Sunday, June 22, 2014

Corpus Christi 2014

It was a day of processions. These are photos of the "altars" set up by the different groups and ministries of the Hispanic community. I was stunned at how elaborate and beautiful they were, and how much love and effort went into something that would be up for a few hours at most. Same with the way they decorated the sanctuary area of the gym at the new property, where the 1:30 pm. Spanish Mass is celebrated. The procession in the blazing Georgia heat was stupendous. So much love for the Lord Jesus! Thank you for my people, Lord! What a gift!

More photos soon, as well as photos from the procession after the 10:00 a.m. English Mass.

UPDATE: Here is a Google+ Album of all the photos from the afternoon procession.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Lauda Sion Salvatorem!

Though all over the United States (and much of the globe) it has been transferred to Sunday, today is the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the feast instituted by Urban IV in 1264 in the Latin Rite (the fruit of decades of efforts of Juliana de Liège, a Norbertine canoness), to adore and worship the marvellous gift of the Most Holy Eucharist. St. Thomas Aquinas composed the texts for the liturgical office for the day. This is the chant "Lauda Sion" -- the lengthy Sequence for the feast, which will, almost certainly, not be heard by most Catholics this Sunday, thanks to the massive act of imposed amnesia foisted upon the faithful in recent decades in the name of updating, relevance, and being "with it" [How's that been working out, btw?].

The text in English of this beautiful poem is worthy of meditation and reflection:

Sion, lift up thy voice and sing:
Praise thy Savior and thy King,
Praise with hymns thy shepherd true.
All thou canst, do thou endeavour:
Yet thy praise can equal never
Such as merits thy great King.
See today before us laid
The living and life-giving Bread,
Theme for praise and joy profound.
The same which at the sacred board
Was, by our incarnate Lord,
Giv'n to His Apostles round.
Let the praise be loud and high:
Sweet and tranquil be the joy
Felt today in every breast.
On this festival divine
Which records the origin
Of the glorious Eucharist.
On this table of the King,
Our new Paschal offering
Brings to end the olden rite.
Here, for empty shadows fled,
Is reality instead,
Here, instead of darkness, light.
His own act, at supper seated
Christ ordain'd to be repeated
In His memory divine;
Wherefore now, with adoration,
We, the host of our salvation,
Consecrate from bread and wine.
Hear, what holy Church maintaineth,
That the bread its substance changeth
Into Flesh, the wine to Blood.
Doth it pass thy comprehending?
Faith, the law of sight transcending
Leaps to things not understood.
Here beneath these signs are hidden
Priceless things, to sense forbidden,
Signs, not things, are all we see.
Flesh from bread, and Blood from wine,
Yet is Christ in either sign,
All entire, confessed to be.
They, who of Him here partake,
Sever not, nor rend, nor break:
But, entire, their Lord receive.
Whether one or thousands eat:
All receive the self-same meat:
Nor the less for others leave.
Both the wicked and the good
Eat of this celestial Food:
But with ends how opposite!
Here 't is life: and there 't is death:
The same, yet issuing to each
In a difference infinite.
Nor a single doubt retain,
When they break the Host in twain,
But that in each part remains
What was in the whole before.
Since the simple sign alone
Suffers change in state or form:
The signified remaining one
And the same for evermore.
Behold the Bread of Angels,
For us pilgrims food, and token
Of the promise by Christ spoken,
Children’s meat, to dogs denied.
Shewn in Isaac's dedication,
In the manna's preparation:
In the Paschal immolation,
In old types pre-signified.
Jesu, shepherd of the sheep:
Thou thy flock in safety keep,
Living bread, thy life supply:
Strengthen us, or else we die,
Fill us with celestial grace.
Thou, who feedest us below:
Source of all we have or know:
Grant that with Thy Saints above,
Sitting at the feast of love,
We may see Thee face to face.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

St. Peter's Church, Omaha

This is one stunningly beautiful church, featured in the EWTN documentary, "Where Heaven Meets Earth." (Worth 28 min of your time). That is exactly what one feels upon entering the Church and contemplating this scene.

More photos online.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Pray to the Holy Spirit!

During my homily yesterday, I asked parishioners to mark the old Octave of Pentecost by praying to the Holy Spirit each day for the next eight days. Join us in prayer!

Fr. Gaurav's homework for the week: For the 8 days from Pentecost, i.e. until this coming Sunday, pray every day to the Holy Spirit: to make you holy, to free you from the burden and chains of sin, to heal you, to make Christ more central to your life, to be given the courage to be disciples who live the Gospel and spread the Gospel. Pray together as friends or family!
For this week, the daily Masses will be Votive Masses to the Holy Spirit (where there isn't a Memorial on the liturgical calendar). I will be praying for a deep outpouring of the Spirit in our parish!
Here's a prayer to the Holy Spirit
La tarea de P. Gaurav para esta semana: recen al Espíritu Santo cada día de esta semana, desde ayer (Pentecostés) hasta el próximo domingo. Recen para que el Espíritu te hagas santo, te liberes de las cadenas de pecado, te sanes, para que Cristo sea más en el centro de tu vida, que recibas la fortaleza de ser discípulos que viven el Evangelio, y lo compartan con lo demás. Recen juntos como amigos, o una familia!
Para esta semana, las misas diarias serán Misas Votivas al Espíritu Santo (excepto cuando haya una Memoria en el calendario litúrgico). Yo voy a rezar para una profunda efusión del Espíritu en nuestra parroquia!
Aquí es una oración al Espíritu Santo, de S. Agustín
Espíritu Santo, inspíranos, para que pensemos santamente.
Espíritu Santo, incítanos, para que obremos santamente.
Espíritu Santo, atráenos, para que amemos las cosas santas.
Espíritu Santo, fortalécenos, para que defendamos las cosas santas.
Espíritu Santo, ayúdanos, para que no perdamos nunca las cosas santas

Sunday, June 08, 2014

50 Days of Easter - Day 50

Well ... I didn't manage to get a reflection up here for each of the 50 days. However, today, with Pentecost, we wrap up the Easter Season.

The reflection for today continues the theme of the "glorious wounds" of Jesus, that we talked about a few weeks back. This excerpt is from the excellent little book The Challenge of Fatherhood by Don Massimo Camisasca (founder of the Fraternity of St. Charles Borromeo, and now Bishop of Reggio-Emilia Guastalla in Italy.)
The thing that makes our lives great is not the absence of limits or of mistakes in ourselves and in those around us, but the total integrity with which we hand ourselves over to Christ through the concreteness of the place in which he embraces us. Limits and mistakes will never be lacking because we will always be stumbling. The secret of life is this essentially a matter of belonging to Christ with one's whole self, just as one is, without any reservations.  
I'm reminded here of the words of a song: "Et le poids de tes péchés eux-mêmes/ te ramènerait Jérusalem." Even the weight of your sins, Jerusalem, would lead you back to me, God says. The whole of Christian wisdom is summed up in this sentence. For in becoming man, God chose to communicate himself, not only in spite of fragility, but "through" it. If we agree to this divine method without reservation, we can stop looking at our limitations as a reason for discouragement or frustration, and so as something to forget, to censor, and can start looking at them as stones to build with. The whole of our lives, with all their lights and shadows, exists in order to manifest the glory of Christ [see Jn 9:3]. If we refuse this logic, life will always be a burden that sooner or later we will find unbearable.  
We are frequently tempted to censor difficulties, to hide them even from ourselves. When we do that, we are diverging radically from the way that  God acts with us: every detail is a matter of importance for him. This kind of censorship is a diabolical act, which is often born of a fear of another's judgment, of the fear of losing the positive image that others have of us. But our stature before Christ has nothing to do with this image, nor can it be measured in terms of the mistakes that we may make or avoid making. Rather it is decided by Christ himself and by our belonging to him. So to hide your own limits, your own problems, really doesn't make any sense. You do not find freedom from your own miseries by censoring them, but by handing them over to Christ, which is to say, by letting him embrace them. This embrace is like the one with which the mother enfolds her child in her arms, with which the lover takes the beloved into his. Indeed, it is infinitely more affectionate than these other gestures. Within this embrace, everything is taken up and directed to the one goal that makes life exciting: the glory of Christ on earth. 
Indeed the Holy Spirit's task is this education, this handing oneself, all of one's self, over to Christ. The encounter with the embrace, the mercy of Christ, was beautifully summed up by one Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, in this talk from 2001 (which I've referenced before in this series)
Only someone who has encountered mercy, who has been caressed by the tenderness of mercy, is happy and comfortable with the Lord. ... [H]owever, forcing things a bit, I dare to say that the privileged locus of the encounter is the caress of the mercy of Jesus Christ on my sin.
Or, as this poem by Ada Negri, referred to by Msgr. Giussani, puts it, "everything was good, even my evil, everything." 

Happy Pentecost! 

Pray for peace in the Middle East!