Monday, December 8, 2014

Congregation for Worship on "more dignified celebration of the Sign of Peace within Mass

From CNA:
Vatican announces desire for more restrained sign of peace at Mass
Vatican City, Jul 31, 2014 / 05:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Congregation for Divine Worship, in a recent circular letter, announced that the placement of the sign of peace within Mass will not change, though it suggested several ways the rite could be performed with greater dignity.

“The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments … pronounced in favor of maintaining the ‘rite’ and ‘sign’ of peace in the place it has now in the Ordinary of the Mass,” Fr. Jose Maria Gil Tamayo, secretary general of the Spanish bishops’ conference, related in a July 28 memo.

He noted that this was done out of consideration of the placement of the rite of peace as “a characteristic of the Roman rite,” and “not believing it to be suitable for the faithful to introduce structural changes in the Eucharistic Celebration, at this time.”
The sign of peace is made after the consecration and just prior to the reception of Communion; it had been suggested that it be moved so that it would precede the presentation of the gifts.
Fr. Gil’s memo was sent to the Spanish bishops, and prefaced the Congregation for Divine Worship’s circular letter, which was signed June 8 by Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, its prefect, and its secretary, Archbishop Arthur Roche. The circular had been approved and confirmed the previous day by Pope Francis.

The letter made four concrete suggestions about how the dignity of the sign of peace could be maintained against abuses.
Fr. Gil explained that the circular letter is a fruit of the 2005 synod of bishops on the Eucharist, in which the possibility of moving the rite was discussed.
“During the Synod of Bishops there was discussion about the appropriateness of greater restraint in this gesture, which can be exaggerated and cause a certain distraction in the assembly just before the reception of Communion,” Benedict XVI wrote in his post-synodal apostolic exhortation ‘Sacramentum caritatis’.
He added that “I have asked the competent curial offices to study the possibility of moving the sign of peace to another place, such as before the presentation of the gifts at the altar … taking into account ancient and venerable customs and the wishes expressed by the Synod Fathers.”
An inspiration for the suggested change was Christ’s exhortation, at Mt. 5:23, that “if you remember that your brother has anything against you, leave your offering before the altar, and go be reconciled first.” It would also have brought the Roman rite into conformity, in that respect, with the Ambrosian rite, celebrated in Milan.
The Neo-Catechumenal Way, a lay movement in the Church, has already displaced the sign of peace, in its celebration of the Roman rite, to before the presentation of the gifts.
The Vatican congregation’s decision to maintain the placement of the sign of peace was the fruit of dialogue with the world’s bishops, which began in 2008, and in consultation with both Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.
The Congregation for Divine Worship said it would “offer some practical measures to better express the meaning of the sign of peace and to moderate excesses, which create confusion in the liturgical assembly just prior to Communion.”
“If the faithful do not understand and do not show, in their ritual gestures, the true significance of the right of peace, they are weakened in the Christian concept of peace, and their fruitful participation in the Eucharist is negatively affected.”
On this basis, the congregation offered four suggestions which are to form the “nucleus” of catechesis on the sign of peace.
First, while confirming the importance of the rite, it emphasized that “it is completely legitimate to affirm that it is not necessary to invite ‘mechanistically’ to exchange (the sign of) peace.”The rite is optional, the congregation reminded, and there certainly are times and places where it is not fitting.
Its second recommendation was that as translations are made of the third typical edition of the Roman Missal, bishops’ conference should consider “changing the way in which the exchange of peace is made.” It suggested in particular that “familiar and worldly gestures of greeting” should be substituted with “other, more appropriate gestures.”
The congregation for worship also noted that there are several abuses of the rite which are to be stopped: the introduction of a “song of peace,” which does not exist in the Roman rite; the faithful moving from their place to exchange the sign; the priest leaving the altar to exchange the sign with the faithful; and when, at occasions such as weddings or funerals, it becomes an occasion for congratulations or condolences.
The Congregation for Divine Worship’s final exhortation was that episcopal conferences prepare liturgical catechesis on the significance of the rite of peace, and its correct observation.
“The intimate relation between ‘lex orandi’ and ‘lex credendi’ should obviously be extended to ‘lex vivendi’,” the congregation’s letter concluded.
“That Catholics are today faced with the grave commitment to build a more just and peaceful world, implies a more profound understanding of the Christian meaning of peace and of its expression in liturgical celebration.”

Friday, December 5, 2014

Saint Nicholas of Myra and Bari

Bishop of Myra in Lycia; died 6 December, 345 or 352. Though he is one of the most popular saints in the Greek as well as the Latin Church, there is scarcely anything historically certain about him except that he was Bishop of Myra in the fourth century. Some of the main points in his legend are as follows: He was born at Parara, a city of Lycia in Asia Minor; in his youth he made a pilgrimage to Egypt and Palestine; shortly after his return he became Bishop of Myra; cast into prison during the persecution of Diocletian, he was released after the accession of Constantine, and was present at the Council of Nicaea. In 1087 Italian merchants stole his body at Myra, bringing it to Bari in Italy. The numerous miracles St. Nicholas is said to have wrought, both before and after his death, are outgrowths of a long tradition. There is reason to doubt his presence at Nicaea, since his name is not mentioned in any of the old lists of bishops that attended this council. His cult in the Greek Church is old and especially popular in Russia. As early as the sixth century Emperor Justinian I built a church in his honour at Constantinople, and his name occurs in the liturgy ascribed to St. Chrysostom. In Italy his cult seems to have begun with the translation of his relics to Bari, but in Germany it began already under Otto II, probably because his wife Theophano was a Grecian. Bishop Reginald of Eichstaedt (d. 991) is known to have written a metric, "Vita S. Nicholai." The course of centuries has not lessened his popularity. The following places honour him as patron: Greece, Russia, the Kingdom of Naples, Sicily, Lorraine, the Diocese of Liège; many cities in Italy, Germany, Austria, and Belgium; Campen in the Netherlands; Corfu in Greece; Freiburg in Switzerland; and Moscow in Russia. He is patron of mariners, merchants, bakers, travellers, children, etc. His representations in art are as various as his alleged miracles. In Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, they have the custom of making him the secret purveyor of gifts to children on 6 December, the day on which the Church celebrates his feast; in the United States and some other countries St. Nicholas has become identified with Santa Claus who distributes gifts to children on Christmas eve. His relics are still preserved in the church of San Nicola in Bari; up to the present day an oily substance, known as Manna di S. Nicola, which is highly valued for its medicinal powers, is said to flow from them.

From The Catholic Encyclopedia

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Prayers for the Family at Home

We thank you, Father, for the gift of Jesus your Son who came to our earth and lived in a simple home.
We have a greater appreciation of the value and dignity of the human family because he loved and was loved within its shelter.
Bless us this day; may we grow in love for each other in our family and so give thanks to you who are the maker of all human families and our abiding peace.

(From The Catholic Prayer Book, compiled by Msgr. Michael Buckley)


Thank you, Father, for having created us and given us to each other in the human family.
Thank you for being with us in all our joys and sorrows, for your comfort in our sadness, your companionship in our loneliness.
Thank you for yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the whole of our lives.
Thank you for friends, for health and for grace. May we live this and every day conscious of all that has been given to us.

(From The Catholic Prayer Book, compiled by Msgr. Michael Buckley.)


O Gracious God, we give you thanks for your overflowing generosity to us.
Thank you for the blessings of the food we eat and especially for this feast today.
Thank you for our home and family and friends, especially for the presence of those gathered here.
Thank you for our health, our work and our play.
Please send help to those who are hungry, alone, sick and suffering war and violence.
Open our hearts to your love. We ask your blessing through Christ your son. Amen.
( From Celebrating Faith: Year-round Activities For Catholic Families, by Mary Cronk Farrell)


O God, source and giver of all things, You manifest your infinite majesty, power and goodness In the earth about us: We give you honor and glory.
For the sun and the rain, For the manifold fruits of our fields: For the increase of our herds and flocks, We thank you.
For the enrichment of our souls with divine grace, We are grateful.
Supreme Lord of the harvest, Graciously accept us and the fruits of our toil, In union with Jesus, your Son, As atonement for our sins, For the growth of your Church, For peace and love in our homes, And for salvation for all.
We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(From Living God’s Justice: Reflections and Prayers, compiled by The Roundtable Association of Diocesan Social Action Directors) Source:

Friday, November 14, 2014

Prayer on the Occasion of the Marine Corps 239th Birthday Ball

Prayer on the Occasion of the 239th Marine Corps Birthday Ball

Heavenly Father, we turn together to You on the occasion of this evenings’ Marine Corps Ball, an outstanding gathering of military men and women of the Navy-Marine Corps family, together with their spouses and guests, to enjoy one another’s company as we celebrate the 239th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. That we may start this celebration well, we call upon You for the blessing of all present here that You may be glorified by all we say and do. With that in mind I offer the Marine Corps prayer:

“Almighty Father, whose command is over all and whose love never fails, make me aware of thy presence and obedient to thy will.

“Keep me true to my best self, guarding me against dishonesty in purpose and deed and helping me to live so that I can face my fellow Marines, my loved ones, and Thee without shame or fear. Protect my family. Give me the will to do the work of a Marine and to accept my share of responsibilities with vigor and enthusiasm. Grant me the courage to be proficient in my daily performance. Keep me loyal and faithful to my superiors and to the duties my country and the Marine Corps have entrusted to me. Make me considerate to those committed to my leadership. Help me to wear my uniform with dignity, and let it remind me daily of the traditions which I must uphold.

“If I am inclined to doubt, steady my faith; if I am tempted, make me strong to resist; if I should miss the mark, give me courage to try again.

“Guide me with the light of truth and grant me wisdom by which I may understand the answer to my prayer.”

We pray for all of our deployed military and their families: all who stand guard this night over our freedom and security around the globe and those who wait for them at home.

We pray for all those missing in action or prisoners of war or conflict: may we never forget them or their service and sacrifice; we ask that You grant them the spiritual anchors of faith, hope and love.

And may we never look upon the symbol of our national spirit and ideals, the eagle flying high and proud, without recalling with gratitude all of those who have given the last full measure of the sacrifice of their lives for all of us. Grant them eternal rest, O Lord. May they, and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Almighty God, keep all of Your Marines, and all of us who have the honor and privilege of serving beside them, ever faithful: “Semper Fideles”! Grant to the United State Marine Corps a very happy birthday and many more: ad multos annos, United States Marines!


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Prayers for the Dead on All Souls' Day: "a place of refreshment, light and peace"

In Ancient Rome families would honor, remember and reach out to the dead through the celebration of the 'refrigerium', a picnic at the tomb which included a ritual pouring of wine as a libation offered to refresh those who had gone before them into the mystery of the afterlife.

How much more awesome that we are refreshed already now by the Body and Blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who has taken our human flesh with Him beyond the grave and opened heaven to us! This is the refrigerium of God, our Eucharist offered to us here and now in this world from our heavenly habitation which awaits us in Christ who is now seated at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us.

When the priest prays the Roman Canon at Mass, listen for the Church's reference to this lesson from her Roman past, as we beg that through our faithful prayers in Christ the dead may enjoy a place of "refreshment, light and peace".

A holy All Souls' Day to all of you.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"Let's Roll": Catholic wife and mother Miki Hill says attacks on family at Synod 2014 an ecclesial "9-11"

Catholic wife and mother Miki Hill, in a recent email message forwarding the text of a column by Steve Wood damning the mid-term Synod 2014 report as being guilty of causing lasting damage to the Church, compared the current crisis of attacks on the family, even from within the context of the Synod, as being a "9-11" for the Church, like the terrorist attacks which brought America to its knees.

"Dear Some of the Finest Young Men I Know,

"I know these comments from Steve Wood are long and I know that I have nothing to do but read with a broken leg, but I believe this article is worth your time to read.

"By nature, I am an activist and an optimist.

"I believe that the interim report from the Synod nailed the coffin on a real crisis in the Catholic Church. I have some real concerns where all of the feathers of scandal and misrepresentation have landed not only all over the world but specifically on our US soil.

"After Steve Wood read Familiaris Consortio from JPII IN 1990, he came into the Church and was motivated to bring the Truth of Jesus Christ and His liberating Gospel of Love to as many as possible. Maybe some activism will be generated by both those who have the courage of the Civil War soldiers to defend the Truth and those that see the nonsense from comments of some of our Princes in the Catholic Church.

"Please forward this column on to your peers. As the one man said on the plane going down in Pa on 9/11, 'Let's roll!' Much needs to be done now.

"Lord, have mercy.

"Love and prayers,


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Steve Wood's explosive indictment of "lasting damage" done by interim report of Synod on the Family

October 2014, Volume 20, Number 6
Family Synod’s Lasting Harm to Catholic Men, Families and Youth

I can’t remember where I came across this riveting Civil War question, “Why didn’t the Civil War soldiers turn in battle when facing canons loaded with canister?” I often wondered how men kept marching forward in the face of near-certain death by having their flesh mercilessly shredded. Surely there was uncommon valor and bravery. Yet, was there another dynamic moving them forward in the face of a hideous death?

Civil War soldiers marched into battle in units composed of men from their hometowns and home states. If a man turned in battle, his cowardice meant that he couldn’t go home as a man. His reputation was on the line. The vast majority of soldiers facing canister preferred to lose their lives rather than lose their manhood.

Many Catholic Church leaders desperately need to learn a critical lesson from Civil War soldiers. Men have a deep divinely-embedded instinct to preserve their masculinity and thus are repulsed by feminized and homosexual-friendly environments.

Leon Podles in his important book, The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity, states: “If the feminization of the Church continues, men will continue to seek their spiritual sustenance outside the churches, in false or inadequate religions, with high damaging consequences for the church and society.

The current attempts, within almost all Christian denominations, to normalize homosexuality will, more than anything else, convince heterosexual men that religion had best be kept at a great distance. Catholic churches that cultivate a gay atmosphere (Archdiocesan Gay and Lesbian Outreach, gay choirs, gay tolerance talks in schools) will keep heterosexual men away. Fear of effeminacy is one of the strongest motivations in men who will sometimes die rather than appear effeminate.”

Millions of Catholic wives wonder why their husbands don’t want to go to Mass with them. Likewise, thousands of bright and beautiful young Catholic women wonder aloud, “Where are the marriageable young Catholic men?” I’m afraid it’s goodbye to many good men because of the effeminate atmosphere of the contemporary Catholic Church. The contemporary homosexualized church atmosphere is the penultimate level of feminization, and it stinks in the nostrils of normal men.

Reporting on the defective interim report of the Family Synod, the secular media was delighted to broadcast worldwide that there is a pro-gay seismic shift in the Catholic Church. While the final report of the Synod backtracked on the morally defective statements on homosexuality and communion for those living in adulterous relationships, make no mistake, the lasting worldwide damage is done. For the man on the street, the Catholic Church is just one more institution caving in to our culture’s gay-friendly transformation.

It’s important to keep in mind that the public perception of the Catholic Church’s pro-gay drift hasn’t just grown out of news reports from the Family Synod. A long train of events and declarations have supported the pro-gay drift of the Catholic Church. I’ll mention just a few of the disastrous statements and actions leading up to the Family Synod’s interim report. > > Despite the denial of a few within the Church, literally the entire world knows that the Catholic clerical crisis was mainly a homosexual crisis. The striking failure of so many bishops “to connect the dots” as they moved homosexual abusers from parish to parish revealed a lot about the moral framework of many leaders.

According to the Pew Research Center, due to “the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests and their coverup by the Catholic Church, roughly a quarter (27%) of former Catholics who no longer identify with a religion cited clergy sexual abuse scandals as a reason for leaving the Church. Among former Catholics who now identify as Protestant, 21% say the sexual abuse scandals were a reason for leaving the Catholic Church.”

A Barna Catholic youth 2013 survey reported, “Among all 18-29-year-olds who have a Catholic background, 43% say the “priest abuse scandals have made me question my faith.”

The big bombshell was the media’s out-of-context reporting of Pope Francis’ statement, “Who am I to judge?” His question is emblazoned on the tee-shirts of homosexual activists. While I fully realize that the context of his answer was deliberately ignored, or misinterpreted, nevertheless, his answer convinced millions of youth and young adults that the Catholic Church is now “ok” with sodomy.

The Catholic press may publish lengthy articles listing the seven reasons why the Pope’s answer was taken out of context (and it was), but young people are not reading these articles! They are just skimming the headlines and reading a few sentences on their smartphones. At colleges and universities, both Catholic and Protestant students are asking, “Why is Pope Francis pro-gay?”

The Church is certainly right to reach out in mercy to homosexuals, couples having children out of wedlock, couples remarried outside the Church after divorce, and couples fornicating. Yet, such a merciful outreach needs to be carefully balanced with truth. Otherwise, the message that’s received is that the Catholic Church is finally ok with the full spectrum of the sexual revolution. Such a distorted message in today’s sex-saturated culture will catapult millions of youth and adults into the claws of the sins of the flesh.

In case anyone in the United States had any lingering doubts about the homosexual-friendly atmosphere in the Catholic Church, Cardinal Dolan dispelled them when he agreed to be the Grand Marshal of the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City. In his announcement he said that he welcomes the inclusion of a homosexual group. This is an out-of-the-closet group of NBC’s homosexual activists marching under a homosexual banner with the cardinal’s blessing.

Never before in the history of this annual parade, which first took place on March 17, 1762, has an in-your-face group of militant homosexuals marched carrying a homosexual banner. Rest assured that next spring Cardinal Dolan’s being ok with the homosexual activist participation in this parade will be broadcast coast to coast in the secular media. Oh, I almost forgot Cardinal Dolan’s widely reported exclamation of “Bravo” in response to a news story about a professional athlete who came out of the closet. Bravo? What was he thinking? Most men seeing the homosexual NFL player kissing his little boyfriend on ESPN were repulsed.

Then there’s the utterly strange case of Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the primary author of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. One would imagine that Cardinal Schönborn of all people would be able to discern a genuine view of human sexuality from a corrupt one. Cardinal Schönborn complimented two practicing homosexuals in Vienna who allegedly live in what he said is “lifelong fidelity.” The cardinal said things like: “It was wonderful, in a human way as much as in a Christian way, how one was taking care of the other.” He added: “Such things must be recognized.”

Questioned on the Church’s attitude to homosexuals, the cardinal said: “We should give more consideration to the quality of homosexual relationships,” while adding: “A stable relationship is certainly better than if someone chooses to be promiscuous.”

In April 2012, the election of a young gay man who was living in a registered same-sex partnership to a parish council in Vienna was vetoed by the parish priest. After meeting with the couple, Cardinal Schönborn reinstated him. He later advised in a homily that priests must apply a pastoral approach that is "neither rigorist nor lax" in counselling Catholics who "don't live according to [God's] master plan".

Since 2006, the cardinal has allowed active and unrepentant homosexuals to be “blessed” in his cathedral on St. Valentine’s Day.

The Fatal-to-the-Family Vatican Synod interim report was just one link in a long chain of indicators revealing a growing pro-gay atmosphere in the Catholic Church. While faithful Catholics were understandably troubled by the interim report, not everyone was.

It is instructive to read the comments of retired Anglican Bishop Gene Robinson on the Vatican Family Synod’s interim report published in The Daily Beast. Bishop Gene Robinson earlier in life was married and had two daughters. He divorced his wife. While openly living in a gay relationship he was consecrated as an Episcopal bishop. In 2014 Bishop Robinson announced the end of his “marriage” to partner Mark Andrew.

Bishop Robinson, writing about the Family Synod said: “With respect to homosexual people, there is a decidedly changed tone. No wonder gay and lesbian people feel like it’s a new day! No mention of sin here. No reiteration of official Catholic policy and teaching that homosexual persons are ‘intrinsically disordered.’ And most positive of all, there is mention that our unions may (emphasis added) contribute ‘gifts and qualities’ beneficial to the Body of Christ.”

You can be sure that the active homosexual community was joyful upon hearing the interim summary report from the Family Synod, while many faithful bishops and laity were appalled. Despite the Family Synod’s backtracking in the final report, we can be sure the damage from the worldwide broadcast of the initial report will be lasting and profound. In the popular mind, the Catholic Church finally caved to the sexual revolution. The Family Synod has given the appearance that the last worldwide moral restraint on sexual sin has given way.

At the fall 1980 Synod of Bishops, Pope John Paul II was asked by the Synod fathers to prepare something to aid the family. The result was, The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World [Familiaris Consortio]. This document was the primary cause for my conversion to Catholicism in 1990.

The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World is faithful to Jesus’ teaching about marriage and divorce, timeless Catholic doctrine, and human sexuality, while being charitable to families and marriages in all situations. If you haven’t read it, I urge you to do so now.

After hearing John Paul II speak on the importance of the family in 1991, I launched the Family Life Center International in 1992. For the past twenty-two years, it has been a joy and privilege to urge families worldwide to heed his advice and counsel on marriage, family life, and human sexuality.

Now with the moral earthquake created by the 2014 Synod of Bishops, I’m forced to warn those same families about mixed signals, defective reports, and dangerous statements regarding homosexuality. In an attempt to deal with the crisis of the family in the modern world, the Cardinal Kasper coalition at the Family Synod has created one.

My heartfelt wish is for the 2014-2015 Family Synod to re-adopt Saint John Paul II’s The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World and formally recognize it as the finest tool to deal with the contemporary crisis in family life. Please, no further action is needed!

My plea to those in Catholic media is, “Please don’t put a happy face on this tragedy.” We’ve had enough Catholic-spin on the homosexual drift within the Catholic Church. The Church is in the midst of a full-scale crisis and the first step in healing and defending her is an honest and forthright diagnosis. In a nutshell, the problem is the sexual revolution and sodomy among many inside the Church.

Tragically, the Family Synod modernists have set Catholic fatherhood backwards for our lifetime. It will be Catholic families, wives, children, and single young women who feel the brunt of men of all ages repulsed from the Church because of the sodomite smoke seeping from its midst.

Yours in His Majesty’s Service on the Feast of St. John Paul II,

Steve Wood

Thank you for visiting.


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