Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Anniversary of the Dedication of St. Francis de Sales Cathedral

Today is the anniversary of the dedication of St. Francis de Sales Cathedral!

Well...sort of…

This part of the history of the Cathedral of the Diocese of Baker is a bit confusing.

If you’d looked in the Paulist Press ordo up till a few years ago, you’d have seen the dedication of St. Francis Cathedral listed on April 28.  However, this is not the date of the original dedication of the church. 

[Disclaimer: I do not have the current edition of the Paulist Press ordo, and so I cannot say for certain what date is listed for the anniversary this year; it is possible that it has been changed, but I am doubtful. Certainly, I have seen nothing in the Cathedral parish bulletin about celebrating the anniversary on any date in April.]

The project of building St. Francis de Sales Cathedral was initiated by Bishop Charles J. O’Reilly, who had arrived in Baker City in 1903.  At that time, the “cathedral” was a little mission church which was certainly not able to accommodate the kind of liturgies that should be held in a Cathedral. So, on March 20, 1905, the old church was removed; on March 24, ground was broken for the new building.

The architect for the new cathedral was M. P. White of Baker City, and the builder was Thomas E. Grant. Stone was brought in from Pleasant Valley, with is southeast of Baker City. The building was actually completed in 1908 and opened on St. Patrick’s Day that year, but it was not put into use until after its dedication on April 9.

There’s the original date of dedication of the Cathedral of the Diocese of Baker: April 9.

There have been a number of renovations of St. Francis Cathedral, and after the major make-over around 1980  – which took a cathedral that once looked like this (ahhhh!):

and made it look like this (sigh):

 - there was a re-dedication on April 28, 1981. That date was probably given to the Paulist Press people by Bishop Connolly, who had initiated the renovation and who led the dedication ceremony. According to the printed pamphlet commemorating that event, the ceremony was attended by the bishops of five neighboring diocese - including Bishop William S. Skylstad of Yakima, the current Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Baker - as well as the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Portland. 

So, up until just a few years ago, one would always find April 28 listed as the date of the dedication of St. Francis de Sales Cathedral in the Diocese of Baker. A few years ago, however, it began to be listed as April 9.

Why the change? The reason was probably because someone realized that the original dedication anniversary was on April 9. But you might be surprised to find that the 2012 ordo listed the anniversary of the dedication of St. Francis de Sales Cathedral as April 16! That’s because April 9 fell in the Octave of Easter; the Octave days take precedence, so a celebration of the dedication of any cathedral would not be permitted.

Bishop Robert F. Vasa, prior to his transfer to the Diocese of Santa Rosa, had noted that April 9 almost always falls during Lent or in the Octave of Easter; therefore, the date for the celebration of the dedication would be different each year. On the other hand, the April 28 date submitted by Bishop Connolly would almost always be after Easter and the Octave (the latest possible date for Easter is April 25); therefore, keeping that date for the celebration of the dedication would lend it much more stability.  

April 28 is in fact related to a significant historical event for the Cathedral – a re-dedication – and so is an appropriate date that is at least in the same month as the original date, and which would be much more predictable than the April 9 date. Bishop Vasa had intended to mention something about this in the Diocesan newsletter the following year, but since he was transferred to the Diocese of Santa Rosa, the clarification fell by the wayside.

At any rate, in at least the last 10 years, the bishop of the Diocese of Baker has not been at the Cathedral for the celebration of the anniversary of the dedication of the Cathedral on either April 9 or April 28 (actually, I am not sure whether Bishop Cary has been there for the anniversary of the dedication in the last couple of years). Even in 2008, for the centennial anniversary of the Cathedral, there was no bishop present: just the rector and two former pastors.

Prior to that, in October of 2007, Bishop-emeritus Thomas Connolly celebrated the 60th anniversary of his priesthood, and at that time, in the presence of a couple of archbishops, several bishops, and numerous priests, the newly renovated Cathedral sanctuary was "blessed and re -dedicated", according to the now-defunct Cathedral parish website, which may have been the best parish website in our diocese - well worth perusing even now, though it is not the official parish website any longer and is not updated. If you follow that link, you will come to the old website which contains many wonderful photos on various pages of the site.).

The anniversary of a Cathedral's dedication is to be celebrated as a solemnity in the Cathedral parish; it is celebrated as a feast elsewhere in the diocese. The cathedral is the "mother church" of the diocese and should be a liturgical example of excellence to the rest of the parishes, according to the Ceremonial of Bishops.

It could be so in the Diocese of Baker, but it is not so at present.

A current photo of the altar at St. Francis de Sales Cathedral.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Requiescat in Pace, Bishop Thomas J.Connolly

This morning (Friday, April 24) at 1:15 AM, Bishop Emeritus Thomas J. Connolly (Diocese of Baker) died at Maryville care center in Beaverton.  

Bishop Connolly had been suffering from dementia for a number of years.  

Funeral arrangements are as follows:

Wednesday, April 29 at  5:00 PM  -   
      Vigil Service with Reception of the body at the 
      new St. Francis  of Assisi Church in Bend 

Thursday, April 30 at 11:00 AM-  
     Pontifical Requiem Mass with reception 
     following at St. Francis of Assisi

Friday, May 1 at 11:00 AM    
    Pontifical Mass of Christian Burial at 
    St. Francis de Sales Cathedral, Baker City.  
    Lunch and burial to follow.

Monday, April 20, 2015

A "Vortex" About St. Francis de Sales

Since St. Francis de Sales is the patron saint of the Diocese of Baker, this should be of interest to all of us who live here! 

There are some interesting tidbits here about the saint, and some hints about the effectivness of using social media to evangelize and re-evangelize. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Divine Mercy Sunday: Fr. Andersen Homily

Sermon for Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday
Fr. Eric M. Andersen
Holy Trinity in Bandon; St. John the Baptist in Port Orford
April 12th, 2015

Dominica Secunda Paschae (Divine Mercy Sunday)

In the nineteen-twenties, a young religious sister in Poland, began receiving visions of our Lord who spoke to her heart about His divine mercy.  This young sister, St. Faustina Kowalska, was commanded by her superiors to write a diary about these locutions.  Jesus commanded her to tell the world that the second Sunday of Easter – which is today – be celebrated as a feast to the Divine Mercy.  He told her: “In the Old Covenant I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to My people.  Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world.  I do not want to punish aching mankind but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart.  I use punishment when they themselves force me to do so; My hand is reluctant to take hold of the sword of justice.  Before the Day of Justice I am sending the Day of Mercy” (Diary 1588).
He showed her an image of Himself in which rays poured forth from His heart, a red ray for His precious blood, and a white ray for the cleansing waters of Baptism.  He taught her this prayer based upon the image:  “O Blood and water, which gushed forth from the heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in Thee” (187).  He instructed her that when anyone said this prayer “with a contrite heart and with faith on behalf of some sinner, (He would give that sinner) the grace of conversion” (cf. 186).  This is the way that each of the faithful exercises his duty of the common priesthood.  Each of the baptized is called upon to intercede for others, to do penance for the sake of the world, in reparation for sins and for the conversion of sinners.  This is one aspect of divine Mercy.  Jesus said to St. Faustina: “When a soul approaches Me with trust, I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself, but radiates them to other souls” (cf. Diary. 1074-76).  

In the Gospel, Jesus breathes on His chosen apostles and gives them the power to forgive sins––or to withhold forgiveness for the sake of a soul’s conversion.  These chosen men are to mediate His mercy and justice.  This is another aspect of the Divine Mercy.  Jesus said: “Tell my priests that hardened sinners will repent on hearing my words when they speak about My unfathomable mercy, about the compassion I have for them in My Heart.  To priests who proclaim and extol my mercy, I will give wondrous power; I will anoint their words and touch the hearts of those to whom they will speak.”  I trust, as a priest, that when I speak these words from the Diary of St. Faustina, that these words are truly anointed.  I trust that because these words are truly anointed, that hardened souls will be converted, even if these hardened souls are not actually here physically among us.  I trust that you the faithful, who hear these anointed words, will take heed and pray the Divine Mercy for the conversion of those whose hearts are hardened and whose souls are in danger of being eternally lost.  Each of you can make a difference by your prayers. 

To the faithful who avail themselves of this message, Jesus said: “When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you.  I am only hidden by the priest, but I Myself act in your soul.  Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy.  The torrents of grace inundate humble souls.  The proud remain always in poverty and misery, because My grace turns away from them to humble souls. . . . If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity” (1602).  “Let the weak, sinful soul have no fear to approach Me, for even if it had more sins than there are grains of sand in the world, all would be drowned in the unmeasurable depths of My mercy” (1059).  “I will grant a complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My mercy” (1109). 

Most beautifully of all, Jesus confirms that the person of the priest is only a screen.  He tells us: “Never analyze what sort of a priest it is that I am making use of; open your soul in confession as you would to Me, and I will fill it with My light” (1725).

Today is a feast to proclaim that mercy, that forgiveness of sins for all sinners.  Jesus said, “I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners.  On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open.  I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the Fount of My Mercy.  The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.  On that day all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened.  Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet.  My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity.  . . . Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy” (Diary 699). 

Jesus warned St. Faustina to write this: “Souls perish in spite of My bitter Passion.  I am giving them the last hope of salvation; that is, the Feast of My Mercy.  If they will not adore My Mercy, they will perish for all eternity” (965).  …“before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy.  He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice…” (1146)… tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near” (965).

Let us remember that God’s justice is tempered by His mercy.  God wishes to pour out His abundant mercy upon us.  But we have to desire that mercy.  We must ask God from the depths of our hearts to pour out His mercy on us.  We have to acknowledge that we are in need of His mercy.  We have to acknowledge that we are all sinners in His sight.  Then, He will pour out His abundant ocean of mercy upon us.  Jesus tells us to go to sacramental Confession to receive this ocean of grace and mercy.  And He asks us to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet in order to obtain mercy for others.  He asks us to pray for poor sinners so that their hearts might be converted and that they might repent and come back to God and to the Church; so that they would be set free from slavery to sin and the darkness and misery that accompany it.  
3 pm is the hour of mercy.  It is the hour that Jesus died on the Cross out of love for us.  Today and every day at 3 pm, we are invited to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet.  Today we will have a Parish Holy Hour at 3 pm to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet and to gain the Plenary Indulgence offered by the Church for this devotion.  

“O Blood and water, which gushed forth from the heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in Thee”