Category Archives: Prayer

Homily: Father George, teach us how to pray. Wait… What?

A priest is blessed if he does what he has to do, called by our Lord Jesus to preach about His preaching, to instruct about His instruction, to exhort about His exhortation, to provide His goodness, His kindness, His truth. Likewise, a priest is cursed if does his own thing.

Yet, it seems like a blasphemy to teach about the Lord’s Prayer since Jesus already taught us how to pray. There is no bettering, one-upping the Lord.

But this speaks to just how weak we all are and to why our Lord called men to be priests even though Jesus is the One, the only One, the One High Priest.

Meanwhile, all the time: through, with and in Jesus, by the Holy Spirit: “Abba, Father.”

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“My encounter with Mary during the TET offensive, 1968, Huế, Vietnam”

[[This was first published in the National Catholic Register under it’s previous ownership, and is presented under the title THE HAND OF MARY by one of the writers of the NCRegister, Tom Hoopes. It is USMC Michael Lambert, who has been visiting my parish in WNC these past weeks, who sent in this story. I’d like to give it a bit more visibility. The picture above is of the church he describes below.]]

Michael Lambert already had a devotion to the Blessed Mother before that day in Vietnam. “I had studied as a seminarian for the Marist Fathers,” the native of Georgia says. “I had been dedicated to Our Blessed Lady as an infant by my mother.” But he would have an even greater devotion later, when he came to understand what had happened to him there.

It was February 1968, at the height of the Vietnam War. The Tet holiday, New Year’s festivities celebrated by families throughout Vietnam, had begun on Jan. 31. To honor it, combatants had called a truce — until North Vietnamese defense minister Gen. Nuygen Giap, defense minister for North Vietnam, launched a countrywide “general uprising.”

Communist forces attacked major cities and military bases throughout South Vietnam at the very moment many South Vietnamese troops were on leave with their wives and children. 2d Lieutenant Michael Lambert was serving as a platoon leader with Company H, Second Battalion, Fifth Marines. When the Tet attacks began, the Battalion was ordered into Hue’ (pronounced “whey”) on February 2. The mission was to attack the North Vietnamese Army Forces that had taken the city during the early morning hours of January 31. Hue was a city that was both strategically and psychologically key to the communist’s plans to take control of South Vietnam. It was home to over 110,000 souls and Vietnam’s most honored city. Hue’ had been the capital of Vietnam. It was the location of the former emperor of Vietnam’s ancient fortress, known as the Citadel.

The Catholic faith had been brought to Vietnam over a century prior to the French by Jesuit Missionaries. Vietnamese Catholics had suffered persecution by Vietnamese emperors for generations prior to the arrival of the French.

The journey by truck convoy to Hue from the combat base at Phubai was strange and silent, Lambert remembers. “Usually, on a trip into a South Vietnamese city, children begging for food would swarm the trucks,” he said. “The marines would toss ‘c ration’ meals and candy bars to the kids.” The young marines would laugh at the resulting melee.

“This time,” he said, “the only ones on the side of the road were the bodies of dead South Vietnamese and American soldiers.” As the convoy headed into the French section of Hue called the new city, “the scene began to resemble a Wild West movie,” he said. “We began receiving heavy machine gun fire from the steeple of a Catholic church west of the highway.” “Big green tracers flew high over the truck beds … no one was hit.”

Once they got to the MACV (military assistance command Vietnam) compound in Hue, they learned what had happened. The North Vietnamese had slipped into the city by night, occupying it and massacring thousands. The Marines would have to take it back.

And they would have to do it block by bock, house by house, on the Communists’ terms. “Urban warfare was a totally new experience for us,” said Lambert. “The vicious house-to-house and room-to-room tactics demanded a unique aggressive spirit.”

The fighting was intense. It took the Marines six days to clear six blocks. “After six days, we had developed a routine that consisted of violent assault supported by heavy automatic weapons fire,” he recalled. “Once the enemy return fire was suppressed, a fire team of five marines would rush into a building and run from room to room tossing in fragmentation grenades and spraying each room with automatic fire from their M-16 rifles. After many days without sleep and little food, these assaults became mechanical. Many of us were like walking dead.”

The horror of the war, the stench of unburied bodies, the total confusion of combat, the physical exhaustion of the soldiers and the deadening of the soldiers’ sensitivity to killing are hard for most people to understand, Lambert said. But these elements also make Mary’s intervention in the carnage, violence, and filth of that particular battle all the more extraordinary, he added.

Lambert’s reinforced platoon, which had started out with 65 marines, had dwindled to 20 effectives in six days of continuous fighting. That’s when H Company Commander Captain Ron Christmas gave Lambert the order to clear a Catholic church near the Phu Cam canal. The church was suspected of being the location of the machine gun nest that had fired at the convoy a week earlier. “I issued a brief order to my three squad-leaders to clear the churchyard and check the church itself,” said Lambert. “I gave special attention to the bell tower.” Lambert ran into the church with his assaulting fire team. He noticed a basement staircase descending from a low door in the back of the church. He decided to check that out himself.

“I removed an M-26 grenade from the left front pocket of my flack jacket and tucked my M-16 rifle under my right armpit,” he said. “As I descended the staircase, I readied the grenade. I placed my left index finger into the safety ring and began to ease the pin out of the arming mechanism of the hand grenade.”

Lambert easily could have thrown the grenade into the room at the bottom of the stairway, but he didn’t. Instead, “I felt a gentle hand touch me and lay over the grenade,” he said. “In one of those inexplicable moments in time, I instantly knew I was to re-safe the deadly grenade.” He did, returning it to his flack jacket.

Stepping off the stairway landing, he entered the crypt of the Church. “There in the darkness, I saw a sea of lit vigil lights with Vietnamese huddled over them praying the rosary,” he said. “The parishioners of the church had taken refuge in the basement.” He led them out into the light of day and sent them to the refugee center.

After four more days of fighting, Lambert was wounded, treated and sent back into combat. The battle for Huế lasted 26 days for the Marines. In the rush of events, he forgot all about the incident in the Church basement. Until 25 years later. He began having nightmares about the fighting in Huế during Tet 1968. Then a father of six, he heard about a priest in Slidell, Louisiana, who had the reputation, like Padre Pio, of reading souls in confession.

“On impulse,” he said, “I made an appointment with that priest.” They traveled from Atlanta and each family member made a general confession. Lambert was the last. The priest knew nothing of his past or identity, and at the end of the general confession he asked Lambert if there was anything bothering him; if he had anything else to discuss.

“I mentioned that I was experiencing troubling dreams about my experiences in Vietnam,” said Lambert. “You mean about the church in Huế?” asked the priest. “Yes, Father,” said Lambert. Answered the priest: “That was the Blessed Mother’s hand that stopped you from throwing the hand grenade.” The church was named Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The priest, Fr. Joe Benson, was pastor of Margaret Mary Alacoque parish.

Post Script: The area of the city that Lambert fought in was the “New City” on the south bank of the Perfume River. The Phu Cam district had been settled by Vietnamese Catholics that had fled North Vietnam following the 1954 Partition after the Viet Minh – French war. The Catholic refugees that resettled in Huế built their church in Phu Cam. The church was dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Following the Tet 1968 battle lasting 26 days, mass graves were found. Most of the 5,000 victims had been buried alive by the communist soldiers. They had been convicted by the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong and summarily executed. Their crime was being “reactionary”. Many were catholic former refugees from the north who had seen the tragedy of the communist state. This under-reported event is referred to as the Huế Massacre by Vietnamese ex-pats. The current government either denies that it ever happened, or blames it on the evil U.S. Marine Corps. So much for revisionist history!

[[My comment: Notice the power of the Rosary, and the power of Confession.]]

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My Penance for my Confession

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Christ, hear us. Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father in heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Illustrious son of David, pray for us.
Light of Patriarchs, pray for us.
Spouse of the Mother of God, pray for us.
Guardian of the Redeemer, pray for us.
Pure Guardian of the Virgin, pray for us.
Provider for the Son of God, pray for us.
Zealous defender of Christ, pray for us.
Servant of Christ, pray for us.
Minister of salvation, pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family, pray for us.
Joseph, most just, pray for us.
Joseph, most chaste, pray for us.
Joseph, most prudent, pray for us.
Joseph, most brave, pray for us.
Joseph, most obedient, pray for us.
Joseph, most loyal, pray for us.
Mirror of patience, pray for us.
Lover of poverty, pray for us.
Model for workers, pray for us.
Glory of family life, pray for us.
Guardian of virgins, pray for us.
Cornerstone of families, pray for us.
Support in difficulties, pray for us.
Comfort of the sorrowing, pray for us.
Hope of the sick, pray for us.
Patron of exiles, pray for us.
Patron of the afflicted, pray for us.
Patron of the poor, pray for us.
Patron of the dying, pray for us.
Terror of demons, pray for us.
Protector of the Holy Church, pray for us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

He made him master of his house, and ruler of all his possessions.

Let us pray. O God, who in your inexpressible providence
were pleased to choose Saint Joseph as spouse of your most holy Mother,
grant, we pray that we who revere him as our protector on earth,
may be worthy of his heavenly intercession.
Who live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (meanwhile, edition)

Old Glory is in tatters after the winds the last few days. But that’s about the state of the country right now. (Since I began writing this post, a new flag was hoisted.) Lots of Roses going on. Temps have been just at frost level. Meanwhile, ever so tiny, in front and back yards:

In seeing flowers it’s all about “picking” them to give to the Immaculate Conception. Jesus provided them for that, right?

The sub-current that’s going on is that the hearts of Jesus and Mary are always together. In following them throughout the Rosary such a Mystery is impressed upon me, or weighs upon me, mystery by mystery.

The Rosary has a certain rhythm to it, emphasizing the unity of the two hearts of Jesus and Mary… Pray the Rosary.

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Tourniquet EDC method & new TLM parishioners because the Church is bleeding out for the wrong reasons

Those who know what they’re looking at instantly know how to do this. The tourniquet is totally out of the way. I don’t even know it’s there. The extra-thick zip tie can be cut with one swipe by the holstered 2.5″ straight blade screwed to the paddle holster for the two extra fmj double-stacks. The G-19[4] is chambered with plastic filled hollow-points. One might quickly switch out according to circumstance. Any other way of carrying a tourniquet was too cumbersome, too awkward, which means you won’t carry it at all. This simply works. I had the intention to figure out how to do this since I saw that police tribute that involved a tourniquet.

Just 14 seconds: 1:11 to 1:25. The guy would otherwise have bled out.

  • “So, a priest who carries and says the TLM!” an older couple new to the area and the parish exclaimed well after the 11:00 AM Mass this past Sunday in the parish Church when I was getting ready to head out on Communion Calls. They stayed because they wanted to thank me for the TLM but then saw that I was carrying. I started to explain that I was also a LEO chaplain, but was interrupted with their enthusiasm: “I’ll have to tell my daughter to come to this Mass as well when she’s here to visit. She loves the TLM, and goes to the SSPX. We love that you also carry. We live in crazy times. We’ll be back.”

No one has ever complained that I carry. Quite the opposite. They love it, and feel safe. And proclaim this happily. Some have said they wouldn’t come to Mass in these crazy times (most of the time with no law enforcement available for hours at a time)… they wouldn’t come “unless our best-shot was there to protect us.” They meant me, but I’m NOT the best shot in the parish by a long-shot, so to speak. But the guy who’s better doesn’t carry, saying he doesn’t need a weapon to do what needs to be done. He’s pretty amazing. But pretty much the entire parish is armed to the teeth. :-)

But then this gentleman put me to a litmus test (you gotta love that!):

  • “But Father, tell me this, did your church stay open during all the lockdown stupidity?”
  • “Yes, of course we stayed open.”
  • “Great, Father. That’s great. That’s just not the way it is elsewhere. Thank you for providing the Sacraments.”
  • “How could a father not feed his family, a pastor not tend his flock?”

The TLM has been our tourniquet in this Church which, right around the world, is entirely a field hospital with entirely malicious “friendly fire” rounds thrown out at Christ’s Little Flock in bewildering crossfire, everyone wounded and bleeding out from the ones you would least expect. That’s what betrayal is, right?

Even the Pope has entirely abandoned the faith, encouraging idol worship and same sex unions and, of course, after all that and more, dissing the Traditional and Ancient Rite of Mass as invalid. That and a thousand other of his heresies and insults against Jesus and Mary and smashing down of all that is good and holy means abandonment of the faith. Untold numbers of people are scandalized and risk going straight to hell.

We need Jesus and His Living Truth, all the doctrine, all the morality. We need all the Sacred Scriptures. All of Sacred Tradition. All of the interventions of the Supreme Magisterium of the Church. These are all part and parcel of the tourniquet of the field hospital.

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Just use your Rosary as a tourniquet, Father! Great idea!

My Battle Rosary won’t work, as it would rip apart right quick. But this nylon-rope Rosary made for me years ago by a seminarian-student of mine and now a fine young priest would work great. For an arm, double it over and use a strong pen to twist it tight, right in the middle just a couple turns, placing an end of the pen under the knots. PERFECT. I tried this on myself with my USCCA tactical pen that I carry along with a real pen. It’s strong enough and is quicker much more easily self-applied than any fancier tourniquet. You just gotta remember, if medical help is hours away, to loosen it once in a while to get fresh blood moving just for a moment.

Praying the Rosary helps stop the Church from bleeding out for the wrong reasons. That’s the most important, but having a strong Rosary can stop you from bleeding out from unjust violent aggression.

But carrying that Rosary-tourniquet won’t stop me from also carrying a “real” tourniquet. More on my EDC “real” tourniquet later.

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Rosary every day… Wait… What?

A priest friend asked me with great sarcasm, truly on the attack, whether or not I had said my rosary that day. I said that I had said two rosaries that day. Skeptical, he asked what that meant. “The joyful and sorrowful mysteries so far,” I said. “So,” he responded, you haven’t even said one Rosary today, just two thirds of one Rosary?” “That’s right,” I said. “Did our Lady of Fatima say to recite the Rosary? Yes, she did,” he said, answering his own question, then continuing: “Did she ever say to say a third of the Rosary, to anyone, ever? No, she did not. Not ever. A Rosary is 15 decades, the joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries.”

But I also mentioned this exchange with some other priests at the retreat. One, who leads pilgrimages over to Fatima said that what the attack priest said was actually not true, that, in Portuguese our Lady said “terço” (meaning “a third”). Apparently, the Portuguese never say “Rosary” but simply say “a third.”

Meanwhile, I’ve fallen totally in love with saying at least a full Rosary, perhaps two, and more, which has immediately brought me stunning, jaw dropping… invitations to enter into the mysteries presently. More on that later. But this is one of those things you can’t just explain. Pray. Pray the Rosary. I get it now.

I now often think of the angel reprimanding the children: “What are you doing? You must pray! Pray!”

I stand rightly reprimanded. I get the reprimand now.

I often think of what our Lady said about Francisco’s chances of going to heaven: “When Lucia asked if Francisco would go to heaven too, Our Lady said, “Yes, but first he must say many Rosaries.” Learning this, Francisco cried out excitedly: “Oh, Our Lady, I will say all the Rosaries you wish!”

I totally get that enthusiasm of his. But there’s quite the difference between little Francisco and wretched me. I don’t there is enough time in all the world for all the Rosaries I should be praying, but I’m hoping the little I can do will be like a flower for the Immaculate Conception. We gotta have hope, right?

My weapon of choice:

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Fatima 13 August? No. But then…

[[ // The following is from the EWTN Fatima page. I like how the one summarizing the background in the first paragraph puts “criminals” in scare-quotes, intimating that these were, instead, under cover interrogators placed by the Mayor and Administrator. Yep. That would be right. // ]]

Under the pretext of providing his personal automobile, so that the children could travel safely through the crowds pressing around their homes, the civil Administrator or Mayor of the district in which Fátima was located, arrived in Aljustrel on the morning of August 13th. A previous attempt on August 11th to obtain the “truth” from the children having been unsuccessful, Artur Santos, an apostate Catholic and high Mason, had devised a scheme by which he would take them into custody and force them to reveal all. With a show of good will he now offered to take the three and their parents to see the parish priest, whom he claimed wished to see them, and then to the Cova. At the parish house he abandoned this ruse, and the parents, taking the children alone from there to the district headquarters in Vila Nova de Ourem, some 9 miles away. Here he tried bribes, threats of death and locking them in a cell with other “criminals” in order to get them to recant their story. It was to no avail. Despite their ages, their belief in the Lady and their courage was unshakeable.

Meanwhile, in the Cova at noon on the 13th the characteristic external signs of the Apparition appeared for the benefit of the crowd, the greatest crowd to that time. After they ended the crowd dispersed, as yet unaware of the trickery of the government.

The “trial” of the children, however, continued for two days, to the consternation of their families. Finally, on the Feast of the Assumption, August 15, the Administrator had them driven back to Fátima and deposited on the steps of the rectory. Here they were seen as the people, who had just come from Mass, were trying to determined from Ti Marto where the children were. Their anger was poured out on the driver, and on the Mayor when he arrived a little later, both of whom were no doubt glad to be rid of their little charges and to escape unscathed. It would effectively be the only serious effort of the civil authorities to interfere with the Lady of Fátima.

As it was the Lady’s plans were delayed slightly. On Sunday the 19th Lucia, her brother John, and Francisco, were grazing the sheep at a place known as Valinhos. It was located on the side of the same hillock opposite Aljustrel where the angel appeared twice, though a little farther north. At apout 4 o’clock, sensing that Our Lady was about to appear, Lucia tried unsuccessfully to get John to fetch Jacinta, until she offered him a couple pennies for the errand. As she and Francisco waited they saw the characteristic light. The moment Jacinta arrived the Lady appeared.

  • “What do you want of me?”
    • Come again to the Cova da Iria on the thirteenth of next month, my child, and continue to say the Rosary every day. In the last month I will perform a miracle so that all may believe.
  • “What are we to do with the offerings of money that people leave at the Cova da Iria?”
    • I want you to have two ardors [litters to carry statues] made, for the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. I want you and Jacinta to carry one of them with two other girls. You will both dress in white. And then I want Francisco, with three boys helping him, to carry the other one. The boys, too, will be dressed in white. What is left over will help towards the construction of a chapel that is to be built here.
  • Lucia then asked for the cure of some sick people.
    • Some I will cure during the year. (looking sadly at them) Pray, pray very much. Make sacrifices for sinners. Many souls go to hell, because no one is willing to help them with sacrifice.

Having said that she departed as she had on the other occasions.


/// This is the providence of the Lord, who so often provides that we are in the circumstances He Himself suffered, allowing us the opportunity to be in more complete solidarity with Him. Christ Jesus was betrayed and interrogated and thrown in prison overnight, the next day to face judgment by a puppet and then to be ripped to shreds and tortured to death on the cross.

In the case of the children, they had other tasks to be accomplished, the first amongst them being to pray the Rosary.

Typical of believers, Lucia, amidst all the chaos and suffering and then the apparition, asked about some sick people. Recall Jesus on the cross, who paid attention to His dear mother and to John.

Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of the Rosary, said: Pray, pray very much. Make sacrifices for sinners. Many souls go to hell, because no one is willing to help them with sacrifice. The purpose of this, practically speaking, is to get these fallen souls to GO TO CONFESSION! or, failing that, to help them as they die to turn to Jesus. Should they get to purgatory, they will in the end get to heaven. That’s what we want for Jesus and our Blessed Mother. We gotta get to heaven; we gotta help each other get to heaven.

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Father Altman on Joyful Mysteries plus three of his other most famous homilies

This was put up before on this blog, but it is best, methinks, to put it up again. There will be some fierceness to be witnessed in the coming days. I just wanted people to see another side of Father Altman, the one who prays before the Blessed Sacrament, the one who prays the Rosary, the one who – impossible to the fakers – has great spiritual insights into the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary. His words are spoken with awe before the Mystery. As expected – and I love this – he mentions some of the imbecile heresies that we all heard from Seminary professors. He refutes the idiocy well.

You can skip to 7.40 for the Gospel then the homily.

And here’s three other homilies in a row, the first one being why some powerful ecclesiastics have it in for him:

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It’s Good Friday: Mount Carmel Via Crucis

Originally posted on a long defunct website. There were rumblings at the time that there was a new plan to replace these Stations as the original company that made them was found. I find that the message of the destruction, particularly of the faces, is rather profound. Those who did the destruction know who they are. It will work on them like acid. Will they repent? Perhaps they already have.

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The Mount Carmel Stations of the Cross videos

Originally posted on a long defunct website. There were rumblings at the time that there was a new plan to replace these Stations as the original company that made them was found. I find that the message of the destruction, particularly of the faces, is rather profound. Those who did the destruction know who they are. It will work on them like acid. Will they repent? Perhaps they already have.

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Coronavirus: Chrism Mass Oils, Renewal of Priestly Promises, Praying for Priests

wp-15863010702347192345940171535281.jpg

For any LEOs wanting to get a hold of me for arrest, fine, or both, for apparently having broken the Federal, State and Mecklenburg County, NC, declared State of Emergency regulations regarding “Stay at Home” orders so that I might fetch the Sacred Chrism, the Oil of the Infirm and the Oil of Catechumens consecrated at that Chrism Mass Tuesday morning, know that any presumed breaking of the law is simply not true.

The Chrism Mass this year, sadly even if necessarily and prudentially, saw in attendance only the good Bishop, a couple of deacons and just a few of the priests more local to the Cathedral. This Mass is essential – critical if you want to use technical vocabulary – for the free exercise of religion, as the consecrated oils confected in this most extraordinary Mass with very elaborate ceremony and awesome consecratory prayers, are used for the Ordination Rite of Priests, for Baptism and Confirmation and the Anointing of the Sick, the latter also known as the Last Rites which are somewhat more common in these Coronavirus times.

Since the assistance – during that Mass – of the rest of the priests including myself was not considered critical, it was arranged through the powers that be that I would arrive at the Cathedral after the last of the good and holy deacons filling the little distribution bottles of the Sacred Oils would have finished their work for all the parishes and missions of entire diocese (that’s really a lot of little bottles!) and would have then forthwith left the campus of the Cathedral in Charlotte (to the back-right of the picture above), so that I, quite alone, could retrieve, quite alone, the package of Oils for all the parishes of the Smoky Mountain Vicariate, the extreme western region of North Carolina.

That’s how it worked out. That package was placed inside the back entrance of the rectory of the Cathedral (to the lower right in the picture above). I was out of my car for perhaps 30 seconds, and had my N-95 mask in place. I jumped back in the car and headed straight back, making for a more than 400 mile round trip, about eight or nine hours for me in the surprisingly somewhat heavy traffic and parking-lot-on-Interstate-26 construction zones with subsequent traffic jams.

While still driving – or parking on the highway as the case may be – a good and holy deacon who had assisted with that package of Oils called me, asking whether I had retrieved the package. The inhabitants of the Cathedral wanted to know if I had already grabbed that package, concerned for its safety (but perhaps also wondering if it was safe to venture forth, since, who knows if I could also be a carrier of Coronavirus). I posit that just for humor, but I would totally respect that concern as well.

As it turns out, that may well be true. But that’s for another post. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, being saddened by not having been able to attend the Chrism Mass itself to assist with the consecration of the Sacred Chrism and the blessing of the other oils, and to renew the promises of the priesthood with my fellow priests, I mentioned my sadness to the good and holy deacon, throwing out the thought that perhaps we priests might be able to get together at another time to recite these promises together, hoping, in doing this, that this good and holy deacon might mention this to the good Bishop. All deacons are good and holy, by the way, as they have to put up with us priests. :-)

The good and holy deacon immediately offered that the priests retreat always in the first full week of October would be an opportune time. I concurred and thanked him for this wonderful suggestion. I’m hoping he will put this to the good Bishop. Here is the rite of those promises. There are parts for the Bishop and the laity as well. I hope everyone will pray that we ever so weak priests can keep these promises. I will recite them later this Holy Thursday morning…


After the Homily, the Bishop speaks with the Priests in these or similar words.

Beloved sons, on the anniversary of that day when Christ our Lord conferred his priesthood on his Apostles and on us, are you resolved to renew in the presence of your Bishop and God’s holy people, the promises you once made?

The Priests, all together, respond: I am.

Are you resolved to be more united with the Lord Jesus and more closely conformed to him, denying yourselves and confirming those promises about sacred duties towards Christ and his Church which, prompted by love of him, you willingly and joyfully pledged on the day of your priestly ordination?

Priests: I am.

Are you resolved to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God in the Holy Eucharist and the other liturgical rites and to discharge faithfully the sacred office of teaching, following Christ the Head and Shepherd, not seeking any gain, but moved only by zeal for souls?

Priests: I am.

Then, turned towards the people, the Bishop continues:

As for you, dearest sons and daughters, pray for your Priests, that the Lord may pour out his gifts abundantly upon them, and keep them faithful as ministers of Christ, the High Priest, so that they may lead you to him, who is the source of salvation.

People: Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

And pray also for me, that I may be faithful to the apostolic office entrusted to me in my lowliness and that in your midst I may be made day by day a living and more perfect image of Christ, the Priest, the Good Shepherd, the Teacher and the Servant of all.

People: Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

Bishop: May the Lord keep us all in his charity and lead all of us, shepherds and flock, to eternal life.

All: Amen.

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Mount Carmel Stations of the Cross: They’re like acid poured on your face

I bet these have been replaced. When I made these videos some 13 years ago, the Discalced Carmelite Friars with whom I was staying told me that they had found some new ones identical to these from the original manufacturer up in – I think – Germany. They really are very well done – but – these particularly damaged stations, with the brunt of the malice being exponentially multiplied, brings home the meaning of the stations all the more, don’t you think. As I say, once you see them you can’t unsee them, but it all bears repeating none the less.

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Coronavirus: Pope Francis asks for Lord’s Prayer at Noon 25 March 2020

http://www.krassotkin.ru/sites/prayer.su/other/all-languages.html

Do it then, for sure. But do it right now just in case you forget and let it go.

But just make sure you pay attention to the words, especially – as our Lord Himself emphasized in His instruction – to the part about forgiving others so that we might be forgiven.

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Filed under Coronavirus, Pope Francis, Prayer

Coronavirus: Last night in our church

About those videos: Once you’ve seen these stations, you can’t un-see them. But, the intensity of them… Well, it all bears repeating. I made this set of videos (about 20 minutes all told) during my time living just over the cave of Elijah on Mount Carmel, Israel. The OCDs had invited me to stay there for an entire month during the years that I was a chaplain at Lourdes. I must say that these videos are very emotional for me to watch to this day. What a fright! But… Jesus, Mary’s Son, is just that good and kind! Even though in watching these you don’t move from station to station yourself, I’m sure your heart will be transported to be right next to Jesus, to be with Him in solidarity, and to be right next to His dear mother as she accompanies our Lord, again in all solidarity. These stations rip the heart right out of my chest. Dear Lord…

Meanwhile, during Coronavirus panic, the Stations of the Cross in our little parish church: We had a record number of people show up for the Adoration and the Stations of the Cross. We have:

  • Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament
  • Some minutes of Adoration
  • Stations of the Cross with, of course, the Stabat Mater
  • Some minutes of quiet Adoration
  • Then I go back into the Confessional and hear lots of Confessions (it goes overtime), and the rest of the those present are led in prayers
  • Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament (one of our young servers is being trained into ringing the bells thrice x 3 during the Benediction itself)

Meanwhile, while all that was going on, Charlotte Diocese, working into the night, sent out policies and guidelines. I haven’t been able to look over them yet, but, now it’s Saturday, and people are wondering about the weekend Masses.

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Filed under Adoration, Coronavirus, Prayer

God’s glory in the Face of Christ: What happened to Jesus’ Face on Mt Carmel

Jesus’ Face is our face. Are we in solidarity with Jesus while He is in solidarity with us, He, standing in our place, the Innocent for the guilty? Here’s Saint Paul:

  • “For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.” (2 Corinthians 4:6-12 rsv)

Once you’ve seen these stations, you can’t un-see them. But, the intensity of them… Well, it all bears repeating.

  • Being reminded of how far our dear Lord had to reach to get us in the hell of this world isn’t a bad thing, a hurtful thing, that which is meant to make us have bad feelings of despairing self-condemnation because we are all tender snowflakes absolutely entitled to spit on His face. No.
  • Being reminded of how far our dear Lord had to reach to get us in the hell of this world is a good thing. It should elicit an assent to the love which He gives to us.

I made this set of videos (about 20 minutes all told) during my time living just over the cave of Elijah on Mount Carmel, Israel. The OCDs had invited me to stay there for an entire month during the years that I was a chaplain at Lourdes. The chanting was recorded at the cave of Elijah, sung by pilgrims from around the world.

I must say that these videos are very emotional for me to watch to this day. What a fright! But… Jesus, Mary’s Son, is just that good and kind! Even though in watching these you don’t move from station to station yourself, I’m sure your heart will be transported to be right next to Jesus, to be with Him in solidarity, and to be right next to His dear mother as she accompanies our Lord, again in all solidarity. These stations rip the heart right out of my chest. Dear Lord…

Our Stations of the Cross here at Holy Redeemer in Andrews are “normal”, with pictures being used. The church is so small that any use of sculpted stations no matter how minimal in relief would block use of the side aisles. Everything is doubled over in both English and Spanish, except the Stabat Mater, which so far we’ve just sung in English. No one minds both languages as the common language is humble thanksgiving in witnessing our Lord’s great love for us. In fact, because of this, it goes the other way, with comments being about how wonderful it is that everyone comes together for the Stations.

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Filed under Prayer, Spiritual life

The reward of having fun during Lent

Our ineptitude with prayer, fasting and almsgiving gains us some incisive instruction from Jesus in how to go about all this growing in friendship with Himself. The last thing Jesus wants is that we are moping around, all sad that we are growing in His friendship. That’s not offering Him friendship, that’s doing no good to ourselves, and is a terrible advertisement to others for being friends with Jesus. Jesus expects us to be happy about growing in friendship with Him.

  • “And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:16-18)

So, what’s that reward? Why, the reward is growing in friendship with Jesus. And that’s a true joy.

  • We pray also to know that we cannot pray as we ought as St Paul says. That knowledge hurts our pride, but if we are humble, it is an occasion for rejoicing, as we can then learn and grow to depend on the Holy Spirit, who has us pray through, with and in Jesus: “Abba! Father!” with Jesus, one with Him in the Agony of the Garden. Such solidarity with the Divine Son of the Living God, learning to stay awake, to watch and pray, unlike the not yet saints apostles, Peter, James and John, is a true joy.
  • We fast to know that we of ourselves are so terribly tied to our basic necessities as if they were the be-all and end-all of our eternal necessities, when instead we will simply turn to dust no matter how well provided we are with this world’s necessities. And that’s tough to learn, as we don’t want to let go of the security we think we can provide for ourselves. Our “security” is no security at all. Our lives can end within a moment regardless of what we think we do. A layman, a hero to me, a great friend of mine, a one-time parishioner, a great friend of Cardinal Ratzinger, basically running the Church in a certain country as best he could, having liberal-ass (sorry!) bishops deposed and better bishops appointed via Cardinal Ratzinger, was dictating a letter to his wife in the evening in their bedroom. He suddenly looked at her and told her that this wasn’t necessary. “Why not?” she asked. “Jesus is here,” he said in great wonder and awe and reverence. “He’s here.” And then he dropped to the floor, dead, called by our Lord, just like that.
  • We give alms, not letting our left hand know what our right is doing, not counting the cost (gauged by whether or not we congratulate ourselves, gauged by whether or not we have donor fatigue that is proportional to how much we congratulate ourselves)… we give alms so that we know just how stingy we are, of ourselves, learning to grow, then, in the generosity of our Lord, who was so very generous as to stand in our place, the Innocent for the guilty, so that He might have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us.

When we come to know a bit of humble thanksgiving before Jesus, having learned and grown in His friendship, we cannot but rejoice, even in the midst of all the hell of this world that we get to know better through our ineptitude in fasting, prayer and almsgiving. Our heavenly Father so loved us as to send Jesus to us. How outrageous wonderful that we are to be rewarded when Jesus does everything. Our reward is to realize that He is our Savior, our Friend, Christ our God, that He is the One, the only One.

Might it seem that THE LION, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, is asleep while we – oooh! – suffer so much in our fasting, prayer and almsgiving? Sure. But know this, He is the One doing battle for us, providing us with friendship inasmuch as we, in His grace, are humble enough to receive it. Then we realize that He has been the One doing battle the whole time over against Satan, and that He, Jesus, is the last one standing, and we with Him. Do you dare to become closer friends with Jesus this Lent in prayer, fasting and almsgiving? What I mean is… this Jesus, the great Lion of the Tribe of Judah:

lion of the tribe of judah

The total sum of fasting, prayer and almsgiving is to GO TO CONFESSION!

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Filed under Confession, Prayer

Stations of the Cross on Mt Carmel

Once you’ve seen these stations, you can’t un-see them. But, the intensity of them… Well, it all bears repeating.

I made this set of videos (about 20 minutes all told) during my time living just over the cave of Elijah on Mount Carmel, Israel. That was in 2009. The Order of Discalced Carmelites had invited me to stay there for an entire month during the years that I was a chaplain at Lourdes.

It was here that I learned what happened, in detail, during the Conclave in which Benedict XVI was elected to be Bishop of Rome. I only mention that as it all brings us back to these particular Stations of the Cross.

I must say that these videos are very emotional for me to watch to this day. What a fright! But… Jesus, Mary’s Son, is just that good and kind. Even though in watching these you don’t move from station to station yourself, I’m sure your heart will be transported to be right next to Jesus, to be with Him in solidarity, and to be right next to His dear mother as she accompanies our Lord, again in all solidarity. These stations rip the heart right out of my chest. Dear Lord…

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Filed under Prayer

Keto-ing Police Chaplain Pope Francis Saint Thomas More Prayer!

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One of the ladies in my parish gave me this prayer card yesterday. She knows that:

  • I’m a Missionary of Mercy of Pope Francis
  • I’m doing up the Keto diet
  • I’m always talking about simplicity of soul (purity of heart and agility of soul)
  • I’m a police chaplain and have my sights on evil more than I ever did
  • I’m obstructed by “I” if I look to myself for strength
  • I only have a sense of good humor and can take a joke and can discover a bit of joy and share it with others when I know that Jesus is the One, the only One.

Thanks, Thomas.

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Filed under Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Prayer, Saints

Cuba, Russia, NoKo, China ICBM threat: preparing for the unimaginable

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When I was in first grade in our Catholic parochial elementary school in the mid 1960s the school desks we had were like those pictured, but the legs were bolted to long pieces of lumber much like a railroad tracks. The desks were always in order and one couldn’t mischievously rock the desk forward either by lifting it up from behind or rocking forward on the seat in front. I would’ve been the kid with bow and arrow outside the window trying to get my sleeping friend to skip school.

Anyway, for many days in a row we had nuclear missile drills in the class room. The goal was to get as quickly under these iron and wooden desks as fast as we could when we were given the signal. This wasn’t fun, and had us living under the dark threat of nuclear war, such as little kids could even begin to understand such things. That was when I began to have a deep hatred for all that which is Communism. All of my multitudinous experiences with Communism since I was a little kid have confirmed and further informed my first visceral judgment. I learned to include other power-ideologies such as one finds in the insane governance of Iran, with the oft-repeated desire to obliterate Israel from the face of the Earth.

Meanwhile, our hide-under-the-desks drill was taking place more than two decades after these USA dropped Little Boy and Fat Man on Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively. We shouldn’t forget how the war in the Pacific Theater actually ended:

Everyone knows that rule number two: “Trust but VERIFY” while making friends – of sorts – is always one aspect of preparing for the worst. It’s not a backup plan but goes hand in hand with rule number one.

Everyone knows that rule number two will be broken, which is why rule number one is always in place: “Be able and always ready to neutralize an activated threat when rule number two is broken.

Israel knows that neutralizing a merely prepared threat is absolutely necessary where they live. Thus, nuclear reactors manufacturing high grade nuclear warheads in deserts have been routinely obliterated. Great.

Not many know, however, what the absolute best way to prepare for nuclear war happens to be. It comes before the above two rules. It’s overarching, reaching into every aspect of our lives: the Rosary.

Oh, and that applies to the-end-of-the-world for us in our own personal lives, when we die, and either we will go to Heaven (whether after Purgatory or not) or directly to hell. Hell is unimaginably worse than any already unimaginable nuclear annihilation would be for those who somehow survive.

Being one with the Living God whose love is stronger than death is the way to live, and die. No threat is ever so scary when we are walking as one with the very Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception.

BTW. That picture above belonged to a parishioner who recently died, Marie McIsaac. She had spent a good bit of her life teaching special needs kids. She always had a rule number one for me, every time I visited her as homebound, or in the hospital or nursing home: Behave yourself!

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Filed under Military, Rosary