Friday, January 12, 2018

The Magi and Star in Old Testament prophecies

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" (Assumption Grotto News, January 7, 2018)
The wonders of Epiphany seem never to end for me. I thought I had pretty well combed this fascinating story with its menacing subplot in years past. It is a narrative replete with supernatural unfolding and malicious intrigue. Here are a few "new" things about Epiphany that I never considered before, as far as I can recall, in my sermons of years past.

The Magi. It's become theologically "correct" not to speak of the three "kings" since nowhere in the Gospel are they said to be kings, but rather magi ("wise men" would be an acceptable expression). They may have been mere governors of some small eastern lands. However, there is a prophecy from (Vulgate) Psalm 71 which indicates that "Kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts; the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute. All kings shall pay homage, all nations shall serve Him." In keeping to this term "kings" we see a drama unfolding among the various kings: these magi "kings," King Herod, and the King-of-Kings, Christ. The number of magi is not specified in the Gospel. Three is taken to be their number on account of their three gifts. It may have been that several such men each brought with him the three gifts, rather than one gift by each of three. Magi they were nevertheless, that is, men who studied the heavens for knowledge. They must have known the Hebrew scriptures and the prophesies about the birth of their Messiah as well since they will ask upon their arrival in Jerusalem about the whereabouts of the newborn king of the Jews. It's remarkable that these men would have simultaneously had knowledge of who Christ was (Messiah, Son of God and man), and the time of His birth, and had met each other from their various lands and made their united way to Judea to see Christ. It's probable that angels informed them of all these things, though the scriptures are silent on this. The appearance of the star gave the men the direction needed for their way.

The Star. In the Book of Numbers there is a prophecy: "A star shall advance from Jacob (=Israel)" and in Isaiah it is told that by Jerusalem's light kings would walk (Is. 60), bearing gold and frankincense, and that caravans of camels would fill the land. The idea of a light leading people on a journey is familiar from the Exodus wherein God guided the path of the people through the desert either by a cloud or by a pillar of fire. That was a miraculous light. Similarly, one may reason that the star leading the magi was a miraculous star, made for the purpose, and not one of the existing heavenly bodies, a star which shone both day and night and whose light moved indicating direction. In the end, the star "stood over the place" where the infant was.

Bethlehem. It was another prophecy, from Micah, that identified Bethlehem as the birth place of the Messiah to be. (One might have otherwise thought it to be Jerusalem.) It's a marvel to contemplate that Mary and Joseph journeyed to Bethlehem only on account of a decree of Caesar Augustus -- a pagan -- ordering a census, without which our Lord's birth would have taken place in Nazareth, according to the natural course of events.

Faith. The magi had Christian faith: they adored Christ. It had to be by a divine revelation (by an angel?) that they know the identity of this Infant. This faith led them to great acts: leaving home, parting with their treasures to serve as gifts, traveling goodly distances, and adoring the God-man upon seeing Him.

Other things. The visit of the magi certainly must have included much talk among all persons in the cave. None of this has been recorded. One wonders about what was said and done those days (one presumes a stay of some days after the journey). We would like to now some of that holy conversation.

While the Star has dissolved, the light of the Catholic faith with all its guiding truth remains for us. Our Lady too is a star, the Star of the Sea, who shows us the sure way to Christ. The star's progression to Bethlehem is a lesson about the advancement in faith -- from first beginnings even unto spiritual perfection by practicing the virtues. In this sense, the Epiphany story is replicated in every Christian's life.

Fr. Perrone

Russ Voris (1929-2018), father of Michael Voris, R.I.P.

Russ Voris was born on October 24, 1929. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1950–1974, and spent most of his military career in various assignments that included tours in England, France, Texas and the Philippines.

He met his wife Anne on his first assignment in England in 1952, and married her in July 1953. They were blessed with two sons (both Notre Dame grads—Go Irish!), Marshall and Michael.

A convert to the Faith since 1957, Russ had a deep love for the traditions of the Holy Catholic Church and shared them with all those he met. Russ was always a firm and enthusiastic supporter of his son Michael's work at the apostolate, and was instrumental in its founding.

Russ passed away peacefully at 7:56 p.m. ET on January 11, 2018, in the state of grace, surrounded by his loved ones.

Read more at: Russ Voris, R.I.P.; and also watch the video (scroll down) celebrating the 60th anniversary of Russ' reception into the Church.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Tridentine Masses coming this week to metro Detroit and eastern Michigan

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week








* NB: The SSPX chapels among those Mass sites listed above are posted here because the Holy Father has announced that "those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins," and subsequently extended this privilege beyond the Year of Mercy. These chapels are not listed among the approved parishes and worship sites on archdiocesan websites.

Tridentine Community News - Consecration of the family to the Sacred Heart; Liturgical colors; Tridentine Masses this coming week

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (January 7, 2018):
January 7, 2018 – The Holy Family

Consecration of the Family to the Sacred Heart

On this Feast of the Holy Family, it is fitting to print the prayer of Consecration of the Family to the Sacred Heart. This prayer is taken from the 1961 British publication, Excérpta e Rituáli Románo [Extracts from the Roman Ritual]. A Plenary Indulgence is granted to the members of a family on the day on which it is first consecrated, under the usual conditions. A Partial Indulgence is granted for reciting the Act of Consecration before an image of the Sacred Heart on the anniversaries of consecration.

The priest blesses in the home the statue or picture of the Sacred Heart, using [the Latin version of] the formula given below.
℣. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
℟. Who made heaven and earth.
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.
O almighty, everlasting God! Thou dost approve of the sculptured or painted images of Thy Saints, in order that when we behold them, we may be led to contemplate and imitate their lives and holiness. Wherefore, we beseech Thee to bless + and sanctify + this image (or statue) wrought to the memory and honor of Thy Sole-Begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. And grant that whosoever through the inspiration of this image earnestly strives to honor and worship Him, may by His merits obtain grace in this life and eternal glory in the next. Through the same Christ our Lord.
℟. Amen.

The image is sprinkled with Holy Water. The priest then sets up the picture or statue in a prominent place and all present recite the Apostles’ Creed. Finally all recite the Act of Consecration [in the vernacular]:

Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thou hast revealed to Blessed Margaret Mary Thy desire to reign over Christian families. Behold us, therefore, assembled here today to proclaim Thy absolute dominion over ours. We desire henceforth to shape our lives in accordance with Thy life, to cultivate at our hearth those virtues to which Thou hast promised peace here below, and to allow no place to that worldly spirit which Thou hast condemned.

Thine it will be to reign in our minds by the simplicity of our faith and in our hearts by love for Thee alone, a love whose flame we intend to keep brightly burning by the frequent reception of the Eucharist. Deign, O Divine Heart, to preside over us when we are gathered together, to bless our spiritual and temporal affairs, to banish our cares, to sanctify our joys, and to lighten our sorrows. If any one of us should ever, alas, offend Thee, remind him, O Divine Heart, that Thou hast nothing but kindness and mercy for the repentant sinner. And when the hour of parting comes and death shall bring bereavement to our home, then both those who are to be called away and those who are to be left will be resigned to Thy eternal decrees. One thought shall uphold us, that a day will come when our family, reunited in heaven, will extol Thy glories and Thy goodness for ever. May the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the glorious Patriarch, St. Joseph, present to Thee this our consecration, and keep us mindful of it all the days of our lives.

Hail, Sacred Heart of Jesus, our King and Father!
Liturgical Colors

A reader asked for a list of the various liturgical colors specified for use in the Traditional Mass throughout the course of the year:
Green is used for Sundays and Weekday Ferias After Epiphany and Sundays and Weekday Ferias After Pentecost.

Violet is used for Sundays and Weekday Ferias in Advent and Lent and for certain Votive Masses. It is the penitential color.

White represents joy, innocence, purity, and sanctity. It is used on the Feast Days of our Lady, of non-martyr Saints, and during the Christmas and Easter octaves if gold is not used.

Rose is used on the Third Sunday of Advent and the Fourth Sunday of Lent. It represents a blending of the violet penitential color and the white color of joy.

Red is used for Pentecost, representing the Fire of the Holy Ghost, and Feasts of Martyrs, representing their blood shed.

Black is used for Funerals, All Souls Day, and memorial Requiem Masses.

Gold may be substituted on solemn occasions for any color except violet, rose, and black. One typically sees gold during the Christmas and Easter octaves and on occasions of local significance.
Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 01/08 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Feria After Epiphany [Mass of First Sunday After Epiphany])
  • Tue. 01/09 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary, Windsor (Feria After Epiphany [Mass of First Sunday After Epiphany])
  • Sat. 01/13 8:30 AM: Low Mass at Miles Christi (Baptism of the Lord)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for January 7, 2018. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week (Octave of Christmas)

Monday (New Year's Day)






* NB: The SSPX chapels among those Mass sites listed above are posted here because the Holy Father has announced that "those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins," and subsequently extended this privilege beyond the Year of Mercy. These chapels are not listed among the approved parishes and worship sites on archdiocesan websites.

Tridentine Community News - 2017 Year in Review; Thanks to our volunteers; Tridentine Masses this coming week

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (December 31, 2017):
December 31, 2017 – Sunday in the Octave of Christmas

2017 Year in Review

As is our custom at year’s end, we take a look at the most significant developments in the local Latin Mass scene over the past 12 months:

Signs of Mainstreaming of Traditional Liturgy: The ever-increasing number of Latin Mass sites and interested priests in our region, the record attendance of over 75 individuals at the recent Chant Workshop at Old St. Mary’s, the increasing frequency of local bishops celebrating the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Extraordinary Form, the continuing attendance growth at the Oakland County Latin Mass Association, St. Benedict, Old St. Mary’s, St. Joseph, and elsewhere, all demonstrate an organic growth of the Traditional Mass at a time when overall attendance at Ordinary Form Masses in this part of the world is decreasing.

Seminary Training Popularity: Most of the first year class at Sacred Heart Major Seminary enrolled in Fr. Clint McDonell’s Tridentine Mass training course, and eight seminarians at Orchard Lake’s Ss. Cyril & Methodius Seminary are taking Fr. Louis Madey’s similar course there. At Orchard Lake, the seminarians actually petitioned leadership for such a course to be offered.

Debut of New Mass Sites: This list is getting progressively shorter each year, as so many of our local historic churches have already hosted Tridentine Masses. In 2017 St. Mary in St. Clair, Michigan was the only church to introduce a Tridentine Mass for the first time since the Second Vatican Council.

Prayer Pilgrimages: Mike Semaan’s Prayer Pilgrimages bus tour operation continues to break new ground, with a trip last spring to the historic churches and missions of California, including Tridentine Masses every day. Just yesterday, December 30, a special Solemn High Mass at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church during Mike’s Chicago bus tour was projected to attract several hundred local faithful and include blogger Fr. Z as Deacon.

Thanks to Our Volunteers

The thriving Extraordinary Form scene we enjoy is in large part due to the consistent effort put forth by a dedicated team of volunteers. Those listed in bold deserve special credit for volunteering at multiple sites across metro Detroit and Windsor.

Oakland County Latin Mass Association
Altar Servers: Riley LaMendola, Tyler LaMendola, Thomas McCourt, Kieran McDonnell, Liam McDonnell, Edward Schmick, Vincent Schmick, Charlie Shane, Jude Shane

Volunteer Choir Members: Joe Baldiga, Maggie McCourt, Jill McDonnell, Anne Shane, Caroline Wallis

Ushers: Chris Batts, Pete Higgins, Jon McDonnell

Collection Counters: Paul Mongiello, Alexis Pollard

Board Members: Chris Batts, James Hitchcock, Cecilia Lakin, Sanford Lakin, Jon McDonnell

Receptions, Vestments, & Altar Linens: Diane Begin, Mary Sullivan

Set-up & Take-down: Henry McCourt, Patrick McCourt, Thomas McCourt

Rosary Leader: Mary Strahorn
St. Benedict Tridentine Community
Altar Servers: Gabriel Ang, Matthew Charbonneau, Damien Cincurak, James Cincurak, Martin Janisse, Benjamin McKinley, James Murphy, Jonathan Ozorak, Lucas Sarweh, John Tome, Mitchell Witteveen

Volunteer Choir Members: Irena Hurajt, Laura Hurajt, Michel Ozorak, Celina Sarweh, Regina Sarweh

Ushers: Alex Foley, John Foot, Ted Jankowski, Frank O’Reilly

Finance Council: Ted Jankowski, Charlotte Parent, Ron Parent

Set-up, Take-down, & Collection Counting: Tim McKinley, Theresa McKinley, Charlotte Parent, Claudia Rutter
Old St. Mary’s, St. Hyacinth, Bus Tours, & Other Sites
Altar Servers: Michael Alvarez, Tommy Alvarez, Luke Rzeczkowski, Elliott Schmick, Zach Trailer, Francesco Von Buelow, Johannes Von Buelow

Ushers: Mike Campeau, Peter Gulewich, Bob Kujawa, Pat Zelenak
Please also keep in your prayers those priests who have celebrated Holy Masses in the Extraordinary Form for us over the past year: Bishop Earl Boyea, Bishop Donald Hanchon, Fr. Lee Acervo, Fr. David Bechill, Fr. Mark Borkowski, Msgr. Ronald Browne, Fr. Paul de Soza, Canon Jonathon Fehrenbacher, Fr. Athanasius Fornwalt, Fr. Peter Hrytsyk, Fr. David Johnston, Fr. Louis Madey, Fr. Clint McDonell, Canon Michael Stein, Fr. Joe Tuskiewicz, Fr. Jake Van Assche, Fr. Cy Whitaker, Fr. Charles White, and Fr. Stephen Wolfe.

- Alex Begin, Tridentine Community News editor
Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 01/01 – Octave of Christmas:
    • St. Edward on the Lake: 12:00 Midnight
    • St. Joseph: 9:00 AM [Low Mass], 11:00 AM
    • Assumption Grotto: 9:30 AM
    • OCLMA/Academy of the Sacred Heart: 9:45 AM
    • St. Benedict/Holy Name of Mary: 2:00 PM
  • Tue. 01/02 7:00 PM: High Mass at Holy Name of Mary, Windsor (Holy Name of Jesus)
  • Fri. 01/05 7:00 PM: Solemn High Mass at Old St. Mary’s (St. Telesphorus, Pope & Martyr) – Celebrant: Msgr. Ronald Browne, Deacon: Fr. Joe Tuskiewicz, Subdeacon: Fr. Jake Van Assche. Choir will sing Missa Secúnda by Hans Leo Hassler. Benediction after Mass. Reception follows in the parish hall.
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for December 31, 2017. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

Monday, December 25, 2017

A Christmas Reflection

It's time to reconsider the reason for the season and the challenges offered by the drive-by "experts" of the day who intend to cast the entire Biblical narrative concerning the Blessed Nativity into doubt. Consider again the Biblical narrative:

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another,
Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pas, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. (The Gospel According to Luke, Chapter Two, Verses 13-20)

Here we are again, on the first day of the Christmas season. It has become something of a Christmas tradition for me to engage the following text by C.S. Lewis in connection with the above quoted Scriptures. The reason will be obvious.

Nearly every Christmas, it seems, NEWSWEEK or TIME or some television special will feature the "latest scholarship" questioning the "authenticity" of the Christmas story. I am not concerned with the question about whether the Nativity of our Lord occurred on December 25th. That's a matter of Church tradition and incidental to my concerns here. What concerns me is how the Biblical narrative itself is invariably called into question or even dismissed as mere "myth" -- the account of the shepherds, the Angelic host, the Christ Child in a manger, the Star and the Magi from the East, Herod's slaughter of the innocents, the flight of Mary and Joseph and the Christ Child into Egypt, etc.

The scholarly authorities typically interviewed, whether Catholic or Protestant, are consistently and incorrigibly one-sided, quite thoroughly corrupted by the Humean and Kantian philosophical presuppositions undergirding the historical-critical reading of the Biblical narrative. Typical is the website, where Internet browsers frequent to learn "the facts" about this or that -- a site where one finds this sort of thinking gone to seed in an article by Austin Cline, "Nativity vs Gospels: Are the Gospels Reliable About Jesus' Birth?" (, where the partisan skepticism of such historical critical assumptions is abundantly evident in his suggestions that all the key ingredients of the Nativity story in the Gospels were concocted fictions of various kinds.

The lack of critical circumspection, if not patent fantasy, in all of this would be amusing if it were not so destructive. The upshot is always the same: that the Gospel writers are unreliable and not to be trusted, and certainly not to be taken at face value. Just how ludicrous this all is, however, can be seen easily by anyone with a modicum of familiarity with literature, mythology, and history. One of the best examples of a powerful antedote to this kind of foolishness -- and one I keep using because it is simple -- is a little essay by C.S. Lewis entitled "Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism," which is available in a collection of essays by Lewis entitled Christian Reflections (1967; reprinted by Eerdmans, 1994). The following are some excerpts from Lewis' essay, which begins on p. 152 and contains four objections (or what he calls "bleats") about modern New Testament scholarship:
1. [If a scholar] tells me that something in a Gospel is legend or romance, I want to know how many legends and romances he has read, how well his palate is trained in detecting them by the flavour...

I have been reading poems, romances, vision-literature, legends, myths all my life. I know what they are like. I know that not one [of the stories in the Gospel of John, for example] is like this... Either this is reportage - though it may no doubt contain errors - pretty close up to the facts; nearly as close as Boswell. Or else, some unknown writer in the second century, without known predecessors or successors, suddenly anticipated the whole technique of modern, novelistic, realistic narrative...

2. All theology of the liberal type involves at some point - and often involves throughout - the claim that the real behaviour and purpose and teaching of Christ came very rapidly to be misunderstood and misrepresented by his followers, and has been recovered or exhumed only by modern scholars... The idea that any... writer should be opaque to those who lived in the same culture, spoke the same language, shared the same habitual imagery and unconscious assumptions, and yet be transparent to those who have none of these advantages, is in my opinion preposterous. There is an a priori improbability in it which almost no argument and no evidence could counterbalance.

3. Thirdly, I find in these theologians a constant use of the principle that the miraculous does not occur... This is a purely philosophical question. Scholars, as scholars, speak on it with no more authority than anyone else. The canon 'if miraculous, unhistorical' is one they bring to their study of the texts, not one they have learned from it. If one is speaking of authority, the united authority of all the Biblical critics in the world counts here for nothing.

4. My fourth bleat is my loudest and longest. Reviewers [of my own books, and of books by friends whose real history I knew] both friendly and hostile... will tell you what public events had directed the author's mind to this or that, what other authors influenced him, what his over-all intention was, what sort of audience he principally addressed, why - and when - he did everything... My impression is that in the whole of my experience not one of these guesses has on any one point been right; the method shows a record of 100 per cent failure.

The 'assured results of modern scholarship', as to the way in which an old book was written, are 'assured', we may conclude, only because those who knew the facts are dead and can't blow the gaff... The Biblical critics, whatever reconstructions they devise, can never be crudely proved wrong. St. Mark is dead. When they meet St. Peter there will be more pressing matters to discuss.

However... we are not fundamentalists... Of course we agree that passages almost verbally identical cannot be independent. It is as we glide away from this into reconstructions of a subtler and more ambitious kind that our faith in the method wavers... The sort of statement that arouses our deepest scepticism is the statement that something in a Gospel cannot be historical because it shows a theology or an ecclesiology too developed for so early a date...

Such are the reactions of one bleating layman... Once the layman was anxious to hide the fact that he believed so much less than the Vicar; he now tends to hide the fact that he believes so much more...
Lewis, of course, was hardly a naive ignoramus. He knew all the critical objections to Christianity because for the first part of his life he was himself a confirmed agnostic. He was anything but "soft-minded," to use the Jamesian idiom. He taught philosophy at Oxford briefly before going on to teach Medieval and Renaissance literature at Magdalen College, Oxford, and conclude his prolific academic career teaching at Cambridge. An account of his conversion can be found in his Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life,in which we find the following quotation:
You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape? The words “compelle intrare,” compel them to come in, have been so abused be wicked men that we shudder at them; but, properly understood, they plumb the depth of the Divine mercy. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation. (emphasis added)
Lewis, an Anglican, was a man of deep Catholic habit of mind, probably because of his immersion in medieval literature; and many have wondered why he never himself crossed the Tiber. Walker Percy even compared him to Moses, who led many others to the Promised Land, though never himself crossing over. A number of books have been written about this, like Joseph Pearce's C.S. Lewis and the Catholic Church,and Christopher Derrick's C.S.Lewis and the Church of Rome.The most probable reason is cultural: his father was an Ulsterman. Whatever the reason, his common sense criticisms of those Biblical "experts" who attempt to dismantle the entire Biblical narrative under the influence of Enlightenment prejudices, can be accepted with gratitude.

For further reading: Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Tridentine Community News - New Year's Day Mass Schedule; Blessing of Epiphany Water & Salt; Blessing of Candles; Regina Magazine Publishes First Print Edition; Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (December 24, 2017):
December 24, 2017 – Vigil of Christmas

New Year’s Day Mass Schedule

The Octave of Christmas, also known as the Feast of the Circumcision, January 1, is usually a Holy Day of Obligation in both the U.S. and Canada. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has announced that it will not be of obligation this year, however the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has made no such announcement. Nevertheless local Latin Mass sites will be holding special Masses on January 1 as follows:
  • St. Joseph: 9:00 AM [Low Mass], 11:00 AM
  • St. Edward on the Lake, Lakeport: 12:00 Midnight [yes, midnight]
  • Assumption Grotto: 9:30 AM
  • Oakland County Latin Mass Association at the Academy of the Sacred Heart Chapel: 9:45 AM
  • St. Benedict Tridentine Community at Holy Name of Mary Church, Windsor: 2:00 PM
Blessing of Epiphany Water & Salt

Epiphany Water will be blessed before Mass and distributed after Mass on Sunday, January 7. The blessing will start at 9:10 AM at the Oakland County Latin Mass Association/Academy of the Sacred Heart Chapel in Bloomfield Hills, and at 1:20 PM at St. Benedict/Holy Name of Mary Church in Windsor. This is a lengthy exorcism and blessing, taking approximately 30 minutes. Bring bottles if you would like to take some Epiphany Water home. A limited number of small bottles will be available for those without their own.

Blessing of Candles

The Christmas season is a good time to remind everyone that it is a laudatory custom to use candles at home that have been blessed according to the Traditional Roman Ritual, which our celebrants are happy to do after Mass. There is a special prayer of blessing of candles for the Feast of the Purification (February 2), but the normal blessing, below, may be used on any other day of the year. Rich in meaning, this blessing must be performed in Latin; an English translation is provided here for reference.
℣. Adjutórium nostrum in nómine Dómini.
℟. Qui fecit cælum et terram.
℣. Dóminus vobíscum.
℟. Et cum spíritu tuo.
Dómine Jesu Christe, Fili Dei vivi, béne+dic candélas istas supplicatiónibus nostris: infúnde eis, Dómine, per virtútem sanctæ Cru+cis, benedictiónem cæléstem, qui eas ad repelléndas ténebras humáno géneri tribuísti; talémque benedictiónem signáculo sanctæ Cru+cis accípiant, ut, quibuscúmque locis accénsæ, sive pósitæ fúerint, discédant príncipes tenebrárum, et contremíscant, et fúgiant pávidi cum ómnibus minístris suis ab habitatiónibus illis, nec præsúmant ámplius inquietáre, aut molestáre serviéntes tibi omnipoténti Deo: Qui vivis et regnas in saécula sæculórum.
℟. Amen.

[The candles are sprinkled with Holy Water.]

℣. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
℟. Who made heaven and earth.
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.
Let us pray.
O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, bless + these candles at our request. By the power of the holy Cross, + bestow a heavenly blessing on them, O Lord, Who didst give them to mankind to dispel the gloom. Empowered with the seal of Thy holy Cross, + let the spirits of darkness depart trembling and fly in fear from all places where their light shines, and never more disturb nor molest those who serve Thee, the almighty God, Who livest and reignest forevermore.
℟. Amen.
Regina Magazine Publishes First Print Edition

For several years, Regina Magazine has been an on-line only publication. With much the same mission as Extraordinary Faith, Regina seeks to expose the beauty of Catholic Tradition through its reporting and high-quality photography. It has been and still is free to receive and read on-line. For the first time, however, Regina has published a glossy print edition, which can be ordered at the below address for $9.99 + $3.00 shipping:

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 12/25 – Christmas Day:
    • St. Joseph: 12:00 Midnight [Choir will sing Solemn Mass in A by César Franck], 9:00 AM [Low Mass], 11:00 AM
    • St. Edward on the Lake, Lakeport: 12:00 Midnight
    • Assumption Grotto: 12:00 Midnight [Choir will sing Paukenmesse by Haydn and Magnificat by Schubert], 9:30 AM
    • Oakland County Latin Mass Association at the Academy of the Sacred Heart Chapel: 9:45 AM [Choir will sing Missa Sancti Nicolai by Haydn]
    • St. Benedict Tridentine Community at Holy Name of Mary Church, Windsor: 2:00 PM [Choir will sing Missa Sancti Nicolai by Haydn]
  • Tue. 12/26 7:00 PM: High Mass at Holy Name of Mary, Windsor (St. Stephen, Deacon & Protomartyr)
  • Sat. 12/30 8:30 AM: Low Mass at Miles Christi (Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for December 24, 2017. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

Tridentine Masses coming Christmas week to metro Detroit and eastern Michigan

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Sunday (Fourth Sunday in Advent, Christmas Eve)

Monday (Christmas Day)






* NB: The SSPX chapels among those Mass sites listed above are posted here because the Holy Father has announced that "those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins," and subsequently extended this privilege beyond the Year of Mercy. These chapels are not listed among the approved parishes and worship sites on archdiocesan websites.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Fr. Perrone on the ground of our hope and certitude

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" (Assumption Grotto News, December 18, 2017)
No matter what some people might think of our parish, there is no regnant idea here of being the sole surviving remnant of true Catholicism, the last of the hardliners on Church doctrine -- theological and moral -- or on the liturgy. The truth is that we try merely to be faithful, as our Lord demands His disciples to be, of all He has given us. I like to think of this kind of conservatism as 'preservatism,' an appreciation and custody of what is most to be valued, rather than a stiff, desperate inflexibility. In fact, those who fit the ideal I believe directed by our faith are often (not always) the most reasonable, understanding, gracious, tolerant, and -- within limits -- accommodating people there are, liberal-minded people of a kind fast fading from the scene. There are, on the other hand, sternly rigid and harshly restrictive, dogmatically closed-minded folk of political correctness for whom there must be unbending conformity to the prevailing opinions of those who set the standard for culturally accepted norms. Those norms -- decidedly leftist -- will not admit disavowal by those upholding the perennial validity of an inherited body of intellectual truths and moral precepts.

There need not be an apology for wholeheartedly embracing the tradition of religious, philosophic, and moral truth. It is a precious inheritance which has been entrusted to our care, to be preserved for successive generations -- to Christians in particular. This legacy obliges those who recognize its worth to safeguard it from any who may dilute or abolish it. With regard to our parish, this means that we continue to teach doctrinal truths, that we covetously preserve our liturgical tradition, and that we insist on enduring moral truths (especially with regard to marriage and sexuality) which are of divine origin and which, for that reason, are irreformable.

What is it that is hapening in our beloved Catholic Church where many of our brethren seem eager to bow to the spirit of a rebellious age, dismissing past beliefs and ways as no longer tenable? More distressing perhaps is their silence in the face of creeping doctrinal novelties and liturgical caprice. Should there not be in a time of great confusion and moral obscurity, manifest clarity about what's true and right and decisive means put forth to preserve it? The mind and heart crave surety and stability rather than vagueness and diffidence, especially from our pope, bishops, and priests, those official guardians and expositors of the deposit of faith and heralds of Christ's Gospel.

There ought not to be doubt about the truths of faith, moral conduct, liturgical propriety and the worth of the apostolic tradition that has been bequeathed to us. It is a cause of wonderment that these certainties can be so readily discarded or adjusted to the spirit of the time -- a restless, ever shifting spirit which must soon forsake its devoted adherents for faddish novelties it has yet to propose.

In the meantime, while temporizing is condoned, those who insist on perennial truth and on tradition are dismissed, ridiculed, or hatefully regarded as enemies of progress. They ought not, however, to entertain doubts about what is right, good, true and beautiful. Confidence comes not from an egotistical estimation of being the measure of truth, but from Christ's indefectible Church which has weathered centuries of stormy controversy over what is true. It is the abiding presence in her of the divinely promised Spirit of Truth that is the foundation of certitude.

"God is our refuge and strength. Therefore we shall not fear even should the mountains tremble. The Lord of Hosts is with us" (Psalm 46). Being sure of God and of His promised fidelity is an anchoring, stabilizing, and healthy way of being a Catholic Christian. Saint Paul sounded a word of admonition to the Ephesians that would well be heeded in our day: "Be no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the Head, into Christ" (4:14). I wish our parishioners to persevere in this age of anxiety and uncertainty as people who steadfastly 'speak the truth in love.' May you ive tranquilly in this often disconcerting, sometimes exasperating, manifestly troubled age.

Fr. Perrone

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Cardinal Sarah scheduled to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass for anticipated 15,000 at the Chartre Pilgrimage in 2018

Notre-Dame de Chretiente (NDC)—the organization responsible for the Chartres Pilgrimage from Paris to Chartres, France—has announced that Robert Cardinal Sarah will offer the Pontifical High Mass in the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Chartres at the next pilgrimage to Chartres, May 21, 2018.

Below is a resume of the same pilgrimage last summer (2017) at which Cardinal Burke was celebrant:

Looking back: William F. Buckley's "Firing Line" on Vatican II

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Effective evangelism through ancient liturgy

Does this seem counter-intuitive? Many today think that the ancient Faith should be 'translated' into a more contemporary, post-modern medium to make it more 'palitable' today. But there are those who think otherwise.

Did you read about the Turkish Catholic convert from Ismir, Turkey, who was so inspired by the ancient Catholic liturgy that he prayed for three years until he got one in the church of Notre-Dame de Lourdes in the Archdiocese of Izmir?

Recently, the Una Voce Federation also published a Position Paper on "Islam and the Extraordinary Form," which argues that Catholics must preserve their ancient traditions if they are to effectively evangelize Muslims. For example, it argues that a Christianity too closely identified with secular liberal attitudes is singularly unhelpful. Samir Khalil Samir, S.J. writes:
Muslims know that modernity is coming from the West; this is a fact. Now they see the West as having lost its ethics, especially on sexual questions. They’re very shocked by what they see or hear.

...Then the Muslims say, “Okay, the West is Christian, Christianity allows this, and so Christianity is not the true religion; it’s a false religion. And we want to be true, to stick to the Qur’an and to the tradition.”
Another issue is the turn-off Muslim men experience when confronted with the effeminate forms of Catholic worship so prevalent since Vatican II. Here an antidote is provided ancient Catholic liturgy with its stress on the transcendent, reverence, dignity and ritual in worship, as opposed to a stress on spontaneity and emotionalism.

Conversion stories of Muslims often include great sacrifice and suffering. After being tortured, imprisoned, and exiled, the Iraqi Muslim convert Joseph Fadelle wrote of his first experience of Latin Chant:
I was gripped by the sonorities, which were much subtler and more musical than Arabic. Although I did not understand it, I immediately felt an attraction for that language.

As I listened to that slow, profound music, I also found again the prayerful atmosphere that I had experienced in churches in the Near East. This chant touched me deeply; it immersed me in a peace that I could not have imagined a few days before.
There is an immense appeal of traditional liturgy and eastern and western traditional chant to those fed up with the superficial. I have found this to be the case personally with Muslim friends as well. For example, I remember playing for some modern Catholic music for a Muslim couple from India with their college-age daughter, whom we had invited as guests for dinner in our home. None of them liked the samples I played for them. On the other hand, when I played a CD of some ancient Armenian Catholic chant music (like this), they immediately found it enchanting. Live and learn.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

After Vatican II [1975-2050]

Just discovered (from a reader) this website with an abundance of research and writing on it about the Church. I still haven't "vetted" it for content (though I already see some things with which I disagree), and I don't know much about the author, Fr. Tom Richstatter, O.F.M., beyond what is published in this short bio (though it looks like he teaches classes on this material), In any case, it looks interesting. There's doubtless a lot here worth reading and knowing.

The "Index Page" for the website alone shows the extent of research and writing the site offers. Below are a couple of charts and commentary displayed under a tab somewhere on his website entitled "Chapter d30 After Vatican II [1975-2050 CE]":

Cultural and Theological Context

James D. Davidson (in an article "Alienation in the Catholic Church Today" p 22 in Robert J. Kennedy'sReconciling Embrace [Liturgy Training Publications, 1998]) states that Catholics who experienced their formative years during the 1950's and 1960's witnessed the following changes:

ItemPre-Vatican IIPost-Vatican II
Liturgical LanguageLatinEnglish
Liturgical MusicGregorian chantFolk
Liturgical InstrumentsOrganGuitar
MoralityEmphasis on Sexual PurityEmphasis on Peace and justice
EthicsNatural Law Ethics Consequentialism (An emphasis on the context and consequences of behavior)
FaithFaith is obligationFaith is personal choice
The WorldOther-worldlinessThis-worldliness
Catholic IdentityParticularism (the superiority of Catholicism)Ecumenism (an emphasis on how much Catholicism has in common with Protestant denominations)

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Moving the Furniture

At a gathering of parish leaders on January 19, 2002 from St. Mary's Parish, Evansville (one of the parishes mentioned in Excellent Catholic Parishes by Paul Wilkes) we discussed the metaphor of "moving the furniture."  The theological concepts we hold are something like furniture in a room.  Sometimes when we introduce a new piece of furniture, the old ones need to be rearranged.  Applying this to the arrangement of our "theological furniture" before and after the Second Vatican Council we found several key items have been "moved."  These changes are summarized in the the following table:

ItemPre-Vatican IIPost-Vatican II
JesusDivineDivine and Human
GodTranscendentTranscendent and Immanent
GraceThing / QuantitativePersonal Relationship, Process
Gives Grace
Act of Worship
Reveals who God is
Builds Church
BaptismTakes away original sinMakes one "Another Christ"
Makes Church
Makes Disciples/Ministers
Pope, Bishops, etc.
Body of Christ
People of God
BibleProtestant BookOur story
Faith witness
Good Friday
Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday
Meal : Sacrifice :: Sacrament : Union with God
SinBreaking the law
Not loving God & neighbor
Failure to grow
ConfessionTelling sins to the priestReconciliation
Public act
Worship and Praise
Celebration of God's Mercy
Aid in human forgiveness and reconciliation
PriestOne set apart fromOne in the midst of
Boot camp
Incarnational Theology - The place of our salvation - God's dream for a harmonious, reconciled garden

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Sacraments Yesterday and Today

How is our thinking about sacrament and sacraments different than it was 50 years ago (pre Vatican II)?  What are the principal changes in sacramental theology during the past 50 years?  Once again I refer to the "tip of the pistol" metaphor.  What are those often unseen changes that have big implications.  Often the really important changes are not the most noticeable, not the things that the people in the pew would name as the "big changes."   I list what I have come to consider the 10 most important.  The following list is not in any particular "order of importance." 

1.  Anabatic / Katabatic   Before the Constitution on the Liturgy the anabatic dimension of the sacraments was not emphasized; the sacraments were primarily to "give grace" (the Katabatic movement) rather than considered primarily as acts of worship by the community.  The primary thing is not what we get, but what we give:  worship, praise, and thanksgiving to God.

2. Private to corporate and personal.  When the emphasis is on "what I get" from the sacraments, it's easy to think of sacraments as something administered to an individual. When we think of sacraments primarily as acts of corporate worship, liturgical worship is the act of the entire Body of Christ. This is why sacraments are always (ideally) celebrated by the worshiping community (at Sunday Eucharist).

Eucharist, at least the celebration of the Eucharist (1) when not separated from merely "receiving Holy Communion" is usually seen as a public act. The (2) Sacrament of Holy Orders and the(3) Sacrament of Confirmation are, with increasing frequency, celebrated in the midst of the Sunday worshiping community. The initiation of adults takes place at the Easter (Vigil) with the worshiping community. More and more, infant (4) Baptism and the (5) Anointing of the Sick are celebrated at Sunday Mass.  (6) Marriage is celebrated during the Eucharist, but is often not with the worshiping community but with the circle of friends who often are there not to worship God but only as friends, honoring the couple.   (7) Reconciliation seems to be the last sacrament to find its a public context.

3. Anamnesis   Anamnesis is another fundamental tip of the pistol change. Eucharist no longer "repeats"  or "re-presents" or "reminds" us of the passion death and resurrection of the Lord, but through anamnesis -- Liturgical Remembering we become mystically present to these events. This mystery of presence is one of the fundamental changes that is not been preached or taught sufficiently during the past 50 years.

4. Mysterion    The metaphor of the seven Shoeboxes. Another "invisible" but very important change has come in seeing sacraments not so much as seven distinct actions, but as the manifestation of God's loving plan for creation, beginning with Christ himself, the body of Christ, the Church, gathered to celebrate Eucharist, the other sacraments, the liturgical year and liturgy of the hours, indeed all of creation is sacrament of -- revelation of -- God's Trinitarian love. Key to this understanding is the Primacy of Christ.

5. Grace   I believe another major change comes in the understanding of grace: the movement from grace as a thing which can be quantified and classified, to the understanding of grace as God's love, God's Holy Spirit. This change is multiple implications which are important for our spiritual life and for our theological understanding.

6. The role of the community   Another fundamental tip of the pistol change is our understanding of who administers, or better, who celebrates the sacraments. Formerly the priest administered, performed, the sacramental act. Today, we understand that the worshiping community is the primary celebrant of the sacraments. The community is led, coached, by the presiding minister, who therefore always praise in the first person plural, "we", to which we give our consent, our Amen. I often think of this basic change as: Formerly I said Mass for the people, now I say Mass with the people. A tiny change, a preposition grammatically, but this tiny change represents an entirely new orientation on my part when I am leading the congregation. Until this change is more widely understood (which today it is not) people will still wonder why we are baptizing an infant during the Sunday Eucharist. "I don't even know that baby. What does the baptism have to do with me?" It has everything to do with you. The sacrament is not merely "for" the baby; it is for the entire community.

7. Mind/Body/Spirit   A new understanding of the human person. My former sacramental theology viewed the human person in more static, Aristotelian categories. The human being was composed of body and soul. The body came and went; the soul was immortal and consequently the soul was the important part. Ministry was about saving souls. And the soul was viewed in more static categories. You were either Catholic or you weren't. You were in the state of grace, or out of it. You were either married or you weren't. Today I view the person as an integral composite of mind body and spirit. Faith is a journey. Conversion is a process. These are very important tip of the pistol changes.

8. Minister of the Sacraments   Sacramental roles formerly sacraments were administered usually by the priest and received, by an individual. Now we see that the sacraments are celebrations of the community, the minister-celebrant is the parish, coached by the priest. In the recipient is also the parish.  I'm reminded of the description of sacrament by Soren Kierkegaard:  "Many Christians tend to view the minister/priest as the actor, God as the prompter, and the congregation as the audience. But actually, the congregation is the actor, the minister/priest merely the prompter, and God the audience." (Soren Kierkegaard. Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing, New York: Harper & Row, 1956, pp 180-181. Quoted in Erickson, "Liturgical Participation" Worship 59 (1985) p 232.)

9. Sacred Scripture Another element which I believe is very important is the realization of the role played by sacred Scripture in our understanding of sacrament. Formerly Scripture and sacrament seemed unrelated. Sacrosanctum Concilium stress the importance that sacred Scripture plays in the liturgy. 

SC #24. Sacred scripture is of the greatest importance in the celebration of the liturgy. For it is from scripture that lessons are read and explained in the homily, and psalms are sung; the prayers, collects, and liturgical songs are scriptural in their inspiration and their force, and it is from the scriptures that actions and signs derive their meaning. Thus to achieve the restoration, progress, and adaptation of the sacred liturgy, it is essential to promote that warm and living love for scripture to which the venerable tradition of both eastern and western rites gives testimony.

SC 51 (Cp 2 Eucharist). The treasures of the Bible are to be opened up more lavishly, so that a richer share in God's word may be provided for the faithful.  [Flannery's translation:  "... so that a richer fare may be provided for the faithful at the table of God's word."]  In this way a more representative portion of holy Scripture will be read to the people in the course of a prescribed number of years. 

Our current Lectionary for Mass contains 14% of the Old Testament and 71% of the New Testament (85% of the Bible); whereas the Missal of 1963 (the Missal in use before our current Lectionary) contained only 01% of the Old Testament and 17% of the New Testament (18% of the Bible).   Often when people speak of the Ordinary Form of Mass and the Extraordinary Form of Mass they say "The difference is that the one is Mass in English and the other is Mass in Latin" without realizing that there are deeper, but less noticeable, changes also.

10. Viewpoint   A very far reaching change has occurred "under the iceberg" regarding what the very word "sacrament" implies. Formerly it referred to "something we receive" now it refers to "something we are" (to use a phrase I learned from Prof. Ken Himes).  I am reminded of the article by the President-Rector in The Raven last week. Speaking of Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament he remarked that we are each a monstrance.  "We are monstrances too. We share the task, like the vessel, of bringing the face of Christ to bear upon a world so in need of his visage."  We are visible signs of invisible grace, signs of God, Doors to the Sacred.

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To Think About

Do you think the spirit of the Second Vatican Council is being implemented today? Why or why not?   [A participant in this class once wrote:   "Thank you, Holy Spirit, for the Second Vatican Council.  But where is the next step, Spirit? Your gentle breeze isn't moving on to gale force winds. This freshness is rapidly becoming stagnant air.  Soon the smog will cover us all and we won't remember why we got into this boat to begin with. Some will hide in the bottom of the boat and construct a plan to build a more seaworthy vessel. Some will look to the sky and begin to cry. Some will curse you for meddling in a situation where you don't belong. Some will become paralyzed and do nothing. But the remainder will leap overboard, put their foot into the water and start walking toward the shore.  Please be ready with breakfast."  [R. Cavanaugh, summer 1993]

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Copyright: Tom Richstatter.  All Rights Reserved.  This page was created by Fr. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M.  Every effort has been, and is being made to acknowledge sources when the ideas are not my own.  Any failure to comply with the United States Copyright Act (Title 17, United States Code) will be corrected immediately should I become aware of it.  This site was updated on 11/11/10 .  Your comments on this site are welcome at