This past weekend, Bishop Braxton emailed the following message to the clergy (and likely others) in the Diocese. In case you had not seen it, or were not aware of this performance by Sting and Pavarotti (like me), it is well worth taking a few minutes to watch and listen. It is beautiful, impressive, and it moved me. It is their rendition of Panis Angelicus, a prayer written by St. Thomas Aquinas (see below). Hoping that next year we will lead a Eucharistic Procession around Waterloo similar to those led yesterday in many parishes of our diocese and around the world, stay tuned…..
“The Feast of Corpus Christi
The Body of Christ, of which we are all part.
Click below and you will see and hear something that the People of God will not see or hear in Church tomorrow. If they did, they might have a renewed reverence for and appreciation of the Great Mystery of the Eucharist, the Living gift of Divine Love. May the bread that breathes and the Wine that bleeds truly nourish and refresh you on this Great Solemnity of the Lord and may the Bead of Heaven be your spiritual feast during the relaxing and renewing days of Summer.”
Text by St. Thomas Aquinas written for the Feast of Corpus Christi
Music by César Frank
fit panis hominum;
Dat panis cœlicus
O res mirabilis!
Pauper, servus et humilis.
Te trina Deitas
Sic nos tu visita,
sicut te colimus;
Per tuas semitas
duc nos quo tendimus,
Ad lucem quam inhabitas.
May the Bread of Angels
Become bread for mankind;
The Bread of Heaven puts
All foreshadowings to an end;
Oh, thing miraculous!
The body of the Lord will nourish
the poor, the servile, and the humble.
You God, Three
And One, we beseech;
That You visit us,
As we worship You.
By Your ways,
lead us where we are heading,
to the light that You inhabit.
I gave a homily this past Sunday that sparked a lot of comments and feedback. Many appreciated my willingness to talk about current political and moral issues from the pulpit. Some disagreed with some of my statements. Some remained silent. Some asked me to post my homily on our website, I did. My plea was for us to remain united and pray; pray for ourselves, pray for our president and all of our leaders. Pray that we, and the leaders in our country, will lead and live lives of love and compassion as Jesus taught us. And pray that we may remain united as St. Paul pleaded with the Corinthians. After all, this is the United States of America. You can read my homily here http://ssppcc.org/2017/01/deacon-toms-homily-third-sunday-ordinary-time-2017/
During this Christmas season, which lasts until January 9, these are exciting times, time to celebrate, and also time step back, reflect on the past year, give thanks, look ahead, etc. We have just experienced the Nativity of the Lord, feast of St. Stephen, Deacon and first martyr; feast of St. John, apostle and evangelist; feast of the Holy Innocents, martyrs; and, in the coming days and weeks we will celebrate feasts of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, solemnity of Mary Holy Mother of God before wrapping up the Christmas season with the Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord. It is almost as if the Church has been sandbagging feasts, solemnities, and holy days during the season of Advent and now bringing them all out and catching up. During Advent we prepared our hearts and minds for the celebration of the birth of Christ – maybe you used some of the resources available from Dynamic Catholic, Bishop Barron, Liturgical Publications or others. I did, and it helped me make this the best Advent ever and best Christmas ever. That’s right, after 59 years, they just seem to keep getting better. Celebrating the holidays with friends and family, being with my 93 year old father, our children now living back in the area, new family members that married into our family this past year, and the holiday celebrations and gatherings continue. As my wife Dawn so perfectly put it, it is not the gifts around the Christmas tree that matters, it is who is around the table at dinner on Christmas that matters. Makes me teary eyed every time I think of that. I am so grateful and thankful for the blessings that have been bestowed on us this year. And I enjoyed scrolling through all the posts and pictures on Facebook of the happy families, celebrations, beautiful pictures of trees, decorations, churches etc. And while I celebrate and bask in the joy and happiness of the season I know that many of my friends and families may not necessarily share that same joy and may be dealing with issues they had not foreseen for this joyous Christmas season. Especially the Pfeil, Warden, Reitz, Kelley, Stockel, Straub, Miskell, Stirnaman, and Bubash families. You have been in my prayers daily. As well as those who are dealing with other family issues or experiencing this Christmas season for the first time without loved ones that they have lost this past year. May our good and gracious God wrap his loving arms around you, your families, and your caregivers and bring you strength and comfort on your journeys. Christmas blessings to all of you.
Sunday is Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday, one of two times in the liturgical year that we wear rose-colored vestments. Do you know when the other time is?
We will light the third (rose-colored) candle on our Advent wreath.
On Gaudete Sunday, the season of Advent shifts its focus. For the first two weeks of Advent, the focus can be summed up in the phrase, “The Lord is coming.” But beginning with Gaudete Sunday, the summary might be,
“The Lord is near.”
This shift is marked by a lighter mood and a heightened sense of joyous anticipation. In times when the focus of our anticipation is often on the negative and fearful, this celebration is a reminder that God who loves us is still in charge and that we await his coming not with fear, but with tremendous joy.
Hopefully your Advent preparations have been as enlightening and fruitful as mine have been. Between the reflections available from Bishop Robert Barron http://adventreflections.com/sign-up-advent and Dynamic Catholic (my favorite – they make you think and challenge you) http://dynamiccatholic.com/best-advent-ever/ and LPi http://go.4lpi.com/2016AdventReflections-SignUp.html , I wake up every morning looking for them in my inbox anxious to see what challenges and insight they have for me every day. If you haven’t started yet, there is no time like the present, as we wait in hopeful expectation and anticipation, make some time to prepare for the anniversary of Christ’s birth – Christmas. Don’t wait until you have some time; make some time, if you wait it will likely never come, put a reminder or appointment on your calendar if you need to. After all, you probably schedule time for so many other people and activities in your lives, why not schedule some time to spend with God in preparation for the remembrance of the birth of his only begotten son – Jesus.
For our family it has been a season of new and renewed traditions, I think those family traditions are as important as the other preparations. It has been great this year to share old traditions and start new traditions with our son and new daughter in law recently married and relocated back to the area; as well as our other son who is home for his second Christmas since returning from his 4 years of active duty in the Marine Corps; if our other son were here for it all, it would be perfect, but gotta do what you gotta do Eric, exams will be over and you’ll be home for the festivities soon enough. I hope and pray that all of you have been as blessed as we have. Even in these trying times that we live in, we have so much to be thankful for.
Stop, listen, reflect, pray, and give thanks to God for all the blessings he has bestowed on us. God Bless you and your families this Advent season.
By this time next week we will all have to cast our ballots for the various elections at the local, state, and federal level, including a vote for the next President of the United States of America (aka POTUS) who will appoint new justices to the Supreme Court of the United States (aka SCOTUS). This year I have read more, listened to more podcasts and YouTube videos, and searched for more information about the presidential candidates and party platforms than ever before. I am comfortable that I have formed my conscience, made my decisions, and know how I will cast my ballot next Tuesday. Enough about me, now for you. First, I urge all of you to vote next Tuesday, and to encourage your spouse, your families, your friends, your coworkers and everyone you know to get out and vote. Secondly, I urge you to cast your vote with an informed conscience, based on review and your understanding of the issues, the platforms, and what is best for our country. Some of you may have heard the statistics that Matthew Kelly cited a few years ago: “… there are 1.2 billion Catholics in the world. There are sixty-seven million Catholics in America — that’s at least fifteen million more people than it takes to elect an American president” (emphasis added) – that is power! That is why we all need to vote. In these final days, as you continue to wrestle through the issues and make your decisions who to vote for, I encourage you to avail yourself of the resources that are available. Here are the ones I recommend: The USCCB http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/index.cfm The Catholic Conference of Illinois (includes messages from Bishops Braxton, Barron, Cupich and lots of other great information) http://www.ilcatholic.org/election-2016/ The Priest for Life website (which includes the non-partisan Comparison Piece on the Party Platforms) http://www.politicalresponsibility.com/ This article from America magazine http://www.americamagazine.org/issue/greatness-nation Documents available on our Saints Peter and Paul website (including the Democrat and Republican Platforms) http://ssppcc.org/bishop/ A YouTube video of a homily delivered by a Catholic priest in the Phoenix Diocese in Arizona on October 2, 2016. https://youtu.be/881aDDE5qFY And finally, pray. Pray the Election Prayer that can be found here http://www.priestsforlife.org/novenas/novena.aspx?id=1 That gives you a snapshot of my journey to the election; it helped me, I hope it will help you. God Bless You and God Bless our Country!
- From the Deacon’s Desk
- Corpus Christi – The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
- Unted States of America
- Deacon Tom’s Homily – Third Sunday in Ordinary Time 2017
- Merry Christmas………..
- We’re about halfway through Advent…………
- In These Final Days Before the Election…………
- Deacon Tom’s Homily – 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time