Saturday, July 25, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
(Preface of the Mass of the Scapular feast,
On July 16th, 1251, the Queen of Angels, appearing to the General of the Carmelites spoke to him in these terms:
About seventy years later Mary appeared to Pope John XXII., promising to deliver from purgatory the brethren of Carmel soon after their death, especially on Saturday.
The Carmelite scapular has also been approved by many Popes and confirmed by the testimony of numberless miracles. The Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer especially treasure the scapular miracle discovered at the solemn exhumation of our Holy Father St. Alphonsus’s body, for here a most remarkable sight met the eyes of the examiners. For where the body and the Episcopal robes had decomposed, the Scapular lay Incorrupt.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Father enters the Chapel and starts the hymn Come holy Ghost.
Next is the reading of a selection of petitions. We write them ourselves, but we also receive petitions from all over the world to be placed at the feet of Our Mother and for us to pray for their intentions. We even receive petitions from a number of prisoners too.
Then the nine Hail Marys are said by all. A hymn is sung and a short sermon preached on some aspect of Our Holy Mother. A Blessing is given to all the sick.
Next a hymn is sung to Our Mother of Perpetual Succour while the server prepares the candles for Benediction.
Father exposes the Blessed Sacrament.
The final hymn: the solemn salve Regina.
Many great graces and helps are obtained from novenas to our Mother of Perpetual Succour. Read about it here.
Thursday, July 09, 2009
Cutting the grass.
Then turning it.
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
2. In faithfulness to this mandate, following the act with which Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, on June 30, 1988, illicitly conferred the episcopal ordination on four priests, Pope John Paul II, of venerable memory, instituted, on July 2, 1988, the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei "whose task of collaborating with the bishops, with the Departments of the Roman Curia and with the circles concerned, for the purpose of facilitating full ecclesial communion of priests, seminarians, religious communities or individuals until now linked in various ways to the Fraternity founded by Mons. Lefebvre, who may wish to remain united to the Successor Peter in the Catholic Church, while preserving their spiritual and liturgical traditions, in the light of the Protocol signed on 5 May last by Cardinal Ratzinger and Mons. Lefebvre".
3. In this way faithfully adhering to the same purpose of serving the universal communion of the Church also in her visible manifestation and making every effort so that to all those who truly desire unity it is made possible to remain in it or to find it anew, We have desired to widen and renew, with the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, the general indications already contained in the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei regarding the possibility of using the Missale Romanum of 1962, through more precise and detailed rules.
4. In the same spirit, and with the same commitment of favoring the overcoming of each fracture and division in the Church and to heal a wound felt in an always more painful way in the ecclesial tissue, We desired to remit the excommunication of the four Bishops illicitly ordained by Mons. Lefebvre. With such a decision, We intended to remove an obstacle which could prevent the opening of a door to dialogue, and thus invite the Bishops and the "Fraternity of Saint Pius X" to find anew the path towards full communion with the Church. As We explained in the Letter to the Catholic Bishops of past March 10, the remission of the excommunication was a decision in the area of ecclesiastical discipline which could liberate the weight of conscience represented by the gravest ecclesiastical censure. The doctrinal questions, however, obviously remain, and, until they are not clarified, the Fraternity does not have a canonical status within the Church, and its ministers cannot exercise any ministry legitimately.
5. Since the questions which must be dealt with the Fraternity are of an essentially doctrinal nature, We have decided - twenty-one years after the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei, and as We had planned to do - to restructure the Commission Ecclesia Dei, linking it more directly with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
6. Therefore, the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei will be constituted thus:
a) The President of the Commission is the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
b) The Commission has its own structure, including a Secretary and Officials.
c) It belongs to the President, aided by the Secretary, to present the main events and questions of a doctrinal nature to the study and deliberation of the ordinary instances of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as well as to submit the conclusions to the superior judgment of the Supreme Pontiff.
7. With this decision, We have desired, in particular, to display our fatherly solicitude to the "Fraternity of Saint Pius X" so that in the end it may come to full communion with the Church.
We earnestly invite all to pray to the Lord incessantly, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, "ut unum sint".
Saturday, July 04, 2009
Friday, July 03, 2009
For some of our SSPX friends, this is the kind of hitch that makes them believe that they cannot trust the Church, especially the hierarchy and the Holy See; and that we, Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, were wrong to make our reconciliation in the first place.
For the Church is the Body of Christ
Thursday, July 02, 2009
This afternoon, I received an email from a friend in America who said two of his friends were in Rome, and that he thought we should get together. So, after an exchange of phone numbers, we arranged for dinner this evening at La Vittoria on via delle Fornaci.
Father Michael Maria (photo), 55, born in New Zealand, and Brother Magdala Maria, 29, born in Sydney, Australia, but descended from one of the kings of Samoa, were for many years members of the Society of St. Pius X.
However, two years ago, after Pope Benedict published his motu proprio on the liturgy, Summorum Pontificum (July 7, 2007), the two, and several of their friends, decided to leave the Society and try to return to full communion with Rome.
They have hoped for many months that their "assimilation" into the Church might take place quickly, but it has not yet occurred.
"We are still in no man's land," Father Michael told me. "We're not incardinated anywhere, though we have received faculties to hear confessions from our local bishop in Scotland."
Father Michael, the oldest of six children, was ordained a priest of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorist) in 1978, and it was not until eight years later, after something that happened during Pope John Paul II's trip to New Zealand in 1986, that he felt moved to draw close to Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.
"I still remember clearly a large outdoor Mass in New Zeland," Father Michael said. "I was one of the concelebrants. As I was distributing communion, a young man came up, took the host in his hand, then closed his hand on it, breaking it, and tossed it into the air. When it fell, I knelt to pick up the pieces. I saw that the man was going up to other priests and doing the same thing, so I went to the security guards and told them about the desecration that was occurring. But that wasn't the only thing that happened. I saw many young people sitting in the back, eating potato chips and drinking soft drinks, then getting up to go to communion. No fast at all. I felt the lack of reverence for the Eucharist at this papal Mass was so great that I had to find a different home in the Church."
Father Michael started reading about the liturgy, including the works of Michael Davies, and he slowly made his way toward the Society of St. Pius X, traveling to the Society's seminary in Econe, Switzerland, where he came to know Archbishop Lefebvre well.
"What kind of man was Lefebvre?" I asked.
"He was a very humble man," Father Michael replied. "He was always very thoughtful. Whenever I came to see him, he always had some gift for me, a book, or some other small item. I felt he was a kind and good man, a holy man."
Father Michael was present when Lefebvre, together with Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer, conducted the four episcopal consecrations on June 30 which led to the first and only public schism in the Church since the Second Vatican Council.
And Father Michael remained in the society of St. Pius X for another 19 years, serving in a St. Pius X parish in southern England.
But two years ago, Father Michael decided that Pope Benedict's gesture in permitting wider use of the old liturgy compelled him to respond. He decided to seek a way to return to full union with Rome.
"We have drawn up a constitution for an order called Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, and we have presented it to the Ecclesia Dei Commission for approval," Father Michael said. "We have been hoping against hope that it would be accepted quickly, perhaps before Cardinal (Dario) Castrillon-Hoyos retires on July 4..."
"But that is only three days away..." I said.
"I know," Father Michael said. "We are losing hope. But we haven't given up."
Father Michael said he and two other priests and some 15 brothers lives a common life together on an island off the coast of northern Scotland.
"I am of Scottish descent," Father Michael said. "When we left southern England two years ago, we visited Scotland, and came to a place where we found this isolated, barren island, completely uninhabited. It was for sale for 200,000 pounds. We had no money, but we decided to pray a novena in the hope that a way would be opened for us to make that our home. Within a couple of days, a house that had been donated to us was suddenly sold, giving us a considerable portion of the money needed. Then other gifts came unexpectedly, and by the 9th day, 236,000 pounds had arrived. We were able to buy the island."
The 18 men have built a chapel and a series of small hermitages in a row, about 15 feet apart, and live a common life on the island.
"What is the island like for you, who are from the South Pacific?" I asked Brother Magdala.
"There are no trees," he said. "And the water is very cold. You can't swim it it, except perhaps for one day in the summer. The air is all salt-laden; it burns the trees.
"It's a little romantic. There are certain parts of the island where you can stand and look out to sea and you are totally alone, just you and God. It's a perfect atmosphere to pray."
"What is your daily life like on the island?" I asked.
"We rise at 4:55 a.m.," Father Michael said. "We wash and dress and at 5:25 a.m there is a bell to go to the chapel. There we spend 30 minutes in mental prayer, and then we celebrate Mass at 6 a.m. according to the old rite, in Latin. After Mass we have a quarter hour of Thanksgiving. At 7 a.m. we have breakfast..."
"Is it a good breakfast?" I asked.
"Yeah, it's great," Father Michael replied. "We have our own milk from 10 Jersey cows, tea, bread, jam, coffee, and sometimes porridge... At 7:30, we pray a rosary in the chapel. At 8 a.m., we pray the hours, Prime and Terce, according to the 1962 Breviary. From 8:30 to 12:30, we work. We have a farm, and we are still doing lots of construction. At 12:30 a bell rings, and we gather in the chapel for Sext and None, as well as a particular examen of conscience, and a litany to Our Lady. At 1 we eat lunch in silence while an inspirational reading is read. At 1:30 we have an hour of recreation, starting with washing the dishes, then talking in the common room. From 2:30 to 5:30 we have a little silence in honor of Our Lord's three hours on the cross. We include in this time a half hour of mental prayer, a half hour of spiritual reading, and 15 minutes of Eucharistic adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. At 5:30 we say Vespers and Compline and spend time in mental prayer meditating on the Passion of Our Lord. At 6 p.m. we have supper followed by 1 hour of recreation. From 7:30 to 8 p.m. we have night prayer, and from 8 to 9 we have free time. At 9 p.m. we have lights out."
I asked Brother Magdala (photo below), who is a strapping young man about 6 foot 2 inches in height with broad shoulders, what had prompted his vocation to this life.
"I always wanted to be a priest from the time I was a young lad," he said. "My father is Luamanuvae, chief of the village of Sala'loga in Samoa. When I was a teenager, I thought of making a career as a professional rugby player. I was being considered for a $250,000 per year contract with a professional team in Australia. But then I attended a mission which Father Michael and Father Anthony preached, in Sydney, at the St. Pius X church there. They spoke about the four last things: death, judgment, hell and heaven. I knew then that I had to give my life entirely to God, though in what form I did not know. If you had been there to hear those sermons, you would have felt the same way!
"I prayed a lot in those next weeks, and after six months, I knew I had a religious vocation. I didn't believe I was leading a good life. I realized that if I stayed in the world, I might not be able to save my soul. The spirituality of the Redemptorists is to save one's own soul and the souls of others.
"I came to realize that the most important thing to do is to live in union with God. And this means something different from what most people think. Because if you are praying, and God wants you to be doing something else, you have to stop praying and do what God wants you to do. For St. Alphonsus Liquori, the definition of sanctity is when our will and the will of God are perfectly united."
"Do you think many people today are not living in union with the will of God?" I asked.
"Clearly!" Father Michael replied. "Consider just the demographic situation of Italy and Europe. There are very few children today, less than 1.2 per family. This is below replacement level. That means people are not having the families they should be having. God wishes people to be fruitful, to have the joy of children and grandchildren. And then there are the statistics about confession and communion. They are completely out of balance. Confession is vitally important."
"How would you explain that importance?" I asked.
"Confession brings about the reconciliation of the soul with God through the forgiveness of sin and the infusion of grace," Father Michael said. "It is actually an astonishing thing — to be able to have true contrition for every sin one has committed in one's whole life. This brings a spiritual freedom nothing else can bring. It breaks the shackles of sin which bind us so tightly. But it requires the humility of the penitent. The basis of all the virtues is humility. Your charity can only be as high as your humility is deep."
The three of us walked into St. Peter's Square. High above us, there were extra lights on next to the Pope's rooms in the Apostolic Palace. Usually only the two windows to the right are lit. Tonight there were five windows lit.
"I guess something special is happening tonight," I said. "I've never seen the palace lit up like this before."
"I have been attacked harshly by many in the Society since I left," Father Michael said. "But I have no regrets. I want nothing more than to be in union with the Holy Father, and to serve him, as the Vicar of Christ."
Dear Mother Mary - Pray for us!
Fr. Anthony Mary backs the tank onto the St. Alphonsus.
Then the tank is taken the short distance to neighbouring Stronsay.
The St. Alphonsus recently arrived in Orkney, and has been a great help to us.
Fr. Anthony carefully brings the boat alongside the pier.
The tractor and tank are driven off...
...and Br. Louis Marie adjusts the ropes.
The shed in which the diesel and kerosene are stored
Using the red pump on the right...
The diesel is moved from here...
Then back to the boat for Papa Stronsay. Br. Louis Marie stores the ropes.