within a Catholic school demands the full, free, and transparent handing on the Catholic faith for the salvation of souls.

We see here again the sad results of the manipulation of the family and the children involved in order to advance the agenda that a family is not what God has made, but what human beings decide it will be. The human dignity of the children is violated when they are relegated to the status of mere property or trophies in an effort to redefine the family.

Teachers in the classroom are on the front lines of the culture wars as children with two mothers or two fathers are pushed into Catholic schools and parishes. Whether or not these phenomena are signs of a concerted attempt to undermine God’s plan from within His Church or not, Catholic schools are faced with the task of figuring out how in the meantime to preserve Catholic identity.

Catholic schools exist first and foremost to aid in the Church’s mission of saving souls. Thus, their purpose includes handing on the Catholic faith, which includes Church teaching on faith and morals. This vision typically starts with the bishop and is carried forward by the pastor of the parish and school.

Teachers have a right to clear guidance in view of the current context of con­fusion caused by legal redefinition and moral manipulation of marriage and family life.

With that in mind, we come to the recent case of a Catholic school teacher tasked with instruction on the sacraments — to include marriage, of course. Among the best and brightest students in her classroom is the daughter of two female legal guardians. It is pretty safe to assume they are so by choice; howev­er, an assumption that anything other than the publicly evident legal relation­ship of the two same-sex adults exists must be strictly avoided on the part of the school staff, thus their designated status as legal guardians only is appropriate. Procedures must include firm discouragement of any inappropriate questioning or conversation on the part of other students or parents that involves conjec­tures about morals.

At the same time, there must be within the school consistent evidence that its Catholic identity is not up for grabs or subject to compromise. Truth in adver­tising is a matter of fairness to all who decide to become a part of the Catholic school community.

The Catholic teacher is charged by Christ with being a witness, stating clear­ly and objectively the truth about holy matrimony as a lifelong, exclusive union between one man and one woman open to new life. Any questions as a result of this can be answered charitably, including, “Well, what about my family?” on the part of a child with two guardians of the same sex. The teacher should sim­ply and firmly refuse to comment about individual cases and repeat what God teaches about the family. Individual conclusions or personal applications which may result from such teaching do not fall within the purview or responsibility of the teacher who is simply informing consciences.

As well, it is good to also remind students or other questioners that every individual is responsible for informing and following his or her own conscience and that the task of the Church, and those who hand on the teaching of the Church, is only to aid in that process.

What happens when the teacher is treated as expendable after clearly and charitably enunciating Catholic teaching on marriage within the classroom be­cause of resulting pressure on the pastor and the administrators? We call this martyrdom.

This article appeared in a recent issue of The Wanderer Catholic Newspaper.

(Subscribe to public updates by Fr. Cusick on Facebook at Reverendo Padre-Kevin Michael Cusick or follow on Twitter at MCITL. Visit Meeting Christ in the Liturgy at for teachings from the Catechism of the Catholic Church paired with the Scriptures of Holy Mass for every day of the week. Fr. Cusick blogs at APriestLife. blogspot. com and you can e- mail him at .)

Friday, May 10, 2013

"No more 'pickled pepper, sour-puss faces' " says Pope Francis

Sourpusses hurt the church's witness, mission, pope says at Mass

Pope Francis blows a kiss as he arrives to lead his weekly audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican May 8. (CNS/Reuters)
By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Using a phrase that translates literally as "the face of a pickled pepper," Pope Francis said that when Christians have more of a sourpuss than a face that communicates the joy of being loved by God, they harm the witness of the church.

"The Christian is a man or woman of joy," the pope said May 10, giving a homily during his morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

While happiness is a good thing, the pope said, it's not the same as the profound joy that comes from "the certainty that Jesus is with us and with the Father."

If one tries to be happy all the time, he said, that happiness ends up "transforming itself into lightness, superficiality and leads to a state of lacking Christian wisdom; it can make us fools, dupes, no?"

"Joy is something else. Joy is a gift from the Lord. It fills us from the inside," the pope said at the Mass attended by staff from Vatican Radio and concelebrated by Venezuelan Archbishop Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo of Merida and Abbot Notker Wolf, the Benedictine abbot primate.

The joy the Lord gives cannot be "bottled up so we can keep it with us," he said. "If we want this joy just for ourselves, in the end it will make us sick and our hearts will shrivel up and our faces will not transmit that great joy, but nostalgia, that melancholy that isn't healthy."

Joy naturally leads to generosity, he said.

Pope Francis said joy is a "pilgrim virtue," one that moves Christians to journey out into the world preaching the Gospel and proclaiming Christ.

Joy, he said, "is one of the virtues of the great," of those who don't allow themselves to get caught up in silly little annoyances or in "little things inside the community of the church; they always look to the horizon."

"The Christian sings with joy and walks carrying this joy," the pope said.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cardinal Wuerl: "Pope Francis and the Teachings of the Church"

Dear Friends,

"Will the new Pope, Pope Francis, change the Church’s position on things such as abortion? Will he change Church teaching on sexual morality?" These and similar questions I received in the days and weeks following the election of the first Pope from the New World.

Most Catholics know what the answers are.  But some, and many others who ask these questions, do not.

The questions and misunderstanding about the teaching authority of the Pope oftentimes grow out of the idea that what we are talking about is public policy, much like the government having policy on immigration, gun control, health care.  Catholic teaching  on matters of faith and morals is very different.  It is not man-made policy or a position that results from majority rule; it is not the Pope’s opinion or personal policy preferences.  It is revealed truth that is not open to change by human beings.

In a society and culture where personal freedom is viewed as absolute and individual independence is presented as autonomy from objective right and wrong, or from our relationship and obligations to one another, it is easy to see why the Church is often labeled as archaic, oppressive and even discriminatory. Yet the fact remains the Ten Commandments, for example, are as obligatory today as they were nearly 2,000 years ago when Jesus confirmed their validity and as they were 3,000 years ago when King David knew he was bound by them, even when he violated them, or centuries earlier when Moses presented them. These Commandments remain valid because they are revealed moral truth and, far from being oppressive, the truth sets us free, as Jesus taught us (John 8:32).
Yes, there are some Church laws that can be changed.  The prohibition against eating meat on Fridays was a man-made Church law.  It could be and was changed.  In some parts of the world there are holy days of obligation, different from those that we follow in the United States.  These are man-made Church laws that can be, and sometimes are, changed.

What cannot be changed is that core of the Judeo-Christian tradition rooted in God’s revelation and expressed in commandments such as You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not bear false witness, You shall not steal.

The Church simply cannot declare that abortion is acceptable or a good thing, no matter how popular that cultural belief might be, even among some Catholics.  It cannot simply announce that there are no moral parameters to human sexual activity.  Neither the Pope, nor bishops, nor a majority of faithful can declare that the unjust taking of what belongs to others – stealing – is morally acceptable or a good thing.

To understand Catholic teaching, we have to go back to the very beginning – to God’s revelation of who God is and, therefore, who we are and how we are to live.

Among the gifts that we have received in our created human nature is the natural light of human reason.  The beauty of creation and the wonder of the world speak to us of a creative power far beyond us, of a God who creates with great order and majesty.  Built into creation is an order that we simply do not have the power to dismiss.  Fret as we might, the law of gravity binds us to the earth.

We also are aware of the voice of conscience.  There is a moral law every bit as binding as physical laws.  This insistent call to goodness which we hear in our heart is the voice of conscience.  It is a manifestation of the presence of God within us.

Through human reason it is possible to know from the world that God exists and that there is a way of life particular to human beings that distinguishes us from beasts.  However, so that we do not have to rely on our limited human experience alone, lest we be confused, God speaks to us directly.  God reveals himself to us through the events of salvation history and through the words of the prophets.  Most of all, he has spoken to us through his Son, Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.  This happens so that we might firmly respond to God’s love and call with a “Yes” of faith.

The knowledge of God that grows out of faith is far more complete and reliable than any other knowledge we have.  It is based not merely on the strength of human insight and interpretation, but on God himself.  As Jesus taught us, “Anyone who hears these words and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.  The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock” (Matthew 7:24-25).

The task of authentically interpreting the word of God has been entrusted exclusively to the Church’s living teaching office, the bishops in communion with the Pope, the Successor of Peter.  The Church’s authority in this matter is exercised in Jesus’ name (Catechism of the Catholic Church 85 and Dei Verbum 10).  Thus, we begin to see why it is that Pope Francis, or any Pope for that matter, cannot simply change Church teaching.  It is not his to alter.  His task is to pass it on.  “Tradition” means “handing on” and the Church is responsible for passing on faithfully all that it has received from the Lord.  Bishops and those who assist them in teaching the word of God are to pass on the saving message of Christ in its entirety.

So, will the Pope change the teaching of the Catholic Church in matters of faith and morality?  The short answer is no, he will not because he cannot.

Ultimately, this answer makes sense only to those who are prepared to accept that God has broken the silence of the human condition and spoken to us.  For those of us who do believe that the Word of God has come into our world, the faithfulness of the Pope and bishops to Divine Revelation is a cause of profound reassurance.  We come to know that God loves us so fully and completely that he offers us real freedom and eternal life, if we will only accept God’s word, believe it and live it.

With every good wish I am,

Faithfully in Christ,

Donald Cardinal Wuerl
Archbishop of Washington

Monday, May 6, 2013

Charity Is The Greatest “Tradition”


A peculiar or unusual transition in the Church calls for peculiar in­novations, just as a peculiar crisis calls for peculiar solutions which may also appear to be innovations. Reactions to these novelties, how­ever, must be guided by a desire for ancient wisdom and age- old chari­ty.
Pope Francis’ decision to reside at Domus Sanctae Marthae, rather than moving immediately into the papal apartments on the third floor of the apostolic palace where Popes have lived for many years, was viewed somewhat guardedly by papal standard- bearers. The Pope must live where the other Popes lived, they said, and when he did not, some were quick to put a negative spin on the new development, reacting as if the only way the decision could be viewed was as a blow to tradi­tion, a violation of precedent, and a sign of other possible unwanted changes to come. Fear bred further fear through a thoughtless and un­charitable gloss of the innovation.

Pope Francis, however, may have chosen to remain at the Domus out of respect for his still- living Predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict who, as of your reading this column, will have moved into the monastery prepared for him in the Vatican gardens. Pope Francis is most directly affected by the innovation of papal resignation that led to his election, and his decisions should not be seen in themselves as innovations, but, rather, as prudent adjustments in view of the unusual circumstances in which he finds himself functioning as Pope. That is, with another ex-Pope living in his backyard.

It is expected of Francis, and a gesture that he gladly and lovingly gives, that he show deference and respect for Benedict and we must in charity and with prayer allow him the room he needs to do that, ac­cording to the inspirations which the Holy Spirit gives him. Judgments must be firmly rejected as ever.

This applies also to the papal commission of cardinals which Pope Francis has chosen from various continents. He is faced with a crisis in the Church that is characterized by new problems necessitating new answers and effective countermeasures. Some critics have reacted to this as another unprecedented innovation, claiming that Pope Francis with this move is parceling out papal authority in a way contrary to prece­dent.

I agree with Andrea Tornielli, an Italian journalist and expert on the Roman Curia, who, with a view to the long history of the Church, claims correctly that Popes have in the past turned to cardinal advisers for help in discharging their enormous and ponderous duties. He says that the only innovation in Pope Francis’ selection of a council of cardinal- ad­visers is that they more widely represent the universality of the Church than other councils in the past, but they most certainly do not consti­tute an innovation.

Tornielli said that the Popes of the past have relied on the advice of councils, and the tradition of the papacy survived the convention just fine.

I submit that the only thing that might seriously injure the papacy is the attacks and judgments coming from within the Church on the part of those who react without thinking or prayer in uncharitable, unhelp­ful, and, tragically, sometimes scandalous ways. Let our Holy Father edify us as does any holy person in the Church who heroically and selflessly lives out his vocation. He needs and deserves our prayers.

Here is an ancient tradition, from Sacred Scripture itself, that if we follow will make all of us better coworkers with our Holy Father in the Church, the vineyard of the Lord Jesus: “ Love one another as I have loved you.”

(Subscribe to public updates by Fr. Cusick at Reverendo Padre-Kevin Michael Cusick on Facebook or follow on Twitter @MCITL. Visit Meeting Christ in the Liturgy at for teachings from the Catechism of the Catholic Church paired with the Scriptures of Holy Mass for every day of the week.)

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Church Is Sign And Sacrament Of Salvation


On a recent pilgrimage to Roma, I was finishing off a morning cap­puccino on the south side of the Bernini colonnade when I saw a Mis­sionary of Charity emerge through the door of the order’s convent in the Vatican walls. Blessed John Paul II invited the Missionaries of Char­ity some years ago to establish a convent within Vatican City, as some may recall. I hastily crossed the street, approached her, and, bowing, made the request that she pray that God would bless me. She, giggling, responded, “ Oh, Father, I can’t do that!”

I was surprised that Pope Francis’ precedent on the night of his elec­tion as Supreme Pontiff had not fully permeated the mindset of all the denizens of his own compact city- state. This vignette reminds us that not even the teachings and inspirations of the Popes themselves always succeed in getting wide dissemination.

Papa Francesco is refreshingly accessible, greeting as he did numer­ous people seated in the “
bacia mano” seats flanking the dais after a recent Wednesday audience, and celebrating Mass and preaching daily in the chapel of the Domus Sancta Marta where he resides. He also shows a playful readiness to accede to Roman custom, having exchanged his zucchetto on a few occasions with the faithful who offer him a new one, perhaps acquired at the Ditta Annibale Gammarelli, popularly believed to be the papal preference for sartorial details.

More important, Papa Francesco is setting a standard for simplicity in teaching in order to reach out to the less- educated among us, who are sometimes forgotten in the educated chatter of the many theologi­cal scholars, about whom our Church is rightly proud. Theology is ca­pable of lofty heights in reaching for God, but serves man best by reach­ing down to where he is so that he might be brought close to the heav­ens.

Pope Francis brings his pastoral gifts to the papacy as did his Prede­cessors so that a wide variety of the People of God may be nourished in faith, which must always include the simplest and humblest among us. The Holy Father’s Tweets are quite popular on Facebook as well as Twit­ter for their pithy realism and spiritual punch, mentioning as they do the reality of the Devil and taking aim at the misapplication of Vatican II teachings, which has resulted in “ clericalizing” the laity and a lack of ecclesial evangelical fervor.

Increasingly, in our experience of the life of the Church in the wake of Vatican II, it has become more and more apparent that we have for­gotten and neglected in many ways those who are weak in faith, those for whom our Lord expressed a particular love when He condemned those who scandalize the “little ones.” We have made faith more difficult through a snobbish and false intellectualism which pretends that everyone in the Church either has a Ph.D. or reads voraciously as if studying for one.

We have spurned the “little ones” through a presumptive iconoclasm that rejects the ages- old wisdom that teaches that signs and symbols handed down in the Church continue to be an effective means of trans­mission of the faith. These remarks should not be interpreted as a cri­tique of Benedict XVI, who demonstrated a marvelous capacity for speak­ing both to the scholarly among us as well as to the simple man on the street.

The Church is for everyone, for the salvation of the whole world, in the same way that Jesus Christ is the sole Savior who is truly encoun­tered in the Church, His true Body in the world. This being the case, it is incumbent upon us to respect all the signs of faith that can help any­one to come to faith and salvation in Jesus Christ. It is a matter of “ both/ and” in our selection of tools for teaching rather than “ either/ or.”

The Holy Father — whose ministry flows from his role as the Bishop of Rome together with Christ’s commission to Peter as holder of the keys of Heaven, and the one who is called to strengthen his brethren — is one such sign accessible to the many. His presence among us is a living sign and source of unity for the universal Church, which contin­ues Christ’s ministry as the sign of the heavenly Father. As Christ is the perfect sign of the Father so those most closely configured to Him in His sacramental priesthood share in His role of bringing the world to the Father through the economy of salvation.

Among priests it is the Pope who is
Pontifex Maximus, the chief bridge- builder, between man and God. The sacraments which come from the hands of our priests are the means of this “ economy” and must be mediated to our people through catechesis and praxis. It is true that Christ is always unfailingly present in the sacraments, above all in the Eucharist ex opere operato, but it is also equally true that we are called to understand and to accept with full submission of intellect and will to that divine Presence and gift of grace.

Worship is the attitude of full submission of body, mind, soul, and spirit to God on the part of intelligent creatures. The highest expres­sion of the dignity of the human person is present in the man or woman kneeling for prayer or to receive Jesus Christ truly present in the Eu­charist. Man is never lifted so high as when he kneels low before God.

( Subscribe to public updates by Fr. Cusick at Reverendo Padre- Kevin Michael Cusick or follow on Twitter at MCITL. Visit Meeting Christ in the Liturgy at mcitl. blogspot. com for teachings from the Catechism of the Catholic Church paired with the Scriptures of Holy Mass for every day of the week. Fr. Cusick blogs at APriestLife. blogspot. com and you can e- mail him at mcitl. blogspot. .)

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