A great way to spend the Fourth of July with your family and friends:
Back by popular demand, the 2nd annual Life Fest with the Sisters of Life will be held out at their retreat house in Stamford, CT. They had over 500 people attend last year. There will be a big picnic, live music throughout the day, talks on life and love, a BBQ dinner, Eucharistic Adoration, Confession and Holy Mass.
159 Sky Meadow Drive, Stamford, CT 06903
1:00 pm – 7:00 pm
4:30 pm – Hoy Sacrifice of the Mass
5:30 pm – Picnic Dinner provided
Music throughout the day, Talks on life and love, Activities for children.
RSVP – Call the Sisters of Life at: 203-329-1492 or email: LifeFest2010@sistersoflife.org
From the USCCB:
A Senate committee amendment that would authorize the performance of elective abortions at military hospitals in this country and around the world is “misguided” and should be removed from the National Defense Authorization Act (S. 3454), said the Chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
Calling on the Senate not to approve the bill unless it maintains current law, as the bill approved by the House of Representatives already does, Cardinal DiNardo concluded that “this amendment presents Congress with the very straightforward question whether it is the task of our federal government to directly promote and facilitate elective abortions. During the recent health care reform debate, the President and congressional leadership assured us that they agree it is not.”
The Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo (Galveston-Houston) wrote this letter to the US Senators.
Today, there is a plenary indulgence granted to the faithful who visit, and there devoutly recite an Our Father and the Creed at St. Patrick’s Cathedral (i.e., our cathedral church).
A plenary indulgence can be obtained today by saying the same prayers at a minor basilica (there are two in Brooklyn).
As well, one can be obtained by making prayerful use of an article of devotion – specifically, a crucifix/cross, rosary, scapular, or medal – that has been blessed by the Supreme Pontiff or by any bishop, provided that a suitable profession of faith is used.
All of this obtains under the usual conditions. At the time of one’s performance of the indulgenced work: one must be free from all attachment to sin, whether mortal or venial; have celebrated a sacramental confession; have received Holy Communion; and prayed for the intentions of the Holy Father. (As to confession, the traditional time-span within which one must have been to Confession is seven days before or after the day of the indulgenced work. However, I’ve just discovered that it’s actually 20 days!)
And remember, an indulgence can be obtained for others – living or deceased!
At the Evening Prayer of the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Pope Benedict XVI recalled the essentially missionary nature of the Church. In the antiphons and reading from Vespers I of the feast, our Holy Father “[perceives] in these texts is a sense of movement, where the protagonist is not man, but God, the breath of the Holy Spirit, which drives the Apostle [Paul] onto the roads of the world to take the Good News to all: the promises of the prophets are fulfilled in Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, who died for our sins and rose for our justification.”
In an arresting personal note, the pope confessed, “At times it seems to us pastors of the Church that we are reliving the experience of the Apostles, when thousands of needy persons followed Jesus, and he asked: What can we do for all these people? They then experienced their impotence.”
Nevertheless, the Successor to St. Peter declares: “The Church is young, and open to the future. And I repeat it today, near the sepulcher of St. Paul: The Church is an immense force of renewal in the world, not because of her strength, but because of the force of the Gospel, in which the Holy Spirit of God breathes, the God Creator and Redeemer of the world.”
In response to contemporary society’s urgent thirst to be evangelized, and even to be evangelized anew, in what was once known as Christendom, the pope announced the creation of a pontifical council for new evangelization. We shall here more about this new organ of the Church and its prerogatives in the weeks to come.
I join Fr. Gabriel Gillen, O.P. and Fr. James Brent, O.P. in the studios of The Catholic Channel on Sirius/XM for this week’s edition of Word to Life.
We focus on the notion of “vocation” and “call,” but also discuss some of the relevant themes from Fr. Brent’s lecture at St. Vincent Ferrer this past Thursday on faith and reason (see below).
For those of you who could not make the lecture last Thursday night, “Faith and Reason: Friends or Foes?” we have posted this video of the talk for you. (The video was produced by Fr. Gabriel Gillen, O.P., who came up from our Dominican Parish in the West Village, St. Joseph.)
Fr. Brent took his main theme and image from Pope John Paul II’s already classic encyclical, Fides et ratio, that “faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth.”
Reason does not contradict faith; reason actually helps to bolster faith; and faith itself protects and guides reason.
Unfortunately, our society still suffers from a view that “reason” is fungible with (a popular conception) of “science.” Fr. Brent shows how this reducibility is self-contradictory and plainly unsatisfying to the human enterprise. Instead, he presents a view of reason that is in terms of the intellect’s openness to reality… all of it. Thus, even though reason alone cannot convince one that the supernatural mysteries of the Catholic faith are to be believed, reason can certainly show that they are at least believable.
It’s safe to say that everyone at the talk now looks forward to hearing Fr. Brent in the future.
Our friends over at the Respect Life office of the Archdiocese alert us that the Reproductive Health Act (S.5808) could very likely come to a vote in the next few days.
This is a bill that, if passed, would undoubtedly increase the percentage of abortions in NYS, which is already at the abominable level of %33 – that’s right, close to a third of pregnancies in our state are terminated.
Similar to FOCA, it is designed to establish abortion as a fundamental right of the human person as such. This means it would expand the range of abortion practices, promoting late term abortions of fully formed infants and even authorizing non-physicians to perform abortions, for example. This means it is also aimed to compel hospitals to provide abortions.
Information about the bill and about how to contact our state and assembly members can be found here, at the New York State Catholic Conference website.
The text below is from our Archbishop’s latest entry on his blog, “To Whom Shall We Go?”, which makes for provocative reading, and not just because our school receives mention. (Bold lettering added.)
When it comes to the Catholic Church, so goes the popular logic, if something happens to make you angry, always blame the Pope (or the Vatican), or the archbishop (or that darn archdiocese).
Every problem in the Church, in this view, whether the decline in Sunday Mass attendance, the closing of a school or parish, or the shortage of vocations, is the fault of the Pope or the archbishop.
That’s because the perception is that the Catholic Church is a “top-down” organization — at least according to most newspapers, magazines, and radio/TV news — where decisions are always secretly made way at the top, and the “little guy” is ignored. That’s not only true of the secular media. In a recent edition of a prominent Catholic journal, published in New York, I counted six blasts at bishops and the Pope in the first six pages!
Want some recent examples?
A newspaper on Staten Island blames the recent controversy about the proposed sale of an unused convent to an Islamic group on — guess who? — that autocratic, aloof, mean, clandestine archdiocese!
Sorry, editors, but the Archdiocese does not micromanage. I trust our pastors, religious, and lay administrators to run the day-to-day details of our nearly 400 parishes, hundreds of schools, healthcare institutions, and charitable programs.
A decision to sell any parish property initially rests with the pastor of the parish, who should act in close concert with his parish and finance councils and must act in close concert with the parish trustees. In the current case, the pastor concluded after prayerful reflection that the sale would not be in the best interests of his parish and recommended its withdrawal.
But, never mind all this. The editors know better. It’s the fault of that mean-old “archdiocese.”
You want another example? For years, the pastor and people of St. Michael’s Parish have scraped, saved, and sweated to keep their excellent parish high school open. Even though not one student in the school actually lived in the parish, the pastor and people fought to save their school, giving $400,000 annually to keep it going.
Finally, reluctantly, early in the spring, with only thirty new students enrolled for next school-year, the pastor and parishioners sadly decided they were out of money, and couldn’t do it anymore. They asked “the archdiocese” to confirm their decision and, after being reassured that every girl could be welcomed at nearby St. Jean Baptiste High School, St. Vincent Ferrer High School, and Cathedral High School, at the same tuition, “the archdiocese” agreed that the good pastor had made the proper, albeit sorrowful, decision.
Who’s to blame? The alumnae? The pastor and parish? Those who did not reply to frequent appeals for new students or donations?
Surprise, surprise! The nasty, money-hungry, mean-old “archdiocese” is to blame, according to a source in another, this time, Irish newspaper. See, this source explains, the property of the high school is valuable, so the stingy, money-grabbing, high-handed archdiocese has callously disregarded the kids to get the money.
Had anyone asked, “the archdiocese” would have let him or her know that there were no plans to sell the structure, and that, even if such happened, the money would stay at the parish, not the selfish “archdiocese,” according to Church law.
Experts in leadership style tell us that, as a matter of fact, the Catholic Church is probably the best example around of the principle of subsidiarity; namely, that a decision is best made at the level closest to the people who will have to live with the results.
To be sure, there have been, are, and will be instances where controversial decisions are made by “the archdiocese,” or by me as archbishop. When that is the case, I’m not about to “pass-the-buck” and blame somebody else.
But, that’s not the case in the two tough situations mentioned above.
Who likes criticism? Nobody. But I figure it comes with the job, and have to face it when it’s legitimate. That happens often enough.
But I don’t like seeing “the archdiocese” blamed for something not its fault.
It’s so easy, popular, juicy — and sells papers — to blame the “corrupt Vatican” and “money-hungry archdiocese.”
It’s just that it’s not accurate.
This would be a great time to revisit the question of faith and reason with Dominican priest and philosopher, Fr. James Brent, O.P.
For the third week in a row, our Holy Father delivered catechesis on St. Thomas’s perennial wisdom and his understanding of the complementarity of faith and reason.
Father James Dominic Brent, O.P. was ordained to the priesthood this past May twenty-eighth. He will begin full-time teaching at the Catholic University of America’s School of Philosophy this Fall, continuing the great tradition of CUA philosophy professors such as Frs. William Augustine Wallace, O.P. (emeritus), Brian J. Shanley, O.P. (now President of Providence College), and Kurt Pritzl, O.P. (present Dean of the School of Philosophy).
Fr. Brent wrote his philosophy doctorate on matters of faith and reason under Eleanor Stump (a Third Order Dominican, by the way) at St. Louis University. He has taught at secular and Catholic universities, and seminaries as well.
Fr. Brent is a popular lecturer in the Washington, DC and Arlington, VA areas. Regardless of your level of philosophical knowledge, you will profit from hearing him speak. He’ll be in town only for a few weeks. You don’t want to miss him.
So, come to the Church Hall Tonight… and bring your skeptic and fideist friends!
Yesterday, the President of Pontifical Council for Culture announced the discovery of icons of Sts. Peter, Paul, John, and Andrew in an ancient catacomb. They have been dated to the middle of the fourth century.
There are earlier known images of the Apostles… but what is distinctive about the newly discovered images (not pictured above) is that they are icons: The depictions of the Saints are isolated from narrative context, with an especial emphasis on the faces, aimed at fostering devotion and prayer.
The four Saints surround an image of the Good Shepherd, one of the earliest motifs for Jesus Christ.
I join Fr. Carlos Quijano in the studio of Sirius/XM for the Catholic Channel to discuss this Sunday’s readings. Click below to listen to our discussion.
We were joined by Fr. James Dominic Brent, O.P., who will also be at St. Vincent Ferrer this Thursday, to give a lecture, “Faith and Reason: Friends or Foes?” (See post below.)
Our Dominican brothers over at St. Catherine of Siena are beginning to have a monthly day of prayer and information for couples that struggle with infertility. Due to the overwhelming attendance and positive response to the event in May, the friars who run the Health Care Ministry decided to offer the day of recollection and intercession every month.
The next occasion is TONIGHT,Thursday, 17 June.
6:00pm: Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament And Confessions.
6:25pm: Litany and Prayers to Saint Gianna
Our Archbishop, Timothy Dolan, has written very positively of Dr. Mielnik and her colleagues at the Gianna Health Care Center.
Many men and women feel demeaned after having employed kinds of In Vitro Fertilization, due to the means of obtaining the male’s sperm and the woman’s ova, and of attempting implantation of the embryo.
Moreover, to say nothing of the countless embryos (i.e., persons) who are either frozen or discarded and aborted, a staggeringly high percentage of children who are conceived through IVF suffer from birth defects (which is why so many of the fertilized embryos are aborted to begin with).
The psychological and physiological effects of IVF, along with its intimate relationship to the abortion industry, corroborate the Church’s objective judgment (based on an analysis of the act) that such technological intrusion and disruption of a couple’s conjugal life is gravely reprehensible and always to be avoided.
Of course, the children that do issue from such methods are as fully human and beautiful as those conceived naturally, with or without the legitimate aid of procreative technologies.
Nevertheless, there are scientific methods of ascertaining the latent fertility of a woman’s cycle. Indeed, women who have unsuccessfully attempted to conceive through IVF, only to have eventually conceived naturally are not few in number.
If you want to pray for yourself or loved ones who are suffering the trial of infertility, or if you want to learn about the little-publicized NaPro Technology (Natural Procreative Technology), please visit our sister parish a few avenues over this Thursday.
Here is a helpful and moving video from the FertilityCare Centers of America website about infertility and a couple’s options for help.
In the Eucharist, the Son of God comes to meet us and desires to become one with us; Eucharistic adoration is simply the natural consequence of the Eucharistic celebration, which is itself the Church’s supreme act of adoration. Receiving the Eucharist means adoring him whom we receive. Only in this way do we become one with him, and are given, as it were, a foretaste of the beauty of the heavenly liturgy. The act of adoration outside Mass prolongs and intensifies all that takes place during the liturgical celebration itself. (Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis no. 66)
7:30 PM Exposition
8:30 PM Compline (Night Prayer)
8:50 PM Benediction
There will be Preaching and Confessions as well.
Bring someone to meet the Lord!
These summer weeks have been replete with encouraging news from the St. Joseph Province of the Dominican friars.
On the twenty-eighth of last month, two wonderful men were ordained to the priesthood by our own brother, His Excellency, Augustine DiNoia, O.P, Reverends James Dominic Brent, O.P., and John Chrysostom Kozlowski, O.P.
And just last Friday, the election of a new prior provincial was announced, that of the Very Reverend Brian Mulcahy, O.P. – a friar many St. Vincent parishioners already know and have heard preach.
And in August, twenty-one young men will receive the habit of St. Dominic, to begin the novitiate in Cincinnati, OH.
At the assembly that elected Fr. Brian, (i.e., the “provincial chapter”), Archbishop DiNoia delivered conferences. His reflections on what is attracting men to our order, and in general to religious life these days, repays reading. His conference, “New Vocations in the Province of St. Joseph: Ecclesial, Historical, and Cultural Perspectives,” is available on our provincial website, where one can also find a video of the lecture he delivered in NY two weeks ago, “Facing the Challenges to Faith in Christ Today: The Dominican Way.”
Above all, please pray for our Dominican order – for our health and vigor, for our courage and fidelity, for our religious life and evangelical mission. Thank you!
Memorial of the
Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary
We worship the Sacred Heart of Jesus as the font of God’s incarnate love for sinful man. In venerating the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we marvel at and seek to imitate the Blessed Virgin Mary’s love for God. The intimacy between the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts bears the promise for our life of love.
The following words of prayer, excerpted from Pope Benedict XVI’s Act of Entrustment and Consecration of Priests to the Immaculate Heart of Mary during his recent Apostolic Journey to Fatima, Portugal, can be made our own:
Advocate and Mediatrix of grace,
you who are fully immersed
in the one universal mediation of Christ,
invoke upon us, from God,
a heart completely renewed
that loves God with all its strength
and serves mankind as you did.
Let your presence cause new blooms to burst forth
in the desert of our loneliness,
let it cause the sun to shine on our darkness,
let it restore calm after the tempest,
so that all mankind shall see the salvation of the Lord,
who has the name and the face of Jesus,
who is reflected in our hearts,
for ever united to yours!
Solemnity of the
Sacred Heart of Jesus
Conclusion of the Year for Priests
Citing the holy priest of Ars, St. Jean Baptiste Marie Vianney, Pope Benedict proclaimed, “the priesthood is the heart of the love of Jesus Christ.” St. Jean Vianney is the patron saint of priests; (incidentally, St. Dominic is the patron saint of all priests of religious orders). And so, one year ago on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in honor of the 150th anniversary of the saint’s death, Pope Benedict inaugurated the Year for Priests.
And it concludes with today’s celebration of that same feast.
The feast of the Sacred Heart is traditionally a day of prayer for the sanctification of the clergy, as well as a day of reparation. Perhaps we can see the prescience and providence of the pope’s declaration of an Annus Sacerdotalis for this past year, enveloped in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as we both give thanks and offer reparation for priests.
Blessed John Dominic
From the Dominican Ordo:
Blessed John was born at Florence around 1357 and received the habit at the priory of Santa Maria Novella at the age of seventeen. He assisted Blessed Raymond of Capua with the reform of the Order and became known as the ‘principal restorer of regular observance in Italy.’ Concerned about questions of faith and morality which the humanism of his day posed for the faith, he wrote a treatise on Christian education. During the Western Schism, he assisted Pope Gregory XII as a counselor and then as archbishop of Ragusa and cardinal of Saint Sixtus. He played a significant role in the Council of Constance. Pope Martin V sent him on a mission to Bohemia and Hungary to deal with the Hussite heresy and while there he died at Buda on June 10, 1949.
The Vatican’s website includes this excerpt from Bl. John Dominic’s treatise On the Love of Charity in its collection of great spiritual insights from the saints, “Paths of the Spirit.”
Our union with God is begun in faith and lived through the sacraments. This life is necessarily aided by devotion. Through our devotional practices, our affections and imagination are inflamed and opened up to serve God and be united with Him more spontaneously and creatively. Thus, through devotion, we can become better disposed to receive more fruitfully the graces of the sacraments we receive in faith.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart both manifests and electrifies in a particularly beautiful and stirring way our faith in the incarnate love of God and His sacramental plan.
Nevertheless, in the classic, papal explication on devotion and worship of the Sacred Heart, Haurietis Aquas (1956), Pope Pius XII makes clear that this devotion is not merely one brand of piety amongst others, but an eminent act of religion. Through the wounded heart of divine love, that is, through the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the supreme act of atonement was offered for humanity. And because the Father and Son have sent us their personal bond of love, the Holy Spirit poured into our hearts, our own charity can beat with the pulse of expiatory love.
This week, there are a number of ways to foster our appreciation and prepare for our celebration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:
Archbishop Timothy Dolan offers brief reflections and helpful practical suggestions regarding the devotion in Catholic New York.
This Saturday, the Church of Our Savior in midtown will be offering a daylong conference by an eminent group of lecturers on the Sacred Heart. There will also be a Solemn High Mass according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite (i.e., the 1962 Missal) at the Church of Holy Innocents.
Regarding the extraordinary form of the Mass, our neighbor, the Church of St. Jean Baptiste, is hosting His Excellency Francois Gayot to celebrate a Solemn Pontifical Mass for the feast on Friday evening.
Finally, the Church grants a plenary indulgence to the faithful who, on the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, publicly recite the act of reparation (Iesu dulcissime).
Blessed Diana and Blessed Cecilia
Bl. Diana and Bl. Cecilia helped to establish the Monastery of St. Agnes in Bologna, along with Bl. Amata, who was very likely named by St. Dominic himself (meaning “beloved”).
Cecilia had already been a Benedictine nun when St. Dominic was taking on monastic reforms of nuns’ convents at the direction of Pope Honorius III. After refounding St. Sixtus in Rome, Bl. Cecilia went to St. Agnes, where she served as prioress. Bl. Cecilia is especially loved by Dominicans because she, alone amongst the contemporaries of Holy Father Dominic, committed a description of his appearance to writing:
He was of middle height and slender figure, of handsome and somewhat ruddy countenance, his hair and beard of auburn, and with lustrous eyes. From out his forehead and between his eye brows a radiant light shone forth, which drew everyone to revere and love him. He was always joyous and cheerful, except when moved to compassion at anyone’s sorrows. His hands were beautiful and tapering; his voice was clear, noble, and musical; he was never bald, but kept his religious tonsure entire, mingled here and there with a few gray hairs
Diana was of noble birth and extremely powerful family. Inspired by the preaching of Reginald of Orleans, she desired to give her life entirely to the Order. She overcame severe (and even physically brutal) opposition from her family, and received the habit from Bl. Jordan of Saxony, with whom she would enjoy a most beautiful spiritual friendship. The following account in the Dominican Office of Readings is taken from the Monastery of St. Agnes’ Chronicle:
Holy Father Dominic was in Bologna at the time and, when he heard how injured she was, he was filled with compassion and sent her letters secretly, for her parents would not permit her to speak with anyone unless one of her relatives was present. In the midst of all this blessed Dominic died and entered eternal happiness. When Sister Diana had recovered a little, she escaped and went to the aforesaid monastery. Thereupon her desperate parents let her go. She remained in that monastery from the feast of All Saints until the week within the octave of the Ascension. While she was there, Master Jordan of happy memory, who had been provincial of Lombardy at the time, together with the brethren to whom blessed Dominic had entrusted this task, faithfully helped her to carry out her long desired plan.
Bl. Jordan encouraged Bl. Diana in words such as these:
Let your hearts be always filled with a burning desire for the blessed city of the saints in heaven, that glorious storeroom of perfect joy amid gladness, that abode refulgent with the radiance of utter beauty, far exceeding human understanding: a realm truly divine, worthy to be the dwelling place of those created in the image and likeness of God.
In preparation for the 100th anniversary of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’s birth, her Missionaries of Charity begin their preparations today, 7 June, at the Cathedral of St. Patrick. (See article by Catholic New York)
Today, between 2 and 4:30 pm, relics of Mother Teresa will be on display for public veneration, including her crucifix, rosary, and sandals.
At 7 pm, Archbishop Celestino Migliore will celebrate Mass.
Also present will be the editor of Mother Teresa’s letters and writings, Come Be My Light, Fr. Brian Kolodiejchuk, M.C.
Many Dominican friars around the world have worked closely with the MC’s. This summer, two student brothers from the House of Studies who will be residing at St. Vincent Ferrer will be serving with the Missionaries in the Bronx.
Renowned spiritual author and Irish Dominican, Fr. Paul Murray, O.P., has written a book on the saint of Calcutta, I Loved Jesus in the Night. A short reflection by Fr. Murray based on his book can be found on our provincial website here.
Solemnity of the
Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
After the Church concludes her Easter season with Pentecost, and after celebrating the Most Holy Trinity one week later, she turns her liturgical focus to the Most Blessed Sacrament. These are all celebrations of God’s mysterious but personal and omnipotent presence in our lives, from the gift of the Spirit that animates the Church, to the personal indwelling of the Blessed Trinity, and now, to the Real Presence of Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist.
All of these mysteries were revealed by Jesus Christ to the Apostles. Henceforth and until the end of time, we encounter Immanuel (God with us) in the Church, through the very mysteries received from the Lord himself (see, e.g., 1 Cor 11.23 ff.).
The universal celebration of the feast dates to 1264, when Urban VI promulgated the Mass and Office that St. Thomas Aquinas composed upon the pope’s request. This past week, the present pope had these words to say about the significance of the feast and of the Church’s Common Doctor:
“St. Thomas has a profoundly Eucharistic soul. The beautiful hymns that the liturgy of the Church sings to celebrate the mystery of the real presence of the Body and Blood of the Lord in the Eucharist are due to his faith and theological wisdom…. Thomas’s personal humility but also the fact that all that we are able to think and speak about the faith, as elevated and pure as it may be, is infinitely surpassed by the greatness and the beauty of God who will reveal himself to us in the fullness of paradise.”
“All of us prostrate ourselves to adore [the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ] because present in it is our Teacher and Lord, present is the real Body of Jesus, Victim and Priest, salvation of the world.”
The Church grants a plenary indulgence to the faithful under the normal conditions, who devoutly participate in a solemn Eucharistic procession, held inside or outside a church, most significantly, on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ.
Tantum ergo Sacramentum, veneremur cernui…