Archive of old Pastor's Updates
Saturday, April 11. Holy Saturday. It's 12:40, and nearly all the preparations are in place for the Easter Vigil. I will say the Mass, but I will not film it. It's long, and late, and it takes place in five different locations within the church. The church is decorated for Easter now, and the Easter lilies make it smell like Easter. Easter Sunday Mass should be up on youtube by 8 a.m. or thereabouts.
Confessions will be heard today 3-4 p.m. in the sacristy to the left of the altar.
Friday, April 10. Good Friday. You can make a novena in preparation for Divine Mercy Sunday (the Sunday after Easter) by praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy daily from today until then. If you do not know how to pray the chaplet of divine mercy, you will find it on the back of the little prayer cards in back of church, or you can find it on the internet. Three o'clock is the especial hour of mercy, since it was then that Jesus died on the cross for us and for the whole world. The devotion to the Divine Mercy came from private revelations to St. M. Faustina, a Polish nun in the first half of the twentieth century. The ubiquitous picture was painted on the instructions of Jesus as revealed to St. Faustina.
AND: Saturday morning starting at 9:55, a special exposition of the Shround of Turin, the burial cloth of Jesus, will take place. It will be live-streamed so that you can see it "up close and personal!" You can find two links on this page: https://shroud.com/latebrak.htm
Thursday, April 9. The Maundy Thursday Mass is up on youtube: https://youtu.be/f18vzJ0449c Church is open again until about 6:30. Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the sacristy to the left of the altar. God bless all of you during the Paschal Triduum.
Wednesday, April 8. This morning's Mass: https://youtu.be/9p75UA7cFBY After today, you can just check my youtube channel.
Triduum schedule: Maundy Thursday: Church locked at 4; Mass at 4; probably up on youtube by 5:30; church to reopen after Mass, about 5. Good Friday: Church locked at 3; Good Friday service at 3; probably on-line by 4:30; church to reopen after service, about 4:15. Holy Saturday: Confessions 3-4. Easter vigil time T.B.A.
Tuesday afternoon, April 7. You are invited to join Catholics in prayer across the country on Good Friday at 11 a.m. Central Time. We will pray the Litany of the Sacred Heart for the healing of the sick and the end of the coronavirus pestilence. A plenary indulgence has been attached to praying for the end of the pandemic, with the time for confession and communion being extended to your nearest opportunity. If you cannot find the Litany in one of your prayer books, you may find one here: https://lacatholics.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Litany-of-the-Sacred-Heart-English.pdf
I ought to add that I am doing well. Thank you to those of you who have asked.
Tuesday, April 7. Holy Tuesday. Here is today's Mass. Latin Mass with readings and homily in English. Mirror-image issue is fixed. https://youtu.be/yglbZTG_diM I will plan on uploading daily Mass each day until we're back to normal. A link to my youtube channel is on the "links" page so that you can keep watching them.
Monday, April 6. Holy Monday. I just uploaded a video of this morning's Mass. Latin Mass with readings (and homily) in English. Somehow, the whole video got reversed right-to-left. I had to review the video in front of a mirror to keep from going crazy. I'll try to fix that for tomorrow's Mass. https://youtu.be/B4-OmjWaE9I
Sunday, April 5. Palm Sunday. "Watch ye: and pray that ye enter not into temptation." Matt. 26:41.
These are Jesus' words to Peter, James, and John in the Garden of Gethsemani when he took a break from his prayer and found them asleep. It is easy for us to be waving our palms on Palm Sunday and shouting "Hosanna" with the crowd; always easy when it is smooth sailing. But when it comes to standing with Our Blessed Lady at the foot of the Cross, that takes faith, hope, and charity. These three virtues are not human achievements but gifts from God, and we must pray for them. Keep vigil and pray, as Our Lord puts it.
This is now the third Sunday in a row in which the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has not been offered publicly, and it has brought us to Holy Week, the holiest time of the Christian Year. We are called this year in a particular way, a particularly harrowing way, to enter into the deep sorrow of Jesus as the crowd whom he loved and wanted to save turned from "Hosanna filio David," "Hosanna to the Son of David," to "Crucifige eum!" "Crucify him!" Jesus prayed in the Garden, and the result of his prayer was quoted in the Communion antiphon appointed for today: "Father, if this chalice cannot pass away except I drink it, thy will be done."
In these days, in the midst of our anxiety, loneliness, boredom, and desolation, it is imperative that we pray, and not just to pray a little, as if to get it over with. Keep vigil and pray. Be persistent in your prayer. Pray as if you meant to receive the grace to say, "thy will be done." To get our will in line with God's will is a difficult affair. It is within God's gift, but he wills that we should ask for it--and really want it. Watch and Pray.
Let us put ourselves under the particular protection of Our Blessed Lady. She prayed as no one else among all her son's followers could pray. Her will was one with her son's, as we see on Calvary. And she, alone among his followers, understood that the end of it all was Easter Sunday, not Good Friday. This was the fruit of her unique degree of faith, hope, and charity. She can obtain for us the increase in faith, hope, and charity that we need during these trying days. She wants to obtain it for us. Watch and pray.
Saturday, April 4. Blessed palms will be in back of church for pickup by 8 a.m. on Sunday. My reflection on Palm Sunday should be on this page by noon. In the mean time, I encourage you to pick up your bibles and reflect on the passion narratives as we go through Holy Week. In the Latin Mass, we read St. Matthew's passion on Sunday, St. Mark's on Tuesday, St. Luke's on Wednesday, and St. John's on Friday. St. John's has always been my favorite. If you want to read along in the "at-home version" as I offer Mass each morning at 6:45, you can find the Latin and English texts here: https://www.divinumofficium.com/cgi-bin/missa/missa.pl
Friday, April 3. Seven Sorrows of the B.V.M. The sorrows of Our Blessed Lady were unique in the history of mankind. On the one hand, her sufferings were so sharp and heavy that sober theologians affirm that she would have died under their weight, but for a miracle of God preserving her life. On the other hand, she, alone among all those who followed Jesus, had fully understood his teaching about how he would rise again on the third day. Yet she still suffered greatly, especially standing at the foot of the Cross.
You and I can take Mary as our model in suffering. We can also take her as our sure refuge in our sufferings and our guide leading us to Jesus. Wearing the brown scapular or the miraculous medal (I wear both.) is a good way to place ourselves under her protection and to give ourselves a constant reminder that we belong to Mary so that we can belong to Jesus. If you need to be enrolled in the scapular, let me know.
Thursday, April 2. This morning I offered the votive Mass "In Time of Pestilence" followed by the penitential procession for turning aside a pestlence. Alas, I had to do the procession by myself. In reviewing the texts for the Mass (among them II. Sam. 24:15-19, 25), the question naturally presents itself, "Does God send chastisements upon the earth in response to the sins of men?" To deny that he does would be, to state it lightly, rash. There is ample evidence for the correcting hand of God in the Old Testament and New Testament (see, e.g., I. Cor. 11:27-30). When we add the universally-held opinion of holy and learned men throughout the Christian centuries and consider certain trustworthy and approved private revelations, the case for chastisements is airtight.
But it is not so easy is to say whether a specific misfortune is an exercise of divine justice or a simple misfortune. God's chastisements are salutary punishments for the correction of wandering souls just like an earthly father's punishments are aimed as his child's improvement, and there is plenty of sin abroad in the world. But is the current pandemic a divine punishment? I suggest we leave that question aside and turn to a much more profitable one, namely, "If I were assured that this pestilence was a divine chastisement, what changes would I make in my life?" If it is a punishment for sin, we may be assured that our own sins have a played a part in calling God to stern measures, unless we are one of those people who (ha!) never sins. Therefore, we should take this time of social distancing and extra time to examine our lives and consciences. What sins do I need to confess? Am I in mortal sin? Is there some habitual sin that I really don't want to let go of? Is there some part of my life that I have been reluctant to invite Jesus into? These are the sort of questions that any Christian must ask himself if he wants to be on the road to God and heaven. Let us ask them now.
Wednesday, April 1. This coming Friday is a First Friday. I will have some kneelers in front of the Sacred Heart statue, together with some prayers to the Sacred Heart. It is also the feast of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady. We have a set of plaques of her seven sorrows, and these will be out as well on Friday. Her seven sorrows are: 1) the prophecy of Simeon, 2) the flight into Egypt, 3) the loss of the child Jesus in the Temple, 4) meeting Jesus on the way of the cross, 5) Jesus dies on the cross, 6) Jesus is taken down from the cross and laid in the arms of his mother, and 7) Jesus is laid in the tomb.
Please make sure you pass along to other parishioners that I am making these updates. I am working slowly at figuring out how to live-stream daily Mass. I may try an experimental stream soon. If so, I will post a link in this section of the website.
Monday, March 30. In today's epistle for the Latin Mass, Jonah (ch. 3) preaches to the Ninevites, prophesying that Nineveh was to be destroyed in forty days. They repent, and God spares them. Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian Empire, which was notably bloodthirsty, and it seems their repentance was only temporary. Nineveh was eventually destroyed by the Chaldeans, and today it is a mere archeological site. The lesson that we may draw from this is that when we turn to the Lord, we should stay turned to him. God is not the manager of a soup kitchen, where we go only when we have to. God is our Father who loves us. Even if we do sometimes come to him only for soup, let us stay with him, because we have found our way home to our Father's house, in which there are many mansions.
ALSO - Formed.org is an online faith-building website for study as well as everyday Catholic prayer and entertainment. It has books, movies, short videos, and audio content. I have been seriously considering getting a parish subscription so that all of us can have access to it. Currently, they are running a 40-day free trial. Please give it a try and see if you think it's a good fit for us. The link is: https://formed.org/faithathome
Sunday, March 29. Passion Sunday. As the day of our Lord's passion closes in on us, let us take a look at suffering. Our Lord's suffering was due entirely to our sins; he had no sins of his own but bore our sins in his body upon the tree. Moreover, he kept nothing back for himself of his sufferings but spent them all on us. We keep back a part of our sufferings when we complain about them to others and when we bear them in a spirit of complaining and self-pity, even if we do not complain about them in words.
The same may be said about the sufferings Our Blessed Lady bore in union with her son's sufferings. She offered to God everything she had, her son and every last one of her sufferings, keeping nothing back for herself. (Remember, too, that she had no sins of her own, not even the slightest venial sin, to expiate by her suffering.) To bear our sufferings as Jesus and Mary did is a grace we ought to pray for. We can enter into the spirit of their sufferings of by reading the gospel accounts of the betrayal, passion, and death of Jesus. Each evangelist tells the story. (My favorite account is in St. John's gospel, which is sung on Good Friday.)
In this time of pestilence, even we who are not sick and perhaps may not get sick, have plenty of sufferings to offer: being away from Holy Mass and Holy Communion, being away from friends and everyday entertainments, being cooped up in the house, smarting under the blows of financial uncertainty, and everything else that goes with a quarantine, on top of our lenten penance. (Let us not forget to offer the petty annoyances of daily life; we somehow prefer to exempt ourselves from offering up the annoyance of, say, a misplaced set of car keys or burnt toast at breakfast.) During these last two weeks of lent, let us try as best we might, to offer our sufferings as perfectly as we can. Let us offer them in reparation for our sins and those of the whole world, for the conversion of poor sinners, for the turning aside of the pestilence, and for the renewal and purification of our holy mother the Church.
Friday, March 27. Two more resurrection stories at today's Mass. Elijah raises the son of the widow lady who fed him during the famine, and Jesus raises Lazarus. In the course of that episode, Jesus tells Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, although he be dead, shall live: And every one that liveth, and believeth in me, shall not die for ever." And then he adds, "Believest thou this?" That is a question for each of us. Do we believe this? In another Gospel, the father of a possessed boy told Jesus, "I do believe, Lord: help my unbelief." Faith, hope, and charity are gifts from God. Let us ask him for those gifts frequently--and fervently. In other news, the palms have arrived and the new paschal candle. I will bless the palms on Palm Sunday and leave them in the back of the church for the faithful to pick up when you can.
Thursday, March 26. Since I have been without a congregation, I have been offering the "old" Mass each day, in Latin. Today's readings were resurrection stories: Jesus raising the widow of Nain's son and Elisha raising the Shunammite woman's son. In the Old Testament story especially (told in full at IV. Kings 4) we see the mother's anguish over her dead son. As Lent enters "the home stretch," we are given a glimpse of Easter in today's liturgy. The anguish of death is real, but the joy of the resurrection is, we might say, even more real. Of the two, it's the only one that lasts.
I have been grateful that many of you have been able to continue sending in your offering envelopes, and I am grateful, too, for the many who have checked up on me. Please don't forget to check up on those of us who are aged or alone, who may need to get a ride to the grocery story or may just need to hear a friend's voice. I know of at least one person who is willing to go out on errands for parishioners. Let me know if you need me to put her in touch with you.
Wednesday, March 25. Feast of the Annunciation. On this day, Our Blessed Lady St. Mary said "Yes" to God's plan for her. She said "Yes" to whatever God willed her to do. She said "Yes" to whatever God willed her to undergo. She maintained this "Yes" to God's most holy Will even at the foot of the Cross and throughout her life. Let us join her in willing Whatever God wills, Because He wills it, In whatever manner He wills it, and As long as He wills it. Let us ask her prayers, and the prayers of our guardian angels and patron saints, to help us make this offering to God in the most perfect way we can.