Saturday, April 26, 2003

TV is good sometimes but when it is bad, it is the best! I know from talking with coworkers that I wasn’t the only one to enjoy watching mindless shows. And judging by this website I am not the only one who remembers Small Wonder. The writing and acting was so bad I could not stop watching. Then there was Mama’s Family, which was an incredible waste of good talent. Saved By the Bell was awful in about 7000 different ways. My all time favorite Bad TV Show was Get a Life starring Chris Elliot as a 30 year old paperboy. It was true to his type of comedy – stupid. I would love to see some of the episodes again, especially the one with the musical: Zoo Animals on Roller Skates. One song has the animals singing "How would you like it if we stared at you?, and then they went into the audience and stared at people. Face it, there is something about television that just makes it good when it is completely brainless. This explains why the Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island are classics.
Padre Pio was hitchhiking in my neighborhood!

That article is old but Mr. Fuina was present in Rome when Padre Pio was declared a Saint on June 16, 2002.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Conflict in voluntary poverty?

I can understand how religious brothers, sisters and priests take vows of poverty. This is so they do not have attachments that would take away from their spiritual life. I can see how this would be a good benefit for religious and for their apostolates. I think orders should be prudent as to their finances so that each member is taken care of in their old age and in sickness. I think an order should have a decent financial situation so that they can concentrate on their spiritual life and their apostolates. There are some orders that have not been prudent and this is a shame. The Church has not been careful in the past to assist some orders and make sure they are covered financially. To see Catholics raising money for people who took a voluntary vow of poverty is really discouraging. It seems like the time, energy, money and talent could be used to help the truly poor. It feels like more could be done to help the poor if the religious themselves are taken care of. With so many orders now top heavy with older members, many in poor health, it seems like we created a problem by not making sure the religious were financially independent. Some orders, including some of the best, have a radical way of living in extreme poverty, and there are groups of lay people who donate money, buy food, etc.. to help them out. Even when these religious live simple, humble lives, it seems somehow wrong for us to be “creating poor”. It seems to me like we are causing the poor more competition for money and assistance. I tend to think the religious should take individual vows of poverty but that the community should be financially strong. If a community does not have to worry about finances so much, they could concentrate on their work.
A Catholic Blog for Lovers is campaigning to bring back the bees. Great post in a long line of St. Blog posts on the poor translations in the Catholic Mass today.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

This is my last day of vacation so I am updating my blog. I just added my fellow Long Islander of Confessions of An Accidental Choir Director to the blog list. Be sure to check out the Yes, you too can be an EWTN programming director entry. The original idea was from Amy Welborn who asked for serious and satirical ideas for EWTN shows, and the comments are well worth a second read. This type of creative humor is needed in the Catholic press. Envoy magazine is the only place I see this stuff outside of St. Blogs.
BTW- does anyone ever think of how St. Peter feels on Good Friday when Christians around the world read the Passion where he denies Christ 3 times? He must be like oh great here we go again, I’ll just lay low for awhile, perhaps hang out in my room for the day. How would you like it if an embarrassing video of you doing something stupid as a kid was broadcast on every channel all around the world one day a year? Geez, Peter must be cringing.
The Easter Triduum was especially good this year. At the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the beautiful “Ubi Caritas et amor Deus Ibi est” refrain was used while the priest washed the feet of the twelve. This refrain was repeated over and over again by choir and congregation. My favorite priest sung the Exultant at the Easter Vigil, he has a great voice. The Litany of the Saints was nicely done by the choir director, although it was hard to make out the Saints’ name sometimes. I am very picky when it comes to Liturgy and have to say I really don’t have anything to complain about. I do have a couple of questions some people may be able to answer though. Is the Litany of the Saints ever updated to include the newer saints?? Can you just stick their names into the song? Also, the Passion is not read as it used to be-with the priest reading the parts of Christ, and a narrator reading one part, the congregation reading the crowd parts. Instead, the priest, and 2 readers just take turns reading the whole thing. Why was this changed? The congregation was encouraged to sing the interludes which were hymns sung after each section. I don’t feel strongly about this one way or another but wonder why it was changed.
Request for ideas

I have been attending our local Faith on Tap meetings here for the past 3 months, and tommorrow there will be a planning session. This is usually known as Theology on Tap in other areas and consists of talks given in an informal atmosphere focusing on areas of the faith. It is held in a bar and geared towards people in their 20's and 30's, especially those who might not be practicing their faith or those seeking to learn more. If anyone has any ideas for speakers, topics, or things that could be done, please let me know via email or the comments box. Thanks.

Monday, April 21, 2003

More from Pope John Paul II’s encyclical ECCLESIA DE EUCHARISTIA

“52. All of this makes clear the great responsibility which belongs to priests in particular for the celebration of the Eucharist. It is their responsibility to preside at the Eucharist in persona Christi and to provide a witness to and a service of communion not only for the community directly taking part in the celebration, but also for the universal Church, which is a part of every Eucharist. It must be lamented that, especially in the years following the post-conciliar liturgical reform, as a result of a misguided sense of creativity and adaptation there have been a number of abuses which have been a source of suffering for many. A certain reaction against “formalism” has led some, especially in certain regions, to consider the “forms” chosen by the Church's great liturgical tradition and her Magisterium as non-binding and to introduce unauthorized innovations which are often completely inappropriate.”

This statement should be carved in bronze and hung over the entrance to every Catholic Church in America.

More from Pope John Paul II’s encyclical ECCLESIA DE EUCHARISTIA

“The designs of altars and tabernacles within Church interiors were often not simply motivated by artistic inspiration but also by a clear understanding of the mystery. The same could be said for sacred music, if we but think of the inspired Gregorian melodies and the many, often great, composers who sought to do justice to the liturgical texts of the Mass. Similarly, can we overlook the enormous quantity of artistic production, ranging from fine craftsmanship to authentic works of art, in the area of Church furnishings and vestments used for the celebration of the Eucharist?”

Yes we can! They are overlooked quite often right on this island. In fact, many parishes here would reject some of those authentic works of art in favor of cheap, tacky, pathetic stuff put out by leftover hippies still stuck in the 60’s.
More from Pope John Paul II’s encyclical ECCLESIA DE EUCHARISTIA

"25. The worship of the Eucharist outside of the Mass is of inestimable value for the life of the Church. This worship is strictly linked to the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. The presence of Christ under the sacred species reserved after Mass – a presence which lasts as long as the species of bread and of wine remain 45 – derives from the celebration of the sacrifice and is directed towards communion, both sacramental and spiritual.46 It is the responsibility of Pastors to encourage, also by their personal witness, the practice of Eucharistic adoration, and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in particular, as well as prayer of adoration before Christ present under the Eucharistic species”

Sounds to me like there are a lot of pastors that have some ‘splaining’ to do! We had a priest at our parish who, when the yearly Night of Prayer against abortion was held, would take the Blessed Sacrament out, then leave and come back at the end of the 4 hours to put the Sacrament back. This same priest would always have time to spend a few hours on the golf course. Our newly ordained priest pleased everyone when he lead the entire 4 hour prayer service.
More from Pope John Paul II’s encyclical ECCLESIA DE EUCHARISTIA

"19. The eschatological tension kindled by the Eucharist expresses and reinforces our communion with the Church in heaven. It is not by chance that the Eastern Anaphoras and the Latin Eucharistic Prayers honour Mary, the ever-Virgin Mother of Jesus Christ our Lord and God, the angels, the holy apostles, the glorious martyrs and all the saints. This is an aspect of the Eucharist which merits greater attention: in celebrating the sacrifice of the Lamb, we are united to the heavenly “liturgy” and become part of that great multitude which cries out: “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Rev 7:10). The Eucharist is truly a glimpse of heaven appearing on earth. It is a glorious ray of the heavenly Jerusalem which pierces the clouds of our history and lights up our journey."

This is most clear in Eucharistic Prayer I which is the one closest to the prayer one hears at the traditional latin mass. At my parish, this prayer is used mostly at Triduum and at Midnight Mass. My favorite priest will use Eucharistic Prayer I on Solemnities and major Feast days. Most of the time Eucharistic Prayer II is used since it is the shortest. Thus, I very rarely get a sense of this “communion with the Church in heaven”.
From Pope John Paul II’s encyclical ECCLESIA DE EUCHARISTIA

“At times one encounters an extremely reductive understanding of the Eucharistic mystery. Stripped of its sacrificial meaning, it is celebrated as if it were simply a fraternal banquet. Furthermore, the necessity of the ministerial priesthood, grounded in apostolic succession, is at times obscured and the sacramental nature of the Eucharist is reduced to its mere effectiveness as a form of proclamation. This has led here and there to ecumenical initiatives which, albeit well-intentioned, indulge in Eucharistic practices contrary to the discipline by which the Church expresses her faith. How can we not express profound grief at all this?”

Amen brother! I am hearing lots of grief expressed for years now but not sure if anyone is listening.

“The Mass makes present the sacrifice of the Cross; it does not add to that sacrifice nor does it multiply it.16 What is repeated is its memorial celebration, its “commemorative representation” (memorialis demonstratio),17 which makes Christ's one, definitive redemptive sacrifice always present in time. The sacrificial nature of the Eucharistic mystery cannot therefore be understood as something separate, independent of the Cross or only indirectly referring to the sacrifice of Calvary.”

So it kinda makes sense to have a crucifix around when this is done doesn't it? Wish my Church had one.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

You can wish Mother Angelica a happy birthday by going here. Her EWTN has been a great blessing! This woman has done more for the Church in the past 20 years than most bishops.
A Shoutout to all those who have come into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil. A special Heeeeeeeyyyyy to the bloggers who are now members of His Church: Will at Mysterium Crucius, Sean at Swimming the Tiber, Joe at Meet Joe Convert and Katherine at Not for Sheep. Anyone I have missed please let me know. God Bless you all. Don’t mind the mess, make yourselves at home.
Happy Easter everybody! My Holy Week was excellent. The diocese-wide night of reconciliation was successful-every Church in the diocese had priests available to hear confession from 3-9 pm. If your diocese does not do this, you should suggest it. If people like to go to a priest or parish where they can be totally anonymous, this is the perfect opportunity. The Easter Triduum at my parish was well done. And now that Lent is over, I can go back to drinking coffee and complaining on my weblog.