Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Almighty God We stand before you in supplication, Asking Your Divine mercy and protection, To envelop with Your invincible armor, Our loved ones in all branches of the service.

Give them courage and strength Against all enemies, Both spiritual and physical, And hasten their safe journey, Back to their homes and families.

If it be Your Holy Will That they be gathered to Your bosom, With the eternal vanguard of the saints, Let their journey to Your everlasting arms Be swift and painless, Where they may stand in honor and glory, Praising You for all eternity.


*from Catholic Chicks Blog

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Reminder: Traditional Latin Mass at St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi Saturday May 29th

You can read all about this over at Philadelphia Roamin Catholic, which is written by the lead altar server of the Latin Mass crew at St. Paul's. See my blog for the link.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Example of the Saints

To begin his sermon on St. Rita's feast day this past Saturday, Father Robert Hagan, OSA, issued this advice: If you want to know God, get to know His friends. And if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. How fortunate we are as Catholics to have the example of the Saints, especially the Queen of all the Saints, the Blessed Virgin Mary, who accepted God's will for her life without question. In reviewing my books on the saints to write yesterday's reflection on St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, I was really struck by her motto: To suffer, not to die!" I must confess to occasional temptations to reflect on how much this life really is an exile in a valley of tears, when perhaps what I should be thinking about is how life is an opportunity to try to demonstrate gratitude to God for all of His blessings, especially knowing that if I gain entrance into His kingdom, it will based not on my own merit but His unfathomable mercy and love.

St. Therese knew this. When her sister Celine expressed concern about how she would get to heaven, her little sister's advice was "Hold out your hand to God." The ladder might be steep, but we are not expected to climb it all alone, and the biggest mistake we can make is to think we can do anything by ourselves. St. Rita's life did not pan out exactly as she dreamed. When she longed for life in the convent, what she got was a less-than-perfect marriage and the heartache that went with it. In the novena prayed weekly to her there is the line "by the surrender of your children rather than have them offend God." In all things, obedience to God's Will directed all of her thoughts and actions. Even when she found herself a childless widow, God did not exactly make the path to life as a religious without its obstacles, but in the end, Rita obtained what she wanted. How fortunate for us who have come to realize the power of her intercession with Him.

A priest I know once commented that St. Therese is someone you admire, while St. Rita is someone you can imitate. I say let's try imitating both of them. We can fail, but even our failure will be more pleasing than if we had simply not bothered at all.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

St. Mary Magdalene dei Pazzi, Carmelite Nun and Visionary

This Carmelite mystic was born of a wealthy and prominent family, who had high hopes that Catherina dei Pazzi would be given in marriage to a suitor of a similarly powerful family. However, she promised her virginity to God and entered the Carmelites at the age of 16. Her motto was " to suffer, not to die" and she did indeed suffer. She experienced the anguish of spiritual aridity, and was severely tested by attacks of impurity, gluttony and doubt. She experienced her first ectasy at age 12 in the presence of her mother and she was attracted to the Carmelites because she would be enabled to receive Holy Communion often. One of her most notable visions was one of many levels of Purgatory, where she saw even the souls of religious who were undergoing purification before they could see God. One nun in particular was prevented from entering Heaven because of time that she spent begrudgingly before the Most Blessed Sacrament.

The saint's body was discovered to be incorrupt and she was canonized in 1669 by Pope Clement IX.

Manuscripts of the saint's visions are available from Paulist Press in a collection entitled "Maria Mddalena de' Pazzi, Selected Revelations".

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Come Holy Spirit, Fill the Hearts of Thy Faithful

Almighty God, to You all hearts are open, all desires known, and from You no secrets are hid. Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts with the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit that we may perfectly love You and worthily magnify Your Holy Name. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
From the Book of Common Prayer

Thursday, May 20, 2010

St. Rita of Cascia

Don't forget that Saturday is the feast day of St. Rita of Cascia. Please see the post Around the Parishes for a Mass schedule on her feast day. Roses are available for purchase all day and will be blessed at every Mass. Even if you have no pressing intention in your life for which to pray, won't you consider joining your prayers to those who are praying for a sick child or other difficult situation?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Peace that Surpasseth All Understanding

Sometimes, things don't go quite the way we imagined they would. And because we're weak human beings, we don't always accept that what happens in our lives is directed by the hand of God, whose ways are far above our own and beyond the grasp of our human minds. Still, there is nothing quite like the peace that comes from knowing that you are carrying out His will, and the joy of knowing that whatever you endure in this life in His name will be rewarded a hundred-fold in eternity. I'm always amazed at how light a burden becomes when I decide not to proceed as the world would have me proceed but as one who belongs to Christ alone. Lord, give me the strength always to do Your Holy Will and to help others realize the peace that only you can give.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

My Daughter Walking in the Procession of Saints

The Past is Present

I have come to love the Traditional Latin Mass, even though I must confess that I don't always know what's going on. I sit towards the back because if I sat up front, I might cause someone to stand when they should be kneeling and kneel when they should be sitting, etc. I wanted a Missal of my own, even though the booklets supplied at Mass are very helpful, so I could familiarize myself more with the Latin and understand why we take certain postures, etc. Trouble is I don't know one from another and the Missal I did invest in has very few prayers and no "black and red" to tell me what to do and what to pray. Then, a quick encounter between my mother and our beloved pastor lit a light bulb. I was joking to Father that my mother is old enough to have worn a mantilla to church at one time and probably still had it tucked away in a drawer. "I'll bet you still have your Missal, too," Father told her. Guess what? She does!

So, at Sunday dinner last week, my mother produced said Missal, which was published in 1955 and which she gave to my father on their wedding day as her gift to him. And she passed something else on to me, as well - a soft brown triangular lace mantilla that falls perfectly. I'm surprised she didn't still have a hat pin to go with it, but you know what they say: beggars can't be choosy!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Around the Parishes

May is a busy month for some of the parishes in South Philadelphia. Along with being the month when the Church traditionally honors Mary, there are other events and customs happening that you might like to know about.

Coinciding with the Annual 9th Street Market Festival, St. Paul Parish will hold its annual Procession of Saints this coming Sunday, May 16th, following the 10am Mass at St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi Church at 7th and Montrose Streets. The procession will form around 11 am and will conclude at St. Paul's at 10th and Christian Streets around Noon. There, Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament will take place in the Extraordinary Form, followed by the Traditional Latin Mass around 12:30. Parking will not be available in the lot that day.

On Saturday May 29th, Mass in the Extraordinary Form will take place at St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi church at 11am to celebrate the titular feast of the patron saint and Carmelite nun for whom the church was dedicated. Msgr. Charles Sangermano, former pastor of St. Paul's and now pastor of Holy Savior Church in Norristown, PA., will be the guest homilist. The music, which has not yet been announced, will be of Italian composers. A reception to meet Msgr. Sangermano will follow in the adjacent parish hall, Columbus House, with light refreshments served.

The annual Solemn Novena to Saint Rita of Cascia will take place
now through May 22nd at the National Shrine at Broad and
Ellsworth Streets. Masses and Novena Prayers will take place on
the following days:
Sunday, May 16th
9:00AM, 11:00AM, 2:00PM (Mass for Healing)
Monday, May 17th through Friday May 21st
8:00AM, 12:00PM, 5:30PM, and 7:30PM
Saturday, May 22nd
Masses and Blessing of Roses
8:00AM, 10:00AM, 12:00PM, 3:00PM, 5:30PM, and 7:30PM
Confessions daily one half hour before every Mass. Veneration of
the Relic of St. Rita of Cascia after Mass each day. The gift shop in the lower shrine will also be open after every Mass. St. Rita's gift shop offers religious articles, statues, books, jewelry and cards and all proceeds benefit the shrine.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Tomorrow is the 93rd anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima to the children Lucia, Jacinto and Francisco. I have always thought that it takes an extremely hardened heart to learn of the events of Fatima and still refuse to follow Jesus Christ. Whether it was the Virgin of Fatima or her Divine Son who chose the three visionaries, I am not sure. Regardless, what would compel three uneducated peasant children to concoct such a tale knowing full it well it could cost them and their families their lives? The simplicity and ignorance of the children illuminates how far God's ways are above ours. There is nothing secretive about the true message of Fatima: Repent and Pray, especially for the sake of those who do not yet believe.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Approaching Ordinary Time

Soon, the church will return to the liturgical period known as Ordinary Time. As if a church centered on the Eucharist could ever be considered ordinary! Still, the little bit of melancholy I always feel with the approach of Pentecost and the conclusion of the Easter season gives me some idea what the apostles felt when they saw Jesus depart from them to return to His Father.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Handmaid of the Lord

Today, my daughter's school held their annual May Procession and Crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Father asked the children what it was that made Mary so great, and you could tell instantly that one child made a particular impression with his answer. His response was "Mary was a servant."

The Mother of God accepted all that He willed for her without question. Can I say the same of myself? Along with praying to Mary to protect my children physically and spiritually from all harm, I also beg of her to aid me in accepting all God wills for me without question, without anger, without disappointment.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What if There Were no Priests?

Well, next week, we who live in the archdiocese of Philadelphia will find out, to an extent, when Cardinal Rigali pulls all of the diocesan priests to Hershey, PA for a three-day retreat. Father Kelley, pastor at St. Monica's, advised us that there will probably be no 6:30 am Mass next Tuesday and Wednesday because thus far, he's been unable to find a priest to cover that Mass. Many of the parishes run by orders like the Franciscans and Augustinians have agreed to step in where they can, but there are only so many of them to go around.

Please keep the cardinal and all our priests and bishops in your prayers that they may have a safe journey and a spiritually profitable retreat.

As an amusing aside, my youngest was describing her day at dinner and informed us that our pastor joined her class for lunch. "He wasn't wearing his black dress, Mom", she told me,"he just wore his black suit and collar". That would be a CASSOCK, Rebecca. We are fortunate to have a priest who DRESSES like a priest when he is out in public. A priest who goes about his official duties in street clothes (except when it would be dangerous for him to be in his clerics) is like a nun out of habit. Wear that cassock proudly, dear Fathers.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Heart to Heart With Jesus

So, the Good Lord had a little chat with me with this weekend. I wondered what took Him so long, and He reminded me that He always talks to me but that I just haven't learned to listen. I asked Him why He hasn't heeded my plea to show me the way, and He chided me for not paying closer attention. "If the path you think you want to take is going to lead you away from Me in any way, how do you suppose it can be better for you than where you are now?" Then I remembered His words to St. Paul, who asked Him to remove a thorn. "My Grace is sufficient for you." So, I have my answer. Now I just have to figure the minor details. In all the agony of the past few weeks, I drifted away a bit when what I needed to do was draw closer.

Don't give up on me Lord. I know that You won't, but I had to say it anyway.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Family Holy Hour Tomorrow at St. Monica's

Tomorrow being the first Sunday in May, a Family Holy Hour will be held at St. Monica's Church at 17th and Ritner Streets, South Philadelphia, at 3:45 pm in the upper church. All are welcome. There will be Exposition and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament, hymns, spiritual readings, time for silent adoration, and, chanting of the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Remember, the family that prays together, stays together!

St. Joseph The Worker