Sunday, June 28, 2009

My Brother George...

We all know so much about Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), but most of us hardly know anything about his brother, Georg... So I thought we'd take a look into his life!

Georg Ratzinger was born in Bavaria to Joseph Ratzinger, Sr., a police officer. Early in his life he showed musical talent, playing the church organ already at the age of 11. In 1935 he entered the minor seminary in Traunstein and had professional musical instruction there. In 1941 he encountered for the first time the choir of the Regensburger Domspatzen, whose musical director he was to become later, when they performed in Salzburg on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Mozart's death.

In the summer of 1942 Georg Ratzinger was drafted into the German army. In 1944 he was wounded in battle in Italy. At the end of World War II, he was a POW of the U.S. Army in the vicinity of Naples, but was released, and arrived home in July 1945.

In January 1946 he entered, together with his brother Joseph (later Pope Benedict XVI), the seminary of the archdiocese of Munich and Freising to study for the priesthood. At the same time he pursued his musical studies.

He was ordained priest, together with his brother, in 1951, by Michael Cardinal von Faulhaber and afterwards studied Church Music in Munich, while serving in different priestly functions for the diocese.

Georg completed his studies in 1957 and became chorus director in his home parish in Traunstein. In February 1964 he was made musical director, Domkapellmeister, at St. Peters Cathedral in Regensburg, thereby becoming the chorus master of the Cathedral Choir, the Regensburger Domspatzen.

In 1967 he was named papal chaplain and in 1976 papal honorary Prelate. In that year the choir also celebrated its 1,000th anniversary. In 1981 Georg Ratzinger was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz of the Federal Republic of Germany. In 1994, he was named a papal protonotary.

Ratzinger retired from his position as director of the choir in 1994 and is since January 25, 2009 a canon in Regensburg.

In 2005, during a visit to his brother in Rome, worrying symptoms of heart failure and arrhythmia led to a brief admission at the Agostino Gemelli University Polyclinic.

There is unsourced speculation that his brother will name him a Cardinal, in that he is past 80 years of age and thus ineligible to participate in a conclave. The most recent papal relative to be elevated to the cardinalate was Giuseppe Pecci, a brother of Pope Leo XIII.

Revelation through Veiling

I borrow this heading from a title of a chapter in Martin Mosebach's book, "The Heresy of Formlessness."

(Mosebach is an accomplished novelist and writer. In "The Heresy of Formlessness" he gives a deep plea for the return of the preconciliar Tridentine Latin Mass (known now as the Extraordinary form of the Latin Rite), and gives a compelling argument against the big break in tradition shown in today's Novus Ordo Mass (known now as the Ordinary form of the Latin rite).

As I read this particular chapter, I began to see several important connections in the actions of veiling something, thus allowing it to be revealed to all. This goes on throughout Mass.

It starts with the priest (and lay people) veiling themselves with clothes that have symbolic character and purpose. As he puts on his different vestments he shows both repentance and reverence for entering the Holy Place, and taking part in the sacrificial actions of the Mass. The priest puts on the "armor of God," and covers himself in virtues such as fortitude, chastity, and humility.

Literally, the priest "puts on" Christ. Of course, this outward clothing also calls for an inside transformation of the same kind. But that doesn't make the outward act not necessary, because graces comes from above. From the outside. A process derived not as man's will, but God's.

The Bishop even covers up his hands (in the traditional Extraordinary form), only taking them off for the sacramental prayers and actions-keeping his hands covered except for sacred actions and materials (the Host and Sacred vessels).

In the case of the laity, we (should) dress ourselves in a respectable and dignified manner to come before the King of Kings. As for women, they cover their heads and shoulders as an act of veiling. For women of the Catholic Church, wearing veils when in church has always been a custom exemplifying their modesty and femininity. It's not that we "put down" or degrade" women by having them wear these veils. We are actually exalting them! We do this as we also do with other things throughout the Mass (which I will talk about later). We are praising them as holy and sacred vessels!

These chapel veils are working in two ways... To humble the women wearing it before the presence of God, and to dress/cover up properly for Mass so as to not distract others and to focus on what is going on. Next is to exalt women as respected and holy beings that bear the sacred fruit of life-as beings of God, and NOT as objects.

The chalice is covered with the Paten, on which that Host lies. It in turn is covered by the pall, and over everything is a large cloth, also called a "veil," of the same color as the other vestments. The veiled chalice then looks like a tent; it's a miniature "tabernacle." In the old rite, whenever the ciborium with the consecrated Hosts inside was moved around it was covered by the sub deacon's humeral veil.

After the Subdeacon brings the chalice to the altar, the priest hands him the paten; which he takes beneath his veil and carries out to the altar steps holding the paten in front of him, still veiled. Two different traditions are shown by this action: First to honor the plate that will eventually bear the body of our Lord. Secondly, it is used as a typically Roman custom showing the the relationship between Masses.

In the first century the Pope would send pieces of Hosts from his Mass to all of the churches in Rome. The subdeacon takes these pieces and does the same actions as talked about above. This shows the relationship between the Mass that has just been celebrated to the Mass celebrated by the pope. This also shows that there is always one sacrifice being offered! Cool huh!? I always wondered why a deacon stood covering something for such a long time at the foot of the altar. Now I (and you) know!!

There are not only physical and immediate forms of veiling shown in the Liturgy. Certain gestures and actions are deliberately kept away from the congregation's view. The priest serves as a living iconostasis.

In the Eastern Church they have walls that separate the "Holy of Holies" from the rest of the congregation. These walls are covered with icons. The difference between the Eastern Church and and Western Church is that in the Western Church we have tall choir stalls, altar rails, and even curtains that serve as our "iconostasis." One can see these curtains being used today. Most of the time they are hanging down from tall baldachinos. The sad thing is that the main "wall" that seperates the lay from the sacrificial actions, the altar rails, have shrunk in size over the years. They are now becoming non-existent in most churches throughout the world. This absence of a physical barrier allows anybody to walk up on the altar.

Another veil, or barrier, between the congregation and the sacrificial action is the celebrant himself. The back of his vestments are even covered in the same design as the tabernacle, and chalice veil. His vestments are those icons that the Eastern Church has on their walls. He serves as a living wall, he serves as that iconostasis.

The tabernacle is also veiled, usually with the corresponding liturgical colors. Most tabernacles have further curtains inside of it veiling Christ inside this sacred space.

The problem that some priests experience is that they see the tabernacle veiling as a waste of a beautiful tabernacle when it is covered up with a cloth. But they must remember who is inside of the tabernacle, and why we are veiling it in the first place. It is not there for our pleasure, but for the glorification of God!

After the tabernacle, altar space, and priest have been veiled, then comes the congregation's turn. After the readings, all un-baptized catholics should exit to the narthex. This way no un-baptized could take part in the sacrificial mystery. With the doors shut, the nave becomes veiled as a holy tabernacle, because we receive the Body of Christ, becoming Christ Himself veiled inside the church. We remain veiled until Mass is ended and we go out into the world to share in God's love. "Go in peace, to love and to serve our Lord."

Even though this has been a very long post (for which I ask your forgiveness :D) I think it is good for us all to make these connections. I hope that I've been accurate in what I wrote in this post. This is what I understand about this topic as of right now. I wonder if I will come back to my blog someday when I'm older and read my writings and find flaw in them. I hope that I won't.

The Vera Crux

One of the most distinguished, and familiar instances of veneration and veiling for Catholics is the veiling of crosses and holy images from Passion Sunday until Good Friday ending with the veneration of the cross. This veiling and veneration occurs in Lent, when the liturgy is celebrated with a certain emptiness. The organ is silent, as are bells, and certain prayers are not said; and the altar is not vibrantly decorated. This veiling is sometimes called the, "fasting of the eyes." However, it is not intended as a withdrawl from the senses. Rather, it comes from a long line of tradition surrounded by the authentic Cross of Christ that St. Helen found in Jerusalem.

Like most relics, the Holy Cross was wrapped up in cloths and spent its time in Rome's sacristy. On Good Friday it was brought into the church and unpacked in a solemn ritual so that it could be revealed to the faithful. Two deacons would stand on either side of it, as the faithful came up to kiss it, making sure that no one would be tempted to steal a splinter from it. Actually, different Bishops would be tempted (and are known to have been the main culprits) more than anyone to take a piece to bring back home to their territories.

Once the relic splinters were taken back to the Bishop's home territories throughout Europe, they were treated the same as the authentic cross was treated in Rome. The relics were wrapped up in cloth and brought out on Good Friday for veneration.

In the end, this ritual was adopted by communities that had no relic of the True Cross. Instead, the cross above the altar was taken down and wrapped up, to be venerated on Good Friday in the same way the Vera Crux.

The purpose of veiling and veneration was/is not to withdraw the cross from sight, but rather it was so that the cross would be treated like the True Cross; from being a devotional object, a sacred object, it would once again become the real instrument of torture (and salvation) on which Christ died.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

"A Priest Forever"

Last weekend I read the book, "A Priest Forever: The Life of Father Eugene Hamilton." It is a wonderful book written by Fr. Benedict Groeschel that tells the story of one young man's struggle against cancer, and also his lifelong call to the priesthood at the same time. Fr. Hamilton died of cancer only three hours after becoming a priest; a call that he had worked at all his life.

It is a very beautiful story, one that is both faith affirming and shows what the priesthood is really about.

Archbishop Vigneron's new blog; and, the Pallium

Archbishop Vigneron introduces his blog in this post:

"For me, this event is one of the great graces of my priesthood, and I’m sending this letter to invite you, who are part of my family of faith, to share it with me. To that end, let me say here a word about the meaning of the Pallium. This vestment is a symbol of my pastoral office and of my communion with the Holy Father and the other Archbishops of the Church, a bond that extends all the way back to St. Peter and St. Paul. So, I will come into St. Peter’s Basilica with all of you held in the prayer of my heart. As I kneel on the platform over St. Peter’s Tomb, I will be begging for two things from God: first that He strengthen me to be a good shepherd of His people; and second, that He help all of you and your families to grow in that same life and holiness that the Apostles handed on to us from Jesus. In return, I ask that on June 29 – especially at Mass, if you are able to get to church – you lift up in prayer me, together with all my brother priests, that we be filled with the love and courage and zeal that burn in the priestly Heart of Christ."

You can find his blog here at;

Welcome to the Blogosphere!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The begining of a Chapter

Fr. Dan Doctor was named pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Coldwater and took office last Friday (the 19th), it was announced on June 1 by the Bishop James A. Murray.

Doctor succeeds Fr. Brian Stanley, who will enter the Chaplaincy of the U.S. Army in September. Doctor was ordained on May 13, 2006 by Bishop Murray, and served as parochial vicar for St. Joseph Church in Battle Creek, St. John Church in Albion, St. Joseph Church in St. Joseph, and most recently, St. John and St. Bernard, both in Benton Harbor.

Fr. Doctor comes from Griffith, Ind., and is highly educated, earning a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Joseph’s College in 1998. He holds a master of arts in historical theology from St. Louis University in 2000, a master of divinity and master of arts in spirituality from the Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit in 2005.

- Welcome Father! We're glad to have you!!! God Bless you in your work!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pop Quiz

What do all of these men have in common??

Tomás Luis de Victoria
Antonio Vivaldi
Gregorio Allegri
Claudio Monteverdi
Sebastián de Vivanco
Guillaume de Machaut
Lorenzo Perosi

I'm sure many of you guessed the most obvious answer, "Well, they're famous composers!" But another look takes us deeper than that... They were all Catholic Priests!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Back to Praying!

Yeah. I've slacked off on praying the divine offices. How long have I been out of it? Since Pentecost.... But I'm working at it! I miss praying it. I miss being in that state of prayer, and mind throughout the day. I have more to write, but we are leaving to go camping tomorrow and won't be home until Saturday. I'll keep you all in my prayers, and will come back with more to write about.

Requiescat in Pace

Please offer a special prayer for Diane Korzeniewski's mom, Rose. Diane is a friend through the blogosphere. Rose passed away earlier this week on June 17. I will be offering 2 rosaries, one for Diane and one for her mom.

O Gentlest heart of Jesus, ever present in the Blessed Sacrament, ever consumed with burning love for the poor captive souls in Purgatory have mercy on the soul of Thy departed servant, Rose.

Be not severe in Thy judgment but let some drops of Thy Precious Blood fall upon the devouring flames, and do Thou O merciful Saviour send the angels to conduct her to a place of refreshment, light and peace. Amen.

Eternal rest grant unto Rose, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon her.
May her soul, and the souls of all the faithfully departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Prayer for Fr. Doctor

(Our New Pastor)

O Jesus, our great High Priest, Hear my humble prayers on behalf of your priest, Father Doctor.

Give him a deep faith,
a bright and firm hope,
and a burning love,

which will ever increase in the course of his priestly life.

In his loneliness, comfort him.
In his sorrows, strengthen him.
In his frustrations, point out to him.

Point out that it is through suffering that the soul is purified, and show him that he is needed by the Church, he is needed by souls, he is needed for the work of redemption.

O loving Mother Mary, Mother of Priests,

take to your heart your son who is close to you because of his priestly ordination, and because of the power which he has received to carry on the work of Christ in a world which needs him so much.

Be his comfort,
be his joy,
be his strength,


Sacred Heart Mass

Today is the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Father celebrated his last Mass as pastor here as St. Charles Borremeo Parish. And what a way to go out! It was a most beautiful, solemn and focused Mass. It was a perfect example of Father's love for God and his reverence towards the Eucharist.

After the homily, our Little Flower Girls received their "Rosary Patches" that they earned, which were then blessed and distributed by Father. All together there were four Little Flower Girls present (one couldn't make it) and my sister, a girl scout, who earned their patches.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

How was YOUR Corpus Christi?

Last weekend's Corpus Christi Mass was one of the most beautiful Masses I've ever been to.

It began with ten altar servers (all in cassocks-- one thurifer, two candle bearers, one cross bearer, and six others) processing around the church while Father held the Monstrance up high with the Most Blessed Sacrament adorned inside. As we processed around all went to their knees in adoration.

Then, after we made the procession, we entered down the center aisle of the nave with twenty-two Knights of Columbus standing there at attention with swords drawn. The respect for the Most Holy Eucharist was incredible. As it should be always, but even more on Corpus Christi Sunday.

The Mass was beautiful. Everything went smoothly and the music was very very good. The Schola Cantorum used the Orbis Factor Mass setting and during the Offertory a quartet sang Edward Elgar's "Ave Verum Corpus." Most appropriate for Corpus Christi Sunday. (Should be on Thursday... but that's another post for another time)

Last weekend's Mass was Father's last Sunday Mass at St. Charles Borremeo Parish before he leaves on Friday. The fact that the quartet sang that particular "Ave Verum Corpus" had a double meaning. Mainly, to praise Jesus in His most precious body offered as a sacrifice, but also as a tribute to Father. It just happens to be Father's most favorite hymn, and that he hasn't heard it at a Mass since his ordination. Let's just say we got Father a little emotional after that. ;)
God works in wondrous ways. Having Father's last Parish Mass be on Corpus Christi which calls for the Ave Verum to be sung, that happens to be Father's favorite version. Everything that happens happens out of God's love for us.

Little Flowers Girls' Club

In previous posts I've mentioned that my youngest sister is in "Little Flowers Girls," but I haven't really explained it. She has been in it for about a year, along with 5 or 6 other girls from our parish. It is run by moms of our parish and is certainly a wonderful thing for these little girls to be a part of and to help them grow in their faith.

The "Little Flowers Girls' Club" is a Catholic program for girls ages 5 and up based on learning Catholic virtues through the lives of Catholic saints, Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Developed by a Catholic mom of eleven, Rachel Watkins, and based on Fr. Lasance's Catholic Girls' Guide, the Club strives to bring the Catholic faith alive and inspire the girls to become authentic Catholic women.

Nine virtues are included in each of three different Wreaths or years of study. A fourth year, studying the fruits of the Spirit is also available. The format of the Clubs is flexible, with groups meeting monthly, bi-monthly or weekly. Badges for the virtues are earned by studying the saint associated with the virtue, memorizing relevant scripture verses and studying the Catechism. The program is flexible enough to use with a variety of age groups.

Little Flowers Girls' Club has also been successfully implemented in the family. Sashes, vests, skirts, bandannas, t-shirts and other items are extras that add to the experience, but are not necessary to running a successful Club. The Leader's Guide for each Wreath offers suggestions for running meetings, planning crafts and activities, talks on virtues and other relevant information. The Member's Guide includes the activities, saints' biographies, pictures of the saints, and prayers for each girl.

I interviewed my sister about different aspects of being in the "Little Flowers Girls' Club."

This is what she said she liked the best about being in the club:

"Because I get to study different saints, sometimes we get to do crafts, and I have to memorize verses--I like to memorize sometimes, and sometimes I don't want to at all. Small ones (verses)are easy to memorize, but the longer ones are hard to memorize. But I do it anyway."

How the Little Flower Girls has helped her grow in faith:

"It's a club where younger girls study female saints, virtues, and earn patches when we learn all of this. It makes me better to study all of this because I know more about it, about the saints. After I learn this stuff I pray to the saints more, and it helps me to be a better person by knowing these good virtues. It helps me to be a better person."

Prayer to St. Therese of the Child Jesus--
(Said at the beginning of every meeting)

St. Therese, you who are called the little Flower, pray that I may always live as a good child of God. May I always do the little things of life extra well for the love of God. St. Therese, you loved flowers and you wanted to give to Jesus the flowers of many, many souls. Now that you are in heaven, let fall upon earth a shower of roses by your prayers. Bring many more souls to Jesus. Pray to the mother of God for us that she will smile on her children here on earth. Amen.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sacred Heart--Novena

The Sacred Heart is a religious devotion to Jesus's physical heart as the representation of divine love for humanity.

The origin of this devotion had been slowly beginning throughout the middle ages until a series of visions, calling for the devotion, took place. The most significant source for the devotion to the Sacred Heart in the form it is known today was formed by Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, who claimed to have received visions of Jesus Christ. There is nothing to indicate that she had known the devotion prior to the revelations.

During the octave of Corpus Christi, 1675, probably on June 16, the vision known as the "great apparition" reportedly took place, where Jesus said, "Behold the Heart that has so loved men ... instead of gratitude I receive from the greater part (of mankind) only ingratitude ...", and asked Margaret Mary for a feast of reparation of the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi.

In the Roman Catholic tradition, the Sacred Heart has been closely associated with Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ. Acts of Reparations are prayers or devotions with the intent to repair the "sins of others." Such as, the repair of the sin of blasphemy, the sufferings of Jesus Christ or as Acts of Reparation to the Virgin Mary. These prayers do not usually involve a petition for a living or deceased person, but aim more to repair sins done in the past.

The Feast of the Sacred Heart has been a Solemnity in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar since 1856, and is celebrated 19 days after Pentecost. As Pentecost is always celebrated on Sunday, the Feast of the Sacred Heart always falls on a Friday. In 2009, it will be celebrated on June 19.

What I didn't know though, is that starting yesterday, was the beginning of the Sacred Heart Novena until the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart on Friday. (I found this out from reading a post on Diane Korzeniewski's blog at Te Deum Laudamus.)

For Easter I got, "Novena Book of Prayers." So I'm going to start the novena tonight. A day late, but I have the Universal Church and all of her prayers to cover me. =D


Next Friday, the 19th, is Father's last day here at St. Charles Borromeo Parish. I think he is celebrating Mass at 9 o'clock before he leaves. Update: Father is having Mass on Friday the 19th at 9:00. At the Mass, our Flower Girls will be recieving their "Rosary Patches" that they've earned.

School's Out!!!

Yes, it's true! Today, at exactly 11:00 a.m. we were released from Coldwater Highschool.

Laus Deo!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The End of a Chapter...

It is with mixed emotion that I make this post.

It has been officially announced that our pastor, mentor and friend, Rev. Fr. Brian Stanley, has resigned from his charge of duty at St. Charles Borromeo so that he may begin a new call of duty: the United States Army.

I say mixed emotion because although we are overjoyed that Father Stanley is being given the opportunity to pursue a lifelong dream, serving the Lord in the Armed Forces, most especially overseas -- we will miss him dearly.

Father wrote in his letter to the parish:

"Priesthood is a vocation, a calling from God, and requires priests to be ever-vigilant, always open to the voice of the Almighty; thus, every priest is to be obedient to God's call [I Samuel 3:10]. After much prayer, discernment and consultation with those who have both authority and competence in these matters, it became clear this past fall God was calling me to serve His people as a chaplain in the US Army, and I seek to be obedient to His call. The needs of the Army are the most pronounced among our Armed Forces, with only 92 priests to serve over 250,000 Catholics among over 700,000 soldiers. With God's help, I hope to become number 93, and to offer my meager abilities in spiritual support of the Army."


Fr. Brain Stanley was born in Watervliet, Michigan in 1962 to the parents of Arthur and Dixie Stanley. He grew up in Watervliet, attending St. Joseph parish. There he received the sacraments of Baptism (August 12, 1962), Holy Communion and Confirmation (by Bishop Paul Donavon). In 1984 he received a Bachelor of Arts, from the University of Notre Dame, and has also attended Jesuit School of Theology, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley,CA; University of Portland, OR; and received his Masters of Divinity from Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan in 1986 (Magna Cum Laude).

From 1987-1991, he was employed as a history teacher and religion instructor at Loyola Academy, Wilmette, IL. There he also coached cross-country and track.

In December of 1995 he was ordained deacon for the Diocese of Kalamazoo by the Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit, Kevin Britt and assigned as temporary deacon to St. Patricks in White Lake, Michigan. On June 29, 1996 at St. Augustine Cathedral in Kalamazoo, Brian Stanley was ordained into the holy priesthood by the Most Reverend Alfred Markiewicz, then Bishop of Kalamazoo.

Father Stanley's first parish assignment was as parochial vicar at St. Monica Church, in Kalamazoo. He remained until 1998, where he served as parochial vicar at St. Joseph Church, in Battle Creek.


In the summer of 1999, Father was appointed pastor of St. Charles Borromeo parish, in Coldwater and Our Lady of Fatima parish in Union City. Since this time, Fr. Stanley has been an active and energetic supporter of St. Charles Elementary school, and was instrumental in the founding of the Mardi Gras charity auction, which has raised nearly a half million dollars in nine years to help Catholic education at St. Charles parish. He has served as chaplain for the Michigan Correctional Facilities in Coldwater, chaplain to Knights of Columbus Council 2900 as well as diocesan chaplain for Kalamazoo. One of Father's best memories of St. Charles parish was his organization of relief efforts in cooperation with Michigan National Guard for Hurricane Katrina victims, in September 2005.

Father Stanley is also a proud Knight, Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, and was able to travel on pilgrimage with them this past Spring to the Holy Land, as well as a pilgrimage to Czestochowa, Southern Poland. Father attended World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany; accompanied a parish contingency to the Papal Mass of Holy Father Benedict XVI at Yankee Stadium in New York and attended the 2007 CIEL Colloquium in Rome, Italy.

As pastor, he orchestrated a capital campaign to renovate St. Charles Church, and his efforts are evident in the transcendent beauty and reverence of this interior today. Father served the needs of the large Mexican-American population by taking Spanish language classes at a local community college, and instituting an active and vibrant Hispanic ministry which incorporates many of the Mexican-American traditions throughout the Church year.


Father Stanley has had a profound impact on the spiritual growth and development of the parish community; always emphasizing the need for the Sacraments, especially Confession, and the respect for the Holy Eucharist through a liturgical dignity and orthodoxy that has become part of the fabric of this parish. He has, most importantly, challenged us as Catholic Christians to take up our cross and follow Christ, no matter what the repercussions. Father has had his share of dissenters- those who would rather not hear the Truth of the Church's teachings, and I know this has been a source of pain for him. But, through it all he has remained loyal to the Eucharist and the magisterium of the Holy Mother Church. This is, indeed, his greatest legacy to our parish.

Father will be serving as pastor-in-residence with his longtime friend (and former pastor of St. Charles) Fr. Robert Creagan, at St. Mary Church in Paw Paw, MI through the summer. Then in September, with God's grace, Father will begin active duty and report to Fort Jackson, Columbia, South Carolina for three months of Basic Officer's Leadership. It is expected that, upon completion, he will be assigned to Fort Campbell, Kentucky to serve in the 101st Airborne Division, and then on to Afghanistan or Iraq. Please pray for him, and for all soldiers.
On a more personal note. Father Stanley has made an enormous impact on my own spiritual growth and holy discernment. He has been extremely influential in my possible vocation to the priesthood. I consider it a gift to have gotten to know him over the past ten years. He has become a member of my family, and as such we have shared many family memories, from watching him at Sarah and Allie's "tea party" to Smokey's "funeral" in our backyard. "Uncle Henry," "Father Peaches" or simply "Fadda," you will always have a place in our home.

There is no more fitting way to end this post than to borrow Father's closing quote in his address to the parishioners of St. Charles Borromeo, which comes from the Apostle Paul:

"May the God of peace make you perfect in holiness. May he preserve you whole and entire, spirit, soul and body, irreproachable at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls us is trustworthy, therefore he will do it."
(I Thessolonians 5:23-24)

Vaya con Dios, Padre.

-Nate (with help from Dad)

Trinity Sunday

Trinity Sunday (really- "The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity,") is one of the few feasts that celebrates a church doctrine rather than an event or person. On Trinity Sunday we remember and honor our eternal God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Trinity Sunday is celebrated the Sunday after Pentecost, and lasts only one day, which is symbolic of the unity of the Trinity.

The Trinity is a very hard doctrine to explain, on account that it is not about one individual person, or event. It is a unity and relationships between God, the Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit. The doctrine of three persons in one God, equal in divinity yet different in personality, is not necessarily spelled out in the Bible.

God, is the One who is above time. God, who lives above all time, consists in the Holy Trinity; the Cause, the Maker, and the Perfecter. That is, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. But they are not that separate from each other, neither are they so combined together to be restricted to one person.

Jesus often refers to God as His Father. Jesus is also God's only begotten Son. So, in this relationship between Son and Father we are brought in as God's children, Jesus' brothers and sisters. This love, and relationship between the Father to His Son, and then to us, is what the Holy Spirit is; God's mystical breath that consumes each of us completely.

Glory be to the Father, Who by His almighty power and love created me,making me in the image and likeness of God.

Glory be to the Son, Who by His Precious Blood delivered me from hell, and opened for me the gates of heaven.

Glory be to the Holy Spirit, Who has sanctified me in the sacrament of Baptism, and continues to sanctify me by the graces I receive daily from His bounty.

Glory be to the Three adorable Persons of the Holy Trinity, now and forever. Amen.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Welcome Bishop Bradley!

Today Bishop Bradley took his seat as Bishop of Kalamazoo at the diocese's installation Mass. Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop Paul J. Bradley, 63, previous Auxiliary Bishop of Pittsburgh, as Bishop of Kalamazoo, Michigan earlier this April.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Line in the Sand

More and more I am beginning to believe that we as a Catholic people, as moral people, are going to begin facing challenges and trials that will ultimately cause us to draw that line in the sand. There are always instances and times in our lives that call us into an act of faith and loyalty to our faith, but as I grow I sense a great suffering of the church, and a point at which we will have to stand up for our faith, and what the Church truly teaches.

In the past it seems as though we have followed an extreme Augustinian movement. I mean that we have cared and nurtured our emotions rather than our intellect. This, I believe, caused many problems to thus erupt, the main being the misunderstanding of Vatican II. One can still see the affect our emotions play in our logic and morality that we use everyday.

I'm not saying emotions are a bad thing. On the contrary, I think emotions are a wonderful thing. They are what drive us to love God. I am saying that when we need to build these emotions, on Truths. Moral Truths.

If we as Catholics, and as Christians, use our intellect, with all emotions aside, we start to understand what the Church has to teach and why. Knowing this creates a stronger faith inside of the individual.

I believe we need both emotions and intellect. But, I believe we need to always rely and base our emotions off of our intellect and reasoning. For emotions with no (good) reasoning behind them are pointless and uncalled for.

The tide is shifting. Soon, I believe, we will be forced to fall back to our intellect and to then either stand up for our faith, and the Truth. Or, we run away, and fall. Sadly enough I think this is where most of the people who "leave" the Catholic Church get off at. They do not have the faith in God, nor the strength. But would rather flee and run from the trial (even though, I believe trial will reach you in one form of another-- you can't out run it)

Notice I quoted ..."Leave" the Catholic Church. The reason I wrote it this way is because I believe one does not "leave" the Church, just the same as one does not enter the Church. We are all Catholics. Whether we accept it (know it) or not. We are all Catholics born into this world, and coming out of it. The Church consumes us. The Church takes us on. We do not take on the Church.

The Church has always gone through trials and hard times. Thus it still expands after 2000 years. With this growth in reform and tension in culture will come conflict. This conflict, I believe, will result in a great suffering and trials that we will have to endure.

Even though the church does not seek to be counter-cultural, but when the church is countered by society and culture of our day, it has no choice. The Church IS, and will never change. The church doesn't wish to create conflict between different standpoints. Really, the Church has, in the past forty years, been too tolerant and accepting of others' views.

But, in another sense, if the culture of our church - its practices, traditions, and moral thoughts- is the culture that is the One True Truth, then it is not a matter of the church being counter cultural anymore. Some would call this an extreme way of thinking, but it is that same extremism that says that Jesus Christ is Lord of all. Christ IS the Church, so thus, our extreme claim for Christ becomes our extreme claim for His Church.

Today there is much that is counter to the Catholic way of being. Every day I encounter something that pushes me (us all) closer and closer to that line; whether it be ignorant teachers or other classmates. The moral Truth is not very popular right now, nor was it ever. But, ironically, it is us who try to follow our moral Truths that are questioned and seen as the "outcast" or "pessimist" to the rest of society's views.

Great trials have begun to come, and will continue to come in bigger forms. I think we as Catholics, as people, and as a country, need this. It is time for us to grow up and stand up for what we believe. We all need to strengthen our faith and catecheses - or else we have nothing but the fire. But I am not afraid. God will deliver. God will bestow upon us however much we can handle.

Sacratissimum Cor Iesu

By tradition, the Catholic Church dedicates each month of the year to a certain devotion. In June, it is the Sacred Heart of Jesus (the feast of which normally falls in this month). Pope Benedict XVI urges Catholics everywhere to renew their devotion to the Sacred Heart during this month of June. The Sacred Heart represents Christ's love for all mankind, and our devotion to it is an expression of our faith in His mercy.

From the depth of my nothingness, I prostrate myself before Thee, O Most Sacred, Divine and Adorable Heart of Jesus, to pay Thee all the homage of love, praise and adoration in my power. Amen.

-- St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Sacred Heart of Jesus....have mercy on us.
Sacred Heart of Jesus....have mercy on us.
Sacred Heart of Jesus....have mercy on us.