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Dominica de Passione 

THE OLD ROMAN Vol. II Issue XXIX W/C 21st March 2021


WELCOME to this the twenty-ninth edition of Volume II of “The Old Roman” a weekly dissemination of news, views and information for and from around the world reflecting the experience and life of 21C “Old Romans” i.e. western Orthodox Catholics across the globe.
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This month heralds the one year anniversary of the UK Government’s order to “stay at home: protect the NHS: save lives”. On the one hand it doesn’t feel like a year has passed, and yet on the other it certainly does. So much has changed. So many people have been infected and affected. Our statistics are brutal and sobering, and behind each number is a name, a person, and a grieving family.

One thing Covid-19 has done to our society is open up a conversation about death and dying. It has been something we cannot ignore no matter how much we might like to. Across the generations we have started to think about our mortality rather than treating the subject as taboo and brushing it under the carpet. That’s not to say we have come to terms with dying but rather that we are more prepared to address the often ever-present elephant in the room!

The Christian faith, however, never shies away from dying. How can it? when at the heart of our faith is the death of the Son of God upon the Cross and his mightily and glorious resurrection, and the promise that he is the resurrection and the life. Jesus never shied away from death – in fact he actively ‘set his face towards Jerusalem’ knowing all that was to befall him and his own death. Or recall the times he raised Lazarus, the widow’s son at Nain, or Jairus’ daughter from the dead. The Letters to the early Church are riddled with references to both Christ’s death and our own dying – actual and metaphorical dying. Our liturgies are punctuated by references to Christ’s death and even our symbol of faith – the Cross – brings to the fore the subject of mortality.

But although death is at the heart of our faith it is not the final word. Death and dying are the vehicles by which new life is possible: new experiences, new perspectives, new relationships. Death is not the end – as we often think – but rather a moment of transformation or a gateway into a new reality with God. Only by dying can we be resurrected with Christ and take our places more fully in his eternal Kingdom. This is the Good News of our faith: that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 38f

Death is not the final word – Life is the final word… life in all its fullness. As we approach this Easter and prepare to celebrate afresh Christ’s victory over sin and death may we be encouraged and strengthened to witness to this Good News within our wider community. As we start to be able to have face-to-face conversations again may we be ready to offer the Christian hope of the resurrected life in Christ Jesus to all those who have been forced to examine their mortality. May we gently, but unashamedly, offer Christ and his victory over the grave.

MONDAYS on Old Roman TV
“We are not unaware,” says St. Leo, “that among all Christian celebrations the Paschal mystery holds the first place. Our manner of living throughout the whole year, by reforming our ways, ought to give us the dispositions for keeping it worthily and in a fitting manner. These present days which we know to be close to that sublime sacrament of divine mercy, require devotion in a yet higher degree.” The mystery of which St. Leo speaks is our Redeemer’s Passion, whose anniversary is close at hand. Priest and Mediator of the New Testament, Jesus will soon ascend His Cross, and the blood which He will shed He will offer to His Father, entering into the Holies which is Heaven itself (Epistle). The Church sings: “All hail , thou Mystery adored! Hail Cross! on which Life Himself died, and by death our life restored!” (Hymn of Vespers). The Eucharist is the memorial of this boundless love of a God for men for when instituting it our Lord said: “This is my Body which shall be delivered for you; this chalice is the new testament in My Blood. Do this… in commemoration of Me” (Communion).

What is the response of man to all these divine favours? “His own received Him not,” says St. John, speaking of the welcome which the Jews gave Jesus. “For good they rendered Him evil and prepared for Him nothing but insults.” You, our Lord told them, “dishonour me,” and in fact, the Gospel shows us the ever growing hatred of the Sanhedrin.

Abraham, the father of God’s people, firmly believed in the divine promises which heralded the future Messias; and in Limbo his soul, which, as believing was beyond the reach of eternal death, rejoiced to see these promises fulfilled in the coming of Christ.

But the Jews, who ought to have recognized in Jesus, the Son of God, greater than Abraham and the prophets, because eternal, misunderstood the meaning of His words, insulted Him by treating Him as a blasphemer and possessed, and tried to stone Him (Gospel). And God tells him, in the person of Jeremias: “Be not afraid at their presence: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord… For behold I have made thee this a fortified city and a pillar of iron and a wall of brass, over all the land, to the kings of Juda, to the princes thereof and to the priests and to the people of the land. And they shall fight against thee and shall not prevail: for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee” (First Nocturn). “I seek not my own glory,” says Jesus, “there is one who seeketh and judgeth” (Gospel). And by the mourn of psalmist He goes on: “Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver from the unjust and deceitful man.” […] God will not permit men to lay their hands on Jesus until His hour is come (Gospel), and when that hour of sacrifice came, He snatched His Son from the hands of evil men by raising Him from death. This death and resurrection had been foretold by the prophets and typified in Isaac, when, on the point of being sacrificed at God’s command by Abraham his father he was restored to life by almighty God, his place being taken by a ram who became a type of the Lamb of God, offered in man’s stead.

Thus our Lord, in His first coming, was to be humbled and made to suffer; not until later will He appear in all His power. But the Jews, blinded by their passions, could appreciate only one kind of coming, a coming in triumph, and so scandalized by the Cross of Christ, they rejected Him. In their turn, almighty God rejected them, while graciously receiving those who put their trust in the redemption of Jesus Christ, uniting their sufferings with His. “Rightly, and under the guidance of the Holy Ghost,” says St. Leo, “did the holy Apostles institute these days of more rigorous fasting, so that by a common sharing in the Cross of Christ, even we ourselves may do something towards uniting ourselves with the work that He has accomplished for us. As St. Paul says: “If we suffer with Him, we also shall be glorified with Him.” Where we find our Lord’s suffering being shared, there we can look on the attainment of the happiness promised by Him as a thing safe and assured.”

Today’s station is in the Basilica of Saint-Peter, raised on the site of Nero’s circus where the prince of the Apostles died, like His Divine Master on a cross.

In recalling our Lord’s Passion, the anniversary of which draws near, let us remember that if we are to experience its saving effects, we must, like the Master, know how to suffer persecution for justice sake. And when as members of God’s family, we are persecuted with and like our Lord, let us ask of God, that we may be “governed in body” and “kept to mind”.
Passiontide Veiling
ORDO w/c Sunday 21st March 2021
    OFFICE   N.B.
21.iii S Dominica de Passione
Com. St Benedict of Nursia
Station at Saint Peter’s Basilica

(V) Missa “Judica me
2a) St Benedict
Pref. HolyCross
Benedicamus Domino
22.iii M Feria II Heb. Passionis I
Statio ad St Chrysogonum
(V) Missa “Miserére mihi”  
sd 2a) for the Church
23.iii T
Feria III Heb. Passionis I
Statio ad St Cyriacum

(V) Missa "Exspécta Dóminum"  
sd 2a) for the Church
24.iii W Feria IV Heb.Passionis I
Statio ad St Marcellum
(V) Missa ““Liberátor meus”” 
2a) for the Church
Com. Feria V Heb.Passionis I
Statio ad St Apollinarem
(W) Missa “Vultum tuum    
dii 2a) Feria
PLG Feria
26.iii F Feria VI Heb.Passionis I
St Stephanum in Caelio Monte
(V) Missa “Miserére mihi"   
sd 2a) for the Church
27.iii S Sabbato Heb.Passionis I
St Ioannem ante Portam Latinam
(V) Missa “Miserére mihi  
sd 2a) for the Church
28.iii S Dominica in Palmis
Statio ad St Ioannem Laterano
(V) Missa “Dómine, ne longe
Benedicamus Domino
KEY: A=Abbot A cunctis=of the Saints B=Bishop BD=Benedicamus Domino BVM=Blessed Virgin Mary C=Confessor Com=Commemoration Cr=Creed D=Doctor d=double d.i/ii=double of the 1st/2nd Class E=Evangelist F=Feria Gl=Gloria gr.d=greater-double (G)=Green H=Holy Heb.=Hedomadam (week) K=King M=Martyr mpal=missae pro aliquibus locis Mm=Martyrs Pent=Pentecost P=Priest PP/PostPent=Post Pentecost PLG=Proper Last Gospel Pref=Preface ProEccl=for the Church (R)=Red (Rc)=Rose-coloured s=simple s-d=semi-double Tr=Tract Co=Companions V1=1st Vespers V=Virgin v=votive (V)=violet W=Widow (W)=white *Ob.=Obligation 2a=second oration 3a=third oration
From Ceremonies of the Roman Rite described by Fr Adrian Fortesque
  • The first day of Lent is Ash Wednesday, but the first week of Lent is that which follows the 1st Sunday, and, liturgically, the Season commences only at the Evensong of the Saturday before that day; in consequence of this there are no special Office Hymns for Ash Wednesday and the three following days, those common to the days of the week being used until Saturday evening, when the Office Hymn at Evensong, and daily until the Eve of Passion Sunday, will be Audi, benigne Conditor.
  • During Lent, the Altars and other parts of the Church should be adorned in a simple manner. Flowers on the Altars should be used but sparingly and only when the Service is that of a Festival and on the 4th, Laetare or Mid-Lent, Sunday, when the Sacred Ministers will wear the Dalmatic and Tunicle. On the other Sundays in Lent the Deacon and Sub-deacon use folded Chasubles or serve in albis, i.e., the Deacon in Amice, Alb, Girdle, Maniple and Stole, and the Sub-deacon in Amice, Alb, Girdle, and Maniple.
  • The 1st Sunday in Lent, Passion Sunday, and Palm Sunday are Sundays of the first class, and it is impossible to observe any other Feast on these days. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th Sundays are Sundays of the second class, and only give way to a Double Feast of the first class, e.g., that of the Patron or Dedication of the Church. All the week-days in Lent are Greater Ferias and, if a Festival be celebrated on one of them, the Feria must be commemorated (orations and its gospel as the Last).
  • On Ash Wednesday and the days of Holy Week no Feast can be kept. All Octaves end on Ash Wednesday, as on December 16th, and no Feast can be observed with an Octave until after Low Sunday.
  • Strictly speaking, the Organ should not be played during Lent, except on the 4th Sunday and on Solemn Feast Days, and if used it should be employed as little, and as quietly, as possible. According to ancient custom the Organ was used, at the Solemn Celebration of the Holy Eucharist on Maundy Thursday, till the end of the Gloria in Excelsis and also, on Holy Saturday at the Gloria in Excelsis and for the remainder of the Service. For the same reason, if the Gloria in Excelsis be used during Lent (in all old Rituals it is ordered to be omitted at this Season).
  • The liturgy in Lent itself reflects the season in various ways aside from the penitential colour of violet and the absence of the Gloria etc. Tradition assigns a particular Mass for every day of Lent i.e. an individually tailored Mass with its own readings and prayers. Each Mass is also assigned a “stational church” in Rome where the faithful and the Bishop of Rome gathered for the Mass – the history of these stational churches is posted every day on this website. Additionally every Mass concludes with an extra prayer of blessing for the faithful to remain constant in their observance. Most feasts of Saints become commemorated only to keep our focus on the season and even when they are celebrated, it is muted and the Lenten Feria commemorated with it’s prayers and Gospel.
  • Before First Vespers of Passion Sunday, all the Crosses, images of our LORD, and of the Saints, and any pictures in the Church and Sacristy should be covered; they will remain veiled till Holy Saturday, even should the Feast of the Patron, or of the Dedication, of the Church occur. The veils used for this purpose should be violet; they ought not to be transparent, and should not have a Cross or any emblem of the Passion worked upon them. Of course, this rule does not apply to the images, &c., which are merely ornamental or structural parts of the building, nor does it extend to the series of pictures representing the Way of the Cross. The Candlesticks on the Altar should not be veiled.
  • The Office Hymn on the Eve of Passion Sunday, and daily until the Wednes­day in Holy Week inclusive, is Vexilla Regis prodeunt. And at Mattins, during the same period, it should be Pange lingua gloriosi Praelium, or Lustra sex qui jam peracta.
  • At the Holy Eucharist on Passion Sunday, and daily until Holy Saturday, unless the Service be that of a Festival, the Psalm Judica me in the Preparation, is omitted, and the Gloria Patri is not said at the Introit, or at the end of the Psalm Lavabo.

Today, if ye shall hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

The Holy Church begins her Night Office of this Sunday with these impressive words of the royal Prophet. Formerly, the faithful considered it their duty to assist at the Night Office, at least on Sundays and Feasts; they would have grieved to have lost the grand teachings given by the Liturgy. Such fervour has long since died out; the assiduity at the Offices of the Church, which was the joy of our Catholic forefathers, has now become a thing of the past; and even in countries which have not apostatized from the faith, the clergy have ceased to celebrate publicly Offices at which no one assisted. Excepting in Cathedral Churches and in Monasteries, the grand harmonious system of the Divine Praise has been abandoned, and the marvellous power of the Liturgy has no longer its full influence upon the Faithful.

This is our reason for drawing the attention of our readers to certain beauties of the Divine Office, which would otherwise be totally ignored. Thus, what can be more impressive than this solemn Invitatory of today’s Matins, which the Church takes from one of the psalms, and which she repeats on every Feria between this and Maundy Thursday? She says: Today, if ye shall hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts! The sweet voice of your suffering Jesus now speaks to you, poor sinners! be not your own enemies by indifference and hardness of heart. The Son of God is about to give you the last and greatest proof of the love that brought him down from heaven; his Death is nigh at hand: men are preparing the wood for the immolation of the new Isaac: enter into yourselves, and let not your hearts, after being touched with grace, return to their former obduracy—for nothing could be more dangerous. The great anniversaries we are to celebrate have a renovating power for those souls that faithfully correspond with the grace which is offered them; but they increase insensibility in those who let them pass without working their conversion. Today, therefore, if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts!

During the preceding four weeks, we have noticed how the malice of Jesus’ enemies has been gradually increasing. His very presence irritates them; and it is evident that any little circumstance will suffice to bring the deep and long nurtured hatred to a head. The kind and gentle manners of Jesus are drawing to him all hearts that are simple and upright; at the same time, the humble life he leads, and the stern purity of his doctrines, are perpetual sources of vexation and anger, both to the proud Jew that looks forward to the Messiah being a mighty conqueror, and to the Pharisee, who corrupts the Law of God, that he may make it the instrument of his own base passions. Still, Jesus goes on working miracles; his discourses are more than ever energetic; his prophecies foretell the fall of Jerusalem, and such a destruction of its famous Temple that not a stone is to be left on stone. The doctors of the Law should, at least, reflect upon what they hear; they should examine these wonderful works which render such strong testimony in favour of the Son of David, and they should consult those divine prophecies which, up to the present time, have been so literally fulfilled in his person. Alas! they themselves are about to carry out to the very last iota. There is not a single outrage or suffering foretold by David and Isaias, as having to be put upon the Messiah, which these blind men are not scheming to verify.

In them, therefore, was fulfilled that terrible saying: He that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come. The Synagogue is nigh to a curse. Obstinate in her error, she refuses to see or to hear; she has deliberately perverted her judgment: she has extinguished within herself the light of the Holy Spirit; she will go deeper and deeper into evil, and at length fall into the abyss. This same lamentable conduct is but too often witnessed nowadays in those sinners who, by habitual resistance to the light, end by finding their happiness in sin. Neither should it surprise us that we find in people of our own generation a resemblance to the murderers of our Jesus: the history of his Passion will reveal to us many sad secrets of the human heart and its perverse inclinations; for what happened in Jerusalem happens also in every sinner’s heart. His heart, according to the saying of St. Paul, is a Calvary where Jesus is crucified. There is the same ingratitude, the same blindness, the same wild madness, with this difference—that the sinner who is enlightened by faith knows Him whom he crucifies; whereas the Jews, as the same Apostle tells us, knew not the Lord of Glory. While, therefore, we listen to the Gospel, which relates the history of the Passion, let us turn the indignation we feel for the Jews against ourselves and our own sins: let us weep over the sufferings of our Victim, for our sins caused him to suffer and die.

Everything around us urges us to mourn. The images of the Saints, the very crucifix on our Altar, are veiled from our sight. The Church is oppressed with grief. During the first four weeks of Lent, she compassionated her Jesus fasting in the desert; his coming Sufferings and Crucifixion and Death are what now fill her with anguish. We read in today’s Gospel that the Jews threaten to stone the Son of God as a blasphemer: but his hour is not yet come. He is obliged to flee and hide himself. It is to express this deep humiliation that the Church veils the Cross. A God hiding himself, that he may evade the anger of men—what a mystery! Is it weakness? Is it that he fears death? No—we shall soon see him going out to meet his enemies: but at present, he hides himself from them, because all that had been prophesied regarding him has not been fulfilled. Besides, his death is not to be by stoning; he is to die upon a Cross, the tree of malediction which, from that time forward, is to be the Tree of Life. Let us humble ourselves, as we see the Creator of heaven and earth thus obliged to hide himself from men who are bent on his destruction! Let us go back in thought to the sad day of the first sin, when Adam and Eve hid themselves because a guilty conscience told them they were naked. Jesus is come to assure us of our being pardoned! and lo! he hides himself, not because he is naked—He that is to the Saints the garb of holiness and immortality—but because he made himself weak, that he might make us strong. Our First Parents sought to hide themselves from the sight of God; Jesus hides himself from the eye of men; but it will not be thus forever. The day will come when sinners, from whose anger he now flees, will pray to the mountains that they fall on them to shield them from his gaze; but their prayer will not be granted, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with much power and majesty.

This Sunday is called Passion Sunday, because the Church begins on this day to make the Sufferings of our Redeemer her chief thought. It is called also Judica, from the first word of the Introit of the Mass; and again, Neomania, that is, the Sunday of the new (or, the Easter) moon, because it always falls after the new moon which regulates the Feast of Easter Day.

In the Greek Church, this Sunday goes under the simple name of the Fifth Sunday of the Holy Fests.


Old Roman TV are delighted to announce that The Daily Mass is now available to watch LIVE both on Facebook AND YouTube!

Sunday in the Fifth Week of Lent: Missa “Judica me”

With Passion Sunday the Season of Passiontide has begun and today’s Mass is full of the thought of the Passion of Jesus and of the infidelity of the Jews, whose place in the Kingdom of God was taken by those who were baptized; that is to say the catechumens and the Christians.

In the Introit, the Psalmist, exiled among hostile people, represents Christ “against Whom rose up an angry nation” (Gradual).

The Gospel shows us indeed the growing hatred of the Sanhedrin. Abraham believed the divine promises which announced Christ to him, and in limbo his soul, which eternal death could not reach, rejoiced to see them realized. And the Jews, who ought to have recognized in Jesus the Son of God, greater than Abraham and the Prophets because He is eternal, disregarded the meaning of His words. They insulted the Messiah, Whom they declared to be possessed by a devil, a blasphemer whom they would stone to death.

From this point until Holy Saturday the statues and crucifixes are shrouded in violet or purple cloth and holy water fonts are emptied.

INTROIT Psalm 13: 1,2

Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man, for Thou art my God and my strength. V. Send forth Thy light and Thy truth: they have conducted me, and brought me unto Thy holy hill, and into Thy tabernacles. [Glory be… etc is NOT said today]


Look down in mercy, we beseech Thee, O Lord, upon Thy family; by Thy governance may we be outwardly protected in body; by Thy favour may we be inwardly strengthened in heart and mind.  Through our Lord…

LESSON  Hebrews 9: 11-15

A reading from the Epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul to the Hebrews. Brethren: Christ being come, a High Priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, neither by the blood of goats or of calves, but by His own blood, entered once into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and of oxen, and the ashes of an heifer being sprinkled, sanctify such as are defiled, to the cleansing of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the Holy Ghost, offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God? And therefore He is the Mediator of the New Testament; that by means of His death, for the redemption of those transgressions which were under the former Testament; they that are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance; in Christ Jesus our Lord.

GRADUAL  Psalm 142: 9, 10; Psalm 17: 48-49

Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord: teach me to do Thy will. V. Thou art my deliverer, O Lord, from the angry nations: Thou wilt lift me up above them that rise up against me: from the unjust man Thou wilt deliver me.

TRACT Psalm 128: 1-4

Often have they fought against me from my youth. Let Israel now say: Often have they fought against me from my youth. But they could not prevail over me: the wicked have wrought upon my back. They have lengthened their iniquities: the Lord, Who is just, will cut the necks of sinners.

GOSPEL  St. John 8: 46-59

At that time, Jesus said to the multitudes of the Jews: “Which of you shall convince Me of sin? If I say the truth to you, why do you not believe Me? He that is of God, heareth the words of God. Therefore you hear them not, because you are not of God.” The Jews therefore answered, and said to Him: Do not we say well, that Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered: “I have not a devil, but I honor My Father, and you have dishonoured Me. But I seek not My own glory; there is One that seeketh and judgeth. Amen, amen, I say to you, If any man keep My word, he shall not see death for ever.” The Jews therefore said: Now we know that Thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and Thou sayest: If any man keep My word, he shall not taste death for ever. Art Thou greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? and the prophets are dead. Whom dost Thou make Thyself? Jesus answered: “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing. It is My Father that glorifieth Me, of Whom you say that He is your God. And you have not known Him; but I know Him. And if I shall say that I know Him not, I shall be like to you, a liar. But I do know Him, and do keep his word. Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see My day: he saw it, and was glad.” The Jews therefore said to Him: Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast Thou seen Abraham? Jesus said to them: “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was made, I AM.” They took up stones therefore to cast at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple.

OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 118: 17, 107

I will confess to Thee, O Lord, with my whole heart: render to Thy servant, I shall live and keep Thy words: enliven me according to Thy word, O Lord.


May these gifts, we beseech Thee, O Lord, merit for us the loosening of the bonds of our sins, and draw down upon us Thy bounteous mercies.  Through our Lord…

PREFACE of the Holy Cross

It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God : Who didst establish the salvation of mankind on the tree of the Cross: that whence death came thence also life might arise again, and that he, Who overcame by the tree, by the tree also might be overcome: Through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with these we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also be admitted while we say with lowly praise:

COMMUNION ANTIPHON 1 Corinthians 11: 24, 25

This is My Body which shall be delivered for you: this is the chalice of the New Testament in My Blood, saith the Lord: do this, as often as you receive it, in commemoration of Me.


Draw near to us, O Lord our God, and with everlasting succour aid those whom by Thy sacrament Thou hast called to newness of life.  Through our Lord…


How are Old Roman vocations to the Sacred Ministry discerned, formed and realised? If you are discerning a vocation to the Sacred Ministry and are considering exploring the possibility of realising your vocation as an Old Roman or transferring your discernment, this is the programme for you! 
Questions are welcome and may be sent in advance to anonymity is assured.
Richard Challoner (1691–1781) was an English Roman Catholic bishop, a leading figure of English Catholicism during the greater part of the 18th century. The titular Bishop of Doberus, he is perhaps most famous for his revision of the Douay–Rheims translation of the Bible.

Consider first, how the high priest and his fellows in iniquity (notwithstanding their late sitting up at night), very early in the morning convene a more numerous assembly of the Sanhedrim or great council, to carry on and to bring to execution their wicked designs against the Son of God. Alas! how often are the children of this world more industrious in rising early to wickedness, than the servants of God to advance his glory and their own eternal salvation! Here our Lord is again brought before them, and the question is put to him again: ‘Art thou the Christ, the Son of God?’  And upon his answering again in the affirmative, they all renew their former sentence, and declare him worthy of death. But see the depth of the malice of these unhappy men against the Lord of Life, which will not suffer them to be content with putting him to death privately, or with stoning him, as they afterwards did St. Stephen, or with any other ordinary death; but they must needs have him die upon a Cross, as being the most disgraceful and at the same time the most cruel of all deaths; and therefore, as they could not of their own authority inflict this kind of death, they determined to deliver him up to Pilate the governor, in order to his being crucified by him. See what envy and malice is capable of when once they have taken possession of the soul; and remember withal that their envy and malice could not make the Son of God suffer any thing more than what his infinite charity had freely made choice of to suffer for the love of thee. Blessed be that infinite charity for evermore, which has freely chosen so disgraceful and so cruel a death for our redemption from sin and hell!

Consider 2ndly, the manner of their conducting our Lord to Pilate, through the streets, lined with an immense multitude of people, assembled at Jerusalem upon occasion of the paschal solemnity. Hear how they publish all the way as they go that now they had found him to be a cheat and a hypocrite, had discovered all his impostures, and convicted him, by his own confession, of blasphemy, and therefore had condemned him to die. See how the people, who a little while before reverenced him as a Prophet, are now all changed in his regard and join with his enemies. O see what a wretched figure he makes in their hands, after the treatment he had received in the night: see how his enemies take occasion from thence to triumph and to insult over him, and how his friends grow cold and are ashamed of him. O, my soul, do thou at least follow thy Lord with compassion and love in the way that he walks for thy redemption; a painful and humble way indeed, and quite opposite to the ways the world is fond of, and distasteful to flesh and blood; but O! how wholesome to all such souls as willingly embrace them and follow them in the company of Jesus Christ!

Consider 3rdly, how the high priest and the rest of the council being come to Pilate’s house, made a scruple of going in for fear of contracting a legal uncleanness that might disqualify them from partaking of the sacrifices that were offered on that day - it being the very day of the feast of the Passover, celebrated in memory of their redemption from the bondage of Egypt. And yet, unhappy men, whilst they scruple going into the house of a Gentile, for fear of an uncleanness that could only reach the body, they are not afraid of polluting their souls with the most heinous of all crimes, and profaning thereby the greatest of all their solemnities. But what are men not capable of when they suffer themselves to be hurried away by their passions! But see the wonderful providence of God! whilst they, on their part, are so bent upon their wickedness that no other day will serve their turn but the very day of their sacrificing the paschal lamb, without thinking or designing it they are concurring as instruments to bring about the merciful designs of God for the redemption of the whole world, by the sacrifice of the true Paschal Lamb on that same day, of which their yearly Passover was an illustrious figure.

Conclude to beware of thy passions, which, if indulged, are capable of blinding thee to that degree as to pervert the greatest good into evil. And on the other side, embrace and love the wonderful ways of Divine Providence, which so often draws the greatest good out of the greatest evils.
Monday. Our Lord is sent from Pilate to Herod
Tuesday. Barabbas is preferred before our Lord. He is scourged at the pillar
Wednesday. Our Lord is crowned with thorns
Thursday. Our Lord is shown to the people, with Ecce Homo, Behold the Man!
Friday. On the part the blessed Virgin bore in her Son’s sufferings
Saturday. Our Lord is condemned to the cross
Revd Dr Robert Wilson PhD
Passion Sunday

Christ being come, a high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is, not of this creation: neither by the blood of goats or of calves, but by his own blood, entered once into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats or of oxen, or the ashes of an heifer, being sprinkled, sanctify such as are defiled, to the cleansing of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who by the Holy Ghost, offered himself unspotted unto God, cleanse our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God?

Today is Passion Sunday, in which we mark the approach of Holy Week and Easter and enter into the most solemn part of this season of Lent. It is therefore appropriate that we hear today from the Epistle to the Hebrews of how Christ has fulfilled in his own person the hope of the old covenant for atonement for sin, through the perfect sacrifice of himself on our behalf.

But what does it mean to speak of Christ as the fulfilment of the sacrificial system of the old testament? In order to answer this question we need to first understand how the Jewish sacrificial system worked. This is not easy for us to do because the offering of animal sacrifices to God seems perhaps the part of the old testament that is most remote from our understanding of worship today. The sacrificial system and the Holiness code of the Book of Leviticus seems to us to be hard to comprehend so we are apt to pass it over and focus on other books of the Old Testament. While this may be true for us today it was very different for the ancient world. Whereas we find the sacrificial system the strangest aspect of the religion of Israel, to the ancient world it would have seemed the easiest part of the faith of Israel to understand. Sacrifice was part of the worship of the ancient world. The peculiarity of the religion of Israel to the ancient world was not that it involved sacrifice, but that the Israelites worshipped only one God, rather than the plurality of gods and goddesses that other ancient peoples worshipped. The desire to achieve atonement through animal sacrifice was itself quite familiar.

But how did the sacrificial system work in practice? There were burnt offerings and peace offerings and sin offerings. The sacrifices were performed in the Temple in Jerusalem by priests who were sons of Aaron. The specifically priestly action was not the death of the victim (although that was obviously part of the sacrificial process) but the offering of the blood of the victim upon the altar (the blood symbolised life- hence the prohibition of drinking blood). The most solemn day of the year was the Day of Atonement, when the high priest offered sacrifice, first for his own sins and then for the sins of the people, and then entered into the Holy of Holies (the most sacred part of the Temple) and offered the blood of the victim upon the altar. 

But there was one crucial problem. Though they offered the sacrifices as a means of atonement for the sins of the people the priests, including the high priest, were themselves sinners and needed atonement as much as anybody else. That was why this act of ceremonial cleansing by means of blood happened every year. The people therefore hoped for a new covenant in which sins would finally be forgiven and communion between God and his people restored permanently.

What the Epistle to the Hebrews is saying is that this hope has now been fulfilled in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. He has offered himself as both priest and victim. He did not, like the high priest on the Day of Atonement, need to offer sacrifice first for his own sins and then for the sins of the people. He is the true high priest and by a greater and more perfect tabernacle and not with the blood of bulls and goats, but with his own blood, has entered into the true holy of holies, having obtained eternal redemption for us. “And therefore he is mediator of the new testament: that by means of his death, for the redemption of those transgressions which were under the former testament, they that are called may receive the promise of an eternal inheritance, in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Now that he is risen, ascended and glorified, he is able to intercede on our behalf, our true high priest and the true propitiation for our sins until the end of time. Even priests could not eat the sin offering on the Day of Atonement, but we now have an altar in which those who under the old covenant ministered in the tabernacle had no right to eat. This is the Christian Eucharist, the Mass, in which the sacrifice which Christ offered once for all in time and history and now pleads before God in the heavenly sanctuary is made present to us. We no longer need different sacrifices, but receive atonement for our sins from the one perfect sacrifice.

St. John Chrysostom states “What then? Do we not offer daily? Certainly we offer thus, making a memorial of his death. How is it one and not many? But it was offered once, like that which was carried into the holy of holies… For we ever offer the same person, not today one sheep, and next day a different one, but ever the same offering. Therefore the sacrifice is one. By this argument then, since the offering is made in many places, does it follow that there are many Christs? Not at all, for Christ is everywhere one, complete here and complete there, a single body. Thus, as when offered in many places he is one body and not many bodies, so also there is one sacrifice. One high priest is he who offers the sacrifice which cleanses us. We offer even now that which was then offered, which cannot be exhausted. This is done for memorial of that which was then done, for “Do this” said he for the remembrance of me. We do not offer a different sacrifice like the high priest of old, but we ever offer the same. Or rather we offer the memorial of the sacrifice.”

In the words of William Bright’s great hymn,
“Once, only once, and once for all,
His precious life he gave;
Before the Cross in faith we fall, 
And own it strong to save.

One offering, single and complete,
With lips and heart we say;
And what he never can repeat
He shows forth day by day.

For as the priest of Aaron’s line
Within the holiest stood,
And sprinkled all the mercy shrine
With sacrificial blood;

So he, who once atonement wrought,
Our Priest of endless power,
Presents himself for those he bought
In that dark noontide hour.

His Manhood pleads where now it lives
On heaven’s eternal throne,
And where in mystic rite he gives
Its presence to his own.

And so we show thy death, O Lord,
Till thou again appear,
And feel, when we approach thy board,
We have an altar here.

Passion Sunday, the fifth Sunday of Lent, a Sunday of the first class, not permitting the celebration of any feast, no matter of what rank, but allowing a commemoration of feasts which are not transferred. It is called Dominica de Passione in the Roman Missal, and Dominica Passionis in the Breviary. Durandus and other liturgical writers speak of it as Dominica in Passione, or simply Passio, or Passio Domini. It is also known as Judica Sunday, from the first word of the Introit of Mass; Isti sunt, from the beginning of the first response in the Matins; Octava median, it being the eighth day after Loetare Sunday, called sometimes Mediana, or Middle of Lent; Repus, an abbreviation of repositus, i.e. absconditus, or hidden from the veiling of the Crosses (Du Cange, “Glossar.” s.v. repositus). Among the Slays it is the Nedéla strastna (pain, suffering, terrible), muki (painful, or sorrowful), gluha (deaf or silent), tiha (quiet), smertelna (relating to death), or also tern’ (black), which appellation is also found in some parts of Germany as Schwartzer Sonntag. Since after this Sunday there are not many more days of the Lenten season the Greek Church admonishes the faithful to special mortifications, and places before them the example of the penitent St. Mary of Egypt.
Dom Prosper Gueranger

After having proposed the forty-days’ fast of Jesus in the desert to the meditation of the faithful during the first four weeks of Lent, the holy Church gives the two weeks which still remain before Easter to the commemoration of the Passion. She would not have her children come to that great day of the immolation of the Lamb, without having prepared for it by compassionating with Him in the sufferings He endured in their stead.

The most ancient sacramentaries and antiphonaries of the several Churches attest, by the prayers, the lessons, and the whole liturgy of these two weeks, that the Passion of our Lord is now the one sole thought of the Christian world. During Passion-week, a saint’s feast, if it occur, will be kept; but Passion Sunday admits no feast, however solemn it may be; and even on those which are kept during the days intervening between Passion and Palm Sunday, there is always made a commemoration of the Passion, and the holy images are not allowed to be uncovered.

We cannot give any historical details upon the first of these two weeks; its ceremonies and rites have always been the same as those of the four preceding ones. [It would be out of place to enter here on a discussion with regard to the name Mediana under which title we find Passion Sunday mentioned both in ancient liturgies and in Canon Law.] We, therefore, refer the reader to the following chapter, in which we treat of the mysteries peculiar to Passiontide. The second week, on the contrary, furnishes us with abundant historical details; for there is no portion of the liturgical year which has interested the Christian world so much as this, or which has given rise to such fervent manifestations of piety.

This week was held in great veneration even as early as the third century, as we learn from St. Denis, bishop of Alexandria, who lived at that time [Epist. ad Basilidem, Canon i]. In the following century, we find St. John Chrysostom, calling it the great week [Hom. xxx in Genes.]:- ‘Not,’ says the holy doctor, ‘that it has more days in it than other weeks, or that its days are made up of more hours than other days; but we call it great, because of the great mysteries which are then celebrated.’ We find it called also by other names: the painful week (hebdomada poenosa), on account of the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the fatigue required from us in celebrating them; the week of indulgence, because sinners are then received to penance; and, lastly, Holy Week, in allusion to the holiness of the mysteries which are commemorated during these seven days. This last name is the one under which it most generally goes with us; and the very days themselves are, in many countries, called by the same name, Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday.

The severity of the lenten fast is increased during these its last days; the whole energy of the spirit of penance is now brought out. Even with us, the dispensation which allows the use of eggs ceases towards the middle of this week. The eastern Churches, faithful to their ancient traditions, have kept up a most rigorous abstinence ever since the Monday of Quinquagesima week. During the whole of this long period, which they call Xerophagia, they have been allowed nothing but dry food. In the early ages, fasting during Holy Week was carried to the utmost limits that human nature could endure. We learn from St. Epiphanius [Expositio fidei, ix Haeres. xxii.], that there were some of the Christians who observed a strict fast from Monday morning to cock-crow of Easter Sunday. Of course it must have been very few of the faithful who could go so far as this. Many passed two, three, and even four consecutive days, without tasting any food; but the general practice was to fast from Maundy Thursday evening to Easter morning. Many Christians in the east, and in Russia, observe this fast even in these times. Would that such severe penance were always accompanied by a firm faith and union with the Church, out of which the merit of such penitential works is of no avail for salvation!

Another of the ancient practices of Holy Week were the long hours spent, during the night, in the churches. On Maundy Thursday, after having celebrated the divine mysteries in remembrance of the Last Supper, the faithful continued a long time in prayer [St. John Chrysostom, Hom. xxx in Genes.]. The night between Friday and Saturday was spent in almost uninterrupted vigil, in honour of our Lord’s burial [St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. xviii.]. But the longest of all these vigils was that of Saturday, which was kept up till Easter Sunday morning. The whole congregation joined in it: they assisted at the final preparation of the catechumens, as also at the administration of Baptism; nor did they leave the church until after the celebration of the holy Sacrifice, which was not over till sunrise [Const. Apost. lib. 1. cap. xviii.].

Cessation from servile work was, for a long time, an obligation during Holy Week. The civil law united with that of the Church in order to bring about this solemn rest from toil and business, which so eloquently expresses the state of mourning of the Christian world. The thought of the sufferings and death of Jesus was the one pervading thought: the Divine Offices and prayer were the sole occupation of the people: and, indeed, all the strength of the body was needed for the support of the austerities of fasting and abstinence. We can readily understand what an impression was made upon men’s minds, during the whole of the rest of the year, by this universal suspension of the ordinary routine of life. Moreover, when we call to mind how, for five full weeks, the severity of Lent had waged war on the sensual appetites, we can imagine the simple and honest joy wherewith was welcomed the feast of Easter, which brought both the regeneration of the soul, and respite to the body.

In the preceding volume, we mentioned the laws of the Theodosian Code, which forbade all law business during the forty days preceding Easter. This law of Gratian and Theodosius, which was published in 380, was extended by Theodosius in 389; this new decree forbade all pleadings during the seven days before, and the seven days after, Easter. We meet with several allusions to this then recent law, in the homilies of St. John Chrysostom, and in the sermons of St. Augustine. In virtue of this decree, each of these fifteen days was considered, as far as the courts of law were concerned, as a Sunday.

But Christian princes were not satisfied with the mere suspension of human justice during these days, which are so emphatically days of mercy: they would, moreover, pay homage, by an external act, to the fatherly goodness of God, who has deigned to pardon a guilty world, through the merits of the death of His Son. The Church was on the point of giving reconciliation to repentant sinners, who had broken the chains of sin whereby they were held captives; Christian princes were ambitious to imitate this their mother, and they ordered that prisoners should be loosened from their chains, that the prisons should be thrown open, and that freedom should be restored to those who had fallen under the sentence of human tribunals. The only exception made was that of criminals whose freedom would have exposed their families or society to great danger. The name of Theodosius stands prominent in these acts of mercy. We are told by St John Chrysostom [Homil. in magn. Hebdom. Homil. xxx. in Genes. Homil. vi ad popul. Antioch.] that this emperor sent letters of pardon to the several cities, ordering the release of prisoners, and granting life to those that had been condemned to death, and all this in order to sanctify the days preceding the Easter feast. The last emperors made a law of this custom, as we find in one of St. Leo’s sermons, where he thus speaks of their clemency: ‘The Roman emperors have long observed this holy practice. In honour of our Lord’s Passion and Resurrection, they humbly withhold the exercise of their sovereign justice, and, laying aside the severity of their laws, they grant pardon to a great number of criminals. Their intention in this is to imitate the divine goodness by their own exercise of clemency during these days, when the world owes its salvation to the divine mercy. Let, then, the Christian people imitate their princes, and let the example of kings induce subjects to forgive each other their private wrongs; for, surely it is absurd that private laws should be less unrelenting than those which are public. Let trespasses be forgiven, let bonds be taken off, let offences be forgotten, let revenge be stifled; that thus the sacred feast may, by both divine and human favours, find us all happy and innocent.’ [Sermon xl. de Quadragesima, ii].

This Christian amnesty was not confined to the Theodosian Code; we find traces of it in the laws of several of our western countries. We may mention France as an example. Under the first race of its kings, St. Eligius bishop of Noyon, in a sermon for Maundy Thursday, thus expresses himself: ‘On this day, when the Church grants indulgence to penitents and absolution to sinners, magistrates, also, relent in their severity and grant pardon to the guilty. Throughout the whole world prisons are thrown open; princes show clemency to criminals; masters forgive their slaves.’ [Sermon x]. Under the second race, we learn from the Capitularia of Charlemagne, that bishops had a right to exact from the judges, for the love of Jesus Christ (as it is expressed), that prisoners should be set free on the days preceding Easter [We learn from the same capitularia, that this privilege was also extended to Christmas and Pentecost]; and should the magistrates refuse to obey, the bishops could refuse them admission into the church [Capitular. lib. vi.]. And lastly, under the third race, we find Charles VI, after quelling the rebellion at Rouen, giving orders, later on, that the prisoners should be set at liberty, because it was Painful Week, and very near to the Easter feast [Joan Juvénal des Ursins, year 1382].

A last vestige of this merciful legislation was a custom observed by the parliament of Paris. The ancient Christian practice of suspending its sessions during the whole of Lent, had long been abolished: it was not till the Wednesday of Holy Week that the house was closed, which it continued to be from that day until after Low Sunday. On the Tuesday of Holy Week, which was the last day granted for audiences, the parliament repaired to the palace prisons, and there one of the grand presidents, generally the last installed, held a session of the house. The prisoners were questioned; but, without any formal judgment, all those whose case seemed favourable, or who were not guilty of some capital offence, were set at liberty.

The revolutions of the last eighty years have produced in every country in Europe the secularization of society, that is to say, the effacing from our national customs and legislation of everything which had been introduced by the supernatural element of Christianity. The favourite theory of the last half century or more, has been that all men are equal. The people of the ages of faith had something far more convincing than theory, of the sacredness of their rights. At the approach of those solemn anniversaries which so forcibly remind us of the justice and mercy of God, they beheld princes abdicating, as it were, their sceptre, leaving in God’s hands the punishment of the guilty, and assisting at the holy Table of Paschal Communion side by side with those very men, whom, a few days before, they had been keeping chained in prison for the good of society. There was one thought, which, during these days, was strongly brought before all nations: it was the thought of God, in whose eyes all men are sinners; of God, from whom alone proceed justice and pardon. It was in consequence of this deep Christian feeling, that we find so many diplomas and charts of the ages of faith speaking of the days of Holy Week as being the reign of Christ: such an event, they say, happened on such a day, ‘under the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ:’ regnante Domino nostro Jesu Christo.

When these days of holy and Christian equality were over, did subjects refuse submission to their sovereigns? Did they abuse the humility of their princes, and take occasion for drawing up what modern times call the rights of man? No: that same thought which had inspired human justice to humble itself before the cross of Jesus, taught the people their duty of obeying the powers established by God. The exercise of power, and submission to that power, both had God for their motive. They who wielded the sceptre might be of various dynasties: the respect for authority was ever the same. Now-a-days, the liturgy has none of her ancient influence on society; religion has been driven from the world at large, and her only life and power is now with the consciences of individuals; and as to political institutions, they are but the expression of human pride, seeking to command, or refusing to obey.

And yet the fourth century, which, in virtue of the Christian spirit, produced the laws we have been alluding to, was still rife with the pagan element. How comes it that we, who live in the full light of Christianity, can give the name of progress to a system which tends to separate society from every thing that is supernatural? Men may talk as they please, there is but one way to secure order, peace, morality, and security to the world; and that is God’s way, the way of faith, of living in accordance with the teachings and the spirit of faith. All other systems can, at best, but flatter those human passions, which are so strongly at variance with the mysteries of our Lord Jesus Christ, which we are now celebrating.

We must mention another law made by the Christian emperors in reference to Holy Week. If the spirit of charity, and a desire to imitate divine mercy, led them to decree the liberation of prisoners; it was but acting consistently with these principles, that, during these days when our Saviour shed His Blood for the emancipation of the human race, they should interest themselves in what regards slaves. Slavery, a consequence of sin, and the fundamental institution of the pagan world, had received its death-blow by the preaching of the Gospel; but its gradual abolition was left to individuals, and to their practical exercise of the principle of Christian fraternity. As our Lord and His apostles had not exacted the immediate abolition of slavery, so, in like manner, the Christian emperors limited themselves to passing such laws as would give encouragement to its gradual abolition. We have an example of this in the Justinian Code, where this prince, after having forbidden all law-proceedings during Holy Week and the week following, lays down the following exception: ‘It shall, nevertheless, be permitted to give slaves their liberty; in such manner, that the legal acts necessary for their emancipation shall not be counted as contravening this present enactment.’ [Cod. lib. iii. tit. xii. de feriis. Leg. 8.]. This charitable law of Justinian was but applying to the fifteen days of Easter the decree passed by Constantine, which forbade all legal proceedings on the Sundays throughout the year, excepting only such acts as had for their object the emancipation of slaves.

But long before the peace given her by Constantine, the Church had made provision for slaves, during these days when the mysteries of the world’s redemption were accomplished. Christian masters were obliged to grant them total rest from labour during this holy fortnight. Such is the law laid down in the apostolic constitutions, which were compiled previously to the fourth century. ‘During the great week preceding the day of Easter, and during the week that follows, slaves rest from labour, inasmuch as the first is the week of our Lord’s Passion, and the second is that of His Resurrection; and the slaves require to be instructed upon these mysteries.’ [Constit. Apost. lib. viii. cap. xxxiii].

Another characteristic of the two weeks, upon which we are now entering, is that of giving more abundant alms, and of greater fervour in the exercise of works of mercy. St. John Chrysostom assures us that such was the practice of his times; he passes an encomium on the faithful, many of whom redoubled, at this period, their charities to the poor, which they did out of this motive: that they might, in some slight measure, imitate the divine generosity, which is now so unreservedly pouring out its graces on sinners.


The holy liturgy is rich in mystery during these days of the Church’s celebrating the anniversaries of so many wonderful events; but as the principal part of these mysteries is embodied in the rites and ceremonies of the respective days, we shall give our explanations according as the occasion presents itself. Our object in the present chapter, is to say a few words respecting the general character of the mysteries of these two weeks.

We have nothing to add to the explanation, already given in our Lent, on the mystery of forty. The holy season of expiation continues its course until the fast of sinful man has imitated, in its duration, that observed by the Man-God in the desert. The army of Christ’s faithful children is still fighting against the invisible enemies of man’s salvation; they are still vested in their spiritual armour, and, aided by the angels of light, they are struggling hand to hand with the spirits of darkness, by compunction of heart and by mortification of the flesh.

As we have already observed, there are three objects which principally engage the thoughts of the Church during Lent. The Passion of our Redeemer, which we have felt to be coming nearer to us each week; the preparation of the catechumens for Baptism, which is to be administered to them on Easter eve; the reconciliation of the public penitents, who are to be readmitted into the Church on the Thursday, the day of the Last Supper. Each of these three object engages more and more the attention of the Church, the nearer she approaches the time of their celebration.

The miracle performed by our Saviour almost at the very gates of Jerusalem, by which He restored Lazarus to life, has roused the fury of His enemies to the highest pitch of phrensy. The people’s enthusiasm has been excited by seeing him, who had been four days in the grave, walking in the streets of their city. They ask each other if the Messias, when He comes, can work greater wonders than these done by Jesus, and whether they ought not at once to receive this Jesus as the Messias, and sing their Hosanna to Him, for He is the Son of David. They cannot contain their feelings: Jesus enters Jerusalem, and they welcome Him as their King. The high priests and princes of the people are alarmed at this demonstration of feeling; they have no time to lose; they are resolved to destroy Jesus. We are going to assist at their impious conspiracy: the Blood of the just Man is to be sold, and the price put on it is thirty silver pieces. The divine Victim, betrayed by one of His disciples, is to be judged, condemned, and crucified. Every circumstance of this awful tragedy is to be put before us by the liturgy, not merely in words, but with all the expressiveness of a sublime ceremonial.

The catechumens have but a few more days to wait for the fount that is to give them life. Each day their instruction becomes fuller; the figures of the old Law are being explained to them; and very little now remains for them to learn with regard to the mysteries of salvation. The Symbol of faith is soon to be delivered to them. Initiated into the glories and the humiliations of the Redeemer, they will await with the faithful the moment of His glorious Resurrection; and we shall accompany them with our prayers and hymns at that solemn hour, when, leaving the defilements of sin in the life-giving waters of the font, they shall come forth pure and radiant with innocence, be enriched with the gifts of the holy Spirit, and be fed with the divine flesh of the Lamb that liveth for ever.

The reconciliation of the penitents, too, is close at hand. Clothed in sackcloth and ashes, they are continuing their work of expiation. The Church has still several passages from the sacred Scriptures to read to them, which, like those we have already heard during the last few weeks, will breathe consolation and refreshment to their souls. The near approach of the day when the Lamb is to be slain increases their hope, for they know that the Blood of this Lamb is of infinite worth, and can take away the sins of the whole world. Before the day of Jesus’ Resurrection, they will have recovered their lost innocence; their pardon will come in time to enable them, like the penitent prodigal, to join in the great Banquet of that Thursday, when Jesus will say to His guests: ‘With desire have I desired to eat this Pasch with you before I suffer.’ [St. Luke xxii. 15.]

Such are the sublime subjects which are about to be brought before us: but, at the same time, we shall see our holy mother the Church mourning, like a disconsolate widow, and sad beyond all human grief. Hitherto she has been weeping over the sins of her children; now she bewails the death of her divine Spouse. The joyous Alleluia has long since been hushed in her canticles; she is now going to suppress another expression, which seems too glad for a time like the present. Partially, at first [Unless it be the feast of a saint, as frequently happens during the first of these two weeks. The same exception is to be made in what follows.], but entirely during the last three days, she is about to deny herself the use of that formula, which is so dear to her: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. There is an accent of jubilation in these words, which would ill suit her grief and the mournfulness of the rest of her chants.

Her lessons, for the night Office, are taken from Jeremias, the prophet of lamentation above all others. The colour of her vestments is the one she had on when she assembled us at the commencement of Lent to sprinkle us with ashes; but when the dreaded day of Good Friday comes, purple would not sufficiently express the depth of her grief; she will clothe herself in black, as men do when mourning the death of a fellow-mortal; for Jesus, her Spouse, is to be put to death on that day: the sins of mankind and the rigours of the divine justice are then to weigh him down, and in all the realities of a last agony, He is to yield up His Soul to His Father.

The presentiment of that awful hour leads the afflicted mother to veil the image of her Jesus: the cross is hidden from the eyes of the faithful. The statues of the saints, too, are covered; for it is but just that, if the glory of the Master be eclipsed, the servant should not appear. The interpreters of the liturgy tell us that this ceremony of veiling the crucifix during Passiontide, expresses the humiliation to which our Saviour subjected Himself, of hiding Himself when the Jews threatened to stone Him, as is related in the Gospel of Passion Sunday. The Church begins this solemn rite with the Vespers of the Saturday before Passion Sunday. Thus it is that, in those years when the feast of our Lady’s Annunciation falls in Passion-week, the statue of Mary, the Mother of God, remains veiled, even on that very day when the Archangel greets her as being full of grace, and blessed among women.


The past four weeks seems to have been but a preparation for the intense grief of the Church during these two. She knows that men are in search of her Jesus, and that they are bent on His death. Before twelve days are over, she will see them lay their sacrilegious hands upon Him. She will have to follow Him up the hill of Calvary; she will have to receive His last breath; she must witness the stone placed against the sepulchre where His lifeless Body is laid. We cannot, therefore, be surprised at her inviting all her children to contemplate, during these weeks, Him who is the object of all her love and all her sadness.

But our mother asks something more of us than compassion and tears; she would have us profit by the lessons we are to be taught by the Passion and Death of our Redeemer. He himself, when going up to Calvary, said to the holy women who had the courage to show their compassion even before His very executioners: ‘Weep not over Me; but weep for yourselves and for your children’ [St. Luke xxiii. 28]. It was not that He refused the tribute of their tears, for He was pleased with this proof of their affection; but it was His love for them that made him speak thus. He desired, above all, to see them appreciate the importance of what they were witnessing, and learn from it how in exorable is God’s justice against sin.

During the four weeks that have preceded, the Church has been leading the sinner to his conversion; so far, however, this conversion has been but begun: now she would perfect it. It is no longer our Jesus fasting and praying in the desert, that she offers to our consideration; it is this same Jesus, as the great Victim immolated for the world’s salvation. The fatal hour is at hand; the power of darkness is preparing to make use of the time that is still left; the greatest of crimes is about to be perpetrated. A few days hence the Son of God is to be in the hands of sinners, and they will put Him to death. The Church no longer needs to urge her children to repentance; they know too well, now, what sin must be, when it could require such expiation as this. She is all absorbed in the thought of the terrible event, which is to close the life of the God-Man on earth; and by expressing her thoughts through the holy liturgy, she teaches us what our own sentiments should be.

The pervading character of the prayers and rites of these two weeks, is a profound grief at seeing the just One persecuted by His enemies even to death, and an energetic indignation against the deicides. The formulas, expressive of these two feelings are, for the most part, taken from David and the Prophets. Here, it is our Saviour Himself, disclosing to us the anguish of His soul; there, it is the Church pronouncing the most terrible anathemas upon the executioners of Jesus. The chastisement that is to befall the Jewish nation is prophesied in all its frightful details; and on the last three days, we shall hear the prophet Jeremias uttering his lamentations over the faithless city. The Church does not aim at exciting idle sentiment; what she principally seeks, is to impress the hearts of her children with a salutary fear. If Jerusalem’s crime strike them with horror, and if they feel that they have partaken in her sin, their tears will flow in abundance.

Let us, therefore, do our utmost to receive these strong impressions, too little known, alas! by the superficial piety of these times. Let us reflect upon the love and affection of the Son of God, who has treated His creatures with such unlimited confidence, lived their own life, spent His three and thirty years amidst them, not only humbly and peaceably, but in going about doing good [Acts i. 38].  And now this life of kindness, condescension, and humility, is to be cut short by the disgraceful death, which none but slaves endured: the death of the cross. Let us consider, on the one side, this sinful people, who, having no crimes to lay to Jesus’ charge, accuse Him of his benefits, and carry their detestable ingratitude to such a pitch as to shed the Blood of this innocent and divine Lamb; and then, let us turn to this Jesus, the Just by excellence, and see Him become a prey to every bitterest suffering: His Soul sorrowful even unto death [St. Matt. xxvi. 38]; weighed down by the malediction of our sins; drinking even to the very dregs the chalice He so humbly asks His Father to take from Him; and lastly, let us listen to His dying words: ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’ [Ibid. xxvii. 46]. This it is that fills the Church with her immense grief; this it is that she proposes to our consideration; for she knows that, if we once rightly understood the sufferings of her Jesus, our attachments to sin must needs be broken, for, by sin, we make our selves guilty of the crime we detest in these Jews.

But the Church knows, too, how hard is the heart of man, and how, to make him resolve on a thorough Conversion, he must be made to fear. For this reason, she puts before us those awful imprecations, which the prophets, speaking in Jesus’ person, pronounced against them that put our Lord to death. These prophetic anathemas were literally fulfilled against the obdurate Jews. They teach us what the Christian, also, must expect, if, as the apostle so forcibly expresses it, we again crucify the Son of God [Heb. vi. 6]. In listening to what the Church now speaks to us, we cannot but tremble as we recall to mind those other words of the same apostle: How much more, think ye, doth he deserve worse punishment, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath esteemed the Blood of the testament unclean, (as though it were some vile thing), by which he was sanctified, and hath offered an affront to the Spirit of grace? For we know Him that hath said: ‘Vengeance belongeth to Me, and I will repay.’ And again: ‘The Lord shall judge His people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God [Ibid. x. 29-31].

Fearful indeed it is! Oh! what a lesson God gives us of His inexorable justice, during these days of the Passion! He that spared not even his own Son [Rom. viii. 32], His beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased [St. Matt. iii. 17], will He spare us, if, after all the graces He has bestowed upon us, He should find us in sin, which He so unpitifully chastised even in Jesus, when He took it upon himself, that He might atone for it? Considerations such as these – the justice of God towards the most innocent and august of victims, and the punishments that befell the impenitent Jews – must surely destroy within us every affection to sin, for they will create within us that salutary fear which is the solid foundation of firm hope and tender love.

For if, by our sins, we have made ourselves guilty of the death of the Son of God, it is equally true that the Blood which flowed from His sacred wounds has the power to cleanse us from the guilt of our crime. The justice of our heavenly Father cannot be appeased, save by the shedding of this precious Blood; and the mercy of this same Father wills that it be spent for our ransom. The cruelty of Jesus’ executioners has made five wounds in His sacred Body; and from these, there flow five sources of salvation, which purify the world, and restore within each one of us the image of God which sin had destroyed. Let us, then, approach with confidence to this redeeming Blood, which throws open to the sinner the gates of heaven, and whose worth is such that it could redeem a million worlds, were they even more guilty than ours. We are close upon the anniversary of the day when it was shed; long ages have passed away since it flowed down the wounded Body of our Jesus, and fell in streams from the cross upon this ungrateful earth; and yet its power is as great as ever.

Let us go, then, and draw from the Saviour’s fountains [Is. xii. 3]; our souls will come forth full of life, all pure, and dazzling with heavenly beauty; not one spot of their old defilements will be left; and the Father will love us with the love wherewith He loves His own Son. Why did He deliver up unto death this His tenderly beloved Son? Was it not that He might regain us, the children whom He had lost? We had become, by our sins, the possession of satan; hell had undoubted claims upon us; and, lo! we have been suddenly snatched from both, and all our primitive rights have been restored to us. Yet God used no violence in order to deliver us from our enemy; how comes it, then, that we are now free? Listen to the apostle: ‘Ye are bought at a great price.’ [1 Cor. vi. 20]. And what is this price? The prince of the apostles explains it: ‘Know ye,’ says he, ‘that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as gold or silver, but with the precious Blood of Christ as of a Lamb unspotted and undefiled.’[ 1 Peter i. 18,19]. This divine Blood was placed in the scales of God’s justice, and so far did it outweigh our iniquities, as to make the bias in our favour. The power of this Blood has broken the very gates of hell, severed our chains, and made peace both as to the things on earth, and the things that are in heaven [Coloss. i. 20]. Let us receive upon us, therefore, this precious Blood, wash our wounds in it, and sign our foreheads with it as with an indelible mark, which may protect us, on the day of wrath, from the sword of vengeance.

There is another object most dear to the Church, which she, during these two weeks, recommends to our deepest veneration; it is the cross, the altar upon which our incomparable Victim is immolated. Twice during the course of the year, that is, on the feasts of its Invention and Exaltation, this sacred Wood will be offered to us that we may honour it as the trophy of our Jesus’ victory; but now, it speaks to us but of His sufferings, it brings with it no other idea but that of His humiliation. God had said in the ancient Covenant: ‘Accursed is he that hangeth on a tree’ [Deut. xxi. 23]. The Lamb, that saved us, disdained not to suffer this curse; but, for that very cause, this tree, this wood of infamy, has become dear to us beyond measure. It is the instrument of our salvation, it is the sublime pledge of Jesus’ love for us. On this account, the Church is about to lavish her veneration and love upon it; and we intend to imitate her, and join her in this, as in all else she does. An adoring gratitude towards the Blood that has redeemed us, and a loving veneration of the holy cross – these are the two sentiments which are to be uppermost in our hearts during these two weeks.

But for the Lamb Himself – for Him that gave us this Blood, and so generously embraced the cross that saved us – what shall we do? Is it not just that we should keep close to Him, and that, more faithful than the apostles who abandoned Him during His Passion, we should follow Him day by day, nay, hour by hour, in the way of the cross that He treads for us? Yes, we will be His faithful companions during these last days of His mortal life, when He submits to the humiliation of having to hide Himself from His enemies. We will envy the lot of those devoted few, who shelter Him in their houses, and expose themselves, by this courageous hospitality, to the rage of His enemies. We will compassionate His Mother, who suffered an anguish that no other heart could feel, because no other creature could love Him as she did. We will go, in spirit, into that most hated Sanhedrim, where they are laying the impious plot against the life of the just One. Suddenly, we shall see a bright speck gleaming on the dark horizon; the streets and squares of Jerusalem will re-echo with the cry of Hosanna to the Son of David. That unexpected homage paid to our Jesus, those palm branches, those shrill voices of admiring Hebrew children, will give a momentary truce to our sad forebodings. Our love shall make us take part in the loyal tribute thus paid to the King of Israel, who comes so meekly to visit the daughter of Sion, as the prophet had foretold He would: but alas! this joy will be short-lived, and we must speedily relapse into our deep sorrow of soul!

The traitorous disciple will soon strike his bargain with the high priests; the last Pasch will be kept, and we shall see the figurative lamb give place to the true one, whose Flesh will become our food, and His Blood our drink. It will be our Lord’s Supper. Clad in the nuptial robe, we will take our place there, together with the disciples; for that day is the day of reconciliation, which brings together, to the same holy Table, both the penitent sinner, and the just that has been ever faithful. Then, we shall have to turn our steps towards the fatal garden, where we shall learn what sin is, for we shall behold our Jesus agonizing beneath its weight, and asking some respite from His eternal Father. Then, in the dark hour of midnight, the servants of the high priests and the soldiers, led on by the vile Iscariot, will lay their impious hands on the Son of God; and yet the legions of angels, who adore Him, will be withheld from punishing the awful sacrilege! After this, we shall have to repair to the various tribunals, whither Jesus is led, and witness the triumph of injustice. The time that elapses between his being seized in the garden and His having to carry His cross up the hill of Calvary, will be filled up with the incidents of His mock trial – lies, calumnies, the wretched cowardice of the Roman governor, the insults of the by-standers, and the cries of the ungrateful populace thirsting for innocent Blood! We shall be present at all these things; our love will not permit us to separate ourselves from that dear Redeemer, who is to suffer them for our sake, for our salvation.

Finally, after seeing Him struck and spit upon, and after the cruel scourging and the frightful insult of the crown of thorns, we will follow our Jesus up Mount Calvary; we shall know where His sacred feet have trod by the Blood that marks the road. We shall have to make our way through the crowd, and, as we pass, we shall hear terrible imprecations uttered against our divine Master. Having reached the place of execution, we shall behold this august Victim stripped of His garment, nailed to the cross, hoisted into the air, as if the better to expose Him to insult! We will draw near to the free of life, that we may lose neither one drop of that Blood which flows for the cleansing of the world, nor one single word spoken, for its instruction, by our dying Jesus. We will compassionate His Mother, whose heart is pierced through with a sword of sorrow; we will stand close to her, when her Son, a few moments before His death, shall consign us to her fond care. After His three hours’ agony, we will reverently watch His sacred Head bow down, and receive, with adoring love, His last breath.

A bruised and mangled corpse, stiffened by the cold of death – this is all that remains to us of that Son of Man, whose first coming into the world caused us such joy! The Son of the eternal Father was not satisfied with emptying Himself and taking the form of a servant [Phil. ii. 7]; this His being born in the flesh was but the beginning of His sacrifice; His love was to lead Him even unto death, even to the death of the cross. He foresaw that He would not win our love save at the price of such a generous immolation, and His heart hesitated not to make it. ‘Let us, therefore, love God,’ says St. John, ‘because God first loved us.’ [1 St. John iv. 19]. This is the end the Church proposes to herself by the celebration of these solemn anniversaries. After humbling our pride and our resistance to grace by showing us how divine justice treats sin, she leads our hearts to love Jesus, who delivered Himself up, in our stead, to the rigours of that justice. Woe to us, if this great week fail to produce in our souls a just return towards Him who loved us more than Himself, though we were, and had made ourselves, His enemies. Let us say with the apostle: ‘The charity of Christ presseth us; that they who live, may not now live to themselves, but unto Him who died for them.’ [2 Cor.v. 14,15]. We owe this return to Him who made Himself a Victim for our sake, and who, up to the very last moment, instead of pronouncing against us the curse we so justly deserved, prayed and obtained for us mercy and grace. He is, one day, to reappear on the clouds of heaven, and as the prophet says, men shall look upon Him whom they have pierced [Zach. iii. 10]. God grant that we may be of the number of those who, having made amends by their love for the crimes they have committed against the divine Lamb, will then find confidence at the sight of those wounds!

Let us hope that, by God’s mercy, the holy time we are now entering upon will work such a happy change in us, that, on the day of judgment, we may confidently fix our eyes on Him we are now about to contemplate crucified by the hands of sinners. The death of Jesus puts the whole of nature in commotion; the midday sun is darkened, the earth is shaken to its very foundations, the rocks are split: may it be that our hearts, too, be moved, and pass from indifference to fear, from fear to hope, and, at length, from hope to love; so that, having gone down, with our Crucified, to the very depths of sorrow, we may deserve to rise again with Him unto light and joy, beaming with the brightness of His Resurrection, and having within ourselves the pledge of a new life, which shall then die no more!

Saint Benedict
March 21st Father of Western Monasticism

Saint Benedict, blessed by grace as his prophetic name seemed to foretell, was born of a noble Italian family in Umbria, in the year 480. As a boy he showed great inclination for virtue, and maturity in his actions. He was sent to Rome at the age of seven, to be placed in the public schools. At the age of fourteen, alarmed by the licentiousness of the Roman youth, he fled to the desert mountains of Subiaco, forty miles from Rome, and was directed by the Holy Spirit into a deep, craggy, and almost inaccessible cave, since known as the Holy Grotto. He lived there for three years, unknown to anyone save a holy monk named Romanus, who clothed him with the monastic habit and brought him food.

He was eventually discovered, when, one Easter day, God advised a priest who lived about four miles from there, to take food to His servant, who was starving. The priest searched in the hills and finally found the solitary, and they took their meal together. Some shepherds also knew of his retreat, and soon the fame of this hermit's sanctity began to spread. The demon persecuted him, but to no avail; when a temptation of the flesh assailed him, he rolled in a clump of thorns and nettles, and came out of it covered with blood but sound in spirit.

Disciples came to him, and under his direction, numerous monasteries were founded. The rigor of the rule he drew up, however, brought upon him the hatred of some of the monks, and one of them mixed poison with the Abbot's drink. When the Saint made the sign of the cross on the poisoned bowl, it broke and fell in pieces to the ground.

Saint Benedict resurrected a boy whose father pleaded for that miracle, saying Give me back my son! He replied, Such miracles are not for us to work, but for the blessed apostles! Why will you lay upon me a burden which my weakness cannot bear? But finally, moved by compassion, he prostrated himself upon the body of the child, and prayed: Behold not, O Lord, my sins, but the faith of this man, and restore the soul which Thou hast taken away! And the child rose up, and walked to the waiting arms of his father. When a monk lost the iron head of his axe in a river, the Abbot told him to throw the handle in after it, and it rose from the river bed to resume its former place.

Six days before his death, Saint Benedict ordered his grave to be prepared, then fell ill of a fever. On the sixth day he asked to be carried to the chapel, and, having received the sacred Body and Blood of Christ, with hands uplifted and leaning on one of his disciples, he calmly expired in prayer, on the 21st of March, 543.

Reflection. The Saints never feared to undertake any work for God, however arduous, because distrusting self they relied for assistance and support wholly upon prayer.

Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler's Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894); Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 3

Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
March 25th

This great festival takes its name from the happy tidings brought by the Archangel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin, announcing the Incarnation of the Son of God. It commemorates the most important embassy that was ever known, an embassy sent by the King of kings, and performed by one of the chief princes of His heavenly court, and directed, not to the great ones of this earth, but to a poor, unknown virgin who, being endowed with angelic purity of soul and body, and perfect humility and submission to God, was greater in His eyes than the mightiest monarch in the world.

When the Son of God became man, He could have taken our nature without the cooperation of any creature; but He was pleased to be born of a woman, the One announced in the third chapter of Genesis. In choosing Her whom He raised to this most sublime of all dignities, He was turning to the one maiden who, by the riches of His grace and virtues, was of all others the most holy and the most perfect. The purpose of this embassy of the Archangel was to give a Saviour to the world, a victim of propitiation to the sinner, a model to the just, a son to this Virgin who would remain a virgin, and a new nature to the Son of God — the nature of man, capable of suffering pain and anguish in order to satisfy God's justice for our transgressions.

When the Angel appeared to Mary and addressed Her, the Blessed Virgin was troubled; not at his coming, says Saint Ambrose, for heavenly visions and conversation with the blessed spirits had been familiar to Her, but what alarmed Her, he says, was the Angel's appearing in human form, in the shape of a young man. What added to her alarm on this occasion was his words of praise. Mary, guarded by her modesty, was in confusion before expressions of this sort, and dreaded even the shadow of deluding flattery. Such high commendations made her cautious, until in silence She had more fully considered the matter: She deliberated in her mind, says Saint Luke, what manner of salutation this could be.

The Angel, to calm her, said: Fear not, Mary, for Thou hast found favor before God. He then informed Her that She was to conceive a Son whose name would be Jesus, who would be great and the Son of the Most High, and possessed of the throne of David, Her illustrious ancestor. Mary, out of a just concern to know how she may comply with the will of God without prejudice to Her vow of virginity, inquired, How shall this be? Nor did She give Her consent until the heavenly messenger informed Her that it was to be a work of the Holy Spirit, who, in making Her fruitful, would not alter in the slightest Her virginal purity. In submission to God's will, without any further inquiries, She expressed Her assent in these humble but powerful words: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto Me according to thy word. What faith and confidence Her answer expressed! What profound humility and perfect obedience!

Reflection. Humility is the foundation of a spiritual life. By it Mary was prepared for the extraordinary graces and virtues which would ever enrich Her, and for the eminent dignity of Mother of God.

Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler's Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).

The Annunciation of the Ever Blessed Virgin
Dom Prosper Gueranger OSB

This is a great day, not only to man, but even to God himself; for it is the anniversary of the most solemn event that time has ever witnessed. On this day, the Divine Word, by which the Father created the world, made made flesh in the womb of a Virgin, and dwelt among us. We must spend it in joy. While we adore the Son of God who humbled himself by thus becoming Man, let us give thanks to the Father, who so loved the world, as to give his Only Begotten Son; let us give thanks to the Holy Ghost, whose almighty power achieves the great mystery. We are in the very midst of Lent, and yet the ineffable joys of Christmas are upon us: our Emmanuel is conceived on this day, and nine months hence, will be born in Bethlehem, and the Angels will invite us to come and honor the sweet Babe.

During Septuagesima Week, we meditated upon the fall of our First Parents, and the triple sentence pronounced by God against the serpent, the woman, and Adam. Our hearts were filled with fear as we reflected on the divine malediction, the effects of which are to be felt by all generations, even to the end of the world. But, in the midst of the anathemas then pronounced against us, there was a promise made us by our God; it was a promise of salvation, and it enkindled hope within us. In pronouncing sentence against the serpent, God said, that his head should one day be crushed, and that, too, by a Woman.

The time has come for the fulfillment of this promise. The world has been in expectation for four thousand years; and the hope of its deliverance has been kept up, in spite of ail its crimes. During this time, God has made use of miracles, prophecies, and types, as a renewal of the engagement he has entered into with mankind. The blood of the Messias has passed from Adam to Noah; from Shem to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; from David and Solomon to Joachim; and now it flows in the veins of Mary, Joachim’s Daughter. Mary is the Woman by whom is to be taken from our race the curse that lies upon it. God has decreed that she should be Immaculate; and, thereby, has set an irreconcilable enmity between her and the serpent. She, a daughter of Eve, is to repair all the injury done by her Mother’s fall; she is to raise up her sex from, the degradation into which it has been cast; she is to co-operate, directly and really, in the victory which the Son of God is about to gain over his and our enemy.

A tradition, which has come down from the Apostolic Ages, tell us that the great Mystery of the Incarnation was achieved on the twenty-fifth day of March. It was at the hour of midnight, when the most Holy Virgin was alone and absorbed in prayer, that the Archangel Gabriel appeared before her, and asked her, in the name of the Blessed Trinity, to consent to become the Mother of God. Let us assist, in spirit, at this wonderful interview between the Angel and the Virgin: and at the same time, let us think of that other interview, which took place between Eve and the serpent. A holy Bishop and Martyr of the 2nd century, Saint Ireneus—who had received the tradition from the very disciples of the Apostles—shows us that Nazareth is the counterpart of Eden.

In the garden of delights, there is a virgin and an angel; and a conversation takes place between them. At Nazareth, a virgin is also spoken to by an angel, and she answers him; but the angel of the earthly Paradise is a spirit of darkness, and he of Nazareth is a spirit of light. In both instances, it is the Angel that has the first word. Why, said the serpent to Eve, why hath God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tree of Paradise? His question implies impatience and a solicitation to evil; he has contempt for the frail creature to whom he addresses it, but he hates the image of God which is upon her.

See, on the other hand, the Angel of light; see with what composure and peacefulness he approaches the Virgin of Nazareth, the new Eve; and how respectfully he bows himself down before her: Hail full of grace! The Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women! Such language is evidently of heaven: none but an Angel could speak thus to Mary.

Eve imprudently listens to the tempter’s words; she answers him; she enters into conversation with one that dares to ask her to question the justice of God’s commands. Her curiosity urges her on. She has no mistrust in the serpent; this leads her to mistrust her Creator.

Mary hears what Gabriel has spoken to her; but this Most Prudent Virgin is silent. She is surprised at the praise given her by the Angel. The purest and humblest of Virgins has a dread of flattery; and the heavenly Messenger can get no reply from her until he has fully explained his mission by these words: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a Son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father: and he shall reign in the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

What magnificent promises are these which are made to her in the name of God! What higher glory could she, a daughter of Juda, desire? knowing too, as she does, that the fortunate Mother of the Messias is to be the object of the greatest veneration! And yet it tempts her not. She has forever consecrated her virginity to God, in order that she may be the more closely united to him by love. The grandest possible privilege, if it is to be on the condition of her violating this sacred vow, would be less than nothing in her estimation. She thus answers the Angel: How shall this be done? because I know not man.

The first Eve evinces no such prudence or disinterestedness. No sooner has the wicked spirit assured her that she may break the commandment of her divine benefactor and not die; that the fruit of her disobedience will be a wonderful knowledge, which will put her on an equality with God himself—than she immediately yields; she is conquered. Her self-love has made her at once forget both duty and gratitude: she is delighted at the thought of being freed from the two-fold tie, which binds her to her Creator.

Such is the woman that caused our perdition! But how different is she that was to save us! The former cares not for her posterity; she looks but to her own interests: the latter forgets herself to think only of her God, and of the claims he has to her service. The Angel, charmed with this sublime fidelity, thus answers the question put to him by Mary, and reveals to her the designs of God: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God. And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren; because no word shall be impossible with God. This said, he is silent, and reverently awaits the answer of the Virgin of Nazareth.

Let us look once more at the virgin of Eden. Scarcely has the wicked spirit finished speaking than Eve casts a longing look at the forbidden fruit: she is impatient to enjoy the independence it is to bring her. She rashly stretches forth her hand; she plucks the fruit; she eats it, and death takes possession of her: death of the soul, for sin extinguishes the light of life; and death of the body, which, being separated from the source of immortality, becomes an object of shame and horror, and finally crumbles into dust.

But let us turn away our eyes from this sad spectacle, and fix them on Nazareth. Mary has heard the Angel’s explanation of the mystery; the will of heaven is made known to her, and how grand an honor it is to bring upon her! She, the humble maid of Nazareth, is to have the ineffable happiness of becoming the Mother of God, and yet the treasure of her Virginity is to be left to her! Mary bows down before this sovereign will, and says to the heavenly Messenger: Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word.

Thus, as the great St. Ireneus and so many of the Holy Fathers remark, the obedience of the second Eve repaired the disobedience of the first: for no sooner does the Virgin of Nazareth speak her fiat—be it done—than the Eternal Son of God (who, according to the divine decree, awaited this word) is present, by the operation of the Holy Ghost, in the chaste womb of Mary, and there he begins his human life. A Virgin is a Mother, and Mother of God; and it is this Virgin’s consenting to the divine will that has made her conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost. This sublime Mystery puts between the Eternal Word and a mere woman the relations of Son and Mother; it gives to the Almighty God a means whereby he may, in a manner worthy of his Majesty, triumph over Satan, who had hitherto seemed to have prevailed against the divine plan.

Never was there a more entire or humiliating defeat, than that which was this day gained over Satan. The frail creature, over whom he had so easily triumphed at the beginning of the world, now rises and crushes his proud head. Eve conquers in Mary. God would not choose man for the instrument of his vengeance; the humiliation of Satan would not have been great enough; and therefore she who was the first prey of hell, the first victim of the tempter, is selected as the one that is to give battle to the enemy. The result of so glorious a triumph is that Mary is to be superior not only to the rebel angels, but to the whole human race, yea, to all the Angels of heaven. Seated on her exalted throne, she, the Mother of God, is to be the Queen of all creation. Satan, in the depths of the abyss, will eternally bewail his having dared to direct his first attack against the woman, for God has now so gloriously avenged her; and in heaven, the very Cherubim and Seraphim reverently look up to Mary, and deem themselves honored when she smiles upon them, or employs them in the execution of any of her wishes, for she is the Mother of their God.

Therefore is it that we the children of Adam, who have been snatched by Mary’s obedience from the power of hell, solemnize this day of the Annunciation. Well may we say of Mary those words of Debbora, when she sang her song of victory over the enemies of God’s people: The valiant men ceased, and rested in Israel, until Debbora arose, a Mother arose in Israel. The Lord chose new wars, and he himself overthrew the gates of the enemies. Let us also refer to the holy Mother of Jesus these words of Judith, who, by her victory over the enemy, was another type of Mary: Praise ye the Lord our God, who hath not forsaken them that hope in him. And by me, his handmaid, he hath fulfilled his mercy, which he promised to the house of Israel; and he hath killed the enemy of his people by my hand this night … The Almighty Lord hath struck him, and hath delivered him into the hands of a woman, and hath slain him.
Links to Government websites; remember these are being updated regularly as new information and changes in statuses develop:
For the ORC Policy Document click below
Coronavirus Policy Document
The Coronavirus Policy document [above] mentions specifically consideration pastorally of those in isolation, whether self-isolating i.e. a person or someone in their household has symptoms, or quarantined i.e. positively infected and required to convalesce at home or receive treatment in hospital. As the guidance posits, those who are hospitalised are unlikely to be permitted visitors, but in the section "Pastoral Care of the Isolated" those who are in isolation at home may require regular contact and communication as well as occasional practical assistance e.g. to get supplies.

The Policy suggests that parishioners and clergy... 
  • inform one another as soon as possible of any church member becoming isolated,
  • that the pastor or church secretary records the date of the start of a person's isolation (to calculate the date they should be free of infection),
  • that the pastor make every effort to stay in regular contact with the isolated person.
The Policy also suggests for those parishes/missions with a localised congregation in a neighbourhood, a system of "street wardens" be established. A "street warden" is a nominated member of the church who agrees to become a point of contact between the church and any church member living on their street who is self-isolating, and even perhaps for anybody else as well (as a form of witness and outreach). The "street warden" would let the pastor know of someone becoming self-isolating, would maintain regular contact with the member perhaps through electronic means eg mobile phone, talking through a door or window and be prepared to arrange the supply of provisions eg medicine or food etc. 
Practical advice for staying at home
You might be worried about coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it could affect your life. This may include having to stay at home and avoid other people.

This might feel difficult or stressful. But there are lots of things you can try that could help your wellbeing. 

Eat well and stay hydrated
  • Think about your diet. Your appetite might change if your routine changes, or if you’re less active than you usually are. Eating regularly and keeping your blood sugar stable can help your mood and energy levels.
  • Drink water regularly. Drinking enough water is important for your mental and physical health. Changing your routine might affect when you drink or what fluids you drink. It could help to set an alarm or use an app to remind you. You should drink enough during the day so your urine (pee) is a pale clear colour.
  • You can use over-the-counter medications, such as paracetamol, to help with some of your symptoms. Use these according to the instructions on the packet or label and do not exceed the recommended dose.
  • If you are self-isolating, you can ask someone to drop off essential food items for you. If they do this, ask them to leave food at your doorstep, to avoid face-to-face contact with each other.
Take care of your immediate environment
  • If you are spending a lot of time at home, you may find it helpful to keep things clean and tidy, although this is different for different people.
  • If you live with other people, keeping things tidy might feel more important if you’re all at home together. But you might have different ideas about what counts as 'tidy' or how much it matters. It could help to decide together how you’ll use different spaces. And you could discuss what each person needs to feel comfortable. 
  • Cleaning your house, doing laundry and washing yourself are important ways to help stop germs spreading, including when there are warnings about particular diseases. 
  • When cleaning you should use your usual household products, like detergents and bleach, as these will be very effective at getting rid of the virus on surfaces. Clean frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, handrails, remote controls and table tops. This is particularly important if you have an older or vulnerable person in the house.
  • Personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin.
  • Other household waste can be disposed of as normal. To minimise the possibility of dispersing virus through the air, do not shake dirty laundry.
  • Wash items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. All dirty laundry can be washed in the same load.
  • If you do not have a washing machine, wait a further 72 hours after your 7-day (for individual isolation) or 14-day isolation period (for households) has ended when you can then take the laundry to a public launderette.
For parents and carers of children and young people
  • If you are working from home more than usual, you may find it especially difficult if you are also looking after children would usually be in nursery, school or college while you work.
  • Think about how to balance your work with caring for your children. If you have an employer, they may be able to help you balance your work and childcare responsibilities.
  • Some employers may ask if there is another adult who can supervise your children while you’re working. It may help to speak to your employer if you are concerned about this.
  • Think about being more lenient with your children’s social media and mobile phone use during their time at home. If your children would normally go to school or college, they will be used to being around other children for several hours a day. They might find it difficult to be removed from this, especially if they're also worried about their health.
  • Ask their school or college if any digital learning is available while your children are at home, and what technology they may need. Remember to add time in for breaks and lunch.
  • You can also think about card games, board games and puzzles, and any other ways to stay active or be creative.If no digital learning is available, you could encourage your children to select books or podcasts they'd like to explore during their time away from school or college.
  • For older teens, there are free online courses they could try out.
Taking care of your mental health and wellbeing
If you are staying at home more than you usually would, it might feel more difficult than usual to take care of your mental health and wellbeing.

Keeping in touch digitally
  • Make plans to video chat with people or groups you’d normally see in person.
  • You can also arrange phone calls or send instant messages or texts.
  • If you’re worried that you might run out of stuff to talk about, make a plan with someone to watch a show or read a book separately so that you can discuss it when you contact each other. 
  • Think of other ways to keep in contact with people while meeting in person is not possible. For example, you could check your phone numbers are up to date, or that you have current email addresses for friends you've not seen for a while. 
"Online is the only place I can really make friends, so that helps obviously. For people who cannot get out to socialise, the internet is a link to the outside world. It IS a social life of sorts."

If you're worried about loneliness
  • Think about things you can do to connect with people. For example, putting extra pictures up of the people you care about might be a nice reminder of the people in your life.
  • Listen to a chatty radio station or podcast if your home feels too quiet.
Decide on a routine
  • Plan how you’ll spend your time. It might help to write this down on paper and put it on the wall. 
  • Try to follow your ordinary routine as much as possible. Get up at the same time as normal, follow your usual morning routines, and go to bed at your usual time. Set alarms to remind you of your new schedule if that helps.
  • If you aren’t happy with your usual routine, this might be a chance to do things differently. For example, you could go to bed earlier, spend more time cooking or do other things you don’t usually have time for.
  • Think about how you’ll spend time by yourself at home. For example, plan activities to do on different days or habits you want to start or keep up.
If you live with other people, it may help to do the following:
  • Agree on a household routine. Try to give everyone you live with a say in this agreement.
  • Try to respect each other's privacy and give each other space. For example, some people might want to discuss everything they’re doing while others won’t.
Try to keep active
Build physical activity into your daily routine, if possible. Most of us don’t have exercise equipment like treadmills where we live, but there are still activities you can do. Exercising at home can be simple and there are options for most ages and abilities, such as:
  • cleaning your home 
  • dancing to music
  • going up and down stairs
  • seated exercises
  • online exercise workouts that you can follow
  • sitting less – if you notice you’ve been sitting down for an hour, just getting up or changing position can help.
Find ways to spend your time
  • Try having a clear out. You could sort through your possessions and put them away tidily, or have a spring clean.
  • You could also have a digital clear out. Delete any old files and apps you don’t use, upgrade your software, update all your passwords or clear out your inboxes.
  • Write letters or emails, or make phone calls with people you’ve been meaning to catch up with.
Find ways to relax
There are lots of different ways that you can relax, take notice of the present moment and use your creative side. These include:
  • arts and crafts, such as drawing, painting, collage, sewing, craft kits or upcycling
  • DIY
  • colouring
  • prayer and meditation
  • playing musical instruments, singing or listening to music
  • writing.
Keep your mind stimulated
  • Keep your brain occupied and challenged. Set aside time in your routine for this. Read books, magazines and articles. Listen to podcasts, watch films and do puzzles.
  • There are lots of apps that can help you learn things, such as a foreign language or other new skills.
Fr Thomas Gierke OSF shares an insight into his bi-vocation as a priest and an EMS
Stations of the Cross and a commual fish supper after Mass on Friday!
The parish continues its efforts to support families struggling economically ref Coronavirus. Here distributing fifty bags of rice and other food stuffs to local families.
Santa Isidro Labrador, Laguna
Stations of the Cross
Tagapo Chapel, Laguna
Stations of the Cross
First Holy Communions January 2021
The children make their First Confession and then practice processing for the Mass
The children make their First Holy Communion with Father Jose
Santa Cruz, Houston
Please pray for the mission and faithful as they endure the extraordinary winter weather in Texas, with power outages and water restrictions.
C 19 y La Confesión y la Contrición Perfecta with Canon Raphael Villareal
Brighton Oratory

Persons experiencing homelessness encounter significant barriers to self-care and personal hygiene, including limited access to clean showers, laundry and hand washing facilities. The obstacles to personal hygiene associated with homelessness may increase risk of infectious disease, yet hygiene-related behaviours among people experiencing homelessness receives limited attention. 

Due to COVID the situation for people sleeping on our streets has become more difficult as homeless provision services affected by the pandemic have ceased operating or had to scale back significantly their operations; some unable to operate at all. For Brighton & Hove there is no only one provider of showering and washing facilities for those sleeping rough.

Usually at this time of year, the Archbishop would be planning a Christmas Day lunch with the Salvation Army for the homeless, but due to COVID restrictions, regrettably neither the regular Wednesday drop-in nor Christmas Day Lunch are realisable.

The Archbishop is supporting a new homeless project in Brighton & Hove, Soup & socks that will be tackling food poverty and serving the homeless of the city a hot meal four nights a week throughout winter. In addition to socks, His Grace is keen to provide necessary items for personal hygiene, toiletries, sanitiser, change of underwear and particularly women’s health items such as sanitary towels and fresh wipes. These items are often overlooked. Funding for such items is seldom available.

Please help the Archbishop to help others by way of a donation so that necessary personal hygiene items can be purchased wholesale and distributed to those who need them most.

King of Mercy Mission
Adoration Chapel Appeal
An opportunity to present Christ - Emmanuel - in the heart of people's lives. To bring the peace of Christ's presence to the hustle and bustle of daily life. To provide an opportunity for spiritual encounter in a worldly environment...

The King of Mercy mission in Detroit, currently being established by the order of Little Marion Sons (FMCD), has the opportunity to create an Adoration Chapel in the heart of a shopping mall south of the city of Detroit, Michigan. The concept is to provide a spiritual oasis where people can take time out to pray. The chapel will be supported by a religious 
repository selling devotional objects, rosaries. icons, statues, books etc, the proceeds from which will support an outreach programme to the local homeless population.

The Little Marion Sons need help to cover initial costs for moving chapel appointments from storage to the outlet and fitting out the spaces for a sanctuary, shop and café areas.
You can make a tax-exempt donation to the order via PayPal.

Filii Minimi Cordis Dulcissime, LLC is a registered charity 501(c)(3) and non-profit company registered with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), EIN: 47-3962843

Following last issue's article about "How to participate in online worship" Metropolitan Jerome took the opportunity this past week to record a series of four talks on "How to worship online". In each episode his grace gives both a theological dimension as well as practical suggestions as to the disposition one should have toward worship online and to maximise the spiritual experience.
EPSIODE 1: first principles
EPISODE 2: preparation
EPISODE 3: practicalities
EPISODE 4: Spiritual Communion
Timings are GMT London UK
0830 Mass & homily
1200 Angelus & Meditation (Bishop Challoner)
1500 Breaking Fast (Archbishop Lloyd)
1800 Angelus & Rosary (Latin/English)
2200 Daily Examen
1845 The Domestic Church
1800 Holy Hour & Benediction
1500 The Way of the Cross
1845 Old Romans Unscripted

Timings are GMT London UK

LIVE broadcasts from The Brighton Oratory, UK
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Old Roman TV and The Old Roman are not free to produce. Though the considerable hours to conceive, edit produce and broadcast programmes and bulletins are given voluntarily, there are some monthly costs involved ref web platform subscriptions etc for hosting channels as well as professional software for producing the published content. Please prayerfully consider becoming an ORtv Benefactor today and help defray the costs currently born by only a few faithful souls. A larger number of regular subscribers would not only cover costs but enable even more programmes and aid our mission to spread the Faith! Become a Patron of Old Roman TV and receive gifts and special offers as well as exclusive access to content!
QUESTION: What benefits do I derive from watching the traditional Latin Mass on the internet? I know I don’t get the full benefit I would if I were there in person.

RESPONSE: It is clear, based on the teaching of pre-Vatican II theologians regarding hearing Mass over the radio or television, that one could not fulfill his Sunday obligation by viewing a Mass broadcast over the internet. The law requires physical presence at the Holy Sacrifice, or at least being part of a group that is actually present (in the case of a congregation so large, for example, that it spills out beyond the doors of the church into the street).

So, if you were able to be physically present at Mass under the usual conditions on a Sunday or a Holy Day, you would be obliged to go to it. You could not choose instead to remain at home glued to your computer— or indeed, to remain in the church parking lot, hovering over your iPhone — and still fulfil your duty to assist at Mass.

Thus the question of the obligation.

However, the spiritual benefit of a broadcast Mass is another matter — you can indeed benefit from it. This is clear from the comment of Fr. Francis Connell, a well-known moral theologian at Catholic University in the 1950s, who addressed the question of hearing Mass over the radio:

“One may participate in the benefits of the Mass without being actually present — namely, by directing one’s intention and devotion to the sacred rite. By hearing Mass over the radio one can certainly foster his devotion, and thus profit considerably from the offering of the Holy Sacrifice. Indeed, it could happen that one who participates in the Holy Sacrifice in this manner will gain much more benefit than many of those who are actually present.” (Father Connell Answers Moral Questions [Washington: CUA 1959] 75–6)

So, in these days when true Masses offered by real priests are few and far between, Catholics can at least have the consolation of knowing that a facet of modern technology so often used for evil can also be used to foster their own devotion — and indeed, to bring to them the benefits of a true Mass, wherever it is offered.
Christians, like adherents to many other religions, have long fasted. But it was only after Christians began to fast specifically prior to Easter, about 300 years after Jesus’s death, that anyone looked to the Bible to find a source for the practice. Before then, surprisingly, the two hadn’t been connected. So how did it happen?

Fasting – not eating (and sometimes drinking) for an extended period of time – is a practice that goes back long before Jesus. Ancient Jews fasted on certain days throughout the year. Mark 2:18–23 and Matthew 6:16–18, for example, both take for granted that fasting is a normal part of Jewish religious practice. Other Jewish texts from the Greco-Roman period depict fasting as an effective substitute for sacrifice. About a hundred years before Jesus, the Psalms of Solomon 3:8–9 describe fasting as a way to atone for sins and as a habitual practice of the righteous.

In the earliest years of Christianity, Christians seem to have observed the same fast days that Jews observed. Some authors were violently opposed to this cultural and religious intermingling. John Chrysostom (c. 349-407), writing against Christians sharing anything in common with Jews, admonishes Christians who fast on the Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.

Not eating and not drinking could be seen as a means of atonement, as with Yom Kippur, but it could also clear the way for an expected meeting with God. Moses, for example, fasted prior to going up the mountain to meet with God and receive the Ten Commandments in Exodus 34:28. Fasting is also prominent in other texts, closer in date to Jesus’s time, such as 4 Ezra. In this first century text, Ezra prepares to receive revelations from God by abstaining from food and drink for seven days. After his period of fasting, an angel tells him divine secrets.

Jesus’s fast in the desert, then, would have been understood to prepare him to commune with God and to strengthen him against the devil’s temptations. It is little wonder, then, that later Christians began to associate fasting with being close to God. Perhaps the most well-known development of fasting practice that emerges after antiquity is the so-called “holy anorexics” – women, such as Angela of Foligno (1248–1309) and Catherine of Siena (1347–1380), who refused all food but the Eucharist.

Christian texts as early as the second century talk about fasting leading up to Easter, but different Christian groups appear to observe different types and lengths of fasts, and even within a church there were differences of opinion. Irenaeus of Lyons noted the variety:

For the dispute is not only about the day, but also about the actual form of the fast. For some think that they should fast one day, others two, others again more; some for that matter, count their day as consisting of 40 hours day and night.

The earliest reference to a sustained fast of more than two or three days is in the Didascalia, a Syrian Christian document probably from the the third century AD.

Therefore you shall fast in the days of the Pascha from the tenth, which is the second day of the week; and you shall sustain yourselves with bread and salt and water only, at the ninth hour, until the fifth day of the week. But on the Friday and on the Sabbath fast wholly, and taste nothing … For thus did we also fast, when our Lord suffered, for a testimony of the three days …

This text connects a six-day fast with Easter and with Jesus’s suffering, but surprisingly still not with Jesus’s 40-day temptation depicted in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It was Peter I of Alexandria in the fourth century who connected Christian penitential (still not Lenten) fasting to Jesus’s 40-day fast in the wilderness:

It is sufficient, I say, that from the time of their submissive approach, other forty days should be enjoined upon them, to keep them in remembrance of these things; those forty days during which, though our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ had fasted, He was yet, after He had been baptised, tempted of the devil. And when they shall have, during these days, exercised themselves much, and constantly fasted, then let them watch in prayer, meditating upon what was spoken by the Lord to him who tempted Him to fall down and worship him: ‘Get behind me, Satan; for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.’

Indeed, the likely reason why fasting later became associated with the run-up to Easter is that people started holding baptisms at Easter. The three-week long preparation for becoming a Christian through baptism included fasting, and as baptism became more strongly associated with Easter in the fourth century AD, it is possible that fasting in the lead-up became more generalised to include people who were already Christians. Until Christians decided on a standard way to calculate the date of Easter, under the Emperor Constantine, a specific Lenten fast was far from universal.
Fasting can be a powerful practice for a Christian, but it’s also significantly misunderstood and culturally challenging, so it tends to be either badly practiced, or not practiced at all. Lent would be a great time to experiment with fasting, but it’s important to understand what you’re getting yourself into! So we’ve written up a few pointers on how to fast for Lent (or any other time).

What fasting is and isn’t
Christian fasting isn’t the same thing as dieting, or going on a hunger strike, or punishing our bodies, or fasting for a medical procedure.

Christian fasting is not:
  • A way to suffer for God
  • A spiritual practice that demonstrates how pious or devout you are
  • Righteousness (i.e. it doesn’t equal holiness or sanctification)
  • A way of trying really hard spiritually that God will respond to
  • The same thing as repenting of sin (we don’t “fast” from sin, we confess it, receive forgiveness, and turn from it)
  • An addiction treatment program (if you feel powerless to break a dependence, reach out for help!)
Instead, Christian fasting is intentionally withholding something we’d normally partake in (normally food) for the purpose of creating space in our lives to feast on the presence of Jesus “directly.”

So, Christian fasting is:
Wisdom – it’s love and knowledge meeting together in a practice that avails us to God’s resources to meet our needs.
Training – it’s the indirect effort that gives us access to something we can’t try or make happen on our own.
Surrender – it’s voluntarily “making ourselves weak” so that we can know and receive the strength and power of God (2 Cor 12:9-10).
Simply put: fasting is a way to place ourselves in the way of grace by withdrawing our reliance on earthly things so that we can feast on God’s presence and power.

Possible ways to fast during Lent
If you’ve never practiced fasting before, an easy way into the practice is to engage in a partial fast. A partial fast can involve food and drink, or certain habits. Here are some possibilities for a partial fast:
  • Fasting from foods associated with “feasting”: chocolate, desserts, coffee/caffeine, alcohol, etc.
  • Fasting from media or entertainment: cell phone, TV, streaming video, radio, music, email, computers, video games, etc.
  • Fasting from habits and comforts: shopping, looking in the mirror, makeup, elevators, parking in a spot close to the store, finding the shortest checkout line, reading online, following sports, etc.
Here are some questions to help you discern a partial fast that will be challenging enough to be fruitful:
  • What cravings have a hold on me?
  • What would be truly liberating to leave behind?
  • Short of an addiction, have I become dependent on a particular food, drink, substance, or activity?
  • What would be truly challenging for me to give up during Lent?
  • What is Jesus asking of me?
As you pray through these questions, try picking one food or drink and one media, comfort, or habit to give up, and then share this with a loved one as a way to embrace accountability.

One more thing about partial fasting during Lent: Sundays don’t count! Sundays are “feast days,” which means you don’t practice your fast on Sundays. (The entire season of Lent is actually 46 days long: 40 days of fasting and 6 Sundays of feasting!) Practicing a feast day helps make our Lenten fasts sustainable.

Also, think about a whole fast!
In addition to a partial fast, you may also consider embracing a whole fast. A whole fast is not abstaining from food for all of Lent, but rather the practice of skipping entire meals (and snacks) for a specific amount of time. During a whole fast, you can continue to drink water or some other non-substantial liquid, like chicken broth.

(We don’t recommend fruit juices when you’re on a whole fast, as their sugar content is typically very high!)

It should be pointed out that a whole fast isn’t for everyone. Small children, the elderly, pregnant or nursing mothers, and those with relevant health issues should not attempt a whole fast. If you’re concerned about fasting, talk with a medical professional about it before trying it.

But if you decide to try a whole fast during Lent, consider starting with a 24-hour fast once a week. Traditional days for Christians to fast are Wednesdays (to commemorate Jesus’ betrayal) and Fridays (to commemorate Jesus’ crucifixion). Here’s how to do it:
  • Have a light dinner the night before, and don’t eat anything more before bed.
  • Then skip breakfast and lunch the next day, breaking your fast at dinnertime that evening.
Other traditional days to practice a whole fast are Ash Wednesday, and some people will fast all the way from Maundy Thursday to Holy Saturday, breaking their 3-day fast on Easter morning.

This form of fasting, the most rigorous in the history of church legislation, was marked by austerity regarding the quantity and quality of food permitted on fasting days as well as the time wherein such food might be legitimately taken.

In the first place more than one meal was strictly prohibited. At this meal flesh meat, eggs, butter, cheese, and milk were interdicted (Gregory I, Decretals IV, cap. vi; Trullan Synod, Canon 56). Besides these restrictions abstinence from wine, specially during Lent, was enjoined (Thomassin, Traité des jeûnes de l'Église, II, vii). Furthermore, during Holy Week the fare consisted of bread, salt, herbs, and water (Laymann, Theologia Moralis, Tr. VIII; De observatione jejuniorum, i). Finally, this meal was not allowed until sunset. St. Ambrose (De Elia et jejunio, sermo vii, in Psalm CXVIII), St. Chrysostom (Homil. iv in Genesim), St. Basil (Oratio i, De jejunio) furnish unequivocal testimony concerning the three characteristics of the black fast. The keynote of their teaching is sounded by St. Bernard (Sermo. iii, no. 1, De Quadragesima), when he says "hitherto we have fasted only until none" (3 p.m.) "whereas, now" (during Lent) "kings and princes, clergy and laity, rich and poor will fast until evening". It is quite certain that the days of Lent (Muller, Theologia Moralis, II, Lib. II, Tr. ii, sect. 165, no. 11) as well as those preceding ordination were marked by the black fast. This regime continued until the tenth century when the custom of taking the only meal of the day at three o'clock was introduced (Thomassin, loc. cit.). In the fourteenth century the hour of taking this meal was changed to noon-day (Muller, loc. cit.). Shortly afterwards the practice of taking a collation in the evening began to gain ground (Thomassin, op. cit., II, xi). Finally, the custom of taking a crust of bread and some coffee in the morning was introduced in the early part of the nineteenth century. During the past fifty years, owing to ever changing circumstances of time and place, the Church has gradually relaxed the severity of penitential requirements, so that now little more than a vestige of former rigour obtains.
How to Fast – ten suggestions

Jesus said: “Unless you do penance you will all perish,” (Lk. 13:3). In the first preaching of His Public ministry Jesus exhorts us to conversion: “Be converted for the Kingdom of God is at hand,”(Mk. 1:15). The Mystical Body of Christ generously offers us a season of grace which has, as its purpose, conversion every year. This is the forty days of Lent.

Moses fasted forty days on the Mountain and Jesus spent forty days in the desert fasting. The Church encourages us in the Season of Lent to dig deep into the inner recesses of our hearts and beg for conversion of heart.

This conversion can become a reality by undertaking three traditional practices: prayer, almsgiving, and fasting. (Mt. 6: 1-18) In prayer we lift our minds to God; in almsgiving we go out to meet the needs of our suffering brothers and sisters; in fasting we dig deep into our hearts and beg the Lord for the grace to relinquish our attachment to sin!

This being the case, what might be some concrete ways that we can practice fasting? An important note is the following: fasting is not a mere diet, with the simple desire to lose a few extra pounds. Rather, the purpose of fasting is to please God, convert our hearts as well as to beg for the conversion of others. In other words, fasting must have a horizontal or supernatural intention!

  1. Eat less and receive the most Holy Eucharist more.
    By this practice we give more importance to our spiritual life and the salvation of our soul. Jesus said: “Do not work for food that perishes, but for food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.” (John. 6:27—Discourse on the Bread of Life)
  2. Control your tongue.
    Saint James says, “We should be slow to speak and quick to listen.” Read James chapter three—one of the best exhortations in the world to work on controlling our tongue!
  3. Heroic Moments.
    The Founder of Opus Dei has coined the phrase, “The Heroic Moment”. By this Saint Jose Maria asserts that as soon as we hear the alarm-clock we should spring from bed, pray and start our day. The devil of laziness encourages us to push the Snooze-button! I do not believe the Snooze-button exists in the vocabulary and practice of the saints. What do you think?
  4. Control those wandering eyes.
    The eyes are the mirror to the soul. The holy King David plunged into sin and more sin leading to murder for the simple reason that he allowed his eyes to wander. His eyes wandered and gazed upon a married woman—Bathsheba. Adulterous thoughts led to physical adultery, to denial of his sin and eventually to killing an innocent man—the husband of Bathsheba (II Samuel 11-12). Let us strive to live out the Beatitude: “Blessed are the pure of heart, they will see God.”(Mt. 5: 8)
  5. Punctuality.
    Jesus says, “He who is faithful in the small will be faithful in the larger things.” (Mt. 25:23) Being punctual and on time is a sign of order, respect for others, and a means to accomplish tasks well and on time.
  6. Listen to Others.
    It is all too easy to interrupt others when they speak and try to impose our own ideas even before the person has finished his idea. Charity, which means, love for God and for others, teaches us to respect others and allow them to speak without interrupting and imposing our own ideas.
    Listening to others is also an act of humility—putting others before ourselves! “Jesus meek and humble of heart make my heart like unto yours.” (Mt. 11:28-30—Jesus describes His Heart as meek and humble…)
  7. Be Thankful Rather Than Complain.
    Never allow a day to pass in which you do not thank God. We should constantly be thanking God. Furthermore, we should make it a habit to frequently give thanks to others. “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His mercy endures forever,” (Psalm 118:1).
  8. Smile, even if you don’t necessarily want to.
    This indeed could be a great penance—to smile at somebody even when you are tired, carrying with you a headache or a cold. This is heroic virtue. A smile is something small, but it is contagious. Indeed a sincere smile can lift those who see it from desolation to a state of consolation. One of the most evident signs of being a follower of Jesus is the smile of joy radiating from the face. “Rejoice in the Lord; I say it again: rejoice in the Lord.” (Phil. 4:4)
  9. Pray, even when you do not feel like it.
    Many of us unfortunately base our spiritual life on mere feelings which are ephemeral, transitory and passing like the dew that evaporates by the morning sun. Our best example is of course Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane (Lk. 22:39-46). When Jesus was experiencing a mortal agony and desolation that drew huge drops of Blood from His pores, He did not really feel like praying. Nonetheless, Jesus prayed all the more fervently.
    Therefore, let us practice fasting and penance in our lives and have a set time and place to pray and to pray at times even when we do not feel like it. This is penance and true love for God! This is a sign of true maturity in the faith!
  10. Encouragement.
    “Barnabas” actually means “Son of encouragement”(Acts 4:36). Let us get out of our egotistic shell and focus more on God and seeing Jesus in others—in imitation of the Good Samaritan. (Lk. 10). Let us learn to be a Simon of Cyrene and help our brothers and sisters who are carrying the weight of a very heavy cross. Let us lighten it by encouraging words, motivational gestures and by a heart filled with love and compassion. Remember the Golden Rule: “Do to others what you would like them to do to you.”(Mt. 7:12) In the difficult storms of the earthly battle, a word of encouragement can indeed be a powerful wind in the sails!

Prayerfully read through these ten suggestions on how to fast—how to deny yourself—and choose at least one or two that you can start to practice right away. May Our Lady, Mother of Good Counsel, encourage us to deny ourselves and say “yes” to the love of God by serving our brothers and sisters with a generous heart! (Lk. 1: 38—Mary’s “Yes” to God).

ASH WEDNESDAY is February 17th THIS WEEK and from a liturgical point of view is one of the most important days of the year. In the first place this day opens the liturgical season of Lent, which formerly began with the First Sunday and comprised only thirty-six days. The addition of Wednesday and the three following days brought the number to forty, which is that of Our Lord’s fast in the desert.
In the Old Law ashes were generally a symbolic expression of grief, mourning, or repentance. In the Early Church the use of ashes had a like signification and with sackcloth formed part of the public penance. The blessing of the ashes is one of the great liturgical rites of the year. It was originally instituted for public penitents, but is now intended for all Christians, as Lent should be a time of penance for all. The ashes used this day are obtained by burning the palms of the previous year. Four ancient prayers are used in blessing them, and, having been sprinkled with holy water and incensed, the priest puts them on the foreheads of the faithful with the words: “Remember, man, that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shall return.”
We continue to love, pray and help each other, whether we are on Earth, in Purgatory on in Heaven.
A catechism on Fast & Abstinence

“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the desert, for the space of forty days; and was tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, He was hungry.” (Luke 4:1-2)
What is fasting? Fasting means that on certain days, you may eat; one full meal with meat (unless it is also a day of abstinence); two small meals without meat. No food between meals.
A fast day consists of 24 hours, from midnight to midnight. The two small meals may be only enough to maintain strength and are not to exceed the size of the one main meal. Liquids, including milk and fruit juice, may be taken between meals, but tend to violate the spirit of the fast.
Who is obliged to fast? Every Catholic over 21 and not yet 59, who is not sick, pregnant or nursing a baby.
People doing heavy manual labour may be excused from this obligation by their pastor or confessor; also, those who work long hours.
What kind of sin is it not to fast? A mortal sin, unless you are excused.
When must you fast? According to the Old Roman customs: Every day in Lent, except Sundays; Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
When does Lent begin? On Ash Wednesday; it ends 40 days later, on the Saturday before Easter at midnight.
When are the Ember Days? The Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays following September 14, December 13, Pentecost Sunday and the 1st Sunday in Lent. Under the new norms the Ember days are no longer observed.
What is abstinence? Abstinence means that on certain days you may not eat meat.
What is meant by “meat”? The flesh of any warm-blooded animal or bird and the soups or gravies made from such flesh.
Sea foods are allowed (fish, lobster, turtles, crabs, oysters, frogs, scallops, clams, and so on).
Who is obliged to abstain from meat? Traditionally, every Catholic 7 years of age and over.
What kind of sin is it not to abstain? A mortal sin.
On what days are you forbidden to eat meat at all? According to the traditional norms: Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Fridays of the year (unless a Holy Day of Obligation falls on Friday).
What is partial abstinence? Traditionally, this means that those who are obliged to abstain may eat meat only once (at the main meal) on the Wednesdays and Saturdays of Ember weeks and on the vigil of Pentecost.

Lenten Catechism “Keeping Lent”

Metropolitan Jerome of Selsey discusses our motivations for observing Lent and what might prompt us to keep our Lenten discipline in times of fatigue or despondency. Why does holy Mother Church encourage us to observe and keep Lent? The answer to this question and a discussion on the Seven Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy are in this video.
Keeping Lent Holy
Easter, the Day of the Resurrection, has always been the most important celebration of Christ’s Church. From the beginning, the Church observed a period of fasting and preparation before the great feast in order to grow in love of God and neighbour and to acquire a clearer, more joyous vision of the Risen Christ come Easter Day. This season of fasting was eventually lengthened to forty days to correspond to the forty day fasts in the Bible:
1) the fast of Jesus in the wilderness before he was tempted by the devil (Matt 4:1),
2) the fast of Moses on Mt. Sinai while he was receiving the Ten Commandments (Exodus 34:28),
3) the fast of Elijah when he fled from Jezebel (1 Kings 19:8).

Guidelines for Lenten Fasting
The Holy Tradition of the Western Church provides us with some general rules for fasting and abstinence: fasting involves lowering the quantity of food, which usually means no more than a light breakfast, one full meal, and another light meal each day. Abstinence deals with lowering the quality of food, which typically means not eating flesh meat. Wednesdays (the day our Lord was condemned to death) and Fridays (the day our Lord died on the cross) in Lent are especially days of abstinence. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of complete fasting; no food is eaten at least until sundown.

Desserts and rich foods ought to be reduced, and consumption of alcohol should be eliminated over the course of the several weeks to come. Many of our brethren in Eastern Orthodoxy are more austere and take on fasting whilst abstaining from all animal food products (including dairy) in the interest of squelching animal passions and desires.

Though a bit more moderation than usual may well be appropriate during the season, the Sundays of Lent are not counted as days of fasting since Sundays are always observed as celebrations of the Resurrection.

Prayerfully consider what is both safe and profitable, and which approach will set you on a path that sees your awareness, focus, and dependence on God increase (along with a recovery of self-control) by decreasing the unhelpful habits, indulgences, and idolatrous distractions that will keep you from turning away from yourself and more fully toward God (John 3:30). This is supposed to involve not just food and drinks but indeed all that ought not be in us in order to make room for that which should. Put aside anger, idle talk, gossip, slander, and vulgar language. Can you give up Facebook and other social media, pop music, video games, and at least significantly reduce time spent on your phone, streamed entertainment devices, and television for a while? Of course you can!

As the saying goes, fasting and abstinence without prayer is little more than “dieting with the devil.” During the forty days of Lent, strive to begin and end each day with prayer. Take more time for silence, meditation, and “conversational” prayer, remembering that listening is so often an overlooked component of prayer. Pray unceasingly, making sure to touch upon each and all of the facets of Christian prayer: adoration, confession, petition, intercession, and thanksgiving. Pray the Jesus Prayer often. Do these things in order to become more at one with the mind and will of God, and to experience His power and presence in your life.

Bible Reading
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16). Therefore, as all Holy Scriptures have been written for our learning, may our Blessed Lord “grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life… given us in our Savior Jesus Christ” (Collect for Advent II). Too often, our thoughts, attitudes, and opinions are formed by the aforementioned things of this world that we ought to be giving up for Lent. To set things aright, read your Bible, looking especially to the daily Mass Propers and particularly the readings.

Lent is a good time for self-assessment, to consider what is hindering you from a closer walk with Christ, and to make way for requisite changes that need to be made. Then, as St. John writes, “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Begin by asking God to reveal just how you have sinned and fallen short of His glory (Romans 3:23) before spending some time with the Ten Commandments and perhaps considering the Seven Deadly Sins (Pride, Envy, Covetousness, Lust, Anger, Sloth and Gluttony). Then confess your sins with an humble and contrite heart. Our Lord Himself gave His Church the power and authority to absolve us of our sins and pronounce the assurance that we are forgiven (John 20:23; Matt 16:19 & 18:18) so that we are free to go and sin no more” (John 8:11).

Corporate Worship
Though we are near the end of the list of Lenten disciplines, corporate worship could well have taken its place at the head. There is simply nothing more important that we do over the course of the week than our solemn obligation to worship God every Sunday in his Church. Such has always been a basic duty (Heb 10:25; John 20:19; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 16:2) and should be an absolute joy for those who have received such an inestimable gift of being accounted as righteous unto eternal life by being fed with the grace-filled Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, which is necessary to our salvation (John 6:54; 1 Cor 10:16-17; 1 John 5:11). Offering ourselves in worship quickens our understanding, strengthens our faith, gives us hope, fills us with encouragement, and gives us the first-hand experience of being loved by God.

Make a commitment to not miss a single Sunday in the God’s House this Lenten season; Jesus told us to this do (Luke 22:19; 1 Cor 11:34-25). And if you’re habitually late, get here on time. Or better yet, be present before the Holy Sacrifice begins in order to properly engage in what you are supposed to be doing. Each and every discipline listed above and below emanates from this one and serves as both the source and culmination of lives that belong to God in Christ and through the Holy Ghost.

Works of Mercy
Finally, the result of the renewal of our life in Christ through Lenten disciplines—which should become year round Christian disciplines—is new behaviour, exhibited by “let(ting) your light so shine before all that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt 5:16) with “fruits worthy of repentance” (Luke 3:8) and “the fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23). Motivated by our faith, hope, and charity, we are then enabled to reconcile with those with whom we may have conflicts and minister to others as follows:

Spiritual Works of Mercy: 1) converting the sinner, 2) instructing the ignorant, 3) counselling the doubtful, 4) comforting the sorrowful, 5) bearing wrongs patiently, 6) forgiving injuries, and 7) praying for the living and the dead. Corporal Works of Mercy: 1) feeding the hungry, 2) giving drink to the thirsty, 3) clothing the naked, 4) harbouring the stranger, 5) visiting the sick, 6) ministering to prisoners, and 7) burying the dead.

Lent is a time for renewed response to the spiritual and temporal needs we see around us and to consider how God is calling us to use our gifts in ministry. Responding accordingly is the evidence that God is working in and through us.

Great Lent is an opportunity given to us by the Church to turn again to our Lord and so much more fully experience the joy of Easter. As the hunger created by fasting is directed towards God in Worship, Prayer, Confession, Bible reading, and Acts of Charity, we learn the spiritual truth of John 6:35: “He who comes to me shall never hunger and he who believes in me shall never thirst.”
The First Purification, Namely, From Mortal Sin

“An introduction to a devout life” Part I, Chapter 6 by St Francis de Sales

The work of the soul’s purification neither may nor can end save with life itself;–do not then let us be disheartened by our imperfections,–our very perfection lies in diligently contending against them, and it is impossible so to contend without seeing them, or to overcome without meeting them face toe face. Our victory does not consist in being insensible to them, but in not consenting to them. Now to be afflicted by our imperfections is certainly not to consent thereto, and for the furtherance of humility it is needful that we sometimes find ourselves worsted in this spiritual battle, wherein, however, we shall never be conquered until we lose either life or courage. Moreover, imperfections and venial sins cannot destroy our spiritual life, which is only to be lost through mortal sin; consequently we have only need to watch well that they do not imperil our courage. David continually asks the Lord to strengthen his heart against cowardice and discouragement; and it is our privilege in this war that we are certain to vanquish so long as we are willing to fight.

The first purification to be made is from sin;–the means whereby to make it, the sacrament of penance. Seek the best confessor within your reach, use one of the many little books written in order to help the examination of conscience.Read some such book carefully, examining point by point wherein you have sinned, from the first use of your reason to the present time. And if you mistrust your memory, write down the result of your examination. Having thus sought out the evil spots in your conscience, strive to detest them, and to reject them with the greatest abhorrence and contrition of which your heart is capable;–bearing in mind these four things:–that by sin you have lost God’s Grace, rejected your share in Paradise, accepted the pains of Hell, and renounced God’s Eternal Love. You see, my child, that I am now speaking of a general confession of your whole life, which, while I grant it is not always necessary, I yet believe will be found most helpful in the beginning of your pursuit after holiness, and therefore I earnestly advise you to make it. Not unfrequently the ordinary confessions of persons leading an everyday life are full of great faults, and that because they make little or no preparation, and have not the needful contrition. Owing to this deficiency such people go to confession with a tacit intention of returning to their old sins, inasmuch as they will not avoid the occasions of sin, or take the necessary measures for amendment of life, and in all such cases a general confession is required to steady and fix the soul. But, furthermore, a general confession forces us to a clearer selfknowledge, kindles a wholesome shame for our past life, and rouses gratitude for God’s Mercy, Which has so long waited patiently for us;–it comforts the heart, refreshes the spirit, excites good resolutions, affords opportunity to our spiritual Father for giving the most suitable advice, and opens our hearts so as to make future confessions more effectual. Therefore I cannot enter into the subject of a general change of life and entire turning to God, by means of a devout life, without urging upon you to begin with a general confession.

The Seven Corporal Works of Mercy

In this time of lent it is good to imitate Jesus and the saints by also doing corporal works of mercy.
Jesus and the saints always had great love and compassion for the sinner, possessed, sick and poor. We know that Jesus had a purse with money to give to the poor that Judas stole from. We also see that, in the second coming of Jesus as King in all His glory, He will judge us on if we have given food, drink, clothing and medicine, to first His servants (like priests, nuns and laity that serve God) as well as other who are in need.
“And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked and you covered me: sick and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.” Matthew 25:33-36.
St. Francis is famous for his love of God, the Church and the poor (especially the lepers). We see that he loved God first and then loved others, and in particular the suffering. But he spent most of his life preaching repentance of sin and praying. Then, from this he and his brothers would take care of the poor as well.
St. John of God is another example of helping the sick and poor. He rented a house where he personally provided for and took care of the poor sick in Granada Spain. He cared about widows, orphans, the unemployed, poor students and fallen women. He his the patron saint for hospitals and the dying.

The 7 Corporal Works of Mercy are:
1) Feed the hungry. “Man is not fed by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” says Jesus. Food is very important and sharing it with others and the poor is necessary. But, that bread, needs to be given over and over again. Where as the bread that came down from heaven, The Holy Communion in Holy Latin Mass is what fills the hungry soul as well as healing the human soul and body. “Oh Lord I am not worthy that You should come to me, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” Bringing people to the Holy Latin Mass and preparing them to worthily receive the Real Body and Blood of Jesus is the greatest thing we can do for others.
2) Give Drink to the Thirsty. Sharing water and other drinks with our guest and the poor is good. But at the Well of Samaria, Jesus offered life giving water to the woman and to all of us who believe in Him and His Church. Jesus is the crystal clear spring from which flows all that is life giving; the Bible and the Holy Sacraments. Without water, there is no life, human, animal or plant. So we want to share our faith with those who are thirsting for meaning in their lives as well as giving someone something to drink.
3) Clothe the Naked. It is a wonderful thing to take clothes to a homeless shelter. From my years of running St. Francis Catholic Kitchen in Santa Cruz California, what was most needed was men’s clothing. They need socks, underwear, pants and coats (in winter). But as is quite obvious today from the immodest women’s skirts, pants and tops, the real nakedness is the lack of shame and purposely dressing to sexually tempt men. We need to clothe the naked with truth and purity. As almost everyone after adolescence is sexually active or watching pornography, we need to give them back their white baptismal garment of sexual purity and purity from all sins that strip us of our clothes of our Catholic Dignity.
4) Shelter the Homeless. It is very difficult to share our homes with others, but we are called to do that when it is safe. The Benedictine Monks have the rule to give 3 days hospitality to anyone who comes in need. The Abbot comes and greets them and washes their hands or feet. But after 3 days they need to either help out or leave. We want to help others also prepare a home for themselves when they die. How horrible to have a home in this life and then to be homeless in hell for ever. So preparing a person to go to heaven is the greatest thing we can do, because that home is eternal. Jesus says, “I will go to My Father and your Father to prepare a place for you.” Everything we give away in this life, for love of God, will be stored up to build our eternal house in heaven.
5) Visit the Sick. Most of us have been sick at one time or another and know how wonderful it is when someone makes us chicken soup or just visits us in the hospital. Rich and poor get sick and need loving medical care. Hospitals and clinics for poor sick people is one of the greatest things anyone can do. But there is also the terrible virus of sin infecting the masses. We need to go and tell them they are sick and give them the medicine (confession and Holy Communion) that will get them back to normal health. Much depression comes from sin and bad life styles. Only a holy life leads to a healthy happy life.
6) Ransom the Captive (Visit the Imprisoned). Prison ministry is very important. Going and sharing our Catholic faith with those in prison and Juvenile Hall are essential acts of charity. But billions of people are captives of the devil, addictions, false religions and atheism. It takes a great deal of effort and time to set someone free from these enslavements. Before, many people would give up their freedom to set Catholic slaves free from Muslim owners. That would be the most difficult act of charity I could ever imagine doing. They would also pay for their ransom. We also allow ourselves to become imprisoned in our own selfishness. May God help us get free, so as to be able to help others become free.
7) Bury the Dead. Funerals are very expensive. So we want to plan a funeral that is as inexpensive as possible. We also need to plan our own funeral with a Latin Requiem Mass. Then we need to have a burial plot in a Catholic Cemetery that is consecrated land. The coffin should be as cheap as possible, preferably a hand made wooden coffin with handles on the side so as to be able to carry it in and out of Church. But we can also help other families to plan an inexpensive funeral ahead of time too. That will be a good way of helping bury the dead so that when the time comes they do not rush and pay any amount that the morticians want charge them. Never act on emotion at this sad time. Just being present to the family of the dead is a great consolation. But make sure the person who is dying gets to confession and the traditional Last Rites. Offering Holy Mass for the dead is also a great work of charity.
Both the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy make up what it means to practice our Catholic Faith. It can seem that the Church is divided into two groups, those that care about the spiritual things of God and the souls of others and the other is concerned with the social justice issues. Absolutely; the most important acts of mercy have to do with the the eternal soul. But the two can work very well together when we put “the horse (Soul) in front of the buggy (Body)” and help others spiritually and materially. It is so wonderful to be a traditional Catholic and do both.

“If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.”

St. Augustine of Hippo
The Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy

We are all encouraged by the Lord, especially by reading and meditating on Mt. 25:31-46, to practice the Corporal Works of Mercy — to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to welcome the foreigner, and to visit both the sick and the imprisoned.

In sum, our Final Judgement will be based largely on love of God but manifested on our love for neighbour. Indeed, using the words of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta: “We must find Jesus present in the distressing disguise of the poor.” St. Vincent de Paul, known for his great love for the poor, actually called the poor “his masters”.

Corporal works of mercy done with the most noble of intentions pleases the Heart of Jesus immensely. However, it is equally important to practice the Spiritual Works of Mercy.

Jesus said point blank: “What would it profit a man to gain the whole world and loses his soul in the process. What can a man do in exchange for his soul?” It is lamentable that one of the most common and grave neglects is the failure to preach the Word of God to the poor. First, fill their hungry stomachs. But then, fill their souls with the Bread of the Word of God and the Bread of Life, which is Holy Communion.

1. Admonish the Sinner Easier said than done! Doing this can be extremely difficult, but it is exceedingly necessary now more than ever. Why is it so difficult? For the simple reason that we are born proud and do not desire to give up old and ingrained habits, and if they are bad habits they are called “vices”. We often cling to the evil, the dirty, the ugly, the impure, the unhealthy, and the sinful.
A common example merits our attention. Those who cohabit are living in sin and somebody should tell them and give clear reasons why this is wrong? What might be some reasons to explain why it is wrong? Here are some! Premarital sex or fornication is a mortal sin. You deprive yourself of the Sacraments, both of Confession and the Holy Eucharist. You are giving public scandal, even if many are doing it now. Majority does not make right in the eyes of God. You erode your conscience.
God so highly prizes admonishing the sinner and bringing him back on the right path that He promises salvation and the expiation of many of our personal sins by simply bringing back one straying sinner.
Read the words of the Apostle Saint James:

“My brothers, if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”

James 5: 19-20

2. Instruct the Ignorant We all have heard the proverb: “Charity begins at home.” This is true especially in the formation of children and adolescents. By choosing the married state, husband and wife profess to be open to life through procreation. That is just the very first step!
Next, it is incumbent upon parents to teach their children all that refers to God, the Commandments, the Sacraments, prayer, Marian devotion, and much more… The primary responsibility of parents bringing children into this world is to bring these children into heaven.
The school is not the first teacher, nor the catechism teacher, nor even the Pastor or priest. No! The first teachers must be Mum and Dad. This necessarily implies the process of ongoing or permanent formation on the part of the parents. Another proverb is worthy of injecting here: “You cannot give what you do not have.”
One field that parents must master, in the realm of education for themselves as well as their children, is that of sexual morality. Parents must strive to know the Biblical and Church’s teaching on purity, live it out in their own lives and then teach it with the utmost clarity to their children!
3. Counsel the Doubtful Much can be said on this Spiritual work of mercy, but we will briefly mention one: the importance of solid spiritual direction. Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint Margaret Mary Alocoque among many saints were strongly dependent on spiritual direction so as to discern God’s will in their lives. They all are canonised saints and one of the reasons was that they humbly admitted that they were ignorant in many ways, had many doubts and had to submit their judgements, inspirations and thoughts to a higher authority—their Confessors and Spiritual Directors.
Given there is a shortage of priests as well as spiritual directors, still it is incumbent upon us to find some way to have periodic spiritual direction so as to expel the many doubts that can easily cloud our mind and blur our judgement and corrupt our actions. Saint John of the Cross put it wryly: “He who has himself as spiritual director has an idiot as his spiritual directee!” In other words we all have blind spots that can only be enlightened by proper spiritual direction.
4. Comfort the Sorrowful This is extremely important! Saint Ignatius of Loyola, in his rules for discernment, outlines the strategy on how to act when we are in a state of desolation.
In desolation we may feel sad, or even exhausted as if nobody really cares for us while life seems useless and without meaning. We all go through this state at times; it is part of being human. However, when you are aware of somebody going through this state, do all you can to be a source of encouragement.
How? First, pray for the person. Second, a warm smile can go a long way! Third, say a word or two of encouragement. Fourth, offer a compliment on some good quality the person has. This is very pleasing to God. We become like Simon of Cyrene who helped Jesus to carry His cross.
5. Bear Wrongs Patiently Once again, easier said than done. In this we need grace and a lot of grace! Maybe at work we have been wronged by a boss or by a co-worker. Changing jobs is unthinkable due to the economic situation. Both the boss and co-worker are not going anywhere. The most pleasing attitude in the eyes of God is simply to return to work with great humility and trust in Divine Providence.
Trust God! He will be there with you to help you to patiently carry the cross. Of immense help could be to meditate upon Jesus carrying His cross heading towards His crucifixion. Even though Jesus fell three times, He still got up with the weight of the sins of the world on His weary and blood-beaten shoulders.
We should always have Jesus before our eyes as our model and example, Indeed Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
6. Forgive All Injuries May God help us! We have arrived at the heart of mercy in our dealing with others. Mercy is a two-way street! If we want to receive mercy from God, then we must be merciful and forgive those who have done us wrong. Biblical verses on this topic are many, very many…
“Be merciful as your Heavenly Father is merciful…
“Vengeance is mine: I will repay, says the Lord.”
“Do not let the sun go down on your anger.”
“Forgive us out trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…”(The Our Father)
“I tell you not seven times, but seventy times seven times… you must forgive…”
“Leave your gift and first be reconciled with your brother…”
“Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing.”
“Amen I say to you: today you will be with me in Paradise.”

One hint in the area of forgiveness: Accept the fact that all of your life people will hurt you. The most common place that we are wounded is in the context of our family, with family members. The key is this: forgive immediately! As soon as anybody hurts or wounds you, then pray for that person and forgive immediately. If done, you have won a major victory over self and shown God how much you love Him by practising mercy.
7. Pray for the Living and the Dead Jesus told Saint Faustina that He desires that we practice at least one act of mercy every day. He specified that mercy can be carried out in one of three manners:
1) by kind words
2) by kind deeds
3) by prayer
One of the greatest acts of charity we can do in our lives is to simply pray for others, both the living and the dead.
With respect to the living, there should be a hierarchy of importance. If married and with a family this should be the order: first spouse, children, parents, brothers and sisters, relatives, friends, co-workers and associates, and we should also pray for those we do not like and even for our enemies!
Then, with respect to the dead, we should pray constantly for the dead. Saint Francis de Sales emphasises the fact that this is one of the greatest acts of charity that we can do. Why? For this simple reason: they are totally dependent on the mercy of God and on our prayers, alms-giving or charity, as well as our sacrifices.
The Gregorian Mass of a month’s consecutive Masses came about because Pope Saint Gregory the Great had to pray thirty consecutive Masses so as to free his deceased friend from the fires of Purgatory. A common error today is in funeral Masses where the deceased person, despite his many moral failures, is being unofficially canonised in the funeral homily as well as in the eulogy. True, we should be compassionate towards those who lose their loved ones. Still, we should not canonise and jump the gun before time. The Bible teaches clearly and unequivocally that only the pure and without blemish can enter the Kingdom of God.
Ask yourself, in humble prayer, which of these Spiritual works of mercy you believe the Holy Spirit is inspiring you to undertake right now. Look at your concrete living condition and surely the Holy Spirit will pinpoint persons and areas where you will be able to implement with great generosity of soul one or more of these spiritual works of mercy. Never forget the inspiring and challenging words of Jesus: “Whatsoever you do the least of my brothers that you do unto me.” (Mt. 25:31-46)

Weekly News Roundup 
Rosary Guild
The Manghera family Rosary Guild is once again taking orders for homemade rosaries, scapulas, Miraculous Medals and holy cards to support their parish mission!  If you are interested to place an order, please contact Fr Kristopher 
How to pray the Rosary
  1. Make the Sign of the Cross and say the “Apostles’ Creed”
  2. Say the “Our Father”
  3. Say three “Hail Marys” for Faith, Hope, and Charity
  4. Say the “Glory Be”
  5. Announce the First Mystery and then say the “Our Father”
  6. Say ten “Hail Marys” while meditating on the Mystery
  7. Say the “Glory Be” (Optional: Say the “O My Jesus” prayer requested by Mary at Fatima)
  8. Announce the Next Mystery; then say the “Our Father” and repeat these steps (6 through 8) as you continue through the remaining Mysteries.
  9. Say the closing prayers: the “Hail Holy Queen” and “Final Prayer”
  10. Make the “Sign of the Cross”
If you’ve never prayed the Rosary before, this article will give you the basics; and, if you’re returning to the Rosary after a long time away, you can use this article as a "refresher course." Keep in mind, though, that there are no "Rosary police" checking up on you to make sure that you’re doing it "the right way."

In the long run, you may pray the Rosary however you prefer to pray it. The main objective of the Rosary is the same as any method of prayer—to nourish your intimacy with the triune God and with the communion of saints in this world and the next. So whatever serves that purpose is good.

If you want to pray the Rosary in the customary manner, however, there is a traditional way to go about it. The prayers of the Rosary will be provided here, in case you don’t already know them.

Because praying the Rosary involves repetitive prayer, it’s a good idea to have a rosary. If you don’t have a religious goods store in your area, you can find several sources on the Internet—some of which even offer free rosaries.

There are two basic ways to pray the Rosary—alone or with one or more people. If you are praying the Rosary with others, the custom is for one person to lead the group, primarily by saying the first half of each prayer and announcing each of the mysteries. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll assume here that you are praying the Rosary by yourself. If you join a group, most likely many of those present will understand how to pray the Rosary as a group, so all you’ll need to do is follow along. When praying the Rosary alone, you may either recite the prayers aloud or say them silently—it’s up to you.

The rosary consists of six Our Father beads and five decades (sets of ten) Hail Mary Beads plus one set of three Hail Mary beads. The Apostles’ Creed is said on the crucifix, and the Glory Be is said on the chain or knot after each set of Hail Marys. The Hail, Holy Queen is said at the end of the Rosary. Here’s how to go about it. You may be surprised when you see how easy it really is:

Make the Sign of the Cross

You begin the Rosary by making the sign of the cross using the small crucifix on the rosary. Simply hold the crucifix on your rosary with your fingers and trace the sign of the cross on your forehead, your chest, and then your left and right shoulders while saying,

In the name of the Father [forehead], and of the Son [chest], and of the Holy [left shoulder] Spirit [right shoulder]. Amen.

Say the Apostles’ Creed

Still holding the crucifix, pray the Apostles’ Creed:

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. From thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

Say the Our Father

Holding the first bead of your rosary (the bead closest to the crucifix), pray the Our Father:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.

(If you came, or are coming, to Catholicism from a Protestant tradition, remember that Catholics say a doxology—"For the kingdom, and the power, and the glory are yours now and forever"—only in the context of the Mass, and then it is separated from the Our Father by a prayer said by the priest.)

Say Three Hail Marys

Next, hold each of the three beads in the next series one at a time, and pray a Hail Mary for each bead:

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee (you). Blessed art thou (are you) among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy (your) womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Say the Glory Be/Doxology

Holding the chain or knot that comes after the series of three Hail Mary beads, pray the Glory Be:

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, it is now and ever shall be, world without end. (now and forever.) Amen.

If you like, you can say the following lines at the end of each Glory Be:

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of thy (your) mercy. Amen.

It’s up to you whether you use this prayer, or not. If it appeals to you, go ahead and say it. If not, skip it.

Say the Five Decades

The next set of prayers—consisting of an Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and a Glory Be—is repeated five times, once for each mystery of the Rosary. While holding the next, single bead, announce the first mystery of the kind you are praying today—joyful, sorrowful, glorious, or luminous. For example, "The first joyful mystery, the annunciation." Theoretically, the idea is to meditate or reflect upon this mystery while praying an Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and a Glory Be. If you can do that, great. If not, don’t worry about it. Personally, I suspect that the repetitive nature of the Rosary actually short-circuits conscious reflection on anything—let alone a mystery of faith—and acts something like a mantra does in the meditation methods of Zen Buddhism. The Rosary gives the fingers and tongue something to do, so that your mind and heart can "go deep," as it were, in wordless prayer.

After announcing the first mystery, and still holding the single bead, pray the Our Father. For each of the ten beads in the first decade of the Rosary, say one Hail Mary. When you reach the chain or knot after the tenth Hail Mary bead, say one Glory Be. Then hold the next single bead, announce the next mystery, say an Our Father, say the next set of ten Hail Marys, and say another Glory Be. Do this until you finish all five decades.

Say the Hail, Holy Queen/Salve Regina

When you have completed the fifth decade of the Rosary and said the final Glory Be, say the Hail, Holy Queen:

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee (you) do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; (the children of Eve;) to thee (you) do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale (valley) of tears. (in this land of exile.) Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine (your) eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile, (lead us home at last and) show unto us the blessed fruit of thy (your) womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

If you wish, you may also add this final verse-and-response prayer:

V: Pray for us, O holy mother of God,
R: That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

And that’s it. That’s all there is to praying the Rosary. After you have prayed the Rosary a few times, you’ll know how easy it is. The more you pray the Rosary, however, the deeper you’ll get into it and the more you’ll discover its spiritual riches.

An excerpt from The Rosary Handbook by Mitch Finley.

NEW serialisation of Archbishop Carfora's historic sketch of Old Roman Catholicism...
The Roman Catholic Church has repeatedly affirmed its recognition of the validity of the Orders and Sacraments of the Old Roman Catholic Church in North America and throughout the world. See Addis and Arnold's Roman Catholic Dictionary, which says of this Church, "They have retained valid Orders… We have been unable to discover any trace of heresy in these books," (i.e. those officially ordered for use in the North American Old Roman Catholic Church). A Catholic Dictionary, by Donald Attwater, bearing the imprimatur of Cardinal Hayes of New York, states of the Old Roman Catholic Church: "Their orders and sacraments are valid." A more recent statement concerning the North American Old Roman Catholic Church, appears in the work by Father Konrad Algermissen, Christian Denominations, published in 1948 and bearing the imprimatur of John Cardinal Glennon of St. Louis: "The North American Old Roman Catholic Church (has) re-ceived valid episcopal consecration..." (p. 363). In 1928, The Far East magazine, published by the St. Columban Fathers of St. Columban's, Nebraska, answered an inquiry concerning the validity of the orders conferred in the North American Old Roman Catholic Church. The magazine article mentions Archbishop Carfora favorably and states that "these orders are valid.. ." (p. 16, Jan. 1928 issue).
Fr. Anthony Cekada's Work of Human Hands: A Theological Critique of the Mass of Paul VI.
Spiritual Conferences by Bishop Sanborn
Broadcast on Fridays, "Contra Mundum" looks at the issues affecting 21C Christians today and proposes how to overcome them through faith, hope and charity. Treating contemporary issues frankly, using inspiring testimonies from around the world, Divine Revelation, traditional piety and praxis to encourage, equip and enable Christians to respond to them.
Old Roman Clergy literally from across continents discuss spirituality and the Christian life in the 21C
Any questions? Email them to anonymity assured!  
Previous episodes:
A 21C bishop wonders aloud about contemporary Christian life, the Gospel mission and the Church from the perennial perspective of Tradition and the Apostolic faith...
How are Old Roman vocations to the Sacred Ministry discerned, formed and realised? If you are discerning a vocation to the Sacred Ministry and are considering exploring the possibility of realising your vocation as an Old Roman or transferring your discernment, this is the programme for you! 
Questions are welcome and may be sent in advance to anonymity is assured.
For health & well-being…
John & Peggy A, Sue D, Bob F, Linda I, Michael & Esther K, Andrew M, Margaret S, Sandra W, Karen W, Paul & Margaret W, John M,  Christopher, Lyn B, Simon G, Dagmar B, Karen K, Debbie G, Finley G, Diane C, Paul, +Rommel B, Penny E, Colin R, John, Ronald, Lilian & family, Ruth L, David G, David P, Fr Graham F, S&A, +Charles of Wisconsin, Fr Terrence M, +Guo Xijin, +John P, Karl R-W, Fr Kristopher M & family, Mark Coggan, Fr Nicholas P, Ounissa, Ronald Buczek, Rik C, Juanita Alaniz & family, Shirley & Selwyn V, Trayanka K, Amanda A, Evelyn B, Matt & Bethan, Ros R, Ralph S, Brenda M, Carmen, Tony, Marie, Ryan, Eva, Tello, Olive S, David, Joyce T, Ray & Ruth M, Diane & Rebecca, Czarina, William H., Zofia K., Sean H., Laura P, +Andrew Vellone, Marvin, Rene, Czarina, Hunter, Audrey, Susie, Ed Julius De Leon, Trayanka, Bayani Antonio, Jovita Villanueva, Migdelio, Tomas, Divina Dela Paz Labayen, Patrick H, Katherine G, Angela & Claire D, Maria, James T, Luke & Mariane, Eugenia B, Cristina H, Marina M,  

For those vocationally discerning…
James, Breandán, Manuel, Vincent, Darren, Akos, Roger, James, Adrian, Carlos, Thomas, Yordanis, Nicholas, Tyler, Micha, Michael, Pierre, Bryan, Abel, Neil, Austin, Dan, David, Adam, Brian, Felix, Paul

For the faithful departed…
Lauretta (21.01.19), Clive Reed (23.01.19), Fr John Wright (24.01.19), Shelley Luben (11.12.18), Mick Howells (13.12.18), Daniel Callaghan (13.02.19), Alfie (Hub guest), Père Pierre Fournier (08.02.19), Jill Lewis (24.02.19), Cynthia Sharpe Conger (28.02.19), Richard (Ricky) Belmonte (10/03/19), Fr Leo Cameron OSA (29.03.19), Fr John Corbett (30.03.19), Deacon Richard Mulholland (Easter Day), Peter, Bernard Brown (27.06.19), Peter Ellis (01.08.19), Petronila Antonio (10.09.19), Fr Mark Spring (13.09.19), Jean Marchant (15.09.19), Mary Kelly (15.10.19), John Pender (23.10.19), Fr David Cole (17/12/20), Fr Graham Francis (03.01.20), Pauline Sheila White (06/01/20), Wendy Lamb (04/03/20), Sister Sienna O.P. 02.04.20 (COVID19), David Harvey 05.04.20 (COVID19), Fr Antonio Benedetto OSB, Pam Finch, Alejandro Garcia, Mrs Hayes, Kevin Browne, +Amadeus Dion Batain, Anthony Page, Ravi Zacariah, Jeniffer Basbas Lopoz, Amelia Santos Mcasera, Evelyn Tantay Batitis, Teroy Ambrad, Escolastico Ibanez, Angelita Lachica Morales, Amadeus Dion Batain, Fr Beaumont Brandie, Pjerin, Tom, Ambrocio Cruz, Natividad Cruz, Anita Cruz, Alice Juan, Officer Sutton, Peter Sheriff (05.06.20), Walenty Kolosionsek (30.06.20), Fr Bill Scot, Emmanuel Narciso, Remedios Legaspi, Robin Plummer (15.07.20), Eunice Banag (09.08.20), Fr Anthony Cedaka (11.09.20)

For those who mourn…
Barbara R & family, Brenda W & family, Joseph S, Catherine L & family, Rev George C & family, Jean C, Margaret & Bonita C, Debbie M & family, Phil E & Family, Adrian Kelly & family, Fr Nicholas Pnematicatos & family, Fr Andrew White & family, Richard Cole & family, the Francis Family, the White family, the Finch Family, the Garcia Family, the Hayes Family, the Browne Family, the Zachariah Family, the Brandie Family, the Manghera Family, the Cruz Family, the Hounsome Family, the Sheriff Family, The Banag Family, The Havelock Family, The Balanescu Family, The Macsim Family,

For those defending the faith...
Aid to the Church in Need (supporting persecuted Christians)
Association of Christian Teachers (Christians who work in – or care about – education)
Centre for Bio-ethical Research (pro-life) UK / USA
Christian Hacking (pro-life)
Christian Legal Centre (safeguarding the legal freedom of Christians)
Barnabus Fund (supporting persecuted Christians)
Jerusalem Merit (supporting the Iraqi refugee community in Jordan)
40 Days for Life (pro-life)


PHILIPPINESBacoor Parish of Jesus the Divine Mercy, Copper St. Platinum Ville, San Nicolas III, Bacoor, Province of Cavite

Sundays 0600 Mass
  0800 Mass
  1030 Mass & Children’s Catechesis
  1130 Baptisms
  1700 Mass
Wednesdays 1800 Mass (1st Weds’ Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Devotions)
Thursdays 1800 Mass
Fridays 1800 Mass (1st Fri’ Sacred Heart Devotions)
Saturdays 1800 Holy Hour

PHILIPPINES, Lagunas Parish of San Isidro Labrador, Dita, Sta. Rosa

Sundays 0730 Mass
  1000 Baptisms
1st Wednesday 1800 Mass & O.L. Perpetual Succour Devotions
1st Friday 1800 Mass & Sacred Heart Devotions


UK, Brighton The Brighton Oratory of SS Cuthman & Wilfrid, 1-6 Park Crescent Terrace, Brighton BN2 3HD Telephone +44 7423 074517

Sundays 0830 Mass & homily
Daily 0800
Mass & homily
Compline & Benediction
Wednesdays 1730 Holy Hour & Benediction
  1900 Conference
Saturdays 0830 Mass & homily
  1000 Catechism Conference

Full schedule of services for Lent & Easter at

UK, Bristol The Little Oratory of Our Lady of Walsingham with Saint Francis, 11 The Primroses, Hartcliffe, Bristol, BS13 0BG

Sundays 1030 Sermon & Holy Communion
  1500 Vespers


USA, Brooklyn, NY Blessed Sacrament Catholic Community, Mustard Residence 440 Lenox Road, Apt 3H Brooklyn, New York 11226

USA, Chicago IL Parish Mission of St Anne, Church of the Atonement, 5749 North Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, IL 60660 Telephone: (773) 817 – 5818

Sundays 1800 Mass & homily (2nd of the month)
Wednesdays 1930 Catechism & Reception Class

USA, Chicago IL Missionary Franciscans of Christ the King, The Friary

Sundays 1100 Mass

USA, Glendale AZ St. Joseph’s Mission Contact address: 7800 N 55th Ave Unit 102162 Glendale AZ 85301 Telephone +1 310 995 3126

Sundays 1115 Mass

USA, Houston, TX Santa Cruz Mission address: 13747 Eastex FRWY, Houston, TX 77039

Sundays 1100 Mass
    Confessions 1015-1045
    1st Sunday, Adoration 0945-1045
Fridays 1200 Via Crucis devotions

USA, Las Vegas, NV Christ the King 4775 Happy Valley Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89121 Telephone 702 379 4320 or 702-215-3930

Sundays 0800 Mass (Spanish)
  0945 First Communion and Confirmation Catechesis / English and Spanish
  1100 Mass (Bilingual)
  1300 Mass (English)
  1700 Mass (Spanish)
Thursdays 1900 Holy Hour


CHILE, Santiago Child Jesus Chapel Tegualda #321, La Florida. Santiago de Chile

Sundays 1200 Mass
Fridays 1930 Stations of the Cross & Mass
Please be aware that orthodox and authentic Old Roman Catholic jurisdictions, bishops and clergy are usually listed with the Old Roman Catholic Clerical Directory, which the faithful and enquirers are strongly invited to contact if unsure as to the credentials of a cleric presenting himself as “Old Roman Catholic”.
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