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Palm Sunday Homily of Pope Francis
Mar 31st, 2015 by Father Chris

In Holy Week, “God’s Way Is Humility”

HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS
PALM SUNDAY OF THE PASSION OF THE LORD
ST PETER’S SQUARE
29 MARCH 2015

At the heart of this celebration, which seems so festive, are the words we heard in the hymn of the Letter to the Philippians: “He humbled himself” (2:8). Jesus’ humiliation.

These words show us God’s way and, consequently, that which must be the way of Christians: it is humility. A way which constantly amazes and disturbs us: we will never get used to a humble God!

Humility is above all God’s way: God humbles himself to walk with his people, to put up with their infidelity. This is clear when we read the the story of the Exodus. How humiliating for the Lord to hear all that grumbling, all those complaints against Moses, but ultimately against him, their Father, who brought them out of slavery and was leading them on the journey through the desert to the land of freedom.

This week, Holy Week, which leads us to Easter, we will take this path of Jesus’ own humiliation. Only in this way will this week be “holy” for us too!

We will feel the contempt of the leaders of his people and their attempts to trip him up. We will be there at the betrayal of Judas, one of the Twelve, who will sell him for thirty pieces of silver. We will see the Lord arrested and carried off like a criminal; abandoned by his disciples, dragged before the Sanhedrin, condemned to death, beaten and insulted. We will hear Peter, the “rock” among the disciples, deny him three times. We will hear the shouts of the crowd, egged on by their leaders, who demand that Barabas be freed and Jesus crucified. We will see him mocked by the soldiers, robed in purple and crowned with thorns. And then, as he makes his sorrowful way beneath the cross, we will hear the jeering of the people and their leaders, who scoff at his being King and Son of God.

This is God’s way, the way of humility. It is the way of Jesus; there is no other. And there can be no humility without humiliation.

Following this path to the full, the Son of God took on the “form of a slave” (cf. Phil 2:7). In the end, humility also means service. It means making room for God by stripping oneself, “emptying oneself”, as Scripture says (v. 7). This – the pouring out of oneself – is the greatest humiliation of all.

There is another way, however, opposed to the way of Christ. It is worldliness, the way of the world. The world proposes the way of vanity, pride, success… the other way. The Evil One proposed this way to Jesus too, during his forty days in the desert. But Jesus immediately rejected it. With him, and only by his grace, with his help, we too can overcome this temptation to vanity, to worldliness, not only at significant moments, but in daily life as well.

In this, we are helped and comforted by the example of so many men and women who, in silence and hiddenness, sacrifice themselves daily to serve others: a sick relative, an elderly person living alone, a disabled person, the homeless….

We think too of the humiliation endured by all those who, for their lives of fidelity to the Gospel, encounter discrimination and pay a personal price. We think too of our brothers and sisters who are persecuted because they are Christians, the martyrs of our own time – and there are many. They refuse to deny Jesus and they endure insult and injury with dignity. They follow him on his way. In truth, we can speak of a “cloud of witnesses” – the martyrs of our own time (cf. Heb 12:1).

During this week, let us set about with determination along this same path of humility, with immense love for him, our Lord and Saviour. Love will guide us and give us strength. For where he is, we too shall be (cf. Jn 12:26).

Holy Week 2015
Mar 31st, 2015 by Father Chris
Bishop Dominick Lagonegro will be at Saint Anthony’s to celebrate the 12:00 noon Mass on Palm Sunday, March 29th.Please join us to welcome Bishop Lagonegro and to be present for this special “Pontifical Mass”. It is always a special privilege and grace to have Bishop Dominick back home here in Silver Lake. Please be with us on Palm Sunday at Noon!
Passion (Palm) Sunday, March 29th

Saturday, March 28th 

Vigil Mass: 5:00pm, Blessing of palm and procession

Sunday March 29th

Masses: 8:00am, 10:30am and 12:00 noon

Confessions

“Reconciliation Monday”, March 30th
Confessions will be heard throughout the
Archdiocese of New York from 3:00pm to 9:00pm
Wednesday, April 1st

9:30am to 10:15am

7:00pm to 7:45pm

Saturday, April 4th

3:30pm to 4:30pm

 

Holy Thursday, April 2nd

7:30pm: Mass of the Lord’s Supper

Adoration at the Altar of Reposition

9:00pm until 11:00pm

 

Good Friday, April 3rd

9:30am: Tenebrae (Morning Prayer)

3:00pm: Solemn Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion and Death

7:30pm: Stations and Veneration of the Cross

 

Holy Saturday, April 4th

9:30am: Tenebrae (Morning Prayer)

8:00pm: Solemn Vigil of Our Lord’s Resurrection

Please Note: There is NO 5:00pm Mass

 

Easter Sunday, April 5th

Masses: 8:00am, 10:30am and 12:00 noon

No evening Mass

A “Jubilee of Mercy” from Pope Francis!
Mar 14th, 2015 by Father Chris

A “Jubilee of Mercy” – On 2nd Anniversary, Pope Calls Extraordinary Holy Year of “God’s Forgiveness”

Pope Francis hears confessions of the Catholics of Rome at Saint Peter’s Basilica.
While it was already well-noted that the Pope was marking the hour of the second anniversary of his election with a focus on his favorite sacrament – leading a Lenten Penance Service with individual Confessions in St Peter’s – Francis upped the ante considerably moments ago with a surprise announcement of immense significance: his indiction of an “Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy” as a moment for the entire church to spread the word of God’s forgiveness, beginning on December 8th.

Set to include the opening of the basilica’s Holy Door – the Jubilee ritual which normally only takes place every quarter-century – the Pope said the Year of Mercy will run until the end of November 2016. The intended opening day for the observance coincides with the 50th anniversary of the close of Vatican II.

A practice dating to 1300, while the church observes an ordinary Holy Year at the 25-year marks of each century as an equivalent to the ancient Jewish custom of jubilee – a designated time of forgiveness, renewal and celebration – the last two extraordinary Holy Years were held in 1933 and 1983, respectively marking the 1,900th and 1,950th anniversaries of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

The news given under embargo to the press prior to the service, on going public with the plan from the pulpit, Francis received a spontaneous ovation from the crowd in attendance.

Following the announcement, as he did at last year’s Penance rite in an unprecedented public moment for a pontiff, Francis again knelt to make his own Confession to another of the priests stationed around St Peter’s (below) before receiving penitents in his own booth.

Pope Francis goes to confession at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Tonight’s event in the basilica marked the global opening of “24 Hours for the Lord” – the second year of a Vatican-sponsored “festival of forgiveness” which, at the Pope’s direct behest, urged the dioceses of the world to provide an ample number of churches where Confession would be available around the clock to open this Fourth Weekend of Lent.

Here below, the Vatican’s English translation of the Pope’s homily featuring the announcement of the Holy Year (emphases original):

This year as last, as we head into of the Fourth Sunday of Lent, we are gathered to celebrate the penitential liturgy. We are united with so many Christians, who, in every part of the world, have accepted the invitation to live this moment as a sign of the goodness of the Lord. The Sacrament of Reconciliation, in fact, allows us with confidence to draw near to the Father, in order to be certain of His pardon. He really is “rich in mercy” and extends His mercy with abundance over those who turn to Him with a sincere heart.

To be here in order to experience His love, however, is first of all the fruit of His grace. As the Apostle Paul reminds us, God never ceases to show the richness of His mercy throughout the ages. The transformation of the heart that leads us to confess our sins is “God’s gift”, it is “His work” (cf. Eph 2:8-10). To be touched with tenderness by His hand and shaped by His grace allows us, therefore, to approach the priest without fear for our sins, but with the certainty of being welcomed by him in the name of God, and understood notwithstanding our miseries. Coming out of the confessional, we will feel God’s strength, which restores life and returns the enthusiasm of faith.

The Gospel we have heard (cf. Lk 7:36-50) opens for us a path of hope and comfort. It is good that we should feel that same compassionate gaze of Jesus upon us, as when he perceived the sinful woman in the house of the Pharisee. In this passage two words return before us with great insistence: love and judgment.

There is the love of the sinful woman, who humbles herself before the Lord; but first there is the merciful love of Jesus for her, which pushes her to approach. Her cry of repentance and joy washes the feet of the Master, and her hair dries them with gratitude; her kisses are pure expression of her affection; and the fragrant ointment poured out with abundance attests how precious He is to her eyes. This woman’s every gesture speaks of love and expresses her desire to have an unshakeable certainty in her life: that of being forgiven. And Jesus gives this assurance: welcoming her, He demonstrates God’s love for her, just for her! Love and forgiveness are simultaneous: God forgives her much, everything, because “she loved much” (Luke 7:47); and she adores Jesus because she feels that in Him there is mercy and not condemnation. Thanks to Jesus, God casts her many sins away behind Him, He remembers them no more (cf. Is 43:25). For her, a new season now begins; she is reborn in love, to a new life.

This woman has really met the Lord. In silence, she opened her heart to Him; in pain, she showed repentance for her sins; with her tears, she appealed to the goodness of God for forgiveness. For her, there will be no judgment except that which comes from God, and this is the judgment of mercy. The protagonist of this meeting is certainly the love that goes beyond justice.

Simon the Pharisee, on the contrary, cannot find the path of love. He stands firm upon the threshold of formality. He is not capable of taking the next step to go meet Jesus, who brings him salvation. Simon limited himself to inviting Jesus to dinner, but did not really welcome Him. In his thoughts, he invokes only justice, and in so doing, he errs. His judgment on the woman distances him from the truth and does not allow him even to understand who guest is. He stopped at the surface, he was not able to look to the heart. Before Jesus’ parable and the question of which a servant would love his master most, the Pharisee answered correctly, “The one, to whom the master forgave most.” And Jesus does not fail to make him observe: “Thou hast judged rightly. (Lk 7:43)” Only when the judgment of Simon is turned toward love: then is he in the right.

The call of Jesus pushes each of us never to stop at the surface of things, especially when we are dealing with a person. We are called to look beyond, to focus on the heart to see how much generosity everyone is capable. No one can be excluded from the mercy of God; everyone knows the way to access it and the Church is the house that welcomes all and refuses no one. Its doors remain wide open, so that those who are touched by grace can find the certainty of forgiveness. The greater the sin, so much the greater must be the love that the Church expresses toward those who convert.

Dear brothers and sisters, I have often thought about how the Church might make clear its mission of being a witness to mercy. It is journey that begins with a spiritual conversion. For this reason, I have decided to call an extraordinary Jubilee that is to have the mercy of God at its center. It shall be a Holy Year of Mercy. We want to live this Year in the light of the Lord’s words: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (cf. Lk 6:36)”

This Holy Year will begin on this coming Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and will end on November 20, 2016, the Sunday dedicated to Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe – and living face of the Father’s mercy. I entrust the organization of this Jubilee to the Pontifical Council for Promotion of the New Evangelization, that [the dicastery] might animate it as a new stage in the journey of the Church on its mission to bring to every person the Gospel of mercy.

I am convinced that the whole Church will find in this Jubilee the joy needed to rediscover and make fruitful the mercy of God, with which all of us are called to give consolation to every man and woman of our time. From this moment, we entrust this Holy Year to the Mother of Mercy, that she might turn her gaze upon us and watch over our journey.

Thanks to Rocco Palmo from Whispers in the  Loggia for the information contained in this post.

Happy 2nd Anniversary!
Mar 14th, 2015 by Father Chris

Two Years – And 2,000 Surprises – Later

While the “Pope of Chaos” kept to perfect form on his second anniversary – releasing yet another interview (his second of the week) before tonight’s bombshell announcement of an extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy beginning in December – given the moment, let’s go back to the start.

It was just about this time two years ago tonight – a couple minutes after 7pm in Rome – when the expected dose of black smoke to close a crapshoot Conclave’s first full day seemed to be taking a bit longer than expected…

…and then, all of a sudden, It came – and It wasn’t black!

…and that was just the first shock:

Brothers and sisters, good evening!

You know how the duty of the Conclave is to give a bishop to Rome. It seems that my brother cardinals have gone to take him from the edge of the world… but here we are.

I thank you for your welcome – the diocesan family of Rome to your bishop: thank you! And before anything else, I’d like for us to pray for our bishop-emeritus, Benedict XVI. Let us pray together for him, that the Lord bless him and Our Lady keep him in her care….

Our Father….

Hail Mary….

Glory Be….

And now, together, let us start this road: bishop and people. This [new] path of the church of Rome, which “presides in charity” [over] all the churches. A path of brotherhood, of love, of trust between us. Let us pray always for ourselves: one for the other. Let us pray for all the world, that we all might know a great fraternity. I wish you that this journey as Church, that we begin today and on which my Cardinal-Vicar [of Rome] will help me, might be fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city!

And now I’ll give you my blessing… but first – first, I ask you this favor: before the bishop blesses his people, I ask that you pray to the Lord that he might bless me: the prayer of the people, seeking God’s blessing for their bishop. In silence, please pray over me….

*Pope Bows to crowd*

Now I give my blessing to you and all the world – to all men and women of good will….

Brothers and sisters, I leave you, but only for now. Many thanks for your warm welcome. Please pray for me often!

I’ll see you soon – tomorrow I want to go pray to Our Lady [Salus Populi Romani – her shrine at St Mary Major], because she’s the one who cares for Rome.

Good night and sleep well!

And now, on to “the third of Our Pontificate”…. Yet again, predict at your own risk.

Thanks to Rocco Palmo from Whispers in the Loggia for the information contained in the post.
Farewell to Cardinal Egan
Mar 14th, 2015 by Father Chris

In New York, The Last Goodbye

Cardinal Egan’s Casket is carried into Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
Hard as it is to believe, it’s almost 15 years since New York was last here… sure enough, though, even as St Patrick’s Cathedral was said to be “packed” for last night’s vigil and the full pomp of the state funeral is again on display, this isn’t May 8th, 2000 – it’s a different world, and arguably even more, a different church.

With at least five cardinals and 30 bishops on hand, the burial liturgy of the Big Apple’s ninth archbishop begins at 2pm Eastern after a half-hour procession (worship aid); both the city’s ABC and CBS affiliates will livestream the rites from the “nation’s parish,” whose front half is currently racked with heavy scaffolding as part of the cathedral’s years-long, $175 million restoration.

In keeping with Cardinal Edward Egan’s desired plans, the Mass will be framed around the 1897 Requiem written by Lorenzo Perosi, an Italian cleric and protege of the future St Pius X who led the Sistine Choir from 1902 until his death in 1956 – a year before Egan’s ordination in Rome. In an encore of the memorable close of the cardinal’s Installation Mass in June 2000, the soprano Renée Fleming – Egan’s favorite singer from his beloved Metropolitan Opera – will return to perform his sendoff, joined this time by the Met tenor Matthew Polenzani.

The bronze doors to the crypt below the Altar at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
After the final commendation, the chanted In Paradisum will signal the final procession to the cathedral’s crypt behind and beneath the high altar, where Egan will be entombed alongside all his predecessors going back to New York’s first archbishop, John Hughes, the Irish-born strongman who envisioned the “cathedral of suitable magnificence” in Midtown as the symbol of his faithful’s ascent, but didn’t live to see it completed.

In more recent history, meanwhile, at the last two funerals of Gotham cardinals – John O’Connor in the aforementioned May 2000 and the Jesuit legend Avery Dulles in December 2008 – the exit of the casket from the cathedral saw applause erupt from the congregation: a sign of respect for the deceased usually seen only in Europe.

Thanks to Rocco Palmo from Whispers in the Loggia for the information contained on this post.
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