Friday, November 29, 2013

Five Blocks Away

Last year, when I was a transitional Deacon assigned to St. Catherine of Siena parish in Kennesaw, I came to know of a unique project that was emerging from the young adults in the parish: to launch the first film produced by a Catholic parish. I met Kevis Santiago -- the director of the movie -- a couple of times, and pledged my support and prayers.

Kevis has some background in film (Interestingly, one of the DVDs about the Traditional Latin Mass produced by the FSSP, was directed by him. It was filmed at St. Francis de Sales parish in the Archdiocese.), and has devoted considerable energy and resources into this project.

Last week, I got an email from Kevis, looking for a priest for a small part in the filming of a promotional/teaser for the movie. So, this afternoon I drove down to the beautiful Basilica of the Sacred Heart in downtown Atlanta (truly a gem of a church!), and spent several hours with some of the cast and the film crew, filming one scene (which took place in the parish center. Not the sanctuary). I had two lines, which I managed to mess up several times. I have a new appreciation for the hard work that goes into film production! It was a lot of fun! Fr. John, the pastor of St. Catherine's, also showed up to lend moral support.
This grainy cell phone picture does not do justice to the Basilica! 

Kevis and myself after shooting 

They even had cupcakes with the movie initials! 

The director, well, directing 

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Stunning photo of the Basilica, from Flickr. Wish I'd taken this one!

Please keep this project in your prayers, and support them as you can. Lots of information, stories and updates at their website and Facebook page (Like 'em!). This video below gives a sense of the concept of the film.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The sagacity of Pius XI

On the Solemnity of Christ the King it is salutary to read the encyclical "Quas Primas," which His Holiness Pope Pius XI wrote, when establishing the feast in 1925. There is much to ponder in this letter, particularly regarding the Church's social teaching. The following paragraph, however, shows the Pope's keen understanding of human nature, reflecting the Church's wisdom. It is a good reminder on this day, among other things, of the power of the liturgy of the Church, that precious gift and treasure she bears, which opens man up to the mystery of salvation, and brings him into contact with Christ, her Head and King. (Emphasis added)
21. That these blessings may be abundant and lasting in Christian society, it is necessary that the kingship of our Savior should be as widely as possible recognized and understood, and to the end nothing would serve better than the institution of a special feast in honor of the Kingship of Christ. For people are instructed in the truths of faith, and brought to appreciate the inner joys of religion far more effectually by the annual celebration of our sacred mysteries than by any official pronouncement of the teaching of the Church. Such pronouncements usually reach only a few and the more learned among the faithful; feasts reach them all; the former speak but once, the latter speak every year - in fact, forever. The church's teaching affects the mind primarily; her feasts affect both mind and heart, and have a salutary effect upon the whole of man's nature. Man is composed of body and soul, and he needs these external festivities so that the sacred rites, in all their beauty and variety, may stimulate him to drink more deeply of the fountain of God's teaching, that he may make it a part of himself, and use it with profit for his spiritual life.

A Simple House

Several times a year I get a newsletter from a remarkable bunch of folks in the Washington D.C. area. A Simple House is a friendship-evangelization apostolate, where full-time volunteers live in a poor neighborhood and befriend their neighbors. I'd heard of them before (note, all the links in that 2007 blog post are now dead!). In 2010, I was at the FOCUS conference in Baltimore, and bumped into their booth, and had a wonderful chat with a couple of the missionaries. They had, if I recall correctly, committed to this apostolate for the rest of their lives. (They were also about to get married!) In all my time in Maryland, despite the best intentions (and you know what they say about those), I never made it down to visit them. They're on my prayer list, and once in a while, I'll drop them a check. (I think it's been quite a while!)

The newsletters are always awesome. Some have been collected and published as a book! I've put this latest one on Scribd. Have a look. Pray for them. Support them financially if you can.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Media vita in morte sumus

A few of my classmates and I had planned a little vacation time this week, at the Mount. In the morning, at the altar of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in St. Bernard's Chapel, we concelebrated Mass, each of us offering the Holy Sacrifice for the repose of the soul of Fr. Kevin Kayda. Then, on a cold, blustery morning, we drove up to visit his grave, at St. Patrick's Cemetery in Carlisle. The sun was out. The wind howled. We shivered and huddled together, the wind at our back, and prayed the Office of the Dead.

Four pillars mark out an area of the cemetery, we think, reserved for priests. The headstone has not yet been placed. The stone in the center quotes St. Paul's letter to Titus. 

Teach them not to speak ill of anyone and to be peaceful and merciful to everyone. 

Tomorrow, Fr. Kevin would have turned 28. 

Rest in peace, brother. 

The title of the post is from a Latin antiphon. "In the midst of life, we are in death." November is the month for prayers for the faithful departed.