29 March 2015

Monday in Holy Week


Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at table with him. Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was to betray him), said, "Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it.  Jesus said, "Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial. The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me." When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came, not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus also to death, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.

- St. John 12:1-11
Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Sunday of the Passion


Almighty and everlasting God, who of thy tender love towards mankind hast sent thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

24 March 2015

"Let it be..."


At the Annunciation, God sent His messenger, the archangel Gabriel, to announce to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she would bear the Incarnate Son of God, and it would be Jesus who would take human flesh from her, to bring salvation into the world. When Mary heard these words, she was filled with awe and wonder, and she asked for clarification: “How can this be…?” When Gabriel told her that it would be by the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary responded by saying, “Let it be unto me according to thy word.”

That is an important phrase, “Let it be…” It takes us back to creation itself, when by the word of God, all things came into being.

In the beginning, God said “Let there be light,” and there was. God brought into being everything there was – by His word there came into being all of creation, including man himself. In fact, creation itself is the larger context for the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

As God spoke His creative word in the beginning, so today – at our remembrance of the beginning of the Incarnation – we call to mind Mary’s words, “Let it be…. Let it be unto me according to thy word.” The Virgin Mary’s words, “Let it be,” echo God’s words, “Let there be.” It is, in a way, the continuation of creation and the beginning of our salvation. God says, “Let there be…” and his word brings forth creation; Mary says, “Let it be,” and her words bring forth the Incarnate God into the world.

We beseech thee, O Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts, that we who have known the incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ, announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary, may by his cross and passion be brought unto the glory of his resurrection; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

23 March 2015

Holy Week and Easter Schedule

OUR LADY OF THE ATONEMENT CATHOLIC CHURCH

March 29th – SUNDAY OF THE PASSION (Palm Sunday)
Masses at 7:30 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. & 6:00 p.m. (Latin)
Blessing and Distribution of the Palms at all Masses

March 30th – MONDAY IN HOLY WEEK
Masses at 7:00 a.m. and 9:20 a.m.

March 31st – TUESDAY IN HOLY WEEK
Masses at 7:00 a.m. and 9:20 a.m.

April 1st – SPY WEDNESDAY
Masses at 7:00 a.m. and 9:20 a.m.
The Office of Tenebrae at 7:00 p.m.
(Confessions following, beginning approx. 8:40 p.m.)

April 2nd – MAUNDY THURSDAY
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at 9:20 a.m.
Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:00 p.m.
Followed by the Office of Tenebrae
and the All-Night Vigil in the Sacred Heart Chapel
(The Vigil will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Maundy Thursday,
and will end at 3:00 p.m. on Good Friday)
On Maundy Thursday evening there will be
child care available in the school building, 6:45 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

April 3rd – GOOD FRIDAY
Solemn Liturgy at 3:00 PM
Stations of the Cross and the Office of Tenebrae at 7:00 p.m.
On Good Friday there will be
child care available in the school building, 2:40 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

April 4th – HOLY SATURDAY
The Great Vigil of the Resurrection at 8:00 p.m.

April 5th – THE SUNDAY OF THE RESURRECTION
Masses at 7:30 a.m., 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.

On Easter Day there will be
child care available in the school building, 8:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

THERE WILL BE NO 6:00 P.M. MASS ON EASTER DAY

22 March 2015

St. Turibius of Mongrovejo


Together with St. Rose of Lima, St. Turibius is among the first of the known saints of the New World, serving the Lord in Peru, South America, for twenty-six years.

Born in Spain and educated for the law, he became so brilliant a scholar that he was made professor of law at the University of Salamanca and eventually became chief judge at Granada. He was a great success, but he was about to enter upon a surprising sequence of events.

When the archbishopric of Lima in Spain's Peruvian colony became vacant, it was decided that Turibius was the man needed to fill the post. It was generally agreed that he was the one person with the strength of character and holiness of spirit to heal the scandals that had infected that area.
Turibius cited all the canons that forbade giving laymen ecclesiastical dignities, but he was overruled. He was ordained priest and bishop and sent to Peru, where he found colonialism at its worst. The Spanish conquerors were guilty of every sort of oppression of the native population. Abuses among the clergy were wide-spread, and he devoted his energies (and his suffering) to this area first.

He began the long and arduous visitation of an immense archdiocese, studying the language, staying two or three days in each place, often with no place to sleep, and little or no food. He made his confession every morning to his chaplain, and he would then celebrate Mass with tremendous devotion. Among those to whom he gave the Sacrament of Confirmation was Saint Rose of Lima, and most likely Saint Martin de Porres. After 1590 he had the help of another great missionary, Saint Francis Solanus.

His people, although they were very poor, also had a sense of personal pride, and they were unwilling to accept public charity from others. Turibius solved the problem by helping them himself, anonymously.

When Turibius undertook the reform of the clergy, along with unjust officials, he encountered tremendous opposition. Some tried to "explain" God's law in such a way as to make it appear that God approved of their accustomed way of life. He answered them in the words of Tertullian, "Christ said, 'I am the truth'; he did not say, 'I am the custom."'

O Lord God, who art the light of the minds that know thee, the life of the souls that love thee, and the strength of the hearts that serve thee: Help us, following the example of thy servant St. Turibius, so to know thee that we may truly love thee, and so to love thee that we may fully serve thee, whom to serve is perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

21 March 2015

A new shrine...


The newest shrine at Our Lady of the Atonement Church contains a large icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and it will be dedicated as a place to pray especially for expectant mothers and unborn children, and also particularly for those babies in danger of being aborted.

It will carry the following inscription:

Beata Maria Virgo Guadalupensis,
Imperatrix Americarum, Praesidium Nondum Natorum.

The English translation is:

The Blessed Virgin Mary of Guadalupe,
Empress of the Americas, Protectress of the Unborn.

19 March 2015

St. Joseph, Just and Kind


We know little about the life of St. Joseph, and yet enough is known to reveal what his character was. What we do know of him for certain, we know from the Gospels, and it is there that we see him to be a man who was determined to do what is right in the sight of God, and to do it in a kindly way. He was betrothed to Mary, and according to Jewish practice, betrothal was as sacred as marriage. Because of that, any infidelity before the actual marriage was treated in the same way as infidelity after marriage: death by stoning was the punishment for such sin. By all human appearance, Joseph's beloved betrothed was in just such circumstances, and he had to act in the way that seemed best. He was a just man, but he was a kind man, too, and surely what Mary told him made a great demand on his faith. But that is the point: Joseph was, above all, a man of faith and completely obedient to the divine will of Almighty God. When it was revealed to him that Mary was to bear the Incarnate Son of God he took her to be his wife. There was no hesitation, no consideration of what others might think or how they might judge. It mattered little to him that it was assumed he was the human father of this Child – not that he would have encouraged others to believe such a thing, for he knew the truth – but it was better than having people think that Mary had shamefully conceived with someone else, and so Joseph took the responsibility, knowing one day the truth would be known, and that Truth "would make men free." It is in this very situation, brought about by God Himself, that Saint Joseph's justness and kindness are both revealed.

His justness is shown in that he was a devout servant of God, and he ordered his life according to the standard of that law which had been revealed to the Jewish nation. He sought to please God in all things, even when it meant that he would be misunderstood or even harshly judged by the world. And because justness does not exclude kindness, his response to the revelation that Mary had conceived by the Holy Spirit was one of deep gladness and joy, and so he took his place in God's plan without fear or hesitation. This place was not one of glory; rather, it was one of quiet reserve. Whether on the way to Bethlehem, or in the stable, or at the Child's circumcision on the eighth day, or in the Temple when He was presented, or in everyday life in Nazareth, Joseph simply was there. Loved and respected both by the Incarnate Son of God and by the Mother of God, he was a man of deep piety and gracious character.

Within Saint Paul's Cathedral in London is the tomb of its architect, and on that tomb are the words, "If ye seek his monument, look around you." How much more impressive are those words when they are used of Saint Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church. There could be no greater remembrance of Joseph's holy life, than that glorious Church founded by the Lord Jesus Christ, the foster-son of the quiet, just, kind man of God.


Blesséd Joseph, Guardian mild,
Who didst love the Holy Child,
Show thy love to us who pray,
Shield us from all harm this day:
Foster-father of the Word,
Keep us close to Christ our Lord.

Great Saint Joseph, Patron bold
Of the Church from days of old,
Give us courage strong and new,
To proclaim God’s Gospel true:
Foster-father of the Word,
Keep us close to Christ our Lord.

He Whom thou didst guide in youth,
We receive in very truth;
In this Sacrament of love,
We are one with thee above:
Foster-father of the Word,
Keep us one with Christ our Lord!

Text: Fr. Christopher G. Phillips 1992
Tune: “Bread of Heaven” by William D. Maclagan, 1875

18 March 2015

St. Cyril of Jerusalem


Cyril of Jerusalem loved to study the Holy Scriptures from the time he was a child, and he made such progress that he became known for his deep faith. He was eventually ordained priest by St. Maximus, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and he was given the work of preaching to the faithful and instructing those preparing for baptism. His Catechetical Instructions, which explain clearly and fully all the teaching of the Church, still exist today for us to read. His treatment of these subjects is so distinct and clear that he refuted not only the heresies of his own time, but also, by a kind of foreknowledge, he was able to expose heresies which would develop later. Upon the death of Patriarch St. Maximus, Cyril was chosen to be bishop in his place.

As bishop he endured many injustices and sufferings for the sake of the faith at the hands of the Arians. They could not bear his strenuous opposition to their heresy, and so they told lies about him, and drove him into exile. They were so violent against him that he fled to Tarsus in Cilicia, but eventually, with a new emperor and the death of many of his enemies, Cyril was able to return to Jerusalem, where he taught his people and led them away from false doctrine and from sin. If once wasn’t enough, he was driven into exile a second time under the Emperor Valens, but eventually peace returned to the Church, and the Arians were once again brought under control, so he was able to return again to Jerusalem. The earnestness and holiness with which he fulfilled the duties of being bishop were evident in the strength and holiness of the Church in Jerusalem.

Tradition states that God gave a sign of His divine blessing upon the spiritual leadership of Cyril by granting the apparition of a cross, brighter than the sun, which was seen by pagans and Christians alike. Another marvel happened when the Jews were commanded by the wicked Emperor Julian to restore the Temple which had been destroyed. They no sooner began the work when an earthquake happened and great balls of fire broke out of the earth and consumed the work, so that Julian and the Jews were terrified and gave up their plan. This had been clearly foretold by Cyril. He lived long enough to see the Arian heresy condemned, and he died as a beloved and holy bishop, eventually acknowledged to be a doctor of the Church.

Strengthen, O Lord, we beseech thee, the bishops of thy Church in their special calling to be teachers and ministers of the Sacraments, that they, like thy servant St. Cyril of Jerusalem, may effectively instruct thy people in Christian faith and practice; and that we, taught by them, may enter more fully into the celebration of the Paschal mystery; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

16 March 2015

St. Patrick


St. Patrick is known as the Apostle to Ireland. We’re not sure exactly where he was born, except that it was someplace in Britain. Some claim he was born in England, others say he was born in Scotland, and still others claim he was born in Wales. Wherever his birth took place, the year was about 385, and his parents were Romans, living in Britain, because his father was overseeing the Roman colonies in Britain.

When Patrick was fourteen or so, he was captured during a raid being carried out by Irish invaders, and he was taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. Ireland at this time was a land of Druids and pagans. During his time of captivity, he learned the language and practices of the people who held him, and even though he was among them as a slave, he began to love the Irish people.

Patrick's captivity lasted until he was twenty years old, and he then escaped, after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. When he reached the sea, he found some sailors who took him back to Britain, and he was reunited with his family.

The time came when he had another dream in which the people of Ireland were calling out to him, "We beg you, Patrick, to come and walk among us once more."

He began his studies for the priesthood, and he was eventually ordained. Subsequently Patrick was consecrated to the episcopacy, and was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland on March 25, 433, and he came upon a chieftain of one of the tribes, who tried to kill Patrick. Patrick converted this chieftain, and he then began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, converting many. He and his disciples preached and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country. Kings, their families, and entire kingdoms converted to Christianity when hearing Patrick's message.

St. Patrick preached throughout Ireland for 40 years, working many miracles and writing of his love for God in his “Confessions.” After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring great suffering, he died on March 17, 461.

Almighty God, who in thy providence didst choose thy servant Saint Patrick to be the apostle of the Irish people, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of thee: Grant us so to walk in that light that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

11 March 2015

"Miserere" by Gregorio Allegri

The Allegri "Miserere" is sung by the Honors Choir of The Atonement Academy.


It may be found also at this link.

10 March 2015

Stations: Plenary Indulgence


Each Friday afternoon during Lent we walk the Stations of the Cross with the students at 2:15 p.m., and each Friday evening in Lent at 7:00 p.m. we have Stations for the whole parish, in conjunction with Solemn Evensong and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. However, you may make the Stations privately any time, and there is a plenary indulgence attached to this devotion. For you to gain the indulgence, these are the conditions:

EXERCISE OF THE WAY OF THE CROSS
PLENARY INDULGENCE

From The Enchiridion of Indulgences, 1968

A Plenary indulgence is granted to those who piously make the Way of the Cross. The gaining of the indulgence is regulated by the following rules:

A. Must be done before stations of the cross legitimately erected.
B. 14 stations are required. Although it is customary for the icons to represent pictures or images, 14 simple crosses will suffice.
C. The common practice consists of fourteen pious readings to which some vocal prayers are added.. However, nothing more is required than a pious meditation on the Passion and Death of the Lord, which need not be a particular consideration of the individual mysteries of the stations.
D. A movement from one station to the next is required. But if the stations are made publicly and it is not possible for everyone taking part to go from station to station, it suffices if at least the one conducting the exercise goes from station to station, the others remaining in their places.
E. Those who are "impeded" can gain the same indulgence if they spend at least one half and hour in pious reading and meditation on the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ.
F. For those belonging to the Oriental rites, amongst whom this pious exercise is not practiced, the respective Patriarchs can determine some other pious exercise in memory of the Passion and Death for the gaining of this indulgence.

A plenary indulgence MUST be accompanied by the three prerequisites of a plenary indulgence:

1. Sacramental Confession,
2. Communion, and
3. Prayer for the intention of the Holy Father, all to be performed within days of each other if not at the same time.

The Faithful have been retracing these steps of our Lord Jesus Christ from the earliest days of the Church. While the number and names of the Stations have varied over the centuries, our present order for them eventually was fixed, and the indulgence was attached to the Stations erected in Churches and Oratories. It was no longer required actually to go to Jerusalem to gain the great blessings which flow from this devotion.

08 March 2015

St. Frances of Rome

Lest we forget that God's plan for us is always best, just look at the life of St. Frances of Rome. She was a child born into privilege in the latter part of the 14th century, with parents who had the means to give her a very comfortable life. Young Frances was keenly aware of society's poor around her, and she had the good desire to give herself to the alleviation of their suffering by entering religious life and dedicating herself to this mission. Her parents had other ideas, and apparently so did God.

A young nobleman was selected by her family, and Frances was expected to marry him. She threw herself into prayer, asking God to deliver her from what she saw as a terrible fate. In fact, she was so persistent in this that her confessor asked her a difficult but important question: "Frances, are you really praying to do God's Will, or are you trying to make God bend to your will?"

That simple question brought about a profound change in Frances. With some reluctance, she married the young nobleman, and to her surprise the marriage turned out to be very happy. They had three children, and she found that her husband was perfectly willing for her to carry out an apostolate to the poor. In fact, she discovered that her sister-in-law had the same desire to serve, and the two were able to work together and pray together, eventually inspiring others to join in their good works. The group of women became a quasi-religious community, and when Frances was widowed she was able to go and live with them, sharing a common life of work and prayer.

St. Frances also had the great comfort of being able to see her Guardian Angel, and she was careful in following the angelic guidance she received.

Frances came to realize that God had given her far more than she had asked for. She had a happy marriage, and she was able to fulfill her desire for religious life, too. That's the way it is with God. He always gives in abundance, albeit in unexpected ways. All we need to do is follow Him in love, and pray as our Lord Himself did, "...not my will, but Thine be done."

O God, who amidst the manifold gifts of thy grace didst endue thy blessed servant St. Frances of Rome with the familiar converse of an Angel: grant, we beseech thee; that at her intercession we may be found worthy to be admitted to the company of the Angels in thy heavenly kingdom; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

St. John of God


St. John of God was born at the end of the 15th century. He tended to be a very impulsive person, from the time he was a child. When he was prompted to do something, he usually stuck with it, no matter what – which is fine, if the prompting comes from God, but it can make life difficult if it’s something from your own imagination.

When he was only eight years old, John heard a someone talking about all the adventures there were out in the world, and so young John took it into his head to run away to seek his fortune. He never saw his parents again, but instead spent time on the road, begging his way from village to town, until he became very sick. A kind man and his family nursed him back to health, and John stayed with them, working as a shepherd until he was 27 years old. Feeling the urge to travel again, John joined the Spanish army, which was at that time in a war against France. As a soldier, he was hardly a model of holiness, taking part in the gambling, drinking, and the wild life along with his comrades. One day, he was thrown from a stolen horse near French lines. Frightened that he would be captured or killed, he reviewed his life and vowed impulsively to make a change.

He took on all sorts of physically hard work – unloading ship cargoes, building fortifications, anything he could find to earn a living. He would work hard all day, but then in the evening he would visit churches, and spend time reading spiritual books. Reading gave him so much pleasure that he decided that he should share this joy with others. He quit his job and became a book peddler, traveling from town to town selling religious books and holy cards. Finally, when he was 41 years old, he came to Granada where he sold books from a little shop.

After hearing a sermon on repentance, he was so overcome by the thought of his sins that the whole town thought he had gone crazy. After hearing the sermon John rushed back to his shop, tore up any secular books he had, gave away all his religious books and all his money. With his clothes torn and constantly crying, he was the target of insults, jokes, and even stones and mud from the townspeople and their children.

Some friends took him to a hospital for the insane. Eventually, the priest who had preached the sermon that had affected John so much, came to see him, and told him that he had gone on like this enough, so John was moved to a better part of the hospital, and where he was free to move about. Although still a patient, he began to help the other sick people around him. In fact, this experience made him decide to start his own hospital for the poor and those who had no one to care for them. He had no money for a building, so he went to the poor and homeless wherever they were – in abandoned buildings or under bridges – and he called those places his hospital. He continued to beg for money, and eventually found a very poor house which gave him a location where he could bring the sick and nurse them.

One day he heard that the hospital where he had been a patient was on fire. He immediately ran there and found that no one was doing anything. He entered the building and carried out the patients one by one, and then went back in to get as much of the contents as he could. As the fired burned more fiercely, he fell through the weakened timbers, and everyone thought he was dead – but almost miraculously, he walked out of the flames, unhurt.

John was ill himself when he heard that a flood was bringing precious driftwood near the town. He jumped out of bed to gather the wood from the raging river. Then when one of his companions fell into the river, John without thought for his illness or safety jumped in after him. He failed to save the boy and caught pneumonia. He died on March 8, his fifty-fifth birthday, of the same impulsive love that had guided his whole life.

John of God is patron saint of booksellers, printers, heart patients, hospitals, nurses, the sick, and firefighters and is considered the founder of the Brothers Hospitallers.

O God, by whose grace thy servant St. John of God, enkindled with the fire of thy love, became a burning and a shining light in thy Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and may ever walk before thee as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

07 March 2015

Signs and Wisdom


“The more things change, the more they stay the same,” or so the saying goes. St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (I Corinthians 1:22-25).

Certainly, one of the problems which reared its head among the first Christians in Corinth remains today in many places as a challenge to the Church: namely, the demand for “signs” and “wisdom.” With some people chasing indiscriminately after every seer and apparition, and others trying to find the ultimate enlightenment in the various movements and “isms” which pop up in our midst like weeds, the Christian must remember that there is but one sign and one wisdom: Jesus Christ, as He has revealed Himself to us through His Holy Catholic Church.

Ss. Perpetua and Felicity


With the lives of so many early martyrs shrouded in legend, we are fortunate to have the record of the courage of Perpetua and Felicity from the hand of Perpetua herself, her teacher Saturus, and others who knew them. This account, known as "The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity," was so popular in the early centuries that it was read during liturgies.

In the year 203, Vibia Perpetua made the decision to become a Christian, although she knew it could mean her death during Septimus' persecution. Her surviving brother (another brother had died when he was seven) followed her leadership and became a catechumen as well.

Her father was frantic with worry and tried to talk her out of her decision. We can easily understand his concern. At 22 years old, this well-educated, high-spirited woman had every reason to want to live -- including a baby son who was still nursing. We know she was married, but since her husband is never mentioned, many historians assume she was a widow.

Perpetua's answer was simple and clear. Pointing to a water jug, she asked her father, "See that pot lying there? Can you call it by any other name than what it is?" Her father answered, "Of course not." Perpetua responded, "Neither can I call myself by any other name than what I am -- a Christian."

This answer so upset her father that he attacked her. Perpetua reports that after that incident she was glad to be separated from him for a few days -- even though that separation was the result of her arrest and imprisonment. Perpetua was arrested with four other catechumens including two slaves, Felicity and Revocatus, along with Saturninus and Secundulus. Their catechist, Saturus, had already been imprisoned before them.

She was baptized before taken to prison. Perpetua was known for her gift of "the Lord's speech" and receiving messages from God. She tells us that at the time of her baptism she was told to pray for nothing but endurance in the face of her trials.

The prison was so crowded with people that the heat was suffocating. There was no light anywhere and Perpetua "had never known such darkness." The soldiers who arrested and guarded them pushed and shoved them without any concern. Perpetua had no trouble admitting she was very afraid, but in the midst of all this horror her most excruciating pain came from being separated from her baby.

The young slave, Felicity was even worse off, not only suffering from the stifling heat, overcrowding, and rough handling, but she was eight months pregnant.

Two deacons who ministered to the prisoners paid the guards so that the martyrs would be put in a better part of the prison. There her mother and brother were able to visit Perpetua and bring her baby to her. When she received permission for her baby to stay with her, she said "my prison suddenly became a palace for me." Once more her father came to her, begging her to give in, kissing her hands, and throwing himself at her feet. She told him, "We live not in our own power but in the power of God."

Meanwhile Felicity was also in torment. It was against the law for pregnant women to be executed. To kill a child in the womb was shedding innocent and sacred blood. Felicity was afraid that she would not give birth before the day set for their martyrdom and her companions would go on their journey without her. Her friends also didn't want to leave so "good a comrade" behind.

Two days before the execution, Felicity went into a painful labor. The guards made fun of her, insulting her by saying, "If you think you suffer now, how will you stand it when you face the wild beasts?" Felicity answered them calmly, "Now I'm the one who is suffering, but in the arena there will be Another with me, suffering for me, because I will be suffering for him." She gave birth to a healthy girl who was adopted and raised by one of the Christian women of Carthage.

There was a feast the day before the games so that the crowd could see the martyrs and make fun of them. But the martyrs turned this all around by laughing at the crowd for not being Christians and exhorting them to follow their example.

The four new Christians and their teacher went to the arena (the fifth, Secundulus, had died in prison) with joy and calm. Perpetua in usual high spirits met the eyes of everyone along the way. We are told she walked with "shining steps as the true spouse of Christ, the darling of God."

When those at the arena tried to force Perpetua and the rest to dress in robes dedicated to their gods, Perpetua challenged her executioners. "We came to die out of our own free will so we wouldn't lose our freedom to worship our God. We gave you our lives so that we wouldn't have to worship your gods." She and the others were allowed to keep their clothes.

The men were attacked by bears, leopards, and wild boars. The women were stripped to face a rabid heifer. When the crowd, however, saw the two young women, one of whom had obviously just given birth, they were horrified and the women were removed and clothed again. Perpetua and Felicity were thrown back into the arena so roughly that they were bruised and hurt. Perpetua, though confused and distracted, still was thinking of others and went to help Felicity up. The two of them stood side by side as all five martyrs had their throats cut.

Perpetua's last words were to her brother: "Stand fast in the faith and love one another."

O God the King of Saints, who didst strengthen thy martyrs St. Perpetua and St. Felicity to make a good confession, staunchly resisting, for the cause of Christ, the claims of human affection, and encouraging one another in their time of trial: Grant that we who cherish their blessed memory may share their pure and steadfast faith, and win with them the palm of victory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

06 March 2015

The Death of St. Thomas Aquinas


Although we celebrate the feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas on January 28th, the day of his death was on 7 March 1274. As the end drew near, extreme unction was administered. When the Sacred Viaticum was brought into the room he pronounced the following act of faith:
If in this world there be any knowledge of this sacrament stronger than that of faith, I wish now to use it in affirming that I firmly believe and know as certain that Jesus Christ, True God and True Man, Son of God and Son of the Virgin Mary, is in this Sacrament . . . I receive Thee, the price of my redemption, for Whose love I have watched, studied, and laboured. Thee have I preached; Thee have I taught. Never have I said anything against Thee: if anything was not well said, that is to be attributed to my ignorance. Neither do I wish to be obstinate in my opinions, but if I have written anything erroneous concerning this sacrament or other matters, I submit all to the judgment and correction of the Holy Roman Church, in whose obedience I now pass from this life.

03 March 2015

St. Casimir, Confessor


St. Casimir known to the people of Poland as "The Peace-maker," was the third of the thirteen children of Casimir IV, King of Poland. Casimir was devout from the time he was a little child, and was known for his life dedicated to prayer and penance. Although he was part of the royal family, he often made his bed on the ground, and he would spend lots of the night in prayer and meditation, especially on the passion of Christ. He always wore very plain clothing, and under them he wore a hairshirt. Because he lived constantly in the presence of God, he always seemed serene and cheerful, and pleasant to everybody. He had a tremendous love of the poor, whom he saw as members of Christ's body, and he was known for giving his possessions away to relive the suffering of the poor. Throughout his life he had a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and he would often recite a long and beautiful hymn to the Virgin Mother – a hymn we know in English as "Daily, daily sing to Mary."

There came the time when the noblemen of neighboring Hungary became dissatisfied with their king.  In 1471 they went to King Casimir of Poland, the father of St. Casimir, to allow them to place young Casimir on the throne. At that time, Casimir hadn’t yet turned fifteen years old, and he really wanted no part of the plan, but in obedience to his father he set out towards Hungary at the head of an army. As they got closer, Casimir’s soldiers heard that the King of Hungary had assembled a large and strong army, and so Casimir’s army began to desert and go back home. Casimir had been given no money by his father or the Hungarian noblemen, so he wasn’t able to pay his soldiers to stay. It became obvious that Casimir wasn’t going to be able to march into Hungary with any kind of an army at all, so on the advice of his officers, he decided to return home to Poland. King Casimir was very angry with his son Casimir. He had wanted to see his son on the throne of Hungary, because that meant he could control that country, as well as be King of Poland. As young Casimir got closer to home, his father had troops meet him, and instead of allowing the young boy to go to his family in Cracow, instead his father imprisoned him in a dark, musty castle. Young Casimir accepted that with great patience, and let his father know that he would stay in the castle dungeon forever, before he would ever take up arms again. His father finally released him, and Casimir returned to his life of study and prayer, but his life of penance and his time in the dungeon, meant that he developed a disease of the lungs, and he died when he was only twenty-six years old. He was buried at the Church of St. Stanislaus in Vilna. Many miracles were reported at his tomb, and he was canonized in 1521.

O God, who, amidst the pleasures of a temporal kingdom, didst endue thy blessed Saint Casimir with constancy to resist all temptations: grant, we beseech thee; that, by his intercession, thy faithful people may learn to despise all things earthly, and to seek earnestly after all things heavenly; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

02 March 2015

St. Katharine Drexel


Katharine Drexel was born in Philadelphia in 1858, into a very wealthy and prominent family, which meant that she had an excellent education and traveled widely. As a rich girl, she had a grand debut into society. But her life was radically changed when she nursed her stepmother through a three-year terminal illness, and she saw that all the Drexel money could not buy safety from pain or death.

She had read a book about the plight of the American Indians, and how difficult their lives were. Once, when she was on a tour of Europe, she met Pope Leo XIII and she asked him to send more missionaries to Wyoming, where a family friend was the bishop. The pope said to her, "Why don't you become a missionary?" His answer shocked her into considering new possibilities.

When she returned to America, she visited the Dakota Indian tribe, met the Sioux leader Red Cloud and began her systematic aid to Native American missions.

She could easily have married. But after much discussion with Bishop O'Connor, she wrote in 1889, "The feast of Saint Joseph brought me the grace to give the remainder of my life to the Indians and the Colored." Newspaper headlines screamed "Heiress gives Up Her Millions!"

After three and a half years of training, she and her first band of nuns (Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament) opened a boarding school in Santa Fe. A string of foundations followed. By 1942 she had a system of African American Catholic schools in thirteen states, plus forty mission centers and twenty-three rural schools. Segregationists harassed her work, even burning a school in Pennsylvania. In all, she established fifty missions for Native Americans in sixteen states.

Two saints met when she was advised by Mother Cabrini about the "politics" of getting her order's rule approved in Rome. Her crowning achievement was the founding of Xavier University in New Orleans, the first university in the United States for African Americans.

At seventy-seven, she suffered a heart attack and was forced to retire. Apparently her life was over. But now came almost twenty years of quiet, intense prayer from a small room overlooking the sanctuary. Small notebooks and slips of paper record her various prayers, ceaseless aspirations and meditation. She died at ninety-six and was canonized in 2000.
- from various sources

O Almighty God, who hast compassed us about with so great a cloud of witnesses: Grant that we, encouraged by the good example of thy servant St. Katharine Drexel, may persevere in running the race that is set before us, until at length, through thy mercy, we may with her attain to thine eternal joy; through Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

28 February 2015

Behold our Lord transfigured...


The Gospel reading on the Second Sunday in Lent is the account of our Lord’s transfiguration. The contrast between the sobriety of the season and the splendor of the event makes for a powerful statement.

At the time of the transfiguration St. Peter wanted to build a tabernacle, a permanent dwelling place. He wanted to “capture the moment,” so to speak. By itself, that desire was not wrong; it simply was not the time. There was still work to be done, still truth to be learned. The opportunity would afford itself later, after the passion and death, after the resurrection and ascension of Christ. It would be later, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles. It would be then that Peter would have the task, along with the other Apostles.

This would be the tabernacle which needed to be built: the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ.  It would not be built far off on a mountain-top, but it would be a tabernacle in the midst of the world, allowing everyone to worship the One who lives within it.


Behold our Lord transfigured,
In Sacrament Divine;
His glory deeply hidden,
'Neath forms of Bread and Wine.
Our eyes of faith behold Him,
Salvation is outpoured;
The Saviour dwells among us,
by ev'ry heart adored.

No longer on the mountain
With Peter, James and John,
Our precious Saviour bids us
To walk where saints have gone.
He has no lasting dwelling,
Save in the hearts of men;
He feeds us with His Body,
To make us whole again.

With Moses and Elijah,
We worship Christ our King;
Lord, make our souls transfigured,
Let us with angels sing.
Lead us in paths of glory,
Give tongues to sing thy praise;
Lord Jesus, keep us faithful,
Now and for all our days.

Text: Fr. Christopher G. Phillips, 1990
Music: "Ewing" by Alexander C. Ewing, 1853

27 February 2015

A Prayer to Grow in Goodness


May I be no man's enemy, and may I be the friend of that which is eternal and abides.
May I never quarrel with those nearest me: and if I do, may I be reconciled quickly.
May I love, seek, and attain only that which is good.
May I wish for all men's happiness and envy none.
May I never rejoice in the ill-fortune of one who has wronged me.
When I have done or said what is wrong, may I never wait for the rebuke of others, but always rebuke myself until I make amends.
May I win no victory that harms either me or my opponent.
May I reconcile friends who are angry with one another.
May I never fail a friend who is in danger.
When visiting those in grief may I be able by gentle and healing words to soften their pain.
May I respect myself.
May I always keep tame that which rages within me.
May I accustom myself to be gentle, and never be angry with people because of circumstances.
May I never discuss who is wicked and what wicked things he has done, but know good men and follow in their footsteps.

- Eusebius of Caesarea, 263-339

26 February 2015

Learning discipline...


“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”  - Hebrews 12:11

I have to admit, as a parent I didn’t always find it easy to discipline my children. No matter how much they seemed to deserve it, I never took pleasure in administering punishment. The old cliché is true: “This will hurt me more than it hurts you…” I never believed it when my father said it, but when I became a father I knew what he meant.

The loving parent knows how important discipline is for the future well-being of a child. It teaches right from wrong. It assigns responsibility and illustrates the inevitability of there being consequences which follow actions. If this is true in our own immediate families, it’s true also in God’s family. It’s true that our own need for discipline saddens the heart of our heavenly Father. And yet, it’s for our eternal good. It helps us to grow in holiness and righteousness.

Therefore, when difficulties present themselves, or when our prayers aren’t answered in the way we think they should have been answered, or when we’re directed in ways which we wouldn’t choose by ourselves, remember this: these things are allowed by our Father who loves us with a depth that is beyond our understanding.

25 February 2015

God at the center...


Living in the grace of God involves a cost. There was a cost felt by the first disciples of Jesus when they left everything to follow Him. As they did this, so each person called to be a disciple must be willing to give up something in the short term in order to receive the Gospel and to live by it.

A willingness to sacrifice doesn't mean that we cannot attempt to improve our lives and the lives of our children. But we do need to be cautioned against letting our lives slip so out of focus that we lose sight of the fact that God Incarnate must be the true center of our lives. To improve one's state in life is good, but not at a cost to others. To be centered on material well-being and security, and not on Jesus Christ, is empty. It is so easy to make idols of things. Remember: it’s not our outward appearance, it’s not the position we have in life, it's not the home we live in, or the job we have, that enables our success in God's kingdom. It’s not the possessions we gather about ourselves that give us personal security. Rather, it’s what happens to us on the inside – our on-going conversion to Jesus Christ.

Jesus came to proclaim the good news that He is God with us. He came to us through the Virgin Mary, and He remains with us in the Most Holy Sacrament. But we have to do our part, and this is our part of the covenant we have with God: to allow Him to be the center of our lives.

A Concert of Chamber Music


Monte Vista Strings

Join us on
Sunday, 1 March 2015 at 4 o'clock in the afternoon
for a program of chamber music
at Our Lady of the Atonement Church.

It will include music by
Johannes Brahms, Felix Mendelssohn, and others,
performed by
Andrew Small (violin), Lachezar Kostov (cello), and Viktor Balkov (piano).

24 February 2015

Pater noster...



Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.


It was an ordinary practice for a rabbi to teach his disciples a simple prayer which they could use on a regular basis, and it would be a prayer that encapsulated the teaching they had imparted to their followers. The prayer Jesus gives to his apostles teaches everything necessary to know about how to pray, and for what to pray.

It begins by addressing God as Father, indicating to us that in prayer we are not coming to someone out from whom we must try and extract gifts, but to a Father who takes delight in supplying His children's needs.

In Hebrew thought the idea of “name” means more than just the name by which a person is called. The name means the whole character of the person as it is revealed and known to us, and this is why Jesus teaches that God’s Name is a holy name. Psalm 9:10 says, "Those who know thy name put their trust in thee." To know the name of God is to know the whole character and mind and heart of God, and makes us willingly put our trust in Him.

The order of the Lord's Prayer is important. Before we ask anything for ourselves, the first order of business is that of God and His glory, and the reverence which is due to Him. Only when we give God His proper place will other things fall into proper order.

Notice how this prayer covers everything in life. It covers our present need, in that it tells us to pray for our daily bread, and indeed it is bread for the day for which we ask, providing a link to the story of the manna in the wilderness (Exodus 16:11-21). Only enough for the needs of the day could be gathered. We are not to worry about the unknown future, but to live a day at a time, which is a reminder of our dependence on God.

The prayer refers to our sin. When we pray, all we can really do is pray for forgiveness, because even the best among us is a sinful man coming before the purity of God. And as we seek forgiveness, so we need to give forgiveness.

It covers future trials, asking that we not be brought to them. “Temptation” means any situation in which we are tested. It includes far more than seduction to sin. It covers every situation which is a challenge to us, and which tests a person's humanity and integrity and fidelity. We cannot escape it, but we can meet it with God. People have asked, “Why would God lead us into temptation?” That’s not really a helpful translation, because the Greek is really more like “Let us not be led into temptation.” In other words, in this prayer we are asking God to protect us from giving into temptation.

The Lord's Prayer is a public prayer of the Church, with its proper place in the liturgy. But it also is a private prayer, which stirs up all manner of holy desires which lead us on into right ways, while at the same time it sums up all we ought to pray for in the presence of God.

23 February 2015

Scrupulosity


One of the joys of priestly ministry is hearing confessions. To be able to say “I absolve you…” to someone who has made a good examination of conscience and a sincere confession is a great privilege. The time I spend in the confessional seems to me to be among the most spiritually productive hours of my week.

I’m sure it’s the experience of every priest, from time to time, to have the difficult task of trying to guide a person who is tortured with the burden of scrupulosity. I haven’t found it to be a common problem by any means, but I come across it often enough to want to mention it here. Of course, the more common task for the confessor is to help people make a complete confession, to assist them in getting away from telling what their spouse or children did and get down to their own sins. But for the person suffering from scrupulosity there is a constant fear that almost everything is, or leads to, sin. Scrupulosity has been called “the doubting disease” because the sufferer lives in constant fear that he has perhaps forgotten to confess something, or that an impure thought might flash through his mind, or that his contrition is insufficient.

Often I have recommended an excellent and helpful article by Mark Lowery entitled “Scrupulosity: The Occupational Hazard of the Catholic Moral Life”, and I certainly recommend it to anyone who thinks he may have tendencies toward scrupulosity. In fact, it would be helpful to every Catholic who seeks that holiness which is in accordance with the divine will of Christ.

A Lesson in Charity


A lawyer stood up to put Jesus to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read?" And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." And he said to him, "You have answered right; do this, and you will live." But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed mercy on him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise." - Luke 10:25-37

Although it’s a parable being told by our Lord, everyone who heard his response to the young lawyer’s question, “Who is my neighbor,” knew exactly the stretch of road which Jesus was describing. The journey from Jerusalem to Jericho was on a narrow, rocky road. There were outcrops of rock and sudden turns, which made it a favorite place for thieves to hide. In the fifth century, St. Jerome tells us that it was still called "The Bloody Way." Even in the 19th century it was still necessary to pay safety money to the local sheiks before one could travel on it. When Jesus told this story, he was telling about the kind of thing that was constantly happening on the Jerusalem to Jericho road.

And we look at the characters in the story:

There was the traveler, who must have been reckless and not very prudent. People seldom attempted the Jerusalem to Jericho road alone. There would be some safety in numbers, so they travelled in convoys or caravans. This man, however, had set out by himself, so he really had no one but himself to blame for the predicament in which he found himself.

There was the temple priest, who hurried past. He knew full well that if anyone touched a dead man, he was unclean for seven days, according to Jewish law. He couldn’t be sure, but it looked to him as though the man was dead, so to touch him would mean losing his turn of duty in the Temple, and he didn’t want to take that risk.

The Levite was fairly worldly-wise. He knew that the bandits on this road were in the habit of using decoys. One of them would act as though he were wounded, and when some unsuspecting traveler stopped to help, the others would rush in and overpower him. He wasn’t going to fall for that trick.

Then there was the Samaritan. Given the feelings of the Jews towards the Samaritans – a race of people who claimed Jewish roots, but who were half-breeds and so worse than Gentiles – there was no doubt in the minds of those hearing this parable that the real villain of the story had arrived.

But what a surprise! He was the only one prepared to help. He may have been a heretic and an enemy as far as the Jews were concerned, but the love of God was obviously in his heart.

So the young lawyer poses the question, “Who is my neighbor,” and Jesus asks him what is written in the law. And He expands it into a second question: "How do you read?" Why did Jesus ask it in that way? Strict orthodox Jews wore round their wrists little leather boxes called phylacteries, which contained certain passages of scripture, having to do with the love of God. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength.” So Jesus was saying to the scribe, "Look at the phylactery on your own wrist and it will answer your question." To that scripture, the scribes had added Leviticus 19:18, which teaches that a man should love his neighbor as himself. But this wasn’t enough for the strict Jew. With their absolute passion for defining things, the Rabbis tried to define who a man's neighbor was; and very often they confined the word “neighbor” to apply only to their fellow Jews. For instance, some of them said that it was illegal to help a Gentile woman at the time of childbirth, because that would only be bringing another Gentile into the world. So then, we can see that the scribe's question, "Who is my neighbor?" was an important one.

So we have some important points here:

First, we must help a person, even when he has brought his trouble on himself, as this traveler had done.

Second, any person who is in need is our neighbor. Our help doesn’t stop with our own people, with our own kind. Our charity must be as wide as the love of God.

Third, the help we give must be practical and not consist only in feeling sorry. Compassion, to be real, has to show itself in deeds. This is part of what St. James means when he says: “faith without works is dead.”

And what Jesus said to the scribe, he says to us – “Go and do the same."

22 February 2015

St. Polycarp of Smyrna


Imagine being able to sit at the feet of the apostles and hear stories of life with Jesus from their own lips. That was what Polycarp was able to do as a disciple of Saint John the Evangelist. But being part of the second generation of Church leaders had challenges that the first generation had not known. With the apostles gone, heresies sprang up pretending to be true teaching, persecution was strong, and controversies arose.

Polycarp, as a holy man and bishop of Smyrna, found there was only one answer -- to be true to the life of Jesus and to imitate that life. As Jesus often responsed strongly to the Pharisees, so Polycarp, when confronted by a heretic who demanded respect by saying, "Recognize us, Polycarp," was told by Polycarp, "I recognize you, yes, I recognize the son of Satan."

Polycarp faced persecution the way Christ did. He didn’t seek out martyrdom as some did, but he avoided it until it was God's will. One day, during a bloody martyrdom when Christians were attacked by wild animals in the arena, the crowd became so mad that they demanded more blood by crying, "Down with the atheists; let Polycarp be found." (They considered Christians "atheists" because they didn't believe in their pantheon of gods).

Polycarp was calm but others persuaded him to leave the city and hide at a nearby farm. He spent his time in prayer for people he knew and for the Church. During his prayer he saw a vision of his pillow turned to fire and announced to his friends that the dream meant he would be burned alive.

As the search closed in, he moved to another farm, but he was discovered. He had a little warning since he was upstairs in the house but he decided to stay, saying, "God's will be done."

Then he went downstairs, talked to his captors and fed them a meal. All he asked of them was that they give him an hour to pray. He spent two hours praying for everyone he had every known and for the Church, "remembering all who had at any time come his way -- small folk and great folk, distinguished and undistinguished, and the whole Catholic Church throughout the world." Many of his captors started to wonder why they were arresting this holy, eighty-six-year-old bishop.

But that didn't stop them from taking him into the arena. As he entered the arena, the crowd roared, rather like the animals they cheered. Those around Polycarp heard a voice from heaven above the crowd, "Be brave, Polycarp, and act like a man."

The proconsul begged the old bishop to give in because of his age. "Say 'Away with the atheists'" the proconsul urged. Polycarp calmly turned to face the crowd, looked straight at them, and said, "Away with the atheists." The proconsul continued to plead with him. When he asked Polycarp to swear by Caesar to save himself, Polycarp answered, "If you imagine that I will swear by Caesar, you do not know who I am. Let me tell you plainly, I am a Christian." Finally, when all else failed the proconsul reminded Polycarp that he would be thrown to the wild animals unless he changed his mind. Polycarp answered, "Change of mind from better to worse is not a change allowed to us."

Because of Polycarp's lack of fear, the proconsul told him he would be burned alive, but Polycarp knew that a fire which burned only for an hour was far preferable to the flames of eternal fire.

When he was tied up to be burned, Polycarp prayed. The fire was lit and then the eyewitnesses who reported said they saw a miracle. The fire burst up in an arch around Polycarp, the flames surrounding him like sails, and instead of being burned he seemed to glow like bread baking, or gold being melted in a furnace. When the captors saw he wasn't being burned, they stabbed him. The blood that flowed put the fire out.

The proconsul wouldn't let the Christians have the body because he was afraid they would worship Polycarp. The witnesses reported this with scorn for the lack of understanding of Christian faith: "They did not know that we can never abandon the innocent Christ who suffered on behalf of sinners for the salvation of those in this world." After the body was burned, they took away the bones in order to celebrate the memory of his martyrdom and prepare others for persecution. The date was about February 23, 156.

O God, the maker of heaven and earth, who didst give to thy venerable servant, the holy and gentle St. Polycarp, boldness to confess Jesus Christ as King and Saviour, and steadfastness to die for his faith: Give us grace, after his example, to share the cup of Christ and rise to eternal life; through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Transforming the desert...


How magnificently God transforms things, bringing order out of chaos, sense out of confusion. Christ went into the wilderness for forty days, and during that time He underwent terrible trials and met even Satan himself. But for those of us who follow Christ, the Lenten wilderness has been transformed. Instead of Satan, we meet Christ; instead of trials, we have at our disposal every means of spiritual help. The redemptive work of Jesus Christ takes place even in the desert, as He transforms a place of desolation into a time of consolation, all out of love for us. Because of that love, we can know that every sorrow will be turned to joy, and every dark moment will, eventually, be flooded with the Light of Christ.

21 February 2015

The Chair of St. Peter


Enshrined in the beautiful Bernini reliquary in St. Peter’s Basilica is a chair which was known in the sixth century, parts of which date to the earliest years of the Christian faith. This is the famous Chair of St. Peter, of which the feast is celebrated each year on February 22nd.

Why would the entire Catholic world celebrate a feast in honor of a chair? Surely it must be for a better reason than that an apostle sat on it. As interesting as that is, the reason is much greater than that alone. This Chair is the concrete symbol to us of the authority and primacy of St. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, the one to whom our Lord entrusted the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, and who was called the Rock on which Christ would build His Church.

The fragments of the Chair (cathedra) of St. Peter are venerated because it was from that very place that the first Pope, the Vicar of Christ, imparted the truth which had been entrusted to him by our Lord Himself, and which has been passed on in its entirety throughout the centuries, and which will continue until Christ returns in glory. The Chair of St. Peter is a reminder to us that we are not members of some man-made religion, but that we are part of the one true Church, founded by Christ upon the Rock which endures.

“…On [Peter] He builds the Church, and to him He gives the command to feed the sheep; and although He assigned a like power to all the Apostles, yet he founded a single Chair, and He established by His own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was; but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one Chair. So too, all are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the Apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?"

- St. Cyprian of Carthage, c.251 AD

Almighty Father, who didst inspire Simon Peter, first among the apostles, to confess Jesus as Messiah and Son of the living God: Keep thy Church steadfast upon the rock of this faith, that in unity and peace we may proclaim the one truth and follow the one Lord, our Saviour Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Stations of the Cross

PREPARATION – Jesus is betrayed

In the Name + of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen

THE READING: (St. Mark 14:26, 32, 45; St. Luke 22:41-42; St. John 18:12-13)

They went out into the Mount of Olives.  And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane.  And Jesus was withdrawn from the disciples about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine be done...  As soon as Judas was come, he goeth straightway to Jesus, and saith, Master, Master: and kissed him.  Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, and led him away.

Let us pray.  Assist us mercifully with thy help, O Lord God of our salvation, that we may enter with joy upon the meditation of those mighty acts, whereby thou hast given unto us life and immortality; through Jesus Christ our Lord (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name; Thy kingdom come, thy Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven:
R.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

V.   Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus:
R.   Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

V.  Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost:
R.  As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

V.  Have mercy upon us, O Lord.
R.  Have mercy upon us.

V.  May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R.  Amen.

Sing my tongue the glorious battle
Sing the winning of the fray:
Now above the cross, the trophy,
Sound the high triumphal lay:
Tell how Christ, the world's Redeemer,
As a Victim won the day.




The First Station - Jesus is Condemned to Death

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. Mark 14:61, 64)

The high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?  And Jesus said, I am...  And then all condemned him to be guilty of death.

V.  Oh my people, what have I done unto thee, or wherein have I wearied thee?  Testify against me.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray: Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy, but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified; Mercifully grant that we, walking the Way of the Cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Faithful Cross! above all other,
One and only noble tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom
None in fruit thy peer may be:
Sweetest wood, and sweetest iron!
Sweetest weight is hung on thee.



The Second Station - Jesus Receives the Cross

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. John 19:14, 17)

Pilate saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!  But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him.  Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King?  The chief priest answered, We have no king but Caesar.  Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified.  And they took Jesus and led him away.  And he bearing his cross went forth...

V.  Because I brought thee forth from the land of Egypt, thou hast prepared a cross for thy Savior.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  O God, who by the passion of thy blessed Son didst make an instrument of shameful death to be unto us the means of life: Grant us to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ  (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Sing my tongue the glorious battle
Sing the winning of the fray:
Now above the cross, the trophy,
Sound the high triumphal lay:
Tell how Christ, the world's Redeemer,
As a Victim won the day.



The Third Station - Jesus Falls the First Time

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. John 15:18-20)

Jesus said to his disciples: If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hated you.  Remember the word that I said unto you:  The servant is not greater than his lord.  If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you.

V.  Because I led thee through the desert forty years, and fed thee with manna, and brought thee into a land exceeding good: thou hast prepared a cross for thy Savior.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  Almighty God, who hast given thy Son to be unto us both a sacrifice for sin and also an example of godly life: Give us grace that we may always most thankfully receive that inestimable benefit, and also daily endeavor ourselves to follow the blessed steps of his most holy life; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

God in pity saw man fallen,
Shamed and sunk in misery,
When he fell on death by tasting
 Fruit of the forbidden tree:
That another Tree was chosen
Which the world from death would free.



The Fourth Station - Jesus Meets His Blessed Mother

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. John 19:25-27)

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!  Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother!  And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

V.  What more could I have done unto thee that I have not done?  I indeed did plant thee, O my vineyard, with exceeding fair fruit: and thou art become very bitter unto me.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  O God, the King of Saints, we praise and magnify thy holy Name for all thy servants who have finished their course in thy faith and fear; for the Blessed Virgin Mary; for the holy patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs; and for all thy other righteous servants, known to us and unknown; and we beseech thee that, encouraged by their examples, aided by their prayers, and strengthened by their fellowship, we also may be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; through the merits of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Faithful Cross! above all other,
One and only noble tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom
None in fruit thy peer may be:
Sweetest wood, and sweetest iron!
Sweetest weight is hung on thee.



The Fifth Station - The Cross is Laid Upon Simon of Cyrene

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. Mark 15:16, 20-22)

The soldiers...led him out to crucify him.  And they compel one Simon, a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.  And they bring him unto a place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of the skull.

V.  I did scourge Egypt with her first-born for thy sake, and thou hast scourged me and delivered me up.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  Almighty God, whose beloved Son willingly endured the agony and shame of the cross for our redemption; Give us courage, we beseech thee, to take up our cross and follow him, even Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Thus the scheme of our salvation
Was of old in order laid,
That the manifold deceiver's
Art by Art might be outweighed;
And the lure the foe put forward
Into means of healing made.



The Sixth Station - Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. Matthew 24:8, 9, 30, 40-41)

Jesus said unto his disciples, All these are the beginning of sorrows, Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted and shall kill you; and ye shall be hated of all nations for my Name's sake.  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven... and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

V.  I led thee forth out of Egypt, drowning Pharoah in the Read Sea, and thou hast delivered me up to the chief priests.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  O God, whose days are without end, and whose mercies cannot be numbered; Make us, we beseech thee, deeply sensible of the shortness and uncertainty of human life; and let thy Holy Spirit lead us in holiness and righteousness all our days: that, when we shall have served thee in our generation, we may be gathered unto our fathers, having the testimony of a good conscience; in the communion of the Catholic Church; in the confidence of a certain faith; in the comfort of a reasonable, religious and holy hope; in favor with thee our God, and in perfect charity with the world; all of which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Therefore when th' appointed fullness
Of the holy time was come,
He was sent, who maketh all things,
Forth from God's eternal home;
Thus he came to earth, incarnate,
Offspring of the Virgin's womb.



The Seventh Station - Jesus Falls the Second Time

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (Isaiah 53:3, 5-6)

He is despised and rejected of men: a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: and with his stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way: and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

V.  I did open the sea before thee: and thou hast opened my side with a spear.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  O Lord Jesus Christ, who by thy death didst take away the sting of death: Grant unto us thy servants so to follow in faith where thou hast led the way, that we may at length fall asleep peacefully in thee, and awake up after thy likeness; for thy tender mercies' sake (who livest and reignest with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Faithful Cross! above all other,
One and only noble tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom
None in fruit thy peer may be:
Sweetest wood, and sweetest iron!
Sweetest weight is hung on thee.



The Eighth Station - Jesus Greets the Holy Women

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. Luke 23:27-28, 31)

There followed him a great company of people, and of women which bewailed and lamented him.  But Jesus, turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.  For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

V.  I did go before thee in the pillar of cloud, and thou hast led me unto the judgment hall of Pilate.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Thirty years he dwelt among us,
His appointed time fulfilled;
Born for this he met his passion,
This the Savior freely willed:
On the cross the Lamb was lifted,
Where his Precious Blood was spilled.



The Ninth Station - Jesus Falls a Third Time

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (Hebrews 10:10, 19-23)

We are sanctified through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all.  Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the Blood of Jesus, by a new and living way... that is to say, his Flesh; and having an high priest over the House of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering.

V.  I did feed thee with manna in the desert, and thou hast stricken me with blows and scourges.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  O Lord Jesus Christ, who in a wonderful Sacrament hast left unto us a memorial of thy precious death and passion; Grant us so to venerate the sacred mysteries of thy Body and Blood, that we may ever perceive within ourselves the fruits of thy redemption  (who livest and reignest with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

He endured the nails, the spitting,
Vinegar, and spear, and reed;
From that holy Body broken
Blood and water forth proceed:
Earth and stars and sky and ocean
By that flood from stain are freed.



The Tenth Station - Jesus is Stripped of His Raiment

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (Hebrews 10:10, 19-23)

They gave Jesus vinegar to drink mingled with gall; and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.  And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.

V.  I did give thee to drink the water of life from the rock: and thou hast given me to drink but gall and vinegar.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  O Lord God, whose blessed Son our Saviour gave his back to the smiters and hid not his face from shame; Grant us grace to take joyfully the sufferings of the present time, in full assurance of the glory that shall be revealed; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord,  (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.


Faithful Cross! above all other,
One and only noble tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom
None in fruit thy peer may be:
Sweetest wood, and sweetest iron!
Sweetest weight is hung on thee.



The Eleventh Station - Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. Luke 23:33-34; St. John 19:19)

When they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.  Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do...  And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross.  And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.

V.  I did smite the kings of the Canaanites for thy sake, and thou hast smitten my head with a reed.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the Cross, that he might draw the whole world unto himself; Mercifully grant that we, who glory in the mystery of our redemption, may have grace to take up our cross and follow him (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Bend thy boughs, O tree of glory!
Thy relaxing sinews bend;
For a while the ancient rigor
That thy birth bestowed, suspend;
And the King of heavenly beauty
On thy bosom gently tend!



                               The Twelfth Station - Jesus Dies on the Cross

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. Matthew 27:45-46; St. John 19:28, 30)

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.  And about the ninth hour, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.  (kneel)

V.  I did give thee a royal scepter, and thou hast given unto my head a crown of thorns.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  Almighty God, we beseech thee graciously to behold this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus  Christ was contented to be betrayed, and given up into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the cross (who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.  (rise)

Thou alone wast counted worthy
This world's Ransom to uphold,
For a shipwrecked race preparing
Harbor, like the Ark of old,
With the Sacred Blood anointed
From the smitten Lamb that rolled.



 The Thirteenth Station - Jesus is Taken Down From the Cross

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. John 19:33-34, 38)

When the soldiers came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.  After this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave.  He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.

V.  I did raise thee on high with great powers, and thou hast hanged me on the gibbet of the cross.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  Almighty and everlasting God, who of they tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility; Mercifully grant that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Faithful Cross! above all other,
One and only noble tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom
None in fruit thy peer may be:
Sweetest wood, and sweetest iron!
Sweetest weight is hung on thee.



 The Fourteenth Station - Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. John 19:40-42)

Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.  Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre wherein never man yet laid.  There laid they Jesus.

V.  O my people, what have I done unto thee, or wherein have I wearied thee?  Testify against me.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, we pray thee to set thy passion, cross , and death between thy judgment and our souls, now and in the hour of our death.  Give mercy and grace to the living, pardon and rest to the dead, to thy holy Church peace and concord, and to us sinners everlasting life and glory (who livest and reignest with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

To the Trinity be glory
Everlasting, as is meet:
Equal to the Father, equal
To the Son, and Paraclete:
God the Three in One, whose praises
All created things repeat.  Amen.


CONCLUDING PRAYER

Let us pray.  O God, who for our redemption didst give thine only-begotten Son to the death of the Cross, and by his glorious resurrection hast delivered us from the power of our enemy; Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R.  Amen.