Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S.: August 2006 Archives

St. Bernard

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A miracle and a great experience for the Faith. What a cool story.

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...selections from Volume 1 can be found here.

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Good Friends

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It has been a lovely birthday celebration. One delightful moment was a dinner at the Home of Barbara and Abilio, along with her son Steven. You have heard me speak here of my former student, Fr. Steven Lopes, STD, who now serves at the CDF and is Cardinal Levada's secretary. Fr. Steven is home on vacation and he brought me a nice little gift from a shop in the Piazza Navona. It is a decoration for the garden and is a beautiful Madonna. It took me a second to realize there was a cup in the picture and it was a rendition of the Madonna of the Precious Blood, and image designed by St. Gaspar. I guess a certain amount of surprise and delight registered on my face. These kinds of images are rare, and I was quite delighted that on seeing it they thought of me.

It is a delight to have good friends in Rome. Many thanks to Barbara and Steven.

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Luke 1:39-56
1 Corinthians 15:20-26
Psalm 44:10-12.16
Apocalypse 11:19; 12:1-6.10

August 15, 2005
Monastery of the Glorious Cross, O.S.B.
Branford, Connecticut

Today’s festival, the Pascha of summer, signals the beginning of the final phase of the liturgical year. The Church enters into the splendours of her harvest time. With the feasts of late summer and autumn, the Church turns the shimmering pages of the book of the Apocalypse and draws us into their mystery. “Blessed is he who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, writes the Apostle, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written therein; for the time is near” (Ap 1:3).

On August 6th, precisely forty days before the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, we celebrated the Transfiguration of the Lord, a mystery of heavenly glory, a foretaste of the apocalyptic brightness of the Kingdom. “I saw one like a son of man . . . And his face was like the sun shining in full strength (Ap 1:16). Having contemplated the glory of the Father shining on the face of the transfigured Christ (2 Cor 4:6), in another month we will celebrate his Glorious Cross, the Tree of Life with leaves “for the healing of the nations” (Ap 22:2).

On November 1st, the immense mosaic of all the saints will be unveiled before our wondering eyes in a liturgy scintillating with images from the book of the Apocalypse and echoing with “the voice of a great multitude like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals, crying, ‘Alleluia’” (Ap 19:6).

On November 9th, the liturgy of the feast of the Dedication of Saint John Lateran will point to “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride, adorned for her husband” (Ap 21:2). As Mother Church approaches holy Advent, the end of her yearly cycle, the sacred liturgy seems to increase its momentum. Soon the last cry of the book of the Apocalypse will be ceaselessly in our hearts and on our lips, “‘Surely. I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Ap 22:20).

Today, on this solemnity of the Assumption of the all-holy Mother of God and Blessed Virgin Mary, we enter into the phase described by Saint Paul in the second reading, “As in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ” (1 Cor 15:22).

Today, she who “belongs to Christ” by a unique, abiding, and unrepeatable privilege, the most holy Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary follows where he has gone, “through the greater and more perfect tent not made by human hands, that is, not of this creation . . . into the Holy Place” (Heb 9:11).

An antiphon of today’s Office makes us sing: “Draw us in your footsteps, O Mary, hidden with Christ in God! Your paths are sown with delights; exquisite the fragrance of your perfumes.” True devotion to the Mother of God consists in allowing oneself to be drawn after her. He who walks in the footprints of Mary inhales the mysterious fragrance of her holiness, a fragrance known to all the saints.

An old custom would have us bless fragrant herbs and flowers on the festival of the Assumption; according to legend the tomb of the Mother of God was found to be full of fragrant herbs and flowers after her body had been assumed into glory. Assumed body and soul into heaven, Mary leaves behind a lingering fragrance. It is subtle, not overpowering, but unmistakable. It is the fragrance of purity, of humility, and of adoration. Inhale it, and you will be drawn in her footsteps, even to the feet of the risen and ascended Christ, hidden in glory.

The ancient gospel for the Assumption, Luke 10:38-42, still used in the Cistercian Order, is that of another Mary — Mary of Bethany — seated in sweet repose at the feet of Jesus, listening to his word (Lk 10:39). “Mary has chosen the best part, which shall not be taken from her” (Lk 10:42). With eyes illumined by the Holy Spirit, the Church discerned in the familiar figure of Mary of Bethany an icon of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, assumed into heaven. There, in the presence of her Son, she enjoys the rest promised by God, the Sabbath that will have no end (cf. Heb 4:1-10).

“Draw me after you, let us make haste” (Ct 1:4), was the longing and desire of her heart. Now, to us, she says, “The king has brought me into his chambers” (Ct 1:4). The Assumption of the Mother of God is a signal to the entire cosmos that the divine economy is indeed entering into its final and glorious phase. “Then, says Saint Paul, comes the end, when he (Christ) delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies beneath his feet” (1 Cor 15:24-25).

In the first reading from the book of the Apocalypse, “God’s temple in heaven was opened” (Ap 11:19). The Church, like Saint Stephen her proto-martyr, “full of the Holy Spirit, gazes into heaven and sees the glory of God” (Ac 7:55). The whole array of theophanic signs seen once on Sinai’s heights is deployed again: “flashes of lightning, voices, peals of thunder” (Ap 11:19). And then, in the heavens appears the great portent: “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Ap 12:1). The Woman is the bride of the Lamb adorned for her spouse (Ap 21:2); the Woman is the Church presented “in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing . . . holy and without blemish” (Eph 5:27); the Woman is the Virgin Mother of Nazareth, Bethlehem, Cana, Calvary, and the Mount of Olives. “Mary is assumed into heaven; the angels rejoice, and praising, bless the Lord” (Antiphon of Vespers). Behold the Woman of the psalm, the queen whose beauty the king desires, standing at his right, arrayed in gold (Ps 45: 9b-15).

The liturgy is not content with exalting the great apocalyptic icon before our eyes; the liturgy would have us hear the woman’s song for her heart overflows with a goodly theme (Ps 45:1). This, of course, is the reason for today’s jubilant gospel. “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour” (Lk 1:46). This is the song of the Bride of the Lamb; this is the song of the Church in every age; this is the song of the Holy Mother of God in the midst of the angels.

If the apocalyptic phase of the liturgical year teaches us anything, it is that, in the end, the praise of God, and adoration, will have the final word. The glorious Assumption of the Mother of God points to the immense and ceaseless liturgy of heaven, to the fullness of that doxological and eucharistic life that begins for us here and now. Those who go in search of the Lamb will find him in the company of Mary his Mother. “We have seen his star in the east, and are come to adore him” (Mt 2:2).

For us, Mary is that star. “Look to the star,” says Saint Bernard, “and call upon Mary.” Already, the “voice of the great multitude, like the sound of many waters” (Ap 19:6) begins to swell. It is the voice of those who look to the star, and follow her to the marriage supper of the Lamb. A new song rises in the heart of a Church that is alive and young: “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come’” (Ap 22:17). Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

© 2005, D. Mark Daniel Kirby, O.Cist.
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RC is moving the Blogs to a new server so that we can update the templates from time to time. He is also upgrading us to a new version of Moveable Type. There should be a day soon when the blog will be down because of the move. When this happens, just wait a day or so before trying to visit. Thanks for your patience, and thanks to RC for all the technical work.

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I'm Home


Well, vacation is coming to an end. Tomorrow I am back for the feast and for the anniversary of the Foundation of the CPPS (August 15, 1815).

I also have a new cell phone number. The old one will not work, so email me if you want the new one. People who leave brooms outside my door will get the new number when the LA team loses a game or two in a row.

It is going to be a busy week. School starts next week.

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Option #4

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From the GIRM, Paragraph 48:

In the dioceses of the United States of America, there are four options for the cantus ad introitum: (1) the antiphon and Psalm from the Roman Missal as set to music by the Roman Gradual or in another musical setting; (2) the seasonal antiphon and Psalm of the Simple Gradual; (3) a song from another collection of psalms and antiphons, approved by the USCCB or the diocesan bishop, including psalms arranged in responsorial or metrical forms, (4) a suitable liturgical song chosen in accord with GIRM, no. 47.

It seems to me that option #4 is the universal option, the one that is used most often in the United States.

My question is: Is there a parish in the US that regularly uses Options 1, 2, or 3 and what has your experience of it been?

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Often posts from this blog have been copied off and sent anonymously and cowardly to the Bishop or to the Diocesan School department to complain about my defense of the liturgy or to object to my defense of decorum and proper dress for the Liturgy.

My complaint has never been against any person, but against actions or dress that are deemed inappropriate by official offices in the local and universal church.

The one thing that amazes me is that several women, people with official roles in leadership, often think that my criticism is inappropriate. In other words, brides who wear strapless gowns should be allowed to do so. This is the culture, they say. This is what everyone does, they say. You would be the only one to object, they say. The Bishop, on the other hand, likes to come here because we do the liturgy well. It is always amusing to see a complaint sent to him about something he asked me to do.

The culture does not determine the liturgy. I am increasing amused by people who ask for upbeat songs. There are some who think I do not listen. Yes, I listen. The answer is "no." From now on the conversation is on the text, or the conversation is over.

There is a new book by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus called "Catholic Matters." In it he talks about the groups who believe that Vatican II was a movement in discontinuity from what went before, as if there was a pre-Vatican II church and a post-Vatican II church. What most people think is a Vatican II Liturgy is nothing of what was intended by Vatican II. I would recommend this book for anyone who struggles to defend the liturgy today. It is a very affirming and supportive book.

I am the pastor. I am not a talk-show host or a choreographer. I am the one responsible for the liturgy at this parish and I take my responsibility seriously. We are not putting on a show here. People who come for the music or for the decoration or for the community are missing the point. The purpose of our singing is not to enable us to feel the Spirit. The purpose of our music is to give us the vehicle to enter into the word of God, to give ourselves to the Word of God, and pray that we may become the work of God. People will be taught to come here for Jesus, and for nothing else.

How we dress for the liturgy indicates our reverence and our readiness. As always, people who dress inappropriately will be welcomed in our church and treated with great hospitality. However, they will not be lector, Eucharistic minister, or in any leadership or ministerial role.

The Liturgy has become a place for groups and organizations to strut their stuff and look good. The recent support from the Diocese has been very affirming and has given me much support. Count me as part of the Reform of the Reform. The Liturgy, the Eucharist, the Lord's Supper, the Communio with the Lord and all the Saints; it is the center of the universe, it is the center that holds, it is everything that gives us life or directs who we are to be.

There are many who wonder how long they have to put up with me. The most telling day was when someone complained and said they wanted their church back. That very day another thanked me for bringing back reverence and beauty and they ended by saying, "thank you for giving us our church back."

Ministry is not decided by opinion polls or what anyone may think about what I am doing. It is the Lord's ministry and the Church is the one who determines the validity of ministry. To be Catholic is to believe in the Church and to think with the Church and to seek to be and do what the Church does.

I remember a conversation where I said that we needed to begin to look at the liturgy from the Church's perspective. The answer came back, "we are the Church." Nope, sorry, we are not individually or collectively the church. We do not get to decide what is right or wrong or what the truth is. Truth is not based on what we might feel about something or what we might like. Jesus himself is the truth and our task is to listen, to learn and to receive his grace.

So go ahead, copy this off and send it to whomever you like. It is the Church's Liturgy, and I will continue to defend it.

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BMP.jpg Today is the last full day here in the East as tomorrow I head home to do laundry, re-pack and head to Austin. At least for two nights I get to rescue my puppy from those Dodger fans who have been dressing her in Blue. Today’s first trip was down to Rhode Island and a visit to Holy Ghost Church in Tiverton. BMP2.jpg

This was another meeting of fellow bloggers. Brian gave me a quick tour of the Church with a view of the recent history of the parish and shared with me some of the favorite pieces on the organ. Then we went out for a sandwich before I began the trek north again. It is always a great joy to meet people with similar ideas about music and ministry. It sounds to me that his parish has gone through a similar transition in music ministry as has my own. BMP3.jpg

Then I stopped by the Motherhouse of the Daughters of St. Paul. Their bookstore in Redwood City is a favorite of mine and these sisters have helped a great deal in bringing Catholic Books to St. Edward parishioners. They had asked me to review some inventory on Pastoral Ministry for them and so I stopped by to pick up my homework. They most graciously gave me a pretty comprehensive tour of their publishing and recording enterprise. I was able to see a proof copy of the new translation of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. One of the editors very animatedly gave us a tour of the book and some of the new things this book will have. BMP4.jpg

Even though I am on day four of this antibiotic regimen I am still hacking away. I am scheduled to head off to a sing-it-yourself Faure Requiem, but my voice is trying to convince me to stay indoors.

[UPDATE: Brian has his post here.]

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This is the most recent addition to the page on the Writings of St. Gaspar. It is the deposition of Venerable Giovanni Merlini at the ordinary process begun at Albano for the Beatification and Canonization of St. Gaspar del Bufalo.

For more on the life of Venerable Merlini, go here.

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iconcup.jpgIn the morning we started at a little Melkite Church in Lawrence, MA. The priest was very welcoming and hospitable. He said next time he wanted me to concelebrate, though I am not sure how prayerful it would be as a concelebrant in a Rite with which I am not familiar. As it was, today, it felt like worship just to watch and participate interiorly. One providential thing for me was the Icon on the wall just next to us. It has a great deal of Precious Blood significance, and so after the liturgy I just had to photograph it.

In the afternoon we strolled around the sights of Boston. We headed into the North end and found ourselves in the midst of the Festival of Saint Agrippina. The Saint is one of these early century Roman Martyrs and her festival in Boston has been held for over 80 years. It was quite the sight, the parade with the Statue and the stopping at various spots and patrons showering her with garlands of dollar bills. She was carried by a large group of men in white who joined in songs and rhythmic chants as they bounced her rhythmically up the street. The Band was delightful, but it was a bit amusing to see her bounding up the street to the tune of “Deep In The Heart of Texas.” The event reminded me a great deal of the time several years ago on arriving in Siena, Italy we joined in a medieval parade celebrating that city’s saint. agrippina.jpg

We had a nice little lunch in an Italian eatery, and then headed up to Cambridge and Harvard. From there we headed over to Boston College and to St. John Seminary before heading home.

Tomorrow I may take a drive down to Rhode Island for the day, but be back in time for one of the local sing-it-yourself events.

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RC has the pictures and the report of how we ended our day yesterday with Vespers in Petersham. We spent most of the day driving, and the first goal was to get to St. Joseph Abbey in Spencer, MA. We arrived about the end of Sext, and spent some time in their chapel. Next we visited their shop where the monks make vestments. Holy Rood Guild is where I have purchasing all of my vestments. Actually it was a dangerous visit because I did not get out of there without spending about $1000. I ordered two altar server albs which will provide us additional albs in the sizes we need. I ordered a dalmatic and stole that will arrive at the parish in time for Advent. The Deacons are slowly getting used to me requiring them to be in Dalmatic for Liturgy.

The monks have a gift shop near the gate. We made the mistake of stopping there. They have a whole section of CDs, chant and otherwise, and it seems that nothing was more expensive than $10. I am currently listening to a 2CD set of Early Music that was only $9.98. I got out of there for a little over $100. There went my extra vacation cash.

Today I am taking it easy. I decided this cough was just a bit too consistant and getting worse. So I have been to a doctor, and have some new meds now. I am getting a lot of reading done today, and uploaded a few new chapters to the Life and Times page. Tonight will be the restful life of a chanting hermit, along with chopping garlic and boiling pasta.

Tomorrow it seems will be a visit to Cambridge, Harvard. Liturgy will be in the Melkite Rite. RC has been a gracious host and a pleasure to be around.

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bloggers.jpgYou meet the most interesting people on these vacations. It seems that there were a few visiting bloggers from out of town, and the Boston Bloggers hosted an Italian dinner in one of the more popular eateries. It seems that RC has beaten me to the punch reporting on the event before I got back to my place. He also posts a picture I took of him yesterday on the New Hampshire seacoast.

Left to right we have Eric Johnson and RC from Catholic Light. Then Mark Sullivan of Irish Elk; Eric Ewanco of Christifideles, and yours truly of Rifugio San Gaspare.

All in all, it was a fine evening, good food, great conversation. Not bad for a priest, a writer, and a bunch of IT guys.

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vacation06.jpgAs RC notes in a comment in a previous post, we had a great day visiting the seacoast towns of New Hampshire. I dipped my feet into the Atlantic for the first time, visited a beautiful turn of the century garden, sampled some chowder at a popular fishery, and made the acquaintance of a local Poor Clare Monastery. We even ventured into Maine briefly so now I can add that to States I have been to. I am several chapters into Neuhaus' book and am making progress on the Life and Times of St. Gaspar. Conversations varied from life in nthe IT sector to life in Community. RC introduced me to Open Office as you can see from the post below. This may speed up the rate at which new documents are posted to the St. Gaspar Letters site.

So far very restful and peaceful. Tonight, dinner with fellow bloggers. Reports and pictures to follow.

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It is time to pay another visit to the new site of St. Gaspar's Letters.

Thanks to RC I have discovered Open Office and this enormously speeds up the process of retrieving documents, cleaning them up and converting them to PDF.

I have added to the site this morning two depositions that were part of the ordinary process in the Beatification and Canonization of St. Gaspar del Bufalo. Probably the more significant of the two is the Deposition of St. Vincent Pallotti. You may remember that Pallotti was a friend of Gaspar's, was present at his death and was the one who anointed him and gave him Viaticum.

The other deposition is from the helpers of St. Gaspar. The deposition of Vincenzo Severini, Giovanni Menicucci, and Bartolomeo Panzini at the processes for the canonization of St. Gaspar give us a rather human face for our saint by people who were very close to him.


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Catholic Carnival

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  one of Fr. Keyes' photos

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. in August 2006.

Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S.: July 2006 is the previous archive.

Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S.: September 2006 is the next archive.

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