Dignare Me Laudare Te, Virgo Sacrata

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Sunday at Georgetown University (Traditional Latin Mass)

On Holy Saturday (22 March 2008), I met one of the leaders of the pro-life movement at Georgetown University (a tall order, in my opinion, so God bless her for her devoted work) at a friend's get-together. She invited me to come to the Traditional Latin Mass on campus for Easter Sunday. I decided to go, and the next morning, I drove up to Georgetown (the first time in my 27+ years that I had been on the campus), and after a little difficulty in finding the venue, the Crypt Chapel of the North American Martyrs at Copley Hall, I made it just in time for the start of Mass.

Since the University was on Easter break, there were only 3 undergraduates (all women); the server, also a student; a Jesuit priest who read the Epistle and the Gospel in English before the sermon; and myself in attendance, besides the priest who offered the Mass, Fr. Stephen Fields, S.J. The Crypt Chapel is small, but very beautiful. It looks like it underwent some "wreckovation" in the past, but the tabernacle was in the proper place, and the overall ambiance was very appropriate for the "extraordinary use" of the Latin Catholic Mass.

The altar in the Crypt Chapel before Mass.

The incensation of the altar before the Introit.

The elevation of the Chalice containing the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Traditional Latin Mass is held twice a week in the Crypt Chapel (Wednesdays and Sundays) and only recently received the official recognition of the Georgetown campus ministry.

There are visual manifestations of Georgetown's Catholic identity. This statue of St. Joseph is outside St. Mary's Hall, the headquarters of the College of Nursing.

Easter Vigil at St. Alphonsus, Baltimore

For the third time in four years, I traveled up to St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Baltimore, Maryland for the Easter Vigil according to the 1962 Roman Missal (Traditional Latin Mass). This church is a favorite of mine, not merely because of the beautiful Gothic architecture and decoration, but also because of its connection to St. John Neumann, who was pastor there before becoming Bishop of Philadelphia. He was also consecrated a bishop in this church.

Msgr. Arthur W. Bastress, pastor of St. Alphonsus, dressed in a deacon's dalmatic, carries the Easter candle down the main aisle in procession.

The incensation of the Easter Candle.

Monsignor, assisted by one of the servers, dips the Easter Candle into the container of water during the Blessing of the Easter Water.

The lighting of the candles during the second part of the Litany of the Saints.

"Ecce Agnus Dei. Ecce qui tollit peccata mundi."

The sanctuary of St. Alphonsus after the conclusion of Mass.

[I also took video of the first part of the Litany of the Saints and the first part of the Gloria as the bells were being rung, but I need to edit the video before it's posted.]

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Prayer of St. Francis de Sales to St. Joseph

[The following is taken from "The Glories of St. Joseph," compiled by the Monks of St. Joseph's Abbey in Flavigny, France.]

"Glorious St. Joseph, Spouse of Mary, grant us, we beseech thee, thy paternal protection, through the Heart of Jesus Christ."

"O Thou whose infinite power reaches out to all our needs, rendering possible for us that which is impossible, look upon the concerns of thy children with fatherly countenance."

"In the troubles and sorrows that afflict us, we have confident recourse to thee."

"Deign to take under thy loving protection this important and difficult endeavor, the cause of our worries, and dispose its success to the glory of God and to the benefit of His faithful servants. Amen."

St. Joseph, Our Model in Time of Trial

[The great solemnity of St. Joseph would normally be kept on this day, but since it's Holy Week, it is not observed, but I thought it would still be proper to remember this most august saint on this day. The following is taken from "The Glories of St. Joseph," compiled by the Monks of St. Joseph's Abbey in Flavigny, France.]

The Flight Into Egypty, by Giotto di Bondone

"Although the just are all just, nevertheless there is a great disparity between the particular deeds of their justice [Editors' note: The words "just" and "justice" are often taken in Holy Scripture for "saint" and "saintliness."]."

"Some saints excelled in one virtue, some in another. They are all saved, but in different ways, there being as many different sainthoods as there are saints."

"O, what a great saint is the glorious St. Joseph! He is not only a patriarch, but the prince of all Patriarchs; he is not simply a Confessor, but still more, for his life contained the generosity of the martyrs and of all the other saints."

"Among the virtues which were found to an eminent degree in St. Joseph are courage, perseverance, constancy, and strength. Now there is a great difference between constancy and perseverance, between strength and courage."

"We call constant or steadfast the man who holds firm during the fight, ready to suffer the enemy's attacks without dismay or loss of heart; perseverance is mainly concerned with a kind of inner weariness which comes when our troubles are long-drown-out and which is one of the most dangerous enemies we meet. Thus, perseverance allows a man to scorn that enemy in such a way that he triumphs by his unbroken conformity and submission to God's will."

"Strength enables a man effectively to resist his enemy's attacks; courage is the virtue which not only keeps him ready for battle or resistance in due time, but also encourages him to attack first, when the enemy is off guard."

"Thus our glorious St. Joseph was blessed with all these virtues and he practiced them wondrously well. As regards his constancy, how greatly it shone forth, did it not, when he saw Our Lady with child without understanding how such a thing could happen? My God, what distress, what trouble and what grief he endured! Nevertheless, he did not complain once; he was not harsh nor unkind toward his wife; he did not mistreat her for it, remaining just as gentle and respectful as before. But to what courage and strength does not the victory bear witness which he won over the two greatest enemies of man, the devil and the world, by that perfect humility which, as we have seen, he practices throughout his life. As for perseverance, the contrary of lassitude, that inner enemy which invades us in the long succession of miseries, humiliations, hardships, and misfortunes, or simply the various happenings of our lives, how greatly was this saint tested by God and by men, too!

-St. Francis de Sales