That picture is from some time in Lent. It’s just to show what a mantilla is. I saw these in the early to mid 1960s when I grew up in Minnesota. But they are making a comeback in no small measure due to our more devout Latino community. Mantillas are catching on with our “Anglo” community.
Before Holy Mass the other day one such “Anglo” lady was opening up a box she had received, opening it up in church. She was so excited that she couldn’t help herself. Her order of mantillas had arrived. Black and white and gold, simple and ornate. She wants to start a business making mantillas. Cries of joy. Meanwhile, other ladies coming in for Holy Mass shared her joy and got to wear one of the mantillas and declared their enthusiasm to start wearing the ones they had once again.
I declared again that I think I have the best parish in the world and we proceeded to the Holy Sacrifice.
While preaching on ad orientem logistics for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, taking emphasis off the knucklehead priest and pointing everyone to the One High Priest, our Eucharistic King, Christ Jesus, a southern Baptist lady in the back of the church cried out: “Praise Jesus!” She later told me that she wanted to everything she could about the Catholic Church and Jesus in the Sacrifice of the Mass, she wanted that lively reverence before Him who gave Himself to redeem us and save us. So, just to say it:
Ad orientem is the best evangelization tool we now have. And in its proper setting.
Stats are now plummeting for Catholics. I thought it was that 70% of Catholics don’t believe in the Eucharistic presence of Jesus. Father Altman just mentioned that this is edging toward 80%.
Are we sick of failure yet? Are we sick of the loss of souls yet? Do we have the fortitude to point to Jesus yet?
The Catholics in the parish to this point for weeks have been 100% positive, recounting profound soul-felt devotion and reverence once again that they haven’t experienced for some fifty+ years.
Cardinal Ratzinger vintage 1991 in Dallas addressing the U.S. Bishops Conference had it that we cannot begin to have any kind of viably working conscience such as we have with the grace of enmity over against Satan as promised in Genesis 3:15 if we do not have an inkling of the Sacrifice outlined in that verse, whereby the Redeemer and, please God, our Savior, takes the initiative to reach out His heel to crush Satan, knowing that He Himself would be crushed, that He would lay down His life for us, taking on the punishment we deserve for sin, the Innocent for the guilty, so that He might have the right in His own justice to provide us with forgiveness and eternal life through, with and in Him.
In other words, we tend to want to congratulate ourselves that we are “nice people”, you know, that because of whatever nice thing we think we are doing we are now back more or less to the pristine Garden of Eden, so that we can do no wrong, giving ourselves a license to sin, ignoring that those were the conditions in which original sin took place. We cannot begin to know, to live in the least way what it is to be in the grace of God analogous to what it was like before original sin – that anamnesis, that living memory if you will – if we we do not first of all have the anamnesis, the living memory if you will – of the Sacrifice promised in Genesis 3:15 and accomplished by Christ our God, who Himself said: “When you do this, do this in memory of me.” We cannot live the grace of redemption without first accepting redemption in salvation.
As has always been the great liturgical tradition, we look to the East, the pristineness, the early morning rising – to go waaay back in the etymology of the Scriptural vocabulary involved – to meet with our Redeemer, Immaculate Mary’s Divine Son. As we are reminded in the book of Revelation, we will all look upon Him whom we have all pierced, men of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, together, priest and laity, for Christ Jesus is our One High Priest.
How can a priest dare to shove his own face versus populum, toward “the people”, instead of being with them ad orientem, looking toward the One High Priest who is Himself the Altar and the Lamb of Sacrifice. How can the laity not get sick of looking at the face of a mere human being, a merely ordained priest.
(1) Anecdote time: In my own parish, I remember one day the other year when my congregation literally shoved the altar back and changed the candles around to the correct side of the altar so that we would all be facing the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass together. They did this without me asking. It is to rejoice.
(2) Anecdote time: In this account don’t be thinking that you know who I’m talking about since I’ve been in a zillion cathedrals in a zillion [arch]dioceses right around the world. I’ve been friends with a multitude of bishops, archbishops and cardinals.
The back story of this account is that, traditionally, a bishop’s cathedra, a bishop’s chair in the sanctuary of a cathedral, his teaching chair, is off to the side, a symbol that he is NOT the teacher, but that Christ Jesus is the One Teacher, the One Magister.
Traditionally (and not speaking of exceptions such as massive basilicas), the tabernacle is most diocesan cathedrals has been situated in the high altar, front and center, that to which the entire architecture of the sanctuary and church pointed, as it should be. More recently, we have seen most tabernacles in cathedrals cast to the side while the bishop’s chair is moved up front and center where the tabernacle had been. This paradigmatically changed perspectives of people: the bishop is god and he is alone the teacher.
In our present anecdote, a bishop of my acquaintance was sitting in his cathedral, empty at that time of day, except for the rector of the cathedral who was in the pew behind him. At a certain point the rector learned forward to start a quiet conversation with the bishop along the lines of the Prophet Nathan with King David:
Rector: “Are you finally sick of it, bishop?”
Bishop: “Sick of what?”
Rector: “Look up in the sanctuary. Aren’t you finally sick of sitting where Jesus should be?”
Bishop: “Do what you have in mind.”
And so it happened that the rector of that cathedral forthwith placed the cathedra, the seat of the bishop, off to the side of the sanctuary, demonstrating that the bishop is submitting to the teaching of Jesus, the Son of God, so that then the tabernacle could once again find its rightful place front and center, enthroned as King, as it should be. It is to rejoice.
Some 7,000+ pilgrims, facing liturgical and actual East, were jammed into the eastern side of the Lower Basilica of Saint Pius X in the Sanctuaries of Our Lady of Lourdes in France on the National Feast Day of France, the great Solemnity of the Assumption of the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God to heaven, soul and body, for a Solemn High Mass with yours truly being the “permanent chaplain” who, however unworthy, having once again kick-started after decades of dormition the official offering of the Traditional Mass starting in 2007, had the privilege of offering this Mass on this day in 2008, during the 150th anniversary jubilee of the apparitions in Lourdes.
Our dear Lord called me to be a priest during the offering of the Traditional Mass on the feast of Saint John the Baptist, June 24, 1962. I was born in February of 1960. So, just two and half years old. But I remember pretty much everything in my early years – always have – in fine detail, in color, with smells and bells, as it were. So, just to say, yes, I have a very deep seated, entrenched, and ever living “attachment” to the “Old Mass” (a misnomer on so very many levels). And it’s not just about entitlement of emotional attachment, you know, a weakness to be pitied. No. The Traditional Mass is who I am as a priest, who I am before God, quite literally and in every way, on every level.
The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as it has been celebrated throughout the life history of Holy Mother Church has for a long time been and is still today denigrated, held to be criminal, opening a priest up to persecution, bullying, brow-beating, suspension, removal from ministry, so that his salary is stripped from him, and all that he has to live on, including a place to say, something to eat, and then his insurance is removed, then his faculties, so that he is then held to be a mere liability and is dismissed from the clerical state. Just like that. Yep. Not infrequently either. This is the history of so many priests of my own acquaintance through the decades and still today.
After some eight years of catechesis of the parish, I have started to offer Holy Mass ad orientem, with “the people”, toward the East, toward Jesus, toward the Holy Sacrifice, the Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world.
On Monday, I offered the Holy Sacrifice in what has been called the Extraordinary Form, the Old Rite, the Latin Mass, the Traditional Mass, the Gregorian Mass, etc. A crime? Surely, in the eyes of some. Pope Benedict ensured that priests could do this at their own discretion.
“But Father George! Father George! You don’t understand! You’re divisory! You’re not pastórial or pastóral or however you say it! You’re not appreciative of the Novus Pontifex, the New Scriptures, the New Liturgy, the New Morality, the New Doctrine! We worship Pachamama! We’re clever and sophisticated and up to date! Follow us, not that outdated not-divine Jesus! There are no sacraments! Come with us, for friendship!”
Mind you, none of that straw-man rubbish above is reflective of my parish. Only positive to date, 100%.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis and many of his favorite cardinals and his favorite bishops and his favorite priests and his favorite laity have been pushing for a localization of pachamama style liturgies as he himself has wrought on the central altar of Saint Peter’s, meaning anything even demonic is all good. The Novus Ordo Misae? I’m about done. It’s the boiling the frog so slowly that it’s dead before it knows it. I’m wanting out.
And yes, it’s true, with the “Old Mass” comes all that is ever ancient, ever new, all the goodness and kindness of Jesus, and the Living Truth that He is, all the doctrine, all the morality, all the sacraments. I’m for Jesus. How about you?
This was drawn by a nine-year-old. Such wisdom. Very close to Jesus. He was suffering terribly and throughout his life at that time. As far as I know, he’s still alive. God bless him.
This is called: “No compromise!” We’re the ones who are expendable. We are to be crucified to ourselves to live for Jesus.
This is why, getting back from Los Angeles, similarly encouraged about all that which is Catholic, Holy Mass in my parish was offered ad orientem, towards the Liturgical East, towards the Sacrifice on the Altar, Jesus, who is the Priest, Altar and Lamb of Sacrifice. These logistics are what the Church has for us in the rubrics, the liturgical law as provided and supported by the General Institution of the Roman Missal (Novus Ordo, mind you), which I’m guessing is obligatory for the New Order of Mass right across the New Roman Rite rite around the world, you know, unless there is some indult to force priests NOT to offer Mass the way standing liturgical law indicates. Anyone?
Personally, I’m sick of compromising with the freakishly anti-Christ Cromwell from back in the day and resurrected in our own times to corrupt our Divine Worship. Ask any Irish born priest about Cromwell, and if they are in any way faithful, they will tell you how angry they still are with him. It might take you a few years to get this out of them, so angry are they with the compromisers, but they will tell you eventually. And then… you… will… know…
I’m about at that point. I would die before worshipping Pachamama or going along anymore with the B as in B, S as in S that the inverted narcissist homosexualists have for us or are planning for us. Ain’t gonna happen. They have it that this most important thing to do is to smack down those who want to follow liturgical law, the most important thing is to pander to brow-beating and bullying by the really nice elites or “lets look good to the mass media fame.” I’m sick of it. I want to go to heaven. I want to be more childlike in my faith, with the good example of that little boy above. And if we all don’t do the same, says Jesus, we will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
But again, if there is contrary legislation, let me know. I’m happy to dialogue, but only as clever as a serpent and as innocent as a dove. God help me with both of those.
Gotta tell you, only super positive, thankful, enthusiastic responses not only to the homily, but to the Holy Mass offered ad orientem (toward the liturgical East, toward Christ our God. It’s all about Jesus. He’s the One. He’s the only One.
What think you? Was I too rough on the versus populum (towards the people) thing?
This isn’t being “reactionary”, “rigid”, “conservative”… whatever. No. This is about making all things new with Him who is ever ancient, ever new.
This is the old base of the old altar. Obviously it was one those tippy altars, almost tumbling over any number of times. It had to be done in. But I didn’t want to just use it for something else. What to do? That’s an easy question for me to answer, seeing what’s I have a backyard and matches. But the flames are rather… suggestive… Yikes!
Some might ask – and some have – going along with the looks of things for the sake of conversation: “But why would that happen like that?” … you know, ignoring how the box was made and the updrafts dependent on the logistics of the drafts and positioning of the wood, etc.
Here’s a thought: The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is (1) the Last Supper united with (2) Jesus’ Passion and Death for our Redemption and Salvation on Calvary. Satan had already possessed Judas when the Last Supper took place on that Holy Thursday evening. Satan was present in Judas at the Last Supper. And, obviously, hell was entirely broken out on Calvary. When Satan thought he was being victorious over the God-Man Jesus, this is when the greatest glory of God’s love for us was being most manifest, glory upon glory. People think that Holy Mass is so holy that Satan couldn’t possibly be there. Instead, this is where he is, now trying to pervert the doctrine and morality of the priests, now trying to turn people away from Jesus.
The vast majority of Catholics no longer believe in our Eucharistic King, Jesus, who is, in fact, present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. They are not doubting because of any scientific doubt. I’ve never once seen that. Instead, any doubt about our Eucharistic King stems from immoral lives and unconfessed sin. If the backsliders actually love Jesus they will keep His commandments. They will go to Confession. They will have the great joy of receiving Him in Holy Communion. And they will absolutely believe in the Eucharist, the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus. They will be humbly thankful.
Newly converted once again, they will be situationally aware as never before, knowing that Satan is prowling about like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour, but they will remain steadfast, fearless, with Jesus. The Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception is The Warrior with His mother over against Satan. Jesus is Himself the true Lion of the Tribe of Judah. He is the Last One Standing, full of scars. Yes, He received those scars on Calvary, the Sacrifice of the Sacrifice of the Mass, but He has killed off the power of Satan, that fake-lion, and stands victorious.
I’m with the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, not because I’m good, but because I’m forgiven. Jesus is good and kind.
I have no fear, not because I’m good, but because the One who is the Last One Standing wants me with Him. Jesus is good and kind.
The look on that Face is not threatening in the least. Rather, it’s a Face which says, “You see how I’ve loved you, fighting for you, unto death, and now I bring you to Life: Let’s go! And we are enthusiastic with His saying: “As the Master, so the Disciple.”
All the placemats at the meal for the priests and seminarians after the Chrism Mass were created by the children of the parish school. This is a yearly consolation. They are as different one to another as are the kids themselves. I’m always eager to see what the placemat will be where I sit. I was very happy to see that Jesus’ good mom was accompanied by a Star of David. There are many hearts – Sacred Heart, Immaculate Heart, and the hearts of those who are martyrs for the faith with all their churches throughout the world.
Here’s are those words in the middle with slightly greater context:
“All your sons shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. In justice shall you be established, far from the fear of oppression, where destruction cannot come near you. Should there be any attack, it shall not be of my making; whoever attacks you shall fall before you.” (Isaiah 54:13-15)
Mind you, that’s not at all to say that we will not join Jesus on the Cross, that we will not join Mary on Calvary. We will have great peace in heaven from the Prince of the Most Profound Peace.
You’ll also notice a number of three-leafed clovers in the placemat. Not only did we just have Saint Patrick’s Day, who used the clover as a way to teach about the Most Holy Trinity, but also the Cathedral Parish is named after Saint Patrick.
Hmmm… I didn’t eat the non-Keto carrot cake. The rector of the Cathedral sat the Bishop at our table. The table banter was good. Seated in front of me below is the Vicar Forane of my vicariate. There were two other priests and a seminarian, the latter of whom I had a great chat about the vocation to which our Lord calls us priests, that is, to get out of His way so that He shines forth as the High Priest for His little flock even through us.
In the end, all the priests of the diocese were invited for the Chrism Mass. Last year there were only a representative number. But I think we’re all quite sick of the politics of Covid-19.
As it is, I had been contacted by the Bishop’s secretary, making sure I would be at the Chrism Mass, since there were requests to the end that I pick up the sacred oils blessed and consecrated at that Holy Mass for a number of other priests who were not going to be in attendance. I did that. Now comes the delivery part, which is less easy. That will be an adventure.
Lots of friends were greeted. I had a great chat with the Vicar General afterward, and got lots of really sharp canon law advice on the Traditional Latin Mass, as it is called, that is, on the rubrical-sacramental law of 1917 still being in effect for that liturgy, even while the adjunct personal law regarding that liturgy now comes from the 1983 code. Thus:
Holy Communion can only be given on the tongue in the Traditional Latin Mass, since that is the rubrical-sacramental law of the 1917 Code of Canon Law.
The much lengthier fasting the priest was required to accomplish under the 1917 law is abrogated unto the law promulgated in 1983, as this is instead adjunct law regarding merely the very person of the priest himself.
Many readers have been praying for me, perhaps especially recently. I thank you.The sense of a profound peace and calm that I was in yesterday – and still today – immediately brought to mind those praying for me. That peace is all their “fault” so to speak. Thank you for that. It did me good. All in all, a great day on so many levels.
Christianity cannot be without irony, without what G.K. Chesterton calls “Christian mirth,” wherein we are presented with mercy and justice being quite identified as one on the Cross. The Holy Spirit provides joy in living this Truth.
While I couldn’t record this homily – being rather busy at the time (Don’t tell anyone!) – it is easy to summarize:
Hosanna in the highest! Hosanna in excelsis! !הוֹשַׁע־נָא בַּמְּרוֹמִים
Hosanna (Hebrew!) is an imperative command put into action because of a situation (the “na” suffix).
The situation in context is being located “in the highest” place of all: “Because you are in the highest place, therefore…”
It is the same literal Hebrew root as the Holy Name of Jesus.
Jesus means “Savior”
The command being given is “Save us!”
Literally, in speaking to Jesus: “Because you [Jesus, Savior] are in the highest place, save us!” It’s a request to be saved, but it is almost a challenge: “Look here, you Savior, you are in the highest place, and therefore you can do this, you can save us, so, therefore, SAVE US!”
The crowd is proclaiming their request joyfully, as they have all hope that their prayer will be heard.
Let’s see some logistics about that highest place:
Jesus is riding into Jerusalem, His city, high atop the foul of donkey. He is humble in His majesty, the perfect image of the Suffering Servant, who takest away the sins of the world by standing in our place, Innocent for the guilty, fulfilling the prophesy in Zechariah:
“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your King comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Jesus says about His being lifted up from the earth, on the Cross, where salvation “in the highest” will be wrought:
“‘When I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all to myself.’ He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.” (John 12:32-33)
Those shouting “Hosanna in the highest!” weren’t paying much attention to the humility of the One in the Highest.
Let’s take a look at logistics in time:
Holy Mother Church, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, places these words – “Hosanna in the highest!” – immediately before the Consecrations, then having the priest lift up, in the highest, the Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world. Our response to those elevations of our Eucharistic King humbly held on high by any donkey-priest, is to repeat: “Therefore, you, Jesus, Savior, who are in the highest, and can therefore save us, do so! Save us, Savior!”
The homily went a bit more smoothly than all that, but you get the idea.
This is like unto a homily I gave in Rome decades ago in front of dozens of priests including a particular priest who is quite singularly responsible for the downfall of the seminaries in Ireland, the destruction of the faith in Ireland, he who is surely the “most spiritual” among pretty much all mostly English speaking Bishops Conferences. Afterward, he literally ran out of the sacristy after me, grabbing me by the shoulder, commanding me (as if he had such authority) to never, not ever say such things ever again, never again, ever. “That was terrible!” he exclaimed, “Terrible!” He was sweating, filled with adrenaline, apoplectic, eyes wildly darting about. His fear of truth was palpable. The truth about Jesus, Irony Incarnate, just about kills people, I guess…
So, just to impress the point for the sake of anyone apoplectic in reading this – and having already mentioned G.K. Chesterton – let’s bring to the fore the great Hilaire Belloc once again. I believe that all priests and bishops including the Bishop of Rome should memorize this passage:
“To the young, the pure, and the ingenuous, irony must always appear to have a quality of something evil, and so it has, for […] it is a sword to wound. It is so directly the product or reflex of evil that, though it can never be used – nay, can hardly exist – save in the chastisement of evil, yet irony always carries with it some reflections of the bad spirit against which it was directed. […] It suggests most powerfully the evil against which it is directed, and those innocent of evil shun so terrible an instrument. […] The mere truth is vivid with ironical power […] when the mere utterance of a plain truth labouriously concealed by hypocrisy, denied by contemporary falsehood, and forgotten in the moral lethargy of the populace, takes upon itself an ironical quality more powerful than any elaboration of special ironies could have taken in the past. […] No man possessed of irony and using it has lived happily; nor has any man possessing it and using it died without having done great good to his fellows and secured a singular advantage to his own soul.” [Hilaire Belloc, “On Irony” (pages 124-127; Penguin books 1325. Selected Essays (2/6), edited by J.B. Morton; Harmondsworth – Baltimore – Mitcham 1958).]
By the way, that priest who “commanded” me never to tell people what “Hosanna!” means, threatened me that if I did try to publish such things in future he would, instead, use his connections, his power, not to allow anything I write to be published by any Catholic or Christian publisher, he being on the boards of most publishing houses. Yep. “And I am quite powerful in the publishing world,” he insisted again.
I guess he had a rather too grandiose opinion of himself or at least had the idea that I somehow feared him. Um… no.
I will continue to call out to the Lord to save me when He is lifted up from the earth on the cross as He draws me to Himself to also be on the cross with Him. I am the most wretched sinner. I need Salvation, Jesus! In my desperation I must call out: Jesus, Savior, you who are in the highest, because you in the highest, save us, save me!
Underneath the canopy of pretty much any baldacchino anywhere in the world – where any still exist – you are likely to see an image of the Holy Spirit. In this case of Saint Peter’s Basilica on Vatican hill, you can also see the amber window of the Holy Spirit.
Below you see some progress being made with the base of our new mostly solid oak altar, which will have a near half-ton granite top. There is, however, for evenly flat and super strong support a maple topped sheet of plywood which will lie immediately underneath the granite which will itself overhang all sides. I insisted that this particular bit of maple plywood be used up top. It is from a 4’x8′ case housing protecting the delivery of a hand painted canvas that was intended to be used and was used for many years as a baldacchino over the ad orientem altar of Holy Souls Hermitage of yore.
Here’s a detail of that hand-painted baldacchino:
We can’t have a baldacchino in our little church since the ceiling is so low that, at the Consecrations at Holy Mass, the chalice almost bumps into that ceiling.
Now that the hermitage is gone forever, I was momentarily tempted to extract this detail of the Holy Spirit from that hand-painted baldacchino, reframe it, and place it front and center of our new altar. Even a detail would be too large.
But, since the beginning of the project, we’re hoping to find some kind of art-work typical of any ad orientem Altar of Sacrifice one might see in days more of tradition more so than our own, such as a mosaic or bas-relief sculpture of, say, the Last Supper. But that’s for the finishing touches. We continue the work.
The rule in the diocese here is that any sanctuary renovation must situate the altar to that the priest might be able to offer Holy Mass versus populum and also possibly ad orientem. Only with the most extreme difficulty could Holy Mass be offered ad orientem with the previous situation of a necessarily altogether too small platform raising the altar above the rest of the sanctuary floor.
What we were looking for is a real altar. Accomplishing that provided the opportunity to remove the platform. Doing that meant that the altar could now boast of possibilities for both the “ordinary” and the “extraordinary” Roman Rite(s) of the Holy Sacrifice.
We’re preparing for the sake of charity and reverence altar rails or more accurately Communion rails. We’re is discussion stages for the construction and security of the logistics for the Tabernacle. The lecturn, the credence table, what we call the Mary table are also in the works. This is being done with donations, not from the parish funds.
You’ll notice that the altar beginnings pictured above with one of our parishioners seems to lack depth, and even length. But you’ll have to use your imagination coupled with a knowledge of how this altar is going to be used, possibly from both sides. When the granite altar top, the mensa is installed, it will over overhang a few inches both sides lengthwise and about six inches depthwise both in front and back. And, not to worry, we’re making sure this will not be tippy as was the other altar. The previous altar could literally be pushed over with one finger, and that’s been that way for some 55 +- years.
We’re aiming for high quality. The porcelain floor is from India, the granite from Brazil (that being in mockery of Pachamama).
We want the best for our dear Lord, next to whose Sacrifice His good mom stands.
After about 1/8″ of drizzle fell during the other night, conditions were perfect for a bit of pyromania. All is safe, but I had a fire extinguisher and a water hose at the ready anyway. Also, both neighbors are at the top of their game in the town’s fire department.
The picture above shows the platform which was added to the step-up sanctuary floor. The rule in the diocese is that Holy Mass must be able to offered from either side of the Altar. Our sanctuary is so small that ad orientem was extremely difficult with the platform that had been added in post-Conciliar times. That platform had to go. That meant that we were able to rip up the cardboard Pergo flooring or whatever it’s called. Above is bonfire number one. Below is number two.
You gotta do what’cha gotta do. Soon to meet this fate a few late-1960s vestments, you know the kind, gaudy polyester and such. A very generous couple has provided us with extremely beautiful vestments that would be a joy for any church in Rome say, in 1962, or 1955, or during the time of Pope Pius X… More on that later.
Also, just to say, no puppy dogs were injured in these fires. They were locked out of the main-back-yard so that they wouldn’t step on any hot coals. :-)
The cement is down. The cement board is down, The mortar is down. The porcelain tile is down. The grouting still needs to be pushed in and the floor washed.
Meanwhile, logistics are being prepared for the Tabernacle. We’re getting closer to the construction of Communion Rails. The Granite Altar top will be cut, as will the pieces to be used with the Tabernacle and the Communion Rails.
Here’s the beginnings of the “box” upon which the Altar top will be laid. The plywood on the floor is simply providing a flat surface for now.
The front of the Altar will be oak boards. It will look good on it’s own, but we’re looking into seeing about getting a mosaic or bas relief to install on the front. That’s the least of our worries right now. We’re trying to get back into church as soon as possible.
In these days of chaos, Holy Mass is being offered in the social hall. Grrr… But my thoughts at this time have gone to the chaos on Calvary and to those who are suffering terrible persecution right now, likely with no possibility of Holy Mass or only in very compromised situations. Holy Mass has been offered in concentration camps. We’re doing well.
Just in case anyone is wondering, we have not provided any quarter for any pagan idol Pachamama statue. Instead, the granite for the Altar top comes to us from Brazil. This is our way of doing reparation for the sins against the first commandment.
The above picture depicts Easter Sunday at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in 1962, the opening of the church after having finished construction by the Glenmarys, who are responsible for opening most parishes in WNC Appalachia. Even in 1962, it was a fad to do up minimalist references to the divine. But at least they still had ad orientem and the Communion Rail and proper cassocks and surplices for the altar boys.
But by the end of the Second Vatican Council (1965), an ironing board freestanding moveable altar (super-tippable) was hacked together from dozens of scraps of plywood and placed versus populum on the one-step elevation, all the way to the front of that step. sigh… At the same time, the Communion Rail (Altar Rail) was ripped out and the back altar was ripped out. I’m just as happy that the original ad orientem altar was destroyed as it couldn’t haven’t been uglier, couldn’t have been more weird, or so I thought, until now.
The ironing-board altar had a rock face made from scraps of the back of the chimney seen behind the altar above. The hearth faced into the residence in back of the church. Here’s a picture of the scraps making a design:
If you can’t see the only possible design that can be picked out, here’s some help:
Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. The ladies in the parish hated this and had gone out of their way to cover it up with upholstery cloth, etc. It could have been turned around so that it would be an upright cross, not upside down. I wasn’t much bothered by it because I had once been an assistant priest at a parish named after Saint Peter Apostle. You’ll recall that he was crucified upside down out of an abundance of humility, not presuming to be crucified as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. However, the presumption of that motivation for installing the rock insert upside down, as it were, disappeared entirely, when, in the prep work for installing a new porcelain floor previous to installing a new Altar, Altar Rails, and some new logistics for the Tabernacle, something unexpected was discovered.
The ad orientem Altar had been replaced already around 1965 with a kind of Tabernacle stand (which was at least in the center of the sanctuary). That also had a rock face incorporating two vertical pieces of stone, each with a tall cross etched in and plated with gold.
Fine. But, two crosses there along with a third in the ironing board versus populum altar recalls the crucifixion of Our Lord on Calvary, not that of Saint Peter. So, surely the upside down bit in the new altar was a mistake by a drunk and disorderly workman. But, as far as I know, all the workmen were Glenmary priests and brothers, as that’s what they do, constructing churches and opening up parishes on a shoestring budget in counties where there are not any Catholic churches and only a few Catholics. Kudos to them for such evangelization. It is what it is, or is there something worse?
Those two stones under the mid-1960s Tabernacle stand with the two tall crosses in them were faced backwards and were unseen for the last 45+- years. When we ripped apart that Tabernacle stand, it was noticed that the crosses were also installed upside down. That would be three crosses installed upside down. What the hell? (That using proper theological terminology in that question.)
I got a call from a parishioner spearheading the work with all this: “Have you seen these big stones up at the church? You gotta come up here and see this?” Here’s a picture of them right-side-up, because leaving them upside down was too offensive to him, even for another couple of minutes of my travel time up to the church.
It’s kinda hard not to notice that those tall crosses would be upside down. I don’t know the story here, who was who in doing the work, but I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all. I’ll do an exorcism over these stones and they will be incorporated again into a new construction. After all, the “third” cross, that of our Lord, is between them, up high. All will be good again. And they will be right side up.
STORY TIME: In yet another parish in upstate New York, the fiasco of building the church was related to me. There is an analogy with what happened here in Andrews, NC.
Up in New York, the daily construction work of the field stone church was destroyed nightly, for weeks by a nefariously lodged-up group. Parishioners were resilient in construction, but were getting frustrated. The railroaders back in the day heard of the anti-Catholic attacks and stood guard at night. The church was successfully constructed. But the Catholics didn’t have the last laugh. Not at all.
That church had a basement, which sported a rectangular cement support from the floor of the basement up to the flooring of the sanctuary just the size of the heavy stone altar in order to support it’s great weight. But, of course, that was ripped out in order to put in, yet again, an ironing board altar. As the old altar was removed, parishioners were able to see down the rectangular cement support structure, and they saw a box just begging to be opened. Was it a time-capsule? No, no.
It contained a note to future generations the nefarious intent of those who had been destroying the daily construction of the church building, and an entirely credible claim as to who the perpetrators of the hate crime were, namely, a very specific lodged-up group. Sigh. Of course, all those perps by this time have gone on to their eternal “reward”, as have, I’m quite sure, those who had done up the installation of the three upside down crosses.
Mind you, at my own parish church, back in the 1960s, the liberal Catholic culture was to have as little as possible refer to anything about God. I bet while these three crosses were being installed properly, the workman (not a Glenmary) was instructed to hide the two crosses as just the simple rock face would do just fine. It’s a lot of work to gouge out stone like this and paint it up all good. What a blow it would be to be told just to hide it all. I bet that’s when the guy lost whatever faith he had, and in retaliation, did reverse the stones, but them installed them upside down, and then did the same for stonework in the ironing board altar. I bet he’s repented since then. Prayers for them all.
Right now, we’re trying to be careful not to let any such malice or resentment make for that which is inappropriate.
Hopefully Governor Cooper won’t do a SWAT raid on our little church. Socially distanced. Masks. I think we’re good to go, but the rules for curfews change wildly without notice. I was up at church at 5:30 AM Sunday morning. Hours later, after 11:00 Mass, destruction ensued.
This morning, after having a chat with Father Gordon, we’re off to make a payment for the slab of granite we’re wanting for the altar. It’s all going pretty quickly. The makeshift gorilla tape altar we’ve had for so many decades will still be used for the foreseeable future as we make a proper oak base to support so much granite. I’m thinking it won’t be too heavy for the already existing floor, as the removal of the platform lessened the weight some 500-600 pounds easy, which is the weight of the granite we’re reserving for the altar top.
I think I’ve found a great site for actual altar linins here in these USA, a lady who is really clued in to all matters altar and liturgical and traditional. We’re going to be ordering a made to measure “cere cloth”, which will be first over the newly chrismed and sepulchred and consecrated altar. Liquid wax is poured abundantly over the top as it’s on the altar. This makes for an impermeable surface. No accidentally tipped chalice with wine or after the consecration with the Precious Blood of our Savior will seep into the altar. Above that cere cloth goes another of the exact same dimensions. This will stick to the cere cloth, of course, which is convenient. It’s also a permanent cloth. The top will be clean, if you will. On top of this goes the changeable and embroidered and draped over the edges seasonal altar cloth.
We’re redoing what we are discovering only now is an inappropriate base for the tabernacle. We’ll be using the same slab of granite that we’re using for the altar. Before any altar rails, as they are somewhat wrongly nicknamed, we’re going to be installing a new tile floor. I’m wanting to find out a way to make this tile floor also impermeable. Perhaps a type of floor wax that will also fill over the most minimal grouting we can get away with…
We’ve been having knock down (literally) drag out (literally) sessions in the sanctuary of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church here in Andrews, NC, discussing what can be done, how things can be done – so many measurements – the steps to take, what might happen with various exigencies…
Nathan the prophet seems to have visited a number of parishioners who note that the pews and windows and doors are all good, but what about the altar of the Lord, His sanctuary? They offered, of a sudden, independent of each other and all at once, some wherewithal and expertise, complementing what another way up in upstate New York has been providing for all along.
We chased off to a rock slab reseller and I immediately gravitated toward the piece above. If you’ve ever seen the slab upon which the burnt body of the great Saint Lawrence was laid after he was burned alive, well, this is a double of it. Very appropriate. Even more, this reminds me of the slab upon which our Lord Himself was laid inside the Holy Sepulcher itself, there in the Church of the Resurrection in the Old City of Jerusalem.
We’ll see if we can make the down payment before someone else snatches it up. It’s all moving rather quickly. We’ll be having to make some crosses as well as a Sepulcher for relics of the Saints. And then it will have to consecrated. This will take much preparations. For instance, there is a cloth which goes over the newly chrismated altar, a cloth subjected to appropriate methodologies to have it do its job correctly. Then there is another cloth and finally the changeable altar cloth on top. This will all be new to me.
“But Father George! Father George! You’re an elitist! You want nice things for Jesus, not for the poor! What kind of Missionary of Mercy are you anyway? Your (literally) Gorilla Taped altar right now is really cool. It’s speaks loudly of poverty!”
Well, not all Missionaries of Mercy are filthy liberals who hate respect for the Son of the Living God. Jesus defended the woman who poured that little bottle of ointment worth a year’s wages over Him for His burial seconds before Judas went off to betray Jesus, right? Jesus defended the integrity and honesty of Temple worship, right?
Many of the great cathedrals in these USA were built by the poorest of the poor during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Just saying. Would you begrudge Jesus’ little flock their generosity with the Lord Jesus.
Moreover, if anyone has an objection, I’ll ask this: “Do you eat off a Gorilla Taped board?” And if you did, you would be offended for our Lord, indignant for Him that His Last Supper for the Redemption of the World and the Salvation of the many might be located on Gorilla Tape. The rough cross was connected with this – My Body given for you in Sacrifice, My Blood poured out for you in Sacrifice – and they are together one event. But let the celebration of the Wedding Banquet be appropriate joyous. Those who complain about a well celebrated Liturgy are also those who dismiss the violence of the Crucifixion, who don’t offer Confessions, because, you know, there’s no such thing as sin and we don’t need a Savior anyway.
Here’s the deal: Jesus is Himself the Altar, the Priest, and the Lamb of Sacrifice. This is to honor Him. This is a virtue. It’s called Piety. It’s a virtue of Justice: giving due honor to whom due honor is due. Jesus deserves much more honor than we could even begin to give to Him. After all, He saves us! An appropriate altar honors His Sacrifice even as it speaks to us of our sin that would occasion such generosity on our behalf from the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception. Too much for some. They run away from such truths which should instead bring them great joy. Thus the bitterness.
Hah! There is NONE of that in this parish. Everyone wants to honor Jesus, and with great enthusiasm. When they hear that Jesus is going to come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire, they say: Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!
This picture was, of course, taken on Shrove Tuesday 2021. We had really a lot of palms left over from 2020 Palm Sunday, as that was somehow cancelled. We’re ordering the same amount of palms for 2021 Palm Sunday. Yes. We’ll be celebrating Palm Sunday this year, now that I’ve seen the Holy See’s insistence this year (2021) about the validity of the Decree for 2020 Palm Sunday for this year as well. And that Decree has it that people may well be present at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, you know, like every other day of the year. After some consultation, it seems that no one, not even the Pope, can just up and cancel the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass right around the world. I wish I had known that in 2020. But now I do know that.
In the above Decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship (25 March 2020) referring to a previous Decree (19 March 2020) we now see published what went into effect for Holy Week and Easter of 2020. This is important for 2021. Let’s look at the language:
“Bishops and priests may celebrate the rites of Holy Week without the presence of the people..”
That’s said regardless of civil restrictions. Interesting. This means that Bishops and priests may celebrate with the presence of the people… regardless of civil restrictions, right?
Palm Sunday “is to be celebrated within sacred buildings…”
Interesting. That’s like baiting civil authorities…
The Chrism Mass can be transferred.
Interesting. That makes a difference, I guess… I was excluded last year. It seems like it’s considered that the Chrism Mass in only about a representation of priests for the sake of the oils. I’m concerned about the good of the priests who at that Mass are to renew their priestly promises, and no representation will do for that…
Holy Thursday washing of feet is to be omitted.
I mean, what does that rite mean anyway, after Pope Francis totally gutted it of its real meaning? At any rate, the omission of this one rite during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper means that people are nevertheless there, right? There’s a faculty to celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper without the presence of the people. But that means that it can be done with the people present, right?
Good Friday indications assume that people are there.
After all, you cannot limit certain actions just to the priest unless others there are actively being excluded.
The Easter Vigil, as always, as normal, is to be celebrated in Cathedral and parish churches.
That’s always the case. So…
But that was for 2020. We now, in 2021, have a “Note” having it that the above Decree is still valid for 2021. Since that’s the case, it’s a green light for celebrating Holy Week and the Easter Triduum with the people present, right?
UPSHOT: There is NOTHING in this “Note” or last year’s Decree which has it that Bishops as “moderators” can forbid the celebration of Holy Week and the Easter Triduum. I mean, I’m no “liturgist” or Canon Lawyer, but, truly, I don’t see anything that grants any Bishop the rite to simply cancel Holy Week and the Easter Triduum. Did any of them do that in 2020? Will any do it in 2021? I stand to be corrected, but only by those who have the apostolic mandate to do so, and who are not acting ultra vires, that is, beyond their powers.
JUST MY OPINION but this just seems to be scripted by the fear mongering of the Chinese Communist Party. I mean, after Easter, it will all go back to normal again, right? I mean, we all know that the Wuhan virus is entirely aware of liturgical timing…
LET ME TELL YOU: People are extremely cynical of church leadership regarding sex abuse, regarding money, regarding political correctness. Church leadership out and out mocks Christ Jesus. It pretty much seems that pretty much all of church leadership is Marxist. I mean, to have it that the virus knows liturgical timing is so very….. [I better stop here…]
We see apoplectic power plays from the church hierarchy enforcing the absolutely silent and therefore absolute non-blessing of ashes for Ash Wednesday (when nothing – nihil – is pronounced). No one will hear anything about sin in this ashes rite.
It’s the apoplectic bit that is stunning. It’s like, existential for them. If they’re not apoplectic in their bullying about the ashes, they will, like, die or something.
I mean, go ahead, see if you can find one of these power bullies all beside himself to enforce silence on sin and a non-blessing of ashes, who will also condemn the “vaccines” for having been developed from or tested on only super healthy developed babies, dissected and harvested. Will you find even one? No? They are too concerned about Wuhan Rites and masks and the laws of this world… They feel powerful when babies are murdered for them.
All I’ve heard is that they are breathlessly anxious to get in line to get their damned abortion tainted vaccines so that they can be heroes in their own eyes and in the eyes of Wuhan Joe – so that they can abuse these kids to death and FEEL THE POWER – even while playing the unbelieving bully with their abuse of office, smashing down priests because they actually bless the ashes on Ash Wednesday. Rather disproportionate: they sanction the murder of children, the priests they smash down just bless ashes for Ash Wednesday. Wait… What? Yep. It is these freak boys who are lining up for a non-merciful judgement, you know, which will have the same kind of dismissiveness used against them as they used for helpless babies in the womb. What a bunch of clowns, you know, the scary ones.
It’s to this that we have arrived. Murder is great! And forget about Jesus dying for our sins.
I am soooooooooooooooo psyched up for this weekend’s preaching.
I don’t care what any Pope or bishop or bully has to say, to get a “vaccine” into me you’ll literally have to kill me.
Having said that, I know how make for an effective deescalation and avoid awkward situations without compromise, without weakness, retaining honesty and integrity. It’s possible not because we are good or “special” but because Jesus allowed Himself to be tortured to death, innocent for the guilty, laying down His life for us, so that we wouldn’t continue to lay others’ lives down for ourselves, murdering littlies in the womb.
I’ve been in so very many truly impossible damned if I do and damned if I don’t situations, but not compromising, knowing that Jesus will save the day, and then watch Jesus smash down idiot ecclesiastics so that they themselves take me out of the traps they themselves had set, making fools – dare I say – clowns of themselves. Jesus doesn’t appreciate when His priests are suffering from the monsters.
And if I’m not rescued, but thrown on a trash heap, it is in that way that I will be saved, going to heaven. There is to be no compromise with murder of babies: it’s not to be done, ever. Looking to the things above, to being hidden with Christ in God, that’s what I want. I want that for everyone, including those who need conversion, be they priests, be they bishops.
I will preach about Christ our God, who was a Baby in the virginal womb of His Immaculate Virgin Mother. And there is no “power” on this earth or in hell which can steal me away from humble thanksgiving before the Lamb of God, who will come to judge the living and the dead and world by fire. Amen. Thanks be to God.
Let’s see how long we hear crickets. I would like to see bishops and priests defend life.
Judas betrayed Jesus and then committed suicide. Peter betrayed Jesus. All eleven had run away. John came back as did the others. I’m nobody, but I nevertheless invite them to get to know Jesus again or for the first time. Jesus is Eternal Life.