In his General Audience address yesterday, Pope Benedict continued his catechesis on the life and writings of St. Paul, and in so doing he offered the Church a profound meditation on the resurrection. Pulling together an assortment of Pauline texts and several themes from his encyclical Spe Salvi, the Holy Father explained how the Christian’s faith and hope in his future glory necessarily shapes the way he lives here and now. In other words, Benedict reminded us that there exists in the Christian life a profound connection between the present and the future.
Read and enjoy.
November 12, 2008
Dear brothers and sisters:
The theme of the Resurrection, which we considered last week, opens a new perspective — that of awaiting the return of the Lord. And therefore it brings us to reflect on the relationship between the present time, the time of the Church and the Kingdom of Christ, and the future (éschaton) that awaits us, when Christ will hand over the Kingdom to the Father (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:24). Every Christian discourse on the last things, called eschatology, always starts from the event of the Resurrection: In this event the last things have already begun, and in a certain sense, are already present.
St. Paul probably wrote his first letter in the year 52, the First Letter to the Thessalonians, where he speaks of this return of Jesus, called the parousía, the advent, the new and definitive and manifest presence (cf. 4:13-18). To the Thessalonians, who have their doubts and problems, the Apostle writes thus: “If we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep” (4:14).
And he continues: “The dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (4:16-17). Paul describes the parousía of Christ with very living tones and symbolic images, but transmitting a simple and profound message: At the end, we will be always with the Lord. That is, beyond the images, the essential message: Our future is “to be with the Lord.” As believers, in our lives we already are with the Lord — our future, eternal life, has already begun.
I was hungry and you have me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was homeless and you took me in. Now I tell you this: When you did these things for the most neglected of my brothers, you did them for me.
It rarely occurs in the United States that we celebrate the feast day of one of our compatriots. Our nation is still young, and so is the Church here. The roots of truth and grace must plunge deeper into our soil before many more of our own are raised to honors the altar.
But today we commemorate not only a fellow citizen, but in a sense a fellow New Yorker, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini. An Italian by birth, Mother Cabrini brought her Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart to the United States in the late nineteenth century, landing in New York City in 1889. Rooted in prayer and a deep spirit of sacrifice, Mother Cabrini traveled all over North and South America, establishing schools, convents, and other centers of service to the poor and immigrants. She died in Chicago in 1917, and her relics are enshrined here in Manhattan.
If it weren’t for the cloudy skies and rain, today would be the perfect day for a pilgrimage to the northern tip of the island.
Here’s more on Mother Cabrini’s life from the Catholic Information Network:
St Frances-Xavier (Maria Francesca) Cabrini was born on July 15th, 1850, in the old Lombard town of Santangelo.
She was the youngest of an exemplary Catholic family, although her father’s cousin, Agostino Depretis, was an enthusiast for Mazzini, a prominent anti-clerical, and subsequently prime minister of the new Italian government.
Although a delicate, shy child, she was very intelligent, hard-working, obedient, yet with an iron will and precociously devout, given to prayer, and from very early years an enthusiast for the foreign missions, above all those in China. This inclination needs stressing in view of her later career, for until ordered by Leo XIII to labor elsewhere her life’s resolve and ideal was to enter some religious institute with convents in the far east.
Building on comments he made two days ago, Cardinal George of Chicago, the president of the USCCB, released the following statement earlier today. In it the Cardinal conveys the collective thinking of the bishops regarding last week’s national election. In the minds and hearts of our shepherds, joy appears mixed with sorrow as the historical election of Obama remains overshadowed by his promises to roll back recent advances made in the cause of life. Foremost among the bishops’ concerns are the dire consequences that passage of the Freedom of Choice Act could have on national unity and the free exercise of religion, not to mention the lethal consequences it promises for the unborn. The statement ends with a pledge of prayers for President-elect Obama and those who will help him govern.
STATEMENT of the President
of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
“If the Lord does not build the house, in vain do its builders labor; if the Lord does not watch over the city, in vain does the watchman keep vigil.” (Psalm 127, vs. 1)
The Bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States welcome this moment of historic transition and look forward to working with President-elect Obama and the members of the new Congress for the common good of all. Because of the Church’s history and the scope of her ministries in this country, we want to continue our work for economic justice and opportunity for all; our efforts to reform laws around immigration and the situation of the undocumented; our provision of better education and adequate health care for all, especially for women and children; our desire to safeguard religious freedom and foster peace at home and abroad. The Church is intent on doing good and will continue to cooperate gladly with the government and all others working for these goods.
The fundamental good is life itself, a gift from God and our parents. A good state protects the lives of all. Legal protection for those members of the human family waiting to be born in this country was removed when the Supreme Court decided Roe vs. Wade in 1973. This was bad law. The danger the Bishops see at this moment is that a bad court decision will be enshrined in bad legislation that is more radical than the 1973 Supreme Court decision itself.
The life and death of St. Josaphat recall two tales of Christian history that still today remain in strict tension: 1) the tragedy of sin and division in the Church, and 2) the efficacy of Christ’s prayer that the Church be one.
From the Catholic Encyclopedia:
The saint’s birth occurred in a gloomy period for the Ruthenian Church. Even as early as the beginning of the sixteenth century the Florentine Union had become a dead-letter; in the case of the Ruthenian Church, complete demoralization followed in the wake of its severance from Rome, and the whole body of its clergy became notorious alike for their gross ignorance and the viciousness of their lives. After the Union of Berest’ in 1596 the Ruthenian Church was divided into two contending parties — the Uniates and those who persevered in schism — each with its own hierarchy. Among the leaders of the schismatic party, who laboured to enkindle popular hatred against the Uniates, Meletius Smotryckyj was conspicuous, and the most celebrated of his victims was Josaphat.
Although of a noble Ruthenian stock, Josaphat’s father had devoted himself to commercial pursuits, and held the office of town-councilor. Both parents contributed to implant the seeds of piety in the heart of their child. In the school at Volodymyr Josaphat — Johannes was the saint’s baptismal name — gave evidence of unusual talent; he applied himself with the greatest zeal to the study of ecclesiastical Slav, and learned almost the entire casoslov (breviary), which from this period he began to read daily. From this source he drew his early religious education, for the unlettered clergy seldom preached or gave catechetical instruction. Owing to the straitened circumstances of his parents, he was apprenticed to the merchant Popovyc at Vilna. In this town, remarkable for the corruption of its morals and the contentions of the various religious sects, he seemed specially guarded by Providence, and became acquainted with certain excellent men (e.g. Benjamin Rutski), under whose direction he advanced in learning and in virtue.
Earlier today, our little parish blog received its 10,000th visit. Most of these have come within the past few weeks. Word is spreading, and we’re growing fast!
Welcome to all, and come back soon!
A message from the Sisters of Life:
If you’ve been to some amazing young adult retreats and yet you still have that hunger to go deeper, this is the retreat for you! There are still some spots left for the upcoming “Living the Confidence of the Saints” women’s retreat, but not for long! The retreat will begin on Friday, November 14 with dinner at 5:30 pm and conclude after Brunch on Sunday, November 16. Hosted by the Sisters of Life, the retreat will include conferences on how to pray in silence, learning to live with the confidence of the Saints, and healing. There will be Mass everyday, extended Eucharistic adoration, opportunity for confession, and an opportunity for a personal meeting with a Sister as well. If you’re ready for some one-on-one time with the Lord in preparation for Advent, this is it.
We will be picking up retreatants on Friday at LaGuardia Airport at 3:30 pm and at Westchester Airport at 4pm and dropping off retreatants on Sunday to Westchester at 1:30 pm and to LaGuardia at 2pm. We’ll also be picking people up at the Stamford train station.
The cost of the retreat is a donation (unnamed) towards the works of the Sisters of Life.
If you are interested, you have two options to register. Please either:
1) call Villa Maria Guadalupe at 203.329.1492. If the machine is on, feel free to leave a message that you’re interested in the women’s retreat, your name, age, phone # and mode of transportation to the retreat.
2) e-mail Sr. Mary Gabriel (just respond to this e-mail) that you’re interested in the women’s retreat, your name, age, phone #, and mode of transportation.
Know you are in our daily prayers! We love to hear from you…
In Christ, our Life,
Sr. Mary Gabriel, S.V.
This blessed bishop loved Christ with all his strength and had no fear of earthly rulers; though de did not die a martyr’s death, this holy confessor won the martyr’s palm.
The life of St. Martin of Tours captured the imagination of the early Church. Devotion to him spread like wildfire throughout the ancient world, and in the Middle Ages it reached fever-pitch. Because of his popularity, Martin’s hagiography is extensive. Even today, accounts of his life run longer than the perfunctory paragraph we ordinarily find given to the saints in modern collections of their lives.
In St. Martin we discover major themes of the Christian life writ large—conversion, reconciliation, and peace. His life demonstrates the gentleness of God’s work in human souls. This gentle work then manifests itself in the gentleness of the transformed soul. ”Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Mt 5:9).
Here is a brief biography of St. Martin posted at Catholic Online:
When Sulpicius Severus first metMartin of Tours he was stunned. Not only did the bishop offer him hospitality at his residence — a monk’s cell in the wilderness instead of a palace — but Martin washed Sulpicius’ hands before dinner and his feet in the evening. But Sulpicius was just the kind of person Martin showed the greatest honor to — a humble manwithout any rank or privilege. People of nobility and position were turned away from his abbey by chalk cliffs, out of fear of thetemptation to pride. From that visit, Sulpicius became Martin’s disciple, friend, and biographer. Little is known of many of the saints who died in the early years of Christianity but thanks to Sulpicius, who wrote his first biography of Martin before the saint died and who talked to most of the people involved in his life, we have a priceless record of Martin’s life.
Born in 315 or 316 in Pannonia, a Roman province that includes modern Hungary, Martin came into a world in transition. Christians were no longer persecuted by the Roman empire but Christianity was still not accepted by all. Martin’s father, an Roman army officer who had risen through the ranks, remained faithful to the old religion and suspicious of this new sect, as did Martin’s mother. Therefore it was Martin’s own spiritual yearning and hunger that led him to secretly knock on the door of the local Christian church and beg to be made a catechumen – when he was ten years old. In contemplative prayer, he found the time to be alone with God that he ached for. In the discussion of the mysteries, he found the truth he hoped for.
PRAYER FOR DECEASED VETERANS
O God, by whose mercy the faithful departed find rest, look kindly on your departed veterans who gave their lives in the service of their country. Grant that through the passion, death, and resurrection of your Son they may share in the joy of your heavenly kingdom and rejoice in you with your saints forever. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
As president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Francis Cardinal George of Chicago opened the body’s fall general assembly yesterday with an address that acknowledged first of all the historical significance of last week’s presidential election. Given our nation’s early acceptance of race-based slavery, the cardinal commented about Senator Obama’s victory: “In this, I truly believe, we must all rejoice.” George then placed the election within the context of the Church’s ongoing promotion and defense of the common good. It is not difficult to hear in the cardinal’s words overtones of the general concern that many bishops expressed during the campaign that the full force of the Church’s social teaching was not being adequately applied to the issue of abortion. In this regard, Cardinal George observed:
In working for the common good of our society, racial justice is one pillar of our social doctrine. Economic justice, especially for the poor both here and abroad, is another. But the Church comes also and always and everywhere with the memory, the conviction, that the Eternal Word of God became man, took flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, nine months before Jesus was born in Bethlehem. This truth is celebrated in our liturgy because it is branded into our spirit. The common good can never be adequately incarnated in any society when those waiting to be born can be legally killed at choice. If the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision that African Americans were other people’s property and somehow less than persons were still settled constitutional law, Mr. Obama would not be president of the United States. Today, as was the case a hundred and fifty years ago, common ground cannot be found by destroying the common good.
Below you can read the full text of Cardinal George’s address.
Today the bishops are scheduled to discuss how best to clarify the Church’s moral teaching in the public square, especially as it pertains to the Christian obligation to protect innocent human life. Also on the agenda is how the bishops should engage Catholic politicians who work actively against the stated moral teaching of the Church.
PLENARY SESSION ADDRESS BY CARDINAL GEORGE
Dear Brother Bishops:
At the opening session of the recently concluded Roman Synod on the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church, Pope Benedict XVI reflected on Psalm 118, that magnificent chorus praising the law, the order, that unites us to God. “The Word of God,” the Pope said,” is solid, it is the true reality upon which to base one’s life. Let us recall the words of Jesus: ‘…Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away’…It is words that create history, it is words that give form to thoughts…the Word of God is the foundation of everything, it is the true reality. And to be realists, we must truly count on this reality.”
The Holy Father offered these reflections in the face of bank closures, the collapse of giant corporations, the uncertainty of political regimes, with full awareness of the insecurity and suffering of so many around the world. His words echoed what he had told us in our own country last April, when he constantly directed our thoughts and actions toward the Word of God made flesh, whom the Pope called “Our Hope.”
Join young adults for a series of lectures at Metro 53 Bar and Restaurant, 307 East 53rd Street, between 2nd and 1st Avenues. The event is from 7pm-8:30pm. The final lecture of the Fall 2008 season is on November 17, 2008 by Angelo Mater, editor of Godpsy.com. His topic this night will be “Faith at the Edge: Living the Catholic life in a secular city” For more details, visit www.totnyc.org.
Day after day Peter proclaims to the whole Church:
You are Christ, the Son of the living God.
During his 21-year reign on the Throne of St. Peter, Leo triumphed over numerous theological, ecclesiastical, and political crises. He was the first of the popes to receive the title magnus—“the great.”
In the political sphere, Leo, together with officials of the Western Empire, had to struggle against the increasingly disastrous effects of the barbarian invasions. In one instance, as pastor of the Universal Church, Leo traveled to the northern Italian battlefields of Attila the Hun, where he successfully convinced the invader to leave Italy and spare the city of Rome. The event is depicted above. Later, Leo again had to use his diplomatic skill, a seemingly native talent for this aristocrat, against the Vandals. They sacked Rome in 455, but Leo convinced them to cease their plundering and leave.
In the theological realm, Leo is remembered most for his famous “Tome,” a letter he wrote against the heresy of Eutyches, a monk who taught erroneously that after the incarnation there existed in Christ only one nature, the divine nature. Eutyches held in fact that Christ was born from two natures, from the divine and human natures, but he also argued in effect that after the incarnation the human was consumed by and confused within the divine, such that only the divine nature remained distinct in Christ. The politics surrounding the condemnation of the monophysite (“one nature”) heresy were incredibly complicated, but Leo’s letter emerged at the Council of Chalcedon (451) as the agreed orthodox articulation of the Catholic faith. Below are two passages from the tome that encapsulate the Leonine teaching.
I am the gate, says the Lord;
whoever enters by me will be saved and will find pleasure, alleluia.
A day after celebrating all Dominican saints, the Order prays and offers sacrifice for all Dominican souls.
Continuous commemoration of the dead constitutes a integral feature of Dominican piety. In our priories, death anniversaries of the brethren are recalled daily, and the De profundis psalm is recited for those being remembered. In this spiritual work of mercy, imploring the graces of the Paschal Mystery for the deceased sons and daughters of St. Dominic, Dominicans are constantly reminded of their own mortality and eventual participation in this same mystery. In this way, daily prayer for the dead prompts the Dominican to greater care for his own salvation as well as that of his brothers.
Join us in prayer to day as we commend the souls of all the deceased of the Order to the love and mercy of the Father.
Out of the depths I cray to you O Lord;
Lord hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication:
If you, O Lord, mark iniquities,
Lord, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
that you may be revered.
I trust in the Lord;
my soul trusts in His word:
My soul waits for the Lord;
More than sentinels wait for the dawn.
More than sentinels wait for the dawn,
let Israel wait for the Lord.
For with the Lord is kindness
and with Him is plenteous redemption:
And He will redeem Israel
from all their iniquities.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.
and let perpetual light shine upon the.
V. From the Gates of Hell
R. Deliver their souls, O Lord.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And also with you.
Let us pray:
O God, creator and redeemer of all the faithful, grant to the souls of your servants and handmaids the remission of all their sins, that they may obtain by our loving prayers the forgiveness which they have always desired. Who live and reign forever. Amen.
V. May they rest in peace.
The topic of Friday’s show was this weekend’s celebration of the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, the Pope’s cathedral in Rome. Joining me on the air were Br. Anthony Giambrone, OP, from the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC, and Fr. Pius Pietrzyk, OP, from the Church of St. Thomas Aquinas in Zanesville, OH.
I opened the show with a brief explanation of the history and significance of the Lateran Basilica (pictured above), followed by a quick look at the weekend’s readings chosen by the Church to commemorate its dedication. In the second segment, Br. Anthony described the proceedings of last month’s Synod of Bishops in Rome, which had for its topic the place of Scripture in the life and mission of the Church. Br. Anthony was in Rome for the closing Mass of the Synod. In our conversation, he shared his impressions of that extraordinary ceremony, and he also outlined several of the propositions submitted by the synodal bishops for the Holy Father’s consideration. Fr. Pius joined me at the end of the show to speak about his homily for this Sunday. As always, his insights were terrific. Be sure to listen in, however, to discover why doing live radio can be a perilous task—especially for the host!
Click below for the full audio.
Through his holy grace, Christ has raised up saints in the Order of Our Father Dominic throughout the world. We ask to be aided by their merits and to be commended to God by their prayers.
Each year, just a few days after the Church Universal honors all of the glorified in heaven, the Order of Preachers celebrates a feast in honor of all the saints and blesseds who wore the habit of St. Dominic. As their brothers and sisters in religion, we Dominicans again place ourselves under their heavenly patronage and protection. Join us in praying to the Dominican saints for the preservation and growth of the Order.
O God, fountain of all holiness,
you deigned to enrich your Church with the many gifts of the saints of the Order of Preachers.
Grant that we, who venerate them in this celebration on earth,
may follow in their footsteps and join the in the eternal festival of heaven.
We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
LITANY OF DOMINICAN SAINTS AND BLESSEDS
Lord, have mercy. Lord have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord have mercy.
Christ, hear us. Christ graciously hear us.
God, the heavenly Father . . . have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world
God, the Holy Spirit
Holy Trinity, one God
Once upon a time, the Order celebrated all of its Far Eastern martyrs on this day. To give them greater individual attention, the calendar now has three feasts for these holy witnesses, distinguishing them by country. On January 15, we remember St. Francis de Capillas and the martyrs of China. On November 24, we commemorate St. Ignatius Delgado and the martyrs of Vietnam. Today, we celebrate the feast of Blessed Alfonsus Navarete and the Dominican martyrs of Japan.
The Dominican Ordo instructs us: “Alfonsus Navarrete, a Spanish Dominican, was beheaded at Omura on June 1, 1617. In 1622, nine Spanish Dominicans were burned to death at Nagasaki. During the years 1614-1632 more than a hundred Spanish and native Japanese Dominicans—novices, cooperator brothers, and tertiary and confraternity members—were martyred.”
Giving us a better glimpse into the life of Blessed Alfonsus, we read this at Catholic Online:
A native of Valladolid, Spain, Alphonsus Navarette, a Dominican missionary priest, came to Nagasaki, Japan after serving in the Philippines. He established for the Japanese Catholic laity three confraternities dedicated to nursing the sick and to rescuing babies left to die by their pagan parents. On one occasion, Father Alphonsus courageously protected and defended several Japanese Catholic women threatened by a vicious pagan mob. While experiencing an ecstasy, he was inspired to travel to Omura to encourage the Catholics suffering persecution there. The Catholics of Omura flocked to Father Alphonsus and to the Augustinian priest Ferdinand Ayala, a native of Ballesteros, Spain, who had previously served in Mexico. The two priests were soon arrested by the pagan authorities. Thereafter, the laity’s continued attempts to visit Father Alphonsus and Father Ferdinand prompted the authorities to execute both priests. At their execution, Leo Tanaca, a Japanese lay catechist affiliated with the Jesuits, was beheaded for his faith together with them.
Click here for an account of Blessed Alfonsus’ martyrdom published in Dominican Missions and Martyrs of Japan, a wonderful little book written by Fr. Bertrand Wilberforce, OP.
Holy Martyrs of Japan, pray for us!
From Sr. Therese Marie, SV, at the Visitation Mission (E. 66th Street):
I would like to invite you to become a coworker of life – to learn more click here: http://www.sistersoflife.org/vm.html
Please consider coming to our next Co-worker training, Saturday, November 8th. It will take place in Stamford, CT at our retreat center Villa Maria Guadalupe. Please invite those you know who would like to be involved in our mission to serve pregnant women with the heart of Christ. The training begins at 9am and ends at 6pm, followed by an optional dinner (there is an optional 7:15am Mass Saturday morning followed by 8am registration and breakfast.) Overnight rooms are available at no charge. There is no charge for anything this weekend. This is a day of training for those who will be working with us to serve pregnant women doing anything from going out for cup of tea to opening up your house to a woman (or all the things in the middle – driving her to appointments, helping to fill out forms, or just talking on the phone – all of this makes an incredible difference.)
The day of training will include:
If you are interested in helping the Sisters of Life, please email visitation.mission (at) archny (dot) com.
In the Footsteps of the Dominicans
April 29 – May 8, 2009
I invite the parishioners of St. Vincent Ferrer and all friends of the Order of Preachers to join me on this pilgrimage to the great Dominican shrines of France. Beginning in Marseilles and ending in Paris, our travels will span several ages of the Church’s history. From St. Mary Magdalen in the first century to St. Vincent Ferrer in the fifteenth, we will meet the saints and visit the places instrumental to the foundation and growth of the Order of Preachers.
Our pilgrimage will include daily Mass, times for prayer, and visits with various Dominican communities. Of course, we will also experience the best of France’s history, architecture, and culture.
We dedicate this pilgrimage to Our Lady of the Rosary, whose maternal intercession has enlived the Dominican Order since its foundation. May St. Dominic and St. Vincent Ferrer, too, strengthen us with their prayers as we visit their shrines and trace their footsteps through France.
For more information, contact the me at the parish office (212-744-2080), or call Corporate Travel Service at 313-565-8888, ext. 121.
Day 1: New York/Marseille
Depart New York on transatlantic flight to Marseille.
Day 2: Marseille
Upon your arrival at Marseille airport you will be met by your professional escort and transferred to your hotel. Celebrate Mass or Vespers at the Dominican Priory. Welcome Dinner hosted by your escort and overnight in Marseille.
Day 3: Marseille
After breakfast enjoy a guided panoramic tour of the town of Marseille. Celebrate Mass at St. Victor Abbey where Cassian founded two monasteries, one for men, the other for women. In the crypt of St. Victor lay formerly the remains of Cassian, also those of Saints Maurice, Marcellinus, and Peter, the body of one of the Holy Innocents, and Bishop St. Mauront. This afternoon visit Sainte Baume where tradition holds Mary Magdalen lived. Dinner and overnight in Marseille.
After breakfast depart for Toulouse. Stop en route at the medieval section of Carcassonne, where you will have some free time to tour the city. Celebrate Mass at Saint Michel Cathedral, parts of which stood during St. Dominic’s visits in the early thirteenth century. After ravaged by fire in 1849, Viollet-le-Duc launched major restoration work that lasted for almost 20 years. Continue to Toulouse with a stop in the country town of Castelnaudary, time permitting. Dinner and overnight in Toulouse.
This morning, tour St. Sernin Basilica, one of the biggest in the western world, housing a treasure trove of reliquaries including St. Saturnin, the martyred bishop of the city. Next visit Peter Seila’s house, the first home of the Dominicans in Toulouse. Celebrate Mass at Couvent des Jacobins over the relics of St. Thomas Aquinas (if special arrangements can be made). This afternoon travel to Fanjeaux, the center of St. Dominic’s preaching before he founded the Order. See the Church, St. Dominic’s house and the Prouille Monastery, the first monastery of women founded by St. Dominic. Overnight in Toulouse.
Day 6: Toulouse/Vannes
After breakfast depart for Vannes, a port on the Gulf of Morbihan, and a magical place where sea, land and sky mingle to form changing and exceptional landscapes. Stop en route in Bordeaux and experience its beautiful landscape. Also celebrate Mass en route. Dinner and overnight in Vannes.
Day 7: Vannes
This morning take a guided visit and celebrate Mass at Saint Peter’s Cathedral, an essential monument in the walled town, dominating its surroundings from its site at the top of the Ménéhill. A reconstruction of the Roman Cathedral was conducted during the 15th century. The old cathedral had become too dilapidated and too small for the pilgrimages that had developed around the tomb of Saint Vincent Ferrer, who died in Vannes in 1419 and was buried under the chancel of the cathedral. During the Counter-Reformation, the church was provided with fresh religious furniture, such as the Baroque altarpiece dedicated toSaint-Vincent. Afternoon free. Overnight in Vannes.
Day 8 Vannes/Chartres/Paris
After breakfast, depart for Paris. Stop en route in Chartres to visit and celebrate Mass at the world famous Notre-Dame Cathedral of Chartres. Built and embellished between 1134 and 1260, it was inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites and is considered to be one of the best examples of High Gothic Architecture. Continue to Paris for overnight stay.
Day 9: Paris
After breakfast, visit the Cathedrale de Notre-Dame, as well as, Dominican Shrines such as the Church of St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Genevieve and the Priory of the Annunciation. Other visits as time permits: Rue de Bac (Miraculous medal of St. Catherine Labouré), the Carmelite Church, St. Denis. Farwell dinner at a local restaurant and overnight in Paris.
Day 10: Paris/USA
After breakfast, transfer to Paris airport and depart for New York.
The Church of St. Vincent Ferrer is happy to announce that its second annual St. Albert’s Day Lecture will be delivered by Dr. Stephen Barr, a professor of physics at the University of Delaware. Dr. Barr will deliver an address entitled “Modern Physics and Ancient Faith.” He has published a book by the same title.
The lecture will be held on Thursday, November 13, at 7:00 PM. The event is free and open to the public.
The publisher’s synopsis of Dr. Barr’s book offers us glimpse of his thesis:
A considerable amount of public debate and media print has been devoted to the “war between science and religion.” In his accessible and eminently readable new book, Stephen M. Barr demonstrates that what is really at war with religion is not science itself, but a philosophy called scientific materialism. Modern Physics and Ancient Faith argues that the great discoveries of modern physics are more compatible with the central teachings of Christianity and Judaism about God, the cosmos, and the human soul than with the atheistic viewpoint of scientific materialism. Scientific discoveries from the time of Copernicus to the beginning of the twentieth century have led many thoughtful people to the conclusion that the universe has no cause or purpose, that the human race is an accidental by-product of blind material forces, and that the ultimate reality is matter itself. Barr contends that the revolutionary discoveries of the twentieth century run counter to this line of thought. He uses five of these discoveries — the Big Bang theory, unified field theories, anthropic coincidences, Godel’s Theorem in mathematics, and quantum theory — to cast serious doubt on the materialist’s view of the world and to give greater credence to Judeo-Christian claims about God and the universe. Barr’s clear and elegant writing is in the best tradition of science for the non-physicist or non-mathematician and will appeal to anyone interested in science and religion.
In addition to his book, Dr. Barr has written numerous articles on faith and science, many of which have been published in First Things. Click here for a listing of these articles.
as the election approaches,
we seek to better understand the issues and concerns
that confront our city, state, and country,
and how the Gospel compels us to respond as faithful citizens in our community.
We ask for eyes that are free from blindness
so that we might see each other as brothers and sisters,
one and equal in dignity,
especially those who are victims of abuse and violence, deceit and poverty.
We ask for ears that will hear the cries of children unborn and those abandoned,
men and women oppressed because of race or creed, religion or gender.
We ask for minds and hearts that are open to hearing the voice of leaders
who will bring us closer to your Kingdom.
We pray for discernment
so that we may choose leaders who hear your Word, live your love,
and keep in the ways of your truth
as they follow in the steps of Jesus and his Apostles
and guide us to your Kingdom of justice and peace.
We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Let us proclaim the greatness of the Lord who with heavenly gifts has raised up Martin, his humble servant.
From the Dominican Ordo:
Martin de Porres was born in Lima, Peru, in 1579 of John, a Spanish nobleman, and Anna Velasquez, a freed slave. As a boy he studied medicine which later, as a member of the Order, he put to good use in helping the poor. Martin was received as a servant at the priory of the Holy Rosary in Lima where he was finally admitted to profession as a co-operator brother in 1603. In his life of prayer Martin was especially devoted to the Blessed Sacrament and to the passion of our Lord. He was noted for his care of the poor and the sick. He died at Lima on November 3, 1639.
For today’s Office of Readings, the Dominican Ordo offers several options for the second lesson, including this excerpt from Blessed Humbert of Romans’ commentary on Dominican life, On Regular Observance. Here Humbert reflects on the fuga mundi, the flight from the world, which as a religious served as the foundation of Martin’s relationship with Christ.
To more perfectly reach the end you desire, [dear brothers], consider carefully to what you have come in leaving the world.
Break your wills and realize that you are dead to the world.
Cast from your hearts idle thoughts, unworthy affections, bad intentions, violent actions, useless sadness, self-centered love, and individual feelings. Before the eyes of God be fearful of such thoughts, which you would blush to carry into action before human eyes.
Just as Jesus died and rose again, so will the Father bring with him those who have died in Jesus. Just as in Adam all men die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
It is often argued by liturgists that the Church has long struck a sour note when celebrating today’s Feast of All Souls. They claim that excessive focus on the punishments of Purgatory have produced liturgical practices that undermine the Church’s confidence in the mercy of Christ. Two examples these liturgists regularly cite are the wearing of black vestments at funerals and the chanting of the Dies irae. Accordingly, liturgical reformists after the Second Vatican Council sought to promote the wearing of white or violet at funerals (though black is not forbidden), and they succeeded in eliminating the Dies irae from the order of Masses for the Dead. Though sensible from the perspective of one form of “pastoral sensitivity,” these reforms have not been without their critics.
Behind the liturgical debates surrounding funerals and the Feast of All Souls lies a deeper theological discussion. For long it has indeed remained difficult when pondering the Christian mysteries to strike the right balance in emphasis between the justice and the mercy of Christ. In our prayer and preaching, we cannot promote the good of one divine attribute at the expense of the other. Either way, the results are not good for us. Divine justice without mercy is a horrific prospect, and mercy without justice nullifies our freedom and the responsibility we bear for our actions. In the last section of his encyclical Spe salvi, Pope Benedict XVI makes a bold attempt at explaining how Christ’s justice and mercy are rightly united.
Even before the Council, however, artists were trying in their own way to achieve this balance through their craft. I offer two examples here. First, in text and melody, the Gregorian Dies irae fixates on what appears to be God’s overwhelming justice. Only at the end of the poem does Christ’s mercy appear, and some argue too little too late to help mitigate the fear elicited by the rest of the poem. In any event, because of its use in the liturgy, the Dies irae shaped the Catholic imagination—and thereby Catholic art—for centuries.
Second, in Faure’s Requiem we witness an attempt by one composer to give justice to the mercy of Christ. In the Pie Jesu movement, Faure takes the last two lines of the poem—”Lord, all pitying, Jesus blest, grant them thine eternal rest”—and fashions a union of music and text that has become a hallmark of Christian prayer. In it, we hear the very sweetness of Christ’s mercy, and the humility of the soul seeking his pardon.
Distinct in shape and form, these two pieces work best when put together, not when heard at the same time, of course, but when held together in individual minds and hearts. Each conveys to us different aspects of the singular mystery of Christian salvation. I include both here to assist your All Souls Day prayer.
After the break you’ll find the text of the Dies irae in Latin and English.
On All Souls Day, November 2, Dr. Mark Bani and the St. Vincent Ferrer Chorale will perform a late Renaissance choral masterpiece, Missa pro defunctis by the Portuguese composer Manuel Cardoso. The evening’s program will also include anthems for All Souls Day.
The concert begins at 7:00 PM. A free will offering will be taken.
Yesterday Pope Benedict XVI addressed the members of the Pontifical Academy of Science as they gathered in Rome for their plenary session and an international conference entitled “Scientific Insight into the Evolution of the Universe and of Life.” Among those attending the Pope’s audience was the world-famous mathematician and physicist Stephen Hawking (pictured above). What catches our eye is that, in his address, the Holy Father drew on the doctrine of St. Thomas Aquinas to outline an understanding of creation that underscores God’s continued relationship with created being.
The whole text is worth reading, of course, but it’s nice to see Aquinas here still going to bat for the Church and her teaching.
To state that the foundation of the cosmos and its developments is the provident wisdom of the Creator is not to say that creation has only to do with the beginning of the history of the world and of life. It implies, rather, that the Creator founds these developments and supports them, underpins them and sustains them continuously. Thomas Aquinas taught that the notion of creation must transcend the horizontal origin of the unfolding of events, which is history, and consequently all our purely naturalistic ways of thinking and speaking about the evolution of the world. Thomas observed that creation is neither a movement nor a mutation. It is instead the foundational and continuing relationship that links the creature to the Creator, for he is the cause of every being and all becoming (cf. Summa Theologiae, I, q.45, a. 3).
The proceedings of the conference will certainly provide excellent prep for our upcoming St. Albert’s Day Lecture.
Let us all rejoice in the Lord and keep a festival in honor of all the saints.
Let us join with the angels in joyful praise to the Son of God.
When pondering the mystery of today’s feast, St. Bernard of Clairvaux asked himself a classic question, and in the movements of his soul he discovered the classic answer. From the second lesson of today’s Office of Readings:
Why should our praise and glorification, or even the celebration of this feasday mean anything to the saints? What do they care about earthly honors when their heavenly Father honors them by fulfilling the faithful promise of the Son? What does our commendation mean to them? The saints have no need of honor from us; neither does our devotion add the slightest thing to what is theirs. Clearly, if we venerate their memory, it serves us, not them. But I tell you, when I think of them, I feel myself inflamed by a tremendous yearning.
Calling the saints to mind inspires, or rather arouses in us, above all else, a longing to enjoy their company, so desirable in itself. Wee long to share in the citizenship of heaven, to dwell with the spirits of the blessed, to join the assembly of patriarchs, the ranks of the prophets, the council of apostles, the great host of martyrs, the noble company of confessors and the choir of virgins. In short, we long to be united in happiness with all the saints. But our dispositions change. The Church of all the first followers of Christ awaits us, but we do nothing about it. The saints want us to be with them, and we are indifferent. The souls of the just await us, and we ignore them.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
O Christ, hear us.
O Christ, graciously hear us.
O God the Father of heaven. Have mercy upon us.
O God the Son, Redeemer of the world.
O God the Holy Ghost.
O Holy Trinity, one God.
Holy Mary. Pray for us.
Holy Mother of God.
Holy Virgin of virgins.