Friday, September 29, 2006

Benedict XVI on the Art of Presiding

Benedict XVI on the Art of Presiding (Ars Celebrandi)
"We Ourselves Must Interiorize the Structure, the Words"

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 27, 2006 ( Here is a translation of the third of five answers that Benedict XVI gave to as many questions from priests of the Diocese of Albano during a meeting Aug. 31 at papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo. The residence is located in the diocese.

* * *

The Liturgy

Father Vittorio Petruzzi, parochial vicar in Aprilia: Your Holiness, for the pastoral year that is about to begin, our diocese was asked by the bishop to pay special attention to the liturgy, in the theological dimension and in celebrative practices. The central theme for reflection at the residential weeks in which we shall be taking part in September is "The Planning and Implementation of the Proclamation in the Liturgical Year, in Sacraments and in Sacramentals."

As priests, we are called to celebrate a "serious, simple and beautiful liturgy," to use a beautiful formula contained in the document "Communicating the Gospel in a Changing World" by the Italian bishops. Holy Father, can you help us to understand how all this can be expressed in the "ars celebrandi"?

Benedict XVI: "Ars celebrandi": here too I would say that there are different dimensions. The first dimension is that the "celebration" is prayer and a conversation with God: God with us and us with God. Thus, the first requirement for a good celebration is that the priest truly enter this colloquy. In proclaiming the Word, he feels himself in conversation with God. He is a listener to the Word and a preacher of the Word, in the sense that he makes himself an instrument of the Lord and seeks to understand this Word of God which he must then transmit to the people. He is in a conversation with God because the texts of holy Mass are not theatrical scripts or anything like them, but prayers, thanks to which, together with the assembly, I speak to God. It is important, therefore, to enter into this conversation. St. Benedict in his Rule tells the monks, speaking of the recitation of the Psalms, "Mens concordet voci." The "vox," words, precede our mind. This is not usually the case: One has to think first, then one's thought becomes words. But here, the words come first. The sacred Liturgy gives us the words; we must enter into these words, find a harmony with this reality that precedes us. In addition, we must also learn to understand the structure of the liturgy and why it is laid out as it is. The liturgy developed in the course of two millenniums and even after the Reformation was not something worked out by simply a few liturgists. It has always remained a continuation of this ongoing growth of worship and proclamation. Thus, to be well in tune, it is very important to understand this structure that developed over time and to enter with our "mens" into the "vox" of the Church. To the extent that we have interiorized this structure, comprehended this structure, assimilated the words of the liturgy, we can enter into this inner consonance and thus not only speak to God as individuals, but enter into the "we" of the Church, which is praying. And we thus transform our "I" in this way, by entering into the "we" of the Church, enriching and enlarging this "I," praying with the Church, with the words of the Church, truly being in conversation with God. This is the first condition: We ourselves must interiorize the structure, the words of the liturgy, the Word of God. Thus, our celebration truly becomes a celebration "with" the Church: Our hearts are enlarged and we are not doing just anything but are "with" the Church, in conversation with God. It seems to me that people truly feel that we converse with God, with them, and that in this common prayer we attract others, in communion with the children of God we attract others; or if not, we are only doing something superficial. Thus, the fundamental element of the true "ars celebrandi" is this consonance, this harmony between what we say with our lips and what we think with our heart. The "Sursum corda," which is a very ancient word of the liturgy, should come before the Preface, before the liturgy, as the "path" for our speaking and thinking. We must raise our heart to the Lord, not only as a ritual response but as an expression of what is happening in this heart that is uplifted, and also lifts up others. In other words, the "ars celebrandi" is not intended as an invitation to some sort of theater or show, but to an interiority that makes itself felt and becomes acceptable and evident to the people taking part. Only if they see that this is not an exterior or spectacular "ars" -- we are not actors! -- but the expression of the journey of our heart that attracts their hearts too, will the liturgy become beautiful, will it become the communion with the Lord of all who are present. Of course, external things must also be associated with this fundamental condition, expressed in St. Benedict's words: "Mens concordet voci" -- the heart is truly raised, uplifted to the Lord. We must learn to say the words properly. Sometimes, when I was still a teacher in my country, young people had read the sacred Scriptures. And they read them as one reads the text of a poem one has not understood. Naturally, to learn to say words correctly one must first understand the text with its drama, with its immediacy. It is the same for the Preface and for the Eucharistic Prayer. It is difficult for the faithful to follow a text as long as our Eucharistic Prayer. For this reason these new "inventions" are constantly cropping up. However, with constantly new Eucharistic Prayers one does not solve the problem. The problem is that this is a moment that also invites others to silence with God and to pray with God. Therefore, things can only go better if the Eucharistic Prayer is said well and with the correct pauses for silence, if it is said with interiority but also with the art of speaking. It follows that the recitation of the Eucharistic Prayer requires a moment of special attention if it is to be spoken in such a way that it involves others. I believe we should also find opportunities in catechesis, in homilies and in other circumstances to explain this Eucharistic Prayer well to the People of God so that they can follow the important moments -- the account and the words of the Institution, the prayer for the living and the dead, the thanksgiving to the Lord and the epiclesis -- if the community is truly to be involved in this prayer. Thus, the words must be pronounced properly. There must then be an adequate preparation. Altar servers must know what to do; lectors must be truly experienced speakers. Then the choir, the singing, should be rehearsed: And let the altar be properly decorated. All this, even if it is a matter of many practical things, is part of the "ars celebrandi." But to conclude, the fundamental element is this art of entering into communion with the Lord, which we prepare for as priests throughout our lives.

[The two previous responses were published by
ZENIT on Sept. 22 and 24. Translation of the Italian original issued by the Holy See; adapted] © Copyright 2006 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and companions

Tomorrow is the memorial of the first Filipino saint Lorenzo Ruiz and his companions, martyrs.

Lorenzo was an accidental martyr. He went to Japan with a band of Dominican missionaries trying to escape from being unjustly accused of murder in Manila. His intention was to go to Macau and work while letting things cool down back at home.

His initial denial of the faith in the face of torture somehow shows his unreadiness to give his life in witness to the Gospel. But his ultimate decision to return and confess his faith after taking it back all the more highlights the authenticity of his free and deliberate martyrdom. Regretting his once casting off Christ only to hold on to his life, he declared: “A thousand lives, I would give them all for God if I had them” expressing his new-found readiness to give his life countless times for Christ if asked of him.

And so we pray to Lorenzo for the grace to be strong in trial and more importantly, for the grace to rise from our failings, ever to commit ourselves again to God who is worth infinitely more than our life, even a thousand of it.

Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and companion-martyrs, pray for us!
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Monday, September 25, 2006

Celtic Alleluia for ther Feast of Saint Therese

Behold Therese
Celtic Alleluia for the Feast of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus
Christopher Walker - Fintan O’ Caroll
Verses: Leo R. Ocampo

The Lord is good and steadfast in love! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Stooping to raise his little ones! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Behold Therese, beloved by God! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Planted with care on Carmel’s mount! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

Behold Therese, Christ’s faithful bride! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Shedding her scent beneath the Cross! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

Behold Therese, Our Lady’s babe! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Favored to glimpse her tender smile! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

Behold Therese, sweet child of the Church! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Nesting with joy in her bosom of love! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

Behold Therese, apostle concealed! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Winning her souls with zealous prayer! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

Behold Therese, great teacher of faith! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Showing her way of trust and love! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

As the Presider ascends the sanctuary:

Your mercies, O Lord, forever I’ll sing! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Your petals of love I’m scattering! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing!

The Lord has placed my name with the stars! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
A shower of roses from heaven will fall! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

It seems to me that if a little flower could speak, it would tell simply what God has done for it without trying to hide its blessings. -Saint Therese
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Saturday, September 23, 2006

Padre Pio of Pietrelcina

Today is the memorial of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, more popularly known as Padre Pio.

Besides the fame he bore for bearing the Stigmata, Padre Pio was especially known for his deep devotion to the Holy Eucharist and to our Lady as well as his profound care and compassion for souls. His manifest reverence and deep love for the sacred liturgy is also vivid in our memory. His example of holiness and mortification continues to inspire many to live Christianity to the fullest and heed the Lord's call to take up our crosses and follow him.

And so let us pray to Padre Pio for the grace to follow Jesus faithfully and closely, despite the difficult demands of discipleship. Let us also pray, through his intercession, to become more grateful for the gift of the Lord's Presence in the Blessed Sacrament from which we draw the strength to persevere in our Christian life and ministry.
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Friday, September 22, 2006

Litanya ng mga Santo

I would like to share a beautiful prayer that my dear friend, Rachel Sanchez, made for me as my write-up for our yearbook: a really honest and loving account of my college life.

Thank you so much best enemy!

Matapos ang 30 na Estasyon ng Krus, 75 na Rosaryo at 80 na Nobena sa iba’t ibang Santo, tumungo sa Banahaw, lumuhod at dasalin ang sumusunod na Litanya…

Panalangin Para sa Kaluluwa (na Sumasakatawan) ni Leo Ocampo

Pari: Santa Cecilia, nawa’y manatiling mala-anghel ang pag-awit ni Leo; Santo Tomas, nawa’y ipagpatuloy ni Leo ang pagpapakadalubhasa sa Pilosopoya, Teolohiya, at sa pagsagot sa Game Ka na Ba?; San Ignacio de Loyola, nawa’y mabawasan ang pagiging pasaway ni Leo; San Juan dela Cruz, nawa’y huwag kang magpatalo sa galing ni Leo manalangin; San Judas Tadeo, nawa’y magbawas si Leo ng kinakain; San Vicente de Paul, nawa’y manatili ang pagiging mapagkawang-gawa ni Leo kahit sa kanyang regency; Santa Teresita del Niño Jesus, nawa’y manatiling payak at masiyahin si Leo; San Lorenzo Diakono, nawa’y patuloy na pahalagahan ni Leo ang mahihirap; Santa Maria Goretti at San Benedito ng Nursia, dalawa na kayong dinadasalan namin dahil minsan malubha ang pagiging bastos ni Leo; Sto. Niñong Berde ang Damit, nawa’y umunlad ang mga magiging negosyo ni Leo tulad ng kanyang sari-sari store sa San Jose; San Jose, nawa’y patuloy na maging mapagmahal na lalaki si Leo; Santa Maria, tumibay pa nawa ang pananampalataya ni Leo sa Diyos.

Tugon: Ipanalangin niyo Kami. Luwalhati... Amen. <bgsound src="" loop="infinite">

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Martyrs of Korea

At the beginning of the 19th century, Christianity saw a new beginning on Asian soil particularly in Japan, in China and in Korea. This new birth of the faith in this part of the world however, came with much tribulation and sacrifice for these peoples. Within less than a century, more than 10,000 faithful were martyred in Korea alone.

Among this great throng of martyrs is Korea's first native priest, Andrew Kim Taegon, whom we commemorate today together with all the martyrs of the Korean nation. His example of heroic service shines in his desire to become a priest for a persecuted Church in a most difficult time. By laying down his life in sacrifice, he became configured to Christ, Chief Shepherd of the flock, who was not only Priest for the fold but also Victim.

May the blood of these martyrs shed in faithful witness to Christ and to the faith inspire countless others in these parts of the world to live according to their faith, especially where the new persecution of materialism and secularism threatens to uproot it from people's hearts. May the Christian faith continue to flourish everywhere in the world, made fertile by the redeeming sacrifice of Christ to which the martyrs united the laying down of their own lives for the sake of the Gospel. Sanguis martyrum, semen Christianorum.

O God,
you have created all nations
and you are their salvation.
In the land of Korea,
your call to the Catholic faith
formed a people of adoption,
whose growth you nurtured
by the blood of Andrew, Paul and their companions.
Through their martyrdom and their intercession
grant us strength
that we too may remain
faithful to your commandments
even until death.

More about Saint Andrew Kim Tae-gon
(includes a very moving letter to his flock while he was in prison)
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Friday, September 15, 2006

Prayer in Honor of Richard Michael R. Fernando, SJ

This year, we mark the 10th anniversary of the death of Richard Michael R. Fernando, SJ. Richie was a Jesuit scholastic assigned during his regency to work in Cambodia in a technical school for landmine victims. On October 17, 1996, Sarom, one of the students threatened to release a hand grenade after being asked to leave the school. Richie tried to save the students and grasped the angry student. When Sarom finally dropped the grenade, Richie fell over it to save him, dying while still grasping him tightly in his arms.

This is the prayer I composed in his honor, based on a letter he wrote four days before he offered his life, and incorporating the grace of the Three Companions whom we celebrate this Jesuit Jubilee Year:


“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Mt 6: 21)

Almighty God,
you called your servant,
Richard Michael R. Fernando, S.J.
to serve you in a foreign land,
to accompany a downtrodden people,
and to lay down his life in witness
to your Gospel of love and peace.

Instill in us the vision
to share in your unforgotten dream
of fullness of life for all people.

Enkindle in us the passion
to participate in your work with generosity
and to serve with gladness
where there is greatest need.

Grant us the compassion
to love you in our brethren
and to give our all
for the least and the last among us.

The heart of your servant remained always with Christ,
Place our hearts with your Son,
who laid down his life for his own in the world,
and allow us to dedicate our lives
in pursuit of the Kingdom
for your greater glory.

We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.


"I know where my heart is. It is with Jesus Christ, who gave his all for the poor, the sick, the orphan... I am confident that God never forgets his people: our disabled brothers and sisters. And I am glad that God has been using me to make sure that our brothers and sisters know this fact. I am convinced that this is my vocation." -Richie Fernando to Totet Banaynal, four days before his death
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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Our Lady of Sorrows

Today we celebrate the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows.

Our Lady stood faithfullly by the cross of her Son, close to him to the last as today's Sequence, the Stabat Mater, sings. Mary at the foot of the Cross is a truly poignant image of a mother's love for her Son. It is a truly moving image of a disciple's fidelity to the Lord as well.

Like Mary, we are also called to take up the Cross of Jesus and to follow him in total obedience to the Father. Mary's obedience in her Fiat of faith finds fulfillment by becoming united with the obedience of Jesus who was obedient to the Father even unto death. Sorrow and suffering then becomes salvific, when offered as a sacrifice of love that is pleasing to God.

And so we pray to our Mother as we remember the sorrows that she bore out of love for Jesus, for the strength to follow Jesus faithfully especially when it is most difficult.

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us!

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Triumph of the Cross

September 14 is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

As Christians, we glory in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, once an instrument of death but now the source of life because of Christ's radical self-emptying (kenosis). On the Tree of the Cross, the New Adam redeems by his obedience to the Father the sin of the first Adam. Of the wood of the Cross, the holy Church is built as an edifice to shelter all peoples.

And so we praise and honor Christ, who by his holy Cross, redeemed the whole world.

Crux fidelis, inter omnes
arbor una nobilis:
nulla silva talem profert,
fronde, flore, germine.
Dulce lignum, dulces clavos,
dulce pondus sustinet.

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Monday, September 11, 2006

The Holy Name of Mary

September 12 is the memorial of the Holy Name of Mary. Although this remembrance has been dropped from the universal Roman calendar, it remains an important celebration in many particular churches and religious institutes, and many continue to observe it even where it is not included in the official Church calendar. In any case, tomorrow is a ferial day so it is possible for all to use the Votive Mass of the Holy Name of Mary from the Collection of Masses of the Blessed Virgin from which the Collect included here is taken.

Miriam was such an ordinary Hebrew name of no particular significance, except that it was the name of Moses' sister who led in the singing after the crossing of the Red Sea. Nobody would have found much promise in a girl with such an ordinary name.

At one point, Mary's name was even a dishonored name because she was found to be with child before she joined Joseph under one roof. In the Matthean genealogy of Jesus, Mary's name is parallel to those of the other women in the line, all of them sexually suspect. Her honor and reputation could have remained ruined forever.

But now, it is a name we call blessed and revere with singular respect and devotion. It is a name that is powerful with God, through which we obtain many graces and blessings, and find sweetness and consolation in this valley of tears.

Mary's name became special because of her special relationship with God, who looked upon her in her lowliness out of his tender mercy. With her Fiat, she surrendered to God the right of defining her name "according to his word". Mary's name became powerful because of the power of the name of Jesus. Children will otherwise be known in reference to their parents. But Mary will always be known as the Mother of Jesus, the Mother of God. And so we honor her for the love we bear her Son and God always listens to her prayers because of his love for Jesus who loves her so much.

The name of Mary bears witness to the mercy of God and the glory of Christ. "He has looked with favor on his lowly servant. The Almighty has done great things for me. Holy is his Name." It is only because of God's mercy that her name, otherwise an ordinary name just like any other, was greatly exalted.

And it was exalted for all humanity so that we, her children, may find consolation and hope in her holy Name. When we call on her for help and protection, we are sure of relief. She is the promise of what our names will be in heaven-no longer fragile and vulnerable identities-but names strongly and securely founded on God's loving mercy.

As we celebrate the name of Mary, and call with great confidence and love on our Mother, let us ask her to place us with her Son so that we too may give ever greater glory to God.


Lord our God,
when your Son was dying on the altar of the cross,
he gave us as our mother
the one he has chosen to be his own mother,
the Blessed Virgin Mary;
grant that we who call upon the holy name of Mary, our mother,
with confidence in her protection
may receive strength and comfort in all our needs.

We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Let us also pray for Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo whose Liturgical Reception as auxiliary bishop of Manila is also on September 12.

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Litany of the Saints

THE LITANY OF THE SAINTS is one of the most ancient elements of the liturgy. It is a prayer of supplication that highlights the Communion of all believers, those already in heaven and those still on earth. The Litany usually accompanies processions and likewise, the pivotal moments of the life of the Church and of every Christian walking in procession towards God such as baptisms, ordinations and burial.

The Litany begins with the Kyrie, which is followed by the invocation of the saints beginning with the Blessed Virgin Mary. Afterwhich, there are petitions and supplications which follow. The Litany ends with a concluding prayer, if it is done as a distinct rite and not to accompany another rite e.g. a procession.

When the Litany is sung or said, all kneel except during the season of Easter or when it accompanies a procession. In the latter cases, all stand.

The list of saints and of supplications vary to be better suited to the particular rites. The Litany for the perpetual profession of women religious for example will contain more of the saints who were also women religious during their lifetime. During the funeral mass of Pope John Paul II the Blessed Mother was invoked under two additional titles: Mater Ecclesiae and Salus Populi Romani asking her to intercede for the deceased Pontiff who served both as Pastor of the Universal Church and as Bishop of Rome. There are particular supplications for specific rites such as the Rite of the Dedication of a Church and the Rites of Ordination. Religious usually include the name of their founder (if he or she is a saint or blessed) and some other saints belonging to their order or congregation. The saint of the day, local patrons and personal patrons (e.g. of those to be ordained or of those who are going to be baptized) are also included.

In general, only the names of the canonized saints of the Church are included in the Litany. Inserting however the names of the beatified where their public cultus is permitted has often been accepted.

There is a proper way of inserting the names of the saints in the Litany. The Blessed Virgin Mary always comes first followed by the angels (e.g. Saint Michael) and the general invocation of all the angels of God (All angels of God, pray for us). Then comes Saint Joseph and Saint John the Baptist followed by the patriarchs and prophets. this is followed by Saints Peter and Paul and the apostles. Saint Mary Magdalene is now mentioned after the apostles and not just among the holy women like before. The same goes as well for the "disciples of the Lord" who followed him in his lifetime e.g. Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Then follows the martyrs, and the pastors, and the consecrated men and women, and all the rest of the holy men and women.

The Blessed are usually added after all the saints have been mentioned but following the same arrangement, by category, as the saints. Then follows the general invocation of all the saints of God (All holy men and women, pray for us.)

Within the same category, some further norms of arrangement are traditionally observed. Hierarchy, antiquity and even gender are considered. The bishops are mentioned before the priests. The Fathers and Doctors of the Church are mentioned before the other bishops and priests. The male saints are mentioned before the female saints.

Then again, there are also more modern litanies that are now being used that do not follow this traditional format. You can look at my entry regarding John Becker's Litany (July 12, 2006).

Here is the Litany of the Saints that we use during diaconal ordinations in our seminary as a model and guide for your own listing. I highlighted the names of the saints that were added to be distinguished from the saints that are originally indicated in the list from the Roman Pontifical.


Deacon: Let us kneel.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us
St. Michael,
Holy angels of God,
St. John the Baptist,
St. Joseph,
St. Peter and St. Paul,
St. Andrew,
St. John,
St. Mary Magdalene,
St. Stephen,
St. Ignatius,
St. Blasé,
St. Lawrence,
St. Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila,
St. Perpetua and St. Felicity,
St. Agnes,
St. Gregory,
St. Augustine,
St. Athanasius,
St. Basil,
St. Martin,
St. Benedict,
St. Francis and St. Dominic,
St. Ignatius of Loyola,
St. Francis Xavier,
St. John Mary Vianney,
St. John of the Cross,
St. Thomas Aquinas,
St. Vincent Ferrer,
St. Vincent de Paul,
St. Catherine,
St. Teresa,
St. Therese of the Child Jesus,
Blessed John XXIII,
Blessed Pedro Calungsod,
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta,

All holy men and women,

Lord be merciful, Lord, save your people.
From all evil,
From every sin,
From everlasting death,
By your coming as man,
By the death and rising to new life,
By your gift of the Holy Spirit,

Be merciful to us sinners, Lord, hear our prayer.
Guide and protect your holy Church
Keep the Pope and all the clergy
in faithful service to your Church.
Bring all the peoples together in trust and peace.
Strengthen us in your service.

Bless these chosen men,
Bless these chosen men and make them holy,
Bless these chosen men, make them holy and consecrate
them for their sacred duties.

Jesus, Son of the living God,

Christ, hear us. Christ hear us.
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer. Lord Jesus hear our prayer.

Only the Archbishop stands and prays with hands joined.

Lord God,
hear our petitions and give your help
to this act of our ministry.
We judge these men worthy to serve as deacons
and we ask You to bless them and make them holy.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.

People: Amen.

Deacon: Let us stand.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Feast of the Birth of Mary

Tomorrow, September 8, we celebrate the Feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the calendar of the Universal Church we celebrate only three births: that of the Lord Jesus himself; of Saint John, Precursor of the Lord; and of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Among these three, the Birth of Mary was the last to be observed throughout Christendom, beginning only around the 8th century.

Yet the Birth of Mary is nevertheless of profound importance in the history of our salvation in Christ her Son. Like the dawn that hails the rising of the Sun, Mary's birth signals the fulfillment of the promises made by God to his people Israel. Immaculately conceived, Mary is the first and most perfect fruit of the redemption. In her, we see our own rebirth in Christ as the new creation of which she is the Mother, the new and sinless Eve. It is from her spotless body that we receive Jesus, the new Adam who undoes the sin of the first Adam and redeems us on the tree of the Cross by his obedience.

And so we rejoice and praise God for the gift of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our sister and our mother. We praise Christ her Son for the beauty of his redemption. And we honor the Holy Spirit for bringing her forth as the sign of our new life in Jesus.

Thy birth, O Virgin Mother of God,
heralded joy to all the world.
For from thou hast risen the Sun of justice,
Christ our God.

Destroying the curse, He gave blessing;
and damning death, He bestowed on uslife everlasting.

Blessed art thou among women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
For from thou hast risen
the Sun of justice, Christ our God.
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Diaconal Ordinations

On Saturday, September 9, four foreign Jesuits from Arrupe International Residence will be ordained to the diaconate at the Oratory of Saint Ignatius in the Loyola House of Studies. Next Saturday, five Filipino diocesan seminarians from San Jose Seminary will also become deacons.

Here is the short introduction to the liturgy of diaconal ordination that I prepared for last year's participation guide, as well a version of the "Celtic Alleluia" that has verses for ordinations. Let us pray for the ordinands that they may receive the grace of the sacred order in its fullness and be able to carry out worthily their sacred duties for the service of God's holy people.

The liturgy of Diaconal Ordination reformed by Vatican II is such that it is simple, clear and understandable by the general faithful, that the people may be able to take part in it fully, consciously and actively and so be able to enter into the mysteries they signify. The various signs and symbols in the rite speak not only of the profound mystery of this holy Sacrament to be received by the candidates but also of the mystery of our own vocation, personal and ecclesial.

The liturgy begins after the Gospel is proclaimed with the Calling and Presentation of the Candidates and their Election by the Bishop and the Consent of the People. Every Christian vocation is essentially rooted in the evangelical mission of bringing the Good News of the Kingdom and possesses a truly ecclesial character. One is called, not only by and for oneself, but in the Church and to serve the Church. The bishop then preaches a Homily, teaching the people, especially the elect, about the dignity of the sacred order and its place in the life and mission of the people of God. The elect rise to express their Commitment to Celibacy and are further examined by the bishop as to their willingness to give themselves freely and fully to this sacred ministry. By their Promise of Obedience, they place themselves in the service of a particular Church in communion with its pastor, the bishop. From the bishop’s sharing in the priesthood of Christ our High Priest flows their own ministry, which they exercise with his sacred college of presbyters, as collaborators in the care of the Lord’s vineyard.

The bishop then invites the people to pray. The elect prostrate themselves, and all kneel to chant the Litany. The ancient and profound gesture of prostration speaks of the humility of the elect before God who chose them, not because they deserve to be called, but by his own free and gracious election. They are able to respond and live this vocation not solely on their own, but by his holy grace, and the spiritual support of the Church, in her glorious communion of saints and sinners, interceding to God on their behalf. Hence, it is also a posture of begging and supplication with the entire people of God.

Then follows the Laying on of Hands, the central and most essential moment of the Ordination rite, accompanied by the Prayer of Consecration. In this most solemn act, the Church invokes the Holy Spirit, who confers the sacramental dignity of the sacred order on the elect and gives them the grace to carry out their sacred duties: to preach the Word, to assist and to lead the people in the celebration of the sacred liturgy and to minister to the poor and the needy in charity.

The new deacons are then vested with the vestments proper to their holy order: the stole and the dalmatic over the alb. The alb is the symbol of our common baptismal dignity that forms the base and foundation of the dignity of every particular vocation. The stole signifies the sweet and gentle yoke of Christ, the yoke of service, for he washes the feet of his disciples with this orarium as the early Church writers say, as well as the specific duties of the ministry. Indeed they are to wear the stole and alb in the exercise of their sacramental office. As early as the sixth century and established by the eighth century, the dalmatic has been closely associated with the diaconate. A garb of rank and privilege, it signifies the great dignity of the sacred order, yet not outside the Gospel context wherein one who aspires to be great must first be the “servant of all”. (Mt 20: 26; Mk 10: 43)

Having been vested as deacons, they go up to the bishop, who presents to them the Book of the Gospels with the mandate: “Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you now are. Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach.” They receive the Kiss of Peace from the bishop, as well as from the other deacons who are present, signifying their having been incorporated fully into the sacred Order.

The celebration continues with and culminates in the banquet and sacrifice of the Most Holy Eucharist, the source and summit of every vocation and ministry in the Church. Indeed, it is the core and apex, not only of the liturgy, but of the whole Christian life.

The Mystery of Holy Orders
Celtic Alleluia with Verses for Ordinations
Fintan O’Caroll – Christopher Walker
Verses: Leo R. Ocampo

The Lord is good and steadfast in love! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Raising up men to shepherd the flock! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Bishops to teach, confirm and govern! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Leading the flock with Christ’s gentle staff! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

Priests to make holy and shepherd the flock! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Feeding with care the ewes and the lambs! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

Deacons to preach, and comfort the poor! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Proclaiming the Word and serving in love! Alleluia! (R
. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

A nation of priests, a people for God! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Many the gifts, One Priesthood in Christ! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

Pastors to feed and gather the fold! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Seeking the lost and binding the lame! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

Prophets, to hear your Voice and proclaim! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Careful to listen and bold to declare! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

Kings, to govern and serve in your Name! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Winning the world for your glorious reign! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

Behold the Living Body of Christ! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
The flock and their shepherds, united in faith! Alleluia! (R.Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

Praised be the Father, great is his love! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Giving us Christ, our Priest and our Lamb! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

Praise be to Christ, Chief Pastor and Lord! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Sending forth shepherds to pasture the fold! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

Praised be the Spirit, Comforter and Guide! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
leading the Church with his blessed light! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

As the bishop enters the sanctuary:

Draw near O Spirit, Life-Giver come! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Ano-o-int and fill these men with your grace! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

Glory to God: Father, Spirit and Son! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Now and through endless ages to come! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus, Chorus one step higher)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Memorial of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Memorial of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
September 5

Let us pray to our Father in heaven
as we remember Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
who spent her life in loving service to the needy,
seeking 'to satisfy the thirst of Jesus on the Cross'
crying out in the 'distressing disguise of the poor'.

Father, hear your children.

1. God of the homeless, we pray that your Church may be a home where all the peoples of the earth may find comfort and shelter.

2. God of the downtrodden, we pray that our leaders may work together to promote the dignity of every person, especially of the poor and marginalized.

3. God of the abandoned, we pray for the Missionaries of Charity and for all who work for the helpless and the destitute, that they may find joy and strength in your Son who came to relieve the sick and the suffering.

4. God of the lowly, we pray for all who undergo material and spiritual deprivation that they may learn to cling to you in their need and find consolation in the solidarity of their brothers and sisters.

5. God of the hungry and thirsty, we pray for one another that as we partake of the banquet of your Word and Sacrament we may become Good News for our neighbor, broken bread and wine outpoured for all the needy and lonely of the world.

God and Father of us all,
hear the prayers of your children.
Fill all the hungers of the world
with the love of Christ your Son
present in this banquet of charity
and in the compassion of all his members.

We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Memorial of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Tomorrow, September 5, is the liturgical memorial of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. She died on the same day in 1997, acclaimed by many as a "living saint".

Born Gonxha Agnes Bojaxhiu of Albanian parents in 1910, she joined the Sisters of Loreto and became a teacher. Later on, she received her "call within a call," seeing her vocation to "to quench Jesus' thirst for love and for souls.” She then set out to establish the Missionaries of Charity dedicated to serving the poorest of the poor beginning in Calcutta, India. The Institute is now present in many parts of the world, ministering to the most needy and the most destitute, living among them and sharing their life.

Mother's inspiration is a shining light for our time when selfishness and materialism are prevalent. She shows us the radical meaning of belng human and Christian-being broken and poured out for the life of the world.


who called blessed Teresa, virgin
to respond to the love of your Son thirsting on the cross
with outstanding charity to the poorest of the poor,
grant us,
we beseech you,
by her intercession,
to minister to Christ in his suffering brothers and sisters.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Below are some helpful links:

The Official Site for the Cause of Canonization of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
Mother Teresa of Calcutta Center (contains the full Proper of the liturgy for her feast)
Corpus Christi Movement for Priests
Norms for the Cultus of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (please scroll down)

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