Baptism by Beer?

In preparing a handout for RCIA, I am brushing up on the matter and form of each sacrament. 

With baptism in particular, many questions can arise about the matter of the sacrament. Can we baptize with beer – in a pinch? What about coffee?

Weak beer = doubtful matter

The following is taken from the very useful moral manual, Moral Theology, by Fr. Heribert Jone (page 321):

Certainly valid matter:  rain and sea water; spring, well, and drain water; water from melted ice, snow, or hail; mineral and sulphur water; dew and water from sweating walls and recondensed stream; distilled water if by distillation only foreign matter is removed; muddy water or water mixed with any other substance as long as the water certainly predominates by far.


Certainly invalid matter:  milk, blood, amniotic liquid, tears, saliva, foam, fruit juices, wine, beer, oil, thick broth, ink.


Doubtful matter:  thin soup, weak beer, coffee, tea, water from dissolved salt, sap from vines and other plants, rose water and similar liquids extracted from vegetative matter.

It is important to note that doubtful matter may be used ONLY in cases of extreme necessity. Let us pray that we never find ourselves needing to use this knowledge!

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Checking on the Nuns

I had a brief trip down to Montgomery today, and on the way back I stopped in at the Dominican Monastery of St. Jude. I’ve written about them many times on this blog. A wonderful group of cloistered Dominican nuns!

The nuns are doing well!

I arrived during lunchtime and by surprise, so I only visited very briefly with them and did not want to trouble them for a photo. But here are some photos of their convent.

The entrance to the chapel:


The outside of the chapel:


Their beautiful sanctuary, with the Blessed Sacrament exposed as they pray for you and for the whole world:


A detail of their fairly-recently-installed new high altar, showing the Marian emblem on it:


The nuns are so grateful for your generous support! Please also pray for vocations!

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Classical Education

A friend sent me this homily – apparently preached yesterday (I guess they keep the poinsettias out till they die!?). This is an excellent explanation of the benefits of and need for classical education in our Catholic schools. As my friend said, “There is something in this video for everyone”. Please take 20 minutes to watch and/or listen:

Good work to Fr. Dufner and godspeed to his parish school!

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Blessing after Miscarriage

I recently had the opportunity – for the first time in my 8.5 years as a priest – to do a “Blessing after Miscarriage”. I wanted to post about it, because I suspect that it is simply not widely known that it is even a possibility.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for all mothers!

Nowadays, I ordinarily use the 1962 Roman Ritual for blessings, as I generally find the prayers contained therein to be more meaningful and efficacious. However, in this case, there is no such blessing found in the older rites! It is the newer Book of Blessings that has this ritual/blessing, in both a longer and a shorter form.

You can see a somewhat simplified form HERE. (In the actual Book of Blessings, there are some additional options given, as well as a short form – so I recommend to any priest who may want to offer this blessing to use the deadtree version and not the online edition.)

If you know anyone who has recently suffered a miscarriage, you might suggest that she approach her priest to receive this blessing.

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Vestments Arrived

The vestments that many of you helped me purchase have just arrived – a day early, and in any case, much faster than I ever expected!


I will bless them soon. I will be able to use the green one for the first time tomorrow at a school Mass that I will celebrate, and the white set will be used for the first time next Wednesday evening! (FYI – these two Masses will be the first of the 10 total that I will celebrate for those who helped me raise the funds for these.) I’ll see if I can get someone to take some photos of them while in use.

Again, many thanks!!

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Many Thanks!

Beautiful textiles in a beautiful painting of the Annunciation.

Beautiful textiles in a beautiful painting of the Annunciation.

My profound thanks to all who helped me be able purchase two beautiful chasuble sets! I updated the original post (click here) with more information. I’m making this separate post also, since the update would not have been “pushed” out to those who read the blog via email subscription – but this will. Know of my grateful prayers!

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Help Me Buy A Chasuble?

UPDATE January 16, 2017 – I have removed the links to the crowdfunding page, as a total of $1,800.00 was donated so that I could purchase not only the white set pictured but also this green chasuble & stole! Thank you to all for your great generosity! I’m overwhelmed by the 21 generous gifts that came in — and so quickly. Know of my prayers for all!



Friends, with some trepidation I have decided to try a “crowdfunding” campaign in order to buy a new white vestment for my “personal” use. I say “personal” inasmuch as it would be technically of my possession and used mostly by me. But its use would be for the Church’s public worship – definitely not a merely “personal” affair! If I am able to raise the money needed, I will offer a total of ten (10) Masses for my benefactors over the next months.

The great vestment maker of London, Watts & Co., has a good discount offered right now, such that I can purchase the entire set pictured above for about $1,200 USD. That includes the extra “accessories” needed for the celebration of the Tridentine (old Latin) Mass, which I have been doing with greater frequency lately. I would be most grateful if you helped me reach the goal! If I don’t raise what’s needed, I’ll refund donations. Please see the crowdfunding page for more information: HERE.

Please click either the image above or THIS LINK to go to the YouCaring page I set up and read more about this “project”! (You may also have to click “Read More” to see all that I wrote.) Thank you for your consideration. Here, also, is an older post on this blog about the matter of beautiful vestments: HERE.

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The Pope of Gestures

Pope Francis has repeatedly been referred to as “the pope of gestures“.

It is of note, then, that the Holy Father again celebrated Mass on the high altar of the Sistine Chapel this past Sunday, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (on the Vatican calendar – here it was on Monday), instead of having a temporary detached altar set up (which he did for his very first Mass as Pope in the Sistine Chapel).

A screenshot from the Vatican Television video of the event.

A screenshot from the Vatican Television video of the event.

This is the fourth year in a row that the Holy Father has celebrated Mass on the high altar of the Sistine (see this year’s video here). He also celebrated one time with this same orientation (facing the cross, popularly called “ad orientem”) at the tomb of Pope St. John Paul II (see here).

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Merry Christmas to All

Receive my prayers and wishes for a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year!

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In Time for Christmas

My saturno arrived today — much quicker than expected. This will do nicely. 

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Weddings and the Sunday Obligation

It’s very common nowadays for couples to hold their wedding on a Saturday afternoon – in my current parish, 1:30pm is the standard time.

A question that I often pose to couples when I am doing marriage preparation is: How will you make provision for your Sunday obligation? You will have your wedding, party into the wee hours, get some rest, and then (usually) depart for your honeymoon sometime the next day. Will you also go to Sunday Mass?

It appears that, in spite of the months of planning that go into every aspect of the weekend, few couples prepare also to include Sunday Mass. And it is a pity. Are they ultimately starting off their marriage on the wrong foot?

In my diocese, priests are given the faculty to dispense from the Sunday obligation in individual cases. If a couple were to request this from me, I would very likely grant it – if for no other reason than the fact that they actually included it in their planning! But I cannot recall any case where a couple requested to be dispensed.

I suppose that Saturday has long been the preferred day for weddings. Are there any “old-timers” out there who got married on a Saturday and then went to Mass the next day? I wonder if this problem is not really all that new. In any case, I would encourage brother priests, wedding planners, marriage preparation couples/mentors, and any others to address it in their respective areas of work.

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Saturno – Another Priest Christmas Gift Idea

I’ve never really been much of a hat-wearer, but I do enjoy the wonderful variety of hats in the Church. Recently, it seems, a particular style of hat has been in the news: the Saturno (so-called because it resembles the planet Saturn with its rings).


There are a number of sellers of this type of hat online, with a wide range of prices. However, this seller out of Milan, Italy, seems to be very reputable and also has quite reasonable prices:

Cappelleria Melegari (Click for the Saturno page)

As you can see, they have options in simple wool felt, (fake) fur, “melousine” (a synthetic beaver pelt-like material – traditionally these hates were made of beaver pelt, at least for winter use), and then straw (for summer). The simple wool felt one, with shipping to the US added (and IVA – sales tax – subtracted off), comes out to about $130 after converting to Dollars from Euros. That’s not a bad price.

Maybe see if your priest wants one? “Father, what’s your hat size?”…

(It does say that it takes them 20 days to fulfill the order. And I would guess that with the holidays coming up they will have a longer delay.)

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