Saturday, August 30, 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Homily - "The keys to the kingdom"

Click HERE to listen to Sunday's homily.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Nats Mass!

from Sunday's Washington Post:

Fans who stream into the Navy Yard district before Nats games are now greeted with increasingly varied entertainment choices, from Yards Park for fresh air and views of the Anacostia River to the Fairgrounds for frat-rock music and adult refreshments to a variety of neighborhood restaurants and taverns, with more to come.

On Sunday afternoons this summer, they’ve had another option: a Catholic church service. Or, as the local St. Vincent de Paul church calls it, “Nats Mass.”

“For me, it was kind of a no-brainer,” said Rev. Andrew Royals, 34, a Montgomery County native who became the pastor at the South Capitol Street church about two years ago. “On game days we had thousands of people walking right in front of our church. I was like, ‘Well, I’m sure some of these people would like to go to church.’…And we thought there’s no reason people can’t do both.”
And thus, Nats Mass was launched in May, a noon service that runs about 40 or 45 minutes, getting attendees out the door in plenty of time for a 1:35 first pitch.

The first session, a trial run that wasn’t publicized, attracted a crowd of five. But then the church – which is located at the corner of South Capitol and M streets – put up a sign touting the Nats Mass service. It publicized the service on Facebook. It used the #NatsMass hashtag on Twitter. And the crowd has grown at each successive mass.

Royals is expecting between 75 and 100 people for Sunday’s service, the seventh of nine scheduled Nats masses this season. By next season, he hopes to reach the church’s capacity, which is about 150. The church has long held an 8 a.m. Sunday mass for regular parishioners, and it recently added a Sunday evening mass for the younger demographic, but Royals expects that Nats Mass will eventually be the parish’s biggest event of the week.

“We’re shattering attendance records each Sunday,” he said. “That’s what gives me hope. I’m pretty sure at some point I’m going to start mass one Sunday, and I’m going to look out and see a church filled with Nats fans.”

How could he tell? Well, for one thing, the Nats fans typically wear red casual baseball gear – “we kind of lighten the strictures up a little bit,” Royals joked, when asked about the dress code.

There are other things that make Nats Mass unique. Royals tries to keep the service a tad briefer than normal, so anxious fans don’t get distracted by the approaching gametime. And he will include references to baseball or to the Washington nine in his homilies – “it makes it easy when you know that everyone has something in common even beyond our religion,” he said. Baseball “kind of gives you an extra set of things that we can all relate to.”

And then there are the games themselves. Royals accompanied a group of churchgoers to a Sunday matinee against Milwaukee after a Nats Mass in July; the home team recorded a walk-off win. In fact, the Nats are 5-1 thus far after Nats Mass services. Playoff schedules, of course, are weeks away, but Royals said he might add an extra Nats Mass if there are any Sunday postseason games at home, “so people can come and actually pray for a win.”

Before launching the baseball-linked service, Royals consulted with several priests and neighboring pastors; everyone he asked had positive feedback. Three months later, that hasn’t changed.

“If I don’t start this Nats Mass, somebody else is going to,” he remembered thinking. “I think it’s a winner for the parish, and it’s a winner for the fans, and hopefully it’s a winner for the Nats.”

Friday, August 15, 2014

Solemn feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary


Celebrated every year on August 15, the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary commemorates the death of Mary and her bodily assumption into Heaven, before her body could begin to decay--a foretaste of our own bodily resurrection at the end of time. Because it signifies the Blessed Virgin's passing into eternal life, it is the most important of all Marian feasts and a Holy Day of Obligation.

Quick Facts:
 Date: August 15.
 Type of Feast: Solemnity; Holy Day of Obligation. (For more details, see Is Assumption a Holy Day of Obligation?
 Readings: Revelation 11:19a, 12:1-6a, 10ab; Psalm 45:10, 11, 12, 16; 1 Corinthians 15:20-27; Luke 1:39-56 (full text here)
 Prayers: The Hail Mary
 Other Names for the Feast: The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary; The Assumption of Mary Into Heaven; The Dormition of the Theotokos; The Falling Asleep of the Blessed Virgin Mary
History of the Assumption:
The Feast of the Assumption is a very old feast of the Church, celebrated universally by the sixth century. The feast was originally celebrated in the East, where it is known as the Feast of the Dormition, a word which means "the falling asleep." The earliest printed reference to the belief that Mary's body was assumed into Heaven dates from the fourth century, in a document entitled "The Falling Asleep of the Holy Mother of God." The document is written in the voice of the Apostle John, to whom Christ on the Cross had entrusted the care of His mother, and recounts the death, laying in the tomb, and assumption of the Blessed Virgin. Tradition variously places Mary's death at Jerusalem or at Ephesus, where John was living.

A Required Belief:
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her earthly life is a defined dogma of the Catholic Church. On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII, exercising papal infallibility, declared in Munificentissimus Deus that it is a dogma of the Church "that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory." As a dogma, the Assumption is a required belief of all Catholics; anyone who publicly dissents from the dogma, Pope Pius declared, "has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith."

While the Eastern Orthodox believe in the Dormition, they object to the papal definition of the dogma, seeing it as unnecessary, since belief in Mary's bodily assumption, tradition holds, goes back to apostolic times.

Pope Pius XII, in the text explaining his definition of the dogma of the Assumption, refers repeatedly to the Blessed Virgin's death before her Assumption, and the consistent tradition in both the East and the West holds that Mary did die before she was assumed into Heaven. However, since the definition of the Assumption is silent on this question, Catholics can legitimately believe that Mary did not die before the Assumption. (For more details on this question, see Did the Virgin Mary Die Before Her Assumption?.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

This will make you smile

Here's something from the internet that will make you smile.  It's greatly needed with all of the increasingly sad news we see daily.  It's a short video that is really cool and positive with a great message at the end. 

Son Buys Mom Her Dream Car (And Surprises Her With It)


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

"All this gravely offends God and humanity" - Pope Francis

The situation in Iraq is becoming increasingly more dire each day, as the article from indicates.   Cardinal Wuerl will be celebrating the 12:10 Mass at St. Matthew's Cathedral on the Solemnity of the Assumption this Friday, August 15, for peace, religious freedom, and toleration.  Please pray to the Lord for peace in Iraq and the Middle East through the intercession of the Queen of Peace.

The Holy Father is pleading with the world:

“Dear brothers and sisters: The news reports coming from Iraq leave us in dismay and disbelief...thousands of people, Children dying of hunger and thirst in their flight; women abducted; violence of every kind; destruction of historical, cultural and religious patrimonies...All this gravely offends God and humanity.”
This might surprise you, but the Holy See is also not opposed to military intervention by the United States in Iraq. In fact, some officials seem to suggest that military action might be the correct action to prevent a potential genocide from occurring.

Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, who serves as the Pope Francis' ambassador to Baghdad, told Vatican radio that American strikes are “something that had to be done, otherwise [ISIS] could not be stopped.”

Additionally, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s envoy to the United Nations in Geneva, told Vatican Radio that “military action in this moment is probably necessary.”

As much as we wish we could simply walk away from this troubled country, the United States bears a lot of responsibility for how things have unfolded in Iraq.

Perhaps we were naïve in 2003 when we invaded Iraq and attempted to establish a new democracy. It seems we were also naïve a decade later, hoping we could abandon the country to the newly formed government without leaving behind any military presence.

As the violent and radical Islamic regime known as ISIS spreads across portions of Iraq, Christians face certain death if they refuse to renounce Jesus Christ.

And so over 100,000 Christians have fled their homeland “horrified and panicked” with “nothing but the clothes on their backs,” said Patriarch Louis Sako, head of the Chaldean Catholic Church.

Patriarch Sako appealed to Western nations to intervene:
“To summarize the situation of the Christian villages around Mosul up to the borders of Kurdistan Region: the churches are deserted and desecrated; five bishops are out of their bishoprics, the priests and nuns left their missions and institutions leaving everything behind, the families have fled with their children abandoning everything else! The level of disaster is extreme.

“The position of the American president Obama only to give military assistance to protect Erbil is disappointing. The talks about dividing Iraq are threatening. The Americans are not up to a rapid solution to give hope specifically as they are not going to attack the ISIS in Mosul and in the Nineveh Plain.”
Our Catholic bishops in the United States have called upon all Catholics to join together on August 17 to pray for peace.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Happy Feast Day, Dominicans!

"Arm yourself with prayer rather than a sword; wear humility rather than fine clothes." - St. Dominic

Dominican House of Studies

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Unusual pro-life video


You'll really love this unusual pro-life video...

When you watch it, you'll understand why Planned Parenthood workers panicked and called 911.

Four police cars arrived. And what did they find?
Just dozens of young men peacefully praying the rosary to end abortion.
Police officer: "I just want to let you know that we got a call..."
"But you're completely within your rights to continue what you're doing for as long as you want. And if you need help, give us a call."
The pro-life rally was one of the highlights for the boys attending the TFP Call to Chivalry camp in Pennsylvania.


Monday, August 04, 2014

"The Mass is the work of God"

“All the good works in the world are not equal to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass because they are the works of men; but the Mass is the work of God."  - St John Vianney (feast day today)

Friday, August 01, 2014

" Mass"; Mark Wahlberg does... twice on Sundays

'My faith is the most important part of my life': Mark Wahlberg the devout Catholic reveals he often attends church TWICE on Sundays
Dec 17, 2013

Mark Wahlberg has revealed he often goes to church twice on Sundays.

The Lone Survivor star, who has four children, Ella, 10, Michael, seven, Brendan, five, and Grace, three, with his wife Rhea Durham, is extremely religious and his Catholic faith is 'the most important' part of his life.

The 42-year-old actor told Parade magazine: 'It's the most important part of my life. I don't try to push it on anybody and I don't try to hide it.
'If the kids are good, I'll have doughnuts for them at 6:30 in the morning, and I'll say, "You guys gotta let Mommy sleep in!" I'll go to church at 7:30 and everybody will be eating breakfast when I come home. 
'Then we'll go to church again at 10:30, if things aren't too hectic. Or if one of the kids has a game we'll watch them play. It's a nice family day.'...

The Superfluous Church

Recently an article about a new municipal art project in Belgium caught my eye.  It seems that hardly anyone in the village of Bossuit goes to church these days.  Their local parish of St. Amelberga was shuttered in 2009, due to both a lack of attendance and a lack of funds for its upkeep.  Instead of tearing the building down, or converting it to another use, the townsfolk turned it into a “ruin”, removing the roof, furnishings, and so on.

What struck me most about the story was not so much the repurposing of a deconsecrated building, but rather the way in which it was described: St. Amelberga’s was a “superfluous church”.  By “superfluous”, the author meant that this was simply an extra, unnecessary building.  However in a broader sense, that description pretty accurately describes how many self-identified Catholics view the Church.

The hard fact is that Catholicism seems to be going nowhere but down in Europe, and in some parts of the U.S., as well.  Even in supposedly ultra-Catholic Poland, a recent survey showed that Mass attendance has now dropped to under 40%.  After all the Polish people went through under Communism, and given the example of Pope St. John Paul II, this is a particularly tragic development.  So we need to ask ourselves, why is this happening?

Unlike many in the commentariat, I’m not particularly interested in armchair quarterbacking the job of a bishop.  His is a very difficult vocation, which I have a limited understanding of.  I do, however, have a great deal of experience in being a sinful, lay Catholic.  So instead, it seems to me that the solution to this problem is really quite simple.  GET YOUR ASS TO MASS.

To begin with, attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days is not optional: in fact, it’s one of the Precepts of the Church.  Remember those? They haven’t been abrogated.

Moreover, you do not get off the hook for Mass attendance by taking an inside baseball approach.  Some do not like going to Mass because their church is an unattractive building, or they don’t personally like the pastor, or because the music is bad, or because the congregation does something resembling jazz hands during the “Our Father”, or there is too much Latin, or there is not enough Latin, or the priest is a lifetime subscriber to Commonweal, or the parishioners think that women wearing trousers is a venial sin, and so on, and so forth.  None of these things, by the way, are valid excuses for failing to attend Mass on Sunday.

Too many non-Catholics in Western society today have concluded that the Catholic Church is irrelevant, even malevolent, seeing it as an obstacle rather than a solution to the problems we all face.  They walk past Catholic churches every day without pausing to step inside and ask questions.  And they swallow, hook, line, and sinker, what the mainstream media tells them about Catholicism, without considering either the veracity of the information they’re being given, or the viewpoint of the person doing the reporting.

Yet one big reason, if not the exclusive one, as to why the world takes an increasingly dim view of Catholicism is the fact that non-Catholics do not see many Catholics actively practicing their faith in what is generally considered to be the most basic form of religious worship for Christians: going to church on Sunday.  What’s more, even for those of us who are attending regularly, how often are we inviting others to come along with us, and see what it’s like?  Our inactions, like actions, have consequences.  If we don’t take our faith seriously, we can’t expect other people to do so.

As time goes on and society continues to circle ever-faster down the moral drain, it’s reasonable to assume that there will be more art projects like this one in Bossuit.  Yet it doesn’t have to be this way.

Those of you who should be going to Mass, and are not, can make a big difference simply by showing up.  And those of you who have been faithfully showing up, can do more by taking advantage of the opportunity to bring others with you, even if they have no interest in exploring conversion, but just so that they understand better what we as Catholics believe.  Our goal, then, should be to find ourselves in a world where the term “superfluous” should never be found applicable to the Catholic Church.