April 2006 Archives

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Siena Memories


On our Italian Tour in 1998 we arrived in Siena on her feast.

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From letter 2140, to Pope Gregory XVI, March, 1831

Finally, adding just a few more things in this preface, it is to be noted that in carrying out these apostolic works of the ministry, we seek to give a cult of compensation to the mysteries of our redemption, so greatly abused by sinners. We wish to awaken in their souls the great idea of the inestimable price of our eternal salvation. ... You have redeemed with blood. ... you were bought at a great price.. Those who have gone astray are encouraged to have hope for the pardon of the faults that they have committed, Christ loved us and washed us in his blood. ... what usefulness in my blood? and, finally, this is an opportunity for helping them take notice of the motives which caused a St. Bernard (Ep. 7) to exclaim: The blood of Christ calls out like a trumpet and a St. Thomas (Opusc. 158) to say: The blood of Christ is the key of paradise. St. Catherine of Siena, during the schism of her time, received the inspiration from the Lord that on this devotion depended peace within the Church.

From Letter 2193, July 28, 1831, to Mother Maria Nazzarena De Castris

From your letter I note that holy love of God is calling your soul to a special testing of your virtue. So, you must call to mind the sufferings of St. Catherine of Siena and the response that she received from the Lord. Courage "I am with him in tribulation." all of the anguish of your soul lies in the imagination; however, your heart is under the press of, suffering, and God sees what suffering there is because of your fear of offending God. But, one does not lose God without knowing it. That is, as you know, how St. Teresa put it. Suffering, then, is a sign that God is mindful of us, and there can be no more terrible temptation than that of thinking that we have been abandoned. While you are drinking that chalice of suffering, the devil would love to profit from it for himself; but, They conquered the dragon because of the blood of the Lamb.

Letter 3617, to Geltrude Crvciani

I must tell you that you should enkindle evermore your devotion to most holy Mary and never be fearful of the different surprises that the tempter may offer. Serve the Lord with joyfulness of spirit and may the Crucifix be our great book of learning. I offer you, therefore, three most useful things to be remembered and practiced in a holy fashion; they are the ones given by St. Catherine: "Keep eternity in mind; keep God in your heart; keep the world under your feet". With these maxims in mind, always regulate your actions and rid yourself of every bothersome thought that might upset you.

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More on Catherine

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Fr. Mark Daniel Kirby, O.Cist sends me his marvelous homily for the Feast of St. Catherine.

It is evident, I think, that today’s feast of Saint Catherine of Siena is a further invitation, a pressing exhortation, to fix our gaze on the Blood of the Lamb, to adore that Precious Blood, to yield every impurity and sin of ours to the torrent that gushes from Christ’s pierced side, and to drink of the Chalice of Salvation.

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DaVinci Code

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I was speaking about the book and the movie, DaVinci Code, to the eighth grade class here at St. Edward School recently. I asked if any had read the book. No one had. I asked if any planned to see the movie. Every hand went up.

Such is the power of the movies. So every eighth grader now has a copy of the OSV brocure on the Catholic Response to the DaVinci Code. I am buying a copy of the "DaVinci Hoax" for the Faculty room, and ordering 1500 of the brochures for the parish.

Now I see a Vatican official has suggested a boycott of the movie.

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easter06 2.jpgRecieved from one member of the Pastoral Council:

I wanted to commend you and the Parish staff on a great job during this Holy season. Lent was done very well. I enjoyed the Operation Rice Bowl and I think you did a great job getting people to think about true sacrifices during this season and turning the sacrifices into giving to the less fortunate. I thought the reflections were well thought out and I heard the Mission was awesome I am sorry I did not get to experience it (I was not able to attend [because of family obligations]). I liked how well the schedules and events were communicated in the bulletin and announcements throughout Lent and Holy Week. I enjoyed the Stations of the Cross and the soup supper was a great idea, what a way to bring the community together during Lent! Holy Thursday was an awesome Mass. I thought the music was super. I really enjoyed the Communion Song Amen, El Cuerpo de Cristo (sorry if I got the title wrong- going off memory). The only weird part was the instumental organ music pre-Mass was a little scary sounding. I was thinking maybe there is someway we can, as a congregation, practice some of the new hymns and responses before Mass, this way we are not butchering these beautiful songs during Mass. I think you did a good job incorporating the different cultures represented at our Church. I also enjoyed the procession to the Altar of Repose and the time for adoration. I think the closing prayer on Thursday night was powerful and I wish more people were able to enjoy it. Good Friday was well done. I went to the 1:30 Liturgy. I enjoyed the singing of the Passion and I thought the Veneration of the Cross was powerful. Easter Sunday the Church looked great and sounded great. I had an overall great experience of Lent and Holy Week thanks to your hard work and the hard work of the staff.

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Easter Day crowds

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Art and Worship


Many hands worked many long hours to make this a beautiful Triduum. A special tribute goes to Ana for the wonderful environment, and to Cruz and Ken who do a lot of the legwork. Sam, O what a difference a year makes. What wonder and prayerful music! Artisans near and far had a hand in it. Blessings on Marklin Candle Company. This year the Candle worked the first time. Donalyn, I am tempted to post the picture of you looking in awe as that 40 lb candle is lifted up to the stand. Thanks for all your help for preparing the many languages and the readings.

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There is a brief moment in the scriptures in the Passion of the Christ that does not make it into the movie. It is just a brief reference in the scriptures, but the movie skips over it entirely. It is non-existent, unimportant, easily forgotten or dismissed.

This is the moment between the death of Jesus and the first appearance in the experience of the disciples. It is the moment hidden behind the locked doors of fear and flight.

These men had given up everything to join Jesus, to follow him and to become part of his company. They had given up family, job and future. Everything took second place to him. The women, too, had found in him the fullness of hope and salvation. Everything else had become as dust and ashes. Time with him had already transfigured their lives.

Now it had all turned to heartbreak and humiliation: there was no darkness as deep as this. The loss, the hurt, the chaos, the doubt, the guilt, every last bit of life had now been squeezed and crushed from their broken hearts. The very foundation of their life and energy had been cruelly torn out from underneath them. Only despair was humanly appropriate. There was no future, just emptiness and void. It was the deepest experience of shame.

His promise of life had become darker than the shadows in the home for the dead, and the hope he gave them for his victory had turned into a cruel joke. It was unrelenting hopelessness and the only options were to hide or to flee.

Sitting in total darkness, no light was permitted to penetrate the locked doors. Inert bodies may have littered the floor, but there was no one home. Maybe an occasional whimper or the anguish of tears had punctuated the silence, but the terror that they were next kept them in an unforgiving darkness and silence.

The Saturday morning must have been surreal. It had to have been a nightmare. The state of shock numbed them to the truth, but occasional brutal honesty filtered through the ringing in their ears to obliterate any vestige of hope that might linger in the corners of their injured hearts.

Approaching darkness may have filled them with anxiousness and dread, but a full day passing without food or happiness and the reality that there had been no further arrest or invasion may have given room for hatred, anger, resentment and rage to find some space. If sleep were possible, more than likely it was fitful and restless.

The third day dawns with the same barrenness. The earth was without form, empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit hovered over the waters. (Gen. 1:2) The invasion was abrupt and incomprehensible. He stood before them and in an echo of ancient birth he breathed over them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

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Venite Adoremus

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Holy Thursday

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I realize Donalyn does not like me to takes pictures of her, so I shall refain from posting her's here, but I really love her comments about the Holy Thursday Liturgy. Indeed there were some special moments last night, and we have just begun. Here is what Donalyn says:

And this picture does not do the moment justice; not even! Even the screaming child could not completely ruin the majesty of what it felt like to experience the unity and power of this moment; it was palpable.

And the music?! What a difference a year makes, huh? The Festival Choir was, hmm, what's that phrase..."off the hook"? Oh my gosh, we can really do it!!! I happen to think highly of our choir and I have to say that they outdid themselves this evening.

Another powerful time was the offering of the gifts: You and Gabrielle doing the "head-butt" thing, I mean have you ever met a more poised and reverent 1st grader? And Tim and Lily Roberto teaching their daughter Brianna to bow after presenting the gifts...These things really brought the entire congregation into the family and helped everyone to be a part of the offering of gifts; something I think we all sometimes fail to realize.

We know how hard you worked putting this together and your dedication to the Liturgy shows. This was clearly not a Liturgy that was just "phoned in" or routine. It was special. I can't wait for Easter Vigil!

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Blessings to all during the Sacred Triduum.

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Before any activity, before the world can change there must be worship. Worship alone sets us truly free; worship alone gives us the criteria for our action. Precisely in a world in which guiding criteria are absent and the threat exists that each person will be a law unto himself, it is fundamentally necessary to stress worship.

Benedict XVI
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April 7, 2006 is the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. I invite everyone on Friday to pray for our congregation through the intercession of St. Francis Xavier as we remember the anniversary of his birth. Blessing to you in this Lenten journey.

Prayer to St. Francis Xavier

St. Francis Xavier, many are the needs of the Church in our day. The workers in the vineyard of the Lord are few; the enemies of the Church, many. We implore you to obtain from God priestly and missionary vocations who will courageously extend God’s kingdom and apply the merits of the Blood of his Son. Intercede at the throne of God that Christians everywhere may spread the true faith through genuine witness of Christian life and love. May the message of God’s love penetrate to the far corners of the earth. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit unite us all in one faith. Amen

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Carnival Time


Catholic Carnival #73 is now online here.

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Gerald has a great post over at his blog. It is a wonderful set of pictures with which to remember this great man.
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  one of Fr. Keyes' photos

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