Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sermon of Fr. Gerard for The Last Sunday After Pentecost

During the month of November we think about the holy souls in purgatory, as this month is dedicated especially to their memory, and special indulgences are granted to the faithful that they may gain on behalf of the holy souls. I’d like to tell you a story that I read about the life of St. Vincent Frayer, who lived about the year 1400. He relates the fact that there was a person who was a great sinner who repented at the end of his life but he did not have very much time to do penance because he was dying shortly after his conversion and this man’s guardian angel appeared to him and said: “I will give you a choice: you can suffer purgatory for three days or suffer on earth for three years.” This man had been very sick and he was so desperate, because he was suffering, that he asked and prayed for death to come and relieve him of his pains and sufferings. So thinking that three days would be much better than three years of suffering the man took the three days. After a short time, the guardian angel appeared to the man in purgatory and the man called out to his guardian angel saying: “You traitor! You promised to leave me here only three days. I’ve been here three thousand years!” And the angel said: “Remember what time you died?” And the man said: “Yes, at one O’clock.” The angel responded: “Well, the priest was just then starting an hour of the office with the invocation: ‘Oh God, come to my assistance, oh Lord, make haste to help me.” And he had not even reached the Gloria Patri, which follows that before the guardian angel went back to see his charge.” And so the man realized how wrong he had been in choosing the time in purgatory. The guardian angel then said to him: “If you wish, I will take you back.” And so the man went back, came back to life and suffered for three years with great patience and in a very edifying manner, paying the debt that he owed to God’s justice and at the same time meriting a higher degree of glory because of suffering in this life. The next life is just a time of justice when the soul is purified but cannot merit. St. Teresa of Ávila said that very few souls go straight from their deathbed to heaven. Most all have to pass through a shorter or longer purgatory.

The Church allows for prayers to be offered for the dead, even centuries after their death, some religious orders have a commemoration of the deceased superiors of their order and some of them have been dead for hundreds of years. We don’t know God’s justice which exact punishment for the least fault. So let us, during the last few days of this month, remember to pray for the souls in purgatory. The holy sacrifice of the Mass is one of the best ways to assist them. If you don’t have the chance to offer a Mass for them, you can at least attend Mass for the relief of the souls in purgatory and this is very efficacious.

Coming to the Gospel of today, we find Our Lord predicting two things at the same time: The destruction of Jerusalem and the last judgment and the end of the world. These two are so intertwined in Our Lord’s speech that he gave on this occasion that it is difficult to determine which parts apply to the destruction of Jerusalem and which to the end of the world and the final judgment. But remember that our judgment, our particular judgment, comes the day and the hour that we die and that can come tomorrow, it can come after a number of years, most likely long before the general judgment.

St. Agustine, speaking of the day of death and of the general judgment, which will come at the end of the world, tells us that we are not told the day or the hour so that we may live in perpetual vigilance. And this was what Our Lord said in some of his parables that we do not know the day or the hour. We can live like men or we can live like sons of God. The damned prefer to live like men, not thinking of their eternity when they were called to live like sons of God. Therefore they receive the sentence of Psalm 81 verse 7: You shall die like men but if you live like sons of God, you will reign with God in heaven. Death is certain and so use it for your advantage since it is a lesson in humility and a gate to heaven. Only death is certain, all other evils are uncertain. A child is conceived but he may not be born alive. That fact is uncertain. If he is born, perhaps he will grow, perhaps not, he may die as a child. If he grows to be an adult, he may become rich or he may be poor, but is it possible to say he will die or perhaps not? Of course, this is not at all the same because death is a certainty. When doctors examine a sick person and find him incurable they say he will not be saved from death. From the moment a man is born, we must say the same thing. He will not be free from death. As a soon as he is born he begins to grow sick, to grow week. When he dies his illness is ended although he may not know if he is going to exchange it, the illness that brought about his death, for a worst one, purgatory or eternal punishment.

The rich man from the parable of the Gospel ended what we might call a delicious illness, in which he lived in delights. But he exchanged that for an eternity of torments. The poor beggar, Lazarus, in the parable ended his life of suffering and attained eternal salvation. He afterwards had what he had chosen here, by a life of patient suffering. He chose God’s friendship by patient resignation. Christ overcame the world by making himself man and by dying for us, let us then unite ourselves to our victor so that we may win the victory with him. His coming at the end of the world will be preceded by the appearance of the Cross in the heavens. Let us unite ourselves to the Cross by patience and suffering so that on the last day, his appearance will inspire us with joy and hope instead of fear.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Announcements for the week: The Last Sunday After Pentecost

Friday, December 7, 2007, Fr. Gerard will be offering the First Friday Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel at 7:00 P.M.

Saturday, December 8, 2007 is the Feast of The Immaculate Conception, a Holy Day of Obligation. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will be offered by Fr. Gerard at Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel at 10:00 A.M.

Bishop Pivarunas will be coming here to Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel on January 13, 2008 to celebrate Mass and perform Confirmations afterwards. Anyone who needs to be confirmed or conditionally re-confirmed, please see Fr. Gerard or call him at (509) 868-5893 for more information. ONLY BAPTIZED MEMBERS can recieve the sacrament of Confirmation. Regardless of Confirmation or conditional re-Confirmation, Fr. Gerard requests that those who wish to recieve the sacrament present to him copies of baptismal certificates for purposes of Church records. If you cannot meet this requirement, please see Fr. Gerard.

Traditional Catholic 2008 Calendars are now available at Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel. They are priced at $8.00 each. If you wish to buy one you may pick one up here at the Church or call Pat Balderama at (909) 829-0997.

Audio CD's are now available from the 2007 Fatima Conference "All Generations Call me Blessed", which took place in Spokane, Washington at Mount St. Michael. They are $60.00 for a complete set of the talks, and $5.00 for the individual topics. For more information call (509) 467-1077

The Last Sunday After Pentecost

From the Collect:
Stir up, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the wills of Thy faithful to seek more earnestly this fruit of the divine work, that they will recieve more abundantly healing gifts from Thy tender mercy.

Epistle from the letter of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Colossians (1: 9-14):
Brethren: We cease not to pray for you, and to beg that you may be filled with the knowledge of the will of God, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of God, in all things pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might according to the power of His glory, in all patience and long suffering with joy; giving thanks to God the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated u into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the remission of sins.

Gospel according to St. Matthew (24: 13-25)
At that time, Jesus said to His diciples: When you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, standing in the holy place; (he that readeth, let him understand:) then they that are in Judea, let them flee to the mountains; and he that is on the housetop, let him not come down to take anything out of his house; and he that is in the field let him not go back to take his coat. And woe to them that are with child and that give suck, in those days. But pray that your flight be not in the winter, or on the sabbath: for there shall be then great tribulation, such as hath not been found from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be: and unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be saved; but for the sake of the elect, those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say to you: Lo, here is Christ, or there; do not believe him; for there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect. Behold I have told it to you beforehand. If therefore they shall say to you: Behold He is in the desert, go ye not out; Behold He is in the closets, believe it not. For as lightning cometh out of the east, and appeareth even into the west, so shall also the coming of Son of man be. Wheresoever the body shall be, there shall the eagles also be gathered together. And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be moved; and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn; and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with much power and majesty. And He shall send His angels with a trumpet and a loud voice, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest parts of the heavens to the utmost bounds of them. And from the fig-tree learn a parable: when the branch thereof is now tender, and the leaves come forth, you know that summer is nigh. So you also when you shall see all these things, you know ye that it is nigh even at the doors. Amen I say to you that this generation shall not pass till all these things be done, Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

"I'm very grateful for you" The Sermon of Fr. Dominic Radecki for Thanksgiving

(Website Editor's note: This sermon was recorded and posted with the permission of Fr. Dominic Radecki, CMRI)

I don’t usually give a sermon on Thanksgiving because it’s almost like preaching to the choir. You’re here to give thanks to God and be grateful. I just have some thoughts about St. Therese of the Little Flower and many of you who have heard of her autobiography have probably read it. There are very few saints that have written autobiographies, which tell you how holy they are and it’s kind of a powerful thing. In St. Therese’s case, her superior asked her to write it. I just have a few thoughts about it that I’d like to share with you.

She starts out saying: “Dearest Reverend Mother, it’s to you whom are my mother twice over, whom I am going to tell about the history of my soul. When you first asked me to do it I was frightened. It looked as if it meant wasting my spiritual energies on introspection but since then, it made it clear to me that all you wanted of me was plain obedience and in any case, what I shall be doing is only what will be my task for all eternity: telling over and over again the story of God’s mercies to me.”

I think today on Thanksgiving Day that should be our formal story, “God’s mercies to me.” “Our Lord’s love for me.”

“Before continuing I knelt down before Our Lady’s statue, which has so often assured us that the Queen of Heaven looks on our community with special favor, my prayer was that she would guide my hand and never let my hand write a single line that wasn’t as she wanted it to be. And after that, I opened the Gospels at random and the words my eyes fell on were these: ‘Then He went up on the mountainside, and called to Him those, whom had pleased him to call, so these came to him.’ There it all was, the history of my whole life, of my whole vocation, above all, the special claims Jesus makes on my soul. He doesn’t call people who are not worthy of it, no, just the people it pleases him to call. As St. Paul says: ‘God shows pity on those he pities, shows mercy for he is merciful, the effect comes from God’s mercy, not from man’s will. In the same way, God has chosen each one of us, he has given us unique graces.’ I have wondered why God has his preferences, instead of giving each soul an equal degree of grace. Why does he shower extraordinary graces on the saints, who had at one point been his enemies? People like St. Paul or St. Agustine, compelling them you might say, to accept the graces he sends them. Why when you read the lives of the saints, that there is some of them that Our Lord sees fit to holding his arms from the cradle to the grave? Never an obstacle in their path as they make their way up to him, grace still heading them on so that they never manage to soil the robe of their baptismal innocence.
Then again, I used to wonder about the poor savages and people like that who die, essential numbers of them, without ever so much as hearing the name of God mentioned. But Jesus has been gracious enough to teach me a lesson about this mystery simply by holding up to my eyes the book of nature. I realize then that all the flowers he made are beautiful, the rose in its glory, the lily in its whiteness, don’t rob the tiny violet of its sweet smell or the daisy of its charming simplicity. I saw that if all of these lesser blooms wanted to be roses instead, nature would lose the gaiety of her springtime threes. There would be no little flowers to make a pattern over the countryside. And so it is with the world of souls, which is His garden, He wanted to have great saints to be his lilies and roses but he made lesser saints as well and these lesser ones must be content to rank his daisies and violets, running through his feet and giving pleasure to his eye right then.”

And then she says something really sublime:

“Perfection of our holiness consists simply in doing His will and being just what he wants us to be.”

And it could not be put any better: “Holiness consists in doing in doing God’s will and being just what he wants us to be.” A father, a mother, a priest, religious, single person, husband, wife, whatever our vocation and doing it well. That’s all God wants of us.

“This too is made clear to me, that Our Lord’s love makes it seem quite as much in the simplest of souls as in the most highly gifted. As long as there is no resistance offered to his grace.”

God works in every soul and it’s our fault if we offer resistance but as long as there is no resistance to his grace his love is able to do the impossible. The whole point of love is making yourselves small. If you were all like the great Doctors of the Church, who have shed love around the Church by their brilliant teaching, people like St. Gregory the Great or St. Thomas Aquinas and all the other saints, there wouldn’t be much condescension on God’s part, would there?

“He has created little children who have no idea what’s going on and can only express himself by helpless crying. He has made the poor savages with nothing better than a natural outlaw to live by. These condemned to forgive his dignity, it will come into their hearts too, these are the wild flowers that delight him of their simplicity. This is where God shows his infinite greatness. The sun’s light that plays on the cedar trees…” (or redwood trees in California) “…plays on each tiny flower as if it were the only one in existence. And in the same way, Our Lord takes special interest in each soul as if there were no other like it.”

“Everything conspires for the good of each individual soul…” this is something else she says that’s sublime. Everything: The difficult times, the good times, the blessings, the sicknesses, the loss of our loved ones, whatever everything conspires for the good of each individual soul. “…just as a march of the seasons is designed to make the most insignificant daisy unfold its peddles on the day it’s born.”

I just wanted to share that with you. In closing, I’m just so grateful to God for my Catholic Faith and my religious vocation, my priesthood, my family, especially it’s unique having a twin brother and such a wonderful mother. Of course, as St. Therese said, for God’s love and mercy, which we are all so grateful for. For the most part, I’m very grateful to God for each one of you individually and for all members of Queen of Angles Parish. For your perseverance in the faith in spite of obstacles, your self-sacrifice and deep love for God. I know many people who have visited from all over the country and from Australia are just edified by your living your faith. It is just something special your loving God, knowing God and serving God and I’m extremely grateful for all of your assistance and prayers. The work I do is overwhelming, we’ve got a huge geographical area and really serious responsibilities and a mountain of work that all of you help in so many different ways, I’m very grateful for your assistance and your prayers. I’m truly blessed and fortunate, one of the most blessed and fortunate priests in the world.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Feast of St. Cecilia

From the Collect:
O God who dost gladden us with the yearly festival of blessed Cecily, Thy Virgin and Martyr, grant that we who honour her by this solemn rite, may follow the example of her godly life.

Epistle from the book of Ecclesiasticus (51: 13-17)

O Lord my God, Thou hast exalted my dwelling place upon the earth, and I have prayed for death to pass away. I called upon the Lord, the Father of my Lord, that He would not leave me in the day of my trouble, and in the time of the proud without help. I will praise Thy Name continually, and will praise it with thanksgiving, and my prayer was heard. And Thou hast saved me from destruction, and hast delivered me from the evil time. Therefore I will give thanks and praise to Thee, O Lord our God.

Gospel according to St. Matthew (25: 1-13)

At that time, Jesus spoke to His diciples this parable: The kingdom of heaven shall be like ten virgins, who taking their lamps went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride. And five of them were foolish, and five wise; but the five foolish, having taken their lamps, did not take oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps. And the bridegroom tarrying, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out. The wise answerd, saying: Lest perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. Now, whilst they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut. But at last came also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answering, said: Amen, I say to you, I know you not. Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.

The feast of St. Cecilia, Virgin, Martyr/ and Thanksgiving

Today in the United States, the holiday known as Thankgsgiving is recognized nationally and many of us take part in it by having turkey, watching the Detroit Lions football team get beat up by a far more superior team on television, and eat pumpkin pie afterwards while talking with family members about anything just about. Although there is nothing wrong with a little bit of entertainment, one thing that must be fundamentally remembered is: why are we doing this? We prepare great meals for the family to enjoy but more importantly, these great meals come from God, for without God none of this is possible. That is why before every Thanksgiving meal, you should say a grace that is not ordinarily said everyday. Although this holiday comes from a protestant meeting with indians in the days of the English settlements, we can still adapt the meaning behind it to our own traditions by taking advantage of this day off from work to be thankful to God for all that we have and even go as far as to go to Mass (those of us who are able to do so).
Today, my dear brothers and sisters, let us be thankful to God for all that he has given us, although there are some amongst us who have little to be happy about can still be happy with the blessings that God has offered and is offering to us, if we only have the grace to see. Let us also remember St. Cecilia who converted her husband and her brother in law to the true faith before she was martyred.
God bless you and Happy Thanksgiving

The Website Editor of Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

General thoughts on Confirmation.

Ten years ago, I (the Website Editor) was confirmed in the Novus Ordo. At the time, I remember attending the "confirmation" classes at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Norwich, Connecticut and I don't remember much about it. Why? Because they weren't really teaching true Catholic doctrine. The day of my "confirmation" wasn't very special either, I have even seen friends of mine being "confirmed" and most of the time, not understanding completely why they are being "confirmed".

The purpose of us being confirmed in our faith is very significant because it is a sacrament of the Church that is the most important event in our lives since our baptisms (those of us who were fortunate enough to be baptized in the Catholic Church), our first confessions and our first Holy communions. This sacrament strengthens us in our faith, and prepares us for our real discernments in life, whether to be a priest or to be married, or neither one (depending on what becomes of you). The sacrament is like a medicine that strengthens us and the preparation for it educates us of what it really means to be Catholic.

The Novus Ordo sacrament doesn't really do anything for the average young person. The classes themselves are so out of touch with the true teachings of the Church that the students don't learn what it truly means to be Catholic, I know I didn't, and in many cases the teachers themselves don't know anything about the Catechism of the Catholic Church (even the revised one). Even if the ones being "confirmed" do recieve the sacrament, they walk away as if nothing happened, they just go back to their careless sinful lives with no thought of what it means to their soul (although not true in all cases, this is what mostly happens). As for the "bishops" who carry out the "confirmations" they invalidly carry out the matter and form, due to the substantial changes in the sacrament brought about by Vatican II. Here's a good example, when the one being "confirmed" comes before the "bishop" he gives his "confirmation name (Jude for example)" and the "bishop" annoints the forehead with the invalid oil saying: "Jude, be sealed with the Holy Spirit" and then the boy walks away. It's sort of like saying: "Here you go son, now get out of here, you're bothering me."

The Traditional Sacrament is far more meaningful for it is valid in matter and form and the classes themselves (where available) teach true Catholic doctrine. If you still believe that the confirmations of the Novus Ordo are valid then you are out of touch with what the Church has and everywhere taught and therefore adhere to the Vatican II errors in the changes to the sacraments. If you happen to be a victim of the doubfully valid Novus Ordo sacrament, feel free to call Fr. Gerard or Fr. Dominic Radecki, they can help you.

The Website Editor of Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sermon of Fr. Gabriel for The Dedication of the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul

You may wonder why this feast of the dedication of the basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul takes precedence over the Sunday and this is because every feast of a dedication of a church is considered to be a feast of Our Lord and this feast commemorates the dedication of a particular church, that is the basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. Not too long ago, we had the feast of the dedication of the basilica of Our Holy Savior.

For the sermon today, I just want to reflect on some things, some thoughts that this feast brings to mind. The Church considers the dedication of a church such a special event that she commemorates that by an anniversary every year. If you’ve ever seen or read about the ceremony for when a church is consecrated, the ceremony has a lot of meaning to it. There is a lot of solemnity attached to consecrating a church. Why is this? Because the Church is the house of God. It is like what we read in the epistle, the apocalypse, St. John said: “I heard a great voice from the throne saying: behold the Tabernacle of God with men, and he will dwell with them.” I found it very interesting or comforting to read just over a week ago when we had the feast of the dedication of the basilica of Our Holy Savior in the lessons that the priest read in the divine office that day. We read about how in the days of the Roman persecution how Mass used to be offered in people’s homes and it was talking about the wooden altar that St. Peter and his successors up to Pope St. Sylvester offered Mass upon and that was when this basilica of Our Holy Savior was dedicated, that was the altar. Since that time though, in order for a church to be consecrated, it needs an altar made out of some sort of stone such as marble.

But now in many places, we are back to offering Mass in people’s homes and we can be very comforted when we have, like we have here in the chapel, by the fact even though it doesn’t compare with the grand cathedrals and things, it is nevertheless the house of God. God has come here to dwell with us, where we can visit him, honor him, and worship him with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This is a great treasure we should value, back in the Old Testament we read about how when the temple of Salomon had been destroyed and the Jews were taken into captivity. Later on when they came back, they began to rebuild the temple, but the people began to see that the temple that they were rebuilding didn’t compare in beauty and glory with the previous temple, Salomon’s temple, and that made them very sad. So as we read in the Old Testament, the prophet Ages, comforted the people by seeing that even though this temple they were building didn’t compare with the old one in externals, nevertheless this temple would have a greater glory because the Messiah would enter into that temple, and that in fact, was the temple that Our Lord walked into and drove the money changers out. Now Our Lord went into that temple on occasion but we have a greater privilege because our Lord doesn’t just come here during the Mass, but he remains here in the tabernacle so we can visit him at other times and so it’s just like what we read in the epistle: “Behold the Tabernacle of God with men, and he will dwell with them and they shall be his people and God himself with them be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”

We have a great source of help and consolation when we come to visit Our Lord in church to put our sorrows before him, to beg for the help we need in fulfilling our duties, and we should truly prize that. When we are able to attend Mass, what an immense benefit that is! If we really understood, the value of the Mass, we would be amazed by the grace we get to attend just one Mass. One Holy man had a vision once during Mass, he saw a tree and on the tree there were beautiful blossoms. During the Mass, the blossoms fell off the tree and descended upon those who were attending Mass. The Holy man noticed that some of the blossoms, when they descended upon an individual, dried up withered and died. In other cases when the blossoms descended on individuals they gave out a very pleasing fragrance and retained their freshness. The explanation that was given to this Holy man about this vision is that the tree was the Mass and the flowers were the fruits of the Mass, which are offered to us when we attend Mass. But then those fruits, what we get out of them, will depend on our dispositions at Mass. Whether we really appreciate what the Mass is, if we tried to prepare for Mass and then after Mass if we are grateful for the many graces we are given and try to recall that benefit to our mind often through the rest of the week and try to prepare for next week’s Mass. The flowers the shriveled up were for those that came to Mass carelessly or just out of routine or because they knew it was their Sunday obligation, and after Mass they were quick to forget about what they received. The Saints, on the other hand, we know, really prized the Mass. We read about Saints who, even though had the most absorbing occupations and duties and most serious responsibilities, they found time to attend Mass, sometimes two, three, or four Masses each day. A good example is St. Louis, King of France. Obviously, he had many great duties, but he would take the time to attend at least two, and sometimes three or four Masses every day. One time his courtiers complained to him about that and he said to them: “If I wanted to take you hunting three times a day, you wouldn’t complain and in fact you wouldn’t think that we had spent enough time in doing that, but I ask you to spend just a little while to attend a couple Masses, then you complain.”

We read of St. Thomas Moore, he had the great burden of the Chancellorship in England and yet he found time to attend Mass everyday and that is where he says he got his strength and wisdom to fulfill his office. We read of the Duke Simon Demontfort, when he was fighting the Albegencian heretics in a war, he used to attend Mass everyday and the Albegencian heretics knew that so then they decided to surprise him by attacking his army while he was at Mass. Simon’s officers came to him in church and said to him: “you have to come, they’re attacking us now!” and his response was, “I will serve God first, and then I will serve men.” The officers went away and soon more of his officers came and pleaded with him saying: “They’re going to wipe us out, you have to come now!” again he says, “No, I will finish attending Mass first.” So he finished attending Mass and then he went and he completely routed the enemy, even though the enemy had a vastly superior force in terms of the number of men. Everyone knew that it was through attending the Mass, more than by military skill or strategy, that he won that victory.

I’d like to conclude with two thoughts as we think of what a wonderful thing it is to attend churches or chapels where Our Lord is dwelling. Let us remember in our own homes to make sure that they be sanctuaries for Our Lord where he knows that he will be welcome. Let’s not make it a displeasing place for him by allowing sin or occasions of sin in the home. Secondly, is to remember that our own bodies and souls are temples of the Holy Ghost, as Saint Paul tells us. Certainly there, God should be welcome, you must be very careful never to desecrate that temple, where God dwells, never to drive God our forcibly by mortal sin. But always by prayer, by good works, faithful fulfillment of our duties, by strongly living faith, to make in ourselves a temple that is very pleasing to the Blessed Trinity and often throughout the day to take the time to converse with almighty God dwelling within us.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Announcements for the week: The Dedication of The Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul

Saturday, December 8, 2007 is the Feast of The Immaculate Conception, a Holy Day of Obligation. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will be offered by Fr. Gerard at Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel. Time: TBA (expect 9AM or 7PM) The Website Editor will clarify this with Fr. Gerard.

Bishop Pivarunas will be coming here to Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel on January 13, 2008 to celebrate Mass and perform Confirmations afterwards. Anyone who needs to be confirmed or conditionally re-confirmed, please see Fr. Gerard or call him at (509) 868-5893 for more information. ONLY BAPTIZED MEMBERS can recieve the sacrament of Confirmation. Regardless of Confirmation or conditional re-Confirmation, Fr. Gerard requests that those who wish to recieve the sacrament present to him copies of baptismal certificates for purposes of Church records. If you cannot meet this requirement, please see Fr. Gerard.

Traditional Catholic 2008 Calendars are now available at Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel. They are priced at $8.00 each. If you wish to buy one you may pick one up here at the Church or call Pat Balderama at (909) 829-0997.

Audio CD's are now available from the 2007 Fatima Conference "All Generations Call me Blessed", which took place in Spokane, Washington at Mount St. Michael. They are $60.00 for a complete set of the talks, and $5.00 for the individual topics. For more information call (509) 467-1077

The Dedication of The Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul

(Website Editor's note: The Dedication of The Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul is recognized today in place of the 25th Sunday After Pentecost).

From the Introit:
Terrible is this place: it is the House of God, and the gate of Heaven; and it shall be called the Court of God. How lovely are Thy Tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts! My soul longeth and fainteth for the Courts of the Lord.

Epistle from the Book of the Apocalypse of Blessed John the Apostle (21: 2-5)

In those days I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice from the throne, saying: Behold the tabernacle of God with men, and He will dwell with them. And they shall be His people, and God Himself with them shall be their God: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away. And He that sat on the throne said: Behold, I make all things new.

Gospel according to St. Luke (19: 1-10)

At that time Jesus, entering in, walked through Jericho. And behold there was a man named Zacheus, who was the chief of the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who He was: and he could not for the crowd, because he was low of stature. And running before, he climbed up into a sycamore tree, that he might see Him: for He was to pass that way. And when Jesus was come to the place, looking up He saw him, and said to him: Zacheus, make haste and come down: for this day I must abide in thy house. And he made haste and came down, and received Him with joy. And when all saw it, they murmured saying, that He was gone to be a guest with a man that was a sinner. But Zacheus standing, said to the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have wronged any man for any thing, I restore him fourfold. Jesus said to him: This day is salvation come to his house: because he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sermon of Fr. Gerard for the 24th Sunday After Pentecost

The parable of the weeds among the wheat, the weeds are sometimes called cockle, is a very good example of the nature of the Kingdom of heaven. Our Lord took many examples from agriculture because the people with who he dealt were for the most part either farmers or herdsmen and so they understood those parables which were expressed in terms of the things that they knew. Now this particular kind of weed, in the beginning, looked very much like the shoots of wheat coming up and only after they had grown up for some time that it would become evident that there was a difference, that something else was growing among the wheat and if both were harvest together, this particular kind of weed made the flour ground from it and the wheat very bitter, and perhaps even poisonous. So it was a great misfortune to have weeds among the wheat because it ruined the crop, basically, and because the seeds would fall on the ground, more of it would come up for a long time. Now these servants were very zealous for their master, they wanted to make sure that this problem was corrected as soon as possible so that they would root out these weeds. But their master was wiser because he knew if they pulled out the weeds, it would uproot the wheat also and so he said: “No, let them continue to grow until the harvest, and then we will separate one from the other.” Of course, this also bears reference to the Church where God allows the bad to grow along side the good and at the last judgment, he will separate them and the bad will go to their punishment and the good will go to their reward.

But today’s Gospel also can be looked at as a solution to the question as to why God has permitted heresy and schism in the past and why it exists to this day. There have always been heresies and schisms in the Church, even in the earliest centuries. In the second century, I think, there was already a heresy and there was an anti-pope, even that early so soon after the death of the Apostles. At the we know that nothing happens, without permission at least, of God’s divine providence but why does God permit something which is the worst of all evils, because faith is the most important of all virtues and heresy is therefore the worst of all evils, which threatens with eternal damnation all those who adhere to it. We can consider a number of reasons why God permits this evil.

First to prove the virtue of true Christians, not all those in the Church are true believers. There are those who accept some of the dogmas of the faith while they reject others, some believe in times prosperity but fall away in times of adversity, some pretend to believe for motives other than that of faith (a good example of that would be that of a lady known as Beladad, who was a communist organizer who had influenced at least a thousand young men to enter the seminaries back in the 1940’s, maybe in the 1950’s and so they went to the seminaries and learned all the studies, but they had another intention, that of infiltrating the Church and when the time came after Vatican II, they showed their true colors and went along with everything. Perhaps some of them went off to South America and were involved in the liberation theology movement there which caused great harm to the Church.)

God also permits the existence of heresy, as contradictory as it might seem, for the purification of the Church to remove Christians who are not consistent in their faith. They are so given over to pleasures that they long to hear someone teaching that there is no need for mortification, that hell does not exist, there is no point in going to confession, all religions are equal in God’s sight and that their religion is an interior thing, and so on. Some of these points are the exact things quoted or the exact excuses used by those who chose to go along with the changes of Vatican II because no longer were they obliged to fast and to do penance or observe abstinence, that was optional following Vatican II. The thrust of the teaching of Vatican II is that everybody goes to heaven, and so therefore Hell does not exist. The ecumenism of Vatican II definitely teaches that all religions are equal in God’s sight, that there is good in all of them, according to the Vatican II principle, they seek to cultivate the good, what about all the error that is forgotten in a false sort of charity?

The permission of heresy and schism to exist also purifies the Church from scandals from without. How easily theses can do much harm by false teachings seducing those who live in the True Faith. They are also permitted by God for the progress of dogma in the Church. This is one of the greatest benefits that the Church has received from the existence of heresy. The more precise explanation and definition of her teachings. Faced with Arianism, she studied more closely the dogma of the Trinity, which was clearly explained and defined and there were a number of other heresies which touched on the nature of God which were also explained and defined by the Church. Against the Novatians, who refused absolution to apostates, that is those who had given in under torture or the threat of death to the persecutors of the Church, the Novatians said that they should not be received back to the Church. But on the contrary, the doctrine of the sacrament of penance was defined. All sins are capable of forgiveness, as long as the person repents. Against Luther, the dogma of Justification was defined by the Council of Trent, as well as other doctrines attacked by the Protestants. These were clearly explained in great detail by the Council of Trent.

Heresy and schism also tends to purify the lives of the just. In the 15th chapter of St. John’s Gospel we read, “The branch that yields no fruit in me he cuts away, the branch that does yield fruit he trims clean so that it may yield more fruit.” Heresy provides occasion for the greater fruitfulness of the just. We have Councils because heresy provides the occasion for them and they do not merely study theoretical questions but also disciplinary measures to renew the daily life of the Church. For example, in the Council of Trent there is a book of the decrees and canons of the Council of Trent, which were a true reformation of the Church from within instead of the reformation which Martin Luther tried to carry out by revolting against the Church and throw away most of her doctrine and practice.

Heresy and schism brings about the greater vigilance because the danger of them increases the watchfulness and zeal of the just in defense of the truth, which they see to be threatened. It also increases in the just the life of virtue since they react against the attacks made on them by error. Especially when it casts into their faces the thoughts it observes in their actions so in the time of Martin Luther, when he was attacking the Church for abuses that existed, the Church corrected them and those who were members of the Church either were punished for their behavior or amended their lives. Also the force of example comes out in the time of error, heresy and schism. The mutual help given in time of error and persecution, the warning of falls, even in those whom the faithful do not expect to fail and there is also the punishment of the wicked. This is another reason why God permits heresy and schism.

In the Apocalypse, we are told that: “Almighty God will take the light of faith from him who does not practice charity.” St. John wrote to one of the bishops of that time and warned him because he had fallen away from his first fervor and that if he did not renew his fervor his land would be taken away from it’s place and he would be punished for his luke-warmness.

The great heresy of our own day is Modernism. It was identified and condemned in great detail by Pope St. Pius X. Well, it apparently submitted to the condemnation and corrected themselves, in reality the heresy went into hiding and in many cases continued to spread it’s tentacles through the Church especially in the Seminaries. In the 1930’s they were already starting to preach heresy in the seminaries. When enough of its adherents had risen to positions of influence and power in the Church, it blossomed forth again in the Second Vatican Council and its documents of those promoting religious liberty and ecumenism, which were also condemned by Popes Pius IX and Pius XI. Its evil fruits ripened in the years after Vatican II with the destruction of the Mass and the sacraments and the subsequent loss of faith of many Catholics and the exodus of tens of thousands of priests and religious from rectories, convents, and monasteries. All this was predicted by St. Paul in his Second letter to the Thelogians where he foretold a revolt or apostasy, which would precede the coming of the man of sin, the antichrist, who will reign in the world for a time before the last coming and final judgment of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. Even many Protestants today see many signs of the apocalypse.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Announcements for the week: 24th Sunday After Pentecost

Bishop Pivarunas will be coming here to Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel on January 13, 2008 to celebrate Mass and perform Confirmations afterwards. Anyone who needs to be confirmed or conditionally re-confirmed, please see Fr. Gerard or call him at (509) 868-5893 for more information. ONLY BAPTIZED MEMBERS can recieve the sacrament of Confirmation. Regardless of Confirmation or conditional re-Confirmation, Fr. Gerard requests that those who wish to recieve the sacrament present to him copies of baptismal certificates for purposes of Church records. If you cannot meet this requirement, please see Fr. Gerard.

Traditional Catholic 2008 Calendars are now available at Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel. They are priced at $8.00 each. If you wish to buy one you may pick one up here at the Church or call Pat Balderama at (909) 829-0997.

Audio CD's are now available from the 2007 Fatima Conference "All Generations Call me Blessed", which took place in Spokane, Washington at Mount St. Michael. They are $60.00 for a complete set of the talks, and $5.00 for the individual topics. For more information call (509) 467-1077

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Twenty-fourth Sunday After Pentecost

From the Collect:
In Thine unceasing goodness, O Lord, we beseech Thee, keep safe Thy household: and, since their only hope is to lean on Thy heavenly grace, may Thy protection be their steady defense.

Epistle from the letter of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Colossians (3:12-17)

Brethren: Put ye on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, the bowels of mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience: bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if any have a complaint against another: even as the Lord hath forgiven you, so do you also. But above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection: and let the peace of Christ rejoice in your hearts, wherein also you are callled in one body: and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly, in all wisdom: teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing in grace in your hearts to God. All whatsoever you do in word or in work, do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Gospel according to St. Matthew (13:24-30)

At that time Jesus spoke this parable to the multitudes: The kingdom of heaven is likened to a man that sowed good seed in his field. But while men were asleep, his enemy came and oversowed cockle among the wheat, and went his way. And when the blade was sprung up and had brought forth fruit, then appeared also the cockle. And the servants of the goodman of the house coming, said to him: Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? Whence then hath it cockle? And he said to them: An enemy hath done this. And the servants said to him: Wilt thou that we go and gather it up? And he said: No, lest perhaps, gathering up the cockle, you root up the wheat also together with it. Suffer both to grow until the harvest, and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers: Gather up first the cockle and bind it into bundles to burn, but the wheat gather ye into my barn.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Sermon of Fr. Gerard for the 23rd Sunday After Pentecost

Today's Gospel of the raising from the dead of the ruler's daughter brings to mind the thought of the sacrament of Extreme Unction. When we think of Jesus at the bedside of Jairus' daughter, this is the name of that ruler which we know from another Gospel narritave of this event, reminds us that Jesus would never abandon us at the crucial moments of our lives. He wishes at all times to give life to our souls. He was at our spiritual birth because it was not Paul or Peter that baptizes, but Christ. He is present when two lives are joined into one in the sacrament of Matrimony. Can you imagine that he will be absent at the most difficult moment of all, that of our passing from this life? No, he will be there in the sacrament of Extreme Unction, which is the last annointing of the sick.

The elements of this sacrament are described by one of the Apostles, St. James in his Epistle and we will take it by his definition, by phrase. The first phrase, St James says to introduce this subject, "Is anyone sick among you? We mean here a sickness which implies a danger of death. When over and above the sorrows of the illness and it's pains, we have to put our conscience in order to face the last assaults of the devil." Then he says: "Let him bring in the priests of the Church. Why should we fear those who come to us in the name of Christ?" We would send for a doctor, perhaps a lawyer to make the will. Should we be afraid of a visit which would always bring courage and peace to the sick person, since for that reason, Christ insituted this sacrament and how careless and afraid people can be, it is a great crime to those we love to deprive them of the sacraments at such a time. You might say that they always lived a good life but God is the ultimate judge of that, not man.

An older priest used to say that some people thought that, or think that when you call for the priest for the last rights it's like a death sentence and there is no hope. But actually, it's just the opposite because often times the graces of the sacraments recieved produce a return to health, at least temporarily. St. James continues: "Let them pray over him." The priest prays because the sacrament is made in two parts: matter and form, that is the things used and the words said. But let the sick man also pray because the sacrament are bestowed on the living, not upon stones. The sick person must want to recieve them and even long to recieve them, if possible, have a strong desire. St. James continues: "Annointing them with oil in the name of the Lord." In ancient times, oil formed a part of most medicines, it was also used to anoint the bodies of athletes from which came the two ideas of the healing ointment and the giving of strength. One thing about the oil of the enferm which is used in Extreme Unction, this is blessed by the bishop on Holy Thursday, but the tradition actually goes back to the last supper when Christ was instituting the sacrament of Holy Orders, he also instructed the Apostles on the consecration of the oils which are used in the sacraments Holy Chrism, holy oil which is used in baptism and other special blessings, the ordination of priests and the oil of the annointing of the sick (Extreme Unction).

St. James continues: "The prayer of faith shall save the sick man and the Lord will raise him up." The sacraments produce the effects they symbolize, here the symbolism is very clear, a healing and a giving of strength. It is not a medicine against death, but rather a help to die well. That is where the first effect of the sacrament of Extreme Unction is the giving of grace as all sacraments do, then help to give strength against temptation, help to die in the peace of Christ and to save one's soul. The forgiving of sins, if there are any left to forgive after absolution, is a second effect of this sacrament, as confirmation completes and strengthens the effects of baptism, so the annointing of the sick, as the sacrament of Extreme Unction is sometimes called, completes and perfects the sacrament of penience, it removes the remains of sin that may be on the soul and even lessens the depth of temporal punishment which might be due and in the case that someone was in the state of serious sin and absolution could not be given for some reason, the sacrament of Extreme Unction will take away serious sin even, as long as the person at least habituate the imperfect contrition. A third effect of the sacrament of Extreme Unction is the restoration of health, if God sees that it is expediant. But we must not ask God for miracles unless we do our part. Therefore, Extreme Unction should be given if there is a real danger of death. It doesn't have to be the last extremity. It can then play it's part together with the medicines given by the doctor apart from any other reason, the peace of soul the sacrament brings helps the natural means of cure.

Many priests, and myself included, have seen the benefit of this sacrament when bestowed, when someone still has the use of their faculties, when they are still concious of what is happening to them, and the danger that they are in. Such people have commented that this sacrament gave them a great feeling of peace, and this peace helping with the physical improvement sometimes can last a very long time. The elderly priest that I mentioned before, in a sermon on Extreme Unction, said that he gave one woman Extreme Unction and burried her twenty years later. So she got so well that she lived another twenty years. There was a case of one man, whom I annointed on numberous occasions in Omaha, Nebraska, when I was stationed there, he seemed to last about six months between recieving the sacrament before he had another crisis and the last time I didn't get to his bedside as quickly as I had on the previous occasions and so he was at the lest extremity when I was finally able to go. His blood oxygen was so low that he was in and out of conciousness, but after I gave him Extreme Unction, his blood oxygen actually went above the normal level and he had a good three or four hours to make his farewells, say his goodbyes to his family before he actually succombed to his illness and died.

"The prayer of faith shall save the sick man and the Lord will raise him up," continues the last part of his passage from St. James, "the sacraments produce the effects they symbolize, here the symbolism is very clear, a healing and a giving of strength." Therefore, it should not be left to the last moment or until the sick person is unconcious. Extreme Unction can be administered to those who are not concious, even to those who are apparently dead, as long as the body is still warm. What a pity not to take full advantage of it by recieving it early in a serious illness. That is why a priest should be called when a person dies suddenly.

There was the case of a student from Mount St. Michael's in Spokane, Washington who was killed in a car wreck on his way home and the preist was called and his body was still warm. In fact, one of the EMTs hooked up a brain monitor of some sort to see if he was still alive and there was activity for quite a while until the priest came and gave him the Extreme Unction, this young man was wearing his brown scapular. Another young man, who was in the vehicle, died but I don't know if he was wearing his scapular but when the priest came his body was already cold because it was a rainy night and this is why the accident happend. The boy's body, whose truck it was, was actually warm until the priest came so that he could recieve the Extreme Unction and his mother, when he didn't come home on time, prayed to Our Lady that she would hold her child and keep him and who knows if Our Blessed Mother was actually present there keeping the soul of this young man in his body until the priest came to give him Extreme Unction.

Let us call Christ to our sickbeds, nothing but good can come from such a visit, if not the return to a certain degree of health, at least the spiritual strength of the sacrament, the consolation of the sacrament, as the last sacraments are often called. The consulations of the Church and help to die at peace with God in the peace of Christ.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Announcements for the week: 23rd Sunday After Pentecost

Anyone who needs to be confirmed or conditionally re-confirmed, please see Fr. Gerard or call him at (509) 868-5893 for more information. ONLY BAPTIZED MEMBERS can recieve the sacrament of Confirmation. Fr. Gerard intends to prepare confirmations for next spring when Bishop Pivarunas comes to offer the sacrament.

Audio CD's are now available from the 2007 Fatima Conference "All Generations Call me Blessed", which took place in Spokane, Washington at Mount St. Michael. They are $60.00 for a complete set of the talks, and $5.00 for the individual topics. For more information call (509) 467-1077

The Twenty-Third Sunday After Pentecost

From the Gradual:
Thou hast saved us, O Lord, from them that afflict us: and hast put them to shame that hate us. In God we will glory all the day long: and in Thy Name we will give praise for ever.

Epistle from the letter of Blessed Paul to the Philippians (3:17-21; 4:1-3):

Brethren be ye followers of me, and observe them who walk so as you have our model. For many walk, of whom I have told you often (and now tell you weeping), that they are enemies of the cross of Christ; whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame; who mind earthly things. But our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, who will reform the body of our lowness, made like to the body of His glory, according to the operation whereby also He is able to subdue all things unto Himself. Therefore, my brethren, dearly beloved, and most desired, my joy and my crown: so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. I beg of Evodia, and I beseech Syntyche to be of one mind in the Lord: and I entreat thee also, my sincere companion, help those women who have laboured with me in the Gospel, with Clement and the rest of my fellow labourers, whose names are in the book of life.

Gospel according to St. Matthew (9:18-26):

At that time, as Jesus was speaking to the multitudes, behold a certain ruler came up and adored Him saying: Lord, my daughter is even now dead; but come lay Thy hand upon her, and she shall live. And Jesus, rising up, followed him, with His disciples. And behold a woman, who was troubled with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind Him, and touched the hem of His garment. For she said within herself: If I shall touch only His garment, I shall be healed. But Jesus turning and seeing her, said: Be of good heart, daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. And Jesus was come, into the house of the ruler, and saw the minstrels and the multitude making a tumult, He said: Give place; for the girl is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed Him to scorn. And when the multitude was put forth, He went in and took her by the hand. And the fame thereof went abroad into all that country.

Friday, November 2, 2007

All Souls Day

From the Introit:
Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them.

Epistle: From the First Letter of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (15:51-57)

Brethren, Behold I tell you a mystery: we shall all indeed rise again. but we shall all not be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall rise again incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. And when this mortal hath put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory: O death, where is thy victory? Now the sting of death is sin: and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who hath given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Gospel: According to St. John (5:25-29)

At that time, Jesus said to the multitudes of the Jes, Amen, amen, I say unto you, that the hour cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in Himself, so He hath given to the Son al to have life in Himself, so He hath given to the Son also to have life in Himself; and he hath given Him power to do judgment, because He is the Son of man. Wonder not at this, for the hour cometh wherein all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that have done good things shall come forth unto the resurrection of life, but they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment.

November- month of the Holy Souls

"Toties Quoties" Indulgence:

From noon on November 1 to midnight on November 2, the Catholic faithful, as often as they visit a church to pray for the dead, reciting six times during each visit the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be for the intentions of the Church, may gain a plenary indulgence applicable only to the souls in Purgatory under the usual conditions, i.e. Confession (within a week before or after) and Holy Communion (within the day before or up to a week after). This plenary indulgence may also be gained from noon on the following Saturday to midnight on the following Sunday, but by those who did not gain it on the preceding November 1 and 2.

Indulgences for the Month of November:

•Those who, within the octave of Alll Souls Day, visit the cemetery in a spirit of piety and devotion and pray for the dead may gain a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions (Confession, Communion, and an Our Father and a Hail Mary for the intentions of the Church) on each day of the octave, applicable only to the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

•Those who take part in the daily public prayers for the faithful departed at least 15 times during the month of November may gain a plenarry indulgence under the usual conditions. An indulgence of three years may be gained each day that one recites these prayers.

Indulgences during Other Times of the Year:

•The Catholic faithful who devoutly offer daily prayers for the souls of the faithful departed for seven or nine consecutive dayus may gain a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions. An indulgence of three years may be gained each day that one recites thes prayers.

•Those who visit the cemetery and pray for the departed may gain an indulgence of seven years on any day of the year, applicable only to the departed.

Catholic Teaching on Indulgences:
An indulgence is the remission granted by the Church of the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven. There are two kinds of indulgences, plenary and partial. A plenary indulgence is the remission of ALL the temporal punishment due to our sins. A partial indulgence is the remission of PART of the temporal punishment due to our sins. The Church by means of indulgences remits the temporal punishment due to sin by applying to us from her spiritual treasury part of the infinite satisfaction of Jesus Christ and of the superabundant satisfaction of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the saints. To gain an indulgence for ourselves we must be in the state of grace, have at least a general intention of gaining the indulgence, and perform the works required by the Church. We cannot gain indulgences for other living persons, but we can gain them for the souls in Purgatory, since the Church makes most indulgences applicable ot them.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Sermon of Fr. Gerard for The Feast of All Saints

Today is the Feast of All Saints. In celebrating this Holy Day of obligation, we honor all those saints in heaven, those who are canonized who are in great number and those who are not canonized with our Lord, nonetheless, probably the greater number and by this celebration, which is a holy day of obligation, the Church wishes us to honor all of these saints and by this one celebration to supply for any insufficiency in our veneration of the saints throughout the year.

This feast has it's origin in the dedication of the Church of St. Mary ad Martyres, that is the building in Rome that was built as a pagan temple to all the gods. After the Christian religion was tolerated in the Roman Empire and later became the state religion, many of the pagan monuments were either modified or used as churches and in this case, the Pantheon, which was a temple to all the gods of the pagan Romans was changed into a temple in honor of Almighty God under the invocation of Our Lady and of all the martyrs. In the early history of the Church, the martyrs were the only ones that were recognized as saints and invoked as saints. After the ages of persecution passed, the Church began to recognize those individuals who led examplary lives, holy lives, to whose intercession God granted the working of miracles as a proof of their holiness and their friendship with Him. Then were introduced the feasts of the confessors who are holy ones that the Church canonizes who were not martyrs and the virgins, and the holy women, that is those who were not virgins or married, who again, satisfied the conditions of the Church for being honored as saints. And so on this day as we honor all the saints in heaven let us ask through their intercession that we may one day be among their number.

The mystical body of Christ is composed of three parts: the Church triumphant, which we celebrate today, the Church suffering, the souls in purgatory, whom we commemorate tomorrow and, according to the decree of Pope Benedict XV, each priest is allowed to offer three masses on All Souls Day for the relief of the suffering souls in purgatory. And then there is ourselves, the members of the Church militant. We benefit by the intercession of the saints on our behalf, we help the souls in purgatory, by our prayers, by our sufferages, such as the Toties Quoties indulgence which can be gained this day and tomorrow and then, of course, the Church militant assists us and the souls in purgatory. While you pray for the souls in purgatory you can also ask their intercession for you, they are most grateful for the relief, which they recieve, and they can intercede with Almighty God on our behalf although we cannot do anything to lessen their sufferings.

One day, at the end of the world, the world will no longer be the Church militant or the Church suffering. All those who have saved their souls will be in the Church triumphant and it will be a perpetual feast of all the saints in the glory of Almighty God in heaven.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

The Feast of All Saints

From the Introit:
Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festival-day in honour of all the Saints: at whose solemnity the Angels rejoice and give praise to the Son of God.

Epistle: from the book of the Apocalypse of Blessed John the Apostle (7:2-12)

In those days, behold, I, John, saw another Angel acending from the rising of the sun, having the sign of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four Angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, Hurt not the earth, nor the sea, nor the trees, till we sign the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them that were signed: a hundred and forty-four thousand were signed out of every tribe of the children of Israel. Of the tribe of Juda were twelve thousand signed: of the tribe of Ruben twelve thousand signed: of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand signed: of the tribe of Aser twelve thousand signed: of the tribe of Nephthali twelve thousand signed: of the tribe of Manases twelve thousand signed: of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand signed: of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand signed: of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand signed: of the tribe of Zabulon twelve thousand signed: of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand signed: of the tribe of Benjamin twelve thousand singed. After this, I saw a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and in sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and they cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God who sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb. And all the Angels stood round about the throne, and the ancients and the four living creatures; and they fell down before the throne upon their faces, and adored God, saying, Amen. Benediction, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, honour and power, and strength to our God for ever and ever. Amen.

Gospel: According to St. Matthew (5:1-12)

At that time Jesus seeing the multitudes, went up into a mountain; and when He was sat down, His disciples came unto Him. And opening His mouth, He taught them, saying: Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek; for they shall possess the land. Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart; for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for My sake: be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven.