September is the Month of the Seven Sorrows of Mary, since we celebrate on September 15 the feast of the sufferings she endured in the culminating events of salvation history. The mystery of Our Lady’s suffering in union with her Son, our Savior, is most profound. It shines light also on the meaning our own sufferings can attain in imitation of her compassion with her Son.
In the first of her Sorrows, Our Mother receives the prophecy of Simeon that a “sword shall pierce” her own heart, even as her Son is to be “a sign that will be contradicted.” The piercing of the heart of Mary is at the center of the mystery of her suffering with Jesus. It was His Heart that was physically pierced by a sword at the Cross, after He had died. And yet Simeon prophesies that Mary’s heart will be pierced with His!
The Summer 2014 issue of The Latin Mass magazine has an interview with Archbishop Cordileone titled “Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone Leading by Example,” and an accompanying article titled “San Francisco’s Archbishop Cordileone and the Traditional Latin Mass.” The interview and the article are about the significant initiatives Archbishop Cordileone has been taking, including steps to make the Extraordinary Form of the Mass more widely available in the San Francisco Archdiocese and to improve the quality of liturgies in the Ordinary Form.
In the interview, Archbishop Cordileone talked about how the former pastor of Star of the Sea, Fr. Mark Mazza, educated parishioners about the Extraordinary Form of the Mass after the archbishop asked Fr. Mazza to start celebrating at Star of the Sea on Sunday mornings, and he cited Fr. Mazza’s excellent catechesis about the validity of both forms of the Mass as a model for how the EF Mass should be introduced. The article also mentions the Oratory of St. Philip Neri that is currently being formed at Star of the Sea and the experience of the new pastor, Fr. Joseph Illo, with the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, along with news about several other changes the archbishop has made to the liturgical and spiritual landscape of the Bay Area.
The Latin Mass Magazine interview and article written by Roseanne Sullivan can be viewed here.
This week, all the priests of the Institute of Christ the King are gathering in Florence, Italy for the annual chapter meeting. The chapter is a very important moment in the life of the Institute. Being a time of prayer and study, it is at the chapter that each canon receive their new assignment or reaffirmed in the present one. Please pray for its success!
On Thursday, the Church celebrates the feast day of the great Father of Western Theology, the Doctor of Grace, St. Augustine of Hippo. Augustine lived from 354 to 430 and is the author of the first autobiography in the history of the world, his Confessions, in which he gives the reader a glimpse into his own interior struggle to accept the freedom found in the Truth and Love of Jesus Christ.
St. Augustine is an important saint for our times for many reasons. Before his baptism by St. Ambrose in 387 at the age of 33, Augustine was mired in sins both of the mind and of the body. In addition to his famous struggles with his fallen sexuality, Augustine was a full-blown heretic, having fallen into the dualistic Gnostic religion of the Manicheans. In our time, with so much disorder of the mind and of the body, Augustine’s example of intellectual and moral conversion is deeply powerful and poignant.
The most interesting part of Augustine’s life, however, was not his struggle with error and sin, or even his conversion. We often make the mistake of thinking that drama is born from the struggle between good and evil. Rather, it is God alone Who truly fascinates us, and so a life lived for Him is the most interesting. The truly fascinating aspects of Augustine’s life center around the life of holiness and pastoral generosity he led for 35 years as the Bishop of Hippo in Northern Africa.
Fr. Mark Mazza, the previous pastor of Star of the Sea in San Francisco, was recently interviewed at the Catholic World Report on an article titled “Finding What Should Never Have Been Lost: Priests and the Extraordinary Form“. Click on this link to read all about it!
We would like to greet Rev. Canon Joel Estrada, a blessed and happy birthday!! Canon Estrada was one of the 4 deacons ordained to the priesthood by His Eminence, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, on August 5, 2014, at the St. Francis de Sales Oratory, St. Louis, MO. Today, August 17, he celebrates his birthday for the first time as priest! Canon Estrada is scheduled to celebrate his first principal mass at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Oratory / Five Wounds Church (San Jose, CA) on Sept. 13 (Saturday) and on St. Margaret Mary (Oakland, CA) on Sept. 14 (Sunday). Please contact Diana Henriksson (email@example.com) to help out for the special reception at Oakland or Jerry and Emy Nilsen (firstname.lastname@example.org) at San Jose. A spiritual bouquet for Canon Estrada is currently available online (see link here).
August is traditionally called the Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, since the traditional feast of her Immaculate Heart is celebrated on August 22. This feast of Mary’s Heart is the octave 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 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.
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.