Chaplain’s Corner – Beheading of John the Baptist (August 28, 2016)

On August 29 the Church celebrates the Beheading of John the Baptist. This is a most poignant feast for our time, in which God’s law concerning marriage is so often broken and ignored. St. John the Baptist was martyred for defending God’s law concerning marriage and this makes him a great example and help to all in our time who undertake the same joyful task.

The story of John’s beheading begins with the sinful and invalid marriage of Herod the Tetrarch with Herodias, the lawful wife of Herod’s brother, Philip. Herod had divorced his own wife, whose name was Phasaelis. Herod, therefore, had committed adultery in entering into “marriage” with Herodias; neither he nor Herodias were free to marry. How many Catholics and non-Catholics in our time have committed this same sin and live in this same situation!
John the Baptist is the biblical model for how the Church responds pastorally – with true love – to persons who contradict Jesus’s teaching that “whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery.” Herod was quite fond of John and loved to hear him preach, more out of curiosity and admiration than out of a desire for the truth. John did not let this friendship with Herod compromise his love for God and so he told Herod and Herodias the plain truth of their situation: they were living in adultery and they had to separate if they wanted to stop offending God and avoid eternal damnation.
Herod was perplexed by John’s teaching because he was a weak man. We might imagine he was the kind of person who knows what the right thing is but lacks the moral courage to carry it out. Herodias, on the other hand, was full of malice and hated John. She wanted him dead because of his call to repentance. She saw him as the enemy of all her desires, especially for the power that comes with being the legal wife of the tetrarch. In her hatred for John, she prevailed upon Herod to imprison him.

Chaplain’s Corner – Octave of the Assumption of Mary (8/21/16)

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The Octave of the Assumption of Mary, which we are celebrating now, culminates tomorrow with the traditional feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (in the modern calendar, it’s the Queenship of Mary). It’s beautiful that the Church honors our Mother’s glory by venerating especially her Heart. This veneration is the reason why August is traditionally called the Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This feast of Mary’s Heart is the octave feast of the feast of her Assumption into Heaven, which means the two feasts are connected in the logic of the Sacred Liturgy.

The truth of Mary’s Assumption means that her physical Heart is in Heaven, glorified in its resurrection and ascension in her Son. Mary is the first to share in her Son’s Resurrection and Ascension. She followed where He went first. Her Heart, which was always in Heaven by faith, hope, and love, is now in Heaven by glory. As we saw last Sunday, she had first suffered and died with Him in her Heart. We celebrate on August 22 that she has also risen with Him!

Each Christian is invited by grace to this same sharing in Jesus’s Resurrection and Ascension. We are all called and empowered to live, like Mary, with our hearts already in Heaven by faith, hope, and charity, so that they can one day be in Heaven in glory. This is the key to happiness even in this life: to have our treasures and hearts already in the Heavenly happiness that never passes away. We are called by Jesus to live like Mary, suffering and dying with Him so as to rise with Him.

Chaplain’s Corner | August 14, 2016 (late post)

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NB: We have been remiss in posting couple of our Assistant Chaplain’s corner articles owing to a very busy summer schedule, so our apologies for the late post:

Tomorrow the Church celebrates the great feast of the glorious Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This celebration marks the day on which our Blessed Mother was raised from the dead and taken up in her glorified body into Heaven. This is a historical feast (meaning the event of her Assumption happened on the very date of August 15). The Church of Jerusalem commemorates Our Lady’s death on August 13 and celebrates a Marian Triduum leading up to the celebration of her resurrection on August 15. With this feast, we joyfully proclaim the truth of our Catholic faith that there are two glorified bodies in Heaven, that of Jesus and that of Mary!

The feast of the Assumption, then, is a kind of Marian Easter. It is a celebration of Blessed Mary’s sacred role as the New Eve, the Helpmate of the Redeemer, the true disciple of Jesus Christ, the one who kept His Word perfectly and did His Will always. She is our great model and example in her discipleship and she receives the reward of her fidelity in her glorious resurrection and assumption into Heaven. In her glory, she is also an example to us, for we hope to follow her in receiving our own resurrection unto glory on the Last Day.

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Chaplain’s Corner | August 7, 2016 (late post)

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NB: We have been remiss in posting couple of our Assistant Chaplain’s corner articles owing to a very busy summer schedule, so our apologies for the late post:

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods” is surely the most overlooked commandment by practicing Catholics today. In our gospel last Sunday in the Ordinary Form, Jesus made sure we couldn’t miss His liberating teaching about our proper relationship to riches. “Take heed, and beware of covetousness,” Our Lord says in response to the brothers who are fighting over the inheritance, “for a man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses.” Our Savior’s teaching on covetousness is strikingly practical. He wants us to know that life cannot be about riches, either now or after death. St. Cyril of Alexandria reminds us that “…covetousness is unprofitable…” because “as the Lord says, You shall build houses of hewn stone, and shall not dwell in them.”

This inability of riches to bring us true and lasting happiness is illustrated in the parable Our Lord tells in the second part of our gospel. Here we have the rich man who, after an abundant harvest, tears down his barns to build new ones, so that he can store all his grain for himself, to sustain him in what he imagines will be long-lasting comfort and security. Jesus gives us the delusional interior dialogue that the man had with himself: “And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have much goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” Theophylact of Ohrid comments that Jesus gives us this interior dialogue “to rebuke the motives of the covetous, who seem to heap up riches as if they were going to live for a long time. But will wealth ever make you long lived?” Sure enough, just as the covetous man is putting the finishing touches on his new barns, he hears those dread words from God Almighty: “You fool, this night your soul shall be required of you: then whose shall those things be, which you have provided?” This is a sobering wake-up call for all us.

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From the Desk of Canon Olivier Meney, ICRSS

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Abbe Ryan Post 4th Year Seminarian for the ICRSS

The 7 Steps of Ordination  Part IV:  The Diaconate

In the first three parts of this series, we have seen the progression of the cleric through the minor orders up to the first of the major, or “sacred orders,” the sub-diaconate.  The diaconate carries with it new graces and privileges in the service of God and Holy Mother Church.  The deacon receives the Book of the Gospels during his ordination and thus the power to read or chant the Holy Gospel for “the living and the dead.”  Other than the teaching function of the Scriptures, the very act of proclaiming the Gospel is considered an act of worship in the Mass.  Whereas a lower cleric can substitute for the sub-deacon and read the prophecies or the epistle, no lower cleric may substitute for the deacon in reading the Gospel.  Along with proclaiming the Gospel, the deacon also receives for the first time the right to preach in the Church.

The deacon aids the priest at the altar by preparing the Continue reading

From the Desk of Canon Olivier Meney, ICRSS

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The 7 Steps of Ordination Part III

The Sub-diaconate

                   In the first two parts of this series, we have seen how the Church disposes her seminarians for the grace of the holy priesthood through the reception of four minor orders: that is, the orders of porter, lector, exorcist, and acolyte.  Now we will turn our attention to the major or sacred orders.

In the ordination of acolytes, there is already a foretaste of the major orders, since the acolyte, by his function, is designated to assist the sacred ministers in the liturgical functions of the holy sacrifice of the Mass.  However, the sub-deacon is given an even greater role.  As his name suggests, he is the servant of the deacon at the altar.  This aspect of the sub-diaconate is represented by the manner in which the sub-deacon presents the chalice and the cruets at the offertory.  The deacon pours the wine into the chalice and the sub-deacon pours the water.  Also, while the deacon chants the holy Gospel, it is the sub-deacon who holds the book for him.  Furthermore, during the Mass the sub-deacon never sits nor covers his head while the deacon fulfills his liturgical functions.

The sub-deacon chants the books of the prophets and the epistles, which are preparations for the highest doctrine of the Gospel.  This is one reason why the sub-deacon holds the paten with the humeral veil before his face during the Canon.  He represents the Old Testament, in which the fullness of Christ’s glory was still veiled and no one could look upon the face of God and live (e.g. Exodus 33:12-22).

The sub-deacon is thus the servant of the servants of God (the word deacon in Greek means “servant”).  In this, he ought to imitate the humility of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who said to his apostles: “I am in the midst of you as one who serves” (St Luke 22:27).

The Church calls upon the sub-deacon to unite the virtue of humility to a perfect chastity.  Before his ordination, the Bishop warns him that, whereas before he had been free to leave the clerical state, now he will make a permanent commitment to clerical celibacy.  He also takes on the obligation of reciting the entire office.  The prayer of the office both glorifies God and gives the sub-deacon the graces necessary to fulfill his sacred duties.

Here at St. Margaret Mary’s Church, we have our own sub-deacon, Abbé Kevin, who fulfills beautifully this role of servant of the servants of God.  Let’s keep him in our prayers and thank God for the grace of his vocation among us!

Abbe Ryan Post, 4th Year Seminarian for the ICRSS

 

 

 

Happy 2nd year anniversary to the priesthood, Canons Altiere, Coggeshall, Estrada, and Todd!

Two years ago, on August 5, 2014, His Eminence, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, had ordained Canons Francis Altiere, Benjamin Coggeshall, Joel Estrada, and Andrew Todd to the Sacred Priesthood for the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest at the St. Francis de Sales Oratory, St. Louis, MO. The video recording of this special event is so far the most watched video on our YouTube channel, with 16,800 views and counting! Kindly remember them in your prayers today!

Chaplain’s Corner -St. John Mary Vianney

On Thursday, we celebrate the feast of the patron saint of parish priests, St. John Mary Vianney, the holy Cure’ d’Ars. John Vianney was a diocesan priest in France in the 19th century. The spiritual environment in which he worked was as challenging as ours today. France had been ravaged by the Revolution and the persecution of the Church ensuing from it. John Vianney did not have an easy pastoral task and his parish was pretty much dead when he arrived there.

Among his many saintly qualities, St. John loved in particular to hear confessions. He transformed his little parish in Ars largely by making himself available for confessions. By the end of his life, he was hearing 16 hours of confessions per day! His feast day is always a marvelous opportunity for us to grow in Continue reading

From the Desk of Canon Olivier Meney, ICRSS

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The 7 Steps of Ordination: Part II

 Exorcist and Acolyte

              As read in Part I, the six Minor and Major Orders, are training and preparations for the fulfillment of the great responsibility of assuming the Order of Melchisedech. The Porter assumes the care of keeping the grounds of the church safe before becoming the guardian of its most precious treasure, the Holy Eucharist. The Lector learned to familiarize himself with Holy Scripture before preaching them.

The third minor order, Exorcist, gives a real participation to the young apprentice of the power given to the priest to chase the devil. Every priest deals daily with Continue reading

From the Desk of Canon Olivier Meney, ICRSS

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The Leonine Prayers

These prayers after Low Mass which were prescribed by Pope Leo XIII who composed the Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel, and were reinforced by Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII to pray for the conversion of Russia.

Tradition relates that Pope Leo XIII had a vision that took place in 1884 – 1886

Pope Leo XIII was saying his Mass in his private chapel in presence of some cardinals. At the end of the Mass as he was ready to return to Sacristy, he stopped and stood in a trance white as snow. As he recovered his spirit he went to his office and Continue reading