Sunday, June 25, 2017

Solemn High Mass in Cathedral of Diocese of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Soaring skyward with its bold array of colored brick, stone and slate, the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Victoria displays the confident spirituality that characterizes the best religious architecture in Canada.

The High Victorian Gothic style, an inspiration to generations of Canadians, was a fitting backdrop to sung Mass in the Classical rite on Saturday, June 24, a part of the Cathedral's 125 year celebration and Canada's 150 years.

Designed in the 1880s by Perrault and Mesnard of Montreal, St. Andrew’s was inspired by the medieval cathedrals of Europe, whose emphatic verticality and picturesque asymmetry greatly appealed to late nineteenth century architectural taste.

Mass was sung by Fr. Pablo Santa Maria, Vice-Rector of the Cathedral of Vancouver.  The excellent choir sang Palestrina's other-worldly Missa Aeterna Christi Munera, sung by the CapriCCio Vocal Ensemble, directed by Mr. Michael Gormley

The port city of Victoria, resting on the edge of the North American continent, has the unique distinction of being one of the very last Episcopal Sees having been headed by a living Council Father.  Vatican Vatican Council II (1962-1965) was attended by Bishop Remi de Roo, who was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Victoria in 1962 with a Vatican letter that began with the words, "Gaudio ex toto corde" ("I rejoice with all my heart").  

For many of the participants of the packed church, it was their first experience of sung Mass in Latin. One young participant remarked: "This was my first time hearing Gregorian chant.    I am an illiterate in the worship of the Church.  The super-terrestrial, meditative and other-wordly aspects of the ceremony were a touch of heaven.  Thank you to all!"

Another exclaimed: "What a great way to renew culture!  A big defect in our age is a lack of reverence or even an experience of the sacred."  

Another visiting musician remarked: "The Roman Church possesses a mature Christian musical culture, the core of which is the Roman rite sung in the Latin language.  The choir was terrific!" 

Fifty years after the introduction of vernacular in the Roman liturgy, the question of the use of Latin in the liturgy is being judged in a different light by a new generation of canonists reading the original documents of Vatican II, the official text being in Latin. 

According to the will of the Council itself, Article 36, #1 of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, this principle is formulated: "Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites."  This sentence has imposed a command to preserve the Latin language in the liturgy.  In contrast to various translations produced under certain auspices at the time of the Council, it must be observed  that the official Vatican text of the document employs the subjunctive servetur and therefore expresses a command, not merely a recommendation.  

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Great Soldier of Christ: Arne Bryant (RIP: 1918 - 2017)

My dear friend Arne Bryant has passed.  He was a saint who worked very hard to keep our land baptized.  The organization which he founded, Prayer Canada, does a lot of good to encourage people to get praying for government.  May the Lord reward him abundantly!

For years I have seen Arne at religious and pro-life events.  Until the end, he always drove himself.  He was very tall and his passion was the Holy Bible.  Losing his wife was tough, although he said she did suffer a lot in her final illness.  When I first met Arne, he said he was born in 1918.  Surprised, I said: "In other words, you lived through two world wars and survived to tell about it!"  His reply was simple: "Yep!"

When he gave me his autobiography last year, Arne wrote me a lovely message as a dedica.  I cherish these words of encouragement and consolation.  May we be inspired by these great warriors for culture who have gone before us.  They are titans in a dark forest.  Eternal rest!

In your charity, pray for the repose of the soul of Arne.  And may he pray for us!  

FYI: First Extraordinary Form Solemn Mass in the Cathedral of the Diocese of Victoria in 50 Years

We will be there, carrying your prayer intentions.  If you find yourself on Vancouver Island, do join us!

More info here:

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Clarity on Divoce and Declaration of Nullity

Fr. James Stromberg: RIP

A great man has passed before us. In your charity kindly offer a prayer for the repose of the soul of our beloved professor of ethics, Rev. Dr. James Stromberg, PhD. He dedicated his life to Catholic education at the College of St. Thomas/University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Fr. Stromberg was a Catholic philosopher from the old school, a graduate of Laval University in Quebec during its storied days.  He was part of a corps of really fine priests who in the 1950s Archbishop Murray and Archbishop Brady saw fit to assign to live and work among the young Catholic men of the College of St. Thomas and St. Thomas Military Academy.  Countless students were indebted to him over the years.  He inspired many of us. 

I can still see him on his way to the clergy dining room in Murray Hall where the priests took their meals.  I was there earlier this summer only to find that whole area has been turned into classroom space.

There were so many fine priests at St. Thomas in those days.  They lived on campus, heard confessions, celebrated early Mass in the chapel (the chapel celebrates 100 years this year).  Their presence was indispensable.

Each morning the sacristy was full of them.  Their names are etched into eternal glory: Mons. Schuler, Mons. Lavin, Mons. Probst, Mons. DuLac, Mons. Flynn, Mons. Shannon and many others.  All these years later that entire culture has been removed from UST which is a major loss to campus life and Catholic identity.  The last surviving member is our beloved Fr. George Welzbacher, now in retirement.    

For years Fr. Stromberg was my confessor at Holy Family parish where he was a weekend assistant.  When I would drive by and see his Buick parked along side of the church, I would enter for confession.  A brilliant philosopher and a saintly confessor, he adored St. Thomas Aquinas.  A true servant, he was good at being a priest.

Fr. Stromberg graduated from St. Thomas in 1950 and was chair of the Philosophy Department from 1979 to 1984.  From Aristotle he taught that happiness is a rational operation according to virtue in a complete lifetime, a truth which he spent his whole ethics class working up to.  

Students were introduced by Fr. Stromberg to many literary treasures, including Veatch's Rational Man as well as works by Avery Cardinal Dulles, including this one:

B.K. Dolan, a Michigan student who studied under Fr. Stromberg in the 1990s reminisces of a classroom discussion:  "I remember how he told a story of how he went to some wealthy friend's house. Fr. Stromberg was left alone. He saw something odd on the mantle over the fire place. He walked over to take a look. It was a Coca-Cola can. Why would a Coca-Cola can just be sitting on this very wealthy friend's mantle? He reached out for it and as he did his friend rounded the corner and yelled at Fr. Stromberg. 'Don't touch that!' It was a can that Andy Warhol had designed. — He went on to explain beauty and that the end of art was beauty. Contemporary art was about the artist, and not about beauty being an end in itself. This is how I remember it at least."

The Rite of Ordination: the Highest Art Known to Man

See photos here:

Catholic Apologist Stephanie Gray Gives Google Talk on Abortion in California

Monday, June 19, 2017

Austrian Hospice Religious Guesthouse for Pilgrims in Jerusalem

Returning from Jerusalem to North America, I attended Holy Mass at the venerable Austro-Hungarian parish church of St. Agnes in Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA.  Sitting in the pews, looking up at the scenes from the life of Christ depicted in the stained glass windows from Munich, I was deeply moved to contemplate the images and admire the artistry, with such vivid pictures in my mind having just returned from visiting these holy sites.   God bless the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Catholic civilization which it nurtured.  This direct link with the Holy City of Jerusalem is fitting of such a magnificent Catholic Empire.     

Austrian Hospice Religious Guesthouse for Pilgrims in Jerusalem

A wonderful place to stay while on pilgrimage in the Holy City.  The rector is a wonderful priest who I hope someday soon will be consecrated bishop.  The small, but enchanting imperial chapel is the perfect place to pray in a busy city like Jerusalem. 

Austrian Hospice Religious Guesthouse for Pilgrims in Jerusalem

A wonderful guesthouse, a relic of the Austro-Hungarian Empire located in the Old City of Jerusalem.  A quiet oasis in a busy city.  FSSP seminarians on pilgrimage to the Holy Land from their seminary in Wigratzbad have stayed here.  If you are traveling to the Holy Land on your own and looking for a nice place to stay, I recommend here.  There is also, nearby another convent guesthouse known as the Ecce Homo.     

Notre Dame Center for Pilgrims in Jerusalem

The best place to stay in the Holy Land: the Notre Dame Center.  It is extraterritorial property of the Vatican City State.  A short walk to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, it is a terrific location.  A lovely hotel for pilgrims located in a former seminary.  Our group stayed here and enjoyed it thoroughly.  May is a lovely time to visit to see the spring flowers.     

Friday, June 16, 2017

Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem

A busy place as you enter the old city of Jerusalem.  Adoration Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament at the old Citadel, one of the busiest entrances to the old city. The Arabic name for it is Bab ell-Khalil (Gate of the Friend), a reference to Abraham.  The sisters, on pilgrimage, were seen everywhere in Jerusalem. 

From here in December 1917 entered General Allenby, commander of the British forces which captured Jerusalem during World War I.  He was the first Christian to capture the city in many years.  The victory was described by the Prime Minister of England as a "Christmas present for the British people:

Paul VI in the Holy Land

It was a big deal when the pope visited the Holy Land in 1964.  At that time popes did not travel much.  Paul VI was the first pope to return to Jerusalem after St. Peter. 

Christian Information Center in Jerusalem

The building on the right is owned by the Franciscans.  Inside they have a great little gift shop, located inside the busiest entrance to the old city of Jerusalem, the Jaffa Gate.  The shop is operated by the Franciscans offering guide books, maps and other souvenirs.

The building on the left is the storied New Imperial Hotel, built in 1894.  Many important people stayed here back in the day, including Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1898.  The old ballroom is famous as well as the views from amid the carved Grecian urns on the rooftop terrace.  Today it is owned by the Greek Orthodox Church and is greatly in need of an overhaul. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Knights' Palace of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem

The palace is a wonderful property with great potential.  There is need for significant renovation and upgrade.  The chapel is in a pitiful state.  I would wholly recommend an overhaul.  Excellent location and great ambiance.  Our group did not stay here, although it is an excellent place to visit, full of history and charm.