More Applause in Church

A little over two months ago I posted on the topic of Applause in Church, a post which proved to be very popular – receiving a very large number of readers, and shared on Facebook over 300 times. It’s clear that this is a topic that interests people!

I was very glad, then, to discover recently on the good Italian blog, Scuola Ecclesia Mater, this video of Pope Saint John XXIII, when he spoke to a crowd about NOT applauding (or cheering) in church. Since I originally saw it, a few English blogs have picked it up as well. Here is the translation of what “Good Pope John” says – in his characteristic warm and animated style – as provided by the blog New Liturgical Movement (with some slight adjustments on my part). The video then follows.

Narrator: The fourth Sunday of Lent, John XXIII was once again among the crowd, at Ostia. [About 15 miles to the south-west of Rome.] Thousands of people were waiting for him along the street, in the piazza, in the church. They wanted to see him, to applaud him. They did not know that afterwards, he would rebuke them, in a good-natured way – in his simple, spontaneous, familiar way of speaking.

Pope John XXIII: I am very glad to have come here. But if I must express a wish, it is that in church you not shout out, you not clap your hands, and you not greet even the Pope, because ‘templum Dei, templum Dei.’ (“The temple of God is the temple of God.”) Now, if you are pleased to be in this beautiful church, imagine how happy the Pope is to see his dear children. But as soon as he sees his good children, he certainly does not clap his hands in their faces.

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Pope Francis and Pocket Gospels

Pope Francis likes to promote the practice of having a pocket-sized book of the gospels to carry around and read during downtime. He has promoted it on various occasions in Rome (see here, here, and here), and even today he mentioned it during his brief stop in the city of Caserta, located near Naples, Italy.

As I expected would happen, a version of the book that he gave away for free in Italy has now been produced (not for free) in English, here in these United States.

Click the image to go to the book’s page on Amazon.

It might make a nice gift! Could be just the thing for that person who is about to head off for college!

Incidentally, I’ve been monitoring this book on Amazon for about a week now; the quantity remaining in stock is usually low (or it is out of stock), but it replenishes quickly. So, even if it is out of stock if and when you go to order it, place your order anyway and it should be fulfilled quickly.

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I received my unimpressive diploma today. Gone – apparently – are the days when these were done in calligraphy. At least they still print them in Latin!

O tempora! O mores!

O tempora! O mores!

It was rolled up in a (nice) tube, so I laid it out with the help of some dining room implements. You can see my licentiate biretta there also, now with the pom-pom opened.

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On Leaving Mass Early

This is what people see as they go to leave Mass early out the main door of one of my parishes:

(It was installed by a previous pastor, I think.)

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Street Evangelization

A little “street evangelization” that I saw today in downtown Birmingham.

Jesus will change us, but he always leaves us free as regards spelling…

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St. Camillus de Lellis

Today, on the Church’s universal calendar, is the Feast of St. Camillus de Lellis. In the United States, it is transferred to Friday this year, as we celebrate St. Kateri Tekakwitha today.

Here is a photo that I took of his “tomb” (the effigy contains his mortal remains) in Rome:

His tomb is located in the beautiful church of St. Mary Magdalene, a church you would like to visit (see here for more).

Read about St. Camillus’ very intersting life on EWTN’s site: how he had been a lazy and unattractive child, who had a bad temper, and lived in a difficult family situation, but in any case, grew up to become a saint.

St. Camillus de Lellis, pray for us.

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Help the Sisters in Marbury

You’ll remember the Dominican Sisters of St. Jude in Marbury, Alabama from my recent posts about their vocations retreat and the prayer they posted to consecrate a child to Our Lady. This is a good, small group of nuns who are worthy of our support. Here is a photo of them speaking to the girls who attended the recent vocations retreat:



Today I received a bit of mail from the nuns with their beautiful newsletter and a personal note. On the note they made a rare request for support. Here is what Sister wrote:

At this time we ask our friends for help with our special needs. Our main concern at present is keeping the air conditioning system going. The service men have had to make frequent calls! As with any household, there have been other “breakdowns”. We thank you for “coming to the rescue”.

Can we send some help their way? I note that on their “Ways to Help” page they accept donations via PayPal. They also provide an address where you could mail a check. I will be sending in my own donation.

For most of us, when we have an air conditioning breakdown we can escape to an air conditioned car and go to an air conditioned public place such as a mall or the grocery store or something. These sisters are cloistered and so they can’t just hop in the van and take refuge elsewhere. You can see in the photo above how faithful they are in respecting the cloister: even when a group of girls comes to learn about their life, the nuns are on one side, the girls on the other. Let’s see if we can help them a bit. 

Here is the link to their “Ways to Help” page. No amount is too small. If you can’t donate to them or have other reasons for not doing so, please be sure to say a prayer for them. Thanks!

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Anniversary of Summorum Pontificum

Me, reciting the Vesting Prayers as I prepare to celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

Me, reciting the Vesting Prayers as I prepare to celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

Today is the seventh anniversary of the legal document written by Pope Benedict XVI, Summorum Pontificum, which made it clear that the old Latin Mass was never abrogated, and that the faithful (and priests, who are also part of the faithful) still have the right to it.

As Benedict wrote in the letter that accompanied that document:

What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.  It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.

Thus the Holy Father invited us to reconcile with our history – not reject it – realizing that the older form of the Mass was a source of culture, a source of good, and a source of holiness, not something which we must now look down upon, spurn, or pretend never existed.

Liturgy is traditionally a hot-button issue in Church circles and of course there were many who did not appreciate Pope Benedict’s actions in that regard – as if one could pick and choose which aspects of the Papal magisterium one finds acceptable and follow only those.

While the “old Latin Mass” (which is no longer to be considered old, since it is part of the life of the contemporary Church also) may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it is something that is perfectly acceptable and makes up part of the great diversity that is found within the unity of the Church.

I have learned how to celebrate the “Extraordinary Form” of the liturgy (at least in some of its variety: I have a lot to learn still) and am sure that I will do so from time to time as the opportunities present themselves. Learning that form of celebration has certainly enriched my own spirituality and understanding of the priesthood.

Let’s put it this way: in the Church there are a lot of forms of spirituality, and a diocesan priest has to show himself open to all forms that are legitimate, even if he doesn’t personally share all of them. What right does a diocesan priest have, then, to spurn the Latin Mass? It’s simply not coherent.

In the Diocese of Birmingham today we have a personal parish (in Huntsville) for those who prefer this form, a monastery (near Cullman) where it is regularly offered, and also a parish (in Birmingham) where it is celebrated on Sundays. So we give thanks for Pope Benedict’s act of reconciliation and generosity, which has enriched the lives of many, even here close to home.

Let’s remember to say a special prayer for Benedict XVI on this day, since he faced a great deal of opposition in writing and promulgating the above document, but courageously stood firm and did what he knew to be God’s will for the Church. May God reward him and give him peace and consolation.

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Where Your Prayer Intentions Go

My rectory thankfully has a chapel in it (with the Bishop’s approval), set up by the former pastor. It is very simple but works great. With time I hope to improve it in various ways.

This is where I will be praying for your Prayer Intentions which you submit. Just in the past couple of days I have received a few.

As time goes on I hope to put a sort of “inbox” in the chapel where I will place the intentions after I have read and prayed over them. Thus they will remain there on paper before the Lord for some time, even after I have said my humble prayers.

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Saint Maria Goretti

July 6th is the Feast of St. Maria Goretti; although it is displaced by Sunday this year, we can (and should) still celebrate it privately.

Most people have heard about St. Maria Goretti because of her remarkable story and because of the fact that she is a relatively recent saint – she died in 1902 and was canonized in 1950. Her own mother attended her beatification and her killer attended her canonization. Read more here.

The tomb of St. Maria Goretti in Nettuno, Italy, photographed by me on November 29, 2012. The effigy inside the tomb contains her relics.

The tomb of St. Maria Goretti in Nettuno, Italy, photographed by me on November 29, 2012. The effigy inside the tomb contains her relics.

St. Maria Goretti is the patron saint of youth, young women, purity, and victims of rape.

St. Maria Goretti, pray for us!

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Getting Settled

It’s just shy of a week since I left Rome, and I’m still very much in “transition mode”, getting settled at my new assignment, unpacking, meeting people, etc.

St. Barnabas Parish Welcomes You

St. Barnabas Parish Welcomes You

Even if I didn’t have the use of my laptop until today (because I forgot my power cable in Rome, and had to order a new one, which just arrived), I have had a lot on my mind, and so blogging ideas have not really been coming to the surface. Hopefully I can resume a more regular blogging schedule in the next week or so!

The window for our parish patron.

The window for our parish patron.

St. Barnabas, pray for us.

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A Church, A Dessert, A View

I am enjoying a brief visit to Germany* before returning home. Today we drove through part of the Rhineland, very scenic.

Here is an altarpiece in a church we stopped to see called the Rheingau Cathedral (although apparently it is not really a cathedral), located in the town of Geisenheim. This altarpiece was carved in the year 1480 and depicts the Epiphany, as the Magi present gifts to the Christ child:

Here we have my dessert at lunch, which featured a fruit I had never seen before. My sources tell me that it is called a “cape gooseberry” or a “ground cherry”. Apparently it is often used as a garnish on desserts:

Finally, here is a view from the Abbey of St. Hildegard of Bingen, looking down the hillside which is covered with vineyards. It was a gray and hazy day but the views were still gorgeous:

In my rush to get out of Rome I managed to forget my computer’s power cable, so we’ll see how many more blog posts I can do before getting home and getting a new cable.

*I had never visited Germany to this point. I definitely hope to come back and see more of it. I have also never been to Spain, so that is on my list. Then, I hope to see more of France (I’ve only seen Paris and Lourdes) and Austria (I’ve only seen Vienna and some small towns in that part of the country). Three years in Europe but still much left to see!

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