Ad Te Levávi Ánimam Meam

To Thee have I lifted up my soul (Introit – 1st Sunday of Advent)

Archive for May, 2010

Octave of Pentecost

Posted by james0235 on May 24, 2010

“After Easter, the Solemnity of Pentecost is the second most important day in the Church year.”

Bishop Peter J. Elliott, Ceremonies of the Liturgical Year 325

If Pentecost outranks Christmas on the Liturgical Calendar (or,  I know it might be argued, is equal to it) then why is it that Christmas has an Octave but Pentecost does not? It appears that even the pope who approved the elimination of the Octave of Pentecost had no idea what was going on. Fr. Z explains what a Liturgical Octave is and tells the story of the Octave of Pentecost in a podcast found here.

On the older Liturgical Calendar the Octave Day of Pentecost is Trinity Sunday. This is always a great time of year to re-familiarize yourself with what the Catholic faith teaches us about the Holy Trinity:

The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the “hierarchy of the truths of faith”. The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and the means by which the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, reveals himself to men “and reconciles and unites with himself those who turn away from sin”.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 234


The Trinity is a mystery of faith in the strict sense, one of the “mysteries that are hidden in God, which can never be known unless they are revealed by God”. To be sure, God has left traces of his Trinitarian being in his work of creation and in his Revelation throughout the Old Testament. But his inmost Being as Holy Trinity is a mystery that is inaccessible to reason alone or even to Israel’s faith before the Incarnation of God’s Son and the sending of the Holy Spirit.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 237


and it is a great time to recite the Athanasian Creed.

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Nous Rendons Grâce a Dieu

Posted by james0235 on May 23, 2010

This afternoon I attended a concert at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church called Nous Rendons Grâce à Dieu or We give thanks to God, the last phrase spoken by the people in the Mass in French. Last year’s My Spirit Rejoices was also held on Pentecost so maybe this is an annual thing. I certainly hope it is.

The calendar on the parish website listed this as “a program of French music” but, with I believe one exception, it was all Latin but by French composers. The choir at St. Francis of Assisi seems to be made up of some very talented people under very good direction. And that combination sometimes seems hard to find.

Quite a few years ago at one parish in Central Ohio that I will not name I asked the pastor about the possibility of having some Gregorian chant or traditional Catholic hymns instead of the usual St. Louis Jesuits, Marty Haugen, and David Haas. His response was “I don’t think that is necessary.” When I pointed out to him some of the things that the popes and bishops have written on music in the Mass I believe the terms he used were “archaic” and “pre-Vatican II” – and this was in reference to quotes from the Vatican II documents themselves. I am not exactly sure how Vatican II can be pre-Vatican II but his arguments in defense of his liturgical abuses were just as powerful. But, that is a topic for another day.

Seeing that this was going nowhere I decided to approach the music director with my requests. She actually had no idea what Gregorian chant was – she had never heard of it. And in reference to my request for some traditional Catholic hymns in place of the folk music she responded that we often have traditional Catholic hymns – and then she gave City of God, On Eagle’s Wings, Be Not Afraid, and several other songs I cannot remember as examples.

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Asperges Me

Posted by james0235 on May 23, 2010

In the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite the priest sprinkles holy water on the people before the principal Mass on Sundays. Beginning on Pentecost the Antiphon that is sung at this time changes from the Vidi Aquam to the Asperges Me.  These Antiphons can be used as part of the Rite of Sprinkling before Mass in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. When the Rite of Sprinkling is used it replaces the Penitential Rite in that Mass.

On Sundays, especially in the Season of Easter, in place of the customary Act of Penitence, from time to time the blessing and sprinkling of water to recall Baptism may take place.

General Instruction of the Roman Missal 51

Asperges me, Domine, hyssopo et mundabor,
Lavabis me, et super nivem dealbabor.
Miserere mei, Deus, secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.

Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

You will sprinkle me, O Lord, with hyssop and I shall be cleansed
You will wash me, and I shall be whitewashed more than snow is.
Pity me, O God, according to Your great mercy.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit
As it was in the beginning, is now, and always shall be in ages of ages. Amen.


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Pentecost Novena

Posted by james0235 on May 13, 2010

Regardless of whether you live in a diocese that celebrates the Ascension of the Lord today, 40 days after Easter just like the original Ascension, or if you live in a diocese that will be transferring the Ascension to this coming Sunday so that you will not be forced to undergo the terrible burden of attending Mass on a day that is not Sunday, the Pentecost Novena begins tomorrow.

Mary and the Apostles spent the 9 days from the Ascension to Pentecost in prayer. And this is the origin of Novenas.

Novena to the Holy Spirit for the Seven Gifts

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Ascension Thursday Sunday

Posted by james0235 on May 13, 2010

Once again Ascension Thursday Sunday is upon us. Despite the Ascension of the Lord occurring exactly 40 days after the Resurrection many U.S. bishops insist on transferring it to the 7th Sunday of Easter, the Sunday before Pentecost – 43 days after we celebrate the Resurrection. In the U.S. only those dioceses located within the ecclesiastical provinces of Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, Omaha, and Philadelphia celebrate the Ascension Thursday instead of Ascension Sunday.

It is not a question of if it is permissible to transfer the Ascension to the following Sunday – the Code of Canon Law gives this authority to the Episcopal Conference with the approval of the Holy See (Code of Canon Law 1246) – rather the question is why would the bishops wish to do this? Does anyone truly benefit spiritually from having one less Mass to attend on a weekday once a year?

But, even though most U.S. dioceses will not be celebrating the Ascension today those parishes offering the Holy Mass according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, permission for which was affirmed for all priests of the Roman Rite in Pope Benedicts XVI’s Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, will be celebrating the Ascension today, regardless of what the rest of the diocese is doing. The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei has confirmed that this is permitted.

So ends my annual rant on Ascension Thursday Sunday.

There is a rubric after the Gospel in the 1962 Roman Missal, the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, that reads as follows:

After the Gospel of the High Mass, the Paschal Candle, figure of the risen Christ, is extinguished; it is removed after Mass.

So, immediately after we hear of Christ’s Ascension into heaven:

“…And the Lord Jesus, after He had spoken to them, was taken up into Heaven and sitteth on the right hand of God…” (Mark 16:14-20)

the Easter Candle, the symbol of Christ’s presence which has been in the Sanctuary since he arose from the dead at the Easter Vigil, is extinguished. This beautiful little ceremony is, of course,  used in those parishes using the 1962 Roman Missal. But, it works a bit differently with the 1970 Roman Missal, the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, in use in most parishes:

The paschal candle has its proper place either by the ambo or by the altar and should be lit at least in all the more solemn liturgical celebrations of the season until Pentecost Sunday, whether at Mass, or at Morning and Evening Prayer. After the Easter season the candle should be kept with honor in the baptistry, so that in the celebration of Baptism the candles of the baptized may be lit from them. In the celebration of funerals, the paschal candle should be placed near the coffin to indicate that the death of a Christian is his own passover. The paschal candle should not otherwise be lit nor placed in the sanctuary outside the Easter season.

Congregation for Divine Worship, Pascahele Solemnitatis 99

The Easter Candle remains in use until Pentecost, the end of the Season of Easter rather than the Ascension when Christ is no longer with us.  Unfortunately, I think that we really lost some amazing symbolism with the loss of that rubric.


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The Most Important Person on Earth

Posted by james0235 on May 9, 2010

“The Most Important Person on earth is a mother.  She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not.  She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral – a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby’s body…The angels have not been blessed with such a grace.  They cannot share in God’s creative miracle to bring new saints to Heaven.  Only a human mother can.  Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature; God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation…What on God’s good earth is more glorious than this: to be a mother?”

Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty

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May Day

Posted by james0235 on May 1, 2010

In 1955 Pope Pius XII established May 1st as the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. On the modern Liturgical Calendar in use since the release of the 1970 Roman Missal this Feast Day ranks as a Memorial. The institution of this Feast by Pope Pius was in response to communist-backed “May Day” celebrations on the 1st of May and served to offer a Christian view of labor. Communism, and really Socialism as well, are incompatible with the Catholic faith and both have been repeatedly condemned by the Holy See:

To this goal also tends the unspeakable doctrine of Communism, as it is called, a doctrine most opposed to the very natural law. For if this doctrine were accepted, the complete destruction of everyone’s laws, government, property, and even of human society itself would follow.

Blessed Pope Pius IX, Qui Pluribus 16 – November 9, 1846


Hence we have reached the limit of horrors, to wit, communism, socialism, nihilism, hideous deformities of the civil society of men and almost its ruin. And yet too many attempt to enlarge the scope of these evils, and under the pretext of helping the multitude, already have fanned no small flames of misery. The things we thus mention are neither unknown nor very remote from us.

Pope Leo XIII, Diuturnum 23 – June 29, 1881


If Socialism, like all errors, contains some truth (which, moreover, the Supreme Pontiffs have never denied), it is based nevertheless on a theory of human society peculiar to itself and irreconcilable with true Christianity. Religious socialism, Christian socialism, are contradictory terms; no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.

Pope Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno 120 – May 15, 1931


See to it, Venerable Brethren, that the Faithful do not allow themselves to be deceived! Communism is intrinsically wrong, and no one who would save Christian civilization may collaborate with it in any undertaking whatsoever. Those who permit themselves to be deceived into lending their aid towards the triumph of Communism in their own country, will be the first to fall victims of their error. And the greater the antiquity and grandeur of the Christian civilization in the regions where Communism successfully penetrates, so much more devastating will be the hatred displayed by the godless.

Pope Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris 58 – March 19, 1937


Now, the Catholic Church is no stranger to the cause of worker’s rights. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that “The catechetical tradition also recalls that there are “sins that cry to heaven”: … injustice to the wage earner” (CCC 1867). And when it comes to presenting a solid Christian view of labor I don’t believe that it should be any surprise that devotion to St. Joseph has long been the vehicle chosen to do so.

The Gospels present him as both “a righteous man” (Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24a) and a laborer – Jesus is called “the carpenter’s son” (Matthew 13:54-58). The Church presents these passages to us on the Solemnity of St. Joseph (Gospel 1st Option) and on the Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker (Gospel) respectively. And notice that Pope Pius XI issued his encyclical condemning atheistic communism, Divini Redemptoris quoted above, on March 19th – the Solemnity of St. Joseph. A bit closer to our own day Pope John Paul II held up St. Joseph, as a laborer,  as a model of holiness for us all:

Work was the daily expression of love in the life of the Family of Nazareth. The Gospel specifies the kind of work Joseph did in order to support his family: he was a carpenter. This simple word sums up Joseph’s entire life. For Jesus, these were hidden years, the years to which Luke refers after recounting the episode that occurred in the Temple: “And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them” (Lk 2:51). This “submission” or obedience of Jesus in the house of Nazareth should be understood as a sharing in the work of Joseph. Having learned the work of his presumed father, he was known as “the carpenter’s son.” If the Family of Nazareth is an example and model for human families, in the order of salvation and holiness, so too, by analogy, is Jesus’ work at the side of Joseph the carpenter. In our own day, the Church has emphasized this by instituting the liturgical memorial of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1. Human work, and especially manual labor, receive special prominence in the Gospel. Along with the humanity of the Son of God, work too has been taken up in the mystery of the Incarnation, and has also been redeemed in a special way. At the workbench where he plied his trade together with Jesus, Joseph brought human work closer to the mystery of the Redemption.

Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Custos 22 – August 15, 1989

The more time that I spend meditating on the life and the work of St. Joseph the more I am coming to appreciate him as a role model. Over the past few years I have slowly been growing in devotion to him. And this is something I foresee continuing well into the future.



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