July 2006 Archives


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So, for those who have been wondering what I decided on for vacation: I am taking a stack of books to a little motel in Tewksbury, MA. The agenda is to sleep, read, eat, sing, and just be. There seems to be some bluegrass festival within striking distance, and a few other choral opportunities too. Thursday seems to have scheduled a bloggers dinner at a local Italian Eatery. RC seems to be geared up to do some tour guiding around Boston environs. I am sure that one or the other of us may even post some pictures.

The New Adult Catechism from USCCB arrived today so that is going along for the ride. I will take along The Life and Times of St. Gaspar del Bufalo, as well. I also expect to finish Celebrating the Holy Eucharist by Arinze, A Treatise on Prayer from the Heart by Caussade, Catholic Matters by Neuhaus. I have three other books along for the ride to see if I can start on them as well. Imagine me most mornings with my feet up, a cup of coffee in my hand, and devouring a good book. Most evenings I will be chopping garlic, boiling pasta and sipping a good red wine. After Vespers it will be back to the books.

The computer is going along with a printer, so I can print out the boarding pass for the return flight and also do some blogging.

So, can anyone recommend a good place for Sunday Mass? It has to be a place where I can just pray without too much wierd stuff going on.

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All of the Letters of St. Gaspar del Bufalo in English are now available on-line. Today I finished cleaning up the WordPerfect files and converting them to PDF, and uploaded letters 2751 through 3959.

RC tells me that the sidebar can not be amended for a while, so the link to St. Gaspar's letters will have to wait, but I was able to upload a file to that old site to redirect people.

Here, again, is the new site for the Letters and other writings of St. Gaspar del Bufalo.

Again, I wish to pay tribute to my friend, Fr. Ray Cera, C.PP.S. He is to be credited for translating all the letters of St. Gaspar and making them available to an English speaking audience.
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I recommend for your reading a new book available in English.

The Life and Times of St. Gaspar del Bufalo
by Giorgio Papasogli

I have had the book for a while and have been reading short sections of it between other books. For my vacation I intend to read it all again, straight through.

Also during my vacation, I intend to put the whole thing on-line. You can find my first efforts here.

The one thing I find beneficial is is all the background material about the politics and the economy and the social life in the late 18th and early 19th century, a time that contributed to the formation of St. Gaspar. There was a passage I read this morning, that taken out of the violent context that was France and Italy of the time, could actually be used to describe the day in which you and I live.

The little boy Gaspar and his group of friends heard these stories and at night, with their eyes open, they thought and continued to think of these incredible tragedies. One thing was clear in these little minds: the most populous nation had murdered God and invited other nations to do the same. This is what these little infantile souls felt.

In reality there were all kinds of thing about this tragic conflict which, apparently developed among men, but actually it was something between heaven and earth. There are enemies of God, but there are also heroes of God. There are vacillating souls, there are souls solidly believing in the death of God; there are apostles, there are weak ones, there are cowards, there are the indifferent ... Each life, each soul is implicated and is graded according to the strength with which it reacts.

But the external values provoke, as in this case, a taking of an interior position. Resistence, in order to be sustained, has to be superhuman.

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stgasparhouse.jpg Effective August 15, when I return from vacation, I will begin moving into my new office at St. Gaspar House. A new set of doors, visible in the picture have replaced the sliding glass doors. This will provide a bit more security, and will also enable me to enter from this side. Other groups will continue to use the large meeting room and the kitchen area of the house and will continue to use the front door. With this new door, I will not need to interupt their meetings to get to my office. Now I will be able to move my office out of my my bedroom, and I will have a place to meet prarishioners on a regular basis.

St. Gaspar House which is at the end of the property of the parish, was purchased may years ago. It was used as a meeting place and a service center for volunteer services. The house had not been well cared for in the past serveral years and it has collected a lot of junk that no one uses. So room by room we are going to begin to repair the house. It will become a place for Adult Faith Formation, for Spiritual Direction and for Marriage and Family Counseling as well as Administration. Catholic Charities provides a licensed Counselor on Fridays. The Legion of Mary meets there on a regular basis, and on Sunday it becomes a Sunday School for pre-school children. The School uses the large meeting room and the yard for retreats for various classrooms.

And finally, the Pastor has his own office. The principal, the School book keeper, the School Development office, the DRE, the Youth Minister, The Music Minister, the Maintenance Director, the Parish bookkeeper, all of these people have their own private office. Now the Pastor gets his own space. Currently my name is one of three on one of the small parlor doors.

Many thanks to Ken and Cruz who have worked long hours of repairing the walls and painting, and now will help assemble the desk and bookcases. When I am moved in, I will post a few pictures.

St.Gaspar House will also have its own website. This site will also replace the old Pacific Province site which was the home of all of St. Gaspar's letters. The new site for St. Gaspar's letters will be here once I get all the links moved over.

One the the new sets of Documents going into this new page is the book, The Life and Times of St. Gaspar del Bufalo by Giorgio Papasogli. This book was considered by Fr. Ray Cera, C.PP.S. to be the best "Life of Gaspar" available. Through the work of Fr. Milton Ballor this book is now availble in print and is a very valuable addition to any collection of the lives of the Saints. One of the things I like about it is the thorough explanation of the society, the culture and the politics of the early 19th century that forms the background of St. Gaspar's life and ministry. Another item the print version has that is not availble on the internet is the collection of pictures of the various places that were central in St. Gaspar's life.

The book is available for $20 plus shipping from Fr. Milton Ballor, C.PP.S., St. Charles Center, Carthagena, OH 45822. Parishioners of St. Edward or anybody here in the Bay Area can pick up a copy here at the Parish Office or St. Gaspar House when I move in.

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I am just about through the mountain of mail that arrived on my last vacation. The second half of vacation is the first two weeks of August. I will spend my last weekend doing a Retrouvaille in Austin, but I have no idea where to go for the rest of it. I have a free flight to cash in, and a vacation allowance.

Anybody with any ideas?

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I recieved a wonderful email from Rome from my friend Fr. Lopes:

Greetings from Rome. On Saturday, my mom and I head out to Umbria for a few days. We have the intention of going to the “Refugio San Gaspare” for lunch or dinner. I’ll tell ‘em you sent me.

He promises to send pictures.

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Mass and BBQ

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...says Pope Benedict.

The Pope requested pilgrims "to pray that modern humanity may experience the power of the Blood of Christ, poured out on the cross for our salvation."

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Evangelium Vitae 25

"The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground" (Gen 4:10). It is not only the voice of the blood of Abel, the first innocent man to be murdered, which cries to God, the source and defender of life. The blood of every other human being who has been killed since Abel is also a voice raised to the Lord. In an absolutely singular way, as the author of the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us, the voice of the blood of Christ, of whom Abel in his innocence is a prophetic figure, cries out to God: "You have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God ... to the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel" (12:22, 24).

It is the sprinkled blood. A symbol and prophetic sign of it had been the blood of the sacrifices of the Old Covenant, whereby God expressed his will to communicate his own life to men, purifying and consecrating them (cf. Ex 24:8; Lev 17:11). Now all of this is fulfilled and comes true in Christ: his is the sprinkled blood which redeems, purifies and saves; it is the blood of the Mediator of the New Covenant "poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins" (Mt 26:28). This blood, which flows from the pierced side of Christ on the Cross (cf. Jn 19:34), "speaks more graciously" than the blood of Abel; indeed, it expresses and requires a more radical "justice", and above all it implores mercy, 19 it makes intercession for the brethren before the Father (cf. Heb 7:25), and it is the source of perfect redemption and the gift of new life.

The blood of Christ, while it reveals the grandeur of the Father's love, shows how precious man is in God's eyes and how priceless the value of his life. The Apostle Peter reminds us of this: "You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot" (1 Pt 1:18-19). Precisely by contemplating the precious blood of Christ, the sign of his self-giving love (cf. Jn 13:1), the believer learns to recognize and appreciate the almost divine dignity of every human being and can exclaim with ever renewed and grateful wonder: "How precious must man be in the eyes of the Creator, if he ?gained so great a Redeemer' (Exsultet of the Easter Vigil), and if God ?gave his only Son' in order that man ?should not perish but have eternal life' (cf. Jn 3:16)!". 20

Furthermore, Christ's blood reveals to man that his greatness, and therefore his vocation, consists in the sincere gift of self. Precisely because it is poured out as the gift of life, the blood of Christ is no longer a sign of death, of definitive separation from the brethren, but the instrument of a communion which is richness of life for all. Whoever in the Sacrament of the Eucharist drinks this blood and abides in Jesus (cf. Jn 6:56) is drawn into the dynamism of his love and gift of life, in order to bring to its fullness the original vocation to love which belongs to everyone (cf. Gen 1:27; 2:18-24).

It is from the blood of Christ that all draw the strength to commit themselves to promoting life. It is precisely this blood that is the most powerful source of hope, indeed it is the foundation of the absolute certitude that in God's plan life will be victorious. "And death shall be no more", exclaims the powerful voice which comes from the throne of God in the Heavenly Jerusalem (Rev 21:4). And Saint Paul assures us that the present victory over sin is a sign and anticipation of the definitive victory over death, when there "shall come to pass the saying that is written: ?Death is swallowed up in victory'. ?O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?' " (1 Cor 15:54-55).

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Letter 57

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This was article for Precious Blood Family Magazine and a repost from late 2003. It is basically my homage to St. Gaspar's letter 57

Blood is not pleasant to think about sometimes. Some become squeamish. At the same time, blood has a central place in some of our violent movies and other entertainment. There we do not pay attention to it. It is not real in the movies. Still, spend a few moments thinking about blood, your blood. Stop. Take your pulse. Blood is central. It is powerful. Its action, its force, what it carries, gives us life. It moves faster, we move faster. It fails, we fail. It is the silent, ever present essence of the power of life.

Our ancestors had a vastly simpler, maybe primitive approach to blood. It was simply where life met death and death met life. Fresh, warm, crimson blood was an offering, a sacrifice, a gift back to God, taking the substance of the life God had given and, giving it back, offering it all. We flinch when the priest passes among us on Easter morning scattering the water of the newly blessed font over the people. Can you imagine what it was like in the desert when inaugurating the covenant Moses took half of the blood of the bulls and splashed it on the people? This was before dry cleaning was even imagined. You were stained. It didn’t come out. It was an enduring mark of life. Life branded you, stained you, claimed you as belonging to a covenant with life itself. It was remarkably more than the privileges of membership, and you can’t leave home without it. This primitive approach developed through time to an elaborate ritual in the holy of holies where the blood of sacrifice was placed in the temple’s inner heart on the mercy seat. Blood was a way to communicate with God, to approach the very limits of life and death and receive in return his life and forgiveness.

St. Gaspar would invite us to this same reflection, but then would ask us to spend a few more moments reflecting on God’s blood, divine blood. His letters indicate it is too little to call this blood significant. Somehow our words do not convey its grandeur. This blood was the flaming outburst, the burning expression, the extravagant generosity, of a God of unreasonable and unimaginable kindness. (1) The human body of the Son of God becomes the holy of holies, and now the blood on the mercy seat is the blood rushing through his precious heart. His death on the cross and the tearing of the veil in the temple indicate that the presence of the divine has been snatched from a temple of stone and placed in the temple of a human heart where it is most defeated, overwhelmed or broken. We may think that God has abandoned us in our struggles; yet, in fact, he is closest to the broken and forsaken. You who once were far off have been made near through the Blood of Christ. (2)

This blood has a voice, a piercing cry. For Gaspar the sound of this blood extinguishes any noise of sin. (3) This voice cries out clearly on behalf of sinners and any who are broken. This voice cries to the heavens when life is lost or blood is shed. This is precisely where a devotion to or spirituality of the Precious Blood identifies us. Reciting a devotion is untruthful if it does not correspond to devoted living, and a spirituality is empty if it is not a way of life. A Spirituality of the Precious Blood drives us to follow that voice, to take it up as our own. St. Gaspar would plunge us into these mysteries, (4)bending to its gentle crushing force that urges us on to a courageous love, first for the ineffable love of God, and in the same beat of the heart, to a love for all people, especially those who are far off. Yes, blood can be messy, but it is sacred too.

1. Letter 57
2. Eph. 2:13
3. Letter 52
4. Letter 57

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Don Marco certainly has a way with words. I think he should have been a CPPS instead of an O. Cist. Or maybe he would be able to help me begin a refounding of the CPPS.

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  one of Fr. Keyes' photos

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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