Thursday, November 29, 2012

Devotions other than Mass have enabled large portions of the Church to survive liturgical revolution

In his book "The Banished Heart", Geoffrey Hull explores the role of piety in Catholic life and worship and its great absence in the religious practice of most Catholics today which is largely rationalistic.  And he points out an irony that involves those popular devotions and praxis today: it may be the personal and private devotions that cropped up in the wake of the Council of Trent that helped many Catholics to survive the loss of the sacred in the liturgical revolution of the 1960's with their faith intact.

In the context of discussing the Mass of Trent and the problem of language which it presented with its requirement of Latin he recounts the efforts of the Jesuits, among others, to excite the devotion of the faithful through the use of hymns and devotions in the vernacular during the Mass.

"In the aftermath of Trent, there remained only two solutions to this cultural problem of language, both of them proposed and pursued by the Jesuits, and both of them hinging on the celebration of low Mass.  The first was to let the vernacular in the back door by encouraging the singing of vernacular hymns (rather than direct translations of the sacred texts themselves) during Mass.  St Peter Canisius, the Jesuit apostle of Germany, did much to popularize the so-called Singmesse in that country, and this practice also caught on in Poland.  The second was to engage the faithful at Mass with devotional practices in their native tongue such as the Rosary, litanies and (in the case of the literate) meditations read from prayer books.  ... the new extra-liturgical devotions ... spread throughout the church and became enormously popular."

Priests who beg their people to come to the Triduum liturgies each year with little or no effect will be sympathetic here:

"No doubt the most deplorable lacuna in the religious experience of most of the Roman-rite laity (and one quite incomprehensible to Eastern Christians) was their lack of familiarity with the great and dramatic climax of the liturgical year: the Sacred Triduum, including the solemn Easter Vigil which St Augustine had called 'the mother of all vigils'.  In 1642 under Pope Urban VIII, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday ceased to be holy days of obligation for the Roman rite. Small wonder then that by the twentieth century, while the mass may have commanded the loyalty of the faithful, it was not the liturgy in all its richness but the popular devotions, practiced in virtual competition with the opus Dei, that held their affection.  It was this situation that caused Mgr Giuseppe Sarto, Bishop of Mantua and the future Pope Pius X, to sigh:

" 'Oh, if we could only bring it about that all the faithful would sing the ordinary parts of the Mass, the Kyrie, the Gloria, the Credo, the Sanctus, and the Agnus Dei, as they now sing the Litany of Loreto and the Tantum Ergo! This would be the most wonderful triumph of sacred music.  For then the faithful would nurture their piety and devotion by taking a real part in the sacred liturgy!'

"But a Church in which such dreams would remain generally unfulfilled was also one ripe for liturgical revolution: it is no coincidence that in the early twenty-first century, when the traditional Roman Mass is now the treasure of only a small remnant of Western Christians, the principal devotions of the Counter Reformation have weathered the storm of Vatican II with remarkable resilience.  By and large, those Catholics who continued to practice their religion during and after the Pauline liturgical revolution were those sentimentally attached to some private devotion - daily prayer, eucharistic or Marian piety, the cult of the saints, intercession for the Holy Souls, penitential practices - or other.  For the far greater number of Catholics who went to Mass regularly but were not particularly pious at other times, no comparably potent inoculation was available to help their faith survive the epidemic of heteropraxis.  For what is sound in the new order survives only by drawing on the capital of the old order it wishes to forget.

"Indeed, of the millions of Latin Catholics who have quietly given up the practice of their faith since the Second Vatican Council, most have done so in the context of the official liturgical reform, emblematic of a novel religion of 'options' with a God of modern devising who makes few demands and refuses to condemn. These are the same souls who, in the last decades of the regimented post-Tridentine era, were attending Mass regularly and receiving the sacraments perhaps more for fear of losing their immortal souls than out of an instinctive and disinterested love of the sacred liturgy, that wonderful place where the human soul encounters the life of the Divine."

("The Banished Heart", by Geoffrey Hull, pp 175-176)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday savings

Look no further, the best deal is free!

Jesus Christ, son of God, Savior, have mercy on me.

Bishop McFadden: "...boycott businesses that open their doors on Thanksgiving...attend church or ... pray with family and friends"

As many people take to the highways and byways today to travel to be with family and friends for Thanksgiving, I add my voice to other people of good will who are disturbed by the continual expanding materialistic secular culture that is growing in our country. The tradition of setting aside a day to thank God and to acknowledge the many blessings we enjoy in this country as a result of His bounty is slowing disappearing without any genuine outcry from people of faith.

The consumerist society and the business community's insatiable appetite for profit is slowly eroding the dignity of this one national holiday that has traditionally been a time for family and friends to stop to reflect on their many blessings, to enjoy a meal and time together and to say a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord of life and the source of all blessings.
With retail stores rushing to open their businesses earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving Day they are violating their employees right to have this time with family and friends. Perhaps it is time to seek again legislative relief for the workers and their families since the appetite for profit seems to obscure the sensitivity employers should have for their workers allowing them to have at least one day with their families free from the pressure of work.

I encourage all my friends on Facebook to boycott the businesses that open their doors on Thanksgiving demonstrating little regard for their workers. I also ask that we take time on Thanksgiving Day to attend Church or if that is not possible to make sure that we take some time to pray with family and friends in gratitude to Almighty God for all His blessings throughout the year.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Louie Verrecchio nails it: culture of depravity in US partly fault of Church "that has largely abandoned its Founder and the mission He has given her."

November 15, 2012
Election 2012: A Church gone astray
By Louie Verrecchio

In the days following last week’s U.S. presidential election, a staggering amount of analysis has been focused on Republican messaging, demographics and core constituencies, but it misses the most fundamental point entirely.

If the Second Coming of Obama is evidence of anything it is the godlessness of a nation, the majority of whose citizens worship an idol who not only grants free license to practically every immoral impulse that one can imagine, but who also evidently demands human sacrifice to the tune of more than a million innocent souls each year.

This culture of depravity is the result of an underlying spiritual malady that has been allowed to fester and spread over the last five decades virtually unopposed by the only force capable of overtaking it.

The United States – a land wherein class-envy passes for compassion, same-sex “marriage” is accepted as fairness, and contraception is considered a matter of healthcare - is about to reap the just rewards, not so much of a nation that has abandoned the principles of its Founding Fathers, but of a Church that has largely abandoned its Founder and the mission He has given her.

• When a majority of self-identified “Catholics” (some of whom are priests and bishops, no doubt) vote for a candidate who aggressively promotes objective evil, it is the Church that has gone astray.

• When our prelates speak of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution as though it was inscribed by the finger of God on a tablet of stone, it is the Church that has gone astray.

• When the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stands by a 13,000+ word voting guide that provides succor to those who insist upon promoting the “seamless garment” deception, it is the Church that has gone astray.

• When politicians who are waging war against the most fundamental moral precepts of the Catholic faith can skip up to Holy Communion with nary a reprimand, it is the Church that has gone astray.

• When pastors can cause public scandal by preaching in favor of the homosexual assault on marriage and family without any fear of meaningful discipline, it is the Church that has gone astray.

I could go on, but presumably you get the point. The single greatest underlying cause of the nation’s most serious challenges – economic, social and political – is really no different than it was for the people Israel some 3,000 years ago:

“These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you,” says the LORD… “He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards; the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your menservants and maidservants, and the best of your cattle and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves; but the Lord will not answer you in that day.” (cf 2 Samuel 8:11-18)

In spite of the valiant efforts of Samuel and those other intrepid prophets of old who spoke on behalf of the Lord who said, “I am your Holy One, your Creator, your King,” the people Israel would not listen and the results are well known.

In the present case, the new People of God – with no clear prophetic voice in the Church speaking up on behalf of their King - have abandoned Him in favor of a president who has made clear his intention to persecute the Catholic Church by force of Federal law.

As difficult as it may be to accept, the anti-Christian oppressor and purveyor of evil extraordinaire, Barrack Hussein Obama, is precisely what we deserve. Yes, deserve.

And in that day when the degradation to which this president intends to enslave us becomes more than we can bear, the Lord will not answer our cries because justice demands otherwise. This, my friends, is the price that an entire nation has to pay for the collective failure of the members of the Church – clergy, laity, and religious alike – to dutifully carry out their vocation in answering the call to holiness.

To be clear, while I considered my own ballot for Mitt Romney a vote in favor of a step in the right direction; I do not wish to imply that such a vote was a de facto vote for Christ.

What I do wish to state in the strongest terms possible, however, is that invincible ignorance aside there isn’t one single solitary person who worships the one true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who cast a vote in favor of Barrack Obama.

At the end of the day, America’s woes can be boiled down to good old fashioned godlessness; either the majority of the electorate is with the Lord or against Him. In the case of election 2012, the latter prevailed and the reason is simple: the Church has gone astray. 

Perhaps the dark days ahead will jolt all of us out of our collective slumber; emboldening all of us – priest, bishops, laity and religious - to set aside all worldly preoccupations; to carry the light of Christ into the world and to proclaim His Kingship once more.
This must be our prayer.

Author and speaker Louie Verrecchio has been a columnist for Catholic News Agency since April 2009. His work, which includes Year of Faith resources like the Harvesting the Fruit of Vatican II Faith Formation Series, has been endorsed by Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, Australia; Bishop Emeritus Patrick O’Donoghue of Lancaster, England; Bishop R. Walker Nickless of Sioux City, IA, USA and others. For more information please visit:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Solemn High Mass for Veterans' Day at Saint Benedict Church in Chesapeake, Virginia

A Solemn High Mass in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite was celebrated at Saint Benedict Church in Chesapeake, Virginia, on November 12 for all of our veterans on the occasion of Veterans' Day.

The Reverend Kevin M. Cusick, LCDR, CHC, USN (R) served as celebrant, the Reverend Neal Nichols, FSSP, as deacon and seminarian Philip Gerard Johnson, LTJG, USN (Ret.) as subdeacon.

Uniformed military service members and families were in attendance. Cadets from Benedictine Military Preparatory Academy in Richmond provided the flag honor guard at the commencement of the Mass and a sword arch for entrance and recessional processions and at the consecration of the Mass.

In second photo below are visible some of the flags displayed for the occasion which included the ensigns of each of our military services as well as the national ensign and the Vatican flag.


MilitaryHighMass_6811 MilitaryHighMass_6816 MilitaryHighMass_6831 MilitaryHighMass_6838 MilitaryHighMass_6870 MilitaryHighMass_6873 MilitaryHighMass_6876 MilitaryHighMass_6881 MilitaryHighMass_6885 MilitaryHighMass_6887 MilitaryHighMass_6889 MilitaryHighMass_6899 MilitaryHighMass_6909 MilitaryHighMass_6911 MilitaryHighMass_6921 MilitaryHighMass_6924 MilitaryHighMass_6929 MilitaryHighMass_6931 MilitaryHighMass_6945 A special word of thanks must go to Father Nichols, FSSP, for his hard work in bringing together all of the individuals and organizations for the successful execution of this remarkable historic and sacred occasion which we pray will occur again next year to mark Veterans' Day. Thank you, Father Nichols.

Photos at Flicker courtesy of Benedictine College Preparatory.

“Beating up the Devil”: releasing the power of Faith through the fullness of tradition

People can become comfortable with almost everything.  The human being can accommodate himself to a great variety of circumstances even quite dire in order to reach a "new normal" in the effort to survive and thrive.  As a member of the military who has deployed to a war zone I can attest to the great strength of human beings to adapt to their surroundings in order to survive.

When it comes to the Faith which is a matter of revelation, however, of God reaching out to us and opening Himself and His life to for us for the sake of our salvation, a different priority is in order.  Revelation functions not as a matter a matter of adjusting things to suit our tastes and needs but rather of adapting ourselves and adjusting our lives to accommodate God.  Revelation demands conversion.
In the Church over the past half-century many of our people have developed an attachment to the indults such as Saturday evening vigil Mass, liturgies entirely in English, communion in the hand. These special permissions which granted the possibility of introducing practices which ran counter to longstanding noble customs which have developed through the Holy Spirit in tandem with the piety of the people over the course of years.  The indults, unlike the noble customs, were forced into practice from the top down, by diktat, and in some cases were intended only for experimental purposes on a temporary basis but got out of control and passed into widespread practice.

In the midst as we are of a catechetical emergency and the dramatic fall off in Catholic practice of the faith a reappraisal of everything that we do is certainly in order.  That state of affairs considered together with the maxim that the law of worship is the law of belief leads us to consideration of how we are celebrating our liturgies and the tenor of our sacramental life.  After 20 years as a priest I certainly have come to respect those who are attached to the indults and defend their option to use the practices as granted by the Church but can no longer place my trust in their ability to hand on the Faith effectively.  I have come to believe that the indults in many cases are responsible for a loss of faith.  For these and other reasons I see a call for employing all the traditions and noble customs of our Faith to save souls.

An example of the problematic nature of the indults is the internal incoherence they bring to the celebration of holy Mass in the case of communion received standing.  The rubrics still call for the people to kneel for the moment when Christ becomes present at the consecration of the Mass but not for the same true Presence at the moment He is received in communion, the supreme sacramental meeting between the Savior and each soul and the reason for His true and real Presence in the Eucharist.  This inconsistency cannot be expected to build up faith when it does more to cause confusion than anything else.

At a recent solemn high mass to mark Veterans’ Day a priest friend summed it up best by his words to the corps of altar boys as we commenced the entrance procession when he said, “C’mon boys, let’s go beat up the devil”.  Haven’t our people been sufficiently beaten up by the devil already?  With the devastation of family life, the epidemic of divorce, the rampant sacrilege and the public promotion of heresy and immorality on the part of people who call themselves Catholics there is more than enough evidence that the devil is hard at work.  Society around us is in moral free-fall with the legal re-definition of marriage and the promotion of sodomy and infanticide as well as abortiom.  We can no longer afford the luxury of weak measures.  The times in which we live call for all the beauty, power and protection of the whole tradition of our Catholic Faith with all of its noble customs.

Souls are at stake so, I say with my priest friend, “C’mon, let’s go beat up the devil!”

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Veterans' Day Solemn High Mass at Saint Benedict in Chesapeake, Virginia

Cadets from Benedictine College Preparatory Military Academy in Richmond practice for the honor guard which will precede the holy Mass. The cadets formed a saber arch for the priest and ministers of the Mass in the entrance procession.  Flags for the US, Vatican and representing all of the military services proudly displayed in the church for the occasion are visible below the choir loft.

Father Nichols instructs the cadets on the procedure for the entrance procession of the Mass.

The Knights of the Altar practice their role in the procession.

View of cadets from the choir loft.

Seminarian Philip Johnson, left, vests for the role of subdeacon and Father Neal Nichols, FSSP, for the role of deacon for the Solemn High Mass for all of our Veterans living and deceased.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cardinal Dolan: US bishops won't comply with Obama rule on birth control coverage in insurance

Nota bene: The only thing that "speaks" to the government is money, so I predict a few might be going to jail in order to follow through on this... ((((,,))))

  • Article by: RACHEL ZOLL , Associated Press
  • Updated: November 13, 2012 - 3:48 PM
BALTIMORE - A top American bishop said Tuesday the Roman Catholic church will not comply with the Obama administration requirement that most employers provide health insurance covering birth control.

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said church leaders are open to working toward a resolution with federal officials, but will meanwhile press ahead with challenges to the mandate in legislatures and in court.

"The only thing we're certainly not prepared to do is give in. We're not violating our consciences," Dolan told reporters at a national bishops' meeting. "I would say no door is closed except for the door to capitulation."
The bishops have been fighting the regulation since it was announced by President Barack Obama early this year. Houses of worship are exempt, but religiously affiliated hospitals, charities and colleges are not.
Obama promised to change the requirement so that insurance companies, not faith-affiliated employers, would pay for the coverage. But details have not been worked out. And not only the bishops, but Catholic hospitals and some other religious leaders generally supportive of Obama's health care overhaul have said the compromise proposed so far appears to be unworkable.

Dozens of Catholic dioceses and charities have sued over the mandate, along with colleges, including the University of Notre Dame. The bishops have made the issue the centerpiece of a national campaign on preserving religious freedom, which they consider under assault on several fronts from an increasingly secular broader culture. The Department of Health and Human Services adopted the rule as a preventive service meant to protect women's health by allowing them to space their pregnancies.

It's unclear what, if any, influence the bishops have with the administration.

Many bishops spoke out sharply against Obama during the election. The bishops said they were protesting policies, not the candidate himself. Obama won the overall Catholic vote, 50 percent to 48 percent, according to exit polls, but Catholics split on ethnic lines. White Catholics supported Romney, 59 percent to 40 percent. Latino Catholics went for Obama, 75 percent to 21 percent.

A White House spokesman did not immediately comment.

The Rev. Thomas Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University, said the administration should compromise. Although liberal-leaning Catholics disagree with the bishops on gay marriage and other issues, these same Catholics would oppose anything that threatened the church's social service work with the poor, war refugees and other disadvantaged people.

"This is a situation where being a gracious victor is not only the right thing to do, it makes good political sense," Reese said.

Dolan, archbishop of New York, would not say whether bishops would disobey the mandate if the lawsuits fail or church leaders can't resolve their disagreements with Health and Human Services.

"It's still not doomsday yet," he said.

Separately, the bishops voted to shelve a statement on the economy that they'd been working on for months. The bishops voted overwhelmingly to draft the document last June, after objecting to social services cuts in the budget proposed by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who was the Republican vice presidential nominee. This statement was intended as a brief message of concern and encouragement to Americans. But bishops meeting in Baltimore couldn't agree on the wording or emphasis and rejected the document.

Also, the bishops endorsed the effort by the Archdiocese of New York to seek sainthood for Dorothy Day, a social activist and writer who converted to Catholicism as an adult. She was a founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, which advocates for social justice and aids the poor.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Papal nuncio: Catholic division undermines religious freedom

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò addresses the U.S. bishops at their fall General Assembly on Nov. 14, 2011.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano has told the University of Notre Dame that there is a concrete “menace” to religious liberty in the U.S. that is advancing in part because some influential Catholic public figures and university professors are allied with those opposed to Church teaching.

“Evidence is emerging which demonstrates that the threat to religious freedom is not solely a concern for non-democratic and totalitarian regimes,” he said. “Unfortunately it is surfacing with greater regularity in what many consider the great democracies of the world.”

The apostolic nuncio, who serves as the Pope’s diplomatic representative to the U.S., said this is a “tragedy” for both the believer and for democratic society.

Archbishop Vigano’s Nov. 4 speech keynoted the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Church Life conference. He discussed martyrdom, persecution, and religious freedom, with a particular focus on the United States.

He cited Catholics’ duties to be disciples of Christ, not elements of a political or secular ideology. He lamented the fact that many Catholics are publicly supporting “a major political party” that has “intrinsic evils among its basic principles.”

“There is a divisive strategy at work here, an intentional dividing of the Church; through this strategy, the body of the Church is weakened, and thus the Church can be more easily persecuted,” the nuncio said.

Archbishop Vigano observed that some influential Catholic public officials and university professors are allied with forces opposed to the Church’s fundamental moral teachings on “critical issues” like abortion, population control, the redefinition of marriage, embryonic stem cell research and “problematic adoptions.”

He said it is a “grave and major problem” when self-professed Catholic faculty at Catholic institutions are the sources of teachings that conflict with Church teaching on important policy issues rather than defend it.

While Archbishop Vigano noted that most Americans believe they are “essentially a religious people” and still give some importance to religion, he also saw reasons this could change.

He said that the problem of persecution begins with “reluctance to accept the public role of religion,” especially where protecting religious freedom “involves beliefs that the powerful of the political society do not share.”

The nuncio said it is “essential” to pray for a just resolution to religious freedom controversies, including the controversy over the new federal mandate requiring many Catholic employers to provide morally objectionable insurance coverage for sterilization and contraception, including some abortion-causing drugs.

The issues that the Catholic bishops have identified in this mandate are “very real” and “pose grave threats to the vitality of Catholicism in the United States,” Archbishop Vigano said.

The nuncio also discussed other religious liberty threats.

He cited a Massachusetts public school curriculum that required young students to take courses that presented same-sex relations as “natural and wholesome.” Civil authorities rejected parents’ requests for a procedure to exempt their children from the “morally unacceptable” classes.

“If these children were to remain in public schools, they had to participate in the indoctrination of what the public schools thought was proper for young children,” the archbishop said. “Put simply, religious freedom was forcefully pushed aside once again.”

Catholic Charities agencies have also been kicked out of social service programs because they would not institute policies or practices that violate “fundamental moral principles of the Catholic faith.”

Archbishop Vigano cited several countries that have witnessed severe persecution like China, Pakistan, India and the Middle East. He praised the martyrs past and present who would not compromise on “the principles of faith.”

While some forms of persecution are violent and cruel, others aim to incapacitate the faith by encouraging people to renounce their beliefs or the public aspects of their faith, in the face of “great hardships.”

Fidelity to God and the Church has “hastened martyrdom and persecution for many believers of the past, and of today,” he said.

“In all of these instances, we see that the faithful persist in their fidelity to Jesus Christ and his Holy Church! For throughout her history, the Church has gained strength when persecuted,” the archbishop said.

Religious liberty is a human, civil and natural right that is not conferred by the state, he said, adding “religious freedom is the exercise of fidelity to God and his Holy Church without compromise.”

“What God has given, the servant state does not have the competence to remove,” Archbishop Vigano affirmed.

Read more:

Saturday, November 10, 2012

New York and New Jersey Hurricane Relief Donation Drive to be held for Southern Maryland in Benedict on November 12 and 13

Donations for New York and New Jersey Hurricane Relief will be collected on Monday and Tuesday, November 12 and 13, at Saint Francis de Sales parish hall in Benedict, Maryland.
Items needed: blankets, coats, batteries, flashlights, generators, water and food.
Hours: Monday 10 - 4 and Tuesday 10- 2
Location: Saint Francis de Sales parish hall is located at 7209 Benedict Avenue, Benedict, Maryland, 20612.
This relief effort held in cooperation with The House of Mercy in Manassas, Va which will provide a truck to deliver the items to New York.
For more information about Saint Francis de Sales Catholic Church please visit our website at this link.  God bless you!
 Please visit this link for more information about The House of Mercy

Not a time for mediocrity

Friday, November 9, 2012

"The Catholic Church is not going to back down": new bishop of Lincoln on HHS mandate

New Lincoln bishop: Church will defy health mandate on birth control coverage
Posted:  11/09/2012 1:00 AM

LINCOLN - The re-election of President Barack Obama may ignite a showdown with Catholic leaders over a federal mandate that religiously affiliated charities, universities and hospitals provide birth control coverage to their employees.

"The Catholic Church is not going to back down," said Denver Auxiliary Bishop James Conley, who will start as the new bishop of the Lincoln Diocese on Nov. 20. "We are never going to compromise our principles. We will defy it and face the consequences."

Roman Catholic officials in Omaha and Des Moines expressed similar sentiments this week over a plan by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requiring all employers to provide their employees contraception coverage without copays.

The so-called HHS mandate for religious organizations, currently the subject of dozens of legal challenges nationally, is set to take effect next August.

Church doctrine opposes all forms of contraception, including vasectomies, tubal ligations and drugs that induce abortion. As a result, Catholic-affiliated organizations and some companies owned by Catholics and other Christians exclude such procedures or drugs from their insurance plans.

Solemn High Veterans' Day Mass to be celebrated at Saint Benedict Church, Chesapeake, Virginia

chapel interior

On Monday, November 12 at 10:30 am the parish of Saint Benedict in Chesapeake, Va, will celebrate a Solemn High Mass to mark the occasion of Veterans' Day.  Please join us.

Saint Benedict's Parish
521 McCosh Drive
Chesapeake, Virginia   23320

Home of the Traditional Latin Mass (extraordinary form) of Hampton Roads under the auspices of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond.

About St. Benedict’s Parish: St. Benedict’s Parish started as a mission Chapel of the Church of St. Gregory the Great, Virginia Beach, Virginia. The Chapel was established by virtue of Pope John Paul II’s motu proprio, Ecclesia Dei, under the aegis of the Most Rev. Walter F. Sullivan, DD, then Bishop of Richmond. Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo invited the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter into the Diocese to staff St. Benedict's Chapel. A Fraternity priest was needed to replace Rev. Damian Abbaticchio, OSB who had retired after faithfully serving as chaplain since 1992. St. Benedict's new church, built from the ground up, is one of the first churches in the world to be designed and used exclusively for the extraordinary form (Latin) of the Holy Mass since the 1960's and was dedicated on March 5, 2011 by the Most Rev. Francis X. DiLorenzo. Less than a year later the Chapel was canonically erected as a parish. St. Benedict’s Parishl continues under the provisions of the motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, with the permission of His Excellency, The Most Reverend Francis X. DiLorenzo, Bishop of the Diocese of Richmond. St. Benedict’s Chapel is one of two apostolates of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) in the Richmond Diocese, and is staffed with priests from the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.

For more information visit the website for the parish of Saint Benedict at this link.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"I wash my hands": Christianity in an age of mass apostasy and betrayal

"Lavabo inter innocentes manus meas et circumdabo altare tuum Domine..."

"I will wash my hands among the innocents and go round Your altar Lord..."

We keep ourselves pure, as the Lord is pure and worship Him as the one true God. We refuse to cooperate in moral evils as many did in the presidential election who voted in favor of the HHS mandate and against religious freedom and in favor of the tidal wave of immorality now actively promoted by those who hold the highest offices in our land.

If, however, we give in to a worldly spirit and approach elective contests or other challenges to our Faith and morals in a worldly way we will suffer worldly mourning and grief when the world once again betrays the Lord just as it did when they nailed Him to a tree.

We turn to the Psalms, to the Word of God, which more fully reveals the nature of our relationship to Christ and reaffirms that the Lord consoles those who suffer injustice.

“The earth is the LORD's and the fulness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein; for he has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the rivers.

"Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully.

“He will receive blessing from the LORD, and vindication from the God of his salvation.”

The Lord Jesus Christ must always remain our sole consolation as He was for me when I celebrated holy Mass the morning after the national election returns. We keep ourselves innocent and in our prayers we are affirmed and consoled by Him as the world can never do for us.

I received consolation as I offered myself to Him on behalf of the people at His altar, begging Him to unveil the reasons why suffering afflicts us when we have sought justice as He commands.  The "lavabo" prayer which the priest offers as he washes his hands during the offertory of the Mass and before he consecrates the Body and Blood of Christ speaks to the suffering of Christians as strangers in a strange land, among unbelievers.

"I will wash my hands among the innocents and go round Your altar Lord, so I may listen to the sound of praise and may tell of all Your wonderful works. Lord, I have loved the beauty of Your house and the place where Your glory dwells. Do not let my soul be lost with sinners. Save my life from the men of blood whose hands are sinful, whose right hands are full of bribes. But I have walked in innocence; deliver me in Your mercy. My foot has stood in the right path; I will bless You in the churches, O Lord."

We must return again and again to the Word of the Lord as we approach His altar to receive His Body and Blood. We must never give in to the pressure to make impure our Catholic Faith which is the fullness of the Christian covenant.

We are surrounded by a pagan culture that that baptizes its immorality and deceit by claiming the mantle and name of Christianity. We protest by our witness and worship that no one will ever substitute the purity of the true Faith with anything unworthy of the name and of the Lord who founded the Church to proclaim and hand on the Faith through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

We remain faithful as a remnant though all the world may abandon the Lord. We remember this as we proclaim the first chapel of Saint John’s Gospel at the end of every holy Mass: “He came into His own, and His own did not welcome Him. But to all those who did receive Him, He gave power to become sons of God, those who believe in His name."

(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 and you can e-mail him at

The Word Consoles the Just: "He who has clean hands and a pure heart"

The earth is the LORD's and the fulness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein; for he has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the rivers.

Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully.

He will receive blessing from the LORD, and vindication from the God of his salvation.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bishop Jenky: those "who callously enable the destruction of innocent human life in the womb also thereby reject Jesus as their Lord"

A letter from Bishop Jenky regarding Election Day 2012

Citing unprecedented threats to religious liberty and with strong words of warning to Catholic politicians and their electoral supporters who “callously enable the destruction of innocent human life in the womb,” Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, has called on all practicing Catholics to vote in the coming election.
“Be faithful to Christ and to your Catholic Faith,” said Bishop Jenky in a letter to be read at all weekend Masses on Nov. 3-4, the weekend prior to the Nov. 6 elections. The letter was released to the media on Oct. 18.
Following is the full text of Bishop Jenky’s letter:
Dear Catholic Believers,

Since the foundation of the American Republic and the adoption of the Bill of Rights, I do not think there has ever been a time more threatening to our religious liberty than the present. Neither the president of the United States nor the current majority of the Federal Senate have been willing to even consider the Catholic community’s grave objections to those HHS mandates that would require all Catholic institutions, exempting only our church buildings, to fund abortion, sterilization, and artificial contraception. This assault upon our religious freedom is simply without precedent in the American political and legal system. Contrary to the guarantees embedded in the First Amendment, the HHS mandates attempt to now narrowly define and thereby drastically limit our traditional religious works. They grossly and intentionally intrude upon the deeply held moral convictions that have always guided our Catholic schools, hospitals, and other apostolic ministries.

Nearly two thousand years ago, after our Savior had been bound, beaten, scourged, mocked, and crowned with thorns, a pagan Roman Procurator displayed Jesus to a hostile crowd by sarcastically declaring: “Behold your King.” The mob roared back: “We have no king but Caesar.” Today, Catholic politicians, bureaucrats, and their electoral supporters who callously enable the destruction of innocent human life in the womb also thereby reject Jesus as their Lord. They are objectively guilty of grave sin. For those who hope for salvation, no political loyalty can ever take precedence over loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ and to his Gospel of Life. God is not mocked, and as the Bible clearly teaches, after this passing instant of life on earth, God’s great mercy in time will give way to God’s perfect judgment in eternity.

I therefore call upon every practicing Catholic in this Diocese to vote. Be faithful to Christ and to your Catholic Faith. May God guide and protect His Holy Church, and may God bless America.

Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, CSC

Catholic Bishop of Peoria


Maryland: Vote Against Question 6 on November 6

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