Friday, August 31, 2012

The Holy Grail: Fr. Andersen

Fr. Eric M. Andersen, Sacred Heart in Gervais, Oregon, always has such interesting tidbits to add to the notes in the Roman Martyrology! Here's another of his commentaries:

August 31st, 2012

Sts. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, disciples of the Lord

The Roman Martyrology for August 31st, the day before the Kalends of September:
At Jerusalem, the commemoration of saints Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, who received the corpse of Jesus taken down from the cross, enveloped it in linen and placed it in the monument. Joseph, a noble captain of ten men, and a disciple of the Lord, was awaiting the kingdom of God; whereupon Nicodemus, a prince of the Jews, from the Pharisees, came to Jesus in the night asking about his mission and before the high priests and Pharisees, who were wishing to apprehend Jesus, defended his cause.

…And elsewhere, many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

Thanks be to God.

Just a quick note on the legend of St. Joseph of Arimathea. It is said that he was given the Holy Sangreal, or Grail, the chalice of Christ from the Last Supper, by Christ Himself and that in it he collected the blood of Christ at the Cross. He was punished for burying Christ and was himself kept a prisoner in a tomb and lived off the Eucharist which miraculously filled the chalice each day. He was rescued and came to England in 63 AD where he converted many to the True Faith. 

The sangreal was then kept and guarded by his descendants in a castle. Over time, the location of the castle was forgotten but there was a prophecy in King Arthur’s court that one day the grail would be rediscovered by a descendent of St. Joseph of Arimathea. It would be a man pure of heart, chaste and worthy of the relic. That man was Sir Galahad. He unknowingly sat in the seat at the Round Table known as the “siege perilous.” This marked him as the worthy knight and he set off on the quest to find the holy grail. Sir Lancelot also set off but was found unworthy. Sir Galahad was holy far above the other knights and he alone was found worthy to obtain and once again to guard the holy sangreal as a descendent of St. Joseph of Arimathea. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fr. Andersen's Homily for the Beheading of John the Baptist

A homily by Fr. Eric M. Andersen, Sacred Heart in Gervais, on The Passion of St. John the Baptist

“It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.” Death has no power over these words (cf. Gueranger. The Liturgical Year. vol. 14., p. 109). A tyrant may put to death the man who speaks these words, but he cannot put these words to death. They are truth itself. “It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.” This is not a man made law. This is God’s eternal law that cannot be broken without dire consequences.

These are the dire consequences:

“Josephus relates how [Herod Antipas] was overcome by the Arabian Aretas, whose daughter he had repudiated in order to follow his wicked passions; and the Jews attributed the defeat to the murder of St. John. He was deposed by Rome from his tetrarchate, and banished to Lyons in Gaul, where the ambitious Herodias shared his disgrace. As to her dancing daughter Salome, there is a tradition gathered from ancient authors, that, having gone out one winter day to dance upon a frozen river, she fell through into the water; the ice, immediately closing round her neck, cut off her head, which bounded upon the surface, thus continuing for some moments the dance of death" (Gueranger 112).

This feast actually celebrates four events. The first event is the beheading itself. “The second event is the burning and gathering, or collecting, of St. John’s bones” (Voragine, The Golden Legend. Vol II., p. 135). This is called the second martyrdom of St. John the Baptist. His disciples had buried his body at Sebaste, a city in Palestine…and many miracles had occurred at his tomb (cf. Voragine 135). “For this reason the pagans, by order of Julian the Apostate, scattered his bones, but the miracles did not cease, and the bones were collected, burned, and pulverized, and the ashes thrown to the winds to be blown over the fields…” (135). On the day when the bones were collected to be burned, some monks from Jerusalem secretly mingled with the pagans and carried out many of the relics, saving them from destruction. They delivered these to Philip, bishop of Jerusalem, who sent them to Anastasius, the bishop of Alexandria. During the Crusades, many of them were brought into the West and distributed among many churches.

The third event commemorated on this feast is the finding of the head of St. John the Baptist which happened on this day. It is said that when John was beheaded, Herodias had John’s head taken to Jerusalem to be buried because “she feared that the prophet would return to life if his head was buried with his body. Four hundred years later some monks took the head to venerate it in a more proper place. It was stolen and hidden in a cave. The man who stole it revealed on his deathbed where it was, but the hiding place was kept secret for a long time. Many years later, a holy monk, St. Marcellus, had taken up residence in this cave. It was revealed to him where the head was hidden. The head was then enshrined in a beautiful church in Poitiers in France.

The fourth event is the translation of one of St. John’s fingers and the dedication of a church. The finger with which he pointed to the Lord, could not be burned. The finger made its way to Normandy, France where a church was built in honor of St. John the Baptist.  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Real Presence: A Hard Saying

Here is a homily by Fr. Eric M. Andersen, Sacred Heart in Gervais, for August 26th, 2012    

Dominica XXI Per Annum, Anno B

Our Blessed Lord has just finished telling his disciples that unless they eat His flesh and drink His blood, they have no life in them. His flesh is true meat, and His Blood is true drink. This is too much for some of them. In our Gospel today, they say, “this saying is hard; who can accept it?” As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied Him (John 6:66). They looked directly into the face of God and rejected Him, turning their backs on Him and walking away. The verse of this scripture is John six, verse sixty six. That is: John six, six six. This is the number of the antichrist, and it is at John six, six six that many of Jesus’ disciples turned away and went back to their former way of life.
It is understandable that they turned away. It seemed unbelievable that He was asking them to eat His flesh and drink His blood. But Jesus did not shy away from telling his disciples this truth, even when He knew that many of them would misunderstand Him and would even turn away from Him. That is authentic love. Isn’t that the way God loves us? He gives us everything, provides for us, and teaches us what He wants from us and how He wants us to live our lives. Then He allows us to freely choose for Him or against Him. But He does not abandon us. Neither does He shy away from the hard truths because the Truth sets us free. No, He allows us to struggle. He allows us to question. He allows us to even reject Him. But He does not reject us. We have the choice to make each and every day until our last dying breath. But when we die and the choice has been made, either for Him or against Him, He will grant us our choice.

So our Lord in the Gospel allowed many of His disciples to go back to their former ways of live and no longer accompany Him. Some people leave the Catholic Church because it holds firm to the hard sayings of Jesus. But if we really explore these hard sayings of Jesus, and we surrender to them, we find that they are actually not hard. We find that these hard sayings are the ones that are truly life giving. We find that it becomes harder not to follow the so-called “hard sayings.” But if we reject the hard sayings and leave, then we miss the opportunity for God to fill our lives with true and abundant joy in living out the faith.
One of these hard sayings is about the Real Presence in the Eucharist. Many Christians do not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Even among Catholics it is surprising how many do not believe in the Real Presence. According to the CARA research group out of Georgetown University, as of 2010, 52% of American Catholics believe that the Catholic Church teaches that the Bread and Wine are symbols of Christ’s Body and Blood. Isn’t that strange that so many Catholics would think that? The Church does not teach that. The bread and wine are not symbols of Christ’s body and blood. After the words of consecration, the bread is no longer bread. It looks like bread but it is no longer bread. It is not a symbol of Christ’s body. It is Christ’s Body. After the words of consecration, the wine is no longer wine. It looks like wine, smells like wine, and tastes like wine. But it is no longer wine. It is Christ’s Blood.

When we first encounter the Eucharist, that is all we know. All we know in the beginning is that “this is Jesus.” That is the most important thing. But when we begin to ask how this is Jesus, then our minds want to understand how it can look and taste and feel like bread, but not be bread. How can this look and taste and smell like wine but not be wine? The answer is that God changes it from bread into His Body.

That should not be so hard for us to understand. After all, how is it that a human soul is created? We know that when a child is conceived, a human soul is created from that instant, and that baby’s soul will live forever from that moment forward. It is always an act of creation on the part of God. But then God changes that soul at the moment of baptism. Can we see that change? A person looks exactly the same after baptism as before, but there is quite a change! That person is completely different after baptism because the Holy Spirit is dwelling within him. On the outside, we cannot see that merely by looking at him. God has changed that soul at the words of baptism and the pouring of water.

It is a similar thing when the bread and wine are consecrated and they change from one thing to another thing. We cannot see the change, because externally what was once bread still looks like bread, but it has changed. It is no longer bread. It has changed from one thing to another thing. To understand this more fully, we need to look at what bread is and what Christ is.

First the bread: What is bread? Bread is made of wheat which is ground into some sort of flour, mixed into a dough, and then baked. That is the substance of what it is to be bread. But bread can have many various qualities and still be bread. For instance, it can either be a wafer or a loaf. It can be leavened or unleavened. It can be heavy or light, dark or brown or white. But regardless of those changing accidental qualities, it is still bread.

Now what is Christ? Jesus Christ is the second person of the Trinity. He is the eternal Son of the Father, equal to the Father, consubstantial to the Father. That means that He is of the same substance as the Father. We know that God is pure Spirit. That is His substance. But God is not limited to being a pure spirit. God can take on any kind of body. So what kind of body would God take on? Before Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary and became man it was blasphemy to even think that one could picture God. He could not be represented in artwork because to do so would be idolatry. Imagine that someone might point to a baby in his mother’s arms and say: “look! That baby is God.” But God manifested Himself in that way to us. He descended from heaven by the power of the Holy Spirit was made incarnate in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. That was an act of God. The substance of God took on the qualities of his creature man. That did not decrease Jesus’ being as God. His substance as God is unchanged whether He takes on the accidental qualities of a man or a piece of bread.

We also understand in this that God is omnipresent. In other words, He did not come down from heaven, leaving heaven, in order to be conceived in the womb of Mary. He came down, yes, but He never left heaven. He is not limited by space and time. That is why God can be here on this altar and in this tabernacle, and on all the altars and tabernacles around the world and still be in heaven all the while. We do not say that God leaves heaven or comes down from heaven to come into the Eucharistic species. No, we merely say that at the words of consecration: “This is my Body” and “This is my Blood,” Jesus Christ is fully there and that the bread and wine are no longer. That is an act of God. It is a change of substance that the Church calls transubstantiation.

At first this seemed like a hard saying and many of His disciples left Him to go back to their former ways of life. But those who stayed discovered this hard saying to be a true source of abundance and joy in life. Those who know Jesus in the Eucharist would never leave Him for anything. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Monasticism in the Western Church, Part 1

This is the first of a three-part essay on monasticism by Stephanie Swee, President of the Society of St. Gregory the Great.

The Legacy of St. Benedict:
Monasticism in the Western Church

The first question that arises regarding this topic is: What is monasticism, anyway? Many of the sources for this paper were written at a time, just  before and right after the Second Vatican Council, when there was a lively interest in the subject. However, today it seems there is less understanding of the vocation of the monk or nun who strives to live the counsels of perfection, as, indeed, there is less stress even on mere Christianity and its relevance for every person.

Dom Hubert Van Zeller is a Benedictine monk who has written extensively on many spiritual topics. His book, Approach to Monasticism .is a compendium of how such a vocation is discerned and followed. He addresses this question very simply at the outset. “The approach to monasticism,” he writes, “is only the approach to Christianity through a narrower door.”[1]  In other words, seeking God as the end of man’s aspirations can admit of degrees. While all Christians need to understand that their goal is eternal happiness in the presence of God, the monk sets himself apart from the world and takes on a life oriented directly and solely to that goal.

Louis Bouyer in his work, The Meaning of the Monastic Life, gets even more specific: “If it is only God whom we seek, we have to seek Him as a Person …the monastic call presupposes that God is someone who has revealed himself to us by a word (and) Who has called us.  And to respond to the monastic vocation is to respond to this Person.”[2]

If we look at the very early Church we will see that the first Christians took this pursuit of union with God seriously enough that it informed the whole of life. Simply to follow Christ then could be as all-consuming as living a religious vocation is today.  In fact, many Christians regarded their faith as reason to  joyfully lay down their lives in witness to Christ. It is interesting to note that it was after the great Roman persecutions ended that certain Christians withdrew to practice asceticism.  Indeed, if one faces the possibility of death for Christ, one need not look for a higher way to serve Him. Once Christianity became respectable, however, many writers note that “the monk came to replace the martyr as hero. Whereas the martyr died for Christ; the monk lives for Him.”[3]

Some writers have pushed the beginnings of monasticism back as far as the Decian persecutions in the mid-third century, but “the great Christian historian Eusebius makes no mention of it in his history.” [4] There is actually little written about the life of monks before 330 A.D., even though by the time Athanasius died in 373 A.D., “the movement had witnessed extraordinary growth.”[5]

The Introduction to The Rule of St. Benedict dismisses the many theories that early monasticism grew out of pre-Christian sects.  Rather than the philosophical asceticism of the pagan Greeks, “The ascetic tradition in Christianity … can … be traced directly back to the New Testament. Of particular importance was the tradition of virginity and celibacy that was grounded in the example and teaching of Jesus.”[6] In fact, the belief grew quickly that monasticism was a logical outgrowth of Christian life. “Just as baptism was held to forgive sins, so the monastic profession (of vows) came to be held to forgive sins.”[7]

It is likely that cenobitic monasticism – i.e., monks living in community – was a variation of life of  the Eastern Church’s early Fathers of the Desert, eremites who lived in solitude except when they came together occasionally for prayer, reading of Scripture and spiritual discussions.  That the desert was the preferred locale for the anachoresis, or “retirement from the world,” is a living of  the passage in St. Matthew that tells us that” Jesus withdrew to the desert place by himself.”

St. Anthony of the Desert, generally held to be the “father of the eremitic life,” was born about 250 A.D. His turbulent and colorful path to holiness was chronicled by St. Athanasius. He is said to have been assailed by the devil spiritually and physically with great vigor, but eventually to have triumphed over these trials. After some time alone, he was followed to the wilderness by others who desired to take on the same penitential life.   At first, these aspirants had to beat down his door, but eventually Anthony emerged and agreed to teach them how to live apart from the world as he did.  He performed many miracles and became the de facto head of the scores of men who sought to find only God in the desert.[8]
After Anthony died, however, some Christian writers began to warn of the dangers in such a solitary life and, even in the Eastern Church, cenobitic monasticism began to grow. Its first famous proponent was Pachomius, who, like Anthony, drew many to himself, but,, unlike his predecessor, succeeded in “shifting attention … away from himself and to the community as the locus of the Spirit. His followers became a fellowship of brothers, a koinonia.”[9] Later St. Basil also began to establish communities of monks in the East.

[1] Van Zeller, Dom Hubert, Approach to Monasticism. New York: Sheed and Ward,  1960, p. 8.
[2] Bouyer, Louis, The Meaning of the Monastic Life. London: Burns and Oates, 1933, p. 8
[3] RB: 1980: The Rule of St. Benedict, Timothy Fry, O.S.B., editor. Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1980, p. 14.

[4] RB: 1980,, p. 3.
[5] RB.1908, p. 4.
[6] RB 1980, p. 3
[7] RB 1980, p. 15
[8] RB 1980, pp. 18-20.
[9] RB 1980, pp. 24-25. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Holy Sacrifice: Fr. Eric Andersen Homily

A homily by Fr. Eric M. Andersen, Sacred Heart in Gervais, for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, August 19th, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I preached that the Holy Mass is a sacrifice but not a re-sacrifice of Christ. Christ offered Himself once on the cross for us. It cannot be repeated. The Mass does not repeat the sacrifice and it does not multiply the one sacrifice, but it does multiply the presences of the one sacrifice. The one sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross is present here on this altar. It is also present in every Catholic Church and every Orthodox Church where Mass is celebrated. But although it seems like there are many sacrifices in all these churches every day, they are all one sacrifice. This one sacrifice is the very same sacrifice which Christ offered once on the Cross. St. Thomas Aquinas calls the Mass “an image representing Christ’s Passion” (ST III-q.83.a1 reply OBJ 2). We gaze upon this image, present to us today.

What is the image that we gaze upon? It is the Crucifixion, Death, and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. “The altar,” as St. Thomas tells us, “is representative of the Cross itself upon which Christ was sacrificed” (ibid.) His Crucifixion is sacramentally represented by the offering of the Host. The word host, from the Latin Hostiam means victim. The victim is the Body of Christ which is offered to God on the altar which is the Cross. The image of the Crucifixion may be seen when the priest attaches his arms to the altar at the words, “This is My Body.”

Then the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross is represented by the separation of His Precious  Blood offered separately from His Body in the chalice. Again, the priest attaches his arms to the altar–crucified–when he says, “This is the chalice of my Blood.” The separation of the Precious Blood from the sacred Body is called the immolation of the victim and is the image of His death on the Cross. Finally the Resurrection of our Lord is represented by the mingling of a small piece of the Host into the Chalice when the Body takes the Blood back into itself.

When we understand that the Mass is an image and representation of Christ’s passion, then we can begin to study the Mass as one would study a great masterpiece of art. It is said that a picture paints a thousand words. When we look at a painting that is a great work of art, we initially see the main subject of the painting. But a true work of art has many details that one might only see after one gazes at the painting for some time–studying it, contemplating it, meditating upon it. The Mass is one of God’s greatest artistic masterpieces. It is the work of God Himself. We did not craft it nor create it. It is God’s work.

He announced the work to us in various ways throughout the Old Testament. In our first reading today from the book of Proverbs, we hear that Wisdom has dressed her meat, mixed her wine and spread her table. The Vulgate, which is the official Catholic Bible for the whole world, says that she has immolated her victims, mingled wine and set forth her mensa. Immolating a victim is very different from just dressing meat. Proverbs specifically defines this victim saying: come eat my bread and drink my wine which I have mingled for you. Wisdom has immolated her victims upon the mensa of the altar. The Immolation is the separation of the blood from the body of the victim which brings about the death of the victim. But the victim mentioned in Proverbs is identified as bread and wine which have been immolated and then mingled again to be consumed. Such an immolation was not part of the Temple sacrifice practiced by the Jews at the time the Proverbs were written. Such an immolation, such a sacrifice, was prefigured by Melchizadek who offered a sacrifice of bread and wine in the Book of Genesis. Such an immolation, such a sacrifice was then fulfilled once on the Cross by Jesus Christ and then sacramentally it continues forever on the altars of His Church.
So as we gaze upon this image, this masterpiece of art which God has crafted and given to us, we see through these sacramental signs the reality of the Crucifixion, Death, and Resurrection. But that is not all. I have told our acolytes that they stand in the place of the angels. The priest stands in the person of Jesus Christ. The acolytes stand in the place of the angels. This Mass is an image of Calvary, but it is also an image of heaven. This threshold of the sanctuary is to be marked off from the rest of the building. It is set apart. It is the Holy of Holies. That is what is meant by the word sanctus from which sanctuary comes. This step is the threshold of heaven and earth. These boys serving in the sanctuary as acolytes represent the angels who surround Christ the Eternal High Priest. The acolytes wield fire as the seraphim wield fire. The fire of the candles and the fire of the charcoal on which incense is burned. Incense is not offered at every Mass. It is not essential to the rite of Mass, but it is essential to the image because in the book of Revelation, St. John tells us that the angels offer up incense to God before His holy throne in heaven, and the incense is the prayers of the saints.

Therefore, we pray to the angels and to the saints in this Mass, and they intercede for us. One of the prayers during the Eucharistic canon is that God would deign to send His holy angel to carry this sacrifice to his altar on high in the sight of His divine Majesty, so that all of us who assist at the sacrifice upon the altar and who receive the holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in Holy Communion may be filled with every grace and blessing. It is through the intercession of the angel that this happens. The acolytes wield the fire of the holy seraphim, but the angel carries up the prayers. The angel is visible as the smoke of the incense rising up to the throne of God in heaven. And it is beautiful to behold.
God has given us this beautiful masterpiece of art to communicate something beyond what we can express with mere words. The Mystery of Faith is supernatural. It can only be communicated in a supernatural way which is what God has given us in this Mass. We should not to try to make the Mass common or relevant in an earthly way. Rather, we should always strive to communicate heaven through the celebration of Mass. If Jesus commands that we must eat His flesh and drink His blood in order to have life within us, then He is going to give us a means of doing so that is pleasurable. The Mass should be pleasurable but not in an earthly way. It should not appeal to us in the way that earthly things appeal to us. It needs to speak to our very souls in a supernatural way. If we are too attached to earthly entertainments and diversions, or too immersed in popular culture we may not find anything beautiful about the Mass. If we find nothing beautiful in the Mass, then we will find nothing beautiful about heaven. We may even find heaven offensive to our senses. If our tastes have been cultivated exclusively by marketers and the mass media, we may not find anything in heaven which pleases us. We must cultivate heavenly tastes. We must gaze upon this image of Christ’s passion in the Mass, studying it, contemplating it, meditating upon it as we would the Holy Scriptures themselves. It is an image of our salvation and it is an image of heaven. Let us purify our tastes from worldly things and cultivate a taste for heaven. Let us experience heaven more and more in this life and on this earth every time we come to this Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

What Your Sanctuary Could Look Like

This could be just about any mission church in our diocese, I think! They all seem to have the same general motif, with an altar that has “1970’s” written all over it, and an altar covering that looks like a dining room table cloth. Generally some sort of "hanging" is added to the front of the altar to indicate the liturgical color of the day. 

But with just a little effort and cost, a humdrum sanctuary like that can be transformed  into something a little more appropriate. 

Is there any doubt about which arrangement looks more regal? Is there any doubt that the transformation adds a sense of reverence and awe that is completely lacking in the “normal” set-up? Is there any doubt that Something Very Special is going to happen at that transformed altar?

The thing is, it could look like this every day of the year. Having a tastefully appointed sanctuary should be something to strive for even in the smallest parish or mission church. Let's remember that this is the temple of the Lord, and that the Real Presence is there in the tabernacle. Surely the King of the Universe deserves the best!

Just about any parish could accomplish what is pictured above, and the cost is minimal. It is really not that difficult to make an antependium like the one shown; and while the fabric might come at a high price per yard, if the parish seamstresses are convinced to undertake the project, the cost can be kept to a hundred dollars.  Matching mini-antependia for ambos can be created at a minimal cost, too. In addition, very majestic-looking candlesticks can be acquired at a cost much less than you might expect. The secret? Buy those decorative resin candlesticks that are meant to hold a large (3"-4" diameter) votive candle, and paint them with gold spray paint. There are various ways to adapt them to accommodate a 3/4" diameter candle.

Sadly, it seems that the typical parish sanctuary in our diocese looks childish and cheap. Why do we do that to Our Lord and Savior?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Assumption

The Feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven!

In the Eastern Church,
 the Dormition of Mary

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

St. Patrick’s in Heppner

Returning to my goal of presenting the various parishes of the Diocese of Baker, here are some facts and photos for St. Patrick’s in Heppner, Oregon.

According to A Brief History of the Diocese of Baker[1], the first St. Patrick’s Church in Heppner was built in 1887. It looked like this:

St. Patrick's Church Built in 1887

When Fr. Francis McCormack was appointed pastor in 1940, his first project was to raise money to build a new church.  A new site was also selected and purchased in 1941 (for $1000!). The church was completed in November of 1941. The old church was sold and remodeled for the American Legion Hall.

The History also recounts that a new rectory also had to be built, but stumbling blocks were Bishop McGrath’s objections to the high building costs, as well as World War II regulations and the scarcity of building materials. Construction of the rectory had to be postponed, and was not completed until 1948.

St. Patrick's Church Built in 1941

Another new church was built in 1971 - it's the current St. Patrick's.

St. Patrick's Catholic Church

From The Cross in the Middle of Nowhere[2], we learn that in November of 1971, Bishop Thomas J. Connolly

…officiated at the Mass of dedication and blessing of the new St. Patrick’s in Heppner which was built under the direction of Father Raymond Beard. It was the first new construction in the Diocese to reflect the changes in the liturgy of the Mass called for by the Second Vatican Council. Several innovations were combined to present a unique form to the interior. The shorter and broader nave, divided to form a “y”, coupled with the elimination of a communion rail, brought the congregation closer to the sanctuary. (p.253)

Here are a few photos of the interior of the church.

The priest's view
The parish website has a nice history page, featuring the above photos of the exterior of the church. However, it appears that the website has not been updated since November 2011.

St. William's in Ione is a mission of St. Patrick's.
St. William's Church - 1948
St. William's Catholic Church in Ione

[1] A Brief History of the Diocese of Baker, Vol. 1, by Fr. Dominic O’Connor, Benedictine Press, 1930
[2] The Cross in the Middle of Nowhere, by Msgr. William S. Stone, Maverick Publications, 1933

Monday, August 6, 2012

Feast of the Transfiguration

This is from the Office of Matins for the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord.

From the Sermons of Pope St Leo the Great.

On the Transfiguration.

The Lord taketh chosen witnesses, and in their presence, revealeth His glory. That form of body which He had in common with other men, He so transfigured with light, that His Face did shine as the sun, and His raiment became exceeding white as snow. Of this metamorphosis the chief work was to remove from the hearts of the disciples the stumbling at the Cross. Before their eyes was unveiled the splendour of His hidden majesty, that the lowliness of His freely-chosen suffering might not confound their faith. But none the less was there here laid by the Providence of God a solid foundation for the hope of the Holy Church, whereby the whole body of Christ should know with what a change it is yet to be honoured. The members of that body whose Head hath already been transfigured in light may promise themselves a share in His glory.

For the strengthening the Apostles and bringing them forward into all knowledge, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias, that is, the Law and the Prophets talking with Him. Before five witnesses did His glorification take place, as though to fulfill that which is written: “At the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established” (Deut. xix. 15). What can be more certain, what can be better attested than this matter, which is proclaimed by the trumpets of both the Old and the New Testaments, and concerning which the witness of ancient testimony uniteth with the teaching of the Gospel? The pages of either Covenant strengthen one another, and the brightness of open glory maketh manifest and distinct Him Whom the former prophecies had promised under the veil of mysteries.

The unveiling of such mysteries roused the mind of the Apostle Peter to an outburst of longing for the things eternal, which despised and disdained the things worldly and earthly. Overflowing with gladness at the vision, he yearned to dwell with Jesus there, where the revelation of His glory had rejoiced him. And so he said, “Master, it is good for us to be here. If Thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.”

To this proposal the Lord answered nothing, this signifying, that what Peter wished was not wrong, but out of place, since the world could not be saved but by the death of Christ. And the Lord's example was to call the faith of believers to this, that albeit we are behoven to have no doubts concerning the promise of eternal blessedness, yet we are to understand that, amid the trials of this life, we are to seek for endurance before glory.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

When You Dress for Mass...

Here are some wise words from Fr. Eric Andersen (Sacred Heart/ St Louis Parish, Gervais, OR) regarding attire for Mass. This is an excerpt from a homily he gave on July 29, 2012.

…[W]hen you dress for Mass, it should not resemble the way you dress to go to a football game, or to a bar, or to the beach. We should dress for Mass setting ourselves apart as a sacred gift to God. This is what I have told our girls and young ladies who are servers for Mass. I have told them that they need to dress appropriately even if they are not serving at Mass. And I have told them that they should dress modestly even when they are not at church, meaning no bare shoulders, no low necklines, and no short skirts. Skirts should cover a lady’s knees. The idea is that we don’t draw attention to yourselves. Our teens need to hear this from their parents and they need to hear it from their priests. Nobody else will tell our young girls this message. Adult women need to set the example for our young ladies. Mothers and fathers need to teach their daughters that Mass is not about getting a date, but that it is a date with God.

This is what I have told the boys and young men who are servers and acolytes: dress like gentlemen. Dads need to help me out on this and set the example for their sons. I told the boys to be clean and well groomed. I have told them that they need to wear collared shirts, tucked in, and to wear a tie if they have one. Long pants. No shorts. Wear proper shoes and keep them shined. Church clothes should be reserved for Church. They are less expensive than jeans, t-shirts, and athletic shoes.

I am speaking to you about this because I love you. As your spiritual father I need to tell you these things. That is what a father does. Each of you are so precious in the eyes of God. Each of you has such beautiful gifts to offer to God. Come to church as a child of God, humble, pure, and holy.
Let us empty ourselves and be generous to God. Let us give Him our absolute best. Let us offer Him something faithful and beautiful and pure. He will give us far more in return than we can even imagine. The liturgy is not about us, it is about God. Let us decrease as He increases before us and among us and out into the world. All for the glory of God.