Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Home Altar 2010

These are a few pictures of my family's home altar in our new house. Our family's pump organ (around 100 years old) serves as our altar. My great great grandparents bought it for my great aunt and took it by horse and buggy from Grand Rapids to Cadillac (about 120 miles). For a bunch of years it was stored in a garage with paint spilled all over it until my grandpa found it and restored it to its original state. It now has immmense pride of place in our house.

I decided to frame and put up a picture of St. John Cantius on the top of our altar after my incredible visit to the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius this past week.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Heart of the Mass

Anybody that wants to learn more about what occurs during a Tridentine Mass (and the history and reasons behind it all) should definitely buy THIS book (only $10.00 too!). I have a copy of this book and love it.
I know some parishes bought this book to use in classes to teach their parishioners about this Holy Mass and what goes on and why.

"If we would live the Mass, we must assist at it. And if we would assist at it, we must understand it. If Mass for you has become routine, a conforming to anything custom, simply a family habit, or to avoid mortal sin. "The Heart of the Mass" is the book to read.

This book dissects the Holy Mass into its component parts, prayer by prayer, phrase by phrase, in Latin with parallel English. Just what are we praying? Why? When? For whom? With whom?

It synthesizes explanations from the Fathers and Doctors, revelations to Saints, teachings of the Church, history and mystic commentary. Tells you what the celebrant and ministers are doing and the symbolism of their gestures. A chapter on articles used for Mass and their spiritual significance. Proposes meditations and the benefits of devout participation. Acts of oblation."

St. Dominic and the Devil

Today my family went to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. My favorite painting was Vecchia's "St. Dominic and the Devil." It's a Renaissance oil painting done around the year 1630 in Italy.

The story of the Devil's appearance to St. Dominic in the form of a monkey is derived from a medieval legend, according to which the saint seized his tormentor and forced him to hold a lit candle while he studied. St. Dominic released him only after the candle burned down and scorched his fingers.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Long Time Since I've Done This

...So long, I forgot my password. ;)

I don't know how many people still check in on this site anymore, but I think I'm going to try to get back in the habit of writing on here again. I've been very busy lately and there's been a lot going on, but it is definitely for the better! I must remember to not only turn to God in my distress, but also in times of great joy. So, I will hopefully be writing more on here. This blog has been a good thing for me, and I think I should try to write more often.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Meeting Fr. Fessio

Last night I had the privilege of going to a lecture by Fr. Joseph Fessio held in Newman's Bookstore, in Downtown Kalamazoo.

Fr. Fessio's lecture was over the recent accusations against the Pope, along with an overview of his relationship with the Pope, and the Pope's book, "The Spirit of the Liturgy." He discussed aspects of the book such as: the need for the "reform of the reform," Ad Orientem worship, translations, and other various topics.

"The Spirit of the Liturgy" is an amazing book; one of the best books ever produced in dealing with the importance and the different aspects of the Mass. If you do not own a copy, I strongly urge you to obtain one. I have already read this book twice and will still refer back to it in my studies and writings.

For those of you who do not know of him, Fr. Fessio grew up in California and entered the Jesuit novitiate in 1961. He earned a B.A. and M.A. in philosophy from Gonzaga University, along with a M.A. in Theology (which he received in his studies in France). He was ordained on June 10, 1972.

In 1975 he earned his doctorate in Theology from the University of Regensburg, West Germany. His thesis director was Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI (with whom he has remained close friends with).

Fr. Fessio has taught at many different colleges and also had his share in founding many colleges and other programs. One of his biggest accomplishments was made in 1978 when he founded Ignatius Press. Ignatius press is one of the world's largest publishers of catholic books and articles.

Fr. Fessio is a very outspoken, and intelligent priest who holds the Mass very dear to his heart as his mentor and friend, Cardinal Ratzinger, has.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Photos from Holy Week at St. Mary's Kalamazoo

Holy Thursday
The Holy Thursday Mass was celebrated by Fr. David Grondz, the associate pastor of St. Mary's Church and was concelebrated by Fr. Robert Sirico, the pastor of St. Mary's. The Mandatum (washing of the feet) took place after the homily. The Blessed Sacrament was taken, in procession, to the Altar of Repose at the conclusion of Mass. Then after the Mass the altar and sanctuary was stripped.

Good Friday

Fr. David Grondz said the service of our Lord's Passion. The congregation participated in the Veneration of the Cross, and some relics were put on display for veneration by the faithful afterwards.

Easter Vigil

Fr. Robert Sirico celebrated the Mass of the Paschal Vigil. The service began with the blessing of the Easter Fire out in front of the Church then a procession lead into the Church for Mass.

Throughout the triduum Mass was said Ad Orientem with Latin chant sung in various places of the Mass by a full choir. Fr. Sirico and Fr. Grondz celebrated the Masses along with eighteen (plus) servers (one cross bearer, two acolytes, one/two thurifers, one boat bearer, one M.C., six torches, and the rest in choir). Fr. Sirico said a High Tridentine Mass on Easter Day.

I am sorry to say that I do not have any more pictures of the triduum. Being that I served at all of the Masses I was not able to take any more pictures of the liturgies myself (those photos above I did not take). All of the Masses were beautiful and carried out with extreme reverence and piety towards the Blessed Sacrament.

Holy Week at SJC

Here are some photos of Holy Week from the Canons Regular of Saint John Cantius in Chicago Illinois who have also made a wonderful photo gallery of all of 2010 HolyWeek on their parish website.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Commiting Ourselves to God Amongst Our Sufferings

Now is the time in which we will have to prove our devotion to God, and trust in him. This suffering and dark valley that we may be amongst is for God's sake and of his will. Men of this time should embrace God, cling to Him, and trust in His just will.

God is love. Deus Caritas Est. So if God is love, and all that happens to us is of God, then all that happens to us is out of God's love for us. We may not be able to see His intention or purpose of His love for us in the middle of our uncertainty and sufferings, but in the end, "after we fail in the eyes of men and are wasted with sufferings and weakness, we will rise with Thee O God in the dawn of the new light, and be glorified in heavenly places." (Kempis 154).

We are not of the world. We are of another world, Heaven. So it is only fitting that we do not go through this world with complete happiness and ease. "Our souls aren't at rest until they rest in thee O God." It is for this reason that we should suffer and be troubled in the world for the sake of God's love, how often soever, and by whomever.

It is good for us that we be in trouble, and that we learn God's statues, and that He may cast away all pride of heart in us. It is profitable for us that confusion and darkness has covered our faces, that we may seek God for consolation rather than men.

This habit of embracing the Now and glorifying God through His demands is an act of our loving will. We do not need to know God's plan in order to accept it. We can be cured by a medicine without knowing its prescription or its ingredients. just our will to be resigned to Him and to suffering for Him will give us a far greater understanding of theology than anything else.

"Some souls will gain peace and sanctity from the same trials that make others rebels and nervous wrecks." (Fulton Sheen)

Neither the devil nor God can take our will. We are absolute owners in deciding whether we offer our will to ourselves or to God. Our will, operating under our own power, may be busy doing many things, but in the end they amount to nothing. But our will operating under God's will and power can amount to such great things we cannot even conceive until we reach heaven.

If we follow completely in God's will we should be able to escape from the accidents that caused us pain and anger. Our life will be carried out in accordance to God's will. No longer will things "Not go according to our plan." People of God's will utter no complaint; whatever comes along.

In God's divinity, there is nothing accidental. There is, instead, the meeting of a divine will and the offering of our own to God. In this, we become content, because we know that God knows what is best for us, and our family. So then the bitter and the sweet, the joys and the sorrows or each and every moment are viewed as sacred.

"Only God changes things for the better. But He does this through us if we give Him the opportunity to use us. There is no limit to how much God gives us except that which we put before ourselves." (Groeschel).

This entire process and complete trust in God is the center behind the entire meaning and purpose of life. It is a mentality and challenge that mankind has been grappling at since the dawn of Adam. It encircles every aspect of our actions, thoughts, deeds, way of life, and spirit into one, big, eternal battle for our soul.

We should be glad at the sufferings and trials that God has bestowed upon us. We should embrace these sufferings with open and loving hearts;! For they are sent to us from God, so that His will be done. Each suffering and temporary dryness or blindness to the future is from God, and contains His love for us. So why is it that we would approach such sufferings with despair and gloom?

Because we are human.

There lies the eternal conflict. To see God in everything, including our sufferings (maybe not at first, but to have faith in Him) is to die to ourselves; so that He may increase in us.

We must say, "Thanks be to you God! Because thou hast not spared my sins, but hast beaten me with stripes of love, inflicting pains, and sending troubles upon me and within. So that I may be sanctified to enter your heavenly kingdom," (Kempis 155). See the parallel to Jesus' suffering and death on behalf of mankind? We too must take up our cross and be purged.

But we must stay strong, for if we lack faith surely the fires of Hell will swallow us whole, and from there there is no means of escape. Have faith in God; He will provide. Our only job is to live each day in fullness of Him, and to bear our daily sufferings in accordance to His will.

God will always meet our needs (see Mathew 6:25-34). He will never give us anything we can't handle, or anything that is bad for us. All spiritual, or even secular setbacks and trials that He bestowed upon us are for the ultimate good. The real trial is not in overcoming those setbacks but in whether or not we kept faith in Him through those and remain to.

We should not fear. We should not hide and lay worried and afraid of what's to come.

God will provide.

All we need to do is to keep focused on Him, and remain faithful to His will.

My Lord God, I have no idea where i am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore, I will trust you always, though I may seem to be lost in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. (Merton)

Monday, April 5, 2010

An Earlier Post

When we see crowds of people rushing into theaters, charging into their local bars, or seeking new thrills, we see that they have not yet found happiness, otherwise they would not be looking for it.

The fact that we can think of a greater happiness than we posses now is proof that we are not happy. If we were perfect we would be happy all the time. At one time or another in our lives we have tried to obtain what would make us happy, but when we get it, are we happy?

Remember how we look forward to a vacation or Christmas, and we thought about how great a time it was going to be and how happy we were going to be? But then as our vacation ended, or we are falling asleep in our beds after Christmas day, we feel that somehow or other it did not meet our expectations.

We want to be perfectly happy, but we are not. Our lives have been a series of disappointments, shocks, trials, sufferings, and disillusions. The real question lies in how we reacted to our disappointments; either we became cynical, or religious.

If we decide to become cynical, we decide that, since life is a snare and a delusion, we ought to get as much thrill and fun out of it as possible! In a case such this we grab at any excitement we see, making our lives a consistent search for a "good time." This would be the right attitude if we were just an animal. But we have a soul as well as a body. So there are joys in life as well as pleasures.

There is a world of difference between these two. Pleasure is of the body; while joy is of the mind and heart. One can become quickly tired of pleasures, but you can never tire of joys. A pleasure can keep building until it reaches a point where it stops being pleasure it may even begin to cause pain if carried beyond a certain point. Therefore, if we live focused on pleasure we are missing the joys of life.

Have you noticed that as our desire for pleasure increases, the satisfaction from the pleasure decreases? The drug addict, to have equal pleasure from his drugs, must increase his dose or kind of drug. Otherwise the thrill runs off. Any addict deals with this. You keep searching for the next big thing because the pleasure of the last wore off.

On the other hand, one will react to disappointments in a religious manner. If we see that we haven't found the happiness we are looking for we come to the conclusion that, "If we want happiness, we must have been made for happiness." We realize that we have been looking for happiness in all of the wrong places. Therefore we look for happiness somewhere else, in God.

If our philosophy is always to have a "good time," we have already learned long ago that we will never really have a "good time," because we are always in the pursuit of happiness without ever capturing it. We will spend our whole lives searching for happiness, and what ends up happening is that we go through life without noticing how happy we could be if we look to God for our happiness. "We turn the pages of life, without ever reading the book." --Fulton Sheen.

This is why those who live for pleasure become cynical. They blame things, rather than their self, and they end up chasing mirages until death overtakes them.

Our whole lives will be disordered and miserable if we base them on the principal of always having a good time, simply because happiness is an end product, not a goal. One should not seek happiness, but rather seek good and happiness will come as a result. From all of this comes the question; "Why am I disappointed and unhappy?" The reason for this is simple; because we have such a large unbalance between our desires and our realizations.For example, one would look forward to some earthly pleasure, or position, but once they attain it, they begin to feel the large unbalance between the idea they desired and the reality of what actually happened. This causes disappointment. The more material and earthly our goals are the more disappointment follows; the more spiritual and "God-centered" our goals are the less disappointment there is. That is why, if we devote our lives to God and His will we can ultimately find happiness in everything.

Certainly we would never want this perfect life, perfect Truth, perfect Love unless it existed. The very thought that we enjoy these things to the best of our abilities means there must be a place where we can enjoy these things in complete happiness. That's heaven! Would there be an eye if there was no beauty to behold? Then would there be a craving for unending life, perfect Truth, and ecstatic love unless perfect Life and Truth and Love existed?

In other words, we are made for God. Nothing short of the infinite satisfies us, and to be asked to satisfy with anything less would be to destroy us. That's why there is a heaven!While we are on earth, we dream of heaven; we are creatures of time, and we despise it. We are constantly looking for the source of Life, Truth, and Love, and that something is God; and the times when we have been disappointed are when we have lost sight of Him!

It is God that we are looking for. Our unhappiness is not due to our want of a fortune, or a high position, or fame; it is not due to a want of something outside of us, but rather a want inside of us. We are made for perfect happiness. That is our purpose. No wonder everything short of God disappoints us!

But have you noticed that when you realize you were made for perfect happiness, how much less disappointing the pleasures of earth become? Once we realize that God is our end, we are no long disappointed! "This causes us to see that friendship, the joys of marriage, the sunset and the stars, masterpieces of art and music are all gifts from God! He dropped them into our life to remind us that these things beautiful. It is a small foretaste of His eternal kingdom in heaven!"

Life is not filled with disappointments- unless you expect more than what you have at that very moment. Disappointments are merely parts of life saying: "Perfect Happiness is not here." Every disillusionment, every destroyed earthly hope, every frustrated human desire points to God. Though our passions may be satisfied by things of this world, we are never satisfied until we are at peace with our One True God in His eternal Kingdom.

St. Mary's Altar of Repose

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Resurrexit Sicut Dixit, Alleluia!

Rejoice heavenly powers! Sing choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God's throne!
Jesus Christ, our King is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes forever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God's people!

It is truly right
that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God,
the all powerful Father,
and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam's sin
to our eternal Father!

This is our Passover feast,
when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

This is the night
when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their slavery
and led them dry-shod through the sea.

This is the night
when the pillar of fire
destroyed the darkness of sin!

This is the night
when Christians everywhere,
washed clean of sin
and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace
and grow together in holiness.

This is the night
when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.

What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?

Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.

O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!

Most blessed of all nights,
chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!
Of this night scripture says:
"The night will be clear as day:
it will become my light, my joy."

The power of this holy night
dispels all evil, washes guilt away,
restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace,
and humbles earthly pride.

Night truly blessed
when heaven is wedded to earth
and man is reconciled with God!

Therefore, heavenly Father,
in the joy of this night
receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
your Church's solemn offering.

Accept this Easter candle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.

Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning
to dispel the darkness of this night!

May the Morning Star which never sets
find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star,
who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light on all mankind,
your Son who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hosanna Filio David!

Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love towards us you sent your Son to take our nature upon him, and to suffer death upon the cross; grant that we may follow the example of his great humility and share in his glorious resurrection: through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and for ever. Amen.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Altar Candles

An altar-candlestick consists of five different parts; the base, the stem, the knob in the middle of the stem, the bowl to collect the wax drippings, and a tube to hold the candle. In the early days of the church candles weren't allowed on the altar. Instead they used the light from candles that were hung in chandeliers above or next to the altar. The acolytes (candle bearers) would carry the candles in procession to the altar then set them next to the altar on the floor of the sanctuary, as is still the custom in the Eastern Church. It wasn't until the tenth century that candles were permitted to be placed upon the altar because beforehand people felt that only the relics of saints and the book of Gospels should be placed upon the altar.

The custom of placing two candles on the altar became general in the sixteenth century. These two candles are meant to represent "the joy of two Peoples who rejoiced at the birth of Christ," (i.e. Mary and Joseph). This is also where the Marian shrine, or altar on the Gospel side of the sanctuary and the shrine or altar dedicated to Joseph on the Epistle side also came from.

Only two candles were used then because Mass were being said as Low Mass. But on feast days and holy days four or six candles were used. So with the spread of the High Mass came the use of six candles set upon the altar.

According to the "Caeremoniale Episcoporum" (I, xii, 11), there should be on the high altar six candlesticks and candles of various sizes, the highest of which should be near the cross. If all six be of the same size they may be placed on different elevations, so as to produce the same effect; a custom, however, has been introduced of having them at the same height and this is now permissible (Cong. Sac. Rit. 21 July, 1855).

On the other altars of the church there should be at least two candlesticks, but usually four are used; on the altar of the Blessed Sacrament, if the Blessed Sacrament is not kept on the high altar, there should regularly be six.

The Roman Missal (Rubr. 20) says also that a third candle should be placed on the epistle side, and that this extra candle should be lit at low Masses from the consecration to the consumption of the Precious Blood. The third light is not usually placed on the altar itself, but on the credence, or on the step of the altar at the place where the altar-boy kneels. But in roman custom the extra candle may be set on the epistle side of the altar because in most churches in Rome there is no space for credence tables, and the sanctuary's were not designed for them, so the epistle side of the altar is used to set the water and wine, this extra candle, and any other items necessary to say Mass on.

The altar boy would light this candle at the consecration and hold onto it, carrying it next to the priest and other altar boy (who held the paten) as the priest distributed communion. This way the Eucharist always has a candle to signify the real presence of Jesus in it and it represents the faithful, who are represented by the candle as having their thoughts and prayers and adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. The same concept is applied to the votive candle placed besides the tabernacle. It's as though the altar server takes that votive candle next to the Blessed Sacrament wherever it travels, such as communion.

(Which by the way, is what Fr. Grondz has done on both the Mary and Joseph side altars along with the use of unbleached candles for the Lenten season.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Carnival!

Here's to a prayerful and holy Lenten season!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Latin 101

I've begun my first Latin lessons this week. I changed my schedule around so that I could take Latin 101 (an online class -- public schooling). Although the class is teaching me classical Latin and not ecclesiastical I am still learning a lot. I do well at knowing and deciphering the Latin stem of a word, and am now learning how to put words together and how to conjugate my verbs and declensions.

It's fairly easy stuff actually!

This class is already helping me to understand English grammar better along with the little bit of Spanish and Italian I know. The hardest part is knowing what is different in classical Latin compared to ecclesiastical.

What this class has really helped me with is learning the definitions and sentence structures of Latin words or phrases that I apply weekly (sometimes daily) at Mass or in prayer. I knew before what most words meant, but now I can see their true definitions and purpose in certain contexts along with picking more and more words up as I go along because I am becoming more familiar with them.

Which also allows me to see all of the terrible and (in some cases) liturgically wrong translations that the English Mass uses, the ones I was (sadly) brought up on.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Happy (be-lated) Septuagesima!!! 30 days till Lent!!!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

St. Blaise

Did you get your throat blessed today?!?!

O glorious Saint Blase, who by thy martyrdom didst leave to the Church a precious witness to the faith, obtain for us the grace to preserve within ourselves this divine gift, and to defend, without human respect, both by word and example, the truth of that same faith, which is so wickedly attacked and slandered in these our times. Thou who didst miraculously restore a little child when it was at the point of death by reason of an affliction of the throat, grant us thy mighty protection in like misfortunes; and, above all, obtain for us the grace of Christian mortification together with a faithful observance of the precepts of the Church, which may keep us from offending Almighty God. Amen.

As a footnote: This week I've decorated our home altar with two St. Blaise candles that a dear friend gave to me from her travels in Europe.

Hats off to you!

The Biretta

The Biretta is a square cap with three ridges or peaks on its upper surface. It is worn by clerics from cardinals to seminarians. The use of such a cap is prescribed by the rubrics both at solemn Mass and in other ecclesiastical functions. At first the birettum was a kind of skull-cap with a small tuft, but it developed into a soft round cap easily indented by the fingers in putting it on and off, and it acquired in this way the rudimentary outline of its present three peaks. The Bishop's biretta is a hard square cap. For a bishop, it is purple in color with a pom of the same color as the biretta. A bishop on the inside of a church uses the biretta, when he is not in vestments. Priests' birettas are black with a pom, while Seminarians and Deacons' are black with no pom. In addition, Cardinals have red birettas with no pom.

The priest (Bishop, Cardinal or Seminarian) all wear the Biretta outside of Mass. In the extraordinary form of the Mass the priest is required to wear a biretta which he wears processing up to the altar, during the homily and for the procession out of Mass. The priest also wears the biretta outside of the church in the public eye as another piece to his "clerical garb."

The different times that clergy wear their birettas is due to the importance of what is taking place in front of them (and for priests) in them. At Mass the priest acts in persona christi, so it is only fitting that the priest "opens up himself" symbolically through the removal of the biretta. In this action he loses himself and his humanity and Christ takes over as the priest-victim. Then when Mass is over the priest enters back into his second identity as the priest-human which is symbolically shown in the use of the biretta.

The Miter

The mitre is a kind of folding-cap that consists of two like parts, each stiffened by a lining and rising to a peak; these are sewn together on the sides, but are united above by a piece of material that can fold together. Two "lappets" trimmed on the ends with fringe hang down from the back. The mitre is, theoretically, always supposed to be white.

The official "Cæremoniale Romanum" distinguishes three kinds of mitres: the mitra pretiosa, auriphrygiata, and simplex. The first two differ from each other only in the greater or less richness of the ornamentation; the mitra simplex, or simple mitre, is one of white silk or white linen entirely without ornament. The fringe on the lappets at the back should be red. The bishop must wear the mitra pretiosa on those days on which the hymn Te Deum is used in the Office, the mitre auriphrygiata in the seasons of Advent and Lent, on fast days and during penitential processions, the mitra simplex on Good Fridays, at funerals, and at the blessing of the candles on Candlemas-day.

The Zucchetto

The zucchetto (Italian for "small gourd"), is a small skullcap worn by clerics of the Roman Catholic Church. It was first adopted for practical reasons — to keep the clergy's tonsured heads warm in cold, damp churches — and has survived as a traditional item of dress. It consists of eight panels sewn together, with a stem at the top. Its name may derive from its resemblance to half of a pumpkin, or from the fact that it covers a larger "pumpkin" (i.e., the head). Its appearance is almost identical to the Jewish Kippah, though its significance is quite different.

All ordained members of the Roman Catholic Church are entitled to wear the zucchetto.

As with much ecclesiastical apparel, the colour of the zucchetto denotes the wearer's rank: the Pope's zucchetto is white, those worn by cardinals are red or scarlet, and those of bishops, territoria abbots and territorial prelates are purple. Priests and deacons wear a black zucchetto although the use of the zucchetto by priests in actual practice is extremely rare aside from abbots, and the custom is even rarer among deacons. A black zucchetto with red piping was formerly the mark of a canon, but this is no longer authorized. A brown zucchetto-like garment and similar black skullcap is sometimes worn by Franciscan friars and Benedictine or Trappist monks respectively, but this is usually a more substantial cap used for actual head-warming rather than as a ceremonial accoutrement.

All clerics who hold the episcopal character (that is to say, bishops — whether the Pope, cardinals, titular bishops or diocesan bishops) wear the zucchetto throughout most of the Mass, removing it at the commencement of the Canon and replacing it at the conclusion of the Communion. A short stand placed on the altar (usually made of brass or wood and known as a funghellino) is used in some churches to hold the zuchetto during that part of the Mass. No other people are permitted to wear the zucchetto at Mass. Also, the zucchetto continues to be worn while the mitre is being worn; it is placed inside it (a mitre is bottomless, so the zuchetto sits on the head while the mitre is around it).

The late Pope John Paul II often gave guests the zucchetto he was wearing as a keepsake if presented with a new one as a gift. Other recent popes have also held the same practice. If visiting the pope, one may wish to speak with his secretary beforehand about the practice, and confirm that the new zucchetto is the correct size and is otherwise appropriate.

(I believe I saw Fr. Grondz wearing one last Sunday into church...)

The Cappello Romano

This is a picture of my dad and Fr. Stanley (wearing a saturno he bought on their trip to Rome.)

A cappello romano (literally Roman hat) or saturno (because of the similarity to the ringed planet Saturn) is a hat with a wide, circular brim and a rounded rim worn outdoors in some countries by Catholic clergy. It is made of either beaver fur or felt, and lined in white silk. Unlike many other articles of ecclesiastical attire, it serves no ceremonial purpose, being primarily a practical item. (The galero is a ceremonial wide brim hat no longer worn.) The cappello romano is not used in liturgical services. Since the general abandonment of the cassock as street dress, it is very uncommon.

There are some, mostly minor, differences in the designs of cappelli, depending on the rank of the wearer. The pope wears a red cappello with gold cords. Cardinals formerly also had the privilege of wearing a red cappello, but this rule was overturned by Paul VI, and now Cardinals' cappelli are black, as are those of all other clerics. A cardinal may have a cappello with red and gold cords with scarlet lining. A bishop's may have green and gold cords with violet lining. A priest may substitute black lining for his. Cappelli for deacons and seminarians have no distinguishing items.

And finally, the Papal Crown- Although few wear this one ;)

Papal tiaras were worn by the popes of Rome from Pope Clement V (1314) to Pope Paul VI, who was crowned in 1963. Pope Paul VI abandoned the use of his own tiara after the Second Vatican Council, symbolically laying it on the altar of St. Peter's Basilica, and donating its value to the poor. However, his 1975 Apostolic Constitution Romano Pontifici Eligendo on the manner of electing the Pope, still envisaged that his successors would be crowned.

However his immediate successor, Pope John Paul I, decided against a coronation, replacing it with a ceremony of what was called "Inauguration of the Supreme Pontificate"; and after John Paul I's sudden death, Pope John Paul II told the congregation at his Inauguration:

"The last Pope to be crowned was Paul VI in 1963, but after the solemn coronation ceremony he never used the tiara again and left his Successors free to decide in this regard. Pope John Paul I, whose memory is so vivid in our hearts, did not wish to have the tiara; nor does his Successor wish it today. This is not the time to return to a ceremony and an object considered, wrongly, to be a symbol of the temporal power of the Popes. Our time calls us, urges us, obliges us to gaze on the Lord and immerse ourselves in humble and devout meditation on the mystery of the supreme power of Christ himself."

Though not currently worn as part of papal regalia, the continuing symbolism of the papal tiara is reflected in its use on the flag and coats of arms of the Holy See and the Vatican. Until the reign of Benedict XVI the tiara was also the ornament surmounting a Pope's personal coat of arms, as a tasselled hat surmounted those of other prelates. In a break with tradition, Pope Benedict XVI's personal coat of arms has replaced the tiara with a mitre. This particular mitre contains three levels reminiscent of the three tiers on the papal tiara. However, in the coat of arms of the Holy See and of the Vatican City State Pope Benedict XVI decided to keep the tiara, not a mitre.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Okay Okay!!!

Listen my dear friends, between athletic practices, band, exams, and my "oh so important" engagement to the Taco Bell family I have had little to no time to write lately. However, I hear your cries (anonymous' included) and I promise I will be posting on here very soon.

Some of the topics you can look forward to in the upcoming weeks: my impressions of the movie "The 13th Day," serving High Mass at St. Mary's, St. Blaise, and random tangents that I often tend to get on.

In the meantime, enjoy the music on my blog, review some of the older articles I have posted, and spend more time PRAYING!

In Christ,

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dominus Vobiscum

Dominus Vobiscum; "The Lord be with You"

It is not enough to just say "dominus vobiscum," we must also apply it to our actions. We must suit the action to the word. We have to set the example of what we teach or believe.

Which means that we need to know exactly what this "dominus vobiscum" or any other circumstance requires of us.

To "be with the Lord" means to always be with Him and do all for Him. Imagine standing at a friends side, and yet planning or working against him-- That's treachery and wrong.

Jesus even said, "He who is not with Me, is against Me."

It is impossible to be neutral in times of reality and importance. We need to stand up for what we believe is right 100%. Not 80%, or even 95% because if we only stand up for what we believe 95% then we do not fully understand or really believe what we say we believe.

We cannot stay neutral in the times we are facing right now. The line is being drawn in many different aspects of our lives and we need to pick a side 100%.

Not to say that this is something easy to do! This is very hard, and involves immense pain and suffering. But if we are not willing to commit 100% to one side (hopefully the right side) than we are not for that side we may say we are for.

There is no gray area. Only black and white.

We need to decide now.

New CD's!!!

For Christmas I got some new CD's that I absolutely adore!!!

They are different CD's of gregorian chant, organ, choirs, music from Christmas and Holy Week all done by the Canons of Saint John Cantius.

(Links will take you to the SJC Webstore to sample and see the music available)

Various traditional carols and motets from SJC Christmas season.

Quiet and meditative sacred music CD of Gregorian Chant, Sacred Polyphony and Organ Music to calm the soul and draw the spirit into the presence of God.

This recording is of the six major services of Holy Week, from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.

A fantastic collection of Christmas hymns, carols, and motets demonstrating the dynamic quality of the choir and the superb acoustics of St. John Cantius Church

The Cantate Domino Choir of St. John Cantius Church of Chicago along with Organ Masterworks, and works by the Resurrection Orchestra. Music of Haynes (SJC), Dering, Albinoni, Haydn and Mozart.

I have to say that the "In Quiet Contemplation" CD is by far my favorite- although they are all very excellent and are well worth their price.

*Remember- Proceeds go to help the Canon's Regular of Saint John Cantius*

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

I just wanted to wish all of my readers a Blessed and Merry Christmas!! I'm leaving in a matter of minutes to go to St. John Cantius in Chicago for Midnight Mass. I am SURE I'll write about it when I get home.

St. Mary's had such a wonderful Solemn High Rorate Mass last night. There were two seminarians in choir, six servers, the church lit solely by candlelight, and such care was taken in portraying the beauty and importance of the Mass. We are truly blessed there at St. Mary's.

Merry Christmas to you all!!

Christmas Altar

Here are some pictures of our home altar decorated for Christmas. It took me a while to finally decide on this- I could spend all day trying to "perfect" it. ;)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Rorate Mass

On the Wednesday of Ember week in Advent, the Mystery of the Annunciation is commemorated by many Churches. The Mass is usually sung early in the morning (although can be said at night), and the Church is illuminated with only candles, as a token that, "the world was still in darkness when the Light of the world appeared." The Mass is sometimes called the Golden Mass, possibly because in the Middle Ages, the Mass, or at least the initial letters, were written in gold — or on account of the solemnity and the special, ‘golden’ grace which, at that Mass, is obtained by numerous prayers. It is also called the Rorate Mass after the first words of the Introit of the Mass, Rorate Cœli:

Rorate cœli, désuper, et nubes pluant justum: aperiátur terra, et gérminet Salvatórem. Cœli enárrant glóriam Dei: et ópera mánuum ejus annúntiat firmaméntum.

"Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down the Just: let the earth open and bud forth a Savior. The heavens show forth the glory of God: and the firmament declareth the work of His hands." (Is. 45:8; Ps. 18:2)

(Photo of a Rorate Mass 2006 at Assumption Grotto, Detroit)
St. Mary's in Kalamazoo is having a High Tridentine Rorate Mass on December 23 at 7 p.m.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gaudete in Domino semper

The third Sunday of Advent is also known as Gaudete Sunday. It is so named after the first word in the Introit: Gaudete (Rejoice!).

The Introit from the usus antiquior Romanus
(ancient Roman use):

Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men: for the Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous: but in everything by prayer let your petitions be made known to God. Ps. 84:2 Lord, Thou has blessed Thy Land: Thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob.

Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis: sed in omni oratione petitiones vestrae innotescant apud Deum. Ps. 84:2 Benedixisti, Domini, terram tuam: avertisti captivitatem Jacob.

Advent still has most of the characteristics of the penitential season, which make it a kind of Lent, the middle (or third) Sunday corresponding with Laetare or Mid-Lent Sunday. On it, as on Laetare Sunday, organ and flowers, forbidden during the rest of the season, are allowed to be used; rose-colored vestments are allowed instead of purple.

This distinguishing liturgy is a present discipline of the Church. Gaudete Sunday, therefore, makes a break, like Laetare Sunday, in the midst of our penitential rites, and signifies the nearness of the Lord's coming.

In both the Divine Office and Mass throughout Advent, there is reference made to our Lord's second coming, and this is emphasized on the third Sunday by the additional signs of gladness and joy permitted on that day.

I already decorated our home altar with a rose cloth and Father had on rose colored vestments and a rose chalice veil at Mass. :)