Sunday, June 14th, 2009
The Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph gathered recently at Providence College for a provincial assembly, during which we prayed, recreated, and surveyed together the current needs of the life and the apostolate.
Click below for a slideshow of photos taken during the assembly.
“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
will live in me and I in him,” says the Lord.
Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord, a yearly feast that honors the great mystery of the Corpus Domini manifested sacramentally as food for the pilgrim Mystical Body of Christ.
As is well known, local communities customarily celebrate today’s feast with a procession of the Blessed Sacrament, like the simple one held at here at St. Vincent’s after the Noon Mass. More common around the world is the use of hymn and prayer texts composed by St. Thomas Aquinas, many of which are still officially contained in today’s liturgy. Over the centuries, several of these texts have been set to music. A few examples have been posted below.
On this holy feast, may the Eucharistic Lord confirm our faith in his sacramental presence, and may we respond in hope and love by living Eucharistic lives confident of the great promise given us in this sacrament—”He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn 6:54).
Lord Jesus Christ,
you gave us the Eucharist
as the memorial of your suffering and death.
May our worship of this sacrament of your body and blood
help us to experience the salvation you won for us
and the peace of the kingdom
where you live with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Justin Cardinal Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, recently published the following reflection as an introduction to the upcoming “Year for Priests” called for by Pope Benedict XVI. In it, the cardinal explains the purpose of the spiritual year and outlines a few of the fruits we should expect from its observance. Though some of his thoughts are specific to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Cardinal Rigali’s overall reflection can help to shape the observance of Catholics everywhere.
“The Year of the Priest” appeared in the June 4 edition of The Catholic Standard and Times.
“The Year of the Priest”
by Justin Cardinal Rigali
Pope Benedict XVI has declared a “Year of the Priest,” which will begin on June 19. Since this will be a time of special prayer by and for our priests, this week we will dwell on this topic given to us by our Holy Father.
Saint John Vianney
Saint Pius X (1903-1914) was the first Pope to be photographed regularly. Some of the photographs show him giving an instruction on the Gospel to the faithful of Rome, which he liked to do each Sunday. Others show him explaining the catechism to children, which was also a favorite apostolate of his. Some photographs show him seated at his desk in the Vatican.
Looking at the photographs of the Pope at his desk, we see something quite interesting. On his desk, along with the crucifix, is a large statue. It is not an image of one of the Apostles or of a great Doctor of the Church. It is a statue of John Marie Vianney, a humble French parish priest, whom Pius X beatified in 1905. It was another Pope, Pius XI (1922-1939) who declared Saint John Vianney the Patron of Parish Priests throughout the world.
This year is the 150th anniversary of Saint John Vianney’s death in 1859 and Pope Benedict is using this occasion to declare a Year dedicated to the mission of the priest. It is interesting to note that Pope Benedict XVI, who is universally acknowledged as one of the greatest minds of our time, has brought such attention to Saint John Vianney, a priest who came very close to never being ordained because of his poor marks in the Seminary. This is because our Holy Father not only possesses intellectual knowledge but also knows the importance of holiness, especially for the priest. Saint John Vianney is a great model and example of that holiness and that is why all the popes of this century have called attention to him as a model for priests. This includes Saint Pius X, who had been a parish priest himself, and Pope Benedict XVI, who never served in a parish on a regular basis.
Saint John Vianney was born at a very unfortunate time in the history of his native France. Three years after his birth in 1786, the French Revolution broke out. The spirit of this Revolution was filled with a hatred for the Church. Many French churches were destroyed and bishops, priests and Religious Sisters were massacred. He received his First Holy Communion in secret as the public celebration of the Mass by loyal priests was forbidden. When he first expressed his desire to be a priest, his father would not allow it because young John was needed to work on the farm. He was twenty when he was finally able to pursue his studies for the priesthood, under the direction of a priest who ran a small school.
Once the Revolution and the subsequent Napoleonic wars were over, he eventually was able to enroll in a seminary. He found the studies very difficult and, although the authorities recognized his goodness and made special provision for his slowness in learning, after doing poorly in his studies, he was about to be dismissed from the seminary. The Vicar General of the Diocese allowed his studies to continue by asking the Rector: “Is Monsieur Vianney good?” The Rector replied: “He is a model of goodness.” The Vicar General said: “Let him be ordained. The grace of God will do the rest.” Later, at John Vianney’s ordination in 1815, the same Vicar General said: “The Church wants not only learned priests but, even more, holy ones.”
In 1817, young Father Vianney was sent to the small town of Ars, whose parish consisted of 230 people. He took upon himself a life of great penance and prayer as one of the means of drawing the people of his village away from sin and closer to God. He became a great apostle of the confessional and his fame for sanctity and for being a wise but challenging confessor eventually made it necessary for him to spend upward of eighteen hours a day in the confessional. The little town of Ars became famous throughout France and, eventually, throughout the world because of the holiness of its Pastor. It is this necessity for priestly holiness that Pope Benedict wants to draw attention to during this Year of the Priest.