Friday, January 23, 2009

Coming Of (Digital) Age

And who says the Catholic Church puts the kibosh on scientific and technological progress?

The faithful know about the Vatican's website.

Now, the Holy See has its place on YouTube.

The article is here.

The link to YouTube is here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Forever Missing

One of the most important celebrations in the life of a parish is when a person is fully initiated into the Church. Tonight at St. Olaf, twenty-two young people received the Sacrament of Confirmation. A time of great joy was witnessed by family, friends, and other parish members, including those providing the music for the Mass.

(A side note: His Excellency, the Most Reverend John C. Wester, due to a prior commitment, was unable to be the celebrant. Faculties for the rite were given to the Vicar General of the diocese, Msgr. J. Terrence Fitzgerald. Msgr. Fitzgerald has also served as Diocesan Administrator twice, after now retired Bishop William K. Weigand and Archbishop George H. Niederauer were transferred to Sacramento and San Francisco, respectively. From what I have been told, Msgr. Fitzgerald's leadership while the bishop's chair was vacant was of immense value.)

While getting ready for the liturgy, I was thinking about who wasn't here. No, not other parishioners. No, not those who had fallen away and whose children could have added to the class. No, I was thinking about those who never were here at the start.

How many more would be here, I wondered, if (and I stress if, because I have no idea) they hadn't been aborted?

It is a question of pure speculation. I will readily admit that. But I couldn't help notice.

I don't know why today was chosen for our confirmandi, but I wish some more thought would have gone into planning the date. Today marks the 36th. anniversary of the United States Supreme Court decisions Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Dalton, the rulings which give the country the legal right to have abortion on demand for whatever reason. On a date when a grave evil was given card blanche, two days after inaugurating a new president who has promised to sign into law legislation that would further cement these "rights", those who administer religious education in the parish thought it proper to bestow the final Sacrament of Initiation upon these youth today.

Now that I think about it, why not today?

What a wonderful counter-cultural sign. On one of the blackest spiritual days in the country's history, spiritual life was fully conferred to a very small part of her population. New yeast has been mixed into this dough called living. How much effect it will have remains to be seen. But it was God's voice speaking tonight, calling us to renew the life of the Holy Spirit within us and to choose life.

All the marches and speeches are completed for this year. People will return home and begin to support the cause they favor. Victory has not been won, yet. But as it is, if we work with Him, it will be.

Tonight was just another reminder God is still in charge.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Inside Information

The Holy See on occasion opens to the public some of its inner workings.

This is such an event.

The rational is to encourage the faithful to receive this sacrament when needed:
"We cannot hide that the sacrament of penance is threatened in this time of secularization," (Msgr. Gianfranco) Girotti (the tribunal's #2 man) said. But he stressed that it remained "fundamental for salvation and the sanctification of souls."
How accurately was our time described, even some 2,000 years earlier:
Then Jesus said, "I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind." Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, "Surely we are not also blind, are we?" Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, 'We see,' so your sin remains.

John 9:39-41
I hope we are not that blind.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Day Of Reckoning

The Proclamation of the Date of Easter on Epiphany dates from a time when calendars were not readily available. It was necessary to make know the date of Easter in advance, since many celebrations of the liturgical year depend on its date. The number of Sundays that follow Epiphany, the date of Ash Wednesday, and the number of Sundays that follow Pentecost are all computed in relation to Easter.

(Editorial Note: Easter Sunday, or rather the Feast of the Resurrection of the Lord, is the first Sunday following the first full moon following the spring equinox. It is an attempt to have it as close to the Jewish feast of Passover as possible, in keeping with the Gospel narratives. The difference is the difference between the solar and lunar calendars.)

Although calendars now give the date of Easter and the other feasts in the liturgical year for many years in advance, the Epiphany proclamation still has value. It is a reminder of the centrality of the resurrection of the Lord in the liturgical year and the importance of the great mysteries of faith which are celebrated each year.

Dear brothers and sisters, the glory of the Lord has shone upon us, and shall ever be manifest among us, until the day of his return. Through the rhythms of times and seasons let us celebrate the mysteries of salvation.

Let us recall the year's culmination, the Easter Triduum of the Lord: his last supper, his crucifixion, his burial, and his rising, celebrated between the evening of N and the evening of N.

Each Easter--as on each Sunday--the Holy Church makes present the great and saving deed by which Christ has for ever conquered sin and death.

From Easter are reckoned all the days we keep holy. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, will occur on N. The Ascension of the Lord will be commemorated on N. Pentecost, the joyful conclusion of the season of Easter, will be celebrated on N. And this year the First Sunday of Advent will be on N.

Likewise the pilgrim Church proclaims the passover of Christ in the feasts of the holy Mother of God, in the feasts of the Apostles and Saints, and in the commemoration of the faithfully departed.

To Jesus Christ, who was, who is, and who is to come, Lord of time and history, be endless praise, fore ever and ever. Amen.

(N represents the date, e.g. the 7th. of January. Information found in the Sacramentary Supplement, via the magazine Magnificat.)

Originally posted 1/7/2007.

Star Power

"...We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage."

Matthew 2:2b

Many people have speculated about what exactly is the Star of Bethlehem.

A lawyer turned amateur astronomer provides a very compelling argument.

Make one think, doesn't it.