Friday, April 30, 2010

"Vianney" By St. Luke Productions

Last night, I had the profound grace of viewing the play Vianney by St. Luke Productions. It was beautiful, simple, moving, and uplifting. If it is in your area - go!
In addition to being able to see the play, I was able to meet and speak with the actor, Leonardo Defilippis. (Actually, I was given the honor to introduce him, too.) He is a good man, very faithfilled. Please pray for his strength as he continues to perform the play during this year for priests. May his performance continue to be used by God to move the hearts of the faithful, and to encourage those who have responded and will respond to a call to the priesthood.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Role of Parents and Prayer in Vocations

ZENIT, as usual has posted Pope Benedict XVI's sermon, this week he addressed the 47th World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On this Fourth Sunday of Easter, which is called "Good Shepherd Sunday," the World Day of Prayer for Vocations is celebrated, which has as its theme this year "Witness Awakens Vocations," a theme that is "closely linked to the life and mission of priests and consecrated persons" ("Message for the 47th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, April 25, 2010"). The first form of witness that awakens vocations is prayer (cf. ibid.), as is shown to us by the example of St. Monica, who, supplicating God with humility and persistence, obtained the grace of seeing her son Augustine become Christian. St. Augustine wrote: "Without a doubt I believe and affirm that through her prayers, God granted me the intention not to propose, not to want, not to think, not to love anything else but the attainment of truth" ("De Ordine," II 20, 52; CCL 29, 136).
Therefore, I invite parents to pray that the heart of their children open to listening to the Good Shepherd, and "each tiny seed of a vocation ... grow into a mature tree, bearing much good fruit for the Church and for all humanity" ("Message"). How can we hear the voice of the Lord and recognize it? In the preaching of the Apostles and their successors: In it there resounds the voice of Christ, who calls us to communion with God and to the fullness of life, as we read today in St. John's Gospel: "My sheep hear my voice and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they will never be lost and no one will take them out of my hand" (John 10:27-28). Only the Good Shepherd leads his flock with immense tenderness and defends them from evil, and only in him can the faithful place absolute confidence.
On this special day of prayer for vocations I especially exhort the ordained ministers, so that, inspired by the Year for Priests, they are moved to "a stronger and more incisive witness to the Gospel in today's world" ("Letter Proclaiming a Year for Priests"). May they remember that the priest "continues the work of the Redemption on earth;" may they know how to "stop frequently before the tabernacle;" may they remain "completely faithful to [their] own vocation and mission through the practice of an austere asceticism;" may they be available to listen and forgive; may they form the people entrusted to them in a Christian way; may they cultivate with care "priestly fraternity" (cf. ibid.). May they take wise and zealous pastors as an example, as St. Gregory Nazianzus, who wrote to his dear friend and bishop, St. Basil: "Teach us your love for your sheep, your solicitude and your capacity for understanding, your vigilance ... the austerity in sweetness, the serenity and meekness in activity ... the combats in defense of the flock, the victories ... achieved in Christ" (Oratio IX, 5, PG 35, 825ab).
I thank everyone who is present and those who with prayer and affection support my ministry as the Successor of Peter, and upon everyone I invoke the heavenly protection of the Virgin Mary, to whom we now turn in prayer.
[After the recitation of the Regina Caeli, the Holy Father greeted the pilgrims in various languages. In Italian he said:]
This morning, in Rome and in Barcelona respectively, two priests were beatified: Angelo Paoli, a Carmelite, and José Tous y Soler, a Capuchin. I will speak about the latter shortly. In regard to Blessed Angelo Paoli, who was from Lunigiana and lived between the 17th and 18th centuries, I would like to recall that he was an apostle of charity in Rome and was called "Father of the Poor." He dedicated himself especially to the sick of the Hospital of St. John, also caring for the convalescents. His apostolate drew strength from the Eucharist and from devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, and from an intense life of penance as well. In the Year for Priests I gladly propose his example to all priests, in a special way to those who belong to religious institutes of the active life.
[In English he said:]
I am happy to greet all the English-speaking visitors present for today's Regina Caeli prayer. This Sunday the Church celebrates the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. As we rejoice in the new life that the Risen Lord has won for us, let us ask him to inspire many young people to center their hearts on the things of Heaven (cf. Col 3:1-2) and to offer themselves joyfully in the service of Christ our Good Shepherd in the priesthood and religious life. Confidently entrusting this petition to Mary, Queen of Heaven, I invoke upon you God's abundant blessings of peace and joy!
[The Pontiff concluded in Italian:]
I direct a special greeting to the Meter Association, which, for the past 14 years, has promoted the national day for children who are victims of violence, exploitation and indifference. On this occasion I would like above all to thank and encourage those who dedicate themselves to prevention and education, especially parents, teachers, many priests, sisters, catechists and leaders who work with the young people in the parishes, schools and associations. I greet the faithful from Brescia, Cassana near Ferrara, from parishes in Umbria and Toronto, Canada; the young people of the parishes in Valposchiavo, in Switzerland, and those from Francavilla al Mare; and the group of engaged couples from Altamura. I wish everyone a good Sunday.
[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]
© Copyright 2010 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

For Your Vocation

The USCCB has begun a new website for vocations - Check it out! It is ForYourVocation.org.

Fourth Sunday of Easter (Good Shepherd/World Day of Prayer for Vocations)

The Lord is the Good Shepherd who leads and protects His flock. In this weekend's passage from the discourse, we hear that the Lord holds those who listen to His voice. Some have taken this to mean that those who come to the Lord once are safe forever - that does not seem the case. The protection He provides is that we cannot be snatched from Him, but unless we continue to listen to Him, we could wander off. We must know the Shepherd's voice, and we discover it in prayer and solitude. What love Christ shows us in continue to call us through prayer and Sacraments, through the teachings of the Church, and through the presence of others. Let's strive to be able to listen more fully to the voice of Christ, to follow Him wherever He leads us!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Third Sunday of Easter

How quickly we can forget! Today's Gospel Passage begins as Peter announces that he is going to go fishing. After two previous resurrection appearances of Christ, Peter returns to his former life. Despite fishing all night, they catch nothing. Christ appears on the shore, with breakfast prepared (He who had not fished had plenty, those who had tried had nothing). He calls them to cast to the right side. It is as if they will have no success without Christ, and for good reason - they were to be fishers of men. After breakfast, Christ pulls Peter aside, and three times asks him for a profession of love. Peter clearly does not understand until the third time - the three-fold denial is undone by this three-fold profession. Jesus Christ invites him to follow Him.

We might have an experience of Christ, but how quickly we are to return to 'normal'. But if it is of God, we really cannot go back. We are called, just like Peter, to confess our sins and profess our faith, to follow Christ, and to cast our nets wide. When we do, we need to be prepared for the miraculous catch Christ will give us!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Divine Mercy Sunday

The Risen Lord appears to St. Thomas, inviting him to probe the His pierced hands and feet. St. Thomas, moved to worship, proclaims faith in the Risen Lord.
In our Second reading, we hear of St. John's experience of the Risen Lord while in exile on Patmos, and he was also moved to a deeper faith. Some have suggested that John's vision begins with the Mass, and can be understood more clearly when seen in this context.
When we come to the Eucharist, we see Christ Risen. Will we be moved to worship?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Exultet

Happy Easter! Jesus Christ is truly raised, and we are given the hope of eternal life!

Enjoy this piece, the Exultet!

Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God's throne!
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God's people!

My dearest friends,
standing with me in this holy light,
join me in asking God for mercy,

that he may give his unworthy minister
grace to sing his Easter praises.

Deacon: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Deacon: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Deacon: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is truly right
that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father,
and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.


For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam's sin to our eternal Father!

This is our passover feast,
when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

This is the night
when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their slavery
and led them dry-shod through the sea.

This is the night
when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin!

This is the night
when Christians everywhere,
washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.

This is the night
when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.

What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?
Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.

O happy fault,
O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!

Most blessed of all nights,
chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!

Of this night scripture says:
"The night will be as clear as day:
it will become my light, my joy."

The power of this holy night dispels all evil,
washes guilt away, restores lost innocence,
brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace,
and humbles earthly pride.

Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth
and man is reconciled with God!

Therefore, heavenly Father,
in the joy of this night,
receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
your Church's solemn offering.

Accept this Easter candle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.

Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning
to dispel the darkness of this night!

May the Morning Star which never sets
find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star,
who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light on all mankind,
your Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Amen.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Holy Saturday

From the Office of Readings for Holy Saturday:

Something strange is happening—there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: ‘My Lord be with you all.’ Christ answered him: ‘And with your spirit.’ He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: ‘Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.’

I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.

For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

All are called by God to love Him.

All are called to serve Him.

Some are called to special lives of service,

to give witness to God's love through being a priest, religious brother, or sister.

Is He calling you?