Baptism Booklet for the Extraordinary Form

The initial rites “outside the church”, as shown in a recent baptism I celebrated in my parish.

In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI clarified that the older liturgical books (those approved and in use as of 1962) were never abrogated and thus could still be used. Therefore, since then, without there any longer being doubt or other hoops to jump through (such as requesting an indult), it has been possible for any priest to celebrate the sacraments using those ritual books.

Learning and celebrating what is now called the “Extraordinary Form” of the Mass — also known as the usus antiquior (the “older use”) — has been a great grace for me and an enrichment to my priestly spirituality and understanding. And in the past couple of years, more and more families have requested that I celebrate their child’s baptism in the Extraordinary Form as well. This has also been wonderful.

Since baptism in the EF is a fair bit different than the newer form that most of us are accustomed to, I set out to find some sort of participation guide for the parents, godparents, and guests to follow along with. There are, of course, some available for purchase. I only found a couple for free, one of which I initially used. But I found it less than ideal for various reasons.

One of the peculiarities of the EF baptism rite is that while all the prayers are given in Latin, the priest is actually permitted to do quite a lot of them in English (using, of course, an approved translation). There seems to be some disagreement over exactly which prayers must be in Latin, but a safe rule to follow is that any prayer that involves an exorcism — as well as the sacramental formula itself (I baptize you…) and the anointings — should be in Latin, while the rest may be in English.

Therefore, I set out to make a participation guide that contains only the essential: the prayers only in English when the priest himself will be praying in English, and then side-by-side Latin and English when the priest will be praying in Latin. I’m happy to share this guide here, so that any priest may print and provide it to his parishioners whenever he celebrates baptism in the EF.

It may, of course, be helpful also for those families who are considering whether they should have their newest child baptized in this wonderful form — or whether they shouldn’t just stick with the newer form (perhaps, in which the older children had been baptized). Alas, I’ve had many families say, “I wish my other children were baptized in this form! — I wish I had been baptized in this form!”, once they see it. The prayers are powerful. I wish I could go back and be baptized this way also!

I have made PDFs in two formats, to accommodate different types of printers. Either way, it is meant to be printed on two 8.5×11″ sheets of paper and folded and stapled.

Here is the booklet in a “one-up” format (5.5×8.5″ pages) — usually what is needed for fancy copy machines that also fold and staple. This file format is also good for personal study/reading, as the pages are sequential.


And here is the booklet formatted for booklet printing. Most duplex printers that do NOT fold and staple require this format. Some printers that are also capable of folding and stapling can work with this format. I suspect those who know how to use those settings will know pretty quickly which format they need.


As far as ritual books go, there is of course the three-volume Weller Ritual, sold by Preserving Christian Publications, one volume of which has baptism and other sacraments (the other volumes deal with blessings, exorcisms, processions, etc.). I use this set often, although the English translations of things like blessings I find to be less than ideal.

A very fine book to have, which includes baptism as well as many blessings, is the New Sanctuary Manual. It helpfully includes baptism in a few different forms (one child, multiple children, etc.) so that the celebrant doesn’t have to figure out how to adjust the Latin from singular to plural. It seems to be out of print at present, but I would bookmark it and keep checking back; it could be that they just haven’t gotten a new printing completed but will have it again soon.

Many priests have acquired an old Collectio Rituum or similar for these purposes as well. I do hope that some publisher will reprint a Collectio, as they are useful and now a rare bird.

In any case, I hope that this participation resource that I have made will help. If anyone finds any errors or has any questions, you can contact me through the form on the “About” page of the blog.

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Build A Bigger Church

The current — and no longer sufficient — Good Shepherd Catholic Church in tiny Russellville, Alabama! Read on for more info:

The Servant of God Fulton J. Sheen made a great deal of money through his work on television and the talks and special media appearances he did besides. But one of the (surprising?) things we discover upon studying his life is that not only did he donate most of his earnings to the missions, but he also used some of his funds to build churches in poor areas — including in the South. There are churches in Alabama that were built by Archbishop Sheen! In spite of the celebrity he enjoyed, he lived rather frugally and was quite generous where it mattered the most.

I am not aware of a Fulton Sheen-like person who might help with this current project and great need, but it is similar in scope.  In the small town of Russellville, Alabama (pop. approx. 10,000), there is the parish of the Good Shepherd. Or as many of its parishioners know it — “Buen Pastor”. The town has a large population of Hispanic immigrants, many of whom work in the area chicken processing plants (maybe in the past you’ve eaten some chicken that met its fate in Russellville!). In the past, the church was built with great support from Filipino immigrants. With some exceptions, the Catholic population in Russellville has long had a large immigrant component.

The current church seats 200. Each Sunday, Fr. Vincent Bresowar, its pastor, has to put out chairs wherever he can find the space. Under his good leadership the parish has grown. But he is only one priest: he could add more Masses to accommodate the growing community, but priests are only supposed to say so many Masses per day (basically, two Monday-Saturday and three on Sunday, max). Fr. Bresowar routinely has to go over the “legal limit” to accommodate his community. He generously does so — but celebrating so many Masses wears down a priest. I know this from experience.

What they need in Russellville is a new and larger church. Fr. Bresowar has purchased an adjacent property to ensure sufficient space for the new church and a real parking lot that begins to accommodate the crowds. He has had a local architect design a building that actually looks like a church and he has employed a great consultant to help with the interior decoration. Cutting every possible corner while also recognizing that a church building is built first of all for the glory of God, Fr. Bresowar has come up with a plan that will cost in the ballpark of $2.5 million.

Good Shepherd’s Master Plan

Bishop Robert J. Baker, in consultation with the College of Consultors of the Diocese of Birmingham, has approved a Capital Campaign so that Fr. Bresowar and parishioners may begin in earnest to raise the needed funds. Remember: this is a primarily immigrant community. They are very resourceful people and will do their part. But they are not pulling in large salaries. They are open to life and have numerous families. They are often helping their families in their home countries, who live in destitution. Some of them will be able to give “in-kind”, helping with the construction and finishing. They will host many fundraisers. But in the end, we need to go outside this community to raise the money needed.

WILL YOU HELP? We are all asked to help with many things, and we can only do so much. Perhaps we cannot give a large amount to everyone but we can at least give something. I remember hearing how the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC — one of the most glorious churches in our land — was built thanks to Catholic schoolchildren around the country who collected pocket change and sent it in. Even small donations make a difference!

Fr. Bresowar has made a very nice video that explains what is happening. It includes images of his current church and testimony of some of its very enthusiastic and supportive members:

The new church that Fr. Bresowar proposes more than doubles the present seating capacity. It looks like a proper Catholic church. It is designed in two phases — so that transepts may eventually be added that make it cruciform in shape and also afford the possibility of a day chapel for daily Mass (saving energy on heating/cooling). If we can raise enough money up front, we can go directly through phase two!

WILL YOU HELP? Any donation you make is tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Fr. Bresowar has established a GoFundMe campaign for those who desire the convenience of online giving:


For those who may wish to mail a check, you may send it to:

Good Shepherd Church
Attn: Father Bresowar
1700 N. Jackson Ave.
Russellville, AL 35653

I made a sacrificial gift from my priest salary, and hope that you will do so also according to your means and state in life. Please be generous.

Please, also, say a prayer for Fr. Bresowar and his parishioners. As I said, he is doing good work. I have seen this firsthand. We need to support our priests who are doing the Lord’s work in more challenging environments. I have done (continue to do, really) Hispanic ministry, and as a “gringo”, I can say that it is not easy. But it is very fulfilling. And it is a very big part of our reality as the Catholic Church in the United States.

If there are any Fulton Sheens reading this, please send a big check to Fr. Bresowar. But assuming there are not, let’s all chip in and help according to our means and according to what the Lord puts on our hearts to do. The church building is the privileged place where, day-in and day-out, heaven unites with earth and Christ comes into our midst. It is a place of solace and refuge. It is a place of conversion and hope. It is a place where all are welcome and all are the royal children of God. We need more beautiful churches and we need to rise to the challenges of our generation. I hope you will help!

Thank you!

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Vocations Retreat in Marbury

I have posted on several occasions about the wonderful cloistered Dominican nuns in Marbury, Alabama (including fairly recently) – a rather hidden and very unassuming place, with a small number of nuns but great faith, great prayer, and great liturgy.

The sisters are having another vocations retreat – in about a month. I should have posted this earlier but kept forgetting!

Click this image for the corresponding PDF:

Click on the image for the PDF version.

You can also visit this page on their web site for more information (CLICK).

Please do send a little money their way also – they always have needs, what with an aging (very simple) convent building and all the expenses that come with that.

Finally, be sure to look around on their web site: for example, they have prayer enrollments! A great gift for loved ones.

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Help Send A Good Book to Nicaragua

We recently welcomed a new religious order to the Diocese of Birmingham — the Fraternity Poor of Jesus Christ (link is to their Facebook page). The friars have set up a house at Blessed Sacrament Church, with three friars resident and another on the way early next year. The sisters are in the process of setting up their house at Our Lady of Fatima Church — one sister is here at present and more will come next year. Both groups will work in the poor neighborhoods on the west side of Birmingham — one of the most afflicted parts of town.

As part of their service, some of the friars and sisters occasionally do missionary work. Sister Miracles (yes, that is her name!), the founding sister of the Birmingham house of sisters, will be going to Nicaragua in November. She hopes to bring 150 copies of a certain book with her to distribute in four parishes and to seminarians. The book is Into the Deep by Dan Burke — a solid book on prayer in the Catholic tradition. Of course, she’ll be bringing the Spanish-translated version: Mar Adentro.

I cannot emphasize enough what a worthy initiative this is: when you walk into many Catholic bookstores in Latin America, you will find volumes by many dissenting authors (including some of our worst ones from the US, in translation) – promoting feminist theology, liberation theology, and many other errors or distortions of the faith. The Church in Latin America is suffering great losses; there are a multitude of factors but one of them is the dilution of Catholic teaching. Getting good, solid books into the hands of people in Nicaragua is a work of mercy! An historically Catholic country, today only 50% of the population is Catholic — 40% are now Protestant. And half of those who are Protestant were formerly Catholic! (source)

It will cost about $2,750 to get 150 copies of this book on prayer and get them to Nicaragua. Will you help — even with a small donation? Together, we can achieve this goal. I made the first donation to buy one book. I hope that many others will help also. This is a great work of evangelization and mission.

Click on the picture of Sister Miracles (taken recently outside our Cathedral) below to go to the GoFundMe page for this effort.

I will ensure that the sisters receive a list of all donors so that they can pray for you. I will also offer a Mass for all donors once the campaign has ended.

Thank you for your support!

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Vigil of Reparation for the Scandals

This evening here at the Cathedral of St. Paul in Birmingham, Alabama, I offered a Sung Mass (Missa Cantata) in the Extraordinary Form for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, offered for the intention of “healing and purification in the Church”. Well over 300 people from around the Diocese attended — many who were already familiar with the Extraordinary Form, many who were not. Both of our principal language groups were well-represented also. I was truly delighted by the turnout of lay faithful and religious. In addition, several diocesan priests and one visiting priest attended in choir.

My homily — in English and Spanish — may be read here.

Now, following the Mass, one of our diocesan priests is leading an all-night Adoration Vigil in both English and Spanish, to make reparation for the crimes and sins of the clergy.

In the morning, we will have our usual weekly Saturday morning Mass (in the Ordinary Form) at 8:30am for the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. This will also be the sixth anniversary of our parish’s consecration to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Mass will be offered for “healing of victims of sexual predation”.

Here follows a selection of photos from tonight’s event. Thanks be to God.

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Spanish Mass: When the Mass Parts Aren’t

It is an extremely widespread phenomenon that Mass parts sung at Spanish Masses do not have the correct words – that is, the words printed in the Roman Missal; words which, in the case of the main parts of the Mass, may not be changed.

Usually what I have encountered is a paraphrase (set to a catchy tune or even to a secular tune). Here is one example: this is supposed to be the Sanctus — the Holy, Holy, Holy — and it has quite a fun tune; but the words are only… sort of in the ballpark:

My translation:

Holy, holy, holy, the heavens announce you;
Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord, Yahweh;
Holy, holy, holy, is the one who redeems us;
Because my God is holy and the earth is full of his glory;
Because my God is holy and the earth is full of his glory.
Heaven and earth will pass away,
but your word will not pass away;
Heaven and earth will pass away,
but your word will not pass away:
Will not not not not not not pass away;
will not not not not not not pass away.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord;
Glory to Jesus Christ, the son of David.
Hosanna in the high places to our Savior;
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord;
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Heaven and earth will pass away,
but your word will not pass away;
Heaven and earth will pass away,
but your word will not pass away:
Will not not not not not not pass away;
will not not not not not not pass away.

Compare that with what is in the Roman Missal (no substantial difference between English and Spanish, hence I’ll just copy the English here):

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord, God of hosts.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory;
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

It is often “easier said than done” to eliminate these erroneous Mass settings or parts thereof that appear in Spanish-language liturgy. In my case, I have only been in one assignment (my first one) where I had any authority to do anything about it. Often I am just a guest priest, filling in by request.

The point of this post, in fact, is not to suggest ways to fix this problem; rather, it is to suggest what a visiting priest may and possibly should do when confronted with this.

He should recite the correct words while the wrong ones are being sung.

I got this idea after I started celebrating Mass in the Extraordinary Form – particularly, the High Mass, or Missa Cantata. In the High Mass there is a schola, choir, or cantor who sings the Mass parts, responses, and other pieces as appropriate for the day’s liturgy. But the priest-celebrant also must recite what they are singing.

Now there is not an apples-to-apples comparison between the situation I have encountered with Spanish Masses and celebrating in the Old Rite. No, there are various differences. For one, it is unheard-of for musical settings of the Extraordinary Form liturgy to have words that are at variance with the published texts. Two, the celebrant’s duplication of all that other ministers say or sing arises from a different liturgical theology.

But I think the application of the Old Rite principle in this case works: at least, even if the choir, cantor, or the congregation isn’t singing the right thing, the Mass is still being said properly — as the Church intends — by its principal celebrant. This is not clericalism (which I am sure some would allege). It is simply a way that a priest may take seriously his oath of fidelity to all of the Church’s laws and disciplines.

I feel sure I am not the first priest to think of and do this. I wonder if others do so also?

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The Purification of the Church

“Could you not watch with me one hour?”

Last weekend in my parish I preached on the current scandals in the Church and our response to them. You may be interested in reading that homily here. In it, I encouraged prayer and fasting for the purification of the Church. This weekend, then, I am publishing the following letter and list in my parish bulletin. I reproduce it here and invite you to join in this initiative also.

* * *

Dear Parish Family,

At Masses last weekend (July 28-29), my preaching addressed the topic of the recent grave scandals in the Church involving bishops/cardinals and sexual predation. If you missed that homily, you might consider reading it online (HERE).

The “takeaway” from my homily was that we need to pray and fast for the purification of the Church. I especially encouraged that this be done on Thursdays – the day that Christ instituted the holy priesthood; but of course, any day/time is fine! The Lord has chosen us to live in this moment, so we must ask him how he wants us to respond. There is much righteous anger – but anger is not enough: we need to take holy and meaningful action.

The following, therefore, is a list of suggestions. Since, in our time, fasting is not a common spiritual practice, many are at a loss on where to start. In this regard, “fasting” should be understood as “making sacrifices”; thus, many of the things listed have nothing to do with food or drink. I hope that you will consider adding at least one such sacrifice to your week and offering it, with a prayer, for the purification of the Church.

Finally, we must not forget that the reform of the Church begins with you and with me: we are all called to be saints, and our Lord invites us anew to respond to that call.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Very Reverend Bryan W. Jerabek, J.C.L.
Pastor and Rector

* * *

Suggested Prayers for the Purification of the Church (all can be easily located by web search)

The Litany of St. Joseph
The Memorare
The “Anima Christi” of St. Ignatius of Loyola
The St. Michael Prayer
The Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
The Morning Offering
The “My Queen and My Mother” Prayer
The Holy Rosary
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy
The “St. Francis Peace Prayer”
The “Suscipe” Prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola (“Take, Lord, and receive, all my liberty…”)

Suggested Fasting/Acts of Sacrifice for the Purification of the Church

Omit cream/sugar in coffee/tea
Take a cool shower instead of a hot one
Skip an episode of your show & pray/read instead
Skip a meal or skip snacks
Skip your evening wine/cocktail if you do that
Turn off the radio in the car
Skip a day on social media
If you’re a napper, skip a nap
Add some concrete service to the poor
Cook a meal for an elderly/sick neighbor
Say a special prayer for those who annoy you
Call someone you’ve been avoiding
Get up five minutes earlier and add some prayers
Fight against any time-wasting you may do
Donate money saved from making sacrifices
Pray kneeling instead of sitting
Get to know local priests, deacons, and religious
Make a list before you shop and stick to it
Fast for 2 hours before Communion instead of 1
Visit a nursing home
Don’t eat meat on all Fridays
Skip chocolate or sweets for a day
Clean out your closets and donate to charity
For ladies: don’t wear makeup one day
Park farther away at the store & say a prayer on the way in for those who were driving poorly on the way
Go out of your way to stop at the church or adoration chapel to say your prayers
Make the extra effort to come up with 5 unique things for which you are grateful and thank God
Resolve to come to Mass five minutes earlier and spend time in prayer
Resolve to spend a few minutes after the final hymn is over at Mass to thank God before leaving

* * *

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Updates from the Marbury Nuns

Me with the nuns for my September 2012 retreat. Time to go back and get a new picture!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about the wonderful cloistered Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of St. Jude in the tiny town of Marbury, Alabama (alas, it’s been far too long since I’ve visited them, also). Perusing their (new!) web site, I see that they had a postulant enter in April! This is great news. I hope many other young ladies with possible vocations will check them out. A good and faithful order!

Also, in the most recent newsletter that they mailed me, the Nuns mentioned how they were once again in need of financial support — this time, because of a leaky roof. I can attest to the simplicity of the aging convent building/structure — it was clearly built well but also on a low budget — and to the fact that it could definitely use many updates. I’m sure the roof is just the tip of the iceberg — but it doesn’t surprise me that it needs replacing! Let’s help them out. Please consider making a special donation to the sisters. Go to this page to learn how you can mail a check or donate online.

In times like these, with much bad news in the Church and in the world, it is refreshing to hear about the good things happening with faithful groups like this — and to support them in any way we can. Please drop the Cloistered Dominican Nuns a line and send them whatever support you can! And pray that they will continue to grow!

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Exorcism as An Argument for Infant Baptism

It has long been my sense that, in spite of all of the biblical evidence and the witness of the Fathers, many non-Catholic Christians simply are not open to reason when it comes to the topic of infant baptism. Many of them get hung up on the (false) idea of baptism’s being a personal choice, a taking ownership of one’s faith — and therefore, something that may only properly be done after the age of reason.

Recently, I’ve had occasion to celebrate Baptism a few times according to the Extraordinary Form (or older form) of the Roman Rite. The newer, “post-conciliar” rite of Baptism does have an exorcism in it, but it is a bit “lite” compared with the multiple exorcisms of the older rite. Here is the one “exorcism” prayer in the newer rite:

Almighty and ever-living God, you sent your only Son into the world to cast out the power of Satan, spirit of evil, to rescue man from the kingdom of darkness, and bring him into the splendor of your kingdom of light. We pray for this child: set him (her) free from original sin, make him (her) a temple of your glory, and send your Holy Spirit to dwell with him (her). We ask this through Christ our Lord. All: Amen.

As you can see, the priest prays a deprecatory prayer, asking God to deliver the person from the power of original sin (not the devil! — although he is mentioned).

The older rite, however, uses several imprecatory prayers (commanding the evil one to leave). Here they are, by comparison:

1. Depart from him (her), unclean spirit, and give place to the Holy Spirit, the Advocate.

2. I cast you out, unclean spirit, in the name of the Father + and of the Son + and of the Holy + Spirit. Depart and stay far away from this servant of God, N. For it is the Lord Himself who commands you, accursed and doomed spirit, He who walked on the sea and reached out His hand to Peter as he was sinking. So then, foul fiend, recall the curse that decided your fate once for all. Indeed, pay homage to the living and true God, pay homage to Jesus Christ, His Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Keep far from this servant of God, N., for Jesus Christ, our Lord and God, has freely called him (her) to His holy grace and blessed way and to the waters of baptism. Never dare, accursed fiend, to desecrate this seal of the holy + cross which we imprint upon his (her) brow; through Christ our Lord. All: Amen.

3. I cast you out, every unclean spirit, in the name of God + the Father almighty, in the name of Jesus + Christ, His Son, our Lord and judge, and in the power of the Holy + Spirit. Begone, Satan, from God’s handiwork, N. Because our Lord has graciously called him (her) to His holy sanctuary, where he (she) will become a dwelling place for the living God, a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. We ask this in the name of Christ our Lord, who is coming to judge both the living and the dead and the world and the dead and the world by fire. All: Amen.

You see the difference!

Well, why do I think that the prayers of exorcism — whether from the new rite or the old rite — are a more powerful argument for infant baptism?

When I introduce people to the concept of exorcism in the context of baptism, I explain that exorcism does not only have to do with the really scary stuff like demonic possession. On a more basic and fundamental level, we recognize that when a child is born she does not yet have God’s grace in her soul. Rather, she has the stain of original sin, with all of its consequences. Baptism washes that stain away and fills the soul with God’s grace, establishing a living bond between God and the precious child.

The devil is the prince of this world, and so whatever in it does not belong to God, in some way belongs to him: he has a claim over it. What exorcism does is to remove that person or thing from the devil’s sphere; it claims it spiritually for God. (This is also why we should avail ourselves of the many blessings the Church offers for persons and things.) The Church uses exorcism in many contexts — for example, in sacramentals, like holy water and blessed salt. In baptism, exorcism serves the purpose of removing the child from any claims the devil has on her and placing her securely under God’s care. Then, her soul is filled with God’s grace as the water is poured and the prayers are said.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them” (Matthew 19:14). The devil says the same thing – but for his sinister and nefarious purposes. There are so many dangers in our world today for children. The exorcism(s) of baptism is/are a powerful sacramental that helps the baptized stay more firmly in God’s care. Of course, parents and godparents must do their part to guide chidren aright and shield them from evil, also.

Maybe the witness of whole households being baptized in the Acts of the Apostles and other scriptural arguments are not enough for some non-Catholics to seek baptism for their children. Well, what about the fact that the devil is the prince of this world and he therefore has some claim over the non-baptized? The Catholic Church has a beautiful and simple solution for this: a sacramental called exorcism, which is administered in the context of baptism. I wish more people would bring their children for baptism – and would not delay!

With regard to old rite vs. new rite, let me be clear: I will celebrate either, and happily. As a Catholic priest of the Latin Rite it is my duty and honor to provide the sacraments and sacramentals in all of the ways that they are offered within our Rite. I do think the older form is more efficacious and powerful, and I now suggest it quite freely — now that I have learned how to do it and learned more about it myself. But whether baptism is in the old or new, I’m just so happy to be celebrating it, knowing that through my priesthood and ministry, another child has been given over to our loving God!

If you know of any Catholics who have not had their children baptized, urge them to do so — urge them to talk to a priest soon. And if you know non-Catholics who scoff at our practice of infant baptism, maybe show them this little article: it might open their eyes to something that they haven’t thought about — and lead them to re-consider what their own faith teaches.

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Tenth Anniversary

Last month – on June 7 – I celebrated my tenth anniversary of priestly ordination. My parishioners at the Cathedral of St. Paul (and friends from former assignments and beyond) organized a lovely celebration for me. Here is a small sampling of photos:

If you’re interested in seeing more of the great photos one of the parishioners took, a full gallery is online here.

As you see in one of the photos above, I was presented with a spiritual bouquet calendar as a tenth anniversary gift! A parishioner contacted hundreds of people to ensure that at least one — often two — people are praying for me each day from June 7, 2018 until June 7, 2019. Of all the gifts that I received, this was the greatest, and it is my pleasure and duty to pray for those whose names are listed each day. Thank you!

As I look back over these ten years so much has happened – and the time has gone by so quickly. I have been Parochial Vicar at Holy Spirit Parish in Huntsville, where I also became fluent in Spanish as I worked daily with the many Hispanic immigrants. I was religion instructor and later chaplain of St. John Paul II Catholic High School (also in Huntsville). Then the Bishop sent me to study canon law in Rome – three years that were both wonderful and not without their own challenges. When I returned I was first Administrator and then Pastor of two parishes in Birmingham — St. Barnabas and Holy Rosary. And from there, Bishop transferred me to be Rector of the Cathedral of St. Paul, in addition to naming me Chancellor of the Diocese and Judge of the Marriage Tribunal.

Along the way I have met so many wonderful people. I have made many mistakes but see the many good things that God has enabled me to do also. Each week I meet young men whom I believe could have a call to the priesthood – and, whenever it seems prudent, I tell them that. I hope that many others will want to follow God’s calling to serve him in this way. The priesthood is a wonderful life for those who are called to it, and I am thankful to God for my call. Please pray with me in gratitude for these years – and that I may serve the Lord and his people more faithfully in the years to come!

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Conga Line Lectors

Have you ever been at a Mass (usually a school Mass) where a line-up of people takes part of the same reading or the intercessions? I guess it’s most often done with the responsorial psalm…

I jokingly refer to this as “conga line reading”. I’ve always felt it was inappropriate and reflective of a misguided sense of needing to have everyone “do something”.

Tonight, while reviewing part of the rules of Mass – i.e., the document known as the General Instruction of the Roman Missal – I was pleasantly surprised by this find:

109. If there are several present who are able to exercise the same ministry, nothing forbids their distributing among themselves and performing different parts of the same ministry or duty. […] However, it is not at all appropriate that several persons divide a single element of the celebration among themselves, e.g., that the same reading be proclaimed by two readers, one after the other, with the exception of the Passion of the Lord. (emphasis mine)

In other words, the sharing of a single psalm, reading, the intercessions, or any other part of the Mass should not be done.

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New Book Recommendation

A really great new book on marriage will be out soon, and I want to encourage you to pre-order it and include it in your summer reading. It is by Dr. David Anders, whom may know from his work on EWTN Radio. He is a noted apologist, theologian, and teacher of the faith. This book combines his personal testimony with Church teaching, while seamlessly weaving in reference to challenges against marriage in our wider culture today.

Full disclosure: I helped review this book for publication.

This book is written for popular consumption (for priests and laity alike), but has real substance. It will inspire and strengthen lay people, married and unmarried; for even if one does not have difficulties in his own relationship, he always meets others who do. I believe that many lay people, in reading this book, will be develop a renewed appreciation for the true meaning of marriage and the grace that God offers to those in sacramental marriage so that they may live out their state in life faithfully until death. One of the great features of the book is that it does so thoroughly address the matter of grace – a topic missing in many contemporary discourses on marriage.

It will also surely be inspirational and helpful for priests, helping them as they approach converts and the marital problems that they often bring – helping them also to “brush up” on certain key concepts connected with marriage, morality, law, and grace.

The Catholic Church Saved My Marriage will be published in June in paperback, and Amazon already has the price discounted. You can also pre-order the Kindle Edition.

I note also that Dr. Anders spoke about his book today on his radio show. (CLICK HERE)

Congratulations to Dr. Anders on such a fine book! I hope it will be a blessing to many.

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