Pastor’s Column

December 1, 2019
 
OFFERTORY ENVELOPES
 
The use of “offertory envelopes” makes the job of keeping track of your donations for tax purposes much easier; loose checks must be photocopied and recorded.
New envelopes for the 2020 calendar year are now available to pick up in the vestibule. If you do not see a box with your name on it, it is either because you are not registered or you have not picked up your envelopes for the last two years. If you would like to have envelopes, please stop by the Parish Office or Bookstore and fill out a registration form.
It is also helpful to the counters if you write the amount on the envelope as the envelopes are used to record your donation.
Thank you for your continued support of our parish!
 
November 24, 2019
 
PRACTICE OF CHRISTIAN MORTIFICATION
by Cardinal Mercier
1 – In the matter of food, restrict yourself as far as possible to simple necessity. Consider these words which Saint Augustine addressed to God: “O my God, Thou hast taught me to take food only as a remedy. Ah! Lord, who is there among us who does not sometimes exceed the limit here? If there is such a one I say that man is great, and must give great glory to Thy name.”
2 – Pray to God often, pray to God daily to help you by His grace so that you do not overstep the limits of necessity and do not permit yourself to give way to pleasure.
3 – Take nothing between meals, unless out of necessity or for the sake of convenience.
4 – Practice fasting and abstinence, but practice them only under obedience and with discretion.
5 – It is not forbidden for you to enjoy some bodily satisfaction, but do so with a pure intention, giving thanks to God.
6 – Regulate your sleep, avoiding in this all faint- heartedness, all softness, especially in the morning. Set an hour, if you can, for going to bed and getting up, and keep strictly to it.
7 – In general, take your rest only in so far as it is necessary; give yourself generously to work, not sparing your labor. Take care not to exhaust your body, but guard against indulging it; as soon as you feel it even a little disposed to play the master, treat it as once as a slave.
8 – If you suffer some slight indisposition, avoid being a nuisance to others through your bad mood; leave to your companions the task of complaining for you; for yourself, be patient and silent as the Divine Lamb who has truly borne all our weaknesses.
9 – Guard against making the slightest illness a reason for dispensation or exemption from your daily schedule. “One must detest like the plague every exception when it comes to rules,” wrote Saint John Berchmans.
10 – Accept with docility, endure humbly, patiently and with perseverance, the tiresome mortification called illness.
 
November 17, 2019

FSSP STATISTICS 2019

Total Members: 483; Average Age: 38

Priests: 320

Deacons: 17

Seminarians: 145

Diocese Served Worldwide: 142

North American District: 49

United States: 41

Personal Parishes Worldwide: 45

United States: 34

Confraternity of Saint Peter Members: 6996

English Speaking: 5018

OUR VOCATIONS

Please pray for Mr. Jacob Kasak, FSSP, who will be receiving the minor orders of Porter and Lector on Sat., Nov. 23 in Denton, Nebraska. The ordaining bishop will be His Excellency Fabian Brusketwitz, Bishop Emeritus of Lincoln. He is joined by eleven others, as well as eight men receiving the orders of Exorcist and Acolyte.

Please also pray for Ms. Isabel Solis, who will be entering the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, in Gower, Missouri, on Tues., Nov. 19. Many of you will be familiar with the chant albums made by the Benedictines of this community. They also make sacred vestments for many of our parishes. Their primary vocation is prayer for priests. More information about the Benedictines in Gower can be found on their website:

https://benedictinesofmary.org/

We have several other young people planning on or seriously considering entrance into religious life or the seminary; please keep them all in your prayers.

I’ve made space in the bulletin for the names of our men and women in the seminary and religious life, on the left inside cover.

CHRISTUS VINCIT: CHRIST’S TRIUMPH OVER THE DARKNESS OF THE AGE
by Bishop Athanasius Schneider

In this absorbing interview, Bishop Athanasius Schneider offers a candid, incisive examination of controversies raging in the Church and the most pressing issues of our times, providing clarity and hope for beleaguered Catholics. He addresses such topics as widespread doctrinal confusion, the limits of papal authority, the documents of Vatican II, the Society of St. Pius X, anti- Christian ideologies and political threats, the third secret of Fatima, the traditional Roman rite, and the Amazon Synod, among many others. Like his fourth-century patron, St. Athanasius the Great, Bishop Schneider says things that others won’t, fearlessly following St. Paul’s advice: “Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching” (2 Tim 4:2). His insights into the challenges facing Christ’s flock today are essential reading for those who are, or wish to be, alert to the signs of the times. Reminiscent of The Ratzinger Report of 1985, Christus Vincit will be a key point of reference for years to come.

Note: I’ve started reading this and it is excellent. Copies are available in the bookstore.

 
November 10, 2019
 

ST. STEPHEN’S APPEARS IN THE FSSP MISSIVE

Article by Rachel Shrader

How do they do it?

It’s really the question you want to ask when you see the rather long list of things going on at St. Stephen the First Martyr Parish, our apostolate in Sacramento, California. St. Stephen’s was the final stop on the Missive’s summer California tour, and that weekend the busy parish was holding its biggest event of the year – the annual Pig Roast in honor of its patron saint.

One of the older parishes in the Fraternity, St. Stephen’s was founded in 1997 and worked out of the parishes of St. Rose and Immaculate Conception before purchasing its own church in 2002. The church was a former Lutheran building that required almost $2 million in initial renovations.

Read more:

On the Feast of Stephen

 

MASS ATTENDANCE NUMBERS

Averaged for the month of October

8:00am   210

10:30am  327

1:30pm   251

6:00pm   135

Total      923

 

SOME PRACTICAL NOTES

1. A parishioner noted that some of the youth are visibly carrying pocket knives on the Church campus. In particular, one was left in the restrooms. Please have minors stow knives in the car before coming into Church.

2. This week I received an unusual e-mail from someone that I am not familiar with, calling attention to the violation of fire safety laws, especially during the High Mass. Please be reminded that our policy is to leave aisles and throughput areas free of chairs. If necessary, we can arrange a row of chairs immediately in front of the first pews for the duration of the High Mass, and see how that works practically.

3. We have several young people entering religious life over the next few months, and many other sincerely investigating it. I believe this is certainly due in no small part to the prayers for vocations after Sunday Masses instituted by Fr. Lyons several years ago. Do please continue to remain after Mass for these important prayers if at all possible. I’m very grateful to parents explaining to their children the value of these prayers and keeping them in Church until after they are said. Please continue to pray for vocations at home, as well!

November 3, 2019

SOLEMN BLACK VESTMENT SET COMPLETED

This past week, we received the cope, dalmatic, tunicle, and Deacon of the Passion stoles and maniples to complete the Solemn Black set of vestments. These vestments were first used at Holy Week this year, but we have been waiting for the remaining pieces since then. Many thanks to our generous benefactors!

We are still anticipating copes and preaching stoles which will match the Low Mass vestments we acquired last year. They should arrive before Christmas.

October 27, 2019

ALL HALLOWS EVE PARTY THIS THURSDAY

Envelopes are now available in the vestibule for those who wish to donate towards the party. Thank you for your support! Here is the schedule for this Thursday:

7:00 am: Low Mass

12:15 pm: Low Mass

3:00 pm: Exposition

5:00 - 5:30 pm: Litany of Saints & Benediction

5:30 - 6:00 pm: Parade of Saints

6:00 - 8:00 pm: Food & Games (no Mass at 6:30 pm!)

8:00 - 8:30 pm: The Holy Rosary

8:30 - 9:00 pm: Clean-up

Please contact Judi Kasak at her e-mail if you would like to help: judikasak@gmail.com. I would like members of the Youth Group to assist in some way, if at all possible.

Those that attend could please kindly plan on helping to clean up at the end of the party.

October 20, 2019

PARKING IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

I have had a few complaints from neighbors regarding parking on the streets in front of their homes. At times, trash cans have been moved, or driveways partially blocked by parked cars. Please be considerate of our neighbors while looking for parking in the area.

ANNUAL CENSUS SHOWS PROLIFIC GROWTH AT FSSP PARISHES

Halfway through the FSSP’s annual October census, Fraternity parishes and chapels around the country report major increases in Sunday Mass attendance compared with last year.

Newer apostolates have seen dramatic growth, some doubling their numbers over the last year, such as Los Angeles, which went from 250 per Sunday to 500. The apostolate did not even have its own church until 2018, so finally settling down in a small church in San Fernando provided needed stability, contributing to the significant increase it saw this past year.

“The main obstacle right now is a lack of space,” said Fr. Federico Masutti, assistant pastor of St. Vitus, talking to the Missive over the summer. His words echo the sentiment of so many other FSSP apostolates that find themselves outgrowing their buildings, but it’s really a great problem to have.

“When we were at 200 people,” said pastor Fr. James Fryar, “we decided to add the fourth Mass, and just adding that one Mass, from one week to the next, another 200 people came.”

Read the full article at the FSSP Missive:

https://fssp.com/annual-census-shows-prolific-growth-at- fssp-parishes/

October 13, 2019

PROMISES OF THE ROSARY

  1. Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall receive signal graces.

  2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary.

  3. The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.

  4. The Rosary will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire for eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.

  5. The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall not perish.

There are more!

See themostholyrosary.com/15promises.htm.

October 6, 2019

SECOND COLLECTIONS

We have quite a few second collections throughout the year; some for the diocese, some for the Fraternity’s seminary, some for the parish itself. I’ve decided to occasionally hold a second collection for the St. Vincent de Paul Society, which gives immediate assistance to the poor. This collection is being held primarily to make it easy for parishioners to give alms to the poor; please do not feel pressured to give if you are already giving alms elsewhere.

I am very grateful to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul for their generous and prudent work with the poor that approach the parish for alms. Amongst other duties, members work with the Brown Bag Lunch Program, assist expectant mothers in need, and interview and assist the poor. Anyone interested in volunteering with the Society can contact William Giovannetti at 916-531-4730.

September 29, 2019

ST. MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL

From the Catholic Encyclopedia

St. Michael is one of the principal angels; his name [lit. “Who is like God?”] was the war-cry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against the enemy and his followers. Four times his name is recorded in Scripture:

(1) Daniel 10:13, “The Angel [D.V. prince] of the kingdom of the Persians resisted me . . . and, behold Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me . . . and none is my helper in all these things, but Michael your prince.”

(2) Daniel 12, the Angel speaking of the end of the world and the Antichrist says: “At that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people.”

(3) Jude, “When Michael the Archangel, disputing with the devil, contended about the body of Moses”, etc. St. Jude alludes to an ancient Jewish tradition of a dispute between Michael and Satan over the body of Moses.

(4) Apocalypse 12:7, “And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon.” St. John speaks of the great conflict at the end of time, which reflects also the battle in heaven at the beginning of time.

According to the Fathers there is often question of St. Michael in Scripture where his name is not mentioned. They say he was the cherub who stood at the gate of paradise, “to keep the way of the tree of life” (Genesis 3:24), the angel through whom God published the Decalogue to his chosen people, the angel who stood in the way against Balaam (Numbers 22:22 sqq.), the angel who routed the army of Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:35).

His offices are four: (1) to fight against Satan; (2) to rescue the souls of the faithful, especially at the hour of death; (3) to be the champion of God’s people; (4) to escort souls to their judgment.

September 22, 2019

SEATING AT MASS

The limited number of seats in the nave is becoming more apparent, especially at Masses on Sundays. The priests are working diligently with an architect to formulate a working site plan for the expansion of the Church. That plan is nearing completion, ready to be submitted to the county, for inspection, and a general contractor, for an initial estimate. Next, it will have to be submitted to the diocese and to the Fraternity headquarters, for approval. We are hoping that it should only be a few more months before we are able to unveil the plan to the community. The expectation is to at least double the number of seats in the nave.

In the meantime, please be patient and considerate with one another while finding seating for Mass. Seats should never be reserved for people that are not already and currently present on Church property. They may be reserved for people waiting in line for confessions, making use of the restrooms, or temporarily taking small children out of the Church before Mass; but in these cases, families should make every effort to leave at least one person behind in the pews (a parent or older child). This may require rotating members of the family to the confessional line. Under normal circumstances, adolescents should be in the Church before Mass, especially for the praying of the Holy Rosary.

On the other hand, please do not displace items placed to denote someone temporarily away from a pew for the reasons listed above.

Please also be mindful that each pew is expected to fit eight adults. I have asked the ushers to help direct people to available seats, up until the beginning of Mass.

I would encourage men in the parish, especially younger, single men, to keep an eye on the seating situation, and to be ready to give their seats to the elderly, or to women and children. If they do so, they may stand and kneel along the sides or in the back of the Church.

FR. MICHAEL IRWIN, FSSP

Requeiscat in pace

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Fr. Michael Irwin FSSP, who passed away on the evening of September 17, around 10.30 p.m.

Father Irwin was born on November 23 1937 and was ordained for the Diocese of Dallas, TX, on May 30, 1964. He was thereafter attached to the Diocese of Fort Worth, created in 1969. He exercised various ministries in Texas between 1964 and 1986. He was appointed pastor of Arteaga, Mexico, from 1986 to 1990. He joined the Fraternity in 1990 and after a year in Wigratzbad, was chaplain in Dallas, TX (1991-1992), Rapid City, SD (1992-1995 and 1997-2001), Vienna, OH (1995-1997), Maple Hill, KS (2001-2003) and Post Falls, ID (2004-2008). He became a definitively incorporated member of the FSSP on October 18, 1994.

We will have a sung Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of Fr. Michael Irwin, FSSP on Monday, Sept. 23, at 6:30 pm.

September 15, 2019

AMAZONIAN SYNOD

An appeal for prayer and fasting
by Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider

Various prelates and lay commentators, as well as lay institutions, have warned that the authors of the Instrumentum Laboris, issued by the secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, to serve as the basis for discussion in the coming Special Assembly for the Pan-Amazon, have inserted serious theological errors and heresies into the document. We invite Catholic clergy and laity to participate in a crusade of prayer and fasting to implore our Lord and Savior, through the intercession of His Virgin Mother, for the following intentions:

–  That the theological errors and heresies inserted in the Instrumentum Laboris may not be approved during the synodal assembly;

–  That particularly Pope Francis, in the exercise of the Petrine ministry, may confirm his brethren in the faith by an unambiguous rejection of the errors of the Instrumentum Laboris and that he may not consent to the abolition of priestly celibacy in the Latin Church by introducing the praxis of the ordination of married men, the so-called “viri probati”, to the Holy Priesthood.

We propose a forty-day crusade of prayer and fasting to begin on September 17 [this Tuesday!] and end on October 26, 2019, the day before the conclusion of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon. Anyone who first learns about the Crusade after the date of its beginning can naturally join the Crusade at any point. During the forty-day crusade of prayer and fasting, we propose to pray daily at least one decade of the Holy Rosary and to fast once a week for the above mentioned intentions.

Full text available online:

http://www.ncregister.com/images/uploads/BurkeSchneider.pdf

 

September 1, 2019

PIUS X ON MODERNISM

From Pascendi Dominici Gregis

It is one of the cleverest devices of the Modernists (as they are commonly and rightly called) to present their doctrines without order and systematic arrangement, in a scattered and disjointed manner, so as to make it appear as if their minds were in doubt or hesitation, whereas in reality theyare quite fixed and steadfast….

It may be, Venerable Brethren, that some may think We have dwelt too long on this exposition of the doctrines of the Modernists. But it was necessary, both in order to refute their customary charge that We do not understand their ideas, and to show that their system does not consist in scattered and unconnected theories but in a perfectly organised body, all the parts of which are solidly joined so that it is not possible to admit one without admitting all. For this reason, too, We have had to give this exposition a somewhat didactic form and not to shrink from employing certain uncouth terms in use among the Modernists. And now, can anybody who takes a survey of the whole system be surprised that We should define it as the synthesis of all heresies? Were one to attempt the task of collecting together all the errors that have been broached against the faith and to concentrate the sap and substance of them all into one, he could not better succeed than the Modernists have done. Nay, they have done more than this, for, as we have already intimated, their system means the destruction not of the Catholic religion alone but of all religion. With good reason do the rationalists applaud them, for the most sincere and the frankest among the rationalists warmly welcome the modernists as their most valuable allies….

Meanwhile, Venerable Brethren, fully confident in your zeal and energy, We beseech for you with Our whole heart the abundance of heavenly light, so that in the midst of this great danger to souls from the insidious invasions of error upon every hand, you may see clearly what ought to be done, and labor to do it with all your strength and courage. May Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith, be with you in His power; and may the Immaculate Virgin, the destroyer of all heresies, be with you by her prayers and aid.

Read the full document:

https://www.papalencyclicals.net/pius10/p10pasce.htm

August 18, 2019

ALTAR GUILD MINOR

This fall we are reinstating an opportunity for younger boys to participate in the privilege and duty of serving at the holy altar. This will take the form of an auxilary group to the St. Stephen’s Altar Guild, which we will call the Altar Guild Minor. The guild minor will be available to boys that have made their First Holy Communion up until their tenth birthday. The Altar Guild Minor will meet at the same time as the normal altar guild, that is, the third Saturday of the month, at 10:00 am. The meeting will begin in conjunction with the older boys with announcements and a talk by the guild chaplain, Fr. Latimer. Afterwards, the guild minor members will continue to one of the classrooms, where they will be trained on the following:

  • –  Wearing the cassock and surplice.
  • –  Decorum and posture in the sanctuary.
  • –  The Latin responses of Mass.
  • –  Torchbearing at Sung and Solemn Mass.
  • –  Cross bearer for Sung and Solemn Mass.
  • –  Side serving.After some time spent training, the boys will dismiss a bit earlier than the normal guild for an activity before lunch.

    Upon reaching their tenth birthday, members will promote to the guild proper and receive an assignment to a team, provided they have mastered the fundamentals taught by the Altar Guild Minor. Those that require further training will still promote to the guild proper, but will be placed on a probationary status until they display the necessary competency. Members of the guild minor who display extraordinary effort and a firm grasp of the fundamentals may be eligible for early promotion.

    ALTAR GUILD

    Registrations and information for St. Stephen’s Altar Guild and the Altar Guild Minor will be available after Masses on Sunday, September 8. You may also register by contacting Mike Solton at 916-832-2859.

    The first meeting will be Saturday, September 21. Attendance to Altar Guild meetings is mandatory; unexcused absences to the meetings or Sunday serving assignments will result in probationary status.

August 11, 2019

THE YOUTH GROUP

On September 13, the St. Stephen’s Youth Group will resume. It meets twice a month during the academic year,
generally on second and fourth Friday, in the evening. Its primary purpose is the continuing Catholic education of high school students in our parish. The secondary purpose of the group is to help the youth form and keep good
Catholic friendships amongst one another. The group assists at the evening Mass, afterwards moving to one of the classrooms for a short meal and social time. Then one of the priests gives a talk, somewhere between thirty and sixty minutes. Finally, the members enjoy a common activity, usually lasting about an hour.

6:30 PM Mass
7:30 PM Dinner
8:00 PM Conference by a Priest
9:00 PM Activity
10:00 PM Departure

Examples of the conferences given in the past include:

– The Four Temperaments
– Introduction to the Spiritual Life
– The Three Ages of the Spiritual Life
– The Gifts of the Holy Ghost
– Papal Encyclicals: Mystici Corporis, Mediator Dei

Several times during the course of the year, the members go off campus (usually on a Saturday). Last year, we took a trip roller skating in the winter, and bowling in the late spring.

The Youth Group is available to St. Stephen’s parishioners from the age of fourteen to eighteen.

Non-parishioners are welcome at the discretion of the priests. Thirteen year olds can begin to attend at the start of the academic semester in which their birthday falls (i.e. a thirteen year old whose birthday is in March could begin to attend in January).

For more details, contact Liz Hernandez: 916-396-4062.

August 4, 2019

PIG ROAST

Menu

Meats: Pork, hamburgers and hot dogs
Sides: Chili, cole slaw, tossed salad, mac and cheese, watermelon, chips and salsa
Condiments: Ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, ranch dressing, and Italian dressing.
Dessert: Ice cream

Schedule

6:00 am Low Mass
8:00 am Low Mass
10:30 am Low Mass
1:30 pm Sung Mass (External Solemnity)
3:30 pm Vespers
4:45 pm Welcome & Announcements
5:00 pm Dinner & Dessert
7:00 pm Square Dancing
9:00 pm Clean Up

ADULT CATECHISM

Our adult catechesis series begins in just a few weeks. The first class will be held in the Parish Hall at 7:30 pm on Thursday, August 22. All parishioners are welcome to attend. Please consider inviting people that may be interested in the Catholic faith! Classes will continue until Easter; we will bring converts into the Church on the Easter Vigil next year (2020).

July 21, 2019

PARISH COFFEE MUGS

One of our parishioners contracted with a local print company to produce beautiful coffee mugs which have the FSSP crest on one side, and the St. Stephen’s parish crest on the other. He generously donated the first batch, which is currently being sold in the parish bookstore. If we sell out, we’ll take orders for another production run.

July 14, 2019

SB 360 WITHDRAWN

Article from Life Site News

In a surprise move, a proposed California law which would have forced Catholic priests to violate the seal of confession was tabled yesterday after the bill’s author realized the measure lacked sufficient support to pass.
The Angelus, a publication of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, attributed the shelving of Senate Bill 360 to “a remarkable grassroots campaign mounted by the state’s Catholics, members of other faith groups, and religious liberty advocates from across the country.”
“The action follows the delivery of tens of thousands of letters, emails and phone calls from Catholics and others concerned with the free expression of religion,” declared a statement issued by the California Catholic Conference. “Hundreds more planned on boarding buses from as far away as Los Angeles to voice their opposition tomorrow.”

OTHER TROUBLING LEGISLATION

With two other proposed bills, ACR 99 and AB 493, the California legislature continues to push forward an ideology in favor of disordered lifestyles contrary to the natural law, as well as gender dysphoria. The former would punish religious efforts to help people live chastely, while the latter seeks to impose new radicalized standards and curricula into charter schools.
Here are a couple of helpful links for those who would want to contact their state senators:
http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/
https://www.senate.ca.gov/senators
Please continue to pray the Rosary for the liberty and exaltation of Holy Mother Church in California.

July 7, 2019

ASK A PRIEST

from the Memento newsletter of the FSSP

by Fr. Dominic Savoie, FSSP

“Why do many prayers mention being in the “shadow of God’s wings,” God has no wings, He is God.

Dear George, The best questions come with their own answers attached. It is true that God is … well, God, and therefore transcends everything we can imagine. The Triune God does not have wings—True. Unfortunately for us mere humans we must think through sensible things, and therefore metaphor is required for us to describe the Divine nature and God’s activity in governing His creation. Artistry must employ things that are, at one time, both accessible to us and point to the inaccessible. PseudoDionysius gives a beautiful description of this process: “We now grasp these things in the best way we can, and as they come to us, wrapped in the sacred veils of that love toward humanity with which scripture and hierarchical traditions (i.e. liturgy) cover the truths of the mind with things derived from the realm of the senses.” Scripture, with the written word, and Liturgy, with its various symbols, are veils trying to give a glimpse—in a human way—to a Divine reality. The council of Trent also acknowledged this reality in the its 22nd session: “such is the nature of man, that, without external helps, he cannot be easily upraised to the meditation of divine things.”

Article available in full at our parish online newsletter!

June 30, 2019

SENATE BILL 360

Recently, the California Senate passed a bill requiring Catholic priests to violate the seal of the confessional under certain circumstances. According to The Washington Examiner, “The bill, SB 360, was introduced by Democratic state Sen. Jerry Hill and passed the Senate on May 24 by a vote of 30-4, with four senators abstaining. The 10 Senate Republicans fractured on the measure with three voting in favor, three abstaining, and four voting against. One Democrat abstained, while the remaining 27 Democrats voted in favor.”
Bishop Soto writes: “Tell your State Assembly member to vote “no” on SB 360. The California state senate bill, SB 360, has been proposed as an aid to prevent [the abuse of children]. While this is an admirable aim, the bill misses the mark. Specifically, this bill attempts to do so by way of removing the legal protections surrounding the sacramental seal of confession, a legal protection which has been in place throughout the history of Church & State relations.

“There is nothing intrinsic to this bill which creates a greater assurance or guarantees that future abuse will not happen. Instead, it mounts an assault on the fundamental liberties of Catholics in the state of California under the guise of greater protection. For this reason, all Catholics, religious people of any affiliation, and indeed all people of good will, should vigorously oppose SB 360.”

SB 360 still remains to be passed in the California Assembly. Please consider contacting your local legislator to voice your stance on this periolous law. More information, including ways to contact the appropriate office, can be found here: www.scd.org/keeptheseal.

THURSDAY ADORATION

During the summer months, we could use a few more people in attendance for Thursday’s Adoration, especially between the hours of 4:00 and 6:00 pm. God bless!

June 23, 2019

NEW PASCHAL CANDLESTAND

Recently, we were able to acquire a new paschal candlestick from a company in New York. The new candlestick is slightly taller than the old one, and matches the Baroque style of our altar candlesticks, although it is more ornate. It came with a 2.5” socket for the candle, which is the same as what we have currently, but we also acquired a 3” socket, so that we can use a slightly larger candle next year. I hope to have the candlestick available for viewing this Sunday, June 23. I do ask, however, that people refrain from touching it, to keep the brass from oxidizing and pitting. God bless!

June 16, 2019

DECLARATION OF THE TRUTHS RELATING TO SOME OF
THE MOST COMMON ERRORS
IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH OF OUR TIME

Recently, Cardinal Burke, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, and three other prelates issued a sort of Syllabus of Errors for our modern times, as well as an explanatory accompanying letter. This is something that Bishop Schneider has been hinting at for some time. Here are some highlights (please note that, unlike the Syllabus, these are affirmative, rather than condemned statements):

1. The right meaning of the expressions ‘living tradition,’ ‘living Magisterium,’ ‘hermeneutic of continuity,’ and ‘development of doctrine’ includes the truth that whatever new insights may be expressed regarding the deposit of faith, nevertheless they cannot be contrary to what the Church has always proposed in the same dogma, in the same sense, and in the same meaning.
4. After the institution of the New and Everlasting Covenant in Jesus Christ, no one may be saved by obedience to the law of Moses alone without faith in Christ as true God and the only Savior of humankind.
8. Hell exists and those who are condemned to hell for any unrepented mortal sin are eternally punished there by Divine justice (see Mt 25:46). Not only fallen angels but also human souls are damned eternally (see 2 Thess 1:9; 2 Pet 3:7). Eternally damned human beings will not be annihilated, since their souls are immortal according to the infallible teaching of the Church.
22. Anyone, husband or wife, who has obtained a civil divorce from the spouse to whom he or she is validly married, and has contracted a civil marriage with some other person during the lifetime of his legitimate spouse, and who lives in a marital way with the civil partner, and who chooses to remain in this state with full knowledge of the nature of the act and with full consent of the will to that act, is in a state of mortal sin and therefore can not receive sanctifying grace and grow in charity. Therefore, these Christians, unless they are living as “brother and sister,” cannot receive Holy Communion.

See more here:
https://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2019/06/for-record-declaration-of-truths.html

June 9, 2019

PENTECOST

“‘And my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.’ My friends, consider the greatness of this solemn feast that commemorates God’s coming as a guest into our hearts! If some rich and influential friend were to come to your home, you would promptly put it all in order for fear something there might offend your friend’s eyes when he came in. Let all of us then who are preparing our inner homes for God cleanse them of anything our wrongdoing has brought into them.”

St. Gregory the Great

May 19, 2019

THANK YOU!

by Fr. Daniel Heenan, FSSP

On behalf of Mission Tradition and my parish in Guadalajara, Mexico, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your generous support of the work of the missions of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. With your help, both spiritual and material, we hope to expand the work of the FSSP and the Traditional Mass. Thanks to your generosity, we were able to raise nearly $10,000 last weekend at St. Stephen’s. This will go a long way to further the apostolic activity of the FSSP in the missions.

Mission Tradition helps support FSSP missions currently operating in Mexico, Columbia, and Nigeria, as well as youth and family mission trips to Peru, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic. Hopefully in the near future our reach will extend to even more regions.

In Guadalajara your donations will be used to support our work with vocations and evangelization. Our principal initiatives include:

Casa Cristo Rey: A house of formation for candidates for the seminary.
Mission San Pedro: A street evangelization apostolate.
Social Network Outreach: Sermons, talks, and catechesis available online in Spanish.
Sedes Sapientiae: A Catholic home school cooperative that organizes an annual national homeschooling conference.

If you are interested in continuing to support Mission Tradition, or are simply looking for more information, please visit our website at: www.missiontradition.us. You can also follow us on Facebook at:

www.facebook.com/FSSPMexico

Thank you once again, and please be assured of my prayers for all our benefactors.

In Corde Jesu,
Rev. Daniel Heenan, FSSP

May 19, 2019

VOCATIONS DAY FOR YOUNG LADIES

Mother Maria Regina

On Saturday, June 15, Mother Maria Regina, the foundress of Labor Mariae, will visit the parish and speak to the young ladies about the vocation of religious life. Mother Regina is currently the superior of a new religious order located near our parish in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has over twenty-five years of experience in religious life. Her order is semi-contemplative, engaging in some active works in the FSSP parish there. The spiritual life of the order is founded upon the traditional Mass and Divine Office.

The day will be organized around Mass and Adoration, with talks by Mother Regina and some activities. Young ladies ages 12 and older are invited to attend. Their families are welcome to be present for the day, though the activities will be reserved to the young ladies. The event will be entirely free of cost for those attending; those wishing to donate towards the event may write a check to “St. Stephen the First Martyr” with “Vocations Day” written in the memo line.

Please encourage your daughters to attend, even if they have not manifested any explicit interest in religious life!

Schedule

12:00 noon  Holy Mass
1:00 pm       Picnic (bring your own lunch)
2:00 pm       Conference: Religious Life in General
3:00 pm       Activity: Volleyball *
4:00 pm       Conference: Labor Mariae; Q & A
5:00 pm       Vespers, followed by a Holy Hour
6:00 pm       Activity: Ultimate Frisbee
7:00 pm       Pizza
8:00 pm       Blessing & Dismissal
* Mother Maria Regina will be available for short meetings during volleyball.

ADULT CATECHESIS: THE FOUR LAST THINGS

Fr. Cassian DiRocco

St. Benedict advises in his Holy Rule that we must “keep death ever before our eyes”. What is death, and what do we believe about the life to come? The way that we approach and answer questions about death largely determines our life on this earth, and in the eternity which follows. Taking into account the importance of these questions, our adult catechesis of four weeks will look at “Eschatology”, or what is more commonly known as “the four last things”: Death, Judgment, Hell, and Heaven.
Classes will meet on Thursday evenings at 7:30 pm.

May 23    Death (this Thursday!)
May 30   Judgment; * after the Solemn Mass
June 13  Hell
June 20  Heaven

May 12, 2019

ADULT CATECHUMENATE

This fall, we will begin an adult catechism course for those interested in becoming Catholic. The classes will meet on the second and fourth Thursday of each month, beginning in the latter half of August. They will run from 7:30 pm until 9:00 pm. Please bring friends or family members. Parishioners are of course welcome to attend on their own.

The primary text will be The Baltimore Catechism, vol. 2. Copies can be purchased from the Parish Bookstore. This catechism is meant for Confirmation students (usually ages 11-12); the priests will go into significantly more detail than is available in the text itself.

Here is a preview of the first three classes:

Aug. 22    Faith & Reason; The Trinity
Sept. 12   The Angels; Man & The Fall; Actual Sin
Sept. 26   The Incarnation & Redemption; Grace

REFLECTIONS ON HOLY WEEK

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

Recently, I bumped into a friend who expressed her surprise that this year was the first time I had ever attended the pre-1955 (i.e., ancient or unreformed) Holy Week liturgies. She was under the impression that
someone who travels, reads, thinks, and writes a good deal about the sacred liturgy would surely have done this long before now.

It wasn’t for lack of interest or awareness. Ever since I read Gregory DiPippo’s epic series at New Liturgical Movement, I knew that the Holy Week liturgies, rich with symbolism and ceremonial, had been heavily altered by Pope Pius XII in the early 1950s. As I read more, I discovered to my horror that the liturgical rupture we rightly blame on Paul VI had its most notorious “precursor” in Pius XII’s unprecedented act of inorganic revision, done under cover of the excuse that the liturgies needed to be “restored to their original times of day” [1]. As more and more resources became available, and I saw more photos each year, and read of new places adopting the old old form, my desire to participate in the authentic Roman liturgy of Holy Week grew and grew.

But I was not yet, so to speak, my own man. For me, a choir and schola director for over two decades, Holy Week was always the musical high point. Year after year, I bounced back and forth between the ’62 missal and the ’69 missal — stuck in the 1960s, one could say, as are most Catholics (for now), even those who frequent the Latin Mass. For Holy Week 2019, however, I was no longer in charge of a choir and schola, happily living only a mile away from an oratory of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. This made all the difference.

What a difference it makes. While I had read all about the pre-1955 Holy Week, never was it more deeply true that no amount of reading can substitute for experience, for the encounter with the reality. Liturgy is, after all, not a theory or an experiment; it is the action of Christ the High Priest, an action we enter into. I had expected to be impressed; I was blown away. I had expected to be bewildered; I was dazzled and provoked. I had expected to see the Roman Rite in its pre-modern richness; I saw a revelation of glory.

I realize that many learned books and articles have been written about these old liturgies and that nothing short of a book could begin to do them justice [2]. This is my disclaimer as to why I will ignore so much that is worthy of note. Instead, I will simply share a few of the things that struck me most about the pre-1955 rites.

Read more on onepeterfive.com!

May 5, 2019

MARIAN PROCESSION
Come join us at the 11th Anniversary of the Great Marian Procession on May 11.
All information from www.bringmary.com
Schedule

7:00 am Gather at East Lawn Cemetery, 4300 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento
7:30 am Procession begins
10:00 am Arrive at the Cathedral for Mary’s Crowning and Holy Mass

What is a Marian Procession?

Marian devotions are external aids to interior devotion to the Mother of God. As He hanged dying on the cross, Our Lord gave His mother to us, to be our mother. The Bible- based prayers, Hail Mary, and the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary , a meditation on the life of Christ, are the most frequently prayed devotions to her. Another traditional devotion is the public procession honoring her.

In many countries, the Marian procession, once common, has all but vanished. Although Vatican II affirmed the great value of devotion to Our Lady, after Vatican II attention to her declined in many places for many years. It’s time to fix this!

Gratefully, Catholics now enjoy a resurgence in understanding her role in our salvation and response to it. How great is this, the special love Jesus has for her — and how remarkable that He entrusts us to her care.

If you are Catholic, we hope you are inspired by this website and this example of how Catholics like you help bring awareness of our Blessed Mother to the streets of their city, where it’s greatly needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Where is East Lawn Cemetery? 4300 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento
Q2. When should I arrive at East Lawn Cemetery? 7:00 am is best
Q3. When is the Crowning and Mass at the Cathedral? 10:00 am
Q4. How can we get back to the Cemetery after Mass at the Cathedral? Possibilities include: shuttle with family or friends; take two cars; leave one at the beginning and one at the end; take Uber or Lyft; take Public Transportation; Light Rail runs very close to the Cathedral and the Cemetery.
Q5. What should we bring? Walking shoes and a radio tuned to AM-1620 , the Rosary is broadcast on Relevant Radio. Water bottles will be provided at the cemetery.
Q6. What will be happening during the Procession? Praying the Rosary and singing hymns. Music sheets will be provided.

April 28, 2019

ST FAUSTINA ON HELL

I, Sister Faustina Kowalska, by the order of God, have visited the Abysses of Hell so that I might tell souls about it and testify to its existence… the devils were full of hatred for me, but they had to obey me at the command of God, What I have written is but a pale shadow of the things I saw. But I noticed one thing: That most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell…. It is a place of great torture; how awesomely large and extensive it is! The kinds of tortures I saw: the loss of God; perpetual remorse of conscience; that one’s condition will never change; the fire that will penetrate the soul without destroying it – a terrible suffering since it is a purely spiritual fire, lit by God’s anger; continual darkness and a terrible suffocating smell, and despite the darkness, the devils and the souls of the damned see each other and all the evil, both of others and their own; the constant company of Satan; horrible despair, hatred of God, vile words, curses and blasphemies. These are the tortures suffered by all the damned together, but that is not the end of the sufferings. There are special tortures destined for particular souls. These are the torments of the senses. Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings related to the manner in which it has sinned. There are caverns and pits of torture where one form of agony differs from another. I would have died at the very sight of these tortures if the omnipotence of God had not supported me. Let the sinner know that he will be tortured throughout all eternity, in those senses which he made use of to sin. I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is like… how terribly souls suffer there! Consequently, I pray even more fervently for the conversion of sinners. I incessantly plead God’s mercy upon them. O My Jesus, I would rather be in agony until the end of the world, amidst the greatest sufferings, than offend you by the least sin.” (Diary 741)

April 21, 2019

Arrival of the Sedilia

In honor of Fr. John Lyons, FSSP

I am very grateful to the parishioner who did the woodwork, carving, and staining, as well as to Fr. Savoie for the initial design work. A commemorative plaque was installed on the reverse side of the principal arch with the name of Fr. Lyons and the years of his tenure as pastor.

Paschal Candle

I also want to thank the parishioner who painted by hand the beautiful paschal candle!

A Blessed Easter!

The priests wish everyone a most happy and blessed Easter! Christus surrexit, surrexit vere!

April 14, 2019

Holy Week Schedule

April 14 – 20

Palm Sunday – Please Note Change in Mass Schedule!
Low Mass 8 am *
Solemn Mass and Blessing of Palms 10:30 am
Low Mass 2 pm
Low Mass 6pm
* Please, if attending the 8 am Mass, do not stay for the blessing of the palms at 10:30 am, as parking will be an issue.
Holy Thursday
Tenebrae 9 am
Mass 7 pm
Altar of Repose 9 pm – 1 pm (Friday)
Good Friday
Tenebrae 8 am
Stations 12 pm
Mass of the Presanctified 1 pm
Holy Saturday
Tenebrae 9 am
Vigil Mass 6:30 pm

Tenebrae

If you have never experienced Tenebrae before, please consider coming this year!

April 7, 2019

Black Solemn Set Arrived

Thus far, the chasuble and folded chasubles and broad stole have been completed; this is enough for us to use the set on Good Friday. The cope, tunicle, and dalmatic will be shipped to us in the summer, so that we can use this set for Solemn Requiems, as well. Thank you to our benefactors!

March 31, 2019

FSSP Ordains Seven Deacons

On Saturday, March 30, the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter ordained seven men to the diaconate. His Excellency the Most Reverend Joseph Perry, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago, was the ordaining bishop. At the point of receiving the diaconate, the seminarian has spent six long years in discernment and formation under the watchful care of the priests of the seminary and district: one year of spirituality, two of philosophy, and three of theology. Ordination to the diaconate typically is administered towards the end of this sixth year; the deacon has one more year of theological studies ahead of him. In the summer after his ordination, he will travel to our European seminary in Wigratzbad (in southern Germany), staying in residence there to acquaint himself with his European brothers. Returning to the North American seminary in the fall, he will split his time between studies at the seminary and pastoral training in one of the nearby apostolates. Classes will include training in the administration of the Sacraments, particularly the rubrics of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which the deacon will spend long hours studying and practicing, until he can say the Missa sicca (the so-called “dry Mass”) from beginning to end without error. Having received the diaconate, the man has a canonical right to receive the priesthood, barring some unforeseen grave cause. Already, he is a full member of the Priestly Fraternity; he attends district gatherings, votes for delegates to general and provincial chapters, and is entitled to receive temporal benefits. In short, he belongs to us, and we to him, in what should be an irrevocable bond.

God willing, in a little over a year these men will be ordained priests and placed in parishes. Please pray for them:
– Rev. Mr. David McWhirter
– Rev. Mr. Javier Ruiz Aguilar
– Rev. Mr. Thomas Sofatzis
– Rev. Mr. Joseph Loftus
– Rev. Mr. Daniel Alloy
– Rev. Mr. William Rock
– Rev. Mr. Eric Krager

Investiture of the dalmatic: “May the Lord clothe thee with the garment of salvation and the vestment of joy, and may He encompass thee always with the Dalmatic of justice. In the Name of the Lord.”

March 24, 2019

The Folded Chasubles, Part 2

by Fr. Adrian Fortescue

The chasubles are now folded about half-way up in the front. The ministers wear the same vestments as usual, with this one exception. The folded chasubles are taken off when they have some special office to perform. During the last collect the subdeacon takes off his, assisted by the second acolyte, who then lays it on the sedilia. He sings the Epistle in alb and maniple. When he has received the celebrant’s blessing and has handed the book to the MC, he goes to the sedilia and puts on the folded chasuble again, assisted by the second acolyte. He then moves the Missal.

The deacon goes to the sedilia as soon as the celebrant begins to read the Gospel. Here, assisted by the first acolyte, he takes of the folded chasuble, which is laid there. Formerly he folded it lengthwise and put it over his shoulder. [Since this can be difficult,] he is therefore allowed to use instead a broad band of violet silk (black on Good Friday) [i.e. the broad stole]. As it is not really a stole there is no cross on it. The deacon puts it on over the real stole, from the left shoulder to under the right arm, where he gathers it together with the ends of the girdle. He then takes the Evangeliarum and puts it on the altar as usual. He remains so vested till after the Communion. Then, when he has carried the Missal to the Epistle side, he goes again to the sedilia, takes off the “broad stole” and puts on the folded chasuble, assisted as before by the first acolyte. In putting on and taking off this garment he does not kiss it… There is no reason why he should not carry out the original plan, namely, to fold his chasuble (or use one previously folded) and wear that in a long strip across his shoulder, if he can do so.

P.S. The violet solemn set has arrived! The appropriate parts of it will be used for Masses this Sunday. The black solemn set with folded chasubles should arrive soon.

March 17, 2019

The Folded Chasubles, Part 1

by Fr. Adrian Fortescue

The rules for the use of folded chasubles are these. They are worn in cathedrals and the chief churches [i.e. parishes] by the deacon and subdeacon, instead of dalmatic and tunicle, on days of fasting and penance, except vigils of Saints’ days and Christmas Eve, which have dalmatic and tunicle. Folded chasubles therefore are used on Sundays and weekdays of Advent and Lent, when the Mass is of the season. Except from this the third Sunday of Advent and weekdays on which its Mass may be repeated. Except also the fourth Sunday of Lent, Maundy Thursday and (for the deacon) Holy Saturday at the blessing of the Paschal candle and Mass. Folded chasubles are used further on Ember days (except in the Whitsun octave [i.e., the octave of Pentecost]), on Whitsun Eve before Mass (not at the red Mass), on Candlemas at the blessing of candles and procession. From this it follows that the folded chasuble is always violet, except on Good Friday, when it is black. But the violet colour does not always involve folded chasubles. On Christmas Eve, on the three Sundays Septuagesima, Sexagesima, Quinquagesima and (for lack of rosy vestments) in some churches on mid-Advent and mid-Lent the ministers wear violet dalmatic and tunicle.

The folded chasubles (not the colour violet) are the test for the organ to be silent.

… to be continued

P.S. The violet solemn set, with folded chasubles, was just released from customs (having been shipped from Spain). The black set should arrive in early April. They are very beautiful; photographs will be forthcoming soon.

March 10, 2019

“A Continuous Lent”

A Parish Mission for St. Stephen the First Martyr

March 25 – 29

Fr. Cassian DiRocco

– Day 1: Prayer: A Look at the Spiritual Life through a “Lenten” lens
– Day 2: Liturgical Prayer: The “source” of the spiritual life
– Day 3: Scriptural Prayer: The “fuel” of the spiritual life
– Day 4: Eucharistic Prayer: The “Daily Bread” of the spiritual life
– Day 5: Silent Prayer: The “language” of the spiritual life

The spiritual conferences listed above will be delivered every evening at 7:30 pm, from Monday to Friday, March 25 to 29. Fr. Cassian DiRocco will more fully introduce the theme of the mission at his sermon during the Sunday Masses on March 24.

From Fr. DiRocco: “My theme would be taken from the Rule of St. Benedict, which adjures the monk that his whole life is to be a ‘Lenten observance’ (omni tempore vita monachi quadragesimae debet observationem habere). What does this have to do with the average lay person sitting in the pews, or even for secular priests? Quite a lot, as there is a call to the interior life in each of us, and in fact, one can say in some sense that there is a monk ‘in’ each of us. How is this interior dimension, so vital to our growing relationship to and intimacy with God, to be lived according to our various states in life? Through what one author has called ‘The Art of Prayer’, an art which one never masters, but is ever pursuing.”

Sunday Pulpit Announcements

We are going to begin limiting the number of announcements made from the pulpit on Sundays, relying instead more on the bulletin itself and the parish e-newsletter.

March 3, 2019

LENTEN REGULATIONS

1. Abstinence. All persons, 14 years and older, are obliged to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent.
2. Fasting. Everyone from ages 18 to 59 is obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Voluntary fasting on other weekdays of Lent, especially on Wednesdays and Fridays, is highly recommended. Fasting is generally understood to mean that one full meal may be eaten. Two other small meals (collations) may be eaten, but together they should not equal a full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted.

SCHEDULE FOR LENT

1. Mass. We will have additional Masses, on Monday and Wednesday evenings, at 6:30 pm. Adjusted schedule:
M, W, Fr: 7 am, 12:15 pm, 6:30 pm;
Tu, Th: 7 am, 6:30 pm;
Sa: 7am, 9 am
2. Sacrament of Penance. In additional to our normally scheduled times, there will always be a priest in the confessional from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, every day of the week, Sunday to Saturday, from Ash Wednesday until the Wednesday of Holy Week. The faithful are encouraged to go to the Sacrament of Penance outside of Sundays if possible, especially during Lent.
3. Ash Wednesday. Masses at 7 am, 12:15 pm, and 7 pm (Solemn). Ashes will be available at each of the Masses.
4. Solemn Masses for Feasts.
Mar. 18, Mon. 6:30 pm. St. Patrick (transferred).
Mar. 19, Tues. 6:30 pm. St. Joseph.
Mar. 25, Mon. 7:00 pm. The Annunciation.
5. Stations of the Cross. Every Friday during Lent, after the 12:15 pm and 6:30 pm Masses.
6. Lenten Soup Meals. Fridays during Lent, after the Stations of the Cross following the 6:30 pm Mass. A signup will be available in the vestibule on Sun., Mar. 3. Contact: Janice Aranas (916-718-0657).
7. Parish Mission. We are looking at options.
8. Holy Week. April 14 – 20. Palm Sunday. 8 am, 10:30 am, 2 pm, 6pm. Holy Thursday. Tenebrae 9 am. Mass 7 pm. Good Friday. Tenebrae 8 am. Stations 12 pm. Mass of the Presanctified 1 pm. Holy Saturday. Tenebrae 9 am. Vigil Mass 6:30 pm.

February 24, 2019

THE GIFT OF FILIAL ADOPTION

The Christian Faith: the only valid and the only God-willed religion by Bishop Athanasius Schneider

God gave the Apostles and through them the Church for all times the solemn order to instruct all nations and the followers of all religions in the only one true Faith, teaching them to observe all His Divine commandments and baptize them (cf. Mt. 28: 19-20). Since the preaching of the Apostles and of the first Pope, the Apostle Saint Peter, the Church proclaimed always that there is salvation in no other name, i.e., in no other faith under heaven by which men must be saved, but in the Name and in the Faith in Jesus Christ (cf. Acts 4: 12).

With the words of Saint Augustine the Church taught in all times: “The Christian religion is the only religion which possesses the universal way for the salvation of the soul; for except by this way, none can be saved. This is a kind of royal way, which alone leads to a kingdom which does not totter like all temporal dignities, but stands firm on eternal foundations” (De civitate Dei, 10, 32, 1).

The following words of the great Pope Leo XIII testify the same unchanging teaching of the Magisterium in all times, when he affirmed: “The view that all religions are alike, is calculated to bring about the ruin of all forms of religion, and especially of the Catholic religion, which, as it is the only one that is true, cannot, without great injustice, be regarded as merely equal to other religions” (Encyclical Humanum genus, n. 16). ….

The Apostles and the countless Christian martyrs of all times, especially those of the first three centuries, would have been spared martyrdom, if they had said: “The pagan religion and its worship is a way, which as well corresponds to the will of God.” There would have been for instance no Christian France, no “Eldest Daughter of the Church,” if Saint Remigius had said to Clovis, the King of the Francs: “Do not despise your pagan religion you have worshiped up to now, and worship now Christ, Whom you have persecuted up to now.” The saintly bishop actually spoke differently, although in a rather rough way: “Worship what you burned, and burn what you have worshiped!”

True universal brotherhood can be only in Christ, and namely between baptized persons. The full glory of God’s sons will be attained only in the beatific vision of God in heaven, as Holy Scripture teaches: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3: 1- 2).

No authority on earth – not even the supreme authority of the Church – has the right to dispense people from other religions from the explicit Faith in Jesus Christ as the Incarnated Son of God and the only Savior of mankind with the assurance that the different religions as such are willed by God Himself. Indelible – because written with the finger of God and crystal-clear in their meaning – remain, however, the words of the Son of God: “Whoever believes in the Son of God is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3: 18). This truth was valid up to now in all Christian generations and will remain valid until the end of time, irrespective of the fact that some people in the Church of our so fickle, cowardly, sensationalist, and conformist time reinterpret this truth in a sense contrary to its evident wording, selling thereby this reinterpretation as continuity in the development of doctrine.

Outside the Christian Faith no other religion can be a true and God-willed way, since it is the explicit will of God, that all people believe in His Son: “This is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life” (John 6: 40). Outside the Christian Faith no other religion is able to transmit true supernatural life: “This is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17: 3).

February 17, 2019

THE GIFT OF FILIAL ADOPTION

The Christian Faith: the only valid and the only God-willed religion by Bishop Athanasius Schneider

Since the beginnings of the Church there was the assertion, as testified by Tertullian: “One is not born as a Christian, but one becomes a Christian” (Apol., 18, 5). And Saint Cyprian of Carthage formulated aptly this truth, saying: ‘He cannot have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother’” (De unit., 6).

The most urgent task of the Church in our time is to care about the change of the spiritual climate and about the spiritual migration, namely that the climate of non-belief in Jesus Christ, the climate of the rejection of the kingship of Christ, be changed into the climate of explicit faith in Jesus Christ, of the acceptance of His kingship, and that men may migrate from the misery of the spiritual slavery of unbelief into the happiness of being sons of God and from a life of sin into the state of sanctifying grace. These are the migrants about whom we must care urgently. Christianity is the only God-willed religion. Therefore, it can never be placed complementarily side by side with other religions. Those would violate the truth of Divine Revelation, as it is unmistakably affirmed in the First Commandment of the Decalogue, who would assert that the diversity of religions is the will of God. According to the will of Christ, faith in Him and in His Divine teaching must replace other religions, however not by force, but by loving persuasion, as expressed in the hymn of Lauds of the Feast of Christ the King: “Non Ille regna cladibus, non vi metuque subdidit: alto levatus stipite, amore traxit omnia” (“Not with sword, force and fear He subjects peoples, but lifted up on the Cross He lovingly draws all things to Himself”).

There is only one way to God, and this is Jesus Christ, for He Himself said: “I am the Way” (John 14: 6). There is only one truth, and this is Jesus Christ, for He Himself said: “I am the Truth” (John 14: 6). There is only one true supernatural life of the soul, and this is Jesus Christ, for He Himself said: “I am the Life” (John 14: 6)

The Incarnated Son of God taught that outside faith in Him there cannot be a true and God-pleasing religion: “I am the door. By me, if any man enters in, he shall be saved” (John 10: 9). God commanded to all men, without exception, to hear His Son: “This is my most beloved Son; hear Him!” (Mk. 9: 7). God did not say: “You can hear My Son or you can hear other founders of a religion, for it is My will that there are different religions.” God has forbidden us to recognize the legitimacy of the religion of other gods: “Thou shalt not have strange gods before me” (Ex. 20: 3) and “What fellowship has light with darkness? And what concord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has the faithful with the unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?” (2 Cor. 6: 14-16).

If other religions likewise corresponded to the will of God, there would not have been the Divine condemnation of the religion of the Golden Calf at the time of Moses (cf. Ex. 32: 4-20); then the Christians of today could unpunished cultivate the religion of a new Golden Calf, since all religions are, according to that theory, God- pleasing ways as well.

… to be continued

February 10, 2019

THE GIFT OF FILIAL ADOPTION

The Christian Faith: the only valid and the only God-willed religion by Bishop Athanasius Schneider

The Truth of the filial adoption in Christ, which is intrinsically supernatural, constitutes the synthesis of the entire Divine Revelation. Being adopted by God as sons is always a gratuitous gift of grace, the most sublime gift of God to mankind. One obtains it, however, only through a personal faith in Christ and through the reception of baptism, as the Lord himself taught: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” (John 3: 5-7).
In the past decades one often heard — even from the mouth of some representatives of the Church’s hierarchy — statements about the theory of “anonymous Christians.” This theory says the following: The mission of the Church in the world would consist ultimately in raising the awareness that all men must have of their salvation in Christ and consequently of their filial adoption in Christ. Since, according to the same theory, every human being possesses already the sonship of God in the depth of his personality. Yet, such a theory contradicts directly Divine Revelation, as Christ taught it and His Apostles and the Church over two thousand years always transmitted it unchangingly and without a shadow of a doubt.

In his essay “The Church, consisting of Jews and Gentiles” (Die Kirche aus Juden und Heiden) Erik Peterson, the well-known convert and exegete, long since (in 1933) warned against the danger of such a theory, when he affirmed that one cannot reduce being a Christian (“Christsein”) to the natural order, in which the fruits of the redemption achieved by Jesus Christ would be generally imputed to every human being as a kind of heritage, solely because he would share human nature with the incarnated Word. However, filial adoption in Christ is not an automatic result, guaranteed through belonging to the human race.

Saint Athanasius (cf. Oratio contra Arianos II, 59) left us a simple and at the same time an apt explanation of the difference between the natural state of men as God’s creatures and the glory of being a son of God in Christ. Saint Athanasius derives his explanation from the words of the holy Gospel according to John, that say: “He gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name. Who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1: 12-13). John uses the expression “they are born” to say that men become sons of God not by nature, but by adoption. This shows the love of God, that He Who is their creator becomes then through grace also their Father. This happens when, as the Apostle says, men receive in their hearts the Spirit of the Incarnated Son, Who cries in them: “Abba, Father!” Saint Athanasius continues his explanation saying, that as created beings, men can become sons of God in no other manner than through faith and baptism, when they receive the Spirit of the natural and true Son of God. Precisely for that reason the Word became flesh, to make men capable of adoption as sons of God and of participation in the Divine nature. Consequently, by nature God is not in the proper sense the Father of all human beings. Only if someone consciously accepts Christ and is baptized, will he be able to cry in truth: “Abba, Father” (Rom. 8: 15; Gal. 4: 6).

… to be continued

February 3, 2019

WALK FOR LIFE

January 26, 2019

Many thanks to all of the many parishioners who made it out to San Francisco last weekend for the West Coast Walk for Life! I’d like to thank particularly the drivers that helped bring the Youth Group to the city, as well as the men who volunteered to serve as a security detail for the parishioners.

While this year was more tame than last, there were still quite a number of rabid counter-protesters; far more than I ever observed at the Washington DC March for Life.

Some words, then, recalled from Fr. Savoie’s sermon last week: “If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you. If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also.
“But all these things they will do to you for my name’s sake: because they know not him who sent me. If I had not come, and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. He that hateth me, hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no other man hath done, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated both me and my Father. But that the word may be fulfilled which is written in their law: They hated me without cause.

“But when the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father, he shall give testimony of me. And you shall give testimony, because you are with me from the beginning.” – John 15:19-27

Some of our parishioners at the Walk for Life!

January 27, 2019

To Know Christ Jesus

Frank Sheed

(Excerpt from the Foreword)

The creeds, concerned only to give us a kind of blueprint of our redemption, go straight from his birth to his Passion and death—“. . . born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate”, says the Apostles’ Creed; “. . . made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate”, says the Nicene. That summarizes the position for a great many—a blaze of light about his birth, another about his death, but dimness in between. An occasional miracle stands out, a few parables, but there is no shape to the knowledge, no depth or connection. We seem curiously incurious about the life of One who is the life of our life….

Not to know these things means that we have not followed Jesus through the years of his teaching. If we would know him as he is, the infancy and the Passion are not enough. The infancy is not enough, since one baby looks much like another. The Passion is luminous, but with a special light. For by then he had yielded himself up as a victim, and we feel him different. For full knowledge we need to see him in the public ministry as well, for only then do we see him simply being himself—walking the roads of Palestine, meeting with his friends, answering his enemies….

[I]t is the Christ of the earthly life who is now at the right hand of the Father—that Christ, now risen, in whom we live. And, in any event, our salvation is not all that matters in religion, or even what matters most. That was the mistake of the old type of Bible Christian: he was saved, the rest was mere theology. His fellow Bible Christians might believe that God was three Persons or one only, that Christ was God and man or man only—
these were secondary, the sole primary being to accept Christ as one’s personal Savior. It made the self unhealthily central, unchristianly central. “This is eternal life: to know thee, the one true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (Jn 17:3).

To know Christ Jesus: if we do not know him as he lived among us, acted and reacted and suffered among us, we risk not knowing him at all. For we cannot see him at the right hand of the Father as we can see him in Palestine. And we shall end either in constructing our own Christ, image of our own needs or dreams, or in having no Christ but a shadow and a name. Either way the light he might shed is not shed for us—light upon himself, light upon
God.

For the kind of ignoring I have in mind cuts off a vast shaft of light into the being of God. The truth “Christ is God” is a statement not only about Christ but about God.
Without it, we could still know of God, certainly, but in his own nature only—infinite, omnipotent, creating from nothing, sustaining creation in being. It would be a remote kind of knowledge, for of none of these ways of being or doing have we any personal experience. In Christ Jesus we can see God in our nature, experiencing the things we have experienced, coping with situations we have to cope with. Thereby we know God as the most devout pagan cannot know him.

The first step is to return to the Gospels to learn what the Holy Spirit has willed us to know of the coming of God the Son into our race, the infancy and boyhood, the ministry, the suffering and death, the Resurrection and Ascension into heaven. There will be words and acts in which we cannot see meaning, but the evangelists did not write them idly, nor the Holy Spirit idly inspire them to do so. We must read intently, growing in knowledge of his words and acts, building our intimacy with himself.

I highly recommend this book! (Fr. Curtis)

January 20, 2019

Abortion Statistics

Current United States Data

– Total number of abortions in the U.S. 1973-2013: 56.5 million+
– 219 abortions per 1,000 live births (according to the Centers for Disease Control) [That’s a staggering 21.9%, or more than one in five pregnancies. And that does not even begin to bring into account the number of chemical abortions that occur each year. See below.]
– Abortions per year: 1.058 million
– Abortions per day: 2,899
– Abortions per hour: 120
– 1 abortion every 30 seconds
These statistics include only surgical and medical abortions. Because many contraceptive measures are abortifacients (drugs that induce or cause abortions), it is important not to overlook the number of children killed by chemical abortions. Since 1965, an average of 11 million women has used abortifacient methods of birth control in the United States at any given time. Using formulas based on the way the birth control pill works, pharmacy experts project that about 14 million chemical abortions occur in the United States each year, providing a projected total of well in excess of 610 million chemical abortions between 1965 and 2009. [Projecting this figure out to 2018 brings the total to 736 million; adding the number of surgical abortions gives us a final figure of nearly 800 million human souls.]
Taken from the American Life League (www.all.com).

Abortion Worldwide

Statisticians place the annual worldwide number of abortions at 56 million! Summing up that number going back to 1973 would place the worldwide figure of surgical abortions since that year at… 2.52 billion. And again, that does not even begin to factor in chemical abortions.

Some Pertinent Passages from the Scriptures

And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. – Genesis 4:10
“They built the high places of Ba′al in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, though I did not command them, nor did it enter into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.” – Jeremiah 32:35
If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not requite man according to his work? – Proverbs 24:10-12

January 13, 2019

Prayers for the Octave of Church Unity

Approved by Pope St. Pius X

The Octave of Church Unity was actually conceived of in the mind of an Anglican priest in 1908, who – one year after beginning its promotion – converted to the Catholic faith. His Anglican religious order – the Society of Atonement – was the first to be received corporately into the Catholic Church. His name was Fr. Paul of Graymoor. The prayers which he established were approved by St. Pius X for American use and later extended to the universal Church by Pope Benedict XV. They run from eight days from January 18 to January 25.

The Prayers

Antiphon. THAT THEY ALL MAY BE ONE, as Thou, Father, in Me and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.

℣. I say unto thee, thou art Peter;
℟. And upon this rock I will build my Church.

     January 18 Intention: The return of all the “other sheep” to the one fold of St. Peter.
     January 19 Intention: The return of all Oriental separatists to Communion with the Apostolic See.
     January 20 Intention: The submission of Anglicans to the authority of the Vicar of Christ.
     January 21 Intention: That the Lutherans and all other Protestants of continental Europe may find their way back to Holy Church.
     January 22 Intention: That Christians in America may become one in communion with the Chair of St. Peter.
     January 23 Intention: The return to the Sacraments of lapsed Catholics.
     January 24 Intention: The conversion of the Jews.
     January 25 Intention: The Missionary conquest of the
world for Christ.

Let us pray.

O LORD JESUS CHRIST, who saidst unto Thine Apostles: Peace I leave you, My peace I give to you; regard not our sins, but the faith of Thy Church, and grant unto her that peace and unity which are agreeable to Thy Will; Who livest and reignest ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

Optional Prayer

MARY, IMMACULATE VIRGIN, Mother of God and our Mother, thou seest how the Catholic Faith is assailed by the devil and the world – that Faith in which we purpose, by the help of God, to live and die. Do thou, O Help of Christians, renew thy victories of old, for the salvation of thy children. To thee we entrust our firm purpose of never joining assemblies of heretics. Do thou, all holy, offer to thy Divine Son our resolutions, and obtain from Him the graces necessary for us to keep them unto the end. Bring consolation to the visible head of the Church – support the Catholic Episcopate; protect the clergy and the people who proclaim thee Queen. Hasten, by the power of thy prayers, the day when all nations shall be gathered around the Supreme Pastor. Amen.

January 6, 2019

Epiphany Chalk Blessing

Blessed chalk is available in the vestibule. Upon returning home, the lintel of the main door of the house is marked with the blessed chalk by the head of the household in the following manner.

Inscribe 20+C+M+B+17 while saying the following prayer:

The Three Wise Men …
C      Caspar …
M     Melchior …
B     & Balthasaar, followed the star of God’s Son who became Man …
20     Two-thousand …
19     and nineteen years ago …
+     May Christ …
+     bless our home …
+     and remain with us …
+     through the new year. …

Almighty God, incline Thine ear. Bless us and all who are gathered here. Send Thy holy angel who will defend us, and fill with grace all who dwell here. Amen.

Marian Antiphons

The parish seems to have become familiar with the Alma Redemptoris Mater, which began with Advent and carries on through to the beginning of February. However, the seasonal Marian Antiphon will soon change, on February 2 (the Feast of Candlemas), to the Ave Regina Caelorum. I will include a link to the audio in the online newsletter; please take some time to acquaint yourself with the chant of this beautiful hymn to Our Lady which characterizes the period leading up to and during Lent. Here is the Latin, with translation:

Ave, Regina caelorum,
Ave, Domina Angelorum:
Salve, radix, salve, porta
Ex qua mundo lux est orta:

Gaude, Virgo gloriosa,
Super omnes speciosa,
Vale, o valde decora,
Et pro nobis Christum exora.

Hail, O Queen of Heaven.
Hail, O Lady of Angels
Hail! thou root, hail! thou gate
From whom unto the world, a light has arisen:

Rejoice, O glorious Virgin,
Lovely beyond all others,
Farewell, most beautiful maiden,
And pray for us to Christ.

God bless you,

Fr. Curtis

December 30, 2018

Compline

For the time, we will not be continuing the recitation of Compline on Tuesday and Thursday nights, which we had recently introduced ad experimentum for the season of Advent. We may look at trying this again, however, sometime in the future.

Sermon of Pope St. Leo the Great

from the Second Nocturn of Christmas Matins

Dearly beloved brethren, Unto us is born this day a Saviour (Luke ii. 11). Let us rejoice. It would be unlawful to be sad to day, for today is Life’s Birthday; the Birthday of that Life, Which, for us dying creatures, taketh away the sting of death, and bringeth the bright promise of the eternal gladness hereafter. It would be unlawful for any man to refuse to partake in our rejoicing. All men have an equal share in the great cause of our joy, for, since our Lord, Who is the destroyer of sin and of death, findeth that all are bound under the condemnation, He is come to make all free. Rejoice, O thou that art holy, thou drawest nearer to thy crown! Rejoice, O thou that art sinful, thy Saviour offereth thee pardon! Rejoice also, O thou Gentile, God calleth thee to life! For the Son of God, when the fulness of the time was come, which had been fixed by the unsearchable counsel of God, took upon Him the nature of man, that He might reconcile that nature to Him Who made it, and so the devil, the inventor of death, is met and beaten in that very flesh which hath been the field of his victory.

When our Lord entered the field of battle against the devil, He did so with a great and wonderful fairness. Being Himself the Almighty, He laid aside His uncreated Majesty to fight with our cruel enemy in our weak flesh. He brought against him the very shape, the very nature of our mortality, yet without sin (Heb. iv. 15). His birth however was not a birth like other births for no other is born pure, nay, not the little child whose life endureth but a day on the earth. To His birth alone the throes of human passion had not contributed, in His alone no consequence of sin had had part. For His Mother was chosen a Virgin of the kingly lineage of David, and when she was to grow heavy with the sacred Child, her soul had already conceived Him before her body. She knew the counsel of God announced to her by the Angel, lest the unwonted events should alarm her. The future Mother of God knew what was to be wrought in her by the Holy Ghost, and that her modesty was absolutely safe.

Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us give thanks to God the Father, through His Son, in the Holy Ghost: Who, for His great love wherewith He loved us, hath had mercy on us and, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (Eph. ii. 4, 5), that in Him we might be a new creature, and a new workmanship. Let us then put off the old man with his deeds (Col. iii. 9); and, having obtained a share in the Sonship of Christ, let us renounce the deeds of the flesh. Learn, O Christian, how great thou art, who hast been made partaker of the Divine nature (2 Pet. i. 4), and fall not again by corrupt conversation into the beggarly elements above which thou art lifted. Remember Whose Body it is Whereof thou art made a member, and Who is its Head (1 Cor. vi. 15). Remember that it is He That hath delivered thee from the power of darkness and hath translated thee into God’s light, and God’s kingdom (Col. i. 13).

December 23, 2018

O Antiphons

These beautiful Vespers antiphons are sung the week leading up to the Vigil of Christmas. The musical theme is common to all seven, and also the Vespers antiphon of the Ascension, binding together the exitus and the redditus of the Second Divine Person. They are popularized in the hymn “O come, O come Emmanuel.”

December 17: O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from one end to the other, mightily and sweetly ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence.

December 18: O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: Come and redeem us with outstretched arm.

December 19: O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the nations; before whom kings will shut their mouths, to whom the nations will make their prayer: Come and deliver us and delay no longer.

December 20: O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel; who open and no one can shut; who shut and no one can open: Come and lead those in chains from prison, those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

December 21: O Morning Star, splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness: Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

December 22: O King of the nations, and their desire, the cornerstone making both one: Come and save man, whom you fashioned from clay.

December 23: O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver, the hope of the nations and their Saviour: Come and save us, O Lord our God.

New Curtains

Our new handmade curtains have arrived and been installed. Please feel free to approach the Communion rail after Mass to have a better look at them. The pattern was chosen in dark reds with cobalt accents to complement the red of the sanctuary and the blue of the statues and stained-glass windows in the Church. We hope you like them!

Christmas

The priests wish everyone a very holy and joy-filled Christmas! Please see details for the various Masses and receptions during the Christmas season under the Announcements. I call your attention particularly to
Christmas Matins, which we are doing for the first time this year. They will begin at 9:30 pm on Christmas Eve.
God bless you!

December 16, 2018

New Vestments!

Five Low Mass Sets

Many thanks to all of our generous benefactors, especially those who have given funds to the parish for the express purpose of new vestments. Below are a few photographs of the five new sets that we recently acquired for the patrimony of the parish. If you attended Mass during the latter part of last week, you may have already seen the red, violet, and white set in action.

We have on order two more extensive sets: black and violet Solemn sets, with folded chasubles for use with the pre-1955 Holy Week and penitential seasons. If you are interested in contributing towards these two Solemn sets, please let one of the priests know. God bless you!

December 9, 2018

From a sermon on the Second Sunday of Advent

St. John Marie Vianney

Behold, my brethren, how much Jesus Christ wishes to save us; at one time he appears to us as a poor child in the crib, lying on a handful of straw, which He moistens with His tears; again treated like a criminal, bound, pinioned, crowned with thorns, scourged, falling under the weight of the cross, and dying in martyrdom out of love for us. If this is not capable of moving us, drawing us towards Him, then He announces to us that He will one day come, clothed in the radiance of His glory and the Majesty of His Father, to judge us without clemency and without mercy; where before the whole world He will reveal the good and the bad which we have committed in the course of our lives. Tell me, dear brethren, if we rightly considered all this, should we require anything further to make us live and die like Saints?

But for a Christian, dear brethren, who has lost sight of his last aim, the matter has quite another aspect; the shortness of life is a trouble and a bitter thought which disturbs him in the midst of his pleasures; he does his utmost to keep this thought of death far from him.

Everything that reminds him of it frightens him, doctors and remedies; everything is tried to keep away the thought that death is near. He is in pursuit of happiness on earth, but he deceives himself. Whilst this poor unfortunate man forsakes God, God forsakes him. He will be obliged at the end of his days to admit that he has spent his life seeking for a good which he never found. Outside of God, oh, so many sufferings, so much misery, and no consolation, no recompense! Ah, death, the consolation of the just, brings only despair to him; he must die, and he has never once given thought to it….

Yes, my brethren, He awaits us with open arms. He opens to us the wound of His divine Heart, to hide us therein from the severity of His Father; He offers us all the merits of His death and Passion, in satisfaction for our sins. If our conversion is sincere, He takes it upon Himself to answer for us at the judgment seat of His Father, when we shall be called upon to give an account of our whole life.

Happy is he who follows the voice of His God who calls him! Happy is he, my brethren, who has never forgotten that his life is short, and that he may die at any moment, whom the thought never leaves that he is destined after this life for a happy or unhappy eternity, for heaven or for hell. Yes, my brethren, if we were only fortunate enough to ponder well what is before us after this life, which is so short, we should feel obliged to pass our lives in fear and trembling, working so as to accomplish the salvation of our souls. Happy is he, my brethren, who holds himself always in readiness! That is what I wish you all. Amen.

December 2, 2018

OFFERTORY ENVELOPES

Important Message

The use of “offertory envelopes” makes the job of keeping track of your donations for tax purposes much easier; loose checks must be photocopied and recorded.

New envelopes for 2018 are now available to pick up in the vestibule. If you do not see a box with your name on it, it is either because you are not registered or you have not picked up your envelopes for the last two years. If you would like to have envelopes, please stop by the Parish Office or Bookstore and fill out a registration form.

It is also helpful to the counters if you write the amount on the envelope as the envelopes are used to record your
donation.

Thank you for your continued support of our parish!

THE SPOTLESS PURITY OF OUR LADY

from the Church Fathers

Origen. This Virgin Mother of the Only-begotten of God is called Mary, worthy of God, immaculate of the immaculate, one of the one. (AD 244)

Hippolytus. [Jesus] was the ark formed of incorruptible wood. For by this is signified that His tabernacle [Mary] was exempt from defilement and corruption. (AD 235)

Athanasius. The Word, then, visited that earth in which He was yet always present; and saw all these evils. He takes a body of our Nature, and that of a spotless Virgin, in whose womb He makes it His own, wherein to reveal Himself, conquer death, and restore life. (AD 319)

Ephrem. You alone and your Mother are more beautiful than any others, for there is neither blemish in you nor any stains upon your Mother. Who of my children can compare in beauty to these? (AD 361)

Ambrose. Come, then, and search out your sheep, not through your servants or hired men, but do it yourself. Lift me up bodily and in the flesh, which is fallen in Adam. Lift me up not from Sarah but from Mary, a Virgin not only undefiled but a Virgin whom grace had made inviolate, free of every stain of sin. (AD 387)

Augustine. We must except the Holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom I wish to raise no question when it touches the subject of sins, out of honor to the Lord; for from Him we know what abundance of grace for overcoming sin in every particular was conferred upon her who had the merit to conceive and bear Him who undoubtedly had no sin. (AD 415)

Theodotus of Ancrya. A virgin, innocent, spotless, free of all defect, untouched, unsullied, holy in soul and body, like a lily sprouting among thorns. (AD 446)

Proclus of Constantinople. As He formed her without any stain of her own, so He proceeded from her contracting no stain. (AD 446)

November 25, 2018

COMPLINE

from The Divine Office: A Study of the Roman Breviary
by Rev. E.J. Quigley

The prayer, Visita quaesumus is found in Breviaries of the thirteenth century and was introduced probably by the Friars Minor. The words habitationem istam are said to indicate that it is a prayer not only for the chapel of the friars, but for their dwellings on journeys. It was said in choir by the abbot or presiding priest. Like all prayers for Compline it begs God to drive far away the snares of the enemy; it begs Him to let His angels dwell in that house to keep the dwellers therein, in peace; and finally, it begs Him to “let Thy blessing be always upon us. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.”

After the Dominus vobiscum and its response, the abbot or presiding priest gave the solemn blessing “Benedicat et custodiet…, May the Almighty and merciful Lord, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, bless and preserve us. Amen.”

Then one of the anthems of the Blessed Virgin Mary is said. From the Saturday before Advent until the feast of the Purification, inclusive, is said the anthem “Alma Redemptoris Mater“; translated by Father Caswall, it reads:–
“Mother of Christ, hear Thou thy people’s cry, Star of the deep and portal of the sky, Mother of Him who Thee from nothing made, Sinking we strive and call to Thee for aid. Oh, by that joy which Gabriel brought to Thee, Thou Virgin first and last, let us Thy mercy see.”

The Latin hexameters are attributed to Hermanus (circa 1054). It has been translated by several poets great and small, and is well known in Newman’s translation, “Kindly Mother of the Redeemer.” It was a popular hymn in Norman Ireland and in Catholic England, as we see in Chaucer’s “Prioress’s Tale.” After this anthem are said its versicle, response, and prayer Oremus, Gratiam tuam quaesumus.

RE-INTRODUCTION OF COMPLINE

ad experimentum

During Advent, the priests are going to re-introduce Compline on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, at 7:30 pm. The lay faithful are encouraged to attend. We will also be singing Compline at 7:30 pm on Monday and Wednesday, but as we typically make pastoral visits on these evenings, these Offices will often need to be cancelled and are therefore not public.

When other events, such as Fr. Savoie’s adult catechism, conflict with Tuesday or Thursday evening Compline, the Office will be cancelled in favor of the event.

November 18, 2018

COMPLINE

from The Divine Office: A Study of the Roman Breviary
by Rev. E.J. Quigley

Little Chapter. This is a beautiful call to our Lord to remind Him, as it were, that we are His own, that we bear His name. In this invocation we express our confidence in Him and ask Him not to abandon us, but to dwell with us. “But Thou, O Lord, art among us, and Thy holy name is invoked upon us; forsake us not, O Lord our God”; and for past protection the Church adds to their invocation, taken from the prophet Jeremias, the words of gratitude, “Thanks be to God.”

The Response.In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum.” “Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. For Thou hast redeemed us, O Lord God of Truth. Keep us, O Lord, as the apple of Thine eye. Protect us under the shadow of Thy wings.” No more sublime prayer exists in the liturgy than this response, which the Church orders us to say nightly. She wishes, in its daily recital, to prepare us for death, by reminding us of the sentiments and words of our dying Lord on the cross, “Into Thy hands I commend my spirit” (Ps. 30, v. 6), and by asking Him Who redeemed us on the bitter tree, to keep us safe as the apple of His eye and to protect us “under the shadow of His wings” (Ps. 40, v, 6). These solemn words of our dying Saviour have been, in all ages, and in all lands, the death prayer of many of those whom He redeemed, with the great price. St. Stephen, the proto-martyr, prayed, “Lord Jesus receive my spirit.” “Into Thy hands I commend my spirit,” prayed St. Basil in his death agony. “Into Thy hands I commend my spirit,” prayed thousands of God’s servants, heroes and heroines….

Nunc Dimittis. The canticle Nunc dimittis is the last in historical sequence of the three great canticles of the New Testament. It was spoken at the presentation of Christ, by Simeon, “This man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Ghost was in him. And he had received an answer from the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. And he came by the spirit into the temple. And when His parents brought the child Jesus to do for him according to the custom of the law. He also took Him in his arms and blessed God and said ‘Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace….'” (St. Luke ii. 29- 33). This sublime canticle uttered by the holy old man at the close of his days is placed fittingly in the priest’s Office at the close of the day. It breathes his thanks, expresses his love and his wish to die, having seen the Saviour.

Before the canticle are said… the antiphon, “Salva nos“; and it is repeated in full at the end. “Save us, O Lord, while we are awake, and guard us when we sleep, that we may watch with Christ and rest in peace.”

… to be continued

November 11, 2018

COMPLINE

from The Divine Office: A Study of the Roman Breviary
by Rev. E.J. Quigley

The study of the component parts of this Hour are of great interest. After the Abbot had given his blessing and begged of God to grant the two-fold favour of a quiet night and a good death, a monk read from Holy Scripture, and when a suitable portion was read, or at the end of a Scripture chapter or theme, the Abbot said, “Tu autem,” and the reader “Tu autem, Domine, miserere nobis.” This was to ask God to pardon faults both of reader in his reading and of monks, who, perhaps, were drowsy and inattentive. The Abbot terminated the exercise by the Adjutorium nostrum (the Pater Noster is of more recent introduction). Monks who were absent substituted for the Scripture lesson which they had missed, the pithy extract from St. Peter, “Fratres; sobrii estote,” which we now read. The whole company of monks and their abbot then proceeded to the chapel where each made his examination of conscience, and at a sign from the abbot, the monks, two by two, in a subdued tone of voice, said the Confiteor, Misereatur, Indulgentiam and Converte nos. Gavantus and Merati hold that the Converte nos does not belong to this introductory matter, but formed part of Compline proper. This prayer is very beautiful: “Convert us, O God, our Saviour. And turn away Thine anger from us. Incline unto my aid, O God; O Lord, make haste to help us. Glory be to the Father,… Praise be to God.”

The new arrangement of the Psalter did not retain the old traditional psalms, 4, 90, 133, in Compline, except for Sundays and solemn feasts. But the selection of psalms accords well with the idea of the hour—night prayer—and with the other prayers, which go to make up the close of the Office of the day. The hymn, Te lucis, so chastely simple, has ever been admired. Its ideas suit so admirably for the prayer before sleep and for reminding us of sleep and her sister death and the solemn petition made to God to be our guardian and defence in the solemn hour of death, are simply and solemnly set out in this daily hymn. How beautiful it reads in Father Caswall’s translation:–

“Now with the fast departing light, Maker of all, we ask of Thee Of Thy great mercy, through the night, Our guardian and defence to be.

Far off let idle visions fly, No phantom of the night molest: Curb Thou our raging enemy, That we in chaste repose may rest.

Father of mercies! hear our cry; Hear us, O sole-begotten Son! Who, with the Holy Ghost most high, Reignest while endless ages run.”

… to be continued

November 4, 2018

COMPLINE

from The Divine Office: A Study of the Roman Breviary
by Rev. E.J. Quigley

Etymology and synonym. The word compline comes from the Latin word complere, to complete, to finish, because this Hour completes or finishes the day Hours of the Office. It bore several names, Completa (St. Isidore), Initium noctis (St. Columbanus), Prima noctis hora (St. Fructeux).

Antiquity. The origin of this Hour has given rise to a great deal of controversy. Both Baumer and Battifol in their histories of the Breviary attribute the origin of this Hour to St. Benedict (480-543). Other scholars attribute its origin to St. Basil, and hence date it from the fourth century. It is admitted that before the time of St. Basil, Bishop of Caesarea (370-379) this Hour was in existence. Some hold that St. Basil established the Hour in the East and St. Benedict in the West. The latter certainly invested the Hour with the liturgical character and arrangement which were preserved by the Benedictines and adapted by the Roman Church. The Compline of the Roman Church is more ornate and solemn than the liturgy assigned to this Hour by St. Benedict, which was very simple. The addition of the response In manus tuas Domine, the Nunc dimittis and its anthem of the Blessed Virgin make this Hour one of great beauty.

Structure. The structure of the Hour seems to point to its monastic origin, “The reader begins, ‘Pray, Father, a blessing’ (jube, domne benedicere); the blessing, ‘The Lord Almighty grant us a quiet night and a perfect end. Amen.’ ‘Noctem quietam….’ Then follows a short lesson, which the Father Abbot gave to his monks. ‘Brethren, be sober and watch; because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about, seeking whom he may devour, whom resist ye, strong in faith. But Thou, O Lord, have mercy on us.’ And the monks answer ‘Thanks be to God.’ ‘Fratres sobrii estote et vigilate….’ Then the Pater Noster (silently), and the presiding priest, who was the Abbot or his deputy, said the confiteor and the choir answered Misereatur…. ‘May Almighty God have mercy upon thee and forgive thee thy sins, and bring thee to life everlasting.’ The choir then repeats the Confiteor and the priest replies ‘Misereatur vestri….’ ‘May Almighty God have mercy upon you, forgive you your sins and bring you to life everlasting.'” Of course, in private recitation, or where two or three recite the Office, these prayers are said only once, and in the Confiteor, tibi pater and te pater are omitted, and nostri, nostris, nos, nostrorum, nobis, are said in the Misereatur and Indulgentiam.

… to be continued

October 28, 2018

MORNING OFFERING
from last week’s sermon by Fr. Latimer

O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary (if applicable, here kiss your scapular as sign of your consecration to Mary), I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the altars throughout the world, joining with It the offering of my every thought, word, and action of this day. O my Jesus, I desire today to gain every indulgence and merit I can and I offer them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate, that she may best apply them in the interests of Thy Most Sacred Heart. Precious Blood of Jesus, save us! Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us! Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

ALL SOULS INDULGENCE
from the Enchiridion Indulgentiarum (#29)

For the faithful departed.

§ 1. A plenary indulgence, applied exclusively to the souls in Purgatory, is granted to the Christian faithful who:
1° on each single day, from the first to the eighth day in November, devoutly visit a cemetery and, even if only mentally, pray for the faithful departed; [Note: one plenary indulgence for each day, if the usual conditions are met]

2° on the day of Commemoration of All Faithful Departed [November 2] (or, according to the Ordinary, on the preceding or subsequent Sunday, or on the day of the solemnity of All Saints) piously visit a church or oratory and there recite the Pater and the Credo.

October 21, 2018

ENVELOPES

Recently, we have had several people make donations to the parish using expired envelopes (that is, envelopes that were given to them in some prior year). The envelope system uses numbers to identify parishioners, but those numbers are not necessarily consistent from year to year, so – if you use expired envelopes – it is very possible that your donation will not be included in a tax receipt addressed to you at the end of the year. We do make every effort to correct this during the data entry to the parish system, but we won’t be able to catch everything.

The best thing to do with envelopes left over from prior years is to throw them away.

THE CONFRATERNITY OF ST. PETER

What is it? It is a society which gathers those who feel close to the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter and who wish to support its charism through prayers and sacrifices. Thus the Confraternity contributes to the service of the Church, through supporting numerous vocations, the sanctification of priests and their pastoral endeavours.

What are its obligations? Every day: 1) pray one decade of the holy rosary for the sanctification of our priests and for our priestly vocations, 2) and recite the Prayer of the Confraternity; every year: 3) have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered once for these intentions.

What are its benefits? Their commitments place the members among our most faithful benefactors, and as such, among the particular recipients of our priests’ and seminarians’ daily prayers. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered each month for the members of the Confraternity in each region.

How does one become a member?
1. Fill in the enrollment form and send it back to us when filled out.
2. The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter will send to you in return the certificate of membership. The commitments take effect with the reception of the certificate.
3. Members must be Catholics who are at least 14 years of age.
4. Membership is purely spiritual and does not confer any rights or duties other than the spiritual support in prayer and charity in accord with the commitments described above.
5. By themselves the commitments do not bind under penalty of sin.
6. Membership and the commitments which follow it are tacitly renewed each year on the feast of the Chair of Saint Peter (February 22), unless expressly determined otherwise.

October 14, 2018

THE FIFTEEN PROMISES OF THE ROSARY
1. Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall receive signal graces.
2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary.
3. The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.
4. The Rosary will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire for eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
5. The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall not perish.
6. Whoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its sacred mysteries shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of eternal life.
7. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church.
8. Those who are faithful to recite the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plentitude of His graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the merits of the saints in paradise.
9. I shall deliver from Purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
10. The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in Heaven.
11. You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the Rosary.
12. All those who propagate the Holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.
13. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death.
14. All who recite the Rosary are my sons and daughters, and brothers and sisters of my only Son Jesus Christ.
15. Devotion of my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.

God bless,
Fr. Curtis

September 30, 2018

THE GUARDIAN ANGELS

The angels are wondrous beings, pure spirits, standing between man and God in the hierarchy of being. Of course there remains an infinite gulf between the intelligence and power of angels relative to God, but in both respects they are far more like unto God than man and, indeed, any other creature. In the Sacred Scriptures, the angels appear infrequently, but always dramatically. The common response of men confronted suddenly by the appearance of an angel is to fall down trembling in fright and awe.

In the Exodus narrative, Almighty God sends a single angel (the “destroyer” or “angel of death”) in order to wipe out the firstborn male of every living creature in the nation (cf. Ex 11-13). Again, in 2 Kings, we again see a single angel dispatched in order to eliminate an enormous army arrayed against Jerusalem. “’For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.’ And that night the angel of the LORD went forth, and slew a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies” (2 Kg 19:34- 35). It is commonly supposed that the devil, even lacking supernatural grace and relying only on what he has from nature alone, could annihilate all life on earth in a single instant – if only it were permitted to him.

St. Thomas Aquinas, the angelic doctor, teaches that the intellect of the angels, even the lowest of them, is far greater than even the most intelligent of men. In fact, the angels think and understand in a way completely different in kind from men. Our minds start as a blank slate, and slowly over time, abstract from our experiences of particulars to universal ideas. The angels, on the other hand, have such universal ideas as an integral part of their nature, from the very first instant of their creation. They then arrive at a knowledge of particulars through a connaturality to God’s creative activity. In other words, whereas we arrive at universals through particulars, angels arrive at particulars through universals. This puts the angels in a completely different class, intellectually speaking.

It should be a wonder to us that one of these creatures, greater than any king in dignity and power, is assigned to watch over us at every moment of every day, from the instant of our conception until our death. What a shame that we so infrequently acknowledge the presence of this august person, or express some token of gratitude to him! This Tuesday, October 2, is the Feast of the Guardian Angels. I would encourage everyone to attend Mass that day if possible, or at least set some little time apart to give honor and thanks to your guardian and friend. God bless!

September 23, 2018

N.B. These Ember Days were removed from the reformed calendar, but many dioceses are now reimplementing them in response to the recent scandals. I encourage everyone especially to consider attending Ember Saturdays! God bless you.

THE EMBER DAYS from the Catholic Encyclopedia

Ember days (corruption from Latin Quatuor Tempora, four times) are the days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence. They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) for the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after 13 December (S. Lucia), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday, and after 14 September (Exaltation of the Cross). The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy. The immediate occasion was the practice of the heathens of Rome. The Romans were originally given to agriculture, and their native gods belonged to the same class. At the beginning of the time for seeding and harvesting religious ceremonies were performed to implore the help of their deities: in June for a bountiful harvest, in September for a rich vintage, and in December for the seeding; hence their feriae sementivae, feriae messis, and feri vindimiales. The Church, when converting heathen nations, has always tried to sanctify any practices which could be utilized for a good purpose. At first the Church in Rome had fasts in June, September, and December; the exact days were not fixed but were announced by the priests. The “Liber Pontificalis” ascribes to Pope Callistus (217-222) a law ordering the fast, but probably it is older. Leo the Great (440-461) considers it an Apostolic institution. When the fourth season was added cannot be ascertained, but Gelasius (492-496) speaks of all four. This pope also permitted the conferring of priesthood and deaconship on the Saturdays of ember week–these were formerly given only at Easter. Before Gelasius the ember days were known only in Rome, but after his time their observance spread. They were brought into England by St. Augustine; into Gaul and Germany by the Carlovingians. Spain adopted them with the Roman Liturgy in the eleventh century. They were introduced by St. Charles Borromeo into Milan. The Eastern Church does not know them. The present Roman Missal, in the formulary for the Ember days, retains in part the old practice of lessons from Scripture in addition to the ordinary two: for the Wednesdays three, for the Saturdays six, and seven for the Saturday in December. Some of these lessons contain promises of a bountiful harvest for those that serve God.

September 16, 2018

SOME PRACTICAL MATTERS

The Parish Hall. The priests are very happy to see that the new audiovisual equipment is proving useful to many families. Although we’re not usually able to slip in during Mass, we realize that at times almost forty people have been there; some are parents minding small children, some are there on account of limited seating in the Church. To the former, we do ask that the Parish Hall is used to train small children to sit quietly through the Mass and to pray; it should not become a place where children are allowed to run free. I have heard that the families that have been using the parish hall seem to be making good faith efforts in this regard, so this notice is just to make sure that we are all on the same page, rather than to issue any kind of corrective. Children who are struggling in this area should receive firm and consistent discipline, both in and outside of the Mass. Some parents have had children sit quietly at designated times throughout the week, until they learn this important habit, and have reported much success with such a practice. It would be good if parents discussed amongst each other what strategies have worked for them.

The Men’s Bathrooms. In the bathrooms off the vestibule, we have discovered that one of the toilets was leaking water around its base. The parish is hiring a plumber to fix this right away. Unfortunately, the maintenance staff at the parish tell me that there are very frequent problems with the men’s bathrooms that can’t be fixed by a plumber: spitwads on the walls, toilet seat covers shoved en masse into the toilets, floors used as toilets (I’d rather not spell this out), etc. So, I’d like to ask a couple of favors from the fathers and men of the parish. In the first place, please talk to your young boys about this issue. In the second place, please be generous in helping keep the bathrooms presentable on Sundays. I’m not at all above cleaning toilets and floors, but on Sundays between Masses, confessions, catechism, and meeting with people, it can be hard to find time even to ask someone to look at the problem. Our maintenance staff does not work on Sunday, so we rely entirely on generous volunteers to keep the property in working order on that day. I’m very grateful to all of those that have done such work in the past; a clean parish communicates to newcomers that our community treasures St. Stephen’s, much the same way that a clean home communicates to visitors.

The Parish Online Newsletter. We have had some problems with people intermittently not receiving the newsletter. Unfortunately, I believe the problem cannot be fixed without registering the “From:” address with DKIM and SPF records, and I don’t have access to the DNS entries of fssp.com in order to be able to do this. We’re very close to updating the website and migrating it to a new host. Once that happens, I should be able to create a registered e-mail address that hopefully will resolve this problem.

Project Updates. Almost all of the smart thermostats have been installed, and have already proved invaluable in conserving electricity, which is a major expense for the parish. The LED lighting in the classrooms is about halfway done. The sanctuary curtains have been ordered; the cloth (picked out by Fr. Savoie) is beautiful and should add to the dignity of the sanctuary. The outdoor pews will soon receive their final coat of paint, in a deep and rich red.

God bless,
Fr. Curtis

September 9, 2018

“To get good from reading the Lives of the Saints, and other spiritual books, we ought not to read out of curiosity, or skimmingly, but with pauses; and when we feel ourselves warmed, we ought not to pass on, but to stop and follow up the spirit which is stirring in us, and when we feel it no longer then to pursue our reading.”
– St. Philip Neri

It is an easy, frequent, and very normal temptation to try and speed through our devotions and spiritual exercises in order to just “get them done”. In fact, it is much better, in general, to take on less of these, and do them very well, than to overburden oneself with many, but do them poorly. At times one has to take stock of one’s spiritual life and organically trim back certain things which are crowding out the essentials.

Three things that ought to be part of every Catholic’s daily regimen are: mental prayer, spiritual reading, and the Holy Rosary. The ideal amount of time given to the first two are thirty minutes and fifteen minutes, respectively, though it is quite alright to work up to these amounts slowly over time. It is generally noted that as the soul languishes into lukewarmness and mediocrity, spiritual reading is the first to slide, then mental prayer, and then the Rosary. When this begins to happen the soul is certainly in danger, and likely well along on the road to mortal sin.

Spiritual reading, as the saint indicates above, is very much at the service of mental prayer. Besides providing suitable material for the soul to contemplate during its silent and recollected prayer, it can often be the catalyst for spontaneous prayer right in the midst of reading. As St. Philip Neri says, when this happens it is profitable to set the book aside and rest in prayer, for as long as the acts of the will prompted by the reading remain. Once they diminish and lose their strength, then the book can be reopened and continued.

There are any number of works that are suitable for spiritual reading. Examples include: the Sacred Scriptures, commentaries on the Scriptures or on the life of Our Lord, biographies of the saints, their books or letters, and works on spiritual theology. What in particular is being read is not so important – provided it is orthodox and, hopefully, inspiring. Rather, what is important is to persevere in the reading itself, which over time will give invaluable aid to the life of prayer and will dispose the soul towards a habit of keeping a supernatural perspective and worldview.

God bless,
Fr. Curtis

September 2, 2018

You speak of ‘sagging faith’, however, that is quite another matter. In the last resort faith is an act of will, inspired by love. Our love may be chilled and our will eroded by the spectacle of the shortcomings, folly, and even sins of the Church and its ministers, but I do not think that one who has once had faith goes back over the line for these reasons (least of all anyone with any historical knowledge). ‘Scandal’ at most is an occasion of temptation – as indecency is to lust, which it does not make but arouses. It is convenient because it tends to turn our eyes away from ourselves and our own faults to find a scapegoat. But the act of will of faith is not a single moment of final decision: it is a permanent indefinitely repeated act > state which must go on – so we pray for ‘final perseverance’. The temptation to ‘unbelief’ (which really means rejection of Our Lord and His claims) is always there within us. Part of us longs to find an excuse for it outside us. The stronger the inner temptation the more readily and severely shall we be ‘scandalized’ by others. I think I am as sensitive as you (or any other Christian) to the scandals, both of clergy and laity. I have suffered grievously in my life from stupid, tired, dimmed, and even bad priests; but I now know enough about myself to be aware that I should not leave the church (which for me would mean leaving the allegiance of Our Lord) for any such reasons: I should leave because I did not believe, and should not believe anymore, even if I had never met anyone in orders who was not both wise and saintly. I should deny the Blessed Sacrament, that is: call our Lord a fraud to His face.

If He is a fraud and the Gospels fraudulent – that is: garbled accounts of a demented megalomaniac (which is the only alternative), then of course the spectacle exhibited by the Church (in the sense of clergy) in history and today is simply evidence of a gigantic fraud. If not, however, then this spectacle is alas! only what was to be expected: it began before the first Easter, and it does not affect faith at all – except that we may and should be deeply grieved. But we should grieve on our Lord’s behalf and for Him, associating ourselves with the scandalized heirs not with the saints, not crying out that we cannot ‘take’ Judas Iscariot, or even the absurd & cowardly Simon Peter, or the silly women like James’ mother, trying to push her sons.

It takes a fantastic will to unbelief to suppose that Jesus never really ‘happened’, and more to suppose that he did not say the things recorded all of him – so incapable of being ‘invented’ by anyone in the world at that time: such as ‘before Abraham came to be I am’ (John viii). ‘He that hath seen me hath seen the Father’ (John ix); or the promulgation of the Blessed Sacrament in John v: ‘He that he eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life.’ We must therefore either believe in Him and in what he said and take the consequences; or reject him and take the consequences. I find it for myself difficult to believe that anyone who has ever been to Communion, even once, with at least a right intention, can ever again reject Him without grave blame. (However, He alone knows each unique soul and its circumstances.)

– J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 250

August 12, 2018

In 2004, Fr. Berg had a parish crest professionally developed for St. Stephen the First Martyr Parish. But it was only recently that we were able to take a very high quality scan of the crest. Now that we have a digital copy of it, you should start to see it in use more often.

I do not have even a passing knowledge of heraldry, but I would like to call a few elements of the crest to your attention.

On the dexter side of the shield we find crossed palms of martyrdom and three stones, patron, St. Stephen. On the sinister side we find a host and chalice, representing the Eucharistic sacrifice.

Underneath the shield are the words Caritatis Virtute Subnixus, that is, “Bound by the strength of charity.” These are taken from a sermon by Saint Fulgentius, wherein he explains the relationship between Saint Stephen and Saint Paul. Here is the fuller context: “Stephen, therefore, that he might merit to receive the crown of his name, charity as his weapon, and through it conquered all. Through the charity of God, he did not yield to the rage of the Jews: and through love of neighbor he interceded for his executioners. Through charity he rebuked their errors, that they might be converted: through charity he prayed for them, lest they be condemned. Bound by the strength of charity, he overcame Saul his cruel torturer: and whom he held on earth as a persecutor, in heaven he merited to claim as comrade.

August 5, 2018

As many of you know, I will soon be leaving St. Stephen’s and traveling to San Diego where I have been
reassigned. Before I go, I would like to publicly give thanks to the Good Lord for having allowed me to spend the last nearly ten years of my priesthood here. It’s a wonderful parish, with many wonderful people. I’m thankful to have been able to get to know, and to work with, so many of you. I’m thankful for all of the expressions of kindness I’ve received. If I’ve offended anyone (and we all do, albeit often unknowingly) I would like to take advantage of this opportunity to ask forgiveness. Please God, some of us will meet again in this life. For those of us who do not, we look forward to meeting again in heaven.

Oremus pro invicem! Let us pray for one another!

July 1, 2018

Independence Day, the 4th of July, reminds us how much we need to pray for our country. We won’t be independent for much longer without much prayer. I (and others, as well) believe it was because of prayer that the country was spared absolute disaster in the last presidential election.

That manifestation of God’s mercy should give us more confidence in the power of prayer, and motivate us to continue to pray. Pray for the success of the upcoming elections. Pray that a solidly pro-life judge, respectful of the constitution, will be selected to the Supreme Court to fill the recent vacancy. Pray for the conversion of many hearts.

The prayer that we especially encourage everyone to pray is the Rosary. The late Sr. Lucia told us that God had given even greater efficacy to its praying in these later times. Pray it daily! If you have extra time you can pray two or even three Rosaries a day.

Mary Immaculate, patroness of the United States, pray for us!

June 24, 2018

I would like to thank the many who offered both their condolences and prayers for the passing of my mother, Barbara Lyons. She was an exemplary Christian wife and mother; she loved the Traditional Mass and attended it regularly. Her faith was the most important thing to her. Her concern was most especially for the salvation of her children (and their families). She prayed constantly, and offered her sufferings for this intention. My siblings and I are grateful that we had her with us for so many years and in good health. She was 94 when she passed away. Please do pray for the repose of her soul. Requiescat in pace.

May 27, 2018

This is a short instruction on the mechanics of receiving Holy Communion. While kneeling at the Communion rail, hands should be held no higher than the top of the rail – this allows the altar server to easily place the paten under the communicant’s chin. Elbows should never be placed on the rail. The head should be held straight, or slightly tilted backwards if one is short. It is best to close one’s eyes when receiving so as to better maintain recollection. This practice also prevents the communicant from moving his head forward when he sees the priest’s hand approaching; this movement can result in touching the priest’s fingers with the tongue. As the priest is giving Holy Communion to the person next to you, you should already be ready to receive; don’t wait to open your mouth until the priest has finished the prayer he says for each communicant. “Amen” should not be said. The mouth should be opened wide enough and the tongue extended far enough, so that the priest can easily place the host on it. The tongue need only be extended to the outer edge of the lip. In fact, if the tongue is extended too far, there’s more danger that the host will fall off before it can be retracted. When someone fails to open his mouth wide enough, the priest has a harder time to properly place the host, and often hits the communicant’s teeth. It would be helpful if parents would make sure that their children are receiving properly – especially if they’ve recently made their First Communion. It may be helpful to practice receiving at home. Thank you for your attention in this matter.

Month of May, month of Mary! Pray the Rosary!

May 20, 2018

Allowing Ourselves to Be Led by the Holy Ghost

Many of us would like to be directed by the Holy Ghost, but we’re not sure how to obtain this direction. Here are a few suggestions to help to do that:
1. Faithfully obey God’s will as far as it is known – the commandments, the teachings of the Church, the obligations that our state in life demands of us. If we strive to fulfill what we know to be God’s will, He will then manifest His will even more clearly to us in other areas of our lives.
2. Remain strictly subject to proper Church authority.
3. Continually ask the Holy Ghost to grant us the light and the strength to do the will of God. As one author put it: “We want to bind ourselves to the Holy Spirit, make ourselves His prisoners like St. Paul, who said, ‘And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, bound in the Spirit.’” (Acts 20, 22)
4. Become ever more attentive to the various movements – consolation and desolation – that take place in our soul. Try to discern which movements are from God and which are strictly from an evil spirit or ourselves. St. Ignatius of Loyola details rules for the discernment of spirits in his Spiritual Exercises.

The following prayer may be said daily in order to obtain the help of the Holy Ghost:

Come, Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love. Send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be created. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray: O God, who didst instruct the hearts of Thy faithful by the light of the Holy Ghost, grant by the same Spirit to be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
May 13, 2018

Wishing all mothers a blessed Mother’s Day! You are all remembered in prayer. Let us make this day special for our Blessed Mother by promising to be faithful to praying the Rosary daily. This will please her much more than all the roses in the world.

Coffee and Donuts
We would like to start serving coffee and donuts after the 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Masses. However, we need two volunteers to help with making the coffee and overall supervision of the hall after each Mass. If we get enough volunteers, we may need your help only once a month. There is a signup sheet in the vestibule of the church for those interested; or, you can give your name to Tish Gallagher in the bookstore.

Ushers Needed/Men’s Holy League
There will be a training session for ushers – new and old – this Wednesday, May 16th, at 8 p.m. It will immediately follow the Men’s Holy League Holy Hour which begins at 7 p.m. This training session will take the place of the talk which would normally be given at that time.

May 6, 2018

The beautiful month of May, the month Mary is here again. Let us continue to pray the Rosary daily as per our Blessed Mother’s request. Our country and the world-at- large are in an awful way. So many lost souls! We need to pray many Rosaries!

There are several important events coming up this week:
1) The Rogation Mass will be held tomorrow, Monday, May 7th, at 12:15 p.m. The purpose of the Rogation Days (the three days before the Ascension) is to help prepare to celebrate the feast of the Ascension with fasting and abstinence, to seek God’s blessing on the crops, and to be spared from natural disasters. We will precede Mass with a procession around the grounds of the church while we chant the Litany of the Saints.
2) The Feast of the Ascension will be celebrated on Thursday, May 10th. We’ve added a 12:15 p.m. low Mass on that day. A solemn Mass will be offered at 6:30 p.m. Although it’s not a holy day of obligation in the diocese (the celebration of the feast having been moved to Sunday in the rest of the diocese), we encourage as many as possible to attend Mass in order to celebrate this important feast day.
3) The 10th Annual Marian Procession will be held this Saturday, May 12th. The procession begins at East Lawn Cemetery on Folsom Blvd. in Sacramento promptly at 9 a.m. We will process to the state capitol where the May Crowning will take place, and where we will entrust the state of California to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is a great opportunity to give public witness of our devotion to Our Blessed Mother, and to obtain from her many special graces for our poor state.

        • Our Lady of the Rosary, Pray for Us!

 

April 29, 2018

I want to thank the many of you who support the FSSP seminary in Nebraska with your prayers and your finances. There are presently 81 seminarians in various stages of formation enrolled in the seminary. Last year a record 44 men applied to enter and 23 were accepted. Over 35 men have already applied this year with several weeks remaining before the deadline for applications is reached. Ten deacons will be ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Sample on May 26th of this year. Another deacon will be ordained in England on June 9th. Please pray especially for these men, and for all of our seminarians. Some of them will be serving you in the future!

April 15, 2018

Not infrequently, we bring Holy Communion to the sick of the parish in their homes. If at all possible, the following should be prepared for the priest’s visit: a small table covered with a white cloth where he can lay the Blessed Eucharist; two lit candles (unless the sick person is on oxygen); a crucifix; and a small bowl of water for the priest to purify his fingers after giving Communion (this water should then be poured into a potted plant or directly into the ground). The television should be turned off when the priest arrives. Others in the house should show respect for the Holy Eucharist by stopping what they are doing and joining in prayer with the priest and the sick person. It is a great honor to have the Lord enter under our roof. The priest should not be engaged in informal conversation until after he has concluded the rites. Finally, you may want to clip out this little instruction, and put it someplace where you can find it, in the case you are in need of it someday.

Mary, help of the sick, pray for us!
April 1, 2018

Easter Greetings!
The Lord is risen! He is risen, indeed! May the thought of Our Lord’s resurrection always serve to remind us of the hope we have in our own resurrection when He comes again in glory.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the many who helped to make Holy Week a beautiful one. Thank you, too, for your prayers and gifts.

Wishing all of our parishioners a joy-filled Easter!
Fr. Lyons, Fr. Curtis, Fr. Savoie

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Although this isn’t the usual article that you might expect to find in an Easter Sunday bulletin, necessity, I believe, requires it: “Preach the Gospel in season, and out of season.” Legitimate complaints have been received recently regarding the shortness of the skirts of some of our young women and the tightness of their clothes. Although the young women may not realize it, the wearing of immodest dress can be seriously sinful; they are leading men into temptation. If a man gives into temptation, he sins. However, the one who led him into temptation, also sins. Men complain that they can’t escape this temptation even in church; women, too, are upset that their husbands and sons are exposed to this temptation when they come to Mass. Parents have a serious duty to make sure that their children dress modestly; by failing to do so, they, too, can sin seriously.

The wearing of modest dress is expected of everyone, everywhere on St. Stephen’s campus – including hall, classrooms, and playing field. When we come to Mass, especially on Sundays, not only should our dress be modest, it should reflect our awareness of the holiness of the place in which we worship; we should not dress casually – no different than if we were going to the supermarket or a sporting event.

Finally, just a reminder that the correction of those who are not properly dressed is to be left to the priests of the parish and those whom they delegate – teachers in the classroom, for example. Thank you for your cooperation.

“Fashions will be introduced that will offend God greatly.” Our Lady of Fatima to St. Jacinta

March 25, 2018

We would be remiss to not make mention of the passing of Msgr. Edward Kavanagh – long time pastor of St. Rose parish, helper of widows, orphans, and all of those in need, a pro-life champion. Like many others, we, too, were recipients of his charity. He opened the doors of his church (St. Rose) to the fledgling Latin Mass community. He gave moral and spiritual support to the first members of the FSSP assigned to the Sacramento apostolate. The rectory in which the priests of St. Stephen’s reside was his gift (the house was cut in two, and moved here from another location). Many of the items we use for Holy Mass were given to us by him. He was always a friend to the FSSP. We pray that he may now receive the heavenly reward that his good deeds have merited for him. Requiescat in pace!

March 11, 2018

There are a few practical things I would like to mention just to help us all get along a little better here at church. First, while Mass is going on, the bathrooms should only be used in emergency situations. The constant flow into and out of the church by children going to the bathroom is distracting to many. Sometimes it’s the same child going in and out. It may be helpful to have children use the bathroom before entering the church. Once they’ve entered the church for Mass it should be understood that they are not to leave unless it’s very urgent. This doesn’t apply to infants and very small children who may have to be taken out when they cry or are very restless.

Second, before you leave the church, please make sure the hymnals are neatly put back in their places, and that any articles you brought in with you are taken out (for example, bulletins, tissues, etc.). This will reduce the ushers work in making sure the church is ready for the next Mass.

Third, if you use a table in the hall, please clean it well when you leave and straighten the chairs, mindful of the next person who will be using it. A broom and dustpan may be found near the west door exit if it’s necessary to sweep up spills.

Finally, a reminder to not let children run anywhere but in the playground area and on the field. Our older parishioners fear being run into and possibly knocked down. There’s also more danger to the children themselves when they’re running in congested areas.

Thank you for cooperation!

March 4, 2018

Are you promoting sex trafficking? You could very well be if you view online pornography. A recent article on sex trafficking found in the Knights of Columbus Columbia magazine states: “Videos of sex trafficked persons can be uploaded to mainstream pornography websites . . . While people assume everything they see in pornography is pure fantasy, anyone watching may be vicariously participating in, and even enjoying, another person’s living nightmare. Nobody who watches pornography can be certain that they have not watched trafficked persons’ abuse. Further, pornography creates and drives the demand for trafficked women and children.” Those who watch pornography not only risk destroying their own lives, but are helping to destroy the lives of others – one more reason why no one should ever view pornography! Besides putting one’s soul in jeopardy of being lost, pornography is addictive, it takes away one’s joy, it prevents one from forming and/or maintaining healthy relationships, it makes it impossible to have a truly happy marriage, religious vocations are destroyed. Those who have developed the vice of viewing pornography must do all they can to overcome it – even if it means giving up internet and TV access. Better to go to heaven without those things, than to go to hell with them. Everyone must be assiduous in protecting himself from pornography; as well as protecting those for whom he has responsibility. Parents must make sure that adequate controls are placed on all the electronic devices that their children have access to computers, cell phones, video games, televisions. Pornography is ruining us as individuals and as nations. We must do what we can to ensure that pornography is banned – period! It is an intrinsic evil, which means it’s always wrong – 100% of the time. For those who wish to avoid getting caught in the snares of pornography, pray the Rosary. For those who are caught, pray the Rosary. If you’re already praying the Rosary daily, pray two Rosaries; if you’re praying two Rosaries, pray three! There’s no moral problem that cannot be overcome by the devout, persevering praying of the Rosary.

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!

February 25, 2018
Lent

How is your Lent going so far? Are you keeping your resolutions? Has it proved difficult? It’s not supposed to be easy – although there may be a very few that need to dial it down just a little. Has it proved too easy? You need to dial it up. Have you yet to get started? It’s not too late, but before you know it, another Lent will have come and gone. Determine today what you’re going to do extra in the way of prayer, penance (mortification), and good deeds. For those who now apply themselves and persevere in their efforts, Lent will be a time of grace. For those who do little or nothing it will be one more opportunity to grow closer to Our Lord lost. Let us continue to pray for the grace to make a good Lent; for without Our Lord’s help we can do nothing.

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us!
February 18, 2018

If we aren’t doing it already, we need to pray hard for the success of the midterm elections that will take place in November of this year, and we need to get others to pray. There is a cultural war going on in our county between those who promote traditional Christian values and those who promote the contrary. It’s really a war between good and evil. Those who promote evil (e.g., abortion, “same-sex marriage,” transgenderism, assisted suicide, religious intolerance, socialism, etc.) often attempt to intimidate those who promote the good by telling them: “Don’t force your morality upon us.” They, on the other hand, have no inhibitions about forcing their immorality upon everyone else. There can be no compromise between the two groups. If we want the good to prevail we must use every legitimate means to bring it about. Prayer is first, of course. We especially recommend attendance at Mass as often as possible and the praying of the Rosary daily. Something else many of can do is to vote for candidates who will best uphold traditional Christian values. We need to get the message out to people that the best candidates are not those who promise financial security; but, rather, those who will uphold traditional Christian moral values. And, by the way, upholding traditional Christian moral values is the best way to ensure financial security, as well.

February 11, 2018

This Wednesday, Feb. 14, is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. There’s an old saying: “Well begun is half done.” Let’s get off to a good start by going to Mass, receiving ashes, and (for those of whom it is required) fasting and abstaining from eating meat. We know from experience just how quickly Lent passes. Let’s not waste this holy season of Lent by doing little or nothing. There are three areas to which we want to apply ourselves throughout Lent: prayer, fasting, and alms giving. Prayer: The best prayer of all is the Mass; come daily, or, as often as you can during Lent. It’s to be hoped that everyone will make a good confession during this season. Make the Stations of the Cross – they will be prayed after the 12:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Mass every Friday of Lent. Participate in the preparation for consecration to Jesus through Mary. Fasting: Fasting from food is one of the oldest of religious practices. It may take some weight off us, but it adds weight to our prayers. Some people fast throughout Lent; others will do so two or three times a week; some give up eating between meals; and still others abstain from something they like to eat or drink (for example, sweets). Not only can we fast from food, we can “fast” from other things, for example, giving up recreational electronic use. Alms giving: This can best be done by practicing the corporal works of mercy – feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, etc. It may be done directly, or, indirectly by giving money to organizations that assist the needy. A good direct way to assist the most helpless of our brothers and sisters is to participate in “40 Days for Life.”
Have a blessed Lent!
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us!

January 28, 2018

Today begins the season of Septuagesima. With this short season the Church invites us to begin to prepare ourselves for the season of Lent. Lent is the season par excellence for getting our spiritual life in order. Like almost everything else in life, the better prepared we are, the better our chances of success. Our Lent will be much more profitable to ourselves and to others if we take a little time now to prayerfully examine our lives, and ask ourselves what most needs changing. Then, let us determine what the best means are to bring about that change. Finally, let us make a firm resolution – with the help of God’s grace – to avail ourselves of these means no matter the cost. If every Lenten Season we rooted out what was our worst fault, after several Lents, we would be near perfect.

Our Lady of Good Council, pray for us!

January 21, 2018

As we prepare to mark yet another sad anniversary of Roe v. Wade (it’s 45th), here are some quotes to reflect upon:

“Among all the crimes which can be committed against life, procured abortion has characteristics making it particularly serious and deplorable. The Second Vatican Council [Gaudium et Spes, no 51] defines abortion, together with infanticide, as an “unspeakable crime”. Pope St John Paul II , Evangelium Vitae, No. 58

“In the proclamation of this Gospel [of Life], we must not fear hostility or unpopularity, and we must refuse any compromise or ambiguity which might conform us to the world’s way of thinking. Pope St John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, no. 82

“A society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members; and among the most vulnerable are surely the unborn and the dying.” Pope St John Paul II, Address to the New Ambassador of New Zealand to the Holy See, May 25, 2000

“America you are beautiful . . . and blessed . . . . The ultimate test of your greatness is the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenseless. If you want equal justice for all and true freedom and lasting peace, then America, defend life.” Pope St John Paul II, Departure Ceremony at the Detroit Airport on 19 September, 1987

“What is taking place in America is a war against the child. And if we accept that the mother can kill her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another.” “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.” St. Mother Theresa of Calcutta, February 1997 – National Prayer Breakfast in Washington

January 14, 2018

National Day of Penance

This year marks the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

According to the USCCB:

“In all diocese of the United States, January 22 shall be observed as a particular day of penance for the violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life.”

• Note: The West Coast Walk for Life will be held in San Francisco on Saturday, January 27th.

January 7, 2018

Fr. Curtis, Fr. Savoie, and I would like to thank you for the many cards, prayers, and gifts that we received from you during this Christmas Season. You are all, of course, always in our prayers.

December 31, 2017

Let us pray fervently, asking for God’s blessings in this New Year upon ourselves, our parish our country, and the entire world. What will happen in 2018 is hidden from our eyes. Knowing however, that it will be guided by Divine Providence gives us a sense of security. As long as we love God, whatever happens will redound to our benefit. For some of us, this will be our last year on earth. Are we prepared to stand before the judgment seat of God? What do we need to do to make ourselves ready—a good confession? giving up some vice? developing a regular prayer life? For those of us who survive the year, it’s to be hoped that we will make good use of this gift of time to better prepare ourselves for the day that we, too, will meet the Lord.

Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death!

December 24, 2017

Fr. Curtis, Fr. Savoie, and I would like to wish you all a blessed Christmas and New Year! May we remain united in prayer.

Mass Schedules

Please note the Christmas Mass schedule elsewhere on this page.

  • This Tuesday, the day after Christmas, a solemn Mass will be offered at 6:30 p.m. to honor our parish’s patron, St. Stephen. Medals are awarded at this Mass to the members of the Altar Servers’ Guild who have earned them. A reception will follow in the hall.
  • Next Sunday, Dec. 31, is New Year’s Eve. The schedule of Masses will be normal. New Year’s Day is not a holy day of obligation this year because it falls on a Monday. It’s hoped that everyone will attend regardless. No better way to begin the New Year than by attending Holy Mass. Masses on that day will be at 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m. (sung), and 1:30 p.m.
  • The Giving Tree
    The “Giving Tree” is back, located in the vestibule, near the doors to the hall. Just take an envelope, put your donation to the St. Bernadette Fund inside, and return it to the book store or office. The St. Bernadette Fund was established to help those in need, especially parishioners. 100% of your donation is used for this purpose.  

     

    December 10, 2017

    The Advent Season is as short as it can possibly be this year; we’re already a third of the way through it. What would be the fourth Sunday of Advent will be Christmas Eve. Let’s not waste the little time we have left to prepare ourselves spiritually for Christmas. If it’s been awhile since we’ve been to confession that should be high on our list of things to do. Participation at daily Mass (for those who can) is the best prayer we can offer. Gathering the family daily around the lit Advent wreath to pray the Rosary is another beautiful way to prepare spiritually for Christmas. Reflecting on how much our Lord suffered by becoming man for us should make it easier for us to sacrifice some pleasure for Him – food, drink, entertainment. And let’s not forget to attend in some way to the needy among us. It is, after all, the season for giving – in imitation of Our Lord who gave Himself to us. The sooner we can instill this lesson into the hearts of our children, the better. Have a blessed Advent.

    Mary, Mother of our Divine Savior, pray for us!

    November 26, 2017

    The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has declared today (Nov. 26) a day of prayer for persecuted Christians. They have suffered imprisonment, torture, death, and exile simply because they are Christians. A quick internet search reveals that Christians continue to be the most persecuted group around the world. The Italian-based Center for Studies on New Religions, determined that 90,000 Christians were killed for their beliefs worldwide last year and nearly a third were at the hands of Islamic organizations like ISIS. The study also found that as many as 600 million Christians were prevented from practicing their faith in 2016. The Christian population in Iraq alone has fallen from 1.5 million in 2003 to current estimates of 275,000 and could be gone for good within just a few years. North Korea heads the list of countries where the persecution of Christians is the most extreme. Persecution of Christians abounds in most Muslim countries. We are told: “81%, or thirty-six of the forty-four Muslim majority countries, currently maintain either significant social hostilities or government restrictions on religion.” Although not as overt as in some countries, the persecution of Christians also takes place in countries like our own U.S. Christians have been harassed, threatened, taken to court, and sued because they refused to go against their consciences and support “same-sex marriage,” or provide insurance plans for their employees that would allow for the use of contraceptives. We should be grateful that under the present administration in Washington some measures have been taken to protect religious liberty, and more judges protective of the Christian conscience have been appointed. Let us hope that this trend continues.

      Mary, help of Christians, pray for us!

     

    November 19, 2017
  • Wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving! There’s no better way to give God thanks than by coming to Mass. We have the perfect thanksgiving sacrifice to offer Him—the Body and Blood of our Lord. Hopefully, we’ll see many of you here on Thanksgiving Day. Masses are at 7 and 9 am.
  • This Week, Wednesday, Nov. 22, is the feast of St. Cecilia, patroness of Church music. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our choir members, under the direction of Mr. Keven Smith, for the time and effort they put in to provide singing for our high Masses. If there is anyone interested in joining the choir, please speak with Mr. Smith.
  • Let us remember that this month of November is dedicated to the praying for the Poor Souls—especially for our family members, friends, and benefactors.
    • Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.

    St. Stephen Building Fund
    We would like to get started as soon as possible on our last major renovation project—the bathrooms that are connected to the hall. Our cash reserves are a little low at this point, so if you are able to contribute more to the St. Stephen’s Building Fund it will be greatly appreciated.

    November 5, 2017

    Over the years I’ve sometimes heard people say that they’re just hoping to make it to purgatory. There are several problems with this mentality. First of all, it shows little love for God by seemingly resigning oneself to a life of mediocrity. Secondly, it puts ones salvation into jeopardy. If one aims for heaven and falls a little short, he will land in purgatory and still be saved. On the other hand, if he aims for purgatory and falls short, he’s really in big trouble. For those who may be a bit cavalier about their going to purgatory, I would suggest taking a look at the many and often well documented accounts of souls from purgatory who have appeared to people here on earth; as well as some saints who were given a glimpse of purgatory. For those who have internet access, you can simply google “stories of purgatory.” Hopefully, this reading will not only motivate you to make every effort to go straight to heaven, but to do all you can to help the souls that are in purgatory now.

     

      Mary, Queen of all souls, pray for us!

     

    October 29, 2017

    For those of you who are interested in learning more about the Confraternity of St. Peter, please read the following – taken from the Confraternity’s website. We would like to see many more from our parish join.

    What is the Confraternity of Saint Peter? It is a society which gathers those who feel close to the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter and who wish to support its charism through prayers and sacrifices. Thus the Confraternity contributes to the service of the Church, through supporting numerous vocations, the sanctification of priests and their pastoral endeavors. What does a member of the Confraternity of Saint Peter do? Every day members commit themselves to pray one decade of the Holy Rosary for the sanctification of our priests and for our priestly vocations, and recite the Prayer of the Confraternity. Once a year they have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered for these intentions. What spiritual benefit do members receive from the Confraternity? Their commitments place the members among our most faithful benefactors, and as such, among the particular recipients of our priests’ and seminarians’ daily prayers. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered each month for the members of the Confraternity in each area. Recollections and instructions in the faith are also foreseen.

    How does one become a member?

    1. Request the enrollment form from the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter and send it back to us when filled out.
    2. The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter will send to you in return the certificate of membership. The commitments take effect with the reception of the certificate.
    3. Members must be at least 14 years old.
    4. Membership is purely spiritual and does not confer any rights or duties other than the spiritual support in prayer and charity in accord with the commitments described above.
    5. By themselves the commitments do not bind under penalty of sin.
    6. Membership and the commitments which follow it are tacitly renewed each year on the feast of the Chair of Saint Peter (February 22), unless expressly determined otherwise.

    How does one receive news about the Confraternity? Our channels of information – bulletins and websites of the districts or of the houses – will provide news about the Confraternity.

    October 22, 2017

    Our parish is blessed with many families with numerous children. How sad it would be to be in a church where there were no children present! At the same time, the presence of many young children produces some challenges. As everyone knows, they can be noisy and boisterous. In order to better facilitate everyone’s “getting along,” and to keep everyone safe, the following rules should be followed:

    1) If a child is a disturbance to those around him in church – either because of crying, playing, or talking – he should be taken out until he settles down. It might be a good idea to share this duty, when necessary, with a spouse or a responsible older child.
    2) See that children are taken to the bathroom before Mass begins to avoid their having to get up in order to go during Mass. It’s understood, of course, that “emergencies” do occur.
    3) There should be no running or ball playing in the courtyard or hall. Older people risk being knocked over and seriously hurt. This kind of activity is restricted to the playground and field.
    4) Young children need constant supervision. Simply because they are on church grounds doesn’t assure absolute safety. People from off the street have been known to walk onto church property. Don’t allow young children to go to the bathroom unaccompanied; know where they are at all times. Don’t allow your child to play in an area where there is no adult keeping watch. Children should not be playing behind the shed or in that corner of the field. If children are doing something destructive or dangerous – for example, jumping on the picnic tables, playing with the lighting in the courtyard, climbing onto the fountain, throwing rocks, etc. – they should be stopped, hopefully, by a member of their own family.

    We do not expect children to be perfect. We are not perfect adults. We should be understanding and patient when children act their age. However, besides seeing to the safety of their children, it is expected that parents make every effort to train them – at the earliest possible age – to be respectful of both persons and property.
    Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!

    October 15, 2017

    The 100th anniversary of the appearances of Our Lady at Fatima came to a close last Friday, Oct. 13th. It was on that day in 1917 that the “miracle of the sun” took place; witnessed by some 70,000 people. On that occasion, our heavenly Mother repeated to the children what she had told them on previous visits – pray the Rosary daily, and stop offending God who is already much offended. If we have not yet taken that message to heart, let us do so. Pray the Rosary daily, and be determined to avoid sin at all costs – not just mortal sin, but every fully deliberate venial sin, as well. Let us help Our Blessed Mother to help us and the whole world.

    Our Lady of the Rosary, Pray for Us!

    October 1, 2017

    As most of you are aware, October is the month of the Holy Rosary. Hopefully, during this centenary of Our Lady’s appearances at Fatima, we’ll all recommit ourselves to praying the Rosary daily – every month of the year! You might even find time to pray a second or third Rosary. Remember how Our Blessed Mother replied when asked by Lucia whether or not nine year old Francisco would go to heaven: “He too shall go, but he must say many Rosaries.” Further, if we want the chaos in our world and in our Church to stop, we must pray the Rosary. The fate of the world is in our hands.

    This coming Saturday, Oct. 7, is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. There will be a sung, high Mass, at 9 a.m. Come and honor Our Blessed Mother under the title which she gave herself at Fatima.
    Friday, Oct. 13, will be our last Fatima procession of the year. The procession will follow the 6:30 p.m. Mass. This is a great opportunity to honor Our Blessed Mother on the 100th anniversary of her sixth appearance at Fatima, and to commemorate the “miracle of the sun” which took place on that day.

    September 24, 2017

    The intention for which the prayers after Mass were offered, have changed over time. They were first introduced by Pope Leo XIII in 1884. The original intention was “for the defense of the temporal sovereignty of the Holy See.” The purpose of the intention was realized when the Lateran Treaty was signed between the Holy See and Italy in 1929. Pope Pius XI then ordered that the prayers be said for the conversion of Russia. In 1965, along with various other liturgical changes, the prayers after Mass were suppressed. However, in many places where the 1962 missal is followed, the custom of saying the prayers after Mass has continued. Since there is no longer an official papal intention for the prayers I would suggest – in keeping with the last given intention and the message of Fatima – that the prayers be offered for “the conversion of the United States and for Russia through the pure and Immaculate Heart of Mary.” May our prayers hasten the triumph of the Immaculate Heart!

    September 17, 2017

    Following the Second Vatican Council, emphasis in the Church shifted from the sacrificial aspect of the Mass to the meal aspect. The effect of this change was to give to some the impression that the primary reason one goes to Mass is to receive Holy Communion. They reasoned that if it’s not possible to receive Holy Communion, then there’s no reason to go to Mass. This reasoning is false, but it’s not too difficult to see how they arrived at this conclusion. Objectively, the highpoint of the Mass is the consecration – the changing of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. In that moment, the sacrifice Our Lord offered on Calvary becomes present on our altar. The graces that Our Lord won for us on Calvary are then distributed to those present and, to a lesser extent, to the entire world. As good as receiving Holy Communion is, the Church does not oblige us to receive It but once a year (she does, of course, encourage us to receive often, even daily). We are, however, obliged (under penalty of grave sin) to attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of the year. Understanding and appreciating the sacrificial aspect of the Mass is key to having a true love for the Mass. Our Lady of the Eucharist, pray for us.

    September 10, 2017

    This Thursday, Sept. 14, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, will mark the 10th anniversary of the first time I offered the Traditional Mass. I had been offering the Novus Ordo Mass for 23 years previously. In his motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict XVI set this day as the start day on which any priest could offer the Traditional Mass (what the Pope referred to as the “Extraordinary Form”) without any special permission. Obviously, I had to study and practice well beforehand so that I would be ready to offer the Mass on “opening day.” The more I learned about the Traditional Mass, the harder I found it to believe that it had ever been given up. I never felt more like a priest than when I was offering the old Mass – the reverence, the prayers, the God-centeredness – all contributed to this feeling. Never had I felt so much a part of the whole history of the Church than when I was offering the “Mass of the ages.” Countless saints had participated in this Mass – with slight variations – at least from the time of Pope St. Gregory the Great, reigning in the 6th century. I consider myself blessed to now be able to offer this Mass daily

    July 30, 2017

    The following was written by a grateful parishioner who was helped through the St. Bernadette Fund*:

      • Dear fellow parishioners,
      • I have been a St. Stephen’s parishioner for many years. Due to health issues, the priests of St. Stephen’s have often had to bring me the sacraments. These same health issues have prevented me from working; hence, I’ve had difficulty meeting some of my basic needs. In some dark moments during the last several years, the St. Bernadette Fund has helped my family and me to survive. I realize that it’s due to your generosity, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you. I want to assure you that your contributions (large or small) do make a difference in people’s lives. Please be assured of my prayers.
      A Grateful Parishioner

    * The St. Bernadette Fund was created here at St. Stephen’s to especially help parishioners in need. If you would like to make a contribution to the St. Bernadette Fund you can do so either on-line or by placing it in an envelope marked “St. Bernadette Fund” and placing it in the collection basket, or dropping it off in the office or book store. 100% of all donations go to those in need.

    July 16, 2017

    The key to success in the spiritual life (and almost everything else) is perseverance. During this 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima, let us persevere in our praying of the Rosary daily. Make up your mind not to let a day go by without praying it – even if you have to kneel beside your bed to keep from falling asleep at night because you forgot to pray it earlier. Pray it for your personal needs (both spiritual and material), pray if for your family, pray it for your country, pray it for the conversion of Russia, pray it for Holy Mother Church. How can we dare complain about the dire situations in our country, the Church, and the world at large if we’re not doing what heaven has requested of us in order to ameliorate these situations? Pray the Rosary daily! Pope Pius XI declared that if he had an army praying the Rosary he could conquer the world. He wasn’t exaggerating. Sufficient numbers of people praying the Rosary can solve any problem, overcome every difficulty. Pray the Rosary daily! You’ll be eternally thankful that you did.

    Pray the Rosary Daily!

    July 9, 2017

    Almost everyone agrees that our country is a very divided one. What is it that most divides us? In my opinion, what most divides us is morality. We are divided between those who embrace traditional Judeo/Christian moral beliefs and those who reject those beliefs. Pope St. John Paul II referred to these two camps as the “culture of life” and the “culture of death.” The culture of life embraces traditional marriage, family, and religious freedom – freedom not just to worship, but freedom to express those beliefs in the public square. The culture of death, on the other hand, undermines marriage with easy divorce laws, “same-sex marriage,” and the acceptance of couples simply living together without benefit of marriage. It destroys the family by promoting contraception, abortion, the homosexual lifestyle, transgenderism, radical feminism, assisted suicide, pornography, “recreational” drugs, etc. The culture of death wants to restrict religious expression to behind closed doors at best. These two camps cannot coexist peacefully for long; one or the other will ultimately triumph. The culture of death seems to have the upper hand in our country at the moment. It came close to victory in the last presidential election. There’s still hope. If we wish the culture of life to succeed, however, we must first and foremost strive to live holy lives ourselves. We must then use every legitimate means to promote the culture of life. The members of the culture of death will hate us. We will not hate them in return, but we will take advantage of every opportunity to oppose their false deadly beliefs and to spread our own true life-giving beliefs.

    Mary, help of Christians, pray for us!

    June 18, 2017

    How to Receive Holy Communion

    At the Traditional Mass, Holy Communion is received kneeling at the Communion rail (unless it is difficult to kneel) and only on the tongue. Hands should be no higher than the Communion rail so that the server can easily place the paten beneath the chin of the communicant. “Amen” is not said in response to the priest’s prayer: “May the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ preserve your soul unto everlasting life. Amen.” As the priest is approaching the mouth should already be open to receive the Host so that he does not have to wait for a reply. The mouth should be opened wide and the tongue extended slightly over the lower lip (it need not be extended farther), so that the priest can easily and securely place the Host on it. It is best to close the eyes just before receiving in order to avoid being distracted; as well as to avoid the temptation to move the head in the direction of the priest’s approaching hand. This often results in touching the priest’s fingers with the tongue. Most important of all, of course, is to receive Our Eucharistic Lord with a pure and loving heart!

    June 11, 2017

    The month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart. The feast of the Sacred Heart is normally celebrated during this month (the third Friday after Pentecost). This year it will fall on June 23rd. One of the components of the Sacred Heart devotion is the Badge of the Sacred Heart. One website explains: “Our Lord revealed to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque His wish for her to order a picture made of the image of His Sacred Heart for people specifically to venerate and have in their homes and also small pictures to carry with them. St. Margaret Mary always kept a Sacred Heart badge with her and inspired her novices to do the same. She made many badges and often said this practice was very pleasing to the Sacred Heart.” The badge may be worn, kept in a wallet, or hung up in a vehicle or room. It serves as protection for both body and soul. One priest I know who promotes this practice told me that some people who were struggling with vices found carrying the badge and saying, “Cease, the Heart of Jesus is with me!” every time they were tempted, to be very helpful.

    Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

    June 4, 2017

    To be good Catholics we must believe and profess all of Christ’s doctrine as taught by the Catholic Church, and must be striving to put that belief into practice in our daily lives. There are, however, some things that we can legitimately disagree about and still be good Catholics. One is not a bad Catholic, for example, if he wants to stop the flow of illegal immigration, does not believe that global warming is manmade, upholds the right to own a gun, or has good reason to support the death penalty. On the other hand, one is a bad Catholic if he supports the practice of abortion and the distribution of contraceptives, or approves of the “gay” lifestyle or “transgenderism.” Let us not be intimidated by those – whether they be inside or outside of the Church – who would have us believe otherwise. Christ never spoke or acted out of “political correctness.” We, His followers, must not either.

    May 28, 2017

    One of the biggest dangers to our souls today is pornography – both the “soft” and “hard” varieties. We need to do all we can to protect ourselves and our families from it. St. Jacinta Marto (one of the Fatima seers) is quoted as saying that the sins that send most souls to hell are sins of the flesh. They may not be the worst sins that can be committed, but that will be small consolation if we end up in hell because of them. Besides maintaining a strong spiritual life, there are some practical things that we can do to help ourselves (and others): 1) use filters on your computer (you might check out “Covenant Eyes”); 2) keep the computer in a public area of the house; 3) only access the internet when other people are around; 4) anything else you can think of to make temptation as remote as possible. Parents, of course, have a serious obligation to monitor their children’s internet use. Increasingly, cell phones are being used to access pornography. There are filters for cell phones, as well. Another option is to replace your smart phone with a flip-open “dumb” phone. This isn’t a fool proof solution, but it can go a long way to keeping temptation at a distance while still allowing one to make and receive calls as needed.

    Mary, Virgin most pure, protect us and our families from the deluge of impurity that threatens to destroy our souls!

    April 30, 2017

    Tomorrow, Monday, begins the month of May, the month of Mary. It begins with a feast in honor of Mary’s husband, St. Joseph the Worker. Let’s honor him by going to Mass! We will hold our annual procession in honor of Our Lady (including May Crowning and Mass) on Saturday, May 13th – the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s appearance at Fatima! The procession route and Mass venue will be different this year from previous years. The procession will begin at St. Mary’s cemetery and finish at East Lawn cemetery where Mass will be offered. Mothers’ Day will be on the following day, Sunday, May 14th. On that day – besides our earthly mother – we honor the heavenly mother of us all in the order of grace. No mother loves her children more tenderly than Our Blessed Mother; no mother is more solicitous for their eternal welfare than she. The month concludes with the feast of the Queenship of Mary, on May 31. As queen, she can obtain for us whatever she asks from Our Lord, the King. What great confidence we should have in her intercessory power! Finally, let us be firmly resolved to pray the Rosary every day during this month in order to honor the request Our Lady made at Fatima to pray it daily. How much we, our families, our parish, our poor country, and our entire world are in need of prayer! Heaven has given us the Rosary to help us, it’s up to us to make use of it.

    Month of May, month of Mary! Pray the Rosary daily!

    April 16, 2017

    The Lord is risen! He is risen, indeed! May the thought of Our Lord’s resurrection always serve to remind us of the hope we have in our own resurrection when He comes again in glory.

    We would like to take this opportunity to thank the many who helped to make Holy Week a beautiful one. Thank you, too, for your prayers and gifts.

    Wishing all of our parishioners a joy-filled Easter!

    Fr. Lyons
    Fr. Curtis
    Fr. Savoie

    April 9, 2017

    Holy Week begins today with Palm Sunday. It is the holiest time of the liturgical year. During this week we celebrate the redemptive work of Christ – His Passion, Death, and Resurrection. In order to help you to profit spiritually from this week, find below some suggestions:

    1. If you haven’t yet gone to confession this Lent, make the time to do so. Even if you are not conscious of having committed any mortal sins since your last good confession, a well-made confession will better dispose you to receive the graces Our Lord wants to give you at this time.

    2. Go to Mass and receive Holy Communion on the days it is possible to do so.
    On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday the Masses are at the regularly scheduled times. See elsewhere in the bulletin for the rest of the Holy Week schedule.

    3. If you have been negligent in keeping your Lenten resolutions, make an extra effort to keep them this week.

    4. Keep electronic entertainment to a minimum – internet, TV, video games, etc.

    5. Do a little fasting, and/or abstain from some favorite food. Note: Good Friday is a day of fasting for those between the ages of 18 and the completion of their 59th birthday. Abstinence from meat is obligatory on that day for all of those 14 and older.

    6. Do practice religious devotions: make the Stations of the Cross (if you can’t do it in church, do it at home), meditate especially on the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, read the story of the Passion of Our Lord from any one of the Gospels, spend some time in private prayer before Our Eucharistic Lord, etc.

    7. Practice greater kindness and patience with the people you live with and work with. Good deeds and acts of charity are always in order. Try to be mindful of the poor in some concrete way, e.g., making a donation to your church’s poor program.

     

      Have a blessed Holy Week!

     

    April 3, 2017

    I recently came across the following quote from St. Louise de Marillac. St. Louise was St. Vincent de Paul’s most fervent collaborator. Her words may be a source of consolation to parents who suffer because one or more of their children have fallen away from the faith, or are not living Christian lives. They also may serve as further incentive to pray the Rosary daily.

    “The faults of children are not always imputed to the parents, especially when they have instructed them and given good example. Our Lord, in His wondrous Providence, allows children to break the hearts of devout fathers and mothers. Thus the decisions your children have made don’t make you a failure as a parent in God’s eyes. You are entitled to feel sorrow, but not necessarily guilt. Do not cease praying for your children; God’s grace can touch a hardened heart. Commend your children to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. When parents pray the Rosary, at the end of each decade they should hold the Rosary aloft and say to her, ‘With these beads bind my children to your Immaculate Heart’, she will attend to their souls.”

    March 26, 2017

    The practical details for next year’s General Chapter for the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter are now being finalized and made available to its members. The General Chapter, a body of elected and de jure representatives from every district and region of the FSSP, convenes every six years. During its brief three week assembly, it shapes the character and vision of the Fraternity according to the received experience and exigencies of all the priests and deacons that belong to it. Amongst other things, the Chapter: elects the superior general to a term of six years, as well as the assistants and counselors that compose his extraordinary general council; proposes revisions to the Constitutions (which must then be ratified by Rome); actually revises the Directories, which are legislative documents subordinate to the Constitutions; erects and suppresses provinces; and regulates the most important spiritual, apostolic, and administrative matters of the Fraternity. Without a doubt, the Chapter is the supreme governing body of the FSSP. The principal responsibility of the superior general is to execute the vision and directives established by the Chapter which elected him.

    The approximately one hundred members of the North American District will be responsible for sending somewhere between eight and ten elected representatives to the General Chapter. All of them will meet in early January of 2018 in order to discuss and vote upon these representatives. Please keep your priests and the FSSP as a whole in your prayers during the time leading up to this process.

    March 12, 2017

    We’re well into Lent now. Hopefully, it’s going well for everyone. Lent is really a time for renewal. First and foremost, spiritual renewal. We want to take a hard look at our spiritual life and take whatever measures are necessary in order to get it into shape – confession, prayer, penance, rosary, Eucharistic adoration, spiritual reading . . . Let’s not be gentle with ourselves; let’s dig up our faults by their roots!

    Lent can also be a time for physical renewal. The body does effect the soul, and vice versa. Have we been putting off regular exercise? Now is the time to begin. Do we need to see a doctor or dentist? Make that appointment. Do we need to lose weight? Start a healthy program of both exercise and diet. We are stewards of our bodies, let’s take reasonable care of them.

    Lent is also a good time to clean up our local environment (i.e., our homes and work places) by reducing clutter, and throwing out or giving away all unnecessary items. If we haven’t used something for more than a year, it’s probably safe to give it away to someone who can make good use of it. Let’s simplify our lives.

    With Mary at the foot of the Cross to help us, let us utilize well the gift of Lent that God has given to us once again this year.

    March 5, 2017

    I would like to thank everyone for the prayers, cards, and gifts that I received on the occasion of my permanent incorporation into the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) on March 22nd. Thanks also to all those who organized and participated in the reception that followed the Mass and the oath of incorporation. It was very nice. All are remembered in my prayers.

    February 26, 2017

    A good way to look at Lent is as an opportunity to make a 40 day retreat (with Sundays off). We won’t be going away to a retreat house, but we can still do our best to live a more recollected life; to spend extra time in prayer and spiritual reading (and/or, listening to spiritual conferences); to work on our particular weakness(es); and, to exercise in some way the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. A retreat is always a time of grace if well lived. With God’s grace and the Blessed Virgin Mary’s prayer to help us, let us be determined to live this Lent well.

    February 19, 2017

    This Wednesday, Feb. 22nd, we celebrate the feast of the Chair of St. Peter, an important feast day for the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP). It’s an important day for me personally because it was on this day four years ago that I became an incorporated (ad annum) member of the FSSP. That means that I’ve had to renew my incorporation each year since then. This year, however, I will be permanently incorporated. I’m grateful to my superiors, most especially Fr. John Berg (general superior), for accepting me into the Fraternity. I will make my statement of permanent incorporation following the 6:30 p.m. solemn Mass this Wednesday. Fr. James Fryar, FSSP, has been appointed to receive my statement. Hopefully, many of you will be able to share this joyful occasion with me (and pray for me!). Refreshments will be provided afterwards.

    February 12, 2017

    I’m sure I’m not telling you anything new when I say that some of the things that Pope Francis has said and written have caused more than a little consternation (not to mention confusion) in the Catholic world. As faithful Catholics, how should we respond to this? Our first response should be to pray all the more for the Holy Father. Some time ago we decided to offer the Rosary that we pray during Eucharistic Exposition following the Friday evening Mass for him. I would now like to ask all of you to add it to your daily Rosary or family prayer:

    Prayer for the Holy Father

    V. Let us pray for Francis, our Pope.
    R. May the Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies. [Ps 40:3]

    O God, Shepherd and Ruler of all Thy faithful people, look mercifully upon Thy servant Francis, whom Thou hast chosen as shepherd to preside over Thy Church. Grant him, we beseech Thee, that by his word and example, he may edify those over whom he hath charge, so that together with the flock committed to him, may he attain everlasting life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

    January 29, 2017

    It’s interesting to note that during this year that we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s appearance at Fatima, other notable anniversaries are being celebrated. These include the 500th anniversary of Protestantism, the 300th anniversary of freemasonry, and the 100th anniversary of the communist revolution in Russia. These movements have done untold damage to the Church and the world at large in the past. In one way or another they continue to do harm – especially to souls. We need the powerful intercession of Our Blessed Mother to help protect us from them, and convert those who are involved in them. Hopefully, during this anniversary year of Our Lady of Fatima, many more will become familiar with the message of Fatima, and put it into practice, i.e., stop offending God, pray the Rosary, honor the Immaculate Heart of Mary alongside the Sacred Heart of Jesus. . . Are you familiar with Our Lady’s message? Are you putting it into practice? If you are, you are part of the solution; if you are not, you are part of the problem.

    “Pray the Rosary every day, in order to obtain peace for the world . . .” (Our Lady of Fatima, May 13, 1917)

    January 22, 2017

    The following three thoughts to help us live more fervent lives are summarized from a book of meditations by an anonymous author:

    First thought: During my first waking moments I should reflect on the thought that this day is given to me only to glorify God, thereby ensuring my salvation (and even aid in the salvation of others). Yesterday is no longer mine, tomorrow may never be mine, only today belongs to me. How happy I’ll be if, at the end of the day, I can say I really tried to please God in all I thought, said, and did.

    Second thought: God has prepared very many graces to bestow upon me today. Graces to help me grow in the spiritual life. Maybe even some very special grace. If I do not receive these graces it will be because of my own fault – my deliberate sins, the good I leave undone, the little love with which I perform even my good actions. The glory that I might have given God, the help I might have given my neighbor, the merit I might have gained for myself on this day will all be lost for eternity.

    Third thought: This day may be my last. Millions of people die daily. Some quite unexpectedly. I may be one of them. If I knew that today was to be my last what would I do? What a good confession I would make. How fervent my prayer would be. How kind I would be to others. How trivial some of my worldly pursuits would appear. If I live every day in this way, death may come suddenly, but it will never be unexpected.

    January 15, 2017

    January 22nd marks the 44th anniversary of the infamous Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision. Since then more than 50 million unborn babies have been killed surgically in this country alone, and the number grows daily. Talk about a holocaust! How can we as a nation denounce the atrocities of Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union, Mao’s China, and more recently ISIS, and, at the same time, condone the killing of unborn babies in our own country?

    The United States Bishops’ Conference has declared that “this day (Jan. 22nd) shall be observed in all dioceses as a particular day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life.” Since Jan. 22 falls on a Sunday this year, we are asked to make Monday, Jan. 23rd, a day of penance instead.

    Suitable penances would include fasting and/or abstinence. Participation at Holy Mass would be the best prayer possible on that day; the praying of the Rosary and the chaplet of Divine Mercy are also highly recommended – especially outside of abortion sites. Perhaps black armbands could be worn as a sign of mourning for the many babies put to death. When people ask why you’re wearing the armband you could let them know.

    Let us hope and pray that this will be the year that Roe vs. Wade is overturned, and the right to life for all humans – born and unborn – is fully restored. During this 100th anniversary celebration of Our Blessed Mother’s appearances at Fatima, let us entrust this intention to her under the title she gave herself – Our Lady of the Rosary!

    January 8, 2017

     A Requiem Mass will be offered for Bob O’Kane this Tuesday afternoon at 12:15.

     Please continue to pray the Rosary daily for the new presidential administration about to take office. The 54 Day Rosary novena ends on inauguration day, January 20th. Even if you haven’t participated in the novena so far, please offer a Rosary daily for this intention beginning today. What happens to our country and our world very much depends upon the decisions that will be made by this new administration. Our prayer, of course, can better assure that the right decisions be made.

    January 1, 2017
    A Happy New Year Means a Holy New Year

    Everyone wants to be happy. That’s the way God made us. As a matter of fact, He created us with a desire for infinite happiness. Therefore, only something – or someone – who is infinite can satisfy that desire. Since God is the only infinite being, our desire for happiness can be satisfied only when we possess Him. No matter how hard we may try to satisfy that desire with the good things of this world and its pleasures, we’re never going to be able to do it. It would be easier to fill the Grand Canyon by dropping a grain of sand into it once a year than it would be to satisfy the longing in our souls with anything created. That, however, doesn’t stop most of us from trying – even engaging in seriously sinful behavior at times in our attempts to achieve happiness. We’re like the man in the desert who is dying of thirst. He thinks he sees water, but when he reaches it he finds it’s only more hot, dry sand. As long as we try to find our happiness in anything less than God, we will never find it.

    If we wish, then, that the New Year be a truly happy one – for ourselves and others – we must try to make it a holy one. It will be a holy one if we remain in God’s grace, and grow in God’s grace. Only mortal sin can deprive of His grace. To help us to remain in a state of grace let us be sure to do the following:

      • 1. Go to Holy Mass every Sunday and Holiday of Obligation (more often when possible).
      • 2. Pray the Rosary daily.
      • 3. Go to Confession at least once a month.
      • 4. Avoid all unnecessary serious occasions of sin; that is, people, places, and things that lead us into sin (use the electronic media with the greatest caution!).
      • 5. Frequently offer up little sacrifices.
      • 6. Perform acts of mercy as frequently as possible; that is, helping others with their material and spiritual needs.
      7. Do some spiritual reading or listening every day for at least a few minutes.

    Obviously, it takes some effort to do these things. But we will be well rewarded. We will be happy with the happiness that only God’s presence can give us both now and in eternity.

    Have a truly happy and holy New Year!
    December 25, 2016

    Wishing everyone a most blessed and joyful Christmas and New Years! Thank you for your prayers and many other signs of support. Be assured of our prayers for all of you.

    Fr. John Lyons,
    FSSP Fr. Joshua Curtis,
    FSSP Fr. Dominic Savoie, FSSP

    December 18, 2016

    During this last week of Advent let us make extra efforts to prepare our hearts, minds, and souls for Christmas. Going to Mass daily during this week (if at all possible) would rank highest on the list. If you haven’t gone to confession yet during this Advent season, this week would be a good time to do so. Praying the Rosary daily, or an extra Rosary, would be beneficial – there’s no one better than Our Lady to help us enter into the true spirit of Christmas. If you haven’t already done so, decide on some specific sacrifice to make each day this week. For example, giving up recreational use of the media, not eating between meals, not eating sweets, etc. – something that would be a penance for you. Try hard to exercise greater patience and kindness to others – especially those with whom you live. The day before Christmas used to be an obligatory fast day. Even though it’s no longer of obligation, all who can, would do well to preserve this tradition. Only those who prepare themselves spiritually, will experience the true joy of Christmas.

    December 11, 2016

    Thankfully, for most of us, our basic needs – food, shelter, clothing, education, medical assistance – are met. For some people, however, this is not the case; they lack the very basics. What better time of year than Christmas, when God became man for our sake, to be mindful of the needs of our neighbors. There’s nothing wrong with giving small gifts to our family members and friends to show our love for them. But instead of spending a lot of money on gifts for people who aren’t in need, let us spend it on those who are in need. Not only will we have treasure in heaven, but we will be training our children to eschew materialism and develop truly generous hearts.

    There are many worthy causes. One of them is our own St. Bernadette Fund. 100% of all that goes into the fund is used to help others – mostly, fellow parishioners. We’ve established a “Giving Tree” this year (located in the church vestibule, near the doors to the hall) to help fund the St. Bernadette Fund. All you need to do is take an envelope from the tree, put in your donation, and drop it off in the office or book store, or put it into the collection basket.

    “. . . remember the word of the Lord Jesus, how He said:

    It is a more blessed thing to give, rather than to receive.” (Acts 20, 35)

    December 4, 2016

    Lots of attention is focused on the Blessed Virgin Mary during the Advent Season, and rightly so. This week we will celebrate Mary’s Immaculate Conception on Dec. 8th. Mary was granted the grace to be conceived without original sin in light of the fact that she was to be the Mother of God. Since God was going to take flesh from her, it was unthinkable that her flesh be tainted by sin in even the least way.

    On Saturday, Dec. 10th, the Rorate Mass will be celebrated at 5:30 a.m. During this Mass the church is lit only by candle light. Together with Our Lady we await the Light that will soon be coming into the world, Our Lord, Jesus Christ. It’s a beautiful Mass. Even if you’re not an early riser it’s worth the effort to attend at least once.

    Finally, on Monday, Dec. 12, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas will be celebrated. Mary’s appearance to St. Juan Diego began the conversion of millions of the native peoples. What Mary did then, she can do again; that is, obtain the conversion of millions of our fellow citizens. Come and pray for our country, and all of the Americas, on that day.

    November 27, 2016

    Now is no time to rest on our laurels! Little good the election results will do us if hoped for changes fail to materialize. We can believe it was the power of prayer – especially the praying of the Rosary – that saved our nation from total disaster on Nov. 8th. This success should convince us of the power of the Rosary, and motivate us to continue to pray it now. Everyone is encouraged to participate in the 54 day Rosary novena for our new president beginning tomorrow, Nov. 28. The novena consists of praying the Rosary for 54 consecutive days – the first 27 days it is offered in petition, and for the following 27 days it is offered in thanksgiving. If you already pray the Rosary daily, you can simply make the novena your special intention. You’re always free, of course, to pray an extra Rosary! If you would like more information about the origin of the novena, or about the 54 day novena itself, simply google 54-Day Rosary Novena.

    Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!

    November 13, 2016

    Many prayers have been offered in the last several months for our country and a successful outcome to the national elections. Those prayers have not been in vain. We want to give public thanks to the Lord for at least affording us hope that our country’s moral descent into total depravity will be stopped, and the work of rebuilding a nation built on Christian principles will begin. This means that we still have a lot more praying to do; a lot more Rosaries to pray. As regards the efficacy of the Rosary, read what Sr. Lucia had to say about it in her last public interview given to Father Augustin Fuentes in 1957:

    “Prayers and sacrifice are the two means to save the world. As for the Holy Rosary, Father, in these last times in which we are living, the Blessed Virgin has given a new efficacy to the praying of the Holy Rosary. This in such a way that there is no problem that cannot be resolved by praying the Rosary, no matter how difficult it is—be it temporal or above all spiritual—in the spiritual life of each of us or the lives of our families, be they our families in the world or Religious Communities, or even in the lives of peoples and nations.

    “I repeat, there is no problem, as difficult as it may be, that we cannot resolve at this time by praying the Holy Rosary. With the Holy Rosary we will save ourselves, sanctify ourselves, console Our Lord and obtain the salvation of many souls.

    “Then, there is devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, our Most Holy Mother, holding her as the seat of mercy, goodness and pardon and the sure door to enter Heaven.”

    November 6, 2016

    From time to time we make mention from the pulpit of the possibility of gaining a plenary indulgence on a particular day or particular occasion. Some may not know, however, that a plenary indulgence can be gained on every day of the year. Four of the most common ways in which plenary indulgences are gained (having fulfilled the usual conditions) are the following:

    1) Praying five decades of the rosary in church or with one’s family, or
    2) Adoring the Blessed Eucharist for half an hour, or
    3) Making the Stations of the Cross, or
    4) Reading Sacred Scripture for half an hour.

    Besides plenary indulgences, there exist partial indulgences. As the name implies, such indulgences remit part of the penalty due to sins already forgiven. The amount of penalty remitted will depend upon the disposition of the one seeking the indulgence. Unlike plenary indulgences which can be gained only once a day (twice on the day you die), there is no limit to the number of partial indulgences that may be gained in a day. Besides many indulgenced prayers, novenas, etc. there are three ways in which a partial indulgence may always be acquired:

    In the midst of one’s duties to raise one’s mind to God and add a pious invocation, e.g., “My God, I love You!”

    In a spirit of penance to freely abstain from something.

    To perform a charitable deed or the giving of alms.

    Not only does the Church hope that many indulgences will be gained, she also hopes that the constant attempt to acquire them will make us grow in holiness. It’s easy to imagine that anyone who strives to gain a plenary indulgence every day will make great strides along the road of sanctity. The Church – good Mother that she is – has placed a vast treasury of merits at our disposal in order to free us and the souls in purgatory from the enormous penalty due to our sins. This is one treasure that must not be kept hidden.

    To gain a plenary indulgence – besides the performance of the indulgenced act itself – one must go to confession at least 20 days before or 20 days after the act is performed, Holy Communion must be received (several days before or after, but most fittingly on the day the indulgenced act is completed), prayers must be said for the intentions of the Pope (an Our Father and Hail Mary suffice), all attachment to sin must be absent.

    October 30, 2016

    The month of November is especially dedicated to remembering and praying for the souls in purgatory. Purgatory is an expression of God’s mercy. If we die in a state of grace but have some unforgiven venial sins on our soul, or if we have not completely expiated the penalty due to sins that have been forgiven us, then God gives us the opportunity to purify ourselves even after death. We can believe that this purification process is not a painless one. In a phrase that has been interpreted as applying to purgatory, Scripture tells us: “it will be as one who has gone through fire.” (1Cor 3, 15)
    It should be of comfort to us to know that we can help our loved ones even after they have died. We can help them with our prayers and sacrifices, by having Masses said for them, and by offering the indulgences we gain for them. These holy souls will be eternally grateful. They will not forget to pray for us when they arrive in heaven. It is a common opinion that, even while still in purgatory, the souls there can and do pray for us.
    All Souls’ Day comes just once a year – Nov. 2nd. However, there are souls in need of our help every day of the year – the souls of our relatives, friends, and benefactors; the souls of those who have no one to remember them. One of the spiritual works of mercy is to pray for the dead. It is by practicing mercy that we will obtain mercy. Let us not let a day pass without saying some prayers for the holy souls in purgatory. A short prayer that some people add to their thanksgiving after meals is the following: “May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.”

    October 23, 2016

    Divorce and Remarriage

    Jesus said, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if the wife divorces her husband, and marries another, she commits adultery (Mk 10, 11).”

    The Catholic Church teaches that there is no power on earth that can dissolve a valid, sacramental, consummated marriage. Unfortunately, it does sometimes happen that for very serious reasons a married couple is no longer able to live together. It may even be necessary for them to obtain a civil divorce in order to protect their rights and those of their children. However, in the eyes of the Church they remain married. Although now living apart they must still comport themselves as befitting any other married person. That means it would be a serious sin for them to begin dating someone else.

    Contrary to what some think, divorce per se is not necessarily an impediment to receiving the sacraments. Just like anyone else, the divorced individual must be in a state of grace in order to receive Holy Communion. If he was primarily responsible for the divorce he must try to reconcile with his spouse and make restitution – in as much as it is possible – for the harm he has done. The worthy reception of the sacraments on the part of the divorced will obtain for them the grace to better carry their cross in life.

    If the divorced person should remarry outside of the Church, his marriage is considered invalid. Such a situation constitutes a moral disorder; objectively he is living in a state of sin. For that reason he cannot receive the sacraments – neither Holy Communion nor confession. Although such situations are a source of suffering for the Church, she does not abandon these people. She encourages them to go to Mass, to pray, do penance, and to practice charity in order to obtain from God the grace to eventually rectify their situation. In Familiaris Consortio #84, Pope John Paul II states that if such couples have a serious reason for remaining together (for example, the raising of their children), and they are able to live in a “brother-sister” relationship (i.e., not engaging in acts proper to married people), then they might receive the sacraments. There is one other stipulation: they must avoid giving scandal – which might occur if they were to receive Holy Communion in a church where their living situation were known to others. They would be obliged to receive Holy Communion in a church where their living situation is unknown to others. All such couples should speak to a priest.

    October 16, 2016

    It’s almost impossible to exaggerate the harm that pornography has done and is doing both on an individual and societal basis. It harms the souls of those who engage in it, and it harms their relationships with others. It can render young men and women unfit for both religious and married life. It can destroy the religious vocations and marriages of those who have already entered into them. It is straight from hell. We must protect ourselves and our families from this all pervasive evil influence. Parents who allow their children unsupervised access to the internet, television, and other means of secular social communication are seriously negligent. Susceptible adults who take no steps to protect themselves from exposure to pornography when making use of these same electronic media are most imprudent, placing themselves unnecessarily into an occasion of serious sin. Not only must we be on our guard against all “hardcore” pornography, but all so-called “softcore” as well. “Softcore” is found on many television ads and regular TV programming; on billboards; as well as in advertisements on the internet, in newspapers and magazines. It may be as death dealing to the soul as the “hardcore.” Admittedly, it can’t always be avoided. But when it can’t, we want to turn away from it as quickly as possible. In order to do that, however, we must have a strong prayer and sacramental life. Those who have become addicted must avail themselves of all supernatural and natural means to overcome it. One possible place to look for help is the website “Reclaim Sexual Health.” For those seeking protection for themselves and their families when using the internet, the website “Covenant Eyes” is recommended.

    October 2, 2016

    October 2nd is the Feast of the Guardian Angels. We don’t celebrate it liturgically this year because it falls on a Sunday. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t celebrate this feast privately. After God, Himself, and our Blessed Mother, there is no one who knows us better and has done more for us than our Guardian Angel. How sad for someone to be unaware of his presence, to be unaware of all he does for us, to never pray to him. St. Padre Pio, who saw and spoke with his guardian angel, wrote the following to one of his spiritual children regarding the Guardian Angels:
    “Have great devotion to this beneficent angel. How consoling it is to know that we have a spirit who, from the womb to the tomb, never leaves us even for an instant, not even when we dare to sin. And this heavenly spirit guides and protects us like a friend, a brother. It is very consoling to know that this angel prays unceasingly for us, and offers God all of our good actions, our thoughts, and our desires, if they are pure. Oh! For goodness’ sake, don’t forget this invisible companion, ever present, ever disposed to listen to us and even more ready to console us. Oh, wonderful intimacy! Oh, blessed companionship! If only we could understand it! Keep him always before your mind’s eye. Remember this angel’s presence often, thank him, pray to him, always keep up a good relationship. Open yourself up to him and confide your suffering to him. Be always afraid of offending the purity of his gaze. Know this, and keep it well present in your mind. He is easily offended, very sensitive. Turn to him in moments of supreme anguish and you will experience his beneficent help. Never say that you are alone in the battle against your enemies; never say that you have no one to whom you can open you heart and confide. It would be a grave injustice to this heavenly messenger.”

    September 25, 2016

    The following was taken from Fr. Boquet’s article entitled, “Sanctuary Cities Revisited”.

    “Those who think the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights still hold in this nation need to face reality. The religious freedom “guaranteed” by the First Amendment is now declared subordinate to the wishes of the powerful cabal of sexual revolutionaries that have power in our government.
    Our current president barely pretends to care about any limitation on his executive power, defending and executing laws based not on his responsibilities but on his whims. The Supreme Court continues to find emanations and penumbras floating from the nation’s founding document, upon which they pin the most tenuous tethers of the sexual revolution, giving them the effect of law. The only federal body that holds any representatives who share our values has slowly chosen irrelevance as its powers are taken over by an executive branch that is out of control and a Court that is allowed to create law out of whole cloth.
    Yes, the nation is coming apart, and the middle ground is dropping away. The numbers of those who understand the signs of the times are few, but we still have options, and we still have each other. Most importantly, we still worship the God who made heaven and earth, who when He wills it will deliver us from the collapse we see around us. In the meantime, we fight with everything we have to protect our families and the most innocent and vulnerable.
    You were born into this time, in this place. God knows well where you are, and is asking you today to use your gifts for His glory. Have courage and strength, my friends. Be awake, and don’t be afraid. God wins, and those who remain faithful, who love and support one another for love of Him, will as well. It is a great time to be a Christian!”
    ~ Fr. Shenan Boquet, President of Human Life International

    September 18, 2016

    Please take a moment to review the enclosed end-of-year income statement (the fiscal year ends at the end of June). You’ll notice that both the budgeted and the actual amounts – whether revenue or expense – for the past year are to be found on the far right of the page. This year’s income state- ment, then, is compared with that of the last two years. Spe- cial thanks are due Bill Sheridan and the finance council members for their help in preparing this statement.

    July 31, 2016

    In a recent interview Pope Francis expressed his agreement with a German bishop on the need of the Catholic Church to apologize to individuals who suffer from same-sex attraction for the way the Church has treated them. In the heat of the interview the pope may have spoken without having given the matter due reflection. If anything, those who suffer from this disorder should be thanking the Church for having spoken the truth to them in love. The truth is (as explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church) that homosexual acts are “acts of grave depravity.” Those who engage in such acts risk the loss of their eternal souls. Even in this life they expose themselves to higher incidences of homicide, suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, and the acquiring of various sexually transmitted diseases – anything but a “gay” lifestyle. While condemning any mistreatment of those who suffer in this way, the Church encourages them to live a chaste lifestyle, and by so doing sanctify themselves, avoid much misery in this life, and some day enter into eternal life. It is those who encourage, or in any way support, the homosexual lifestyle who should be doing the apologizing.

    July 24, 2016

    Although it’s painful to admit this, much confusion has been sown in the minds of the faithful by various statements made by Pope Francis. Not all of the confusion can be blamed on media spin. For those of us who wish to be supportive of the pope this reality is most especially distressing. What can we do to help our Holy Father? We must pray and sacrifice for him, and encourage everyone else we possibly can to do the same. With this purpose in mind, we will now offer the Rosary we pray before the Blessed Sacrament every Friday after the 6:30 p.m. Mass for Pope Francis.

    Pray, pray, pray for Pope Francis!

    July 17, 2016

    We would like to extend our sympathy to the family members and many friends of Fr. Peter Carota on his recent passing from this life. Fr. Carota, ordained for the Stockton diocese, was a friend and promoter of the Traditional Latin Mass. He touched the lives of many people with his kindness and concern for them. He was a staunch defender of the Catholic faith. Please remember him in your prayers. Requiescat in pace!

    July 10, 2016

    Beginning Sunday, August 7th, the Sunday schedule of Masses will be slightly different. Masses will be at 8:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 1:30 p.m. The main reason for this change is to allow a little more time for the parking lot to clear between Masses. Hopefully, this will alleviate, to some extent, our parking problem. Thank you for your patience if this change should cause you any inconvenience.

    July 3, 2016

    Tomorrow, July 4, is Independence Day. Unfortunately, our independence, not to mention our freedom of religion, is fading fast. This time, however, it’s not some foreign power that we have to contend with; rather, it’s our own state and federal governments. One of the leading candidates for president of the United States this year – in regard to the widest possible access to abortion – is quoted as saying, “. . . deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.” We can believe that this candidate will do everything in her power to make that change a reality if she gets elected. And not only as regards abortion, but every other liberal issue as well, from same sex marriage to assisted suicide. The goal of liberals is the complete secularization of our society; the suppression of religious expression in the public forum – at least, the suppression of the expression of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs.

    What can we do? Well, for starters, we can go to Mass tomorrow and pray for the conversion of our country. O Mary, Immaculate Conception, patroness of the United States, pray for us!

    May 15, 2016

    I’m sometimes asked how one should vote if he/she doesn’t think any of the viable candidates are suitable to hold a particular office. In such a case, the voter has several options: he may legitimately choose the candidate he believes will do the least harm; he may choose a third party candidate or write in a name; or, he may simply skip that particular office.
    Let us pray hard during this presidential election year for the conversion of our country – its people and its elected officials. Undeserving as we are, may God have mercy on us!
    Month of May, Month of Mary Pray the Rosary!

    May 8, 2016

    A blessed Mothers’ Day to all of you who are mothers! Yours is a beautiful vocation. May the Good Lord reward you for your many sacrifices. You are all remembered in a special way in prayer today.
    _________________________
    Remember that this coming Saturday, May 14, is our annual Marian procession, May crowning, and Solemn High Mass at the Cathedral. We have this great opportunity to publicly proclaim our faith, and to show our love and devotion to Our Blessed Mother. We can be sure that many graces will be obtained because of it – for ourselves, our parish, our diocese, and the entire state of California. Invite as many people as you can to participate.
    ________________________

    MONTH OF MAY, MONTH OF MARY PRAY THE ROSARY!
    May 1, 2016

    Much interest was expressed in last week’s sermon on the “Seven Daily Habits of Holy Apostolic People.” The sermon itself was based on an article written by Fr. C. John McCloskey III. In case you’re having trouble remembering the seven daily habits you’ll find them listed below:

      1. 1. The Morning Offering (and don’t forget the “heroic moment” that precedes it, i.e., getting up on time!)
      1. 2. At least 15 minutes of silent prayer (speaking to the Lord from your heart)
      1. 3. Fifteen minutes of spiritual reading
      1. 4. Participating in Holy Mass and Holy Communion
      1. 5. The Angelus (or, Regina Caeli during the Easter Season) at noon
      1. 6. The Rosary
      7. Brief examination of conscience
    April 3, 2016

    Most of us have benefited, in one way or another, from the work of the late Mother Angelica (passed away on Easter). With no particular expertise in communications, and no money in her pocket, Mother Angelica succeeded in building the largest Christian communications network in the world. Truly, the finger of God can be seen at work here. Mother Angelica helped to preserve the true faith (and spread it!) at a time when the faith was being severely undermined. Mother was successful because she spoke to the hearts of the faithful – a very different message than was coming from the ecclesiastical elitists. If you would like to read more about the life of Mother Angelica, I would recommend her biography, Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles, by Raymond Arroyo. It’s a delightful book.
    Requiescat in pace!

    March 27, 2015

    Next Sunday, Low Sunday, is also now known as Divine Mercy Sunday. Our Lord has made a marvelous promise to all those who worthily receive Holy Communion on that day, go to Confession (the experts say that having gone anytime during Lent or Easter Week would suffice, since it’s impossible for everyone to go to confession on the same day), and habitually practice some form of mercy (any one of the spiritual or corporal works will do). The promise is that all temporal punishment due to the sins of those who fulfill these relatively easy requirements will be taken away. It they were to die in that state they would go straight to heaven. I look forward ever year to gaining the benefits of this promise.
    This promise is not an indulgence granted by the Church. It is a promise by Our Lord, Himself. However, there is also an indulgence attached to this particular day. It is the following: “a plenary indulgence, [is] granted under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who, on the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honor of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!”). A partial indulgence, [is] granted to the faithful who, at least with a contrite heart, pray to the merciful Lord Jesus a legitimately approved invocation.” Admittedly, if one gains a plenary indulgence all of the temporal punishment due to his sins will be taken away, as well. However, the requirement to be completely detached from even venial sin is very subjective. We can never be sure (barring Divine intervention) whether we have gained the indulgence or not. Our Lord’s promise is easier to obtain and doesn’t rely on the subjective condition of detachment from all sin.
    Which should we try to obtain? Try to obtain both! The granting of the promise will relieve you of the temporal punishment due to your sins. The indulgence can be applied to a soul in Purgatory – one more merciful deed!

    March 20, 2015

    Liturgically, Holy Week is the holiest time of the year (which is why we call it “holy”). Hopefully, as many as possible will participate in the Easter Triduum which begins with Mass on the evening of Holy Thursday and concludes with vespers on Easter Sunday. For those who are unable to come to church in order to participate on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, it is hoped that they will do so at home by spending some time prayerfully reflecting on Our Lord’s passion and death. Let us all try to live Holy Week in a more recollected manner, as much as possible avoiding the world’s many distractions. Have a holy, Holy Week!

    March 13, 2015

    Passion Tide focuses our attention more intensely on the suffering and death of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us try hard to live these next two weeks with a greater spirit of prayer and sacrifice. If at all possible come to daily Mass, pray the Rosary daily, make the Stations of the Cross, read books or listen to talks that will nourish your spiritual life, abstain from worldly amusements. Be resolved to abstain from committing the smallest, fully deliberate sin; go to confession. More than ever we need the twin remedies of prayer and sacrifice to preserve ourselves from being contaminated by the immorality of the society in which we live, and to obtain the graces necessary to restore society to a semblance of Christianity. Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us!

    February 28, 2016

    Lent is passing by quickly! Next Sunday is already Laetare Sunday. This is a good time to renew our Lenten resolutions and strive to be faithful in keeping them. If we haven’t made any resolutions yet, it’s not too late to start. One good way to help us to live a better Lent is to participate in the Parish Mission that will take place this week here at St. Stephen’s. It begins tomorrow, Monday, Feb. 29, and will conclude on Thursday, March 3. There will be a different speaker each evening. Holy Mass will be celebrated each of those evenings at 6:30 p.m. Confessions will be heard before and during the Mass. A talk that will help us to better reflect on the purpose of our lives will then follow. Each evening will conclude with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction. Please invite family members and friends to participate, as well. Let us pray, that through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother, this mission will produce much good fruit for our parish.
    *******************************************
    Participation in a Parish Mission is a great way to help stimulate one’s faith, and to better sanctify this holy time of Lent. Please invite others to come with you. The speakers will be:
    1. Monday, Feb. 29: Fr. John Lyons, FSSP
    2. Tuesday, March 1: Fr. Joseph Illo
    3. Wednesday, March 2: Fr. Blaise Berg
    4. Thursday, March 3: Fr. Jeremy Leatherby

    January 3, 2016

    Fr. Perry, Fr. Akers, and I would like to thank the many people in the parish who gave us cards and gifts for Christmas, and offered prayers for us. We are very grateful. We wish to assure you that you are all remembered in our daily prayers, as well.

    Speaking of prayer – hopefully, we’re all doing it on a regular basis. It does take time and effort to pray, and we often don’t see immediate results. However, we want to be convinced of the fact that our lives will be very different over time depending on whether or not we pray. And not just our lives here on earth will be different; our eternity will be different as well.

    True Christians pray always, in good times and in bad. The more difficulties they encounter, the more they pray, and they always find help. Maybe not the help they’re asking for, but the help that they most need – which may be the grace of perseverance in difficulties; or, the grace to be able to accept some cross. And by means of these trials, the Lord will purify them, and make them saints.
    “Pray always, and do not lose heart!” (Lk 18,1)

    December 27, 2015
    Prince of Peace

    One of the titles that the prophet Isiah attributes to the Messiah is “Prince of Peace.” The peace that Our Lord wishes to bring to us, however (in His own words), is not the same as the peace that the world offers us. The world will grant us its peace if we accept its way of thinking; or, at least appear to accept its way of thinking – to not publicly express any contrary views. The peace Our Lord offers comes from knowing the Truth and living our lives accordingly. Not only does the Catholic Church possess the fullness of revealed truth, she also possesses living Truth – the Blessed Eucharist. Catholics, then, should experience the greatest peace of heart. If we do not now experience peace of heart, we would do well to ask ourselves how well we know our faith, how well we are living it, and what relationship we have with the living Truth – Our Eucharistic Lord.

    December 20, 2015

    Dear Parishioners,

    On behalf of Fr. Perry and Fr. Akers, I would like to wish you all a holy and blessed Christmas and New Year!

    I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the many people who help out here – in one way or another – often with little or no recognition. We couldn’t do what we do without you. We are grateful for you, and ask that the Good Lord reward you.

    As for ourselves, we are grateful for the opportunity to be able to serve at St. Stephen’s, and to get to know and work with so many wonderful people.

    May we remain united in prayer.

    Fr. Lyons

    November 22, 2015

    A priest friend of mine (we were ordained together) has been suffering from a very serious illness for the last few years. He is on a respirator and his condition continues to worsen. Despite this, he is always joyful. A mutual friend visited him recently and told him how much difficulty she was having with accepting the effects of a mild stroke. His advice to her was, “Thank God for your stroke.” Coming from a man who knew a thing or two about suffering, she knew she had to do what he said, as difficult as it was for her. Although she still struggles with acceptance at times, she is much more at peace now about her stroke than she was before.
    At Thanksgiving, Christians are accustomed to give thanks to God for the many good things they have received from Him, and rightly so! We often fail, however, to recognize trials and tribulations as being good for us as well, and, therefore, something for which to give thanks. As long as we love God (and we show it by keeping His commandments) then, as Scripture tells us, everything will redound to our good.
    How can we best show God our thanks? There’s no better way than by participating in the Eucharist (a word which means ‘thanksgiving’). Hopefully, all who can, will come to Mass this Thanksgiving Day.
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    November 8, 2015

    For those of you who are interested in learning more about the Confraternity of St. Peter, please read the following – taken from the Confraternity’s website. We would like to see many more from our parish join.

    What is the Confraternity of Saint Peter?

    It is a society which gathers those who feel close to the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter and who wish to support its charism through prayers and sacrifices. Thus the Confraternity contributes to the service of the Church, through supporting numerous vocations, the sanctification of priests and their pastoral endeavors.

    What does a member of the Confraternity of Saint Peter do?

    Every day members commit themselves to pray one decade of the Holy Rosary for the sanctification of our priests and for our priestly vocations, and recite the Prayer of the Confraternity. Once a year they have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered for these intentions.

    What spiritual benefit do members receive from the Confraternity?

    Their commitments place the members among our most faithful benefactors, and as such, among the particular recipients of our priests’ and seminarians’ daily prayers. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered each month for the members of the Confraternity in each area. Recollections and instructions in the faith are also foreseen.

    How does one become a member?

    1. Request the enrollment form from the parish office or bookstore or go on line to www.fssp.com, fill it out and mail it in.
    2. The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter will send to you in return the certificate of membership. The commitments take effect with the reception of the certificate.
    3. Members must be at least 14 years old.
    4. Membership is purely spiritual and does not confer any rights or duties other than the spiritual support in prayer and charity in accord with the commitments described above.
    5. By themselves the commitments do not bind under penalty of sin.
    6. Membership and the commitments which follow it are tacitly renewed each year on the feast of the Chair of Saint Peter (February 22), unless expressly determined otherwise.

    How does one receive news about the Confraternity?

    Our channels of information – bulletins and websites of the districts or of the houses – will provide news about the Confraternity.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Physician Assisted Suicide Bill

    On Monday, Oct. 5, Democrat Governor Jerry Brown signed a physician assisted suicide bill into law. Doctors in California may now prescribe a lethal dose of drugs to assist terminally ill patients in the taking of their own lives.

    As Christians we are obliged to respond to the sick, suffering, and dying with compassion. We should do our best to alleviate their suffering. However, we cannot kill them, or help them to kill themselves, in order to achieve that goal. Human life belongs to God; it is ours to care for and protect. It is not ours to take in such cases.

    “Assisted suicide” – which is actually a combination of murder and suicide – is forbidden by the fifth commandment: “Thou shall not kill.” This commandment not only prohibits the taking of all innocent human life, but it also requires that that same life be respected. A human being is worthy of respect simply because he is a human being. His dignity stems from the fact that he is made in the image and likeness of God. “Usefulness” to society doesn’t make one any more or less human. A child in the womb is no less human than a doctor; an elderly person suffering from Alzheimer’s is no less human than a college professor.

    Although the Christian reverences life, he is aware that the obligation to preserve life has limits. He is bound to use ordinary means to preserve life, but he is not necessarily obliged to use extraordinary means. He is able to accept death when it finally comes, but he does not deliberately hasten it. Suffering and death are not the worst thing for the Christian, sin is. His hope is to die a holy death.

    Let us entrust to Mary, the Mother of Life, our cause: the triumph of the culture of life in our state, in our country, and throughout the world!

    Valuable Night Prayer

    Recently, a couple of people (quite independently of each other) have told me how much they liked the following prayer. It’s a prayer I’ve included in my night prayers since I first came across it many years ago. According to the story that accompanied it at that time, a nun who had passed away appeared to a favored soul and revealed that by saying this prayer daily she had made up for all the temporal punishment due to her sins, and, therefore, had been able to go straight to heaven. For those who may be interested, here it is:

    Eternal Father, I offer You the Sacred Heart of Jesus, with all of It’s love, sufferings, and merits.

    First to expiate for all the sins I’ve committed this day and during all of my life. (A “Glory be” is then prayed)

    Second, to purify the good I’ve done poorly this day and during all of my life. (Glory be)

    Third, to supply for the good I ought to have done, and that I have neglected this day and during all of my life. (Glory be)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The Feast of the Holy Rosary (Wednesday, Oct. 7), as well as the last apparition of Our Lady at Fatima (Oct. 13), remind us of the importance of praying the Rosary. It would be of the greatest benefit to our parish – individually, and as a whole – if every member, from First Communion age on up, would pray the Rosary every day. The praying of the Rosary has won great battles, secured peace, and obtained countless individual graces. The Church has repeatedly promoted the praying of the Rosary – the most popular of all Marian devotions. Heaven itself has asked us to pray it. When? Most recently at Fatima – every time Our Lady appeared. I cannot emphasize the importance of the praying of the Rosary enough. It’s hard to imagine that there is someone who is so busy that he doesn’t have time during the day to pray a Rosary (and if he really is that busy, all the more reason to take the time to pray so he can complete all of his work). What prevents us? Spiritual laziness. If you do not now pray the Rosary daily, make an extra effort to do so during this month of October. Ask Our Blessed Mother to grant you the grace to pray the Rosary daily. Join us in helping to save our families, our country, and our world by praying the Rosary every day!
    PRAY THE ROSARY!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Dressing Modestly I would like to take this opportunity to remind the women and girls of the parish to always dress modestly. Low necklines and high hemlines are not modest. What norms should be followed? Those issued by the Vatican in 1928. Those norms have never been changed, because there has been no reason to change them. They are quite sensible:
    “We recall that a dress cannot be called decent which is cut deeper than two fingers’ breadth under the pit of the throat, which does not cover the arms at least to the elbows (due to market conditions, quarter length sleeves were allowed), and scarcely reaches a bit beyond the knees. Furthermore, dresses of transparent material are improper.”
    I would add that tight clothing that emphasizes the shape of a woman’s body must also be considered immodest. We are our brother’s keeper. We have the duty to not lead him into sin. If we do, we, too, sin. Always dress in a way that would be pleasing to Our Blessed Mother, and a source of edification to our neighbor.

Categories Latest News | Tags: | Posted on December 1, 2019

Social Networks: RSS Facebook Twitter Google del.icio.us Stumble Upon Digg Reddit

Comments are closed.

close window

Mass Times & Directions

Weekend Masses

Saturday: 7:00 am, 9:00 am

Sunday High Mass: 10:30 am

Sunday Low Mass: 8:30 am, 1:00 pm

Weekday Masses

Monday and Wednesday: 7:00 am, 12:15 pm

Tuesday and Thursday: 7:00 am, 6:30 pm

Friday: 7:00 am, 12:00 pm, 6:30 pm

Please check our bulletin for more information.

5461 44th Street
Sacramento, CA 95820
(916) 455-5114