Dignare Me Laudare Te, Virgo Sacrata

Sunday, June 29, 2008

June 29/30 Sts. Peter and Paul - The Martyrdom of St. Paul (Dom Guéranger)

The stained glass window of Sts. Paul and Peter in St. Mary Mother of God Catholic Church, Washington, DC

(The following is excerpted from Dom Prosper Guéranger's entry in The Liturgical Year for 30 June -- the Commemoration of St. Paul, in Volume XII of the 1983 Marian House edition of the English translation by the Benedictines of Stanbrook.)

"...Paul, having appealed to Caesar [see Acts 25: 11-12], landed in Italy at the beginning of the year 56. Then at last the apostle of the Gentiles made his entry into Rome...."

"Instead of having to await in prison the day whereon his cause was to be heard, Paul was at liberty to choose a lodging-place in the city. He was obliged, however, to be accompanied day and night by a soldier to whom, according to the usual custom, he was chained, but only in such a way as to prevent his escape: all his movements being otherwise left perfectly free, he could easily continue to preach the Word of God. Towards the close of the year 57, in virtue of his appeal to Caesar, the apostle was at last summoned before the praetorium, and the successful pleading in his cause resulted in his acquittal."

"Being no free, Paul revisited the East, confirming on his evangelical course the Churches he had previously founded. Thus Ephesus and Crete once more enjoyed his presence; in the one he left his disciple Timothy as bishop, and in the other Titus. But Paul had not quitted Rome for ever: marvellously enlightened as she had been by his preaching, the Roman Church was yet to be gilded by his parting rays and empurpled by his blood. A heavenly warning, as in Peter's case, bade him also return to Rome where martyrdom was awaiting him. This fact is attested by St. Athanasius: we learn the same also from St. Asterius of Ameseus, who hereupon remarks that the apostle entered Rome once more, 'in order to teach the very masters of the world; to turn them into his disciples; and by their means to wrestle with the whole human race. There Paul finds Peter engaged in the same work; he at once yokes himself to the same divine chariot with him, and sets about instructing the children of the Law within the synagogues, and the Gentiles outside.'"

"At last Rome possesses her two princes conjointly: the one seated on the eternal chair, holding in his hands the keys of the kingdom of heaven; the other surrounded by the sheaves he has garnered from the fields of the Gentile world. They shall now part no more; even in death, as the Church sings, they shall not be separated. The period of their being together was necessarily short, for they must render to their Master the testimony of blood before the Roman world should be freed from the odious tyranny under which it was groaning. Their death was to be Nero's last crime; after that he was to fade from sight, leaving the world horror-stricken at his end, as shameful as it was tragic."

"It was in the year 65 that Paul returned to Rome; once more signalizing his presence there by the manifold works of his apostolate. From the time of his first labours there, he had made converts even in the palace of the Caesars: having returned to this former theatre of his zeal, he again found entrance into the imperial abode. A woman who was living in criminal intercourse with Nero, and also a cup-bearer of his, were both caught in the apostolic net, for it were hard indeed to resist the power of that mighty word. Nero, enraged at 'this foreigner's' influence in his household, as bent on Paul's destruction. He was cast into prison, but such was his zeal that he persisted the more in preaching Jesus Christ. The two converts of the imperial palace having abjured, together with paganism, the manner of life they had been leading, their twofold conversion hastened Paul's martyrdom...."

"On the twenty-ninth of June, in the year 67, whilst Peter, having crossed the Tiber by the triumphal bridge,was drawing nigh to the cross prepared for him on the Vatican plain, another martyrdom was being consummated on the left bank of the same river. Paul, as he was led along the Ostian Way, was also followed by a group of the faithful who mingled with the escort of the condemned. His sentence was that he should be beheaded at the Salvian waters [Aquae Salviae in Latin, which were/are freshwater springs]. A two miles' march brought the soldiers to a path leading eastwards, by which they led their prisoner to the place fixed upon for his martyrdom. Paul fell on his knees, addressing his last prayer to God; then having bandaged his eyes, he awaited the death-stroke. A soldier brandished his sword, and the apostle's head, as it was severed from the trunk, made three bounds along the ground; three fountains immediately sprang up on these several spots. Such is the local tradition; and to this day three fountains are to be seen on the site of his martyrdom, over each of which in altar is raised [in the church San Paolo alle Tre Fontane]...."

Monday, June 16, 2008

Fr. Romanoski and the FSSP's Historic Mass in Harrisburg Cathedral

Two weeks after offering the first Solemn High Mass in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in about 40 years, newly-ordained priest Fr. Jonathan Romanoski and his brothers in the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter made history again, this time with a Solemn High Mass in St. Patrick's Cathedral in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the first since the 1960s.

During the Canon of the Mass, at the Elevation of either the Sacred Host or the Precious Blood of Christ

As the New Liturgical Movement blog detailed last summer (via For God, For Country and For Yale), the Cathedral underwent restoration during recent years. Unlike many "wreckovations" done on historic churches the world over, the sprucing up at St. Patrick's was done very beautifully.

A closer shot of the altar in St. Patrick's

The ceiling in the apse above the sanctuary of St. Patrick's

[Both of the above pictures were originally posted on For God, For Country and For Yale.]

Fr. Romanoski and the clerics assisting him during the Mass wore the same beautiful vestments they did at the National Shrine.

Fr. Eric Flood, FSSP gave the homily during the Mass.

Mr. Michael Gorre of the American TFP took the pictures from the Mass featured above [many thanks to him for granting permission to post them here]. His fellow members of the TFP provided the music during the Solemn High Mass, as they normally do at St. Lawrence parish nearby, which is where the Traditional Latin Mass is offered every other Sunday in Harrisburg.

Besides its beautiful main altar and overall design/architecture, St. Patrick's also has spectacular stained glass. An example of this is the window depicting the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

(Picture courtesy of Mr. Michael Gorre)

[For other pictures from the Mass by Mr. Michael Gorre, go to photo album at Solemn High Mass at Harrisburg Cathedral.]

Thanks be to God for this glorious occasion! Thanks should also be extended to Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Harrisburg, not only for generosity in letting the Mass be offered in the Cathedral, but also for his establishing of the "Mater Dei Community" for the Traditional Latin Mass at St. Lawrence's in December 2007. Bishop Rhoades invited the Priestly Fraternity to administer all of the traditional rites of the sacraments there.

Besides his advocacy of the Traditional Latin Mass, Bishop Rhoades is also known for his staunch support of the pro-life movement. Shortly after his return to Harrisburg as bishop in 2005, he lead a procession to a local abortuary, as well as the Rosary said in front of it. The TFP did a write-up on this procession, as well as Bishop Rhoades past pro-life activities in Harrisburg when he was a parish priest.

May St. John Fisher, the patron saint of bishops, whose martyrdom we commemmorate later this month, intercede always for Bishop Rhoades, and all his brother bishops!

Friday, June 13, 2008

June 13 - St. Anthony of Padua, Confessor (Dom Guéranger)

The statue of St. Anthony of Padua in my "icon corner," with the icon of St. Charbel Makhlouf in the left background.

(The following is excerpted from Dom Prosper Guéranger's entry in The Liturgical Year for 13 June, in Volume XII of the 1983 Marian House edition of the English translation by the Benedictines of Stanbrook.)

"...The days of Charlemagne were past and gone; yet the work of Leo III still lived on, despite a thousand difficulties. The enemy, now at large, had sown cockle in the field of the divine householder; heresy was springing up and there, whilst vice was growing apace in every direction. In many an heroic combat, the Popes, aided by the monastic Order, had succeeded in casting disorder out of the sanctuary itself: still the people, too long scandalized by venal pastors, were fast slipping away from the Church. Who could rally them once more? Who wrest from Satan a reconquest of the world? At this trying moment the Spirit of Pentecost, ever living, ever present in holy Church, raised up the sons of St. Dominic and of St. Francis. The brave soldiers of this new militia, organized to meet fresh necessities, threw themselves into the fold, pursuing heresy into its most secret lurking-holes, and thundering against vice in every shape and wheresoever found. In town or in country, they were everywhere to be seen confounding false teachers by the strong argument of miracle as well as of doctrine; mixing with the people, whom the sight of their heroic detachment easily won over to repentance. Crowds flocked to be enrolled in the Third Orders instituted by these two holy founders, to afford a secure refuge for the Christian life in the midst of the world."

"The best known and most popular of all the sons of St. Francis is Anthony, whom we are celebrating this day. His life was short; at the age of thirty-five he took his flight to heaven. But a span so limited allowed, nevertheless, of a considerable portion of time being directed by our Lord to preparing this chosen servant for his destined ministry.... Out of his twenty years of religious life, he passed ten amongst the Canons Regular [Augustinians], whither the divine call had invited him at the age of fifteen, in the full bloom of his innocence; and there, wholly captivated by the splendour of the liturgy, occupied in the sweet study of the Holy Scriptures and of the fathers, blissfully lost in the silence of the cloister, his seraphic soul was ever being wafted to sublime heights, where (so it seemed) he was always to remain, held and hidden in the secret of God's face. Suddenly, behold! the divine Spirit urges him to seek the martyr's crown: and presently he is seen emerging from his beloved monastery, and following the Friars Minor [Franciscans] to distant shores, where already some of their number had won the glorious palm. Not this, however, but the martyrdom of love, was to be his. Falling sick and reduced to impotence before his zeal could effect anything on the African soil, he was recalled by obedience to Spain, but was cast by tempest on the Italian coast."

"It happened that St. Francis [of Assisi] was just then convoking his entire family, for the third time, in general chapter. Anthony, unknown, lost in this vast assembly, beheld at its close each of the friars in turn receive his appointed destination, whereas to him not a thought was given.... At the moment of departure the Father Minister of Bologna province, remarking the isolated condition of the young religious whom no one had received in charge, admitted him, out of charity, into his company. Accordingly, having reached the hermitage of Monte Paolo, Anthony was deputed to help in the kitchen and in sweeping the house, being supposed quite unfitted for anything else. Meanwhile, the Augustinian Canons, on the contrary, were bitterly lamenting the loss of one whose remarkable learning and sanctity, far more even his nobility, had, up to this, been the glory of their Order."

"The hour at last came, chosen by Providence, to manifest Anthony to the world; and immediately, as was said of Christ [H]imself, the whole world went after him [St. John 12: 19]. Around the pulpits where this humble friar preached there were wrought endless prodigies in the order of nature and of grace. At Rome he earned the surname of 'ark of covenant' [from the Pope at the time]; in France, that of 'hammer of heretics.' It would be impossible for us here to follow him throughout his luminous course; suffice it to say that France, as well as Italy, owes much to his zealous ministry."

"St. Francis had yearned to be himself the bearer of the gospel of peace throughout the fair realm of France, then sorely ravaged by heresy; but in his stead, he sent thither Anthony, his well-beloved son, and, as it were, his living portrait. What St. Dominic had been in the first crusade against the Albigenses, Anthony was in the second. At Toulouse was wrought that wondrous miracle of the famished mule turning aside from the proffered grain in order to prostrate in homage before the sacred Host. From the province of Berry, his burning word was heard thundering in various provinces; whilst heaven lavished delicious favours on his soul, ever childlike amidst the marvellous victories achieved by him, and the intoxicating applause of an admiring crowd."

"Under the very eyes of his host, at a lonely house in Limousin, the Infant Jesus came to him radiant in beauty; and throwing [H]imself into his arms, covered him with sweetest caresses, pressing the humble friar to lavish the like on him. One feast of the Assumption, Anthony was sad, because a phrase then to be found in the Office seemed to throw a shade of discredit on the fact of Mary's body being assumed into heaven together with her soul. Presently, the Mother of God herself came to console her devoted servant, in his lowly cell, assuring him of the truth of the doctrine of her glorious Assumption; and so left him, ravished with the sweet charms of her countenance and the melodious sound of her voice...."

"In the... town on Montpellier another well-known incident occurred. When engaged in teaching a course of theology to his brethren, his commentary on the Psalms disappeared; but the thief was presently constrained, even by the thief himself, to bring back the volume, the loss whereof had caused our saint so much regret. Such is commonly thought to be the origin of the popular devotion, whereby a special power of recovering lost things is ascribed to St. Anthony. However this may be, it is certain that, from very outset, this devotion rests of the testimony of startling miracles of this kind; and in our own day constantly repeated favours of a similar nature still confirm the same...."

"O glorious Anthony, the simplicity of thine innocent soul made thee a docile instrument in the hand of the Spirit of love. The Seraphic Doctor, St. Bonaventure, hymning thy praises, takes for his first theme thy child-like spirit, and for his second thy wisdom which flowed therefrom...."

"In return for thy loving submission to God our Father in heaven, the populace obeyed thee, and fiercest tyrants trembled at thy voice [Wisdom 8: 14, 15]. Heresy alone dared once to disobey thee, dared to refuse to harken to thy word: thereupon, the very fishes of the sea took up thy defense; for they came swimming in shoals, before the eyes of the whole city [Rimini], to listen to thy preaching which heretics had scorned."

"Alas! error, having long ago recovered from the vigorous blows dealt by thee, is yet more emboldened in these days, claiming even sole right to speak. The offspring of the Manes, whom, under the name of Albigenses, thou didst so successfully combat, would now, under the new appellation of freemasonry, have all France at its beck; thy native Portugal beholds the same monster stalking in broad daylight almost up to the very altar; and the whole world is being intoxicated by its poison. O thou who dost daily fly to the aid of thy devoted clients in their private necessities, thou whose power is the same in heaven as heretofore upon earth, succour the Church, aid God's people, have pity upon society, now more universally and deeply menaced than ever. O thou ark of the covenant, bring back our generation, so terribly devoid of love and faith, to the serious study of sacred letters, wherein is so energizing a power. O thou hammer of heretics, strike once more such blows as will make hell tremble and the heavenly powers thrill with joy."

Sancte Antoni, ora pro nobis!

[Please also see my post from June 2006, Malleus Haereticorum - St. Anthony of Padua.]

Related links:

Fish Eaters: The Feast of St. Anthony of Padua

Tea at Trianon: If, then, you ask for miracles....

Sunday, June 08, 2008

FSSP's Solemn High Mass in the Crypt Church

As noted in the post on June 4 below, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter ended their annual pilgrimage of reparation with a Solemn High Mass in the Crypt Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Fr. Jonathan Romanoski, FSSP, assisted by his brother priests and seminarians of the Priestly Fraternity, offered the first Solemn High Traditional Latin Mass in the Crypt Church in over 40 years. It truly was a memorable occasion.

Father Romanoski had been ordained only the week before on 30 May 2008 by Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The main altar of the Crypt Church before Mass.

The servers, subdeacon, deacon, and Fr. Romanoski processing at the beginning of Mass.

The Confiteor of the deacon and subdeacon.

Video of the Incensation of the altar at the beginning of Mass.

"Dominus vobiscum."

During the Offertory of the Mass.

The elevation of the Sacred Host, truly the Body of Christ.

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

Video of Fr. Romanoski chanting the Pater Noster.

The "Second Confiteor" of the deacon and subdeacon.

"Ecce Agnus Dei."

The final blessing at the end of Mass.

Deacon Antony Sumich, FSSP and Fr. Romanoski process out after Mass.

Before the servers and the sacred ministers processed out, the Te Deum was sung in thanksgiving to God for all his blessings, especially for the blessing of this momentous Solemn High Mass.

Fr. Romanoski returned the sanctuary of the Crypt Church to give the blessing of a newly-ordained priest. It was the first time in my life that I received such a blessing. It was a tremendous honor, and per the tradition, I kissed Fr. Romanoski's hands. It was like nothing I had experience before, and I thank God for allowing me to be there and receive this blessing.

Fr. Romanoski giving the blessing to a friend of mine.

Most of the laity who attended the Mass waited in line to receive this blessing. Each one received a beautiful holy card of Our Lady of Sorrows that was printed to mark Fr. Romanoski's ordination.

It was very nice to see the prayer from which this blog gets its name (Dignare me laudare te Virgo Sacrata; Da mihi virtutem contra hostes tuos.) on the back of the holy card, at the very top.

In addition to this prayer, the following prayer by Blessed Miguel Pro, SJ was printed in both the original Spanish and in English on the back of the holy card:

My wish, O most Sorrowful Virgin, is to stand at thy side, strengthening my spirit with thy tears, consummating my sacrifice with thy martyrdom, sustaining my heart with thy solitude, loving my God, and thy God, with the immolation of my being.
At the bottom of the holy card, Blessed Miguel's last words, "Viva Cristo Rey," were printed in large block type.

Between the holy card and my conversation with him after he finished giving his first blessings, I received a very good impression from Fr. Romanoski. It is clear that he has a strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and that God has blessed him with a devout spirit.

As I said before, Deo gratias!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Solemn High Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Mark your calendars! As announced on their website, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter "will be making their annual pilgrimage of reparation to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, to thank Our Lady, patroness of America for all the graces she has showered upon us, particularly in the recent visit of his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, and to make reparation for all the sins of our nation."

"Concluding their 3-day pilgrimage along the C&O canal, the kind permission of the Rector, Msrg. Rossi, having been granted, they will celebrate a Solemn High Mass on the main altar of the Crypt chapel in the Basilca at 6 pm, Saturday, June 7th. The celebrant will be the newly ordained Rev. Jonathan Romanoski FSSP."

Fr. Romanoski is one of the four new priests that was ordained by His Eminence Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos in May.

As this Facebook event has put it, this is "The Solemn High Mass you really don't want to miss!" It will be the first Traditional Latin Solemn High Mass to be held in the Crypt Church in over 40 years.

Deo gratias!