Posted by: Fr Chris | May 20, 2018

Pentecost Monday

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St John the Baptist Catholic Church, Kenmore, NY, under the sign of God’s covenant with Noah

Readings: Ephesians 5:8b-19, Matthew 18: 10-20

There are lots of stories about how awful Catholic schools were supposed to be, usually told by someone who says they are a recovering Catholic. I had 8 years at St. John the Baptist school in Kenmore, NY, with the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur. They started in Belgium, and our American Sisters were well educated, well rounded, dedicated women who taught us to understand the Latin Mass and Gregorian chant, to write spiritual journals, to recognize God’s love, and guided us through the rapid changes after Vatican II.

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Saint John’s School, Kenmore, NY

They taught us very well, and especially taught us to love God and to realize that we are deeply loved by God. People tend to put their children in Catholic school so as to get a good education to prepare for high school and college, but the schools exist so as to preserve and pass on the Faith – what we do here in Eastern Christian Formation on Sundays.

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Gospel Book cover: Christ the Teacher and Four Evangelists 

The Sisters taught us to bow our heads when we hear or say the name of Jesus, and to have respect for the name of our Savior. They also taught us to bless ourselves, slowly, whenever there was a reference to the Holy Trinity in a prayer or at Mass. This is especially so in the Byzantine Rite, when the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are spoken, we make the sign of the cross. Blessing oneself is so powerful that in the ancient Church it was treated as an eighth sacrament and was never to be done in the presence of pagans.

Saint Ioannicus the Great wrote:  The +Father is my hope, the+ Son is my refuge, the+ Holy Spirit is my protection: + Most Holy Trinity, glory be to You! and we bow and bless ourselves at the mention of each Person and of the United Trinity.

It is an interesting reading for Pentecost Monday: Jesus speaks of the value of the little ones: no harm can come to them, and if even one is lost, He will seek that one out and find that lost one to bring that person back to His flock. He is speaking both of children, and of the anawim, the little ones of Israel – people like St Joseph, St Simeon and St Anna at the temple, SS Zachariah and Elizabeth – the people who lived lives of prayer, penance, simplicity and above all, dependence upon God like the passage in Ephesians, as people of the light, not darkness. This is how we all are supposed to be living, from the most powerful person on earth to a homeless soul in poverty.

The message in the Gospel today is one of mutual love, caring for the other, seeking out the lost, protecting the vulnerable. A shepherd in Jesus’ day would not go after the lost sheep – it was expected you would lose a few animals to predators. But Jesus is the perfect Good Shepherd – He wants no one to be lost and searches them out, like the famous poem Hound of Heaven* – He is there constantly at our side, reaching for us. The Gospel ends with the recognition that some people will resist grace, but every effort is to be made to keep them in the Body of Christ as a member of the People of God.

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The wholeness of the Holy Trinity abides in us: God loves us profoundly, deeply, with feeling that we can only begin to image.  God is our hope, our refuge, our protection – with Him, we have nothing to fear: not illness, not war, not disaster, not death itself. The Holy Spirit wants to live within us and God’s grace remains in us from baptism on. Four Gospels are sung at the four corners of the church, to proclaim the Good News of the Holy Spirit to the four corners of the universe. May we proclaim His message by how we live, how we pray, how we love, so that we may have the great privilege of seeing Him face to face at the end of our lives. Christ is among us.

*Read The Hound of Heaven here: https://www.ewtn.com/library/HUMANITY/HNDHVN.HTM

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Dove nesting before icon of the Holy Spirit 

Posted by: Fr Chris | May 19, 2018

Descent of the Holy Spirit, 2018

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Today the Roman rite uses red, in honor of the flames of Pentecost; the Eastern Churches emphasize the new life of the Holy Spirit, and so we wear green. In Europe, churches are covered with green branches, green sheaves are on the floors, and people hang greenery from their apartment balconies or gates of houses.

In 30 A.D. the day of Pentecost fell on Sunday, May 28. Thus from its very beginning, Pentecost was always observed on Sunday, the first day of the week, the day of resurrection.  Pentecost for the Jews  celebrates the giving of the Torah, God’s gift of the Law, which is the guide for how we are to live in the world. The Torah is the spelling out of the details of the Covenant that was sealed at Mount Sinai. When God spoke to Moses atop Mount Sinai there was thunder, lightning, trumpet blasts and fire on the mountaintop.  Just as the giving of the Law on Sinai was accompanied by fire and loud noise, so also was the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

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St. Cyril of Jerusalem : The apostles and disciples partook of fire, not of burning but of saving fire; of fire which consumes the thorns of sins, but gives luster to the soul. This is now coming upon you also, and that to strip away and consume your sins which are like thorns, and to brighten yet more that precious possession of your souls, and to give you grace; for He gave it then to the Apostles. And He sat upon them in the form of fiery tongues, that they might crown themselves with new and spiritual diadems by fiery tongues upon their heads. A fiery sword barred of old the gates of Paradise; a fiery tongue which brought salvation restored the gift.

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St. John Chrysostom points out in his Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles that the Holy Spirit came not only on the twelve apostles but the entire community praying in the upper room, fulfilling what St John the Baptist said in Matthew 3:11: He will baptize you with[b] the Holy Spirit and fire and thus fulfilling the prophecy in the book of Joel quoted by St Peter: I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams’ (Joel 2:28).

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Pentecost mural and Transfiguration mural, Drohobych 

 The reason the devout Jews came to Jerusalem was not just to celebrate Pentecost, but because of a strong feeling in the Holy Land and the Jewish diaspora that Daniel’s prophetic “weeks” were fulfilled and there was a general excitement that the Messiah was to appear (Daniel 9:24-27). The thought among both the pilgrims and the residents of the holy city is that since these Galilean men could not know all the languages and dialects they were speaking under the influence of the Spirit of God. Thus the listeners knew at once something far beyond the ordinary was occurring.

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It’s important to point out that the tongues were not unintelligible speech, for Acts 2:6-11 lists the various nationalities and regions in the audience where people heard the disciples’ message in their own native language. The grammar does not suggest that all the disciples spoke at the same time, but rather the foreign listeners heard the speakers speaking in his own native language. This event was the opposite of what occurred at the Tower of Babel where God scattered the people by giving them different languages after they tried to reach heaven with their tower. Now on Pentecost,  God unites a mix of people from thirteen different regions of the Roman and Persian empires so that everyone can understand the message of St Peter. The people hear the proclamation in Arabic, Aramaic, Berber, Coptic, Greek, Latin, Persian and its sister languages, plus the Semitic dialects from Mesopotamia – thus the people said they are speaking in our own tongues – not the nonsense sounds one hears in some Pentecostal Catholic Charismatic groups, where people cry out in garbled sounds, but actual languages in which the message of the Gospel was proclaimed to an enormous diverse crowd of people born Jewish and converts to Judaism. From its inception, the church was a diverse group of people who hailed from a variety of cultures and languages. It was in the midst of this great diversity that God sent the Holy Spirit upon his church and started a movement that would change the history of the world forever.

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Covering the floor in green sheaves for Pentecost Sunday 

Traditionally in our Byzantine Catholic parishes the Heavenly King is sung before the sermon, so as to inspire the priest or bishop to preach not only well, but to give authentic interpretation of the faith to the congregation.

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Heavenly King, — living in heaven as 3rd Person of the Holy Trinity: God is the ruler of the entire created universe, and therefore He is our ruler, not man’s laws which challenge God’s laws, but divine laws rule us;

Comforter,  to strengthen us in any time of trouble, challenge, difficulty, sorrow -whatever you can think of, the Holy Spirit of God is there;

Spirit of Truth: when Father Jerzy Popieluszko began his Masses for the nation in communist Poland, thousands of people packed his church and filled the streets outside – only at that church did they hear the truth in a nation soaked in propaganda. Now we face people who write hoaxes on the internet and twist the truth, politicians who routinely lie – we must be a people of truth. The truth shall set you free says Our Lord – not lies, not personal whims, not propaganda from right or left, but truth;

everywhere present – God is everywhere – when we commit our darkest sin, He is there; when we have our greatest joy, He is there; He knows everyone and every creature and every object: HE is present constantly. What did God do when our people were being murdered on  such a monstrous scale, asked Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. The rabbis answered, the divine presence was there, weeping over our losses, and weeping over the killers who refused to respond to His grace but persisted in serving evil instead. What do I serve in the constant presence of the living God? God? Or Sin?

filling all things, how does the universe keep going? The breath of God which animated all life at the beginning of creation still does so – God keeps the universe alive!

Treasury of blessings, a treasury is a place filled with important and expensive treasure, a place of wealth. What does God consider His wealth to be? The ability to bless us, to send His divine love  upon us, His invitation to be united to Him – the Holy Spirit offers us this access constantly;

Giver of life: I read yesterday of an Australian woman carrying twins – one baby had a heart defect. Rather than have surgery on the baby in her womb, she decided to have it killed, aborted, murdered. The only problem is, the hospital killed the wrong baby. Then she decided to have an emergency Caesarean section so that the so-called defective baby could be killed in the delivery room. What an atrocity. This is where our enlightened western society has taken us with the right-to-choose: violence is the answer more and more often. God gives life – God takes life. Not doctors, not abortionists, not murderers, but God. He is the source of life – we have made ourselves into little gods and goddesses who supposedly know what’s right for unborn babies, for elderly people who just won’t die, for sick people whose medical bills we don’t want to pay, for mentally ill people who have given in to temporary despair. Provide funding for surgery in the womb? for more mental health care? for dignified living? No, but kill – oh yes, let’s kill, kill, kill – and we wonder why disturbed young men take up guns and massacre their schoolmates.

come and dwell within us the Holy Spirit is our  friend who knows everything, a friend who has my highest good at heart, who can be called on to help at any hour of the day or night; and even better, He lives inside of us – not just in heaven, but inside each and every one of us! All we have to do is ASK Him to help us, to be more aware of the Divine already present, already here.

cleanse us of our sins Strengthen us, heal us, guide us to confession to a priest so that we may hear those all-powerful words: you are forgiven and absolved! There is a reason the Church has confession – to hear those words, to help us confront our weaknesses, our failings, our problems, and to come away as clean as we were at baptism.

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save our souls I cannot save myself – only with the grace of almighty God can I be saved.

Gracious Lord a gracious person in the medieval era was a grace-filled person. To be gracious to others is to imitate the Living God Who gives us His energies, what we call His graces. God is the most grace-filled Person in the universe, outside of the universe – He is the fountain of life.

Ben Fogg has taken a momentous step this weekend. He made his Profession of Faith last night in the truths of the Catholic Church; he made his first Confession; now he is chrismated with the sacred oil consecrated by the bishop, using the elements described in the Bible, confirmed and thus receiving the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.  The elements that prompt and promote continuous conversion — growth in goodness, deep faith, patient perseverance — require constant work. Each stresses the need for disciplined prayer, a steadfast spirit of determination and commitment, and humility.

This is your personal Pentecost, Ben, your personal Descent of the Holy Spirit; mystically, through the gift of kairos, of sacred time, we are present at that first Pentecost that Sunday, and we all here – if we are open to it – can again ask the Holy Spirit to renew Himself inside our own hearts, our minds, and commit ourselves again to those gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. And this Spirit can keep the fire of conversion burning deeply within our hearts — if we choose to let it. May you choose to do so for the rest of your life, so as to enter eternal life with the Holy Trinity and all the saints who have gone before us, and may each of us gathered here today do the same.

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Mosaic in dome of Cathedral in Saint Louis, Missouri 

Acts of the Apostles: 16:16-34,  John 9:1-38

The epistle from Acts gives us a curious tale – the girl possessed by demons goes around the city proclaiming constantly that Paul and the others are preaching the path to salvation and are the servants of the Most High God. It is a reminder that while indeed there are evil spirits, even they have to acknowledge Christ and Christianity, and that it is the fullest way of salvation.
The history of the Church shows that demonic forces have been unleashed against the Church in the past twenty centuries, from the pagan emperors of Rome to the communists ruling in Asia and Cuba today and the secular forces that are loose in the western world ignoring God and shoving Him and His people out of public life,  but the Church continues to endure. The devils may be loose in the world, and they may employ people who have come to hate God and Christianity, but in the end they cannot win. The triumph of Jesus on the Cross and risen from the dead is the victory of the war for souls. Battles are fought for each soul, for a particular area, but Christ has won the war. Finally the epistle gives us another episode from the early Church: the jailer and his entire household are baptized, and  a meal is celebrated after the baptism. The whole household: everybody, of all ages and all social status, and the meal is obviously the Eucharist being celebrated by Paul. It serves as a reminder of the ancient order of the three sacraments of Initiation being available to infants as we have been doing – baptism, Chrismation/ confirmation, and holy communion. This series is still the norm in the Roman Church, even though it has been disrupted in the last 100 years by St Pius X separating Confirmation and Communion, and though infant Communion disappeared in the Roman Church after the Protestant reformation: when someone converts to the Roman Catholic Church at Easter, they are to receive all three sacraments together. And many dioceses of the Roman rite are restoring the unity of Confirmation and Holy Communion for  young children in light of this ancient usage.

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Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Albuquerque, New Mexico 

This is the last  Paschal Sunday of 2018: the Easter season ends with sunset on Wednesday – this week we will celebrate Ascension Thursday, a holy day of obligation. In the Roman rite archdiocese of Santa Fe the feast is moved to Sunday, so if you can’t come here and go to a Roman Catholic church for Mass it won’t be the feast day readings. In the American Roman Catholic Church only the dioceses in the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania still keep Ascension Thursday. All Eastern Catholic Churches around the world keep the feast on Thursday. Why does that matter? Easter is kept for forty days, then we have nine days from the ascension of Our Lord back into heaven until the Holy Spirit is sent down to us on Pentecost. The forty days obviously matter in Scripture: forty is used as a time of preparation and purification: the flood lasted 40 days; there are 40 years of Israel wandering in the desert until the new generation of Israelites is ready to enter the promised land; Jonah fasted for forty days before preaching in Nineveh; Jesus fasted for forty days before beginning His public ministry. The last Sunday of the forty days is a particular feast of a stupendous miracle but also a conflict. For the 3rd Sunday water is used again , this time to wash the eyes of the man born blind, as a sign of our baptism. All of the preaching in the forty days was directed toward the new converts to strengthen them in their faith, and to the existing Christians to remind them of why they had been baptized. But the conflict reminded the new converts that their choice means they have to stand up against temptation to yield to the past, or to forces around them that don’t want Christ’s Church and the true faith to lead them forward in life.

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Cure of the Man Born Blind 

The miracle is that of a man born blind is cured; other cures had been of people who probably had cataracts or glaucoma, but here it is someone blind all along. The conflict of Jews expelling believers in Jesus as the messiah and Son of God didn’t happen in Jesus’ lifetime – John has taken what the members of his church experienced and put it into Jesus’ time so that they can see that really we always have to make a clear choice regarding faith in Christ. The man sets out, with the clay on his eyes, walking through the city to Siloam, whose name means One who is sent. Jesus sends him off testifying simply by his odd appearance, soon to testify with his own words, and when the blind man washes off the clay he can see. Rather than accept the obvious proof of Jesus’ power, the Pharisees reject the miracle and reject the man. But when he hears Jesus’ voice, then the man worships Him. The man rejected as steeped in sin since birth, the man who the leadership could not tolerate seeing, hears and sees the truth in the person of Christ. It is a tremendous moment in the gospel, since very few people ever worshipped Jesus during His lifetime on earth.

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The Holy Trinity: the angels at Mamre 

God the Father made all things through Christ our Lord Who calls us all to serve Him and to love Him; the Holy Spirit lives in each of us; we are all made in the image and likeness of God. We are here in this church to worship God and to receive the Holy Body and Life-giving Blood of Christ. We exist to worship God. Without priesthood there is no Eucharist, and in the Eastern Churches that also means no baptism, no confirmation, no weddings. We have been asked to submit names of people we think God may be calling to the priesthood, or the diaconate, or consecrated life. God speaks to the human heart – sometimes we may be afraid to hear Him, or think we are unworthy to serve Him. But He calls us, and He has set up His Church on earth so that priesthood is necessary, diaconate is very important, and consecrated life brings joy to Him. I am going to observe 37 years of ordained ministry on May 10th. It hasn’t gone the way I expected, not at all. I had no knowledge about Arizona or New Mexico when I was ordained in New Jersey, except for the story of the statue of Our Lady,  La Conquistadora, in Santa Fe.

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La Conquistadora in St Francis Cathedral, Santa Fe 

I always have had physical challenges since I was a baby, but I never thought I’d need a wheelchair and be limited in getting around or working or writing. Bishop Dudick who ordained me intended to send me to Rome for study, but instead I ended up in Phoenix because I needed a dry climate. I came here after 3 years in Phoenix, not knowing a soul except Agnes Adamsko, whose daughters still attend here and whose grandson-in-law is a deacon in Phoenix. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, committed lots of sins, but have somehow managed to stay in the priesthood all this time. There are things I wish I had done, and things I wish had never done. But the wonder of God’s loving mercy is that He continues to abide with us, that He continues to invite us closer. We are not trapped in one stage of life – to live a sacramental life with regular reception of the Mysteries of the Holy Eucharist and Confession is to live a life fortified by God. I cannot do a lot of what I enjoyed doing – I never imagined when running down the steps of a subway station to catch a train that I’d be in this chair. At the same time, I never imagined that the fellow I corresponded with in the eparchy of Mukachevo would end up following me as pastor of this parish. The Christian life is filled with surprises. Priesthood is loaded with surprises, one of the greatest being the realization that when we step aside and let God’s grace work through us, marvelous things can happen: people are born again into the Trinity, sins are forgiven, couples are married, the sick find healing and strength, bread and wine become the living Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Stepping aside and letting God work through us is a good model for anyone to live by. Standing in God’s way only causes problems.

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Fr. Artur Bubnevych carrying icon of Our Lady, Helper of Mothers at March for Life 2016, in Santa Fe 

Continue to pray for vocations: our parish has produced four priests, two Sisters, and one monk so far, even though our population has never gone over 150 souls. Continue to pray for those who are ordained to priesthood and diaconate or have taken religious vows. Continue to love God and to love His Church – Vatican II clearly taught in Dignitatis Humanae: this one true religion continues to exist in the Catholic and Apostolic Church, to which the Lord Jesus entrusted the task of spreading it among all people … all persons are required to seek the truth, and when they come to know it, to embrace it and hold fast to it, paragraph 15. We are blessed to have seen many people convert to the faith in this parish because of this parish, we are blessed to have seen Catholics return to faith in this parish, and we are blessed to see Christian family life flourishing in our parish, both in extended families and as a parish family. Let us ask God in this liturgy and in our own private prayers that this parish be a spiritual powerhouse of vocations to  ordained,  consecrated, married, and single life, of people committed to not only this parish but to this Catholic and Apostolic religion which our parish seeks to proclaim to all New Mexico in our unique way as Byzantine Catholics. May the Most Holy Trinity strengthen us, may Our Lady of Perpetual Help, to whom I’ve been devoted since I was a little boy, watch over us, may we listen to the voices of our guardian angels in making right choices, and may we be strengthened by the prayers of our saints and martyrs, to stand firm in this faith handed down to us from Christ by the apostles and their successors. Like the man born blind, may we hear God’s voice, and fall down and worship Him. Christ is among us.

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Posted by: Fr Chris | April 29, 2018

Sermon for Sunday of the Samaritan Woman, 2018

Acts 11.19-26, 29-30 John 4.5-42

Once again we have the theme of water – the Sundays of Easter were originally designed to provide instruction for the newly baptized adult converts received into the Church at Easter and a renewal for the existing Christian community of their faith.  The woman, who traditionally is called Photina, or Light, comes to the well at noon – the hottest part of the day.  Nobody would be outside – she comes then to avoid the other women who would have gotten their household water earlier in the day. She and Jesus enjoy a bantering conversation, one that gets deeper theologically.

The disciples are shocked to see Jesus speaking with a woman – why? They had women in their company. The shock is that He, a rabbi, is speaking in public and alone with a woman- in that time, a rabbi did not even speak to his wife or daughter in public. Plus this woman is a Samaritan – Jews and Samaritans did not dislike each other- they hated each other. Every encounter was dangerous, but they had to go through each other’s territory on journeys like the one that Jesus and His disciples were on. Ironically, modern DNA studies of the surviving Samaritans shows that they are indeed identical with the Jews- there is no trace of the supposed foreign blood that Jews claimed Samaritans carried. Jesus said that His mission is to Israel,  but here at Shechem He extends it to another part of Israel, the Samaritans, and offers them faith in Him and eternal life.

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Photina goes from being thirsty for water from the well to thirsting for more of Jesus’ words – she is so affected by him that she, a woman of a scandalous life who earlier was afraid to interact with her neighbors, goes door to door and convinces everyone to leave their cool houses and walk in that heat to meet a rabbi from the despised Jews. John gives only a few of the words that she must have said, and we don’t get the full power of her invitation – Come! Come! Come!

How many people here grew up in a Byzantine Catholic parish as a child?

Who came to the Byzantine Catholic Church because they were invited by someone?

Who found us through a book or the internet?

We came, we stayed – our Church is part of the universal Catholic Church, and we will soon say I believe in the Creed. What do I believe? How do I live my beliefs? Do I believe that Catholicism holds the fullness of the revelation of the faith of Jesus Christ? Look at the icons of our martyr bishops – men and women and children have died rather than abandon the Byzantine Catholic Church and be forced into the Orthodox Church. At Pratulu\in in 1874 young men who had everything to live for died at the hands of Russian soldiers.  During the Boxer Rising in China in 1900 children as young as seven died professing their faith in Christ and His Church.  Entire families were shipped off to Siberia and Kazakhstan for their faith in the 20th century. Catholics in China, Laos, Vietnam, Cuba still suffer for their faith.  What do I believe? How do I believe?

Our Byzantine Catholic Church has many treasures of liturgy, spiritual life, community life.  Invite someone to come in the next months – bring someone to the bazaar on May 12 to go on a church tour; invite someone to come when cars are blessed. Bring someone to Sunday Liturgy. Be willing to answer questions about the Faith.

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St Athanasius church, Indianapolis 

The western world is in a spiritual decline – while Catholics in the Amazon are thrilled to see a priest once a year, three-fourths of American Catholics can’t  be bothered to show up at their local parish on Sundays. In Rio Rancho one parish has 17,000 registered faithful, but 6,000 come on the weekend. Yet attendance in our parish runs at 95% of the membership. Why are we so high on the scale in our parish? We appreciate the treasure we have of liturgy, spiritual life, community life – but it is not ours to hold alone.

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Come to Me! 

Family life is under pressure, Christian values are routinely mocked by comedians and politicians. We have to answer for our beliefs – not at the point of a gun as in Pratulin, not by losing our job as in China, but often over a meal, after a slanted news story comes on TV, when a teacher says Catholics are homophobic misogynistic bigots with a priesthood filled with pedophiles.

What do I believe? How do I live my beliefs?

We are conducting the Called By Name project to raise up vocations in our parishes for religious life, priesthood, diaconate.  But our  Church as a whole needs to raise up the vocations of belief. Those who come to our parishes come out of love – God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God in Him. The disciples formed in Antioch in the epistle today from Acts were men and women who had no background in Jewish faith about a messiah coming – they responded to the call of the first preachers of the gospel and entered into the Christian community. Many people in western society have either no concepts of Christian belief or distorted ones – a homophobic bigoted misogynistic church filled with pedophiles, or of a God Who is angry. The people of Antioch learned of a whole new way to live; the people of Shechem discover that there were Jews who loved them and that the message of the Jewish messiah was also for them. People do not know the faith, the truth, the fullness of God’s revelation, unless they are invited, unless someone steps forward. We had a girl who when she was in high school brought her Protestant boyfriend to church – now Andrea is a cantor, Dan is active in the parish, and they have five children being raised in the faith. You never know what seeds of faith you plant, but it requires learning, reading, praying, and not being afraid. Photina was so excited that she forgot her embarrassment about her life, her humiliation at the hands of others, and brought those same people to Jesus.

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We have to do the same. Our eparchy has to do the same, as does every eparchy and diocese. Our national Church has to do the same. Pope after pope in the last 100 years has called on the laypeople to reach out, to evangelize. Our small parish has had multiple converts, multiple people who returned to the Catholic faith as a result of being brought here, we have produced four priests, one sister and one monk even though our population has never gone over 130 souls.

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Jesus remains thirsty for souls. In the garden of the agony Jesus sweated blood for us, but went willingly to His crucifixion for us. On the Cross Jesus said I thirst – not for water, but for us. Jesus raises us up to new life with Him in His resurrection. The Holy Spirit was sent down to the disciples and remains in the Church for each of us. We are more than halfway to Pentecost. Let us reach out to the Holy Spirit for guidance and help in reaching out to the souls around us. I believe – How do I live out my belief? Jesus waits for our reply.

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Posted by: Fr Chris | April 26, 2018

Status of Alfie 26 April 2018

Dr Robert Moynihan’s column

Thursday, April 26, 2018
“And after this, our exile…”

 

We would now ask you to return back to your everyday lives and allow myself,

Kate and Alder Hey to form a relationship, build a bridge and walk

across it.” Alfie‘s father, Tom Evans, in a statement in Liverpool this evening in which he asked for an end to all polemical press coverage

of his son’s battle to live. Alder Hey is the name of the Liverpool

hospital where Alfie is staying. Despite appeals to be allowed to take Alfie out of the hospital, the parents’ wishes have been

rejected by the British court system. How has this happened?

When parents and a hospital disagree over treament of a patient,

if the disagreement is not resolved in an arbitartion process, the disagreement is placed in the hands of the British court system.

That is what seems to have happened in this case. Hence the parents’ desire to patch up relations with the hospital…

“From this point onwards there will be no more statements issued or interviews given. We hope you will respect this.” —Tom Evans, 21, in a press conference

this evening. Based on this statement, Tom will not be giving any

further public statements aboutAlfie’s case. It is now the hour

of silence…

 

Holy Mary, pray for us…” —A phrase of the “Loreto Litanies,”

prayed at the end of a rosary this evening in St. Peter’s Square by a small group of Catholic laypeople and several nuns and priests,

many holding candles…

 

The group, numbering perhaps 200 souls, had gathered at 10 p.m. to

pray a rosary for Alfie and his family, beginning precisely at 10:17 p.m.

— the time Alfie was taken off of his breathing equipment three

nights ago in the Liverpool, England, hospital where he has been

for a year and a half.

It was an evening as perfect as only a Roman evening can be —

clear sky, bright moon…. a small breeze stirring the night air… overhead,

solitary doves and seagulls coasting on the breeze down from the great obelisk

toward the facade of St. Peter’s, wings outstretched, in total silence, their flight, it seemed, a form of prayer…

 

(Italians in prayer in St. Peter’s Square this evening, beginning at 10 p.m. 

for nearly an hour…)

 

 

Then the leader of the group, a middle-aged, earnest Italian man, said:

 

Alfie’s father, Tom Evans, just an hour ago, requested that all the

polemics around Alfie’s case cease immediately. He has said it is the

family’s wish and request, to all of us. So, we want to make clear that

we are not here tonight to pray for or against anyone, in any sort of

polemical context. We love Alfie, and his family, and we do pray for

him, and his parents, but we are really here tonight for quite another

purpose: to pray for our own personal, inner conversion. The inner

conversion of each one of us.”

 

People looked at the leader and weighed his words.

 

Some seemed to nod.

 

There was total silence.

 

Quietly, the rosary began, in Italian.

 

The candles flickered on the faces of those praying.

 

Several photographers moved about snapping photographs.

 

The occasional solitary dove flew overhead…

 

Nel nome del Padre, del Figlio…”

 

“In the name of the Father, of the Son…”

 

Padre nostro… venga il tuo Regno… rimetti a noi i nostri debiticome 

noi li rimettiamo…”

 

“Our Father…. thy Kingdom come… forgive us our trespasses, as

we forgive…”

 

“Ave Maria, piena di grazia… prega per noi peccatori…”

 

“Hail Mary, full of grace… pray for us sinners…”

 

“Gloria al Padre, e al Figlio, e allo Spirito Santo.

Come era nel principio…”

 

“Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

As it was in the beginning…”

 

“O Gesù mioPerdona le nostre colpepreservaci dal fuocodell’inferno, porta in Cielo tutte l’anime, specialmente le piùbisognose della tua Misericordia.

 

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell,

lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy.”

And then again, and then another time, and another, and one more,

until the end of the 5th mystery…

 

“…forgive us our sins…”

 

“…pray for us sinners…”

 

“Glory be…”

 

“…those most in need of Thy mercy.”

 

And then, this:
“Salve, o Regina, Madre di misericordia, vita, dolcezza e speranzanostra,

salve. A te ricorriamoesuli figli di Eva: a te sospiriamo,gementi e piangenti in questa valle di lacrime. Orsù dunque,avvocata nostrarivolgi a noi gli occhi tuoi misericordiosi. Emostracidopo questo esilio, Gesù, il frutto benedetto del tuoseno.

clemente, o pia, o dolce Vergine Maria. Amen.”

 

“Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, hail, our life, our sweetness

and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve:

to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us,

and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb,

Jesus, O merciful, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Amen.”

 

“… after this our exile…”

 

The rosary took about 25 minutes.

 

The murmurs of the prayers attracted passers-by.

 

The group was about 200-strong when the rosary began, but, bit

by bit, the crowd grew larger, until some 400 were praying quietly…

 

As the minutes passed, and the murmuring prayers flowed over

the piazza like the sounds of water in a mountain stream, it seemed

right to set aside the polemics.

 

There is enough reason for each of us to pray… for the things we

know that we have done wrong… and not done right…

The rosary ended.

The Litanies of Loreto followed.

The Italian woman next to me let me look onto her sheet, in the

flickering light of a candle, which contained the “Litanie Lauretana.”

 

THE LORETO LITANIES (link)

Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.
Christ hear us.
Christ graciously hear us.

God, the Father of heaven,
have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Spirit,
Holy Trinity, one God,

Holy Mary,
pray for us.
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of virgins,
Mother of Christ,
Mother of the Church,
Mother of divine grace,
Mother most pure,
Mother most chaste,
Mother inviolate,
Mother undefiled,
Mother most amiable,
Mother admirable,
Mother of good counsel,
Mother of our Creator,
Mother of our Saviour,
Mother of mercy,
Virgin most prudent,
Virgin most venerable,
Virgin most renowned,
Virgin most powerful,
Virgin most merciful,
Virgin most faithful,
Mirror of justice,
Seat of wisdom,
Cause of our joy,
Spiritual vessel,
Vessel of honour,
Singular vessel of devotion,
Mystical rose,
Tower of David,
Tower if ivory,
House of gold,
Ark of the covenant,
Gate of heaven,
Morning star,
Health of the sick,
Refuge of sinners,
Comfort of the afflicted,
Help of Christians,
Queen of Angels,
Queen of Patriarchs,
Queen of Prophets,
Queen of Apostles,
Queen of Martyrs,
Queen of Confessors,
Queen of Virgins,
Queen of all Saints,
Queen conceived without original sin,
Queen assumed into heaven,
Queen of the most holy Rosary,
Queen of families,
Queen of peace.

 

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.

 

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Let us pray.
Grant, we beseech thee,
O Lord God,
that we, your servants,
may enjoy perpetual health of mind and body;
and by the intercession of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin,
may be delivered from present sorrow,
and obtain eternal joy.
Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

 

=================

 

The prayer ended.

 

The crowd began to disperse.

 

I said to the Italian woman next to me: “Well, even from his hospital bed, Alfie is changing the world. Even if we can no longer talk about him, and he cannot speak, he’s doing it…”

 

She looked at me quizzically.

 

“We must stop what is happening all over the world, what

they are doing to the children,” she replied, quite firmly, with a

quite serious look, in a decisive voice…

 

============

 

Tonight, silence

 

As I write, little Alfie is still alive and breathing, without his

breathing machinery, which was detached Monday night at 9:17 p.m.

— more than three days ago.

 

…but his parents have just given what they say is their final

statement, and will now keep silent and seek to rebuild

their relationship with the Liverpool hospital staff where 

Alfie is staying

Here is a report on this latest development from the London

Telegraph (link):

 

Alfie Evans’ father in dramatic u-turn as he asks supporters

to ‘return to their lives’ in his ‘last’ interview
By Helena Horton Nick Squires, in Rome
26 APRIL 2018 • 7:23PM
Alfie Evans’ father has urged his family’s supporters to carry on with their lives in a dramatic u-turn outside Alder Hey hospital.

 

After weeks of ramping up support for his 23-month-old son to be allowed to travel abroad to receive treatment for his undiagnosedbrain condition, it appears Tom Evans has had a change of heart.

 

Earlier on Thursday, the 21-year-old father even called for the Pope to travel to Merseyside to see Alfie’s plight for himself.

 

But speaking outside the hospital in Liverpool, which has become the focal point of the bitter treatment dispute, he said his latest interview would be his last.

 

Our lives have been turned upside down by the intense focus onAlfie and his situation,” Mr Evans said.

 

Our little family along with Alder Hey has become the centre of attention for many people around the world and it has meant we have not been able to live our lives as we would like.

 

We are very grateful and we appreciate all the support we have received from around the world, including from our Italian and Polish supporters, who have dedicated their time and support to our incredible fight.

 

We would now ask you to return back to your everyday lives and allow myself, Kate and Alder Hey to form a relationship, build a bridge and walk across it.”

 

Staff at the hospital have been subjected to abuse by angry supporters of the Evans family, who had been campaigning for Alfieto be released from hospital.
In a statement on behalf of himself, his son, and Alfie’s mother Kate James, he said:

 

“We also wish to thank Alder Hey staff at every level for their dignity and professionalism during what must be an incredibly difficult time for them too.

 

“Together we recognise the strains (that) recent events have put upon us all and we now wish for privacy for everyone concerned.

 

“In Alfie’s interests we will work with his treating team on a plan that provides our boy with the dignity and comfort he needs.

 

“From this point onwards there will be no more statements issued or interviews given. We hope you will respect this.”
Earlier on Thursday, Mr Evans appealed to Pope Francis to travel to Liverpool to see the plight of his son who he claims is being held hostage at Alder Hey hospital.

 

Tom Evans, who has been at the centre of a bitter legal dispute with the hospital, told the Catholic channel TV2000 on Thursday: “I call on the Pope to come here to see what is happening.

 

“Come here and see how my son is the hostage of this hospital. What we are enduring is not right.”

 

Rome’s Vatican-owned pediatric hospital Bambino Gesù has offered to treat the 23-month-old boy, who has a serious undiagnosed brain condition.

 

The government in Rome has granted Alfie Italian citizenship in a bid to bring him to Italy and beat rulings to let him die.

 

But the British courts have refused to allow the child, who continues to fight after being taken off life support earlier this week, to be transferred to Italy.

 

“Thank you Italy. We love you,” Mr Evans said. “Alfie is part of the Italian family. He is part of Italy. We belong to Italy.”

The column below is from Dr. Robert Moynihan, publisher of Inside the Vatican. The case of Alfie Evans is very concerning, since the High Court in England constantly refuses to give the parents the option of sending their son to the Bambino Gesu Hospital (Baby Jesus) in Rome. Italy has given the toddler citizenship in hopes of flying him for treatment, but the High Court refuses over and over. Video links are provided. Why have we in the West become so determined to kill people, from the unborn to the sick to the “disabled” (me included in that category) to the elderly? Why?

Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Alfie has been sustaining his own life since 9:17…” —Tom Evans, 21, father of

23-month-old Alfie Evans, yesterday evening in Liverpool, England,

after British doctors removed Alfie from his breathing tube at 9:17 p.m. —

12 hours ago as of this writing…

 

The removal was decided after British authorities were informed

by Italian government authorities that Alfie had unexpectedly been granted Italian citizenship.            

A UK judge ruled during a conference call earlier in the evening

that this fact would not change a previous court decision that the hospital could remove the baby’s life support in the conviction that it was in Alfie’s “best interest.”

The call happened between the family’s legal team,

Justice Hayden, the Italian ambassador to England, and hospital administration. 

Reportedly, everyone involved — the hospital authorities, the legal authorities, and even the child’s parents — expected that, without the breathing tube, Alfie would stop breathing on his own

within minutes, and so would die.  

But Alfie did not stop breathing…

Doctors have been left “gobsmacked” (astonished)

by the fact that Alfie continued to live after his life-support was withdrawn, Tom Evans said.

Here is a photo of Alfie this morning in his mother’s arms…

 

6 hours of breathing on his own so far, what a fighter! I’m sure this is much

longer than his executioners thought possible… His parents must be so proud.

Please Lord, help him through this night.” —Comment by a reader in the comment section of aLifesitenews.com article during the night, about six hours ago as of this writing

The Court based their decision [to cease all treatment]at least in

part on the fact that he was incapable of breathing without sophisticated medical intervention. That fact has now been proven wrong…

——Comment by a reader in the comment section of aLifesitenews.com article during the night

Alfie Still Alive… Though His Breathing Tube Has Been Removed

Little Alfie Evans is still alive as of this writing, more than 12 hours

after being removed from a breathing tube last night at 9:17 p.m., London time.

However, he could cease breathing at any time.

There is no explanation that has been offered for why he has been

able to breathe on his own for so many hours.

During the night, baby’s parents asked if Alfie could have oxygen,

to help his breathing, but the hospital refused to administer any oxygen.

After several hours, seeing that Alfie was breathing on his own,

Alfie’s father, Tom Evans, 21, asked hospital authorities to re-attach a hydration tube so that Alfie could receive water.

The hospital agreed.     The hydration tube was re-attached.

After another period of time, the hospital also agreed

also to administer oxygen to the child. So Alfie is now on a hydration tube,

and is receiving oxygen, but he is breathing on his own.

“Alfie is sustaining his own life,” his father said, repeatedly, on a

Facebook video posted last night.

A video of his father saying this can be seen at the

lifesitenews.comwebsite (link).

The Vatican’s Role

Alfie’s respiration tube had been scheduled to be removed at 2 p.m.Monday afternoon, though it was fully anticipated

by doctors that this would lead to his death due to asphyxiation

within minutes.

It was thought that Alfie’s story would then end.

But, in a startling development yesterday, Alfie was granted

Italian citizenship by the Italian government — evidently with

input from Pope Francis and other Vatican authorities,

who had also weighed the option of granting Alfie Vatican citizenship.

Andrea Tornielli, reporting this morning on the

Vatican Insiderwebsite, writes (link):

“Even in the Vatican, in the last hours, the possibility of

giving Alfie and his family the passport of Oltretevere

residents [of residents “on the other side of the Tiber,”

that is, of Vatican City, which is located on the other side of the Tiber

from the old center of Rome] was taken into consideration.

“The problem, however, is represented by the fact that the new

citizenship — the Vatican one as well as the Italian one —

would have been added to the British one, and therefore Alfie would have remained subject to the English laws.

“Moreover, the Vatican is not a member of the European

Union and therefore the citizenship of Oltretevere would

not have been decisive. Only the renunciation by the parents

of British citizenship would have questioned the jurisdiction of the English judiciary.

“Yesterday at dawn, as a sign of solidarity and closeness, i

n the name of Pope Francis, the president of the [Rome]

pediatric hospital Bambino Gesù [Child Jesus] and

an anesthetist boarded a plane and after a stopover

in Germany arrived at Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool. 

“They were not allowed to enter the child’s room or talk to the doctors.

“As you will already remember, last September [2017],

without media clamor, a medical team of the Bambino Gesù had flown to Liverpool to visit Alfie.

“The conclusion was that there were no hopes of healing

or possible treatment, but the Vatican pediatric hospital

would have gladly welcomed the child by taking on the

risky transfer to Italy where Alfie would be assisted with palliative care.

“‘Bring Alfie here!’ Pope Francis had said at the

end of the meeting with the child’s father, a

private audience obtained by Thomas Evans on

the morning of Wednesday, April 18, a few hours after he had requested it.

“The Pope has launched four public appeals for Alfie,

the most important during the Regina Coeli [Sunday noon public prayer from the window of the Apostolic Palace] on 15 April, and at the end of

Wednesday’s general audience which took place three days later[April 18].

“Last night [April 23 in the evening], Francis dedicated a tweet

to his appeal: “Touched by the prayers and the vast solidarity

in favor of little Alfie Evans, I renew my appeal to listen

to the suffering of his parents and to be granted their

desire to try new possibilities for treatment.”

Lin Zhao visiting a tomb at Taoranting Park, Beijing in 1959.

Peng Lingzhao – Lin Zhao – in Beijing, 1959, from Wall Street Journal, April 14, 2018

On April 29, 1968, the Communist Chinese ordered the execution of a 36-year old Protestant woman known as Lin Zhao, after six years of  suffering in prison for  her “crimes” – of which she would be exonerated by the same government that killed her. Originally a Methodist convert in the 1940s, she became a Communist, hoping for an end to the rampant corruption of the Kuomintang government. Instead China received an incredibly harsh regime that remains in power today. While Mao Tse Tung Thought was rejected after the excesses of the Cultural Revolution caused millions of deaths (let alone all those who died from famine, lack of care, and the pollution of heavy industrialization), Xi Jingping Thought is now part of the Constitution; he also holds full, unlimited power, with no term limit. Dissidents fear China is regressing and losing any rule of law – ask Christians about that one as crosses get torn off church towers.

Image result for crosses removed from churches in china

Thousands of crosses have been torn off church towers since 2015 

Lin Zhao was imprisoned during Mao’s campaign against “rightists” – people who stood up to his dictatorial rule after the Hundred Flowers campaign in 1958. She was imprisoned, and on her release, returned to Christianity, just as the Churches were entering their worst period of oppression (so far) that would last until 1980. Jailed again, she literally wrote poetry and essays in her own blood on any material handy.  Her unknown writings so terrified the regime that her execution was ordered. Her family only found out when a government agent showed up at their door demanding the payment for the bullet that killed her. What kind of a leader is afraid of words? Words that only the secret police knew? What kind of leader is so afraid of what people might read about him? One who knows he does not hold a mandate from the people and who knows his position is insecure as a result.

Image result for lin zhao tomb

Chinese police expel people who were visiting Lin Zhao’s tomb on 45th anniversary of her execution in 2013 when 200 policemen were assigned to keep people away: South China Morning Post, 2015, 29 April 

Given the fear expressed recently by police driving away pilgrims to her tomb in Suzhou, the 50th anniversary will likely be marked by arrests and restrictions on entering the cemetery on Linyang hill. Who fears people going to a grave? People like Pontius Pilate.

You can read more about her at links below,  and many of her writings are in this book:  The Blood Letters: The Untold Story of Lin Zhao, a Martyr in Mao’s China (Basic Books, 2018)

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-chinese-dissident-who-wrote-in-blood-1523634068

http://www.sampsoniaway.org/fearless-ink/2015/05/13/%E2%80%9Cyou-have-to-pay-a-five-cent-bullet-fee-%E2%80%9D-2/

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1225885/remembrance-dissident-lin-zhao-obstructed-45th-execution-anniversary

https://www.thevintagenews.com/2017/12/11/lin-zhao/

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1225885/remembrance-dissident-lin-zhao-obstructed-45th-execution-anniversary

 

 

 

On the Roman rite calendar, today is the commemoration of St. Martin I, the last pope to die as a martyr – as of now, who knows what is coming? Anyway, Martin stood up to the power of the Empire at a time when popes were supposed to be confirmed only the by Emperor. That would mean the Church was subservient to the State – a problem still plaguing the Orthodox in some countries.

Not only did he begin his rule immediately upon election, he held a council at the Lateran Church in Rome (Rome’s actual cathedral) in 649, which condemned the heresy that Jesus had only a divine will, without a human will  (Monothelitism). Without the human nature of the unique Person of Christ having free will – as shown by the Agony in the Garden which we so recently observed – Jesus is not fully human, and we would not be saved. The council also condemned the attempts of Patriarchs Sergius and Paul of Constantinople to create a creed acceptable to the Emperor, but not the history of the Church’s theology.

Image result for st martin i

Saint Martin I abandoned in Crimea 

The Eastern Roman Emperor, Constans II,  had ordered St Martin to accept the heresy, but he refused, and for this he was arrested in 653 on false charges of collaboration with the Muslim invaders. The soldiers beat and tortured Martin and hauled him off to the Crimea – a favorite place of exile by the Roman Emperors – where he died in 655.

The freedom of the Church to operate in society without state controls is critical. Without that freedom, the Church becomes a tool of rulers – a curse visited upon Anglicans, Lutherans, Orthodox, and in times past, Catholics in some countries. The results are never good for religion – witness the collapse of Christianity in much of western Europe and the severe losses of Catholicism in Latin America!

Myths of Friday the 13th and the Knights Templar 

The mix of Friday and 13 was often considered unlucky in medieval times, perhaps due to the number of people at the Last Supper. But the Greeks think Tuesday the 13th is unlucky, from ancient times but reinforced by the fall of Constantinople in 1204 on Tuesday the 13th of April and Tuesday, May 29, 1453 to the Turks. So choose your day to fear – but our trust is in God and His mercy, not days and their numbers! Anyway below is an interesting article from National Geographic in 2016 from this website – https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/05/160512-friday-13-knights-templar-superstition/

The origins of superstitions can be hard to pin down. There are often several theories about how they started, and a bunch of people ready to debunk those theories. Friday the 13th is one such example.

If you read Dan Brown‘s The Da Vinci Code, you might remember learning that members of the Knights Templar—a medieval society—were arrested on Friday the 13th. Brown’s book helped popularize the belief that these arrests are the reason people fear the date. But although some of the Knights Templar were arrested on Friday, October 13, 1307, that isn’t the origin of the superstition.

Right now, the hottest take on Friday the 13th is that it wasn’t associated with bad luck until 1907, when a novel titled Friday, the Thirteenth was published. In his book on the number 13, author Nathaniel Lachenmeyerargues that before the 20th century, “13” had been an unlucky number, and “Friday” had been an unlucky day, but “Friday the 13th” wasn’t necessarily a concept.  Whether or not the superstitions began with that novel, it’s clear that a lot of  rationalizations for it—such as the Templar tale—are recent inventions. So, too are many of the other myths about these misunderstood knights.

ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS

“As far as the Templars went,” says Helen Nicholson, a medieval history professor at Cardiff University in Wales, the “evidence we’ve got shows them to be extremely boring Roman Catholics.”

The Knights Templar were a religious order of unmarried men, formed around A.D. 1119 to defend the Kingdom of Jerusalem and protect Christian pilgrims during the Crusades. Over the next two centuries, Christians donated their land and their money to the order (as was common with religious societies), making the knights powerful financiers.

The Templars continued passing around money and land until 1307, when the French King Philip IV, who was running low on funds, decided to go after theirs.

“The standard accusation against your political enemies in the early 14th century was to accuse them of being involved in heresy or magic,” Nicholson says.

Image result for knights templar

The Knights wrongly condemned 

 

Quite unimaginatively, Philip IV chose heresy. And on Friday the 13th, he had some of the Templars arrested for it. It’s important to note that the King of France, not Pope Clement V, accused the Knights Templar of heresy. Even so, the Pope disbanded the order since the whole heresy mess had defiled its name. That’s where the conspiracy theories come in.

EVERYBODY WANTS SOME

The quick, anticlimatic end to the Knights Templar “doesn’t fit into the sort of narrative humans like,” Nicholson says. Some people think that “it’s got to have a proper ending. So there must have either been a conspiracy … or the templars must have been evil.”

Overwhelmingly, pseudo-historians like to think there was a conspiracy theory—the Templars were doing something the church didn’t like, and that’s why the Pope disbanded them.

One common myth is that “the Templars were created by this organization called the Priory of Sion to excavate in Jerusalem and find information about the bloodline of Christ,” says John Walker, a history professor who is writing a book about Knights Templar myths. (One wonders how they would have performed the DNA tests.)

Other theories claim the Templars discovered treasure, or the Holy Grail, or some heretical secret (i.e. that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, or never rose from the grave). There are also theories about what happened to the Templars after they disbanded. One of the most popular legends says the Templars became the Freemasons—a rumor that was actually started by some of the Freemasons.

“I suppose people like to have a more glorious past for their organizations,” Walker says.

The false connection between the Knights Templar and the Freemasons was promoted by some early masonic groups around the 18th century, and theories about the Holy Grail and the Knights Templar have been around for a long time, too. But a lot of the conspiracies about heretical cover-ups are fairly modern. In fact, Walker isn’t sure where they came from before they were popularized in the 1980s pseudo-history book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail.

“It was really after that was published that you get this widespread interest in myths about the Templars, particularly when the Internet started in the ’90s,” says Walker. After that, The Da Vinci Code took up the Templar myths promoted in Holy Blood, Holy Grail—so much so that its authors sued Dan Brown for plagiarism. (They lost.)

“When you tell lies about history, you give people a false idea of how humans really behave, and how we got where we are now,” Nicholson says.

So yes, the Knights Templar are more interesting as protectors of an ancient secret, rather than single men who gave out loans. But if you tell the more sensational tale, you cover up the real story: that sometimes leaders are greedy, and they make false accusations. And sometimes people make things up to give recent phenomena like Friday the 13th a more profound, historical origin.

Follow Becky Little on Twitter.

Posted by: Fr Chris | April 11, 2018

Holocaust Remembrance & Catholics: Part II

Image result for irena sendler children

Rescued Jewish children in Poland 

Sir Martin Gilbert, Jewish historian of the Holocaust, defends Pius XII  https://zenit.org/articles/historian-sir-martin-gilbert-defends-pius-xii/

Refuting the Black Legend about Pope Pius XII 

http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1337848bdc4.html?eng=y&refresh_ce

Framing Pope Pius XII    http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/the-framing-of-pius-xii-from-skepticism-to-belief

Pope Pius XII and World War II   https://www.amazon.com/Pope-Pius-XII-World-International/dp/1477157042/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1523473753&sr=1-1&keywords=9781477157060

All Saints Church was in the Warsaw Ghetto until 1942. Its priest, once known for  disliking Jews, used it as an escape route for numerous Jews out of the ghetto – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Saints_Church,_Warsaw

Saint Augustine Church was in the Warsaw ghetto and was closed. But the priests stayed on, rescuing Jews and getting help for the ghetto. Both died for this – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Augustine%27s_Church,_Warsaw

Irena Sendler with Jewish baby 

Polish Priests, Nuns, and rescue of Jews (book excerpts) 

https://books.google.com/books?id=s2xhKJ-gz5oC&pg=PA52&lpg=PA52&dq=nuns+who+saved+polish+jews&source=bl&ots=tjGF_P52KS&sig=5mramjWhy7t0YOSY_umkN_5p-sQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwixs5vc8vfTAhVHllQKHSvRDRYQ6AEITzAH#v=onepage&q=nuns%20who%20saved

Banasiewicz Family who saved 15 Jews   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franciszek_and_Magdalena_Banasiewicz

Nuns Who Saved Polish Jews  http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/nuns_who_saved_polish_jews

Why don’t you take care of this child? – the rescue of a Jewish boy in Warsaw – http://www.aish.com/ho/p/The_Bakers_Tale.html

Irena’s Children – rescuing children from Warsaw Ghetto http://www.aish.com/ho/p/Irenas_Children.html

I’m no hero – Irena Sendler, savior of 2,700 Jewish children – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/mar/15/secondworldwar.poland

Henrik Swalik, Polish diplomat who saved 5,000 Polish refugee Jews in Hungary & 35,000 Christian Poles in Europe, hanged by Nazis – http://www.thenews.pl/1/9/Artykul/176404,Polish-Wallenburg-honoured-in-Silesia

Consul Souza de Mendes, who defied Portugal’s dictator to save Jews – http://www.aish.com/ho/p/The-Portuguese-Consul-who-Disobeyed-Orders-to-Save-Jewish-Lives.html. He also rescued the Imperial Family of Austria, Empress Zita and her children, who escaped to Canada because of him – they were wanted by Hitler.

Cardinal Stepinac and rescuing Jews in Croatia  http://www.croatianhistory.net/etf/jews.html

Ulma Family, massacred for hiding Jews in Poland-   http://www.polamjournal.com/Library/Sophie_Knab_Index/The_Ulmas_of_Markow/the_ulmas_of_markow.html

Nuns who saved Jews in occupied Poland – https://www.catholiceducation.org/en/culture/history/nuns-who-saved-polish-jews.html

Byzantine Catholic Bishop who saved Jews, Bl. Paul Gojdic https://aktualne.centrum.sk/biskup-gojdic-zachranoval-zidov-pred-holokaustom/slovensko/spolocnost/  (use Google Translate, in Slovak)

Bishop Gojdic http://www.yadvashem.org/righteous/stories/gojdic.html

Fr. Pierre Chaillet, underground leader and rescuer of Jews in France http://db.yadvashem.org/righteous/family.html?language=en&itemId=4042730

Rescue of 85% of Italy’s Jews, and the work of Fr Francesco Brondello  http://www.raoulwallenberg.net/saviors/italian/don-brondello-catholic-church/

Italian Catholic Rescuers  http://www.raoulwallenberg.net/category/saviors/italian/

Italian TV about the rescue work of Angelo Ronacalli (Pope John XXIII)  http://www.raoulwallenberg.net/roncalli/tributes-29/two-italian-productions-about/

Gino Bartali – saving Jews by bicycle   http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/righteous-sportsmen/bartali.asp

Belgian Rescuers  http://www.raoulwallenberg.net/category/saviors/belgian/

Sisters of Social Service in Hungary http://www.raoulwallenberg.net/news/sisters-of-social-service-of-budapest-was-declared-house-of-life/

Bl. Sara Salkhazi, SSS, killed for helping Jews in Hungary

The leader of the Council to Aid Jews in Poland  http://www.raoulwallenberg.net/saviors/others/keepers-flame/

Book about the council: https://www.amazon.com/Code-Name-1942-1945-Dangerous-Conspiracy/dp/031338391X/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1469296628&sr=1-8&keywords=poland+righteous+gentiles

Irene Gut Opdyke, a Polish Catholic woman who hid Jews literally under the noses of the Nazis  http://www.raoulwallenberg.net/saviors/others/her-hands/

Fr. Alfred Delp, SJ, anti-Nazi German priest and rescuer of Jews http://www.raoulwallenberg.net/news/celebrating-100th-birthday/

Msgr. Beniamin Schiavo, rescuer in Italy   http://www.raoulwallenberg.net/saviors/others/monsignor-beniamino-schivo/

Portuguese diplomats who rescued Jews by supplying them with visas – http://www.raoulwallenberg.net/wp-content/files_mf/1349882040ebooksparedlifes.pdf

Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky and the rescue of Jews in Ukraine, ongoing debate about making him a Righteous Gentile – https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=uk&u=http://ipress.ua/articles/chastyna_i_19445.html&prev=search

How FDR and the US kept Anne Frank from reaching safety in Massachusetts, while allowing in British children and also British purebred puppies. 

https://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/16784#.VTBBJ61VhBd

The Polish doctor who saved a village with a false epidemic –  http://holocaustforgotten.com/eugene.htm

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Fr Chris | April 11, 2018

Holocaust Remembrance Day 2018: Part 1

Image result for castel gandolfo refugees

Refugees in the papal residence at Castel Gandolfo during the war 

After the genocide of the Jews – and also Gypsies, Poles and other “subhumans” – the motto was “Never again.” Sadly this has happened again and again – in Rwanda, Cambodia, and probably the first televised genocide, the “ethnic cleansing” in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia in the Yugoslav War and the bloody siege of Sarajevo.  

Today people talk about the Jewish Holocaust in different ways. One of the current ones in the US is to evoke the Nazis’ disarming of the Jews and compare that to possible gun control. That strikes me as incredibly insensitive, and it is also ignorant: Jewish groups have been asking for people to stop proclaiming that this would have stopped the Nazi bloodbath but any perusal of social media turns up memes using Holocaust photos.

Another disturbing  thing is how casually people talk with anger, vitriol and even hatred of those who oppose their views. Nothing gets done in Congress because the two sides barely speak to each other, and no longer socialize together where families would meet up for picnics, parties, and games. Conservatives and liberals alike malign one another – we live in the richest, most powerful nation the world has ever seen and yet we are incapable of solving our current problems. We have been The City on the Hill – the shining light of morality, ethics, and liberty, envy of the planet. Yet we now see our leaders, our media people, our own president speak viciously about other people who are also made in the image and likeness of Almighty God. What must our Crucified and Risen Savior think of us who claim a Judeo-Christian heritage? 

When remembering the Holocaust, it is worth remembering how hard it was for German and Austrian Jews to escape: Canada and America both shut the doors in their faces: Anne Frank’s relatives in the US were blocked repeatedly by our government. A Canadian immigration agent said of Jews fleeing Europe:  None are too many.  This is what happens we deny to ourselves that our political or social opponents are not equally worthy of dignity, when we blithely allow the massacre of unborn babies because they might be “deformed” or have Down’s Syndrome, or aren’t “wanted” by the abusive boyfriend, or because the mother is trapped in grinding poverty and thinks she has no options, we advocate for killing the elderly, the disabled. A culture of death has taken root. The Jews died because too many Europeans and people in the Western Hemisphere were not brave enough to step in, accept them into their nations, protect them – the Nazi propaganda, old stereotypes, and fear combined to let six million men, women, and children die horrible deaths. And what of the Christians trying to flee the Middle East today? Or other refugees: the new limit is 45,000 a year now can come into the United States – how magnanimous!

Catholics are often blamed in social media for “not doing enough to stop the Nazis/ save Jews” – oddly enough, Western presidents and prime ministers who appeased Hitler and did nothing to save Jew are not reviled. The Church is also blamed because Hitler was a baptized Catholic – Lenin and Stalin were baptized Orthodox but nobody says the Orthodox Church is to blame for Communism’s atrocities! Here are some Catholics who stood up and did what was right and went the distance, at great risk, to save lives: 

A Jewish historian’s appraisal of Pius XII – http://www.ewtn.com/v/news/getstory.asp?number=8546

Andrea Tornelli: Pope was not silent: https://zenit.org/articles/book-shows-pius-xii-wasn-t-silent/

Pius XII’s summer residence as a refuge for Italian and foreign Jews – http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/castel-gandolfo-history-of-the-summer-residence-of-the-pope-a-886181.html — Jewish babies were born in his bedroom.

A second article on Castel Gandolfo and Jews https://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2013/03/castel-gandolfo-home-of-popes-refuge-for-jews

Activities of Pope John XXIII as a papal diplomat in the saving of Jewish lives – http://www.raoulwallenberg.net/category/roncalli/

Ten Catholic Heroes of the Holocaust  http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2011/01/19/ten-catholic-heroes-of-the-holocaust/

Augustinian Nuns of Rome who hid Jews in their cloister – http://www.30giorni.it/articoli_id_11037_l3.htm

Bridgettine Nuns of Rome rescuing Jews in their monastery – http://www.catholicworldreport.com/2013/12/06/two-nuns-honored-for-hiding-jewish-families-in-wwii/

St Elizabeth Hasselbad and rescue of Jews – http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2015/12/18/swedish-sister-who-hid-jews-from-the-nazis-is-to-be-canonised/

Mother Elizabeth of the Eucharist, who hid both Jews and weapons for the French Resistance http://20thcenturymartyrs.blogspot.com/2006/07/do-not-touch-sisters-and-children.html

The Rescue of Jews in Italian Monasteries in 1943-45   http://insidethevatican.com/news/lead-story/thousands-jews-saved-churches-convents

Cardinal Stepinac, reviled as a “Jew-lover” and the truth of his activities file:///E:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Father%20Chris/My%20Documents/Holocaust%20Rescuers/Stepinac%20and%20Jews.pdf

Cardinal Stepinac’s actions in Croatia for Jews against the fascists   http://www.lastampa.it/2015/03/02/vaticaninsider/eng/documents/the-blessed-stepinac-and-the-persecution-of-the-jews-fVH0T5hr2UAsmif3U9nA8J/pagina.html

5,368 Poles killed for helping Jews 1939-45  http://sunday.niedziela.pl/artykul.php?dz=z_historii&id_art=00075  (The Poles are the largest nationality recorded at Yad Vashem as Righteous Gentiles)

Polish Rescuers – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rescue_of_Jews_by_Poles_during_the_Holocaust

The Council for the Rescue of Jews in Occupied Poland – the only occupied country to have a government recognized group involved in rescuing Jews from the Nazis – https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rada_Pomocy_%C5%BBydom (in Polish, use Google Translate)

President Quezon of Philippines who saved 1,200 Jews – http://haruth.com/jw/QuezonsList.htm

Maronite Rite Jesuit who saved Jewish children in Italy  https://aleteia.org/2015/04/21/how-one-jesuit-risked-his-life-to-save-jewish-children-from-the-holocaust/

Brazilian ambassador who saved 1,200 Jews – http://www.raoulwallenberg.net/saviors/diplomats/souzadanta/luiz-de-souza-dantas-biography/

 

 

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