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Friday, December 15, 2017
Aspirations of a Poor Sinner to The Christ Child

Oh Divine Infant who dids't deign to be born of The Holy Virgin, in these last days, have pity upon me an idler and a sinner in whom Thou shal't find nothing but guile.

Oh Divine Infant, Who by Thy Divine Birth illuminated the whole world, of The Father's Wisdom, have pity upon me an idler and a sinner in whom Thou shal't find nothing but guile.

Oh Divine Infant Who did'st by Thy Infancy take upon Thyself humanity and did'st extol it, have pity upon me an idler and a sinner in whom Thou shal't find nothing but guile.

Oh Divine Infant Whose Smile illuminates the countenance of the broken-hearted, have pity upon me an idler and a sinner. Amen.
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
The Franciscan Third Order of the Society of St. Pius X

The following information (even where not directly quoted) was taken primarily from Chapters 2-5 of the Handbook of the Third Order Secular of St. Francis of Assisi (out of print), by Basil Gummerman, O.F.M. Cap. Patterson, NJ: St. Anthony’s Guild, 1947.

What is the Third Order of St. Francis?

The Third Order Secular of St. Francis is an ecclesiastical association of the laity, originally founded by St. Francis of Assisi. It is a state of perfection for persons living in the world. The religious strive after perfection by observing the three vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and live in community according to their Rule, whereas the members of the Third Order Secular live in the spirit of the vows in fraternal unity according their own separate Rule (Ch. 2, Third Order Handbook).
Pope Leo XIII explained that while all the Franciscan Orders are ordered to the perfection of their members, unlike the first two Franciscan Orders, “open to few…the Third Order… is accommodated to the many” (Constitution Misericors Filius). Even so, the Third Order is not indiscriminately open to all, and there are times of probation (i.e., the postulancy & novitiate), before one may be professed for life in the Order.

What is the purpose of the Third Order?

The purpose of secular Third Orders in the Church is the same as that of religious orders and congregations: they promote Christian perfection. And St. Francis had no other end in view when he established his Third Order. It is easily understood, then, that “the first essential duty of Franciscan Tertiaries [Third Order members] is the striving after perfection by faithfully observing the Rule” (Ch. 3, T.O. Handbook).
Pope St. Pius X proclaimed that the purpose of the Third Order of St. Francis consists in this: “that its members put into everyday practice the precepts of Gospel perfection and serve as models of Christian life for the imitation of others” (Tertium Franciscalium Ordinem, September 8, 1912).

What is the spirit of the Franciscan Order?

Every religious order has its specific spirit. It is the founder who, with his particular ideals, outstanding virtues, and activities gives his order its spirit. In St. Francis we see seraphic love, extreme poverty, deep humility, great penance and a chivalrous life according to the Gospel. Yet, how can one concisely express his spirit? Perhaps the best way is to say that his spirit consists in living out fully, the whole Gospel—not only its commands, but also its precepts, ideals and implications. As his first biographer, Thomas of Celano wrote:
He was the man with the evangelical vocation in truth and in faith the servant of the Gospel…His supreme desire, his ardent wish and his highest principle was to observe the Gospel in all things and above all things (Ch. 3, T.O. Handbook).
While other founders concentrated on one or the other characteristics of Christ such as zeal for souls or love of prayer, St. Francis concentrated on imitating Christ, the Divine Model as He is pictured in the Gospel. Thus, “St. Francis approached God through the Sacred Humanity of Christ. This is the Gospel way, the way best adapted to human nature” (Ch. 3, T.O. Handbook). From this we see the reason for Francis’s great devotion to the Babe in the Manger, the Man of Sorrows upon the Cross, as well as the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Pope Pius XI has stated that in no other saint have the image of Christ and the ideal of the Gospel been more faithfully and strikingly expressed than in Francis who has been justly styled “the second Christ” (Encyclicals Auspicato, Sacra Propediem, Rite Expiatis).
To acquire the Franciscan spirit Tertiaries are called to:
frequently fix their attention on Jesus Christ and endeavor to copy one trait after the other according to their station in life. Prayerful reading of the Gospel and regular meditation will fill their minds with Jesus so as to enkindle love for Him in their hearts, and move their wills to imitate Him. Observance of the letter and spirit of the Rule will detach them from the world and self and awaken a longing and a taste for intimate communion with Jesus (Ch. 3, T.O. Handbook).

Advantages of the Third Order

Following the spirit and letter of the Rule, members of the Third Order of St. Francis find “a safe refuge in a sinful world and an excellent nursery of the choicest virtues.” “By its wise restrictions and abundant graces the Third Order provides a security akin to that of the cloister.” Thus, the Tertiary vocation “is a great grace, approximating the call to religious life” (Ch. 5, T.O. Handbook). The various apostolates of the Third Order gives the Tertiary many opportunities to merit through the works of mercy.
The Tertiary has more help in the spiritual life than the rest of the faithful. Besides the Rule, so wisely constructed for those who seek holiness of life while living in this sinful world, he also has the “glorious examples of the holy Franciscans to guide him,” and he has claim to a special share in the good works of the Three Orders that will support his efforts. Furthermore, in those places where the Third Order is already established, he has the advantage of “novice instructions and monthly conferences to unfold the beauty and value, the means and obstacles of the spiritual life, and to explain the application of the spirit of St. Francis to modern everyday life” (Ch. 5, T.O. Handbook). And, being in fraternal union with other Tertiaries who hold the same lofty Franciscan ideals is a priceless assistance providing joy and strength to persevere in this holy way of life.
All Tertiaries have the great privilege and duty of joining in the Public Prayer of the Church—the Divine Office. With the clergy and religious throughout the world, they become ambassadors of the Church, to officially offer praise to God in the name of all humanity. Yet, because the laity must live in the busy world, holy Church, wise mother that she is, has given her Tertiary children the choice of a much simpler office suited to their station in life known as the Office of the Paters or the Seraphic Office. This option makes it possible for persons of virtually any station in life to faithfully pray the daily office.
There are also, throughout the year, eight Franciscan feasts in which Tertiaries can gain plenary indulgences.

The fruit of the Third Order

The Third Order of St. Francis has done so much good over the centuries both in the sanctification of souls and in the building up of Christian society that many Popes have been moved to sing its praises. The number Franciscan Tertiaries now listed as Saints or Blesseds is enormous. As to its effect in the social sphere, Pope Pius XI stated:
A most wholesome change in society began to take shape, the new Order founded by Francis spreading far and wide among the peoples of Christendom and gaining in its members, while moral purity followed in the wake of the practice of penance. …There was a beautiful, glorious revival of the choicest virtues in civil life. In fine the face of the earth was renewed” (Rite Expiatis).

Conditions for Entry to the Third Order of St. Francis under the Friars Minor Capuchin of Traditional Observance of Morgon, France:

  1. Candidates must be above the age of fourteen, in good character, peace-loving, and above all of tried fidelity in the practice of the Catholic Faith and in loyalty to the Roman Church and the Apostolic See. They must be in accord with the doctrinal position of the Capuchin Fathers of Morgon, France and the Priestly Society of St. Pius X.
  2. Married women may not be received without the husband’s knowledge and consent, unless their confessor judges otherwise.
  3. One must not belong to another Third Order.
  4. Church law mandates that candidates undertake at least one year of novitiate before making their profession (the Capuchins of Morgon require 1½ years). At profession the candidates promise to observe the Rule for the rest of their lives.

A Synopsis of the Third Order Rule

  • Simplicity and modesty in dress.
  • Keeping away from dances and shows which savor of license and avoiding all forms of dissipation.
  • Temperance in eating and drinking.
  • Fasting and abstinence on particular days.
  • Monthly Confession and Holy Communion.
  • Praying daily one of three Offices approved by the Church.
  • Making a last will and testament.
  • Leading others by setting a good example.
  • Maintaining charity towards others.
  • Refraining from taking unnecessary oaths and using indecent language.
  • Attending Mass daily when possible and attending the monthly meetings.
  • Contributing to a common fund for the needs of poor members and for the dignity of worship.
  • Visiting sick members.
  • Praying for deceased members.

Helpful information for those seeking to join the traditional Third Order of St. Francis

Directed by the traditional Capuchin Franciscans of Morgon, France
I. About Tertiary Life: Postulancy, Novitiate (habit, novice meetings), Profession, and Rule
A. POSTULANCY: Ordinarily, where there are established Fraternities of the Third Order, there is a postulancy period of at least 3 months for those seeking entrance. “Postulants shall be briefly instructed in Christian doctrine, in the life of our holy Father Francis, and in the Third Order” (Const. Art. 12). Where there is no fraternity (as would be the case here), candidates enter as Isolated Tertiaries and the postulancy period is waved. At the end of the postulancy, “those who have been found suitable shall be admitted to the novitiate of the fraternity by the Director on the advice of the Council” (Const. Art. 15).
B. NOVITIATE: According to the Rule (and Church law) the novitiate must last at least one full and uninterrupted year. Because of the current difficult circumstances, the Capuchins of Morgon have extended the length of the novitiate for all their Third Order novices to 18 months.
  1. The Novitiate begins with a clothing ceremony in which the candidate receives the habit of the Third Order: A large brown scapular and a cord with 5 (or 3) knots—both worn under one’s clothing. One chooses a new name on this day.
  2. The purpose of this time of probation is two-fold: 1) To give the novices the opportunity to test their strength and perseverance. 2) To enable the fraternity to ascertain their fitness.
  3. Besides the usual monthly meetings of the Society that they are required to attend, there are Novice Instruction meetings (also usually held once a month). It is of utmost importance that the Novices attend all the NI’s. The NI’s are intended “to prepare the novices that they may afterwards dedicate themselves to God by profession, with a full realization of their obligations” (Const. Art. 20). In these Instructions the novice will learn about the life and spirit of St. Francis, the nature, purpose and history of the Third Order, the regulations of the Holy Rule, and how to attain perfection while living in the tumult of the world. They will also learn the works of piety, charity and of the apostolates of Tertiary life.
  4. Towards the end of the novitiate the Director, if he thinks fit, shall test the knowledge and intentions of the novices, and seek the advice of the Council as to whether they are worthy of being admitted to profession” (Const. Art. 23).
C. PROFESSION:Profession in the Third Order is a solemn religious act whereby one of the faithful, moved by divine grace, dedicates himself to God, promising to observe the holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in the world, by living according to the commandments of God and the Rule of our holy Father Francis….” Those who profess are not bound by vows but by a promise, which is not binding under pain of sin. Profession is for life.
II. Preliminary requirements
A. From the Rule Ch. 1§1: “Only those may be received as members who have completed their 14th year, and are of good character, peace-loving, and above all of tried fidelity in the practice of the Catholic Faith and in loyalty to the Roman Church and the Apostolic See.”
B. From the Rule Ch. 1§2: “Married women may not be received without the husband’s knowledge and consent, unless their confessor judges otherwise.”
C. Const. Art. 11: “Since the continual growth of the Third Order should be in holiness rather than in numbers, careful inquiry shall be made whether candidates are fit for entry into the Order, according to the conditions laid down in the Rule and these Constitutions. Those are fit for membership, who, called by divine grace, desire to dedicate themselves to God in a special way in the world; that is, wish to be pleasing to God and to be of service to the Church and to human society according to the spirit of St. Francis.”
D. Further Requirements
  1. Required by the traditional Capuchins of Morgon, France: Candidates must be “in accord with the doctrinal position of the Capuchin Fathers of Morgon and the priests of the Society of St. Pius X in the present religious combat.”
  2. One must not already be a member of another Third Order (only with a special indult may one belong to two Third Orders [Const. Art. 13]). It is possible—under the proper conditions—to switch from one order to another.
  3. One must have decided to combat the spirit of the world, to respect the rules of Christian modesty in dress (Pope Benedict XV called the Tertiary sisters to be “an object lesson of holy modesty to other matrons and maidens), to master one’s language and as to avoid gossip and vain quarrels."
  4. One must be ready to follow the formation program for the postulancy and the novitiate, and to participate at the regular (monthly) meetings of the Fraternity (except in the case of a major impediment). Note: As noted above, ordinarily, where there are established Fraternities of the Third Order, there is a 3-month postulancy period for those seeking entrance. Where there is no fraternity (as would be the case here), the postulancy period is waved.
III. How to apply:
A. Be sure that you SATISFY THE PRELIMINARY CONDITIONS for becoming a Franciscan Tertiary.
B. FIND A PRIEST who is familiar with you (your director, confessor, pastor or one who has been any of these in the past).
C. ASK THIS PRIEST to write a letter recommending you to the Third Order. This letter is to be addressed and sent to:
Rev. Jacques Emily
St. Aloysius Gonzaga Retreat House
19101 Bear Creek Road
Los Gatos, CA 95033
(or the current Director of the Franciscan Third Order)
D. GIVE THIS PRIEST a copy of the letter entitled: “TO BECOME A FRANCISCAN TERTIARY,” which is signed and sealed by the Capuchins of Morgon. This letter lists the required dispositions of a candidate to the Third Order, and thus it gives the priest a guide for determining whether or not the petitioner is fit. He will need to have this before he can write a letter of recommendation.
E. INVESTITURE: After this, Fr. Emily may pay a visit (if there are a good number) for the investiture ceremony in which the candidates receive the habit and are enrolled as novices. If Fr. Emily does not come to conduct the ceremony himself, he will give faculties to your local priest to conduct the ceremonies.

Contact Information for the traditional Third Order of St. Francis

Rev. Jacques Emily, SSPX (USA Director)
St. Aloysius Gonzaga Retreat House
PO Box 1379 
Los Gatos, CA 95031-1379
Sunday, December 10, 2017
Commemoration of Pope St. Melchiades

Commemoration (1954 Calendar): December 10

As we continue to celebrate the Octave of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we come upon today's saint: Pope St. Melchiades, who is celebrated on December 10th in the Universal Calendar of Saints.

Pope Melchiades, who was called by St. Augustine an excellent man, a true son of peace, and a true father of Christians, suffered severe persecution under Maximian. He survived, however, to see Constantine establish toleration of Christianity in 313 A.D., and died peacefully the following year.

Some of his writings have been preserved and they only underscore the truths of the Catholic Faith on the Sacraments.  For example, the following comes down to us through St. Thomas Aquinas attributed to Pope St. Melchiades:
"The Holy Ghost, Who comes down on the waters of Baptism bearing salvation in His flight, bestows at the font, the fullness of innocence; but in Confirmation He confers an increase of grace. In Baptism we are born again unto life; after Baptism we are strengthened" - Pope Melchiades (~311 A.D.) (From STh., III q.72 a.1 resp.) 


O Eternal Shepherd, who appointed blessed Melchiades shepherd of the whole Church, let the prayers of this martyr and supreme pontiff move You to look with favor upon Your flock and to keep it under Your continual protection. Through our Lord . . .

Saturday, December 9, 2017
Brothers Hermits of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel (EREMITAE CARMELI)

In South America is a lesser known Order of Carmelites entirely devoted to serving the Lord and the Church through the ancient traditions and Liturgy of the Carmelite Order.  The Brothers Hermits of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel (EREMITAE CARMELI) are certainly worth considering for those attached to the Carmelite Spirituality.  And even for those not considering this vocation, please say a prayer now for all members of this order.

The Brothers Hermits of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel is a Roman Catholic Religious Order that is in full communion with the Holy See and is under the authority and support of His Excellency Bishop Heinz Wilhelm Steckling of the Diocese of Ciudad Del Este, Paraguay.  The hermits live the strict observance according to the Primitive Carmelite Rule and exclusively celebrate the traditional liturgy according to the ancient Carmelite Rite.  This Order, Fratres Eremitae Beatae Mariae Virginis de Monte Carmelo, was originally founded by the Discalced Carmelite Blessed Francisco Palau in 1860 as a revival of the primitive charism, spirit, life, and discipline of the ancient Carmelite Hermits: a return to a life which St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross sought.  Having suffered from the secular persecutions in Spain and the Spanish Civil War in 1936 the community died.  However, by grace and divine providence, the Order was revived in Brazil in 2000 and is growing in Paraguay, Brazil, and abroad.

The life of a Carmelite Hermit is a continuous act of love and worship of Almighty God, aimed at perfection of Christian Charity and the fruition of the grace of Christian Baptism.  "This is the will of God, your sancitfication" (1 Thessalonians 4:3).  God created us, and from Him we receive ourselves, in order that we might receive the Gift of Himself.  God gives us Himself in Christ: it brings great glory to Him freely to receive His Gift to us.  A soul united to God in the transforming union is a "Praise of Glory" (Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity; cf. Ephesians 1:6,12) and becomes a living spring of potent, saving grace for the Church and the world.  Through this divine love and union, the Carmelite life also glorifies the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Flower of Carmel, as the hermit lives in communion with her who received the Lord in her heart and soul, as well as in her body and her immaculate womb.  Like Mary, the Carmelite Hermits serve the Church through the love and adoration of God; furthermore, they efficaciously contribute to the transformation and salvation of the world through prayer and intercession night and day, penance, writings, and the apostolic works of the Brother Priests.  Like St. Elias, the love of God, in a contemplative mode, and the love of neighbor, in a prophetic mode, determine the form of their lives.  Faithfully lived with Mary, the Carmelite hermit lives, as a baptized Christian, in time and on earth—through Grace and Mystery in faith, hope, and charity—the life of the Blessed in eternal Glory in Heaven, through Jesus Christ our Heavenly Lord, the Creator of all and the Author of Grace: in the soul of His faithful Carmelite who is conformed to the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Christ's Kingdom comes among men...even now.

The Daily Weekday Schedule of Members of this Order:

  • 00:00 Midnight – Rise, Invitatorium (in Choir),Matutinum (in Cell)
  • 05:00 – Rise, One Hour of Meditation and Mental Prayer (in Cell or in Choir, according to individual with permission)
  • 06:00 – Angelus, Laudes (in Choir)
  • 06:30 – Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (Conventual Mass in Church) followed by Thanksgiving and Prima (in Choir)
  • 08:45 – Tertia (in Cell)
  • Outside of days and times of fasting there is a small, simple breakfast (Individual)
  • 09:00 – Work (according to the vocation and ability of each Brother, including intellectual work and study, for those called to it, or priestly apostolic works for the Brother Priests)
  • 12:00 – Angelus, Sexta (in Cell)
  • 13:00 – End of work, Nona (in Cell)
  • 14:00 – Meal, Rest (During desert days and days of retreat the meal is taken in the Cell)
  • 15:00 – Bell for Prayer on the Passion of Our Lord
  • 16:00 – Vesperae (in Choir) (17:00 during summer)
  • On Sundays and Solemnities there is community recreation
  • 17:00 – One Hour of Meditation and Mental Prayer (in Cell)
  • 18:00 – Angelus, Completorium (19:00 during summer)
  • During days and times of fasting there is a small Collation; outside of days and times of fastingand there is a small, simple dinner  (Individual)
  • Personal Prayer (individual)
  • Retire for the night
Thanks to Fr. Peter Carota for making me aware of this order a few years ago.  Please say a prayer for his soul now.
Thursday, December 7, 2017
Saint Thomas Aquinas House of Studies: Traditional Community in Detroit

May all things be restored in Christ in a world that has forgotten Him, and even in a Church that undergoes its own Passion.  The only way to restore Order to society is to restore Christian Civilization.  And this can only occur when our Church is again restored to its former glory and men are willing to lay down their lives for the fullness of the One, True Faith.

May God bless this new community.  Click here for more information

The call of Pope Benedict XVI for a robust rediscovery of the traditional Latin liturgy and consecrated life is at the heart of our foundation, a cause which finds renewed urgency under the reign of Pope Francis.  We lead a vowed life of common prayer totally immersed in the traditional Latin rite and the traditional expression of the Catholic Faith. 
We assist our local diocese in caring for Catholics who are devoted to the old liturgy as well as help others to discover its great strength and beauty.  Our mission of prayer seeks to bring back to the Faith lukewarm and fallen-away Catholics as well as to convert non-Catholics to the One True Faith. 
Common Prayer 
Our community begins its day in Grand Silence, which does not end until after the chanting of Prime (our morning prayer) to ensure a spirit of recollection.  The community daily assists at the traditional Latin Mass either at the parish or in our House chapel, and also chants Vespers and Compline daily according to the ancient Roman rite. 
Brothers who are not bound to recite the full Divine Office are encouraged to recite the remainder of the day's prayers from the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Other traditional prayers are interspersed throughout the day. The old Roman meal blessing is chanted in full at common meals. The Angelus is prayed in Latin, chanted on feasts of Our Lady. Chanted Vespers of the Dead is often added to Vespers of the day. 
Brothers are also expected to pray at least five decades of the Holy Rosary each day and to devote themselves daily to meditation. 
Our community ministers at Mother of Divine Mercy Parish in Detroit teaching catechism and training altarboys to serve at the Traditional Latin Mass.  The community also has engaged in door-to-door inner city evangelization and catechetical home visitation.  Brothers, who wish to discern the priesthood, enroll in priestly studies at Ss. Cyril and Methodius Seminary at Orchard Lake.

Regarding their canonical status:
Our community at St. Thomas Aquinas House is privileged to enjoy the official endorsement of the Archbishop of Detroit as a non-juridical private association of men under formal ecclesiastical review by the Archdiocese of Detroit.   The Archbishop has granted us his full permission to live our religious life according to the Statutes we have submitted to him, to call our community ‘Catholic,’ and to take private vows of religion. 
The proposed name for our community is  ‘Canons Regular of St. Thomas Aquinas,’ though this is not yet official.  We  began our discernment in August 2012 at the invitation of Bishop Francis Reiss, one of the auxiliary bishops and vicar general, and with the generous help of the local Office for Consecrated Life.  We aspire to become a priory ‘sui iuris’ of diocesan rite which will pray and offer ministry totally devoted to the extraordinary (old Latin) form of the Roman liturgy, thus placing us also within the purview of the Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei.’ 
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Round 19: Collectible Catholic Books for Sale

Here is the next installment in the books that I am selling.  Please contact me at acatholiclife[at]gmail[dot]com if you are interested in any of these titles.

All are hardcovers in good condition. All prices include shipping.

"Messenger of the Sacred Heart," 1888 volume of 12 monthly issues of the magazine, good condition, $35.

"Faith of Catholics," Msgr. Capel, 1885, Vol I, from the Fathers through the first five centuries, good condition, 468 pp, $18.

"Christopher Talks to Catholic Parents," David Greenstock, 268 pp., 1951, $18.

"The Scale of Perfection," Walter Hilton, 464 pp,, 2002 ed., (14th century writing) v.g. condition, $18

"Jesus Christ Yesterday and Today," Jacques Guillet, 242 pp., 1965 (Biblical spirituality), v.g. cond. $18

"Miracles," Jean Helle, 1952, 288 pp., (Catholic study of Lourdes, Theresa Neumann and more), good cond, $18

"Timothy, or Letters to a Young Theologion," Dr. Franz Hettinger, 555 pp,, 1902, $18.

"Questions and Answers," Cecily Hastings, 236 pp., 1955, very good condition (on Catholic Evidence), $18.

"Jesus Christ, His Life, HIs Passion, His Triumph," Augustine Berthe, CSsR, 514 pp., 1913, good condition, $18

"The Son of Man," Placid Huault, SM, 304 pp., 1910, (a life of Christ) good cond., $18"

"Studies in Church History," Bertrand Conway, CSP, 222 pp., 1922, good condition (on Pope Joan, Galileo, the Assumption and more), $18.

"Lectures on the Holy Eucharist," Charles Coupe, SJ, 246 pp., 1906 (good condition) $18
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Indulged Prayer in Honor of St. Nicholas

The following is quoted from the Raccolta:

Pope Gregory XVI., of blessed memory, by a Rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences of Dec. 22, 1832, granted -

An indulgence of fifty days once a day, to all the faithful who, with a contrite heart and devoutly, shall say the following prayer in honour of St. Nicholas of Bari, with one Pater and Ave.

St. Nicholas, my special Protector, from that bright throne where thou dost enjoy the vision of thy God, in pity turn thine eyes upon me; obtain for me from God that grace and assistance of which, in my present necessities, spiritual and temporal, I am most in want, and specially the grace of N. ... , if such be expedient for my eternal welfare. Remember, moreover, O saintly Bishop, our Sovereign Pontiff; the Holy Church, and this city of Rome. Bring back to the right way of salvation those who live steeped in sin, or buried in the darkness of ignorance, error, and heresy. Comfort the sorrowing, provide for the needy, strengthen the weak-hearted, defend the oppressed, help the sick; let all experience the effects of thy powerful intercession with Him who is Supreme Giver of all good. Amen.

One Pater and one Ave.

V. Ora pro nobis beate Nicolae.
R. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.

Deus, qui beatum Nicolaum gloriosum Confessorem tuum atque Pontificem innumeris decorasti, et quotidie non cessas illustrare miraculis: tribue quaesumus, et ejus meritis et precibus a gehennae incendiis, et a periculis omnibus liberemur. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.


V. Pray for us, blessed Nicholas.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.
O God, who hast honoured, and ceasest not daily to honour, Thy High-Priest and glorious Confessor blessed Nicholas with innumerable miracles; grant, we beseech Thee, that by his merits and prayers we may be delivered from the fire of hell and from all other dangers. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Monday, December 4, 2017
Meditations for Advent by Bishop Jacques-Benigne Bossuet

I am highly recommending this book.
Keep Christ in Christmas this year by turning to this slim volume of daily Advent meditations by Bishop Jacques-Benigne Bossuet, one of the greatest homilists in the history of the Church. 
Carefully selected to lift your soul to God in those hectic days that stretch from Thanksgiving to Christmas, these forty daily meditations will keep you mindful of the real meaning of Christmas while affording you an admirable distillation of the doctrines and piety of our Holy Catholic Church. 
With the help of Bishop Bossuet and the sense of God's grandeur and love that permeates his every word all through the rush toward Christmas you'll stay mindful of the holy words of Isaiah foretelling the birth of our savior; you'll find yourself marveling at the Annunciation and the Visitation; you'll rejoice in anticipation of the coming birth of Jesus; and, finally, you ll look forward to kneeling with St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin in silent adoration of the incarnate Son of God 
This year, you won't (as so often happens) arrive at Midnight Mass distracted, exhausted, and frazzled, having neglected your Advent devotions and your ordinary prayers, too. Instead, you'll find yourself stepping lightly into church, ready and eager to adore the newborn King, your soul what it should be: a fit dwelling place for the Redeemer. Don't waste another Advent! Let Meditations for Advent keep you prayerful amidst the worst distractions of the holiday season. Let it draw you daily closer to Jesus, whose birth the season celebrates, and whose birth your soul yearns to celebrate, too.
St. Barbara

Commemoration (1954 Calendar): December 4

St. Barbara is believed to have been martyred at Nicomedia under Emperor Maximinus of Thrace, about the year 235. She is invoked for the grace of preservation from sudden death.  We should not forget to invoke her patronage and ask for her intercession with our Divine Lord.

The following on St. Barbara, Virgin and Martyr, is taken from Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876
The holy virgin and martyr, St. Barbara, who, from the most ancient times, has been celebrated in the whole Christian world, was born of heathen parents in Nicomedia, of Bithynia. She was much beloved by her father, Dioscorus, on account of her unusual intelligence. He appointed a tower as a special place, well fitted up, for her dwelling, and chose the best masters to instruct her in art and science, but especially in paganism, as he feared she might be induced to unite herself to one not agreeable to him, or be seduced by the Christians, of whom he was a great enemy. But just this solicitude of her father gave her cause to think, and thus to arrive at the knowledge of the true God. She contemplated the heavens, the sun, moon and stars, in their regular course; she meditated on the changing of the seasons; looked on the wonderful creation of the world and its inhabitants, and justly concluded from it that there must be a Creator--that He alone must be the true God, and that the gods she worshipped had no power. To these contemplations she united prayers, and also led a most blameless life. The Almighty, who forsakes not one who aids himself, gave her opportunity to become instructed in the Christian religion, and to receive holy baptism, without the knowledge of her father.  
Meanwhile, a suitor for her hand came to her father and asked his consent. Dioscorus was not unwilling to grant the wish, as the young man was his equal in rank and wealth; but he would make his daughter acquainted with the offer he had received for her before he gave his word. Barbara had a great many objections; and her father, who did not desire that she should hastily give her consent, and would not coerce her, urged her no further; and as he was about to set out on a long journey, he thought it but right to give her some time for consideration. Barbara requested to have, for her greater comfort, a bathingroom added to her dwelling, which Dioscorus gladly granted her. The object of the holy virgin was, to have a special apartment where, with those who, like herself, were secretly Christians, she could pray to the true God. The father ordered two windows for the new room; Barbara, however, had a third added, in honor of the three Divine Persons in the mystery of the Holy Trinity. The room was, by the pagan's order, adorned with idolatrous statues, with which the holy virgin would gladly have dispensed. Looking at them, she wept over the blindness of her father, who desired that she should worship them as gods. Going from one to another, she spat upon them, saying: "Those who honor you as gods are worthy to be turned into what you are made of--wood and stone." After this, she went to a column of marble, and with her fingers pressed the sign of the cross upon it, as if it had been wax. After her death, the health of many infirm, who devoutly kissed this miraculous cross, was restored. 
No sooner had her father returned from his journey, than he desired to know his daughter's resolution. Already prepared by prayer for the approaching struggle, she said, unhesitatingly, that she would never consent to marry a pagan, as, being a Christian, she had chosen a much more noble spouse, Christ the Lord. Her father was speechless at this unexpected answer, and, when able to control himself, told her either to renounce Christ, or prepare herself for the most cruel death. The greater the wrath of the blind Dioscorus became, the more fearless was Barbara. This enraged him so greatly, that he seized his sword to take her life on the spot. Barbara, to escape his rage, fled, while her father, sword in hand, pursued her out of the city. According to an ancient legend, the fugitive virgin came to a rock, which miraculously opened, thus offering her a passage, and shielded her, for the moment, against her father's wrath. The latter, however, was not touched by this visible miracle, but passed over the mountain and pursued the maiden, as the hound pursues the deer. Barbara had, meanwhile, taken refuge in a cave, and would not have been found had not two shepherds informed the infuriated father of her retreat. 
Hastening towards the place, he found her praying. No tiger could assail his prey with more rage than this tyrant assailed his innocent child. He threw her on the ground, stamped upon her with his feet, beat her, and finally dragged her by the hair into the hut of a peasant, where he locked her up, until he had her brought back to his house by soldiers. Now began her martyrdom, which was so severe, that what she had before suffered was as nothing in comparison; for, Dioscorus was determined to force her to deny Christ. Seeing, at last, that all was in vain, he gave her up to the governor, Martian, that she might be dealt with according to the laws of the land. 
Martian at first showed compassion for the Saint, in consideration for her youth, and endeavored to win her by flattery and kind words. Not succeeding in this, he had recourse to severity, and had her whipped with scourges, until her whole body seemed to be but one great wound. After this, she was dragged to a dungeon, where she was left to die. The Almighty, however, who had destined her to still more glorious combats, sent an Angel during the night, who healed all her wounds, and encouraged her to perseverance, with the promise that she would overcome all tortures by Divine assistance. The following day she was again brought before Martian, who, not comprehending how Barbara had been healed, ascribed it to his gods. The virgin, however, said: " No, no, Martian! Wood and stone, of which your idols are made, have not this power. It is the work of the God of heaven and earth, whom I worship as the only true God, and for whose honor I am willing to die." Martian, full of anger at these words, ordered her to be tormented more cruelly than on the previous day. After her body was all bruised and wounded, she was barbarously burned with torches, and at last both her breasts were cut off. The torture was very great, but the eagerness of Barbara to suffer for Christ's sake was still greater. She gave no sign of pain, but turning her eyes to heaven, said: "Let not thy hand, O Lord, forsake me! In Thee I am full of strength; without Thee, I am powerless!"  
A new martyrdom followed after this. The tyrant commanded her to be scourged in public through all the streets of the city. This was more terrible to her than all her previous tortures; hence she turned to the Almighty, praying humbly that she might not be exposed to the eyes of the heathen. She was immediately surrounded by a bright lustre, that veiled her form from all eyes. The barbarous Dioscorus was present at the martyrdom of his holy daughter, from beginning to end, and not only looked with satisfaction at the whipping, burning, and cutting, but animated the executioners in their cruelties; and when Martian, at last, sentenced Barbara to be beheaded, he asked, as a favor, to be allowed to take the place of the executioner, and behead his daughter. Having obtained his request, Dioscorus took her to a neighboring mountain, followed by a great crowd of people. Barbara rejoiced to be thought worthy to die for Christ's sake; and no sooner had she reached the mountain, than she again thanked God for all the graces that He had bestowed upon her, and begged Him to assist her to the end. A voice was heard from on high, which invited the undaunted martyr to come and receive the crown that awaited her. Kneeling down, she bared her neck, and received from her father the fatal stroke. She was hardly twenty years of age. 
Juliana, a pious woman, who had been present at the martyrdom, burned with the holy desire to give her life, also, for Christ, and was beheaded on the same day, after she had suffered great torments. Her body was laid beside the body of St. Barbara; but her soul followed the soul of the fearless virgin into heaven, Quite different was the end of the inhuman father. Whilst he was descending from the mountain, with the blood of his innocent child still on his hands, a terrible thunder-storm arose, during which he was struck by lightning, and sank dead upon the ground. Thus the father went to hell on the same day on which his daughter ascended triumphantly to heaven. We must not omit to remark that St. Barbara is especially invoked in the whole Christian world for the grace of receiving the last sacrament before death; and many facts have shown that this invocation has the desired effect.

O God, one of the marvelous examples of Your power was granting the victory of martyrdom even to delicate womanhood. May the example of the Blessed virgin martyr Barbara, whose birthday we celebrate today, draw us closer to You. Through our Lord . . .

Prayer in Honor of St. Barbara, Virgin and Martyr, to Obtain a Good Death

O Lord, Who selected St. Barbara for the consolation of the living and the dying, grant us by her intercession ever to live in thy divine love and to put all our confidence in the merits of the most sorrowful passion of Thy Son. May the death of Him never surprise us, but, comforted by the holy sacraments of Penance, Holy Eucharist and Extreme Unction, may we set forward without fear towards eternal glory. This we beseech thee by the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

(Indulgence 100 days)
Monday, November 27, 2017
Video of the Reception of the Habit at Saint-Vincent-Ferrier

Taking of habit at the convent of the Brotherhood Saint-Vincent-Ferrier

Sunday, November 26, 2017
The Divine Office & the Mass: Inseparable

Even if the Liturgical Office could be separated from the Mass, we should still be able to say that it unites those who take part in it to the intentions of Christ and His Church; but the two cannot be separated. The Divine Office is the prelude and preparation as well as the setting and sequence of the Eucharistic Mysteries. Archeologists have traced the many relationships between the Divine Office and the Mass. For example, the office of Matins presents a striking analogy with the night or morning service held in the primitive Church as a preparation for the Mysteriesi a reminiscence of which is still to be found in the early part of Holy Mass as we know it.

The Psalms of the Nocturns correspond to the Introit and Gradual; while in the Lessons from the Old Testament or from the Epistles, in the second nocturn giving the legends of the Saints, in the Homily on the Gospel, there are relics of the Prophecies, the Apostolic Messages to the Churches, the Acts of the Martyrs and the parts of the Gospel, which were read in those early celebrations. Then, the Catechumens were dismissed, and this Missa was followed by the Holy Sacrifice. According to some scholars, the Te Deum may be nothing else but an ancient kind of IZZatio or Preface. This close dependence of the Breviary on the first part of Mass is at least a very plausible theory. (See IZZatio OM Te Deum by Dom P. Cagin.) Thus, from its connection with the Divine Mysteries and because it is the official prayer of the Church, the Divine Office leads to union with the purposes of God and with the intentions of Christ and His Church.

Source: Liturgical Prayer by Clerissac
Saturday, November 25, 2017
How Many Times a Year Must a Priest Say Mass?

Taken from a book on this topic whose title I don't present have:
All priests are bound to celebrate Mass several times (three or four times at least and on any days) each year. There is no clear reason for assigning any particular days.  This obligation is a grave one, and probably based on divine precept.  It is, of course, highly becoming that every priest should, if possible, celebrate daily, and this is the more important if the faithful wish to receive Holy Communion...
Friday, November 24, 2017
Father Jason Barone's First Mass Highlight Video

We evangelize most effectively when we present the timeless truth and beauty of Catholicism. As important as it is to teach others about the faith, even more importantly we must show them the faith. There is nothing more beautiful to behold, nothing more worthy of our time and participation, than the beautiful Catholic Mass.

The [above] video features highlights from the First Mass of Thanksgiving for Father Jason Barone of the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina. Following his ordination in June 2012, Fr. Barone chose to offer a Solemn High Mass at the outset of his priestly ministry.

Photographed by Brent Hohman and the team at Momentum Studio, this video remains to date one of the best visual presentations of a Traditional Latin Mass that I have ever seen.

Now consider this: the average situation comedy on television today, minus commercials, runs approximately 22 minutes. The video below is only 18 minutes in length; time well spent.

As many of the faithful still have little opportunity to see such a beautiful liturgy in person, videos such as this become even more important to share.

This is our faith. This is our tradition. This is our beautiful Catholic Mass.

Source: Liturgy Guy
Monday, November 20, 2017
Missionaries of St. John the Baptist - Park Hills, Kentucky

About the MSJB:

The purposes for which this private association, the Missionaries of Saint John the Baptist (MSJB), is formed:

(1) To work toward the establishment of a new religious Institute of Diocesan Right within the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky under the authority of the Bishop of said diocese;

(2) To establish a community in view of (1) in which common religious life is lived in a more disciplined and traditional way including the celebration of the liturgy according to the usus antiquior of the Roman Rite, with the liturgical books of 1962 being normative. The Missionaries of St. John the Baptist desire to be faithful to the observance of the liturgical traditions according to the dispositions of the motu proprio, Ecclesia Dei Adflicta, issued on July 2, 1988, as well as the motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum (cf. art. 3), issued on July 7, 2007, and promulgated on September 14, 2007.

Explanation of Our Shield

The shield is for battle in the Lord’s army and is blue for Our Lady of Victories.

The Sacred and Immaculate Hearts at the center show how the whole world needs to have them for its focus. All the arrows of the cross point inward to them! Without them man is lost! Thus, as they have asked of us, we must give them everything in a total consecration and spend our lives in dedication to them... as the very center of counter-revolution!

The shell is for baptism when we first received the armor of God as members of the Church Militant on earth. It also stresses the importance of St. John the Baptist as the forerunner of Christ.
Three drops of water for the Most Holy Trinity as well as the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience (which act as a second baptism for religious), and the virtues of faith, hope and charity (given at baptism).

The fleur-de-lys is for Our Lady and for France, the country of our founder, Fr. Jean Baptiste Rauzan (d. 1847), as well as the purity of heart needed for religious and sound preaching.

The Cross is that of St. John the Baptist, being red for his martyrdom.

The sword is for preaching, referring to the saying from Isaias 49:2 “And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword.”

The motto of the Missionaries is that of St. John the Baptist: “A voice of one crying in the desert, prepare ye the way of the Lord” (Matt. 3:3).

A Little History

This private association of the faithful, officially recognized as the Missionaries of Saint John the Baptist (MSJB), stems from the spiritual legacy of the Congregation of the Priests of Mercy, which was originally founded at Lyon, France, in 1808, by the Very Reverend, Jean Baptiste Rauzan, a zealous priest of Bordeaux. Fr. Rauzan noted that after the great upheaval which the Church suffered in France during the Revolution, the clergy and people sought from heaven extraordinary ways to foster the salvation of souls. Many ways were employed to revitalize the faith. A congregation of missionaries was desired which would be at the call of their excellencies, the bishops. Consequently, Archbishop Joseph Cardianal Fesch, requested that Fr. Rauzan found such a missionary society first at Lyons under the Empire in 1808, and organized at Paris during the first days of the Restoration in 1814. These first Missionaries of France received, without difficulty, the privileges of a legally constituted society.

On February 18, 1834, Pope Gregory XVI, of holy memory, established and erected this little band of missionaries as a pontifical society under the title of the Priests of Mercy of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. By 1961, the Holy See fulfilled the long held desire of Fr. Rauzan by further elevating the institute to a full religious congregation with the members adding the public vow of poverty to that of chastity and obedience.

In the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council, mitigations in religious discipline and liturgical revisions were observed in many institutes that caused some religious to seek restoration. Two members of the Congregation of the Priests of Mercy, inspired by various papal documents and exhortations calling for reform, sought permission to establish a new institute that would not only embrace a more rigorous consecrated life, but would also employ all the Sacraments according to their usus antiquior. The superior and the council of the congregation, as well as the Bishop of Covington, Kentucky, Roger J. Foys, agreed to this new foundation.

The Missionaries of Saint John the Baptist seek to maintain the spiritual and liturgical patrimony left to them by Fr. Jean Baptiste Rauzan, including making use of much of his original rule. The same revolutionary errors he confronted and corrected are now fully entrenched in the modern world. Like the great Precursor of our Lord, therefore, we, too, are a voice crying in the wilderness, preparing the way of the Lord and making straight His paths (Isaias 40:30), so that all things may be restored in Christ the King. Such counter-revolutionary work within ourselves, within our community, within the membership of Holy Church, and within society in general, however, is tempered by modern man's need for the Mercy of God. Since our dearest Lord came not to condemn the world but to save the world (John 12:47), we look to imitate the methods of the greatest of Prophets and Fr. Rauzan who were sent to turn the heart of the fathers to their children and the heart of the children to their fathers: lest (God) come and strike the earth with anathema (Malachias 4:6).


For more information, please visit their website: 
Friday, November 17, 2017
Indulged Prayers in Honor of St. Stanislas Kostka

At the repeated prayer of the Father Procurator-General of the Venerable Congregation called Pii Operarii (Pious Labourers) here in Rome, to propagate amongst the faithful the devotion towards St. Stanislas Kostka, as especially calculated to augment the love of our blessed Lady, Pope Pius VII., by two decrees, April 3 and May 1, 1821, and Leo XII., by two other decrees, Jan. 21 and Feb. 25, 1826 (all of which were published by the S. Congr. of Indulgences, May 13,1826), granted -

i. A plenary indulgence on the Feast of the Saint, Nov. 13, or on that Sunday on which, for the convenience of the people, this feast shall be celebrated de licentia Ordinarii, to all the faithful who, after Confession and Communion, shall visit the church or public oratory where it is celebrated, and pray according to the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

ii. An indulgence of seven years and seven quarantines on every one of the ten Sundays before his feast, kept in honour of the ten months of novitiate made by the Saint; to be gained by visiting the church or oratory where these Sundays are kept, and praying as above.

iii. An indulgence of 100 days every day of the Novena preceding his feast, for assisting devoutly at the said Novena with contrite heart, and praying as above.

iv. An indulgence of 100 days, once a day, to all who shall say a Pater and Ave before a picture of the Saint exposed in any church or public oratory, and pray as above, &c.

v. A plenary indulgence may be gained by the faithful by practising this exercise for a month continuously, on any one day in the month when, after Confession and Communion, they shall pray as above. Whoever, by reason of a lawful impediment, shall be unable to say in church the Pater and Ave prescribed, may say it wherever he likes on such days in the month as he is so hindered, and by so doing he shall gain this Plenary Indulgence.

vi. An indulgence of 100 days, in addition to the seven years and seven quarantines granted for the above-named ten Sundays, to all who, being contrite in heart, shall assist at the day’s Retreat called "the Retreat of St. Stanislas," wherever it is made, once in the week, and who shall pray according to the mind of the Sovereign Pontiff.

All these Indulgences, at first granted for the kingdom of the Two Sicilies, were afterwards extended to the Pontifical States for any church or public oratory where the devotion to St. Stanislas is or shall be introduced, as appears from the decree above named, Feb. 25, 1826; and the same Pope Leo XII., by another decree of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, March 3, 1827, made them available for the whole Catholic world, even for private monastic churches and oratories of seminaries, colleges, refuges, monasteries and houses of retreat for both sexes.

Furthermore the Sovereign Pontiff Pope Pius IX., by an autograph Rescript kept in the Segretaria of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, dated March 22, 1847, granted -

vii. An indulgence of 300 days, to be gained once a day by all the faithful who in honour of this Saint shall say the three following prayers for Purity, Charity, and a Good Death, adding to each one Pater, one Ave, and one Gloria.

And the same Pope, by a decree of the same S. Congr. of July 10, 1854, has vouchsafed to add -
viii. A plenary indulgence to all the faithful who shall say these prayers, with the Pater, Ave, and Gloria, once a day for a month together; to be gained by them on that day in each month when, after Confession and Communion, they shall visit a church or public oratory, and pray there for a time according to the mind of his Holiness.


For Purity.

St. Stanislas, my most pure patron, Angel of purity, I rejoice with thee at the extraordinary gift of virginal purity which graced thy spotless heart; I humbly pray thee, obtain for me strength to overcome all impure temptations, and inspire me with constant watchfulness to guard my purity, - that virtue so glorious in itself, and so acceptable to God.
Pater. Ave. Gloria.

For Charity.

St. Stanislas. my most loving patron, Seraph of charity, I rejoice with thee at the ardent fire of charity which kept thy pure and innocent heart always at peace and united to God; I humbly pray thee, obtain for me such ardour of divine love, that it may consume away every other earthly affection, and kindle in me the fire of His love alone.
Pater. Ave. Gloria.

For a Good Death.

St. Stanislas, my most tender and most mighty patron, Angel of purity and Seraph of charity, I rejoice with thee at thy most happy death, which arose from thy desire to contemplate our Lady assumed into heaven, and was caused by the excess of thy love for her. I give thanks to Mary, because she thus accomplished thy desires; and I pray thee, by the lustre of thy happy death, to be my advocate and my patron in my death. Intercede with Mary for me, to obtain for me a death, if not all happiness like thine, yet calm and peaceful, under the protection of Mary my advocate, and thee, my special patron.
Pater. Ave. Gloria.

Source: The Raccolta

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